Creating Social Value Blog / Service in Action

“4U” Retreat– Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson

Unwind.                    Unpack.                        Understand.                 Unite.

As a senior at Babson College I try not to think about my regrets. I try to live in the present and look forward to the future, but regrets are unavoidable. My greatest regret is that I did not take advantage of everything Babson had to offer until late junior year. As a second semester junior I finally took it upon myself to participate in more than just classes and the CAP programs I volunteered for. I realized that this opened the doors to meet incredible people and learn about the work they were doing. This transformation culminated during my first semester senior year at the “4U” Retreat.

Lead by Denning and four student leaders we were guided through the process of unwinding, unpacking, understanding, and uniting. The retreat consisted of testimonials from the student leaders, journaling, small group discussions, and various teamwork/ trust activities. Looking back, there are two clear highlights from the retreat. These highlights were the small group discussions and the “How are you?” activity. These activities provided everyone with the chance to get to know each other on more than just a superficial “ice-breaker” type level. My small group leaders were Antoinette and Dineth. They encouraged participation and allowed the freedom to express thoughts and feelings without the fear of judgment. I was able to see Babson through the eyes of other students, which allowed me to put my own experiences into perspective.

We were placed into pairs for the “How are you?” activity, giving us the chance to really get to know one specific person that was on the retreat with us. For this activity I was paired with Hannah, a woman I had often seen around campus. We had mutual friends, were in an organization together, but I had never engaged in an actual conversation with her. I could not be more thankful for this pairing. It is through this conversation that I met a really amazing new friend. The activity was simple; we asked each other “How are you?” a phrase that is often insincere and carries little meaning.  There was one rule— no interrupting. This allowed the other person to fully express themself, I was able to unload everything on Hannah, and she was able to do the same with me. It provided a sense of relief that I had not felt in a while, and allowed me to put down some of my barriers.

This retreat was one of my favorite Babson experiences. It gave me a chance to step away from the activities I am involved in and actually reflect on them. It is necessary to allow time to reflect on our daily lives in order to evaluate the decisions we make. I was able to understand my experiences at a deeper level and take the time to relax and simply appreciate the time that I have spent at Babson.

— Kate Anderson, Class of 2013