Phelps Scholars were treated to a wonderful skating experience in Grand Rapids over the weekend. An annual trip, it typically follows this schedule: busses are loaded with interested students from the program and driven to Rosa Park Circle Ice Rink. After arriving, students are allocated a pair of skates . As all college students would be happy to hear, the rental skates were completely free of charge. Once they’re all laced up, students are free to roam the outdoor rink for about two hours.
Some usually decide to visit local shops when resting between trips around the ice A favorite among students, many of whom are from abroad, it’s often the first time many of the participants have ever skated. After signing up through a Google sheet dispersed through the program’s official email, students congregated in Scott Hall at half past noon on Saturday. From there, Grand Rapids is only a half-hour drive away. The convenience of this trip makes it very favorable to students who have other matters to attend to later in the afternoon or earlier in the morning.
This is in comparison to some of the museum trips or the mosque visit, which are farther away or more time-consuming. The event is also popular with upperclassmen and sophomore year Phelps Scholar students, who are invited during the latter half of the signup phase. One particular sophomore, Dimitri Villalobos, had this to say regarding the event: “It was a wonderful way to end a very busy week. It was a great way to release a lot of stress (or increase it, if you don’t know how to skate)! “Also, it was inspiring to watch those who can barely move in the beginning, then by the end they have the hang of it. At first they’re afraid of falling, but once they realized that falling isn’t so bad and mostly funny, they laugh it off, get back up and try again.
That, too, is the process of life; you mess up, laugh about it and get back up again. It’s something I certainly do when I miss a question on a quiz or test.” Current freshman students are urged by upperclassmen to keep attending the events, which consistently garner favorable praise due to the hard work put in by program directors Yolanda Vega and Michael Brown. Each trip offers the opporunity for Phelps Scholars to foster bonds with one another. This can be espcially helpful for first year students to meet and form friendships.