Fall Retreat 2019October 09, 2019
Fall retreat is one of my favorite parts of being a Pamplin Fellow: it’s a time to catch up with old friends after a long summer, relax, go on adventures, and of course, meet the new fellows! Having served on the selection committee for two years, retreat is nice because we get to meet the new fellows in a much more casual and less intimidating context.
This year we stayed in a cabin in Government Camp. We left campus on Friday afternoon and arrived early in the evening to cook dinner and bake cookies and bread together. On Saturday morning, we woke up to the sight of snow falling outside our windows and icicles on the roof of the house next door. After a bagel breakfast, we set off on a three-mile hike through the snow from our house to Timberline Lodge. Pamplin Professors Art and Dave were our fearless leaders, scurrying ahead of the group to find the trail in the heavy snow. It was a difficult hike for me, but the snow-covered trees and the camaraderie made it worth the while! When we returned back to our cabin, we all settled down to do homework. Charlotte and I took a study break with Talia to learn how to make macrame wall hangings with sticks we found outside. After a homemade dinner and 25th anniversary cake, we spent the dinner playing games and sharing secrets and embarrassing stories from second grade.
I’m grateful that my last retreat was such a good one. It was so refreshing to see the excitement of the sophomores throughout the trip, and it makes me remember how special my first Pamplin retreat was two years ago. The enthusiasm the sophomores and juniors have makes me excited for the future of the society. We had a few conversations about the society and what it means to us. For some fellows, it’s a network of dedicated scholars that come together to do projects like Teacher of the Year, DVS, or various service projects. For other fellows, the fellowship is less about the network and more about the freedom to pursue academics and projects because the financial burden of college has been eliminated. Either way, I’m grateful that the society has given me such a great retreat experience to start my senior year.