Describe a time when you had to work cooperatively with others to accomplish a common goal. What did you find useful about the experience? What did you find challenging about it?
If you looked into our senior hall, you wouldn’t think that we once had a reputation for being the most socially divided grade. During morning break, we gather in a buzzing, ever-shifting, conglomeration, laughing and talking with everyone around us. This fall, our class went on Kairos II, the senior retreat that takes most of the credit for giving us the title of “best senior class yet.” Kairos is Greek for a spiritual time-a time when we discovered ourselves by sharing our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with each other. Last spring, when Mr. Connell, an English teacher and the retreat leader, asked for student leaders, I eagerly volunteered. Kairos had helped the previous class, and I wanted the same thing for my class. I was chosen to be one of the five leaders, but while the others were close friends with each other, I barely knew any of them because we only occasionally chatted. I wondered if they saw me as an outsider, and whether that would affect the outcome of Kairos. But at our leaders’ retreat, a mini-Kairos during the summer, I talked openly about topics I wouldn’t normally share: my fears and goals, my sister Ali’s illness as a baby, and my love and respect for my boyfriend. The others shared the same way, and the invisible boundaries separating us disappeared. Once we experienced the Kairos spirit for ourselves, we knew what we wanted for everyone else, and planning the retreat became easier. After the other students went on Kairos, the spirit spread to the whole class, and many classmates still tell me that it was the best four days of their lives. As seniors, we breached our social gaps for our last year; as people, we learned not to be confined to “the way things are.”