The Beauties of RCI-ing

Celine Fong ’25 and Mia Masserio ’25 in Features | May 5, 2023

As the current Ropes Course Instructors (RCIs) select their newest batch of members, eager students across campus aspire for a spot among the coveted student group. Every year, aspiring RCIs must complete submitting a two part application, first a written application, then participating in an in-person tryout at the Ropes Course. Despite the lengthy application process and demanding schedule of an RCI, as many as 60 Lawrentians applied this year. Why is the RCI position so desired, and why do the RCIs love their job so much?
When asked about the benefits and drawbacks of the role, one of the current RCIs Chelsea Lim ’24 shared that the best parts were not only working with other dedicated students whilst learning essential life skills, but also engaging with the Lawrenceville community through programs such as II Form Orientation, where she was able to “watch the new, slightly nervous students learn to work with their peers.” Lim also explained that being an RCI is extremely rewarding, since she is able to watch “groups navigate through challenges together, which brings out their best sides.” 
Riley McKibben ’25, another RCI on campus, gave some insight as to what goes into the application process. As a first-year RCI, she was extremely thrilled to help determine the upcoming group. McKibben believes this year’s new cohort of RCIs to be especially impressive and collaborative, with each member having their own interests and stories. 
Lim explained that since the RCIs are some of the first people whom the incoming II Formers meet, RCIs must possess confidence and be approachable. She also touched on what she believes is a unique quality which the whole group shares: “their ability to be completely engaged.”As the current RCIs consider the new group of applicants, they are looking for a variety of personalities and diverse perspectives. McKibben herself looks for “energy and enthusiasm” in the new applicants and also emphasizes the importance of working well in groups. Similarly, Lim looks for students who have “respect for the program” and “a genuine sense of enthusiasm.” Lim was accepted to the program after her second time applying, and she explained how on her second try, she went in with more confidence and an “eager mindset”. 
According to McKibben, being an RCI enables her to “contribute to something bigger than [herself]” and “work closely with [her] peers in a facilitation position.” McKibben also explained that each of the RCIs has their own special interests and qualities which make up a well-rounded group. Surprisingly, she actually fears climbing herself, but “facing her fears was a motivating factor during [her] application process,” allowing her to relate to nervous climbers and help others who feel uncomfortable with heights. Moreover, her favorite games have “silly names,” but entail underlying stories that make them fun and engaging, such as ‘yeehaw,’ ‘giant texas lizard egg,’ and ‘giant’s ring.’ 
Our RCIs are one of the most supportive groups on campus, and they are looking for students who embody these qualities too.