Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

It’s not every day someone can say one single Friday night left them a changed woman, but that unexpected notion found its way to me.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend an overnight at Mt. Irenaeus, St. Bonaventure’s own personal mountain retreat location.

It was a Women’s Overnight, which basically had Audney written all over it. Only one issue, I had practically no idea who was going to be there. One thing about me is, despite my sociable front, I am incredibly introverted and fearful of meeting new people. New experiences for me are a big deal, since it means I am forced to leave my comfort zone. This overnight would be a huge leap because it would be my first time blindly signing up for something, having no idea what was going to happen or who would be there.

I was scared but so excited that I forced myself to be there for the departure. In the few moments before we left, I could feel that awful tingly trying not to cry feeling, and my stomach was in knots. It felt like being dropped off by my mom as a child and desperately wanting her to turn around and come back. It was a lonely, scary feeling that almost had me retreating in a completely different way, as in retreating back to my dorm. However, I had this gut feeling that I had to dive headfirst into this feeling. So I did.

As soon as I arrived to the mountain, I felt instantly welcomed and knew that everything was going to be okay. It had this immediate welcoming vibe, and I was greeted as though I had been there hundreds of times before.

Remember that gut feeling I had earlier? The self urging to dive in headfirst? I didn’t know how prevalent that concept would be for me in that moment, but once I experienced my first mountain evening chapel, it was clear that feeling was alluding to something so special.

For the first time in the longest time, I was brought to such a peace that it felt bone chilling. It was a kind of feeling that I just wanted to shout to the world about, to run home and tell my family about its beauty and ultimately to rave about the peace I had been unknowingly craving for years.

We talked about a beautiful Proverb, which introduced the idea of “Laughing without fear of the future”. It all sank in so suddenly at that moment. I had almost let fear of the future stop me from going there, and finding such a fear-diminishing peace.

I was able to open up in ways I never had before, further leaping out of my comfort zone. It was an environment where conversation was MEANT to be had, and everyone was MADE to be accepted and loved. I can’t even describe the feeling of being able to be united in such strength-filled womanhood and open up my heart to others who were doing the exact same.

Womanhood is such a beautiful thing but is never easy. When we can learn to laugh without fear of the future, the result is such an amazing thing. It’s just how I felt in the chapel, stilled to the point I could feel it in the depths of my soul.

I am amazed at the work that overnight did within me and wish for everyone to experience such beautiful tranquility.

From that moment onward, I have been trying to laugh, and ultimately live, without fear of the future. I hope it is something you girlies can achieve, since it has been so profound for me.

Take this as your sign to make that jump, and do the thing you are hesitant to do. Open your heart, learn to laugh at yourself and your sometimes silly (but still valid) fears and try something new.

I certainly did, and now I have new sisters, a new safe space and a mountain-oriented future I can’t wait to explore!

Audney Burnside is a new writer for the St. Bonaventure Her Campus chapter. She publishes articles weekly, spanning the topics of music, lifestyle and popular culture. She hopes to further the amazing creativity that her chapter of Her Campus has to share with the world. Audney is currently a freshman at St. Bonaventure University, studying Public Health in the 3+2 Occupational Therapy Master's program. A new college student, as well as a new member of Her Campus, Audney brings her history of involvement in many programs at her high school, Le Roy Jr/Sr High School. She was the project manager of her chapter of the National Honor society, had the opportunity to write a couple of pieces for the local paper, served her community habitually as a member of her towns Rotary InterACT, and led a team in Scholastic Bowl. As well as Her Campus, Audney is a member of SBU’s honors program, SBU for Equality, and Bona Buddies. Apart from academics, Audney’s life revolves around the music she loves, outdoorsy adventures, and her best friends. Audney is a devoted cat mom and enthusiastic nature explorer, who loves kayaking with her family, takes way too much pride in her recent Taylor Swift concert attendance, and will bring up The Catcher in the Rye at any moment possible.