By: Anusha Dixit (Q31)
Blinking into the early morning sun on the way to Van Munching Hall, clutching sleeping bags
and backpacks, the anticipation in the air was tangible as Q31 prepared to leave for their new member
orientation at Camp Letts in Edgewater, MD. Upon entering the meeting room, everyone mingling with
both familiar and new faces, it finally felt like QUEST had begun.
The first day began with icebreakers galore, leading into everyone’s most anticipated moment: finding out the teams for 190H. Following the first team meetings with the mentors, the students delved into even more icebreakers and team-building activities, ranging from improv acting and dancing, all the way to low-ropes courses.
“After improvising in front of each other and completing obstacles that brought us physically close together, we got used to embarrassing ourselves in front of one another,” said Grace Zhang (Q31). “We became instantly comfortable with the cohort.”
Between odd dance moves and coordinated balancing on wooden beams, it felt just like summer camp. Yet, between camp meals and bonding activities, teams came together to develop a two-minute product pitch for a pilot product of their choosing, as well as to select a team name to introduce to the rest of the cohort that evening. After spending a majority of the day together, actively building trust and comfort with one another, brainstorming for both came naturally to the teams.
“Everyone is so nice and supportive of new ideas!” said Varsha Ramachandran (Q31).
That evening, the students performed hilarious skits to introduce their QUEST-themed team names: LudaQUEST, the InQUESTibles, We the QUEST Music, among many others. After countless laughs, the students enjoyed s’mores around the campfire, and learned about the mentors’ best memories of QUEST; a satisfying end to a productive day. Teams met up soon after the campfire to finalize their product pitches for the final presentation, nervous yet excited to present their unique ideas.
The culmination of Q31’s very first team project in QUEST took place around picnic tables, in front of the teams’ mentors and the Quality Guild. A wide range of creative products were presented, and each team learned a great deal about the QUEST way of presenting. Upon completing the presentation, the students of Q31 were officially ready to embark upon their QUEST experience!
The students proceeded to the zip line and high ropes for a final hurrah before heading back to campus. After a day and a half at Camp Letts, Q31 returned with great memories, new friendships, and a deeper understanding of what QUEST is all about. QUEST is full of creative thinkers from unique backgrounds and being able to get to know one another before classes began made the prospect of working together for the next few years all the more exciting. The best is yet to come!