Even though Leadership Safari was months ago, its lasting impact is still prevalent today.
The week began with my parents moving me in to my dorm room. I was really nervous on the way up to school; no about moving away from my family, but about the fact that I didn’t know anyone at CMU. I had only had a few brief conversations with my roommates and I was afraid that they weren’t going to like me (or that I wasn’t going to like them). I didn’t talk to them much as I moved all of my stuff in, as I was still super nervous and frantically running around trying to put all of my stuff away. Once everything was organized, we had to run to the UC to get some forms and such. It was pouring rain that day, and my parents were trying to get me as close to the door as possible; sadly, there was a giant line up of cars and it was hard for my dad in his giant truck to maneuver through all of the traffic. So, in an uncharacteristic move for most parents when sending their children off to college, they dropped me off in the middle of the street and took off from there. I had no problem with this; I’m not really an emotional person to begin with, and I was able to hug them goodbye from the car anyway.
The kickoff to safari was that night, but the real events didn’t really begin until the next morning. When I had to run a 5K. Of course, I am the only one to blame for that horrible activity choice (we had a couple to pick from), but in my defense I thought I would not have to run it until later in the week and not on the first morning. I ran horribly, but it was nice to know that I was not the only one there who really wasn’t in the mood to run. Everyone that I talked to shared the same sentiments, which made the run a little more enjoyable. It was a great bonding experience.
Leadership safari was great for a couple of reasons, their first being that I was able to bond with my roommates and develop a solid friend group. Every night when I got back from Safari, we would all complain how tired we were and talk of going to bed. Yet, every night life clockwork, we would stay up until 3 in the morning just talking. Bonding. I was a great experience to be able to sit and connect with these people that I would be spending the next four years with. This time also gave me the opportunity to connect with my roommate, Maryn. Even after we left the common room late at night to go to bed, we never could seem to stop talking. We both attempt to go to bed, but continue to stay up for another hour just laughing with each other. I had already heard roommate horror stories from people in my Safari group, and it was great to know that I was not going to have that experience
I also loved Safari because of my group. At first, Team Viper did not really connect. It was a long week, and all of us seemed to feel its effects early. But, it was the challenge that brought us all closer together. There was this one exercise where we all had to lie our heads on each others stomachs and laugh (you were supposed to be able to feel the vibration of the other persons laughter). What seemed like such a silly exercise left us all dying of laughter. I think we stayed there for a solid 10 minutes, just laughing the entire time. People would walk by this group of 10 teenagers lying on the ground in hysterics and wonder what on earth was going on. Nevertheless, after that moment, we were all so much closer. We laughed and connected over the weekend, and at the end of the week party, our group was at least an hour late because we were having such a great time together.
I meet so many great people during that week, and I still see a lot of them to this day. A majority of my friend group is still together, and my safari group gets together every once in awhile to catch up over dinner. And I see them around all the time; we always stop to say hello and give a quick hug. Leadership safari was such a great experience. It taught me how to make connection with people, and gave me the confidence to be able to walk around a college campus.