Confession: I am a retreat addict; just a complete retreat junkie. Ever since I went on a couple of retreats with my church in high school, I was hooked. And once I got to college and life got busier and busier, I realized that I consistently need time away!
As a college student, you have a lot of freedom with your schedule. By junior year as a music major, you can choose if you want to take all of your classes in the morning and be done with school by 10am each day, or you can choose to save your classes for the afternoon. The infamous three-hour night classes are also a great option for those who enjoy sleeping in and are busy during the day. I have indulged in all three types of class schedules throughout my time here, but no matter what time of day or how many gen. ed. (general education
) classes I have scheduled, I have always been super busy. This is because I have a tendency to fill up every hour in my day, all seven days of the week. Whether it's scheduling meals with friends, teaching lessons, doing homework, practicing, or working in the admissions office, I keep my schedule crammed. Don't get me wrong- I love all the things that I do and the way I have lived my life in college; but after having such long days every week, my mind, body, and soul are screaming for a break every month or so.
So that is why in the middle of the quarter and during the most bleak and cold month of winter, I was more than happy to drop everything for 24 hours and go on a retreat with InterVarsity
, the Christian group with which I am a leader. The retreat was open to all InterVarsity members and was held in a cottage in the suburbs. I had been to this cottage on another retreat (yes, ANOTHER...this may have been my third retreat of the school year...) in September, and there were a few things I was extremely looking forward to: the fireplace, the cozy and beautifully-decorated bedrooms, the peace and quiet away from the city, and the HOT TUB. Aside from greatly desiring time to pray, read my Bible, and just "be",...that hot tub was calling my name!
So on Friday night after all school obligations ceased, a group of 10 of us headed off to the cottage for our one-day retreat. Our group consisted of Cello Performance majors
, Theatre majors
, Art majors
, Health Science majors
, Business majors
, and Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies
majors. It was a great mixture of students from all years in college who all craved some peace, quiet, and rest.
Once we arrived to our temporary home, the majority of us spent the night warming up in the outdoor hot tub and then watching a movie. We then woke up early the next morning to start the day with meeting and hearing stories from much older DePaul alumni who were part of our same group when they were students at DePaul. It was a great time to reflect on both the issues and encouragement we have all encountered as DePaul students. After a wonderful, hearty breakfast, we headed off to my favorite part of the whole day: a two-hour retreat of silence.
I have actually never set aside time to have an extended time of silence, without talking, listening to music, or moving. I simply sat by the fireplace, read, and prayed. As someone who doesn't usually make a lot of time to be by myself to just think about everything that has been happening in my life, those two hours were precious to me! I went through the rest of the day feeling refreshed and very peaceful.
The time flew by after the study and dinner, and before I knew it, our large group was heading home, all bundled up to brave the windy city! And now, as another busy week starts, I am very grateful for that time away and for this group of which I take part.
For me, I was greatly interested in growing in my faith as a Christian when I entered college. I desired to learn what I believe and have my faith be genuine. And especially when life gets busy and stressful, I try to take time to continue to grow in those ways. I am very grateful that DePaul has given its support to an organization that can help me do that.
So no matter what you are looking for - whether you want to grow in what you already believe, explore new beliefs, or seek and grow in other areas of your life during college, DePaul can help you do that, if you take the time to look for and invest in the different groups and events on campus. And whether it is for spiritual reasons, or it is because you just desire emotional and physical rest, I highly recommend attending any sort of retreat DePaul offers!