By Jared Larson (’15)
Earlier this month the Houses and Apartments East Residence Life Staff went on a retreat to Oceanside, Ore. All 12 crazy RAs, our AAC, our goofy area coordinator, her husband and two kids went on the retreat. I had never been to Oceanside before. I was told it was 10 miles outside of Tillamook and there was no cell phone service. I knew this trip was going to be a good one – I could feel it!
When we got to our house, we settled down, began talking, and of course laughing! After a while, we did our own things in small groups. Some of us played card games, others held conversations, and some people fell asleep (I definitely tried to prank them). Later, we all got together and watched a movie. One of our quotes from the weekend, “This is your home,” came from the movie Date Night. The funny thing is that later that night I realized that this actually resonates with our group. I came to the conclusion that this community was like my second home. We’re all so comfortable with each other, I feel like I can tell these people everything going on in my life.
The next day was even better. We had some solo time, where we could just spend some time with God. I wanted to go to the beach! The beach is one of my favorite places. The sound of the waves crashing, the sand between my toes and the warmth (which is rare) on my face is one of the most calming feelings in the world. Today was actually one of those days. It was sunny! Some of us went down the beach to where there was a cave you could walk through. When I got to the other side, it was beautiful. The waves crashed against the rocks and I just listened to it for a few minutes. I then climbed down the rocks quickly, and ran to the other side of this big rock pile. I just listened to God for a few minutes. I was completely at peace, and all the stress of school melted off of my shoulders. Then the tide really started to come in, so I ran back up to where some of the other staff members were still taking in the beauty. We then made our way back up to the beach house.
Later, we went to a lighthouse that was located in the little town of Oceanside. We admired the view for a while and then left. We got back to the house and fellowshipped together for the rest of the night where we played sardines, board games, and once again laughed the night away. In the morning, we took time to just worship God before we left. It was a solid ending to the trip. I returned to campus full of excitement, relaxed, spiritually fulfilled and still laughing at some of the jokes we shared. This is a group of people that I can call “family.” My Residence Life experience has shown me what real community looks like. I am so thankful to be a part of this staff.