Hey guys! My name is David Matthews, and I am a freshman from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in Public Administration with a minor in Economics. Becoming a Freshman Blogger is one of the many ways I am stepping out of my comfort zone this year. I have never been keen on the idea of writing, but I am excited for what the year has to offer. I can’t wait to contribute a unique perspective and lead others to love Samford University just as much as I do!
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Office of Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat. Freshman Retreat was not only a great opportunity to relax with my friends after a long and stressful first week of school, but also an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God around fellow believers.
What I thought was a weekend of me hanging out with many of the people I had already met and come to enjoy being around quickly turned into an opportunity to meet even more incoming freshman. Many of these people were guys who lived a couple doors down from me who I hadn’t met yet. After spending a couple of hours together worshipping, hiking, playing basketball, and other activities, they became my new friends.
I remember going on a hike with a couple people I had just met in our group. What originally began as a quiet conversation quickly turned into my new friends and I loudly yelling and shouting at each other while hiking through the woods enjoying God’s marvelous work. At that moment I knew I had found an amazing group of friends, and for the rest of the retreat we were an inseparable group.
Our upperclassmen leaders did an amazing job sparking and leading discussions by being vulnerable and open about their first year of college. They spoke about the many trials they went through that soon might become a reality for us freshman. This was a great opportunity for me to start preparing for my freshman year, which I’d previously tried not to think about.
Freshman Retreat provided me with an opportunity to face my fears with people who were in the exact same situation as me. We realized we were all vulnerable as for most of us it was our first time being away from home for an extended period of time without our family. We quickly became not just a friend group, but a support system as we began to depend on each other.
One of the most impactful moments for me was watching a student repeatedly launching people on the blob in the lake. He demonstrated to me a true model of having a servant’s heart. His repeated selfness as he continually walked up the steps to launch students exhibited to me what everyone always told me was the best part about Samford: The people.
Whether it is going on a relaxing hike, playing basketball, taking pictures, looking at the waterfall, or lake activities, freshman retreat definitely has something for you. My favorite memory was bonding with nine other guys in our cabin late at night while listening to music. It was astounding to me how quickly we became so close to each other.
The first week of freshman year is obviously a life-changing and daunting task, but freshman retreat helped to relieve some of the stress as I developed bonds that I am sure will last throughout the duration of my college experience.