Monday, October 22, 2012

MPA Retreat

I'm currently taking a much needed break from homework. I've been up since 7am (London time), and it's currently 1am.

This past weekend was the annual MPA Retreat. After reading a lot about the earlier years' retreats, I was surprised at first to learn that this retreat was more of a "fun" weekend rather than serious academic weekend. While there were supplements for the education aspects, I greatly appreciated being able to escape the pressures from school for a few days.

Friday afternoon, the first years loaded on two buses bound for Croyde Bay in North Devon. While we were told that the trip would be a short five hours, we didn't arrive until almost 10pm. Needless to say, it was a bit exhausting, but we made the bus ride fun. The girls and I had the back of one bus to ourselves where we spent time laughing at videos, taking photos, and getting to know each other better. As a surprise, we did pass Stonehenge on the bus ride! Don't worry, since 2010, it appears the rocks are still in the same position.

Stonehenge from the Bus
Once we finally arrived in Croyde Bay, we had a quick dinner, checked into our room for the weekend, and had the first dance party of the weekend. Zaina and Yiling were my roommates for the weekend, and we landed a summer chatlet which consisted of a kitchen, living room, and plenty of extra room. None of us were used to having such large living areas. The dance party consisted of MPA gangam style dancing and belting our 80s classics!

Emma, Kaitlyn, and I at the dance party 
After the dance party Friday night, we were up bright and early on Saturday for the skill sessions and breakfast. I attended the study skill session and heard different methods that the second-years used last year.  These were the second-years who scored the highest on the final exams. I picked up a few new ideas to try to incorporate into the year-long study process. Following studying, a bunch of us went swimming before heading into town for lunch.

Town of Croyde

Lunch!
The town of Croyde is quaint- clearly a tourist town.  The beach at Croyde is a huge surfer destination, so during the summer, it is clear that it is a popular destination. With lunch came a local delicacy....ice cream with a topping of clotted cream! So bad, but so good!



I must say that the beach at Croyde is one of the prettiest that I've ever seen. A long walk to get to the beach, but well worth it. The water temperature wasn't that bad for October either.  Arielle, Jenny, and I spent time walking along the beach before heading to the Buddy Olympics.

Me at Croyde Bay




#WALPOLE2040 



At the beginning of the programme, all first years are assigned a buddy from the second-year to help ease the transition. My buddy, Lisa, and I decided to participate in the Buddy Olympics for fun. Our goal was to come in last place.  The funniest relay race for me in the Olympics was clearly the sack races. The potato sacks were a bit small- they didn't even come up to my knee cap. I'm glad I was able to provide everyone with some entertainment falling (including myself), but my bruise on my leg doesn't!  We did actually win one race, but it was for pure fun.


Dinner followed and then the jeopardy game between the first and second years. As we all know, I do have a competitive streak, and that I generally don't like to use. While I argued a few questions, the second-years did win. The highlight, though? Having to sing "Call me Maybe" as a jeopardy question. I knew knowing the whole song would eventually come in handy!


Dance party two was the remainder of Saturday evening. While we continued to gangam style and dance to Nicki Minaj, the wedding party at the hotel crashed our party. The bride and groom were serenaded to by the entire MPA group.  Hilarious evening!

Sunday, we packed up and headed back to London. It was a quick getaway, but plenty of memories to last the year!