I have mostly pictures to post because I'm extremely busy right now. The craziness officially began last Monday morning, when about 110 new and returning gates scholars piled onto the buses heading for the Lake District, considered the most scenic part of the UK.
Going into it, I had no idea what to expect of the whole Gates Scholarship group. Normally I'm not big on random academic groups like this with no real shared interest, but throughout the 6 hour ride and the rest of the week I was really impressed with the group. Not just that a lot of them have interesting life stories and accomplishments, mostly just that they're a really fun group to hang out with and I enjoyed almost every conversation I had. I guess by virtue of the brutal interview process everybody who got the scholarship is fairly outgoing.
We spent 4 days in a hostel near the town of Ambleside, did orienteering, hiking, kayaking, a scavenger hunt, also visited a gingerbread factory and went for a run and a swim in the (freezing) Lake Windermere. It was a beautiful place, albeit with awful weather, rainy and cold most of the time there. Enjoyed getting to see more of England though, it's a beautiful country thanks to all the rain.Still, the retreat was great, felt a lot better returning to campus having a group of contacts around campus. The college system can be sort of isolating here, as you mostly meet people in your own college, so meeting people around the university is a big plus of the Gates program. Still have a ton of organizing to do in the weekend ahead.