Excitement and anxiety are at the forefront of the emotional spectrum as students enter their freshman and senior years of college. Park retreats at the start of each of these years afford scholars the perspective to reflect on where they’ve been and make preparations for the next steps. Location plays a key role: the natural beauty of each retreat’s setting creates a space for contemplation and relationship-building without the distractions of everyday campus life.
The Class of 2022’s Freshman Retreat was held August 15-17 in Black Mountain, N.C. The scholars became acquainted with one another, their Park Scholar facilitators, faculty, and staff through a series of team-building activities. Park Faculty Scholars Steve Greene and Lisa Parks integrated Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert Frank to inform discussions during the Class of 2022’s Freshman Retreat and the students’ yearlong seminar.
Ten seniors served as facilitators for the Class of 2022 Freshman Retreat. They led icebreakers, answered questions, and took part in a high ropes course and low ropes team-building activities alongside the freshmen. Most significantly, they helped the new Park Scholars translate lessons learned throughout the retreat into methods for managing the challenges they could expect to encounter during their first year in college.
The Class of 2019 traveled to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park from August 30-September 3 for the Senior Retreat. Members of the class’ retreat planning committee led their peers through discussions and activities designed to address the past, present, and future. The Senior Retreat is a time for scholars to reconnect as a class and reflect on their past three years at NC State and, through small and large group discussions, they also consider how they will continue to cultivate their relationships with one another and with the Park Scholarships program in the years ahead.
This year, three Park alumni – Taylor Adams ‘09, Dan Malechuk ‘03, and Luke Perkins ‘14 – joined the Class of 2019 for their Senior Retreat. The seniors bonded and networked with these alumni during structured panel sessions as well as informally, while whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and hiking.