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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Faas

Burnt out? Try going outside

Natalie Faas, News editor

How the leadership retreat helped me with my burnout

As the bus raced through country roads with hills covered in breathtaking trees, I took a deep breath. It smelled truly like fall — leaves and chimney smoke mixed with that crisp fall breeze as we headed to Beaver Hollow Retreat Center.

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be an attendee at the fall leadership retreat, sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development. I wanted to attend this retreat since I first heard it was happening. Little did I know that it would be exactly what I needed.

The middle of the semester has always caused me a little bit of stress, but this year it was amplified. Coming off of the break, I wasn’t chomping on the bit to get back to school like I usually am. I wanted to stay at home with my family and my brother’s puppy, Daisy. I missed my life at home a little too much and the lack of responsibilities that come with that.

I came back to school and pushed through the short week knowing that I would be spending some much needed time away from campus. Friday finally rolled around and I was beyond excited. We all got on the bus and faced our first leadership challenge. There weren’t enough seats for everyone to sit alone. I quickly spotted my friend Elliot and he and I sat next to each other for the quick 40-minute ride to Java, NY.

Everyone quickly bonded over making fun of the bus driver’s insanely loud music and a group of us bickered as we played Crazy 8’s on our phones. We arrived at Beaver Hollow and were immediately greeted by the stunning trees — our welcome committee consisted of Jason Francey and a huge flock of geese.

We got all checked in and my roommate Amy and I headed to our room. We were slightly discouraged that we had been put in “trailside” instead of “lakeside” but were met with a pleasant surprise when we realized we could see the lake from our room. Turns out, the “lakeside” people couldn’t see the lake!

After a quick name game and yummy dinner in the lodge, we were off to explore. We ended our night with a chaotic game of indoor pool basketball that left us all bruised and with little voice left.

Saturday morning, I made the promise to myself that I would wake up and see the sunrise. I knew that in order to get out of this funk I had been in, something needed to change. I rarely see the sunrise since I am such a night owl, so I knew this would be the perfect chance to push myself. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Michaela and I sat on a bench swing next to the lake and watched as the sun burned above the trees. It was gorgeous, at times the lake looked like it was glittering.

The rest of that day was filled with fun team-building activities and eye opening sessions that caused me to rethink how I view my own leadership style. I won’t spoil what we did but I will say, after Saturday, we were all pretty tired. We decided that a nice night in the hot tub may be a good way to relax… about 15 minutes in we were tackling each other in pool basketball. This round included me being elbowed in the back and hit full force in the face with the basketball. To say the least, I slept like a rock — waking up on Sunday wasn’t very easy.

Sunday morning we woke up and had breakfast and two more sessions before lunch. After lunch, Gabby, Amy, Lucy and I took a fun hike around the grounds before it was time to get back on the bus and come back to campus.

While I am not one hundred percent sure this retreat cured my burn out, I do know that it gave me many new friends and an excellent chance to relax and reflect.

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