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Sophomore class enjoys time off campus at yearly retreat

Every college student has a similar dilemma. We all wonder, What should I do with my life? Who am I, really? What should I major in? Do I really want to do that for the rest of my life? These questions may seem even more pronounced in the sophomore year. This past weekend, the sophomore retreat looked to answer these questions.

Each year, The College of Wooster sponsors the Sophomore Retreat for second-year students. This retreat helps students focus their ambitions, relax and come to terms with some of these difficult issues.

In the afternoon last Saturday, members of the class of 2012 and select faculty members loaded onto buses to drive to Mohican Resort in Perrysville, Ohio. They arrived during the day at the scenic River Valley Resort and Conference Center. The students spent the weekend there to learn more about themselves and their futures. Throughout their time at Mohican, the students had many activities to occupy and stimulate their minds.

After some opening remarks on Saturday evening, the students participated in some icebreakers and team-building activities. Then they focused on their Meyers-Briggs personality test (the survey students take at the beginning of their first year to determine roommate compatibility). They analyzed their personality type in relation to choosing their majors and planning their life paths. Later, David Small í11 and Eva Hendrix-Shovlin í11, two upperclassmen, told about their academic paths so far in college.

Then the students learned about what many Wooster students go on to do after their undergraduate studies. Late Saturday night, the students had a campfire outside with marshmallows and símores.

On Sunday morning, they had an opportunity for some recreation. To unwind and work out the kinks of their long Saturday, the students did water aerobics, yoga, went on a birdwatching walk or found jogging trails. Later in the day, they explored the ìspeed dating” tables, which provided information about different resources here on campus. Some of these included academic programs, clubs, religious organizations, the Wellness Center and the career planning service.

Next, the discussions focused on the questions of identity, goals and obstacles. Small groups reflected on their futures and the ways in which they can plan them more effectively.

Before the retreat, the staff and faculty were asked to think about how they planned their academic lives and career paths. On Sunday afternoon, they told their stories to the students. To their surprise, the students found that their mentors were actually students at one time too. Some of them entered college as biology majors and then switched to philosophy. Others shirked homework assignments. One even followed his girlfriend across the world on a trip abroad.

Overall, the Sophomore Retreatís purpose is to help the sophomore class and put them at ease about their futures, however vague they may be. Some of the discussions focused around taking academic risks. Students were urged to try a new language, investigate new subjects and explore their interests, no matter how far-fetched.

In addition, the students learned about prioritizing their assignments and keeping up with academic demands. They also learned about focusing their efforts in order to accomplish their goals.

Many students found this retreat quite helpful. They had the opportunity to speak with their professors in a non-academic setting and speak with people outside of their usual departments. Students also enjoyed the change of scenery and beautiful surroundings of Mohican Resort. In the chaos of the academic year, the Sophomore Retreat provided a grounding escape from stress and anxiety.

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