The First Ever Half Time Retreat

The evening of Thursday, April 11th a group of 10 students gathered in the community room in Wolfington Hall to discuss a dilemma that a great deal of college student face which is what you want to pursue professionally in your time after college. It’s a loaded question that this retreat attempted to address in the span of 4 hours from 5pm to 9pm. The Career Development Center and Campus Ministry collaborated to make this evening retreat with professor Dr. Eric Patton who is the chair of the Management Department on campus. It was reassuring to hear that Dr. Patton as an undergraduate studied Finance but after getting his first job he felt unfulfilled so he went back to school and eventually got his PH.D in Management and is now the chair of the Management department.


Dr. Patton really stressed that he had no idea what he wanted to do when he was in college in his early 20s and that he did not feel truly happy with his employment until he was in his late 30’s.The attendees of this evening retreat created their own personal map for career exploration along with an action plan of how to achieve those goals by answering three questions:


  1. What brings you joy?

  2. What are you good at?

  3. What does the world need?


We answered all three of those questions and wrote down a “Wandering Map” of the places, things and moments that helped define us whether good or bad and drew maps of how these events can thread together or correlate. Then within the different things we wrote down, we identified basic categories that the things we like or that have impacted us fell in. For me, my categories were Food, Reading/Writing, Service, Leadership and Learning. Having to find categories within the things I wrote was really interesting to see what’s important to me and how I spend my time. Next, we identified themes and threads within those categories and what characteristics each of those activities required of us.


For that I wrote: Ambition, Empathy, Creativity, People Oriented/Communication. This deeper reflective practice helped me to discover what brings me joy and how I can bring that back to a career.


Students place a lot of pressure on themselves to know exactly what they want to do. But so much of finding your passions is unplanned and just happens. This evening retreat really helped me to find peace and comfort in where I am and where I want to go professionally. If this retreat is offered again, I would highly suggest it to students who feel they could use professional guidance. Or I would suggest completing the same exercise that I did during those 4 hours.