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A Hero’s Journey: A Freshman Orientation Challenge Course Program

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Although the courser doesn’t appear to be offered currently, we came across this interesting application of the Hero’s Journey to the orientation of college freshmen.

“At California State University, Fresno, all incoming students take a full-semester, three-unit course that includes topics on academic preparation but also focuses on issues and topics commonly associated with experiential and adventure education. These areas include communication, listening, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Recognizing the applicability of experiential education to reinforce such skills, a pilot program was undertaken using the campus ropes course. Since college represents an ideal rite of passage for many students, it seemed appropriate to borrow from Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, a hero’s journey. The program guides students through the ropes course along the steps described in Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces.” Myths are an effective means of facilitating educational experiences because they are remembered easily, are open to interpretation, and engage participants in the same manner as an initiative activity might. The stages of the hero’s journey are the separation or departure, the trials and victories of initiation, and the return and reintegration with society. These stages are reconceptualized in terms of the college student’s experience. Program activities related to each of the stages are described, and 13 questions for reflection are listed. (SV)”