Get Clued In 2018
Debut of freshman retreat is, surprisingly, a real treat
On the final Friday before the start of Spring Semester, instead of pulling a gaming all-nighter, going wild with a last-day-of-IAP party or mourning the death of our beloved Star Market, 15 freshmen ventured out from the safety of their dorms to embark upon a journey of friendship and self-discovery.
Well, at least, that’s how it was advertised. No one really knew what to expect — this was the first “Get Clued In” Retreat ever, and it was only a day long. Were we going to have to do some physical challenges? Some cringe-y self-reflection exercises? Was everyone going to be really awkward? Even worse: would everyone already know each other, leaving me out? These were the worries racing through my brain as I hesitantly stepped on the chartered bus at 4:30 p.m. (quickly devouring a Tofutti cone I had snatched from the weak, terminally ill hands of Star Market).
24 hours later, on the bus ride coming back, I was surprised by how much I had enjoyed Get Clued In. As a non-American, I had always thought of a retreat as being stuck in a cabin in the woods and forced to do trust falls with strangers. (I was only slightly disappointed that Get Clued In was not like that.) Let me just say we were living the dream, with our single rooms that were fully equipped with double beds and ensuite bathrooms. And the foooood. We were kept constantly stuffed with dessert and snack breaks, not to mention the three main meals! But anyway, back to the important stuff: Reflection.
There were definitely some sessions that I liked more than others, such as one on hearing personal anecdotes from MIT staff or a session on identifying your own core values (i.e. ones with multiple choice answers and a lot of direction because no one likes open-ended reflection). However, I was happy that all the sessions were short enough that nothing got boring or felt tedious. Overall, I think the varied, well-guided, short activities were actually quite useful in thinking about my experience of the previous semester and setting new goals for myself. And this is from a person who normally thinks reflection is a bunch of profound-sounding nonsense! I even listened to some advice from the MacGregor Area Director, and purchased a (cute, yoga-cat themed) calendar — no more midterms creeping up on this gal.
However, my favorite part of the 24 hours was meeting some new frosh. Considering the low sample size, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people I connected with, and I immensely enjoyed solving puzzles, playing giant Jenga and (briefly) getting lost in woods with them! I guess everything seems better when you win the puzzle hunt...
The moral of the story? A very cliché “say yes” to more random, spontaneous experiences. There are a lot of opportunities at MIT to take advantage of! And, on the off chance that you’re a pre-frosh, definitely consider signing up for Get Clued In 2019. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, but if worst comes to worst, at least it’s free food.