When students think about starting college, many of their apprehensions center on their first-year. What classes should I take? What will living on campus be like? What organizations will I join? Will I make friends?

But long after the first dining hall meals are eaten and inaugural spring break trips taken, students find their first year of college is over, many times without a lot of personal questions answered.

Who are my real friends? What do I want to study? Who do I want to be?

To assist University of Richmond students on their quests for self-discovery, the Career Development Center offers Destination Unknown, a two-day retreat that allows second-year students to explore their self-awareness, college goals and aspirations for the future.

Katybeth Lee, CDC assistant director, developed and has coordinated the program for the last three years. She said Destination Unknown helps students make connections and familiarize themselves with campus resources. Activities also center on showing students they are not alone in their search for purpose and meaning.

Destination Unknown gives second-year students the chance to escape the craziness of campus and take time out to reflect on who they are and what they love,” Lee said. “We create a pressure-free atmosphere, allowing students to come away with their own definitions of success.”

Tran Doan, a Richmond junior majoring in chemistry, attended Destination Unknown in fall 2007 and returned as a student facilitator in 2008. She initially applied to the program to meet new people, but ended up coming away with an entirely new perspective on her goals for the future.

“I thought I had my life planned out – I was headed to medical school right after graduation,” Doan said. “But I realized that what I really wanted was to pursue work in public health and scientific research before going to medical school. Looking back on the experience now, I did not realize then what a positive impact Destination Unknown would have on my college career and life choices.”

Activities like watching the movie Garden State, taking the Strong Interest Inventory to narrow down interests and abilities and breaking into small groups for discussion provide plenty of opportunities to dive into major life questions. But, Destination Unknown also makes good on the promise of a “retreat.

“The whole experience is incredibly comforting and rewarding because you come away knowing it’s OK to not know what you want,” Doan said. “If that’s not enough, the experience is just plain fun.”