“What has been one of your favorite things about Luther College” is a question I have been asked many times as a first-year student here at Luther. The first answer that comes to mind when asked this question is Endeavor Together. I will never regret the decision to come to campus a week early to spend five days camping and focusing on the importance of building community and self-efficacy, while also addressing goals related to diversity, inclusion, and equity at the Pine Bluff 4-H camp.
An Immersive First-Year Student Program
Like many first-year students coming to college, I was full of excitement and uncertainty. I didn't know what to expect or even the name of one person on campus. Because Endeavor Together is designed to bring first-year students from all around the world together, I was soon able to begin forming connections and friendships with fellow students before classes started.
Conversations and Perspectives
In just the five days spent at the Pine Bluff 4-H camp, I learned many valuable lessons. Sharing stories and discussing certain difficult topics with other group members soon became something I enjoyed and looked forward to. The conversations we had about our identity and belonging here at Luther showed me how many of us had both similar and different perspectives that allowed us to all live in community with one another.
Because Endeavor Together is a very immersive program, everyone on the trip left all electronics on campus in order to be fully present and in the moment. This ended up becoming one of my favorite aspects of the trip. Activities such as canoeing, hiking, ropes courses, and daily conversations were all activities that could have been documented through pictures, yet I look back and I am glad that those days were not documented through a phone screen. A picture can say a lot about a place or a memory, but rather than worrying about what type of photo I was going to take or how I could best document the moment, I am able to look back now and know I did everything I could to live and remember that experience.
I was fortunate enough to participate in two different Endeavor Together events in 2021. The Endeavor Together summer edition was five days long, as well as the Endeavor Together fall edition, which was one day. Both these experiences were full of many activities and they were also both full of adaptation. Like much of everyday life, things don't always go as planned. The summer edition of Endeavor together was full of rain… lots and lots of rain. That being said, that rain did not stop us from doing activities and having fun. Sure, there were times when we were about to go canoeing and had to come back, or cancel the ropes course for the day or skip out on a hike, but those activities we replaced with other ones that ended up creating the same amount of memories. Endeavor Together taught me that even though that fun activity you have planned might get canceled, you still have the opportunity to go out and try something new!
Growing through Shared Experiences
Endeavor Together not only helped me ease into the college experience, but it gave me the opportunity to meet and form connections with new people from all over the world. Most importantly, Endeavor Together allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Because of this, I recommend any and all Endeavor Together events to everyone. Whether it is a single day event or an overnight and multiple day event, the experiences and opportunities within each event is what makes Endeavor Together such a great program. Without doubt, I will always be able to say I started college with an incredibly impactful experience, and that is something I will always be grateful for.