Going into the DP Retreat, I didn’t really have any expectations. In the beginning, I honestly just thought that it would be another team building experience, and yes, it was, but it was more than that.
In those two days, I made more friends and built on my existing friendships. I particularly enjoyed the movie night on the first day, as I liked that we were exposed to a different way of learning TOK, which was through film (and the fact that there was popcorn didn’t hurt either). I also enjoyed that we were allowed to have free time – by this, I mean that we were allowed to have more time to interact with different people and develop friendships. I found myself opening up to some people and becoming closer to them, and also making some new friends, some of which were in my room.
Personally, I believe that rooming with people I wasn’t close with was challenging. I didn’t really know any of my roommates, and I was scared that I wouldn’t get along well with my roommates and wouldn’t know how to talk or what to talk about with them. However, on the night of the first day, I was more confident and decided to get to know people better and make more friends, and thus, I began to put more effort into communicating and interacting with my roommates and eventually surpassed the border of unfamiliarity.
I found the sessions we had on day 2 quite useful, as they allowed me to start thinking about my future and what I wanted to do. There was a good combination of fun activities and important information that allowed me to realise what I needed to do in order to achieve what I want in the future. The poetry workshop, the ‘failure’ workshop (Mr Smeed), and the ‘camping trip’ workshop were among my favourites as they allowed me to learn more about myself and my interests while thinking critically. Also, I enjoyed the TOK sessions about what I am and the world around me because it questioned almost everything I knew and allowed me to step back and take a clearer look at myself and my world.
Also, I really enjoyed the fact that there was a yoga session – it allowed me to think and digest what I learnt in the previous sessions more efficiently and cleared my head of all distractions and stress. The previous sessions were a bit content heavy and made my mind hurt and yoga was a good mindfulness activity that helped me keep my mind calm.
The DP Retreat was an unforgettable experience that made me more aware of myself and my world, and also the people around me. It made me check my privilege (i.e. poverty simulation). It made me more aware of what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, and that I have support around me. It also made me more aware that two years of the DP are ahead of me and that it will be tough, but will be worth it.