Kean University has a General Education class that all freshmen are required to take: T2K or Transition To Kean. However, the T2K Bronze Leadership program is where only selected freshmen that applied, are accepted. In this program, we will be required to demonstrate leadership qualities and volunteer in community service events. In addition to this, all accepted new members are invited yet required to attend a three-day, two-night retreat on the Kean University campus in the residence halls. The retreat gives it's participants the opportunity to learn about their skills and abilities, as well as meet other T2K Bronze students prior to the start of the fall semester.
Friday, August 13th, 2016
The first day started with an angry sun shining unapologetically down on all under it. We, the new members of the program, rushed to get our over night possessions into the yellow rolling bins, provided by the school, and get to the New Freshmen Building. Once inside, we were greeted by a cooling breeze from the air conditioning and the friendly smiles of the Mentors of the program. After signing in, those of whom did not already have a Kean ID card, were given a guest card, but we all were given a specific room key. In the next room, we met the Gems (General Education Mentors) for our T2k class. Even though we were only staying on campus for a few days, I had packed clothes and snacks to last me a week (because a girls' gotta eat and look good!). When all of our things were packed, some of us met up in the lounges found on each floor (Girls on the fifth floor, boys on the fourth). We all got in a circle and said our names, where we are from, and our majors. Next up came a delicious dinner that we all had together, guys and gals, new members and returning mentors. Once our belies were full and our minds even more curious about the next event, we move to a new room to get to know each other better.
We all participated in the best ice breaker ever: Cool Winds Are Blowing (Perfect name since outside was extremely hot). We all sat in chairs in a circle and if you were in the middle you had to say your name, your major and for example say, "Cool Winds Are Blowing... if you are going to be a freshman at Kean in the fall". If that applied to you, you had to get out of your seat and find a new one before they all were taken. Once we were all out of breath from sprinting across the room, it was time for the next activity. In order of the circle, we all got up and said what we possessed that meant a lot to us. Some of us had really personal and emotional possessions, but it gave us all a chance to let our guards down and help us all get to know each other. Later on that night we had some very helpful peer-to-peer and an intense game of volleyball.
The second day started bright and early with breakfast and a bus ride to Stoney Acres in Pennsylvania. There we participated in activities to get to know each other better and trust exercises. Then we were broken up into our fruit groups (I was in Kiwi yaaay!). From there we went t different stations were we learned to work together as a team and put our egos and differences aside. Then it was back to campus to wash the smell of forest off of us and get ready for the retreat Dinner/Dance/Karaoke party. This was a chance for us all to let loose, eat good food, and end our last night with a bang.
The last day came to a bittersweet day. What was only three days seemed to last forever. The people that I had never known before Friday had become some of the best people I've ever known so quickly. However, the activities for the last day had us all moving and working hard together. We were yetv again put into groups and set off on a scavenger hunt around the main Kean campus. We all had to stick together and be respnsibly for a puzzle peice. Why a puzzle pice? Some said it was to symbolize the fact that we are all indiviuals in college, but in the end we all came together as a whole. Others said that the piece respresented stcking together, becasue if we did not cross the finish lie with our peice, our efforts didn't count. Through this whole expericne, the most important thing that I leanred, was that no matter how strong or smart or inovative yiou think you are, life always shows you how much you will need to trust others to make it through. So to all the mentors and the Gems from the program, I thank you for showing me a new part of myself. To all of my fellow Bronzers, I cannot wait to get to know you all alot more over the next four years!!