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Students explore how to live "an extraordinary life"

Fifty students explore "who they are," "what do they want to do," and "how are you going to get there" during the Life Entrepreneur Program.

On January 29-30, 2012, 50 students along with five faculty and staff members retreated to Camp Hanes, a scenic campsite at the base of Sauratown Mountain in North Carolina. This retreat set the foundation for the transition strategies course, Charting Your Journey: Life Entrepreneurs. The focus of the retreat is based on the concept of Life Entrepreneurship, created by Christopher Gergen, moving ordinary people to create extraordinary lives.

Participants spent day one learning to be introspective: turning a lens on themselves to uncover who they are and the importance of their life history in their current worldview. Learning about themselves and sharing this knowledge with their peers allowed a quick connection to be formed between participants, thus allowing the overall experience to be rich.

Sophomore Mat Goldberg found the retreat to be a place where he could create a vision for his future. “The life entrepreneur retreat was insightful and helped me realize my passions, strengthen values, and connect with a community to continue to live a life aligned with my future,” Goldberg said.

The focus of day two shifted from “who you are” to “where do you want to go.” Each student created a vision statement for an ideal future while engaging in team activities to build camaraderie within the class. The participants left with a better understanding of themselves and where they want to go in the future.

Dr. Kenn Gaither, associate professor of communications and one of the instructors, said, “LEP was an inspiring and remarkable experience. To have such an exceptional group of students come together and in such a short period of time emerge as a family was the highlight of the retreat for me. To hear the life experiences of our students – and their dreams for future – I was moved in ways that extend far beyond the classroom setting. It was an honor to participate, and I hope to see more students take advantage of the opportunity to learn skills needed to lead the entrepreneurial life.”

Sophomore Jeremiah Brown, a participant in the course, stated, “The time spent on the LEP retreat was both an emotional and eye-opening experience for me. The insightful speeches given by Christopher Gergen taught me the value of having a ‘plan’" and executing my ideas. I highly recommend the LEP program to all students!”

This concept does not end on retreat as the participants will continue with a transitions course throughout the first half of the spring semester in order to continue to develop their visions and take action. Jeff Stein, special assistant to the president and LEP instructor, is looking forward to the LEP class sessions with his team of students. “The students impressed me with how they dove in, exploring their personal histories, strengths, passions, and future directions,” he said.

If you are interested in participating in the program next Spring, please contact the Center for Leadership in Moseley 224.

Steven Mencarini,
2/24/2012 3:09 PM