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An Awesome Way to Relax After Finals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stony Brook chapter.

With finals here, most people are probably trying to distract themselves with happier thoughts— perhaps what they might be doing after finals are over. I think that’s a great way to remind ourselves of something we have to look forward to … but what, if anything, are we doing for the upcoming summer?

Sure, lots of us probably have plans to travel or vacation somewhere, while others of us may have secured internships or jobs, which is awesome. But what if I told you about another great opportunity that takes place right after finals week— something that will be both relaxing and fulfilling spent in the good company of others in upstate New York?

Allow me to introduce you to Basileia, an annual retreat hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF; an organization that has established chapters in colleges and universities nationwide, which I am part of here at Stony Brook).

Basileia, Greek for “kingdom,” is a five-day retreat held at Saranac Lake, this year from May 19-24th, during which students from various colleges in the Northeast region gather to fellowship with one another and learn more about God together. According to InterVarsity’s website, Basileia is a time in which we as students can “deepen our knowledge of Jesus Christ as King and improve our capacity to be his ambassadors.” For all, Basileia is a time for worshiping God, studying Scripture, deepening your vision, and strengthening your faith.”  

During this five day period, students are placed into groups, or different “tracks” that they’ve signed up for. In these tracks, they are then separated into small groups led by leaders who facilitate discussion about certain topics, which depend on the given track. Students definitely have a lot to say during these discussions, especially because many of the questions are so thought-provoking and oftentimes personal.

When it’s not track time, students are given free reign over the outdoors— think canoeing and kayaking in the lake, parasailing, (fake) beach volleyball, basketball, and even Frisbee golf. During mealtimes, students from all the different colleges gather together in a huge dining hall to enjoy good food and each other’s company. And— one of my personal favorite parts— at night, some of us troop down to the lakeside “beach” and, either lying on hammocks or sitting on the cool sand, we gaze up at the sky and its eternity of stars … more stars than you could ever see anywhere on Long Island, for sure.

While some parts of the retreat may sound a little daunting, particularly if you’ve never been to a retreat before, have never been to InterVarsity at Stony Brook, or think that you’re not a “hardcore Christian” (or something along those lines), I want to assure you that Basileia is a wonderful time regardless. In my first year attending Basileia as a freshman, I was a little apprehensive because 1) I had never been to a retreat before, 2) was a fairly new member of InterVarsity, and 3) did not consider myself a hardcore Christian. Yet, after going to the retreat that year, I can now say that those five days were completely worthwhile. I learned a lot about myself, my relationship with God, and my place in the world based on God’s plans for me.

Of course, not everyone who goes will have the same experience, but rather, everyone will certainly leave the retreat with their own unique experiences and valuable takeaways. And even if you are not a Christian or you have been openly exploring questions of faith and belief, Basileia is a good place to address any uncertainties or questions you may have. There are many welcoming people, both college students and InterVarsity staff members, who are entirely willing to answer your questions and just talk about life!

If you think a five-day retreat sounds appealing, especially after a long hard semester, I encourage you to think about attending Basileia. You just may be surprised by what you can take away from it.   

Kailey Walters

Stony Brook '19

I'm a simple girl. My idea of a good time is a quiet night with friends or curling up with a good book. Some of my other favorite things include running, swimming, people watching, and of course, writing what I know. Currently an English and Psychology double major with a Creative Writing minor, graduation bound in spring 2019!
Her Campus Stony Brook Founder and Campus Correspondent Stony Brook University Senior Minnesotan turned New Yorker English Major, Journalism Minor