What I Learned From The DaVinci Challenge

Written by jdinino September 21, 2017

Three days after our arrival to Paderno del Grappa, every student spent the day participating in the DaVinci Challenge.  This challenge is a team-building event that uses extreme trust exercises to help connect a group. The tasks were difficult, not only because we were all jet-lagged, but also because we hadn’t formally gotten to know each other yet. Regardless, we were all up for the challenge and everyone completed every task given. Since it was such a successful day, I compiled a list of important things I learned from this experience!

The first element I learned was how to trust my new team. I never would’ve pictured myself completing a trust fall with men on the program whose names I had just learned three hours prior. Yet, there I was, on a five-foot-tall platform, falling backwards into the arms of said men. This challenge would have been terrifying enough with people I already knew and trusted, but it was even scarier with people I just met. However, this sped up the process of building trust in my peers.

Later in the afternoon we had to climb a 12-foot wall, which led to everyone realizing how important teamwork is. Our first attempt resulted in a disappointing time of 5 minutes and 30 seconds. However, after brainstorming ideas together and organizing our team more efficiently, we completed the task with a final time of 2 minutes and 16 seconds. With two people lifting, three people at the top of the wall, and the rest ready to catch anyone in case they lost their balance, it was a seamless process.

With these tasks came support. Many people were too afraid of heights to even consider getting up a 12-foot wall or falling off a 5-foot platform. These could not have been completed without the support of one another.

Another important characteristic I learned was enthusiasm. Spending a 7-hour day in the sun completing these challenges was not an easy task. However, staying positive and being enthusiastic for each event made the day go by quickly. In fact, I started to genuinely look forward to finding out what the following challenge would be.

Overall, it was a day full of highs and lows for everyone. We had to work together to push each other out of our comfort zones, resulting a heightened sense of courage. In the end, I was left with closer friendships that I am looking forward to building as the semester goes on!