I had the opportunity to go on a Hiking Retreat to Lake Minawaska in New Paltz with Campus Ministry. The retreat was in a gorgeous setting, near the lake and through trails that overlooked the changing foliage of the forest. The hike allowed me to reflect on my time at Marist and gave me the opportunity to meet other students. I went with two friends, but during the retreat, I was able to talk with the other students from different grade levels and get to know them better. Just talking with someone new for a few minutes allowed me to make connections with them by finding out things we had in common.
We walked through gravel trails for about 8 miles, and stopped at Castle Point and other scenic areas to enjoy the view of the foliage and the water. After a while, my body got into a rhythm of walking and I became relaxed. We stopped at Echo Mountain, and all yelled “Marist!” at the same time to have it echo back to us. That was an exhilarating experience. I was able to get close to the rock edge, which was empowering. We also had to do a few moments of silence, which made me appreciate the present moment and take in the scenery.
The main purpose of the retreat was to get away from the stress of school work and reflect that along with the changing of the seasons, we also change as a person. I reflected during the retreat that I have become more independent since coming to Marist, and more outgoing. Not only have I grown within the classroom academically, but Marist has also taught me social skills through networking events and clubs to meet new people. I learned to appreciate nature and life during this retreat – I didn’t realize something so beautiful was that close to campus. This retreat was more than hiking, it was a learning experience. I would absolutely go to Lake Minawaska again, and I thank Campus Ministry for giving me the opportunity to go there.
—Gina Rose Sirico
Follow me @GinaRoseSirico