What Happens on Those Senior Retreats?

Seniors+during+the+%22Last+Minute%22

Seniors during the "Last Minute"

Danielle Lippert, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Over the months of March and April, Notre Dame seniors go on retreat at Saint Norbert College. Seniors have the opportunity to select their own date for when they will go.

The day starts in the Mulva Library where about 40 seniors meet for the retreat. The ice is quickly broken by everyone sharing their name and their most embarrassing moment at Notre Dame.

After introductions, students are sent out for silent meditation. This is also when the students receive their letters. When students are freshman, they write letters to their senior selves. The senior retreat is when the seniors finally get to see (again) what their freshman selves wrote.

At this time, students also have time to answer questions about their last four years. The questions typically cover everything from faith to their proudest moment at Notre Dame.

Once the students have finished reflecting, they meet back in the projection room in the library and discuss their letters and questions in small groups.

Seniors also have mass at Old St. Joe’s Church on campus with Father Brad and lunch at Michael’s Commons afterwards. After lunch there is a talk by Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl about avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Next students have another silent reflection. They are given a puzzle piece and have to write what they want to be most remembered for at NDA and what they will take with them from NDA. They are also given a notecard to write two questions for college students to answer.

“I think it’s important for seniors before they graduate to step back and reflect on their impact on the school and what they’ll take from their time here,” said Kriegl.

Afterwards students do an exercise titled “Last Minute,” where everyone talks to everyone for a minute. Chairs are lined up facing each other in the projection room and each student talks to each of the other students for one minute. Conversations range from where they will be going to school next year to introducing themselves to a classmate they’ve never met to just chatting with a friend they’ve known since kindergarten to talking about what they wrote on their puzzle piece. Students have the chance to say whatever they want to their classmate for just 60 seconds.

“I really liked talking to everyone because I asked everyone what makes you sad, and it was either really sad or really funny,” said senior Payton Van Pelt.

Students share with the whole group what they wrote on their puzzle piece and throw it in the middle of the circle while saying “Goodbye, Notre Dame.”  Students then put the puzzle together to see the Notre Dame logo on the back of their pieces.

“It was nice to reflect on high school and my faith with my peers and also get ready to live out what I’ve learned at Notre Dame,” said senior Rebecca DeBoer.

Lastly, College Counselor Becky Bain reads the questions to a few college students to answer. They talk about everything from roommates to time management to faith — and anything and everything in between.