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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Study retreat available for students

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 13 - November 19, 1998

Twice each semester for the past several years, 40 undergraduates at Virginia Tech have taken their textbooks, notebooks, laptops, printers, and study guides and "hit the road" to prepare for mid-term and final exams. The weekend study retreat at Camp Alta Mons in Shawsville is sponsored by the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence (CAEE) and is designed to provide an environment away from campus that is conducive to successful study for undergraduate students.
"This unique program gives students an opportunity to concentrate on their academic studies in a relaxed atmosphere away from the typical distractions of dorms or apartments," said Amelia Clark, coordinator of the Study Retreat program. "It's free to those who participate. We provide lodging and meals."
Not only that, but students also have a chance to receive personal tutoring, mentoring, and other academic assistance if they so desire.
"For me the study retreat was very productive," said Shanda Monique Barnes, a senior majoring in residential property management. "It was so quiet, I was able to get a lot of work done that I wouldn't have been able to do if I had spent the weekend at home." Barnes, in fact, has participated in several study-retreat weekends during the past four years at Virginia Tech.
"Interest in and response to these weekends is tremendous," Clark said. "We always have many more students who want to participate than we can accommodate."
The study retreats are open to all undergraduate students on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who sign up commit to studying at least 15 hours over the course of the weekend, which begins with dinner and a weekend study-preparation session Friday night. Participants study and/or receive tutorial assistance all day Saturday with breaks for meals and light entertainment that evening. Half the day Sunday is also devoted to study time.
"We purposely chose Camp Alta Mons because of its rustic, no-frills environment," Clark said. "The students have virtually no distractions the entire weekend. That includes no telephones or television. Through this experience, students learn the value of focused study time on weekends."
Christina Zamboni, a senior majoring in animal and poultry sciences, first became interested in the program because of its secluded atmosphere.
"I not only got a lot of quality study time in, but I also had a lot of fun," she said. "The weekend was structured, but there was some free time built in, during which I went hiking."
"The CAEE's mission is to help our students succeed academically," Clark said. "The study-retreat weekend is one way of helping those who really want to perform well on their mid-term or final exams. The success of the program can be measured by its popularity with students."
The next study retreat will be held December 4-6. Registration is being held this week. For more information, contact Clark at akclark@vt.edu.