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A Re(treat) for the Weekend: Warm Fuzzy Feelings

The first night of the OIIL Retreat was filled with bonfires, fun reflective activities, and overcoming personal challenges in a different environment. Now, for the next part!

The first night of the OIIL Retreat was filled with bonfires, fun reflective activities, and overcoming personal challenges in a different environment. Now, for the next part!

[Continued from a previous post…]

The next day, I woke up energized to get going. We had a nice filling breakfast of waffles, and I even sneaked a refreshing walk down by the big lake next to the campsite.

We came together once again, and this time when I looked at the faces of people around me I did not feel a sense of separation or nervousness due to differences anymore, I felt excited to get to know these people around me through the activities ahead. I want to tell you about my two favorite ones!

1. Privilege Beads

Here, we were in a room with four different stations (tables) with paper, strings, and a few cups of beads. We went around reading different statements about privileges on the table and, for those that applied, we popped a bead onto our strings.

By the end, everyone had different lengths of beads, and we shared what we thought about that. I felt like the most important takeaway for me from this activity is that growing up in different places, with different values, we consider privilege differently. And according to that, we actually felt like the beads don’t hold that much judgment of privileges, but more of a way to remind us of somethings that we are lucky to have and should simply be grateful for!

2. Tap Gratitude

I loved this one! and I’m sure a lot of people did too.

We sat in a circle facing outwards. In randomness, a few people were tapped to get up and come to the circle. Someone started reading statements out.

“Tap someone sitting around the circle who is a good friend to you.”

“Tape someone who you think has good leadership skills.”

“Tap someone who you trust.”

Personally, I did not expect a breakthrough or thought-provoking moments, but yet there I was, feeling the warm taps. I admit it was very spoiling, haha, but at the same time, I got to reflect on myself as a person and as a member of this community, how my actions impact my peers!


I came into the retreat with no expectations, I left with a newfound consciousness of my insecurities, confidence to interact better and more frequently with various people from different backgrounds, and, furthermore, refreshed and excited to get back on campus to my classes and activities.

Even though we had limited time together, the fact that we were not on campus helped me gain a different and outside perspective towards my Carleton experience. It helped me to think about what kind of experience I want at Carleton. Is it one filled with academics? Outdoor activities? Research? Or all and more?

It also re-energized me to create further meaningful bonds with people I often see around the campus but haven’t had the chance to get to know.

The OIIL retreat gave me a different angle to look and acknowledge that the experience I have on campus is more than just activities and academics. It’s a depiction and opportunity and space for me to test, fail, and grow as the person that I want to become, and how I can influence other people positively.

Well, all I can say is, I’m currently into my week 3 and I’m grasping the reins of my Carleton college experience much better than I expected. I am more determined and more aware of my experiences.

So keep a lookout for these awesome retreats and activities that are endless at Carleton.

Until next time!


Lita hails all the way from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When not riding horses, petting them, or sketching a picture of them, she blogs her philosophical brain dumps on Medium. Other than that, Lita is passionate about social impact startups and edu-tech. She plans on majoring in Computer Science, but who knows, she could simply switch to Studio Art and spend her days drawing horses. Hey, that’s why we’re at Carleton, am I right? Meet the other bloggers!

a lake
two girls holding a letter
Three girls taking a photo
5 people taking a selfie