Esprit is what you make it.

If this is your first time, the sheer number of people, the apparent comfort that many of them display, and the numerous unfamiliar activities may be overwhelming. You may find the urge to slink away to your room or hide quietly behind a drink in the bar. While many of the ladies may make an effort to greet someone they don’t recognize, it’s really up to you to reach out and introduce yourself. Once you do, you’ll quickly find that you can join the conversations, share a little background about yourself and where you come from, and start getting connected.

“I almost left on Monday, then I decided that I wanted to attend so I had better get off my a** and have some fun! The most important thing to bring is a positive attitude and your smile. Wear those every day, all day. If you need help, ask. You have about 160 sisters who will be glad to help.”

You may want to keep a journal to record your thoughts and daily details. Whether for posterity, simply to ensure that you remember, or to have lots of details with which to write an article for the yearbook, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to remember all the details, names, or exactly what you wore on any given day. These little details take on a whole new importance that you may not have anticipated before coming to Esprit.

Being immersed in a setting such as Esprit can be exhilarating, but in the midst of the excitement it’s hard to look forward and realize what the next days or months after Esprit will bring. The immediate excitement will quickly pass, but for many, Esprit brings up profound discoveries. It can be difficult even early into your stay when you realize how wonderful it is and that it will have to end.

“Although knowing not to mix stripes with plaids is an important part of femininity, the most significant thing I took home from my first Esprit was the sudden realization of who I actually am. Events in my life suddenly acquired a new meaning–suddenly I understood how and why I behaved as I did. (The moment of revelation was actually on the airplane trip home.)”

If you can, try to spend time with friends on the way home. Traveling with others, having dinner somewhere, and stopping at someone’s house are all important ways of coming down gently from Esprit. If that’s not possible, then stay in touch with your sisters through our networking resources.

“We sat in Claire’s backyard in the early evening light and reflected on what had transpired. Our talk that evening was very profound. I find it paradoxical because a 4 hour talk by itself without Esprit would have been meaningless, and none of these feelings could have come out during Esprit. It was only afterwards, in a glaring moment of clarity, that the emotions can really be experienced. I would recommend a peaceful decompression session like this for anyone coming home from Esprit.”