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On Saturday, January 27, I attended the Warriors Leadership Retreat, which was an all-day excursion here at Winona State full of workshops and a keynote address. While this retreat was also offered to students who wanted to improve their leadership skills, I was required to go because I have passed the first phase of the RA hiring process and granted an interview for the RA position!

The day started off right bright and early for RA applicants at 8:30am to register for the interview as well as the group process. From what I’ve heard, the interview will be a standard job interview with a Hall Director, but in the group process an assortment of applicants will have to work through different scenarios that you may face as a Resident Assistant. I am extremely nervous for the interviews because I care a lot about this opportunity and want to give back to students next year in the same way that my RA has for me. She influenced me to try new things such as RHA as well as different campus jobs and I am really thankful that she was my RA for a semester because I learned so much from her! She motivated me to get involved and pursue every opportunity that I was given. I would love to have that same impact on other people next year.

Everyone met in East Hall and the day consisted of many workshops, brunch in the Jack Kane Dining Center and a Keynote address given by CAMPUSPEAK, an organization of speaking and facilitation teams who visit college campuses to give presentations, small group work sessions, staff training, as well as individual and group consultations. The two facilitators from CAMPUSPEAK who spoke at this event were from the South, and expressed great joy upon seeing the “exotic” activity of ice fishing as they drove into Winona.

The workshops were really interesting. My favorite was a trust exercise in which one person was blindfolded and the other led them through a maze in one of the rooms over in Kryzsko Commons. Other workshops included problem-solving, team-building and team-bonding. I really enjoyed all of these workshops because they helped me think through and solve problems in new ways. I was forced to get outside of my comfort zone because I tend to be kind of shy in new situations and these really pushed me to be more outgoing. I also had the opportunity to meet some amazing new people with similar interests. This was a great way to prepare for the RA interviews too because I spent the day trying new things and gaining more experience being a leader on campus.

Lastly, the keynote address was another interesting aspect of this retreat and a great way to end the day. Empowering quotes were posted around the room and we were to go and find one that we identified with the most in our leadership style. I related most to a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I liked this one because I’ve had some fear that has held me back in the past from opportunities, and this quote describes the rewards and success that one will achieve when their fears are faced. This is another aspect that draws me to being a Resident Assistant because I think helping people settle into college life will be extremely worthwhile and fulfilling.

We also examined the current behavior towards the values we held, and then focused on how to get to ideal behavior towards these values. Some examples were seeking suggestions from others, micromanaging, listening and advising, praising others, and building confidence in others. During the 3 hour presentation I took pages and pages of notes to use for future references and also followed along in the workbook provided. Overall, I had a wonderful experience and am looking forward to the next phase of the RA hiring process.