Without a doubt, the Endeavor Together trip was the highlight of my first month as a freshman at Luther College. The program offered a camping trip for international students to get to know domestic students. This opportunity allowed me to connect with the people quite easily. Some of the closest friends I have right now I met through the program. One thing I always tell people about the trip was how selfless the classmates I met were. Being thousands of miles away from home didn't feel so bad when I was with them. This was one of my most memorable experiences at Luther so far.
This trip gave me a head start to making friends and becoming comfortable with the next chapter of my life. Camping with total strangers in the boundary waters for a week is a guaranteed way to make lifelong friends. The Boundary Waters have always held a special place in my heart, so I was delighted to hear that Luther offers a trip were I could share this special place with new people. I found out about the trip through my sister, who embarked on the college journey a few years before me. Through this experience, I formed unbreakable bonds with outstanding people who I know I will be friends with for the rest of my life.
Endeavor Together was a great opportunity to form deep, lasting connections with a small group of students before the intensity of meeting tons of people during orientation. The facilitated conversations and experiences helped students understand and explore who they are, who they want to be, and learn more about their new home of both Luther and Decorah. The program was great at easing people out of their comfort zones, whether it was meeting new people, camping, reflecting, or accidently tipping a canoe! Making friends, having fun together and sharing stories while experiencing the beauty of the Upper Iowa River was a fantastic way to launch my Luther experience. My Endeavor Together experience was incredibly impactful to me as I made the shift to college, and I look forward to being a leader with the program this year!
This program introduced me to a part of myself I wasn’t aware I was missing. I grew up in cities and never had the chance to explore nature and all that it encompasses. It was my first ‘real’ outdoor experience.
It might sound dramatic to say that the trip was life-changing but it truly was for me. It set up a foundation for me as I transitioned into college. It made me more willing to engage myself in things that scared me, or uninterested me. I made friends that I talk to everyday and met upperclassmen who helped guide me into my new life. I encourage every incoming first year student to participate in one of the trips.
I could not have prepared myself for Endeavor Together, but I would not have done it any other way. That’s the charm of the experience; no wi-fi, no laundry, just you, a bunch of other first-years, and summer in Decorah. It is led by the most enthusiastic group of people who leave a lasting impression of the student body at Luther and become familiar faces around the new campus. During Endeavor, I made forever friends in the dimly lit cabins and fell in love with the wild side of Decorah. One of my fondest memories is kayaking through the river, my first time paddling even though I come from the land of rivers. The sweet smell of the marsh grass and the currents splashing your face, as you race your group members. The hidden tree stump that catches your oar teaches you to slow down and embrace the fall in the fast streamlined lives we live, especially as college students. Reminding us that there are people who’ll appreciate you in your soaked shoes and will soak their own shoes to help flip your boat back upright. It is imperative you have a go, there’s nothing to lose not even your battery life!