Friday, July 1, 2016

Let's Get To Know Each Other

Feeling accomplished after completing all the readings and the social construction essay the night before, I woke up satisfied. The day of the challenge course was finally here. I went to the Buxton lounge to pick up tick repellent socks and then headed to the Ratty to have breakfast with my friends. 

Soon we boarded the buses to go to the challenge course area. Once there, we were greeted with the smiling faces of the faculty and Heather, the challenge coordinator. Heather informed us about the history of the location. The area was used by a few Native American tribes to collaborate. Several battles also took place on the very ground. However, it was mostly used for peace purposes. After several generations, the caretakers of the land gave the area to Brown so it could be used for academia.
The view in every direction I looked.
Simple gorgeous.
As an icebreaker, we played a game in which two ropes were placed in circles. The inner circle included comfort zones and tasks one could easily do. The middle circle involved tasks that were somewhat challenging. And the outer circle included tasks that were too difficult and completely out of one's comfort zone. Heather named various activities and we all moved where we felt comfortable. The activity was fun and interesting! 
Bubbly Ishani.
Posing with sweet Fern.
After the small orientation, we all separated into our small groups. My group was led my Christine and Nicole, a rising sophomore at Brown concentrating in public health. After a name game, we began the activities. 

In the first game, we all very told to stand on a medium sized mat and to make it upside down without stepping on the grass. It was truly a challenge. In the heat we were all standing very closely. There was a lot of confusion as well. While trying to make one side of the mat upside down, someone stepped on the grass. Because of that, we were penalized by making Lauran and me mute, since we were doing a lot of the talking in the beginning. The struggle continued anyhow. Although we weren't successful, we discussed how the game taught us to work with each other. 

We continued playing similar team bonding games, such as having small individual pipes and trying to connect them to make a ball travel to a pit. We did trust exercises in which we did several free falls and lifting people. Another group even lifted Tina! 

We soon had lunch and it was time to start the actual challenge course. The challenge had three activities in the woods. In the first activity, we all bad to balance a seesaw. In this game everyone's involvement was crucial. Christina and Nicole said that we were the fastest group to complete this activity. The next activity consisted of the rope challenge. There were two platforms on both sides of the hanging rope. We all had to get from one platform to the other while swinging on the rope with a cup of water in our hands. This was the most fun activity out of all of the activities, perhaps because there was more excitement and danger. Each platform was so crowded that we all had to hold on to each other so we wouldn't fall off and get penalized. While doing the activity, some of us spilled water on ourselves or the people helping us on. It was so much fun! 

In the last activity, we had three platforms and two long, thick sticks. We had to cross from the first platform to the third one by using the sticks. We couldn't let the sticks touch the ground or we would be penalized. At first we didn't know what to do since one stick was shorter than the other and both sticks were quite heavy. After a lot of confusion, we were able to figure out a plan and complete the tasks. 

Throughout the challenge course I had a lot of fun with everyone! I feel so much more closer to my friends. It was an amazing bonding experience. I learned so much about how to collaborate and work with others in a productive, calm manner.

Once we were back "home," I worked on my life map and readings. We all worked in my friend Sara's room. I went to sleep looking forward to an amazing, rejuvenating, long weekend. 
I couldn't convince everyone to smile for the picture.

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