Thirty incoming students, along with four retreat leaders and OVM assistant director Mike Tishel, boarded a bus to the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in New Hampshire for an overnight retreat sponsored by the Office of Vocation & Ministry.
Arriving at the retreat house, the group took some time to explore the beautiful grounds, the woods, the open land and the lake that surrounds the campsite.
Later on, the group spent time getting to know one another through ice-breakers, name games and skits. New student Rachel Contos commented that soon “all were able to call each other by name! We bonded through laughter.”
The laughter continued into a fantastic campfire together, followed by a short compline service and discussion with Fr. Iakovos of Simonopetra. The night ended, and as incoming freshman James Balidis pointed out, we had “laughed, hugged, talked, sang and chanted together. It was a beautiful experience."
After a day of getting to know one another, the next day focused on getting to know oneself. Dean of Students Deacon Nicholas Belcher spoke to students about knowing and utilizing their individual strengths. This was followed by Mike Tishel’s discussion on an Orthodox Christian understanding of vocation. This truly seemed to bring students together even further; they recognized a common thread as they discussed their decision to attend Hellenic College, and what directions they hope to go following graduation.
Finally, class goals were established, and students learned about the resources that the OVM holds for them. At the end of the retreat, according to Christina Eliades, “We made new jokes and friendships. We have a lot of memories. Being stuck together for two days creates an instant family.”