Senior Retreat Surprises Participant

Abby Almonte, Staff Writer

Every Notre Dame Academy senior is required to attend one retreat his or her senior year. Out of five dates to choose from, seniors are encouraged to sign up with friends.

Through personal reflection, group discussion and group activities, students build relationships within the NDA community which provides each individual an appropriate challenge toward personal spiritual growth.

Retreats are to “relax and have fun, meet and grow with classmates, share and grow in your faith, explore and reflect your teen years, and come to know yourself and God better,” according to the NDA campus ministry website.

Going in, you do not really know what to expect. I was most eager to go and spend a day with my friends instead of going to school. To my surprise, I walked into a welcoming atmosphere surrounded by my friends and caring advisers.

We were not told what was going to go on during the retreat. Also being told that the retreat was mandatory, it gave off an almost negative connotation. All we had to do was get a permission slip signed.

I do not want to give much away, but I will say that the mood from the setting of St. Norbert College’s campus is one to look forward to. A bit of advice – which really is not necessary – is to not put up walls.

It’s your last year of high school and you pretty much know who you like and who you do not like, but one of the key points of this retreat is that you may not see most of your classmates again. That being said, just be you and live out the day with an open mind.

Most of the time we’re afraid to open up because we think we will be rejected or ignored. I can tell you that if you set the vibe that you are willing to listen, others will follow.

The key point or question of the retreat is “What will I take with me?” While the retreat focuses a lot on the future, it equally looks at reflecting on our past high school experience. That might not be something some like to do, but trust me, it was worthwhile.

A question brought up is “What will you take with you after high school?” Common responses were things like faith or one of Notre Dame’s core values. Whether you want to share what you’re actually thinking or not, it’s an important question to ask yourself as you make your transition after high school.

Something to ask yourself should also be what will you leave behind after high school. Sometimes, as you will learn, it’s good to drop old habits and pick up new ones, and do not be afraid to make mistakes–learn from them.

Looking towards college, you’re going to get the tireless question your family and friends have asked: where you will be going to college and what you will be studying, so be prepared.

Being on the St. Norbert College campus, we also had the helpful opportunity to sit down with a panel of college students who answered some questions about what college life was life: things we worry about like roommate situations and getting advice on how to study and manage free time.

Personally, my favorite part was receiving my letter that I wrote at my freshman retreat. When I wrote the letter I obviously did not know what life was going to be like, so I asked myself a lot of questions. Of course I didn’t know what those answers would be, but otherwise I am shocked at how much can change in four years and I am happy with what has stayed the same.