Felice Mendez AAAS 003 August 25, 2012 Reaction Paper: Shaver’s Creek Retreat Moving into college early to interact with a group of diverse scholars from all over the country, and even other parts of the world, was intimidating to say the least. The idea of spending eight hours on a retreat with all of these different people added to my anxiety about the process, and I imagined a day filled with awkward small talk and uncomfortable silences. However, at the end of the retreat at Shaver’s Creek, it would be an understatement to say that I was pleasantly surprised by all of the interactions in which I was involved and my experience overall. The one activity that really started to ease my worries was the one in which we went around in a circle and simply shared our name and one word that described how we were feeling. It was during that exercise that I first started to get a feel for all of the different types of personalities by which I was surrounded, but also small things that made us all very similar. For example, many members of the circle shared that they were cold, tired, nervous or even homesick. Hearing that someone else was going through the same emotion as me made me appreciate that person and form a connection with them. Also during this activity, one student expressed that he was feeling “25 sitting on 25 mil”. This quote was absolutely hilarious and we all got to share a laugh. This brought us together and broke down some barriers, making us realize that no matter how many miles between hometowns or cultural differences separated us, the littlest thing could form a connection between each and every one of us. The largest and most perhaps most important commonality between each and every one of the Bunton-Waller and Lenfest scholars is our newly acquired membership to the powerful Penn State family. I think what impacted me the most about the retreat was the fact that all of the faculty’s words really reinforced that we have had the most amazing opportunity bestowed upon us; a free education at one of the best universities in the world and access to a remarkable amount of resources that will ensure our success in the professional world if we just take the time to take advantage of them. Although I was initially apprehensive about the all-day retreat required of me on my first full day in the college setting, all of my worries and negative feelings were obsolete as I boarded the bus to leave Shaver’s Creek. I have come away from this unique and special experience with the privilege of getting to know so many amazing people, and with a better appreciation for the gift I have been given in the form of an unbeatable education here at University Park. I am now so excited to take advantage of every social and academic experience here at Pennypacker Hall.