Freshman Escape Retreat leads to spiritual growth, connects students

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This year's Freshman Retreat was held at T Bar M Resort in New Braunfels, Texas. 

For the students who attended the Freshman Escape Retreat this past weekend, it was a time for self-reflection, spiritual growth and newly formed friendships.  

The retreat was held at T Bar M Resort in New Braunfels, Texas. Approximately 40 freshmen attended and the group was led by upperclassmen, many of whom attended the retreat themselves when they were freshmen. 

The retreat kicked off with an event called “connection” that was meant to break the ice between unfamiliar faces. In it, participants expressed their passions for random things such as hedgehogs, dancing and mashed potatoes. When two students had similar interests, they would throw up their arms, yell “connection” and race to interlock arms with the other person.

On day one of the retreat, many students were apprehensive about being surrounded by strangers for the weekend. However, by Saturday evening, the group interacted as if they had all been friends for years. 

The leaders of the retreat gave talks each night, with topics ranging from making connections at school to learning how to rely on oneself rather than on others. Each talk was followed by time for individual reflection and discussion in small groups. 

Each small group, led by an upperclassmen, was required to perform a skit in front of the rest of the retreat, an activity which gave freshman students a chance to demonstrate their comedic skills.

Some of the memorable impersonation skits included a promiscuous, mildly inappropriate Chewbacca and a Buzz Lightyear. 

 “[The retreat] was definitely what I needed after being stressed out about school for the past few weeks,” freshman Kayla Hinojosa said. She described her experience at the retreat as relaxed yet energizing. 

Hinojosa also said that the she experienced development in her own faith over the weekend and that she thought other students did as well.

Although the retreat was not centered around religion, group leaders often allowed for self-reflections to be shared by students during the prayers.