This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being a senior retreat leader at the annual senior retreat. In the months leading up to this retreat, the team and I worked together to create an experience that seniors from all over Fairfield could never forget, and I think we did just that.
The weekend was filled with inspirational talks, following themes centered around compassion and joy, which were the focus throughout the retreat. I had the honor to speak to my 30-odd classmates about gratitude, and how it has played an important role not only in my college experience but my life in general.
We also heard wonderful heartwarming stories from Liz Ricker ‘22, Jack Kelly ‘22, Christina Cardona ‘22, Nicole Dana ‘22 and Gabby Persechino ‘22. These leaders alongside myself made everyone in the room feel the positive energy that we all need going into the last few months of our undergraduate time here at Fairfield. Through the smiles and tears throughout the retreat, we found joy and compassion as underlying themes present with every moment.
Through much reflection and open dialogue about our time here at Fairfield, and of course, the future that is getting closer and closer, it made me realize how important it is to take this time to reflect. This being my first retreat here at campus turned my whole perspective around to realizing that going on these retreats is crucial. Even if you do not find yourself aligning with some of the religious values expressed there, the reflection and experience overall make every second worth it.
Marc Alibrandi, campus minister for spiritual programs, expressed to us how this is one of his favorite retreats as he had the wonderful opportunity to watch the Class of 2022 grow since he started at the University four years ago. Throughout the retreat, Marc reminded us how time is winding down, and to cherish these last few months.
He provided wonderful insight on how to find happiness and comfort in the process, and to not be intimidated by the idea that “the end is approaching”. After all, he reminded us that Commencement is a new beginning, not an end.
Although the entire retreat was only slightly more than 24 hours, it was an incredible 24 hours filled with laughter, reflection, appreciation and warmth.
Now it may seem biased, that as one of the retreat leaders I am expressing the importance of the retreat, but as mentioned before, this was my first retreat, and it made me wish I went on more retreats during my time here at Fairfield.
It is often difficult to ignore the stress and anxiety that being a second-semester senior can cause, but this retreat was a perfect way to get a breath of fresh air and be grateful for the time we have had here. Many of the seniors on the retreat spoke of their anxiety for the future, whether it be in regard to relationships, career paths or even where to go next, and Marc had just the way to ease some of these nerves. Joining us on the retreat were Paul Hovey and Margaret Morrell ‘20 from the Office of Admissions, along with alumna Hanna Meegan ‘20.
These amazing individuals took time to share their experiences with graduation, time freshly after college and many of the challenges or stressors associated with this transition period. I found it very reassuring to hear from people who not only are not that far off from where we are, but individuals who shared similar experiences regarding employment, college time, and graduation during the pandemic.
It made me feel like if the Class of 2020 could handle such a hard transition, then the class of 2022 certainly can, considering how things have gotten somewhat better in the past two years.
The entire retreat felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I feel like I can say that for many of my classmates as well. The senior retreat certainly provided some positive outlook and inspiration for us seniors to be excited about the future, and be grateful for our time here at Fairfield.
I strongly recommend that if you have the opportunity, go on at least one retreat during your time here at Fairfield, even if it only ends up being the senior retreat. There is something truly special about the retreats offered here at the University.