Near the mid-point of each semester, students embark on three-day, two-night Solos on Chewonki’s 400-acre property. Solos are a special time for students to reflect on how far they’ve come and to set goals for the rest of their time at Maine Coast Semester and in some cases beyond. Each is given shelter, provisions and their own special section of our coastline. Below, Maine Coast Semester 59 student, Emily (Mt. Ararat High School, ME), shares her hopes for her Solo:
With Solos coming up tomorrow, Semester 59 has been preparing ourselves for two nights alone on Chewonki Neck and thinking about what this weekend will mean to us. During Outdoor Leadership Weekend, we were taught how to make a tarp feel like home and how to begin getting used to ourselves as our only company for a couple of days. Yesterday we discussed the philosophical aspects of Solos, particularly what we were hoping to achieve and what the reflection time meant. We practiced mindfulness and centering ourselves with guided breathing and suggestions by Sue West, our art teacher, for how to relax and sleep over the weekend.
Solos are a time for self reflection–looking back on who we were, recognizing who we are now, and planning for who we want to be. This weekend will be an interesting transition from doing almost everything together as a community to doing something entirely on our own. Every student is going into this experience with different goals, expectations, and feelings. We are frequently asked at mealtimes how we feel about the upcoming days, and many respond with “excited,” “looking forward to it,” and “I think it’ll be really fun.” Some of us (including myself) are a little scared too, but with the amount of support given by faculty and friends, I feel ready to embrace the experience wholeheartedly.
I already know that I’ll use my Solo to reflect on who I’ve become here at Maine Coast Semester and how much I’ve changed for the better. Chewonki has given me invaluable gifts that I couldn’t have received anywhere else. I’ve become so much stronger, able to take the days as they come, relax when I need to and work hard to push myself when necessary. I’ve gathered enough stories in these few short weeks to write a book. This weekend, I hope to dive deeper into these realizations; to just sit, contemplate and let the world slow down around me. In the hectic rush of everyday life, I focus so much on knowing others that I rarely take time to sit down and meet myself. I am young, part the next generation. The world is ahead and the future is in my hands. Before I set out to change things, I must prepare myself to take on that responsibility. We are leaders, helpers, game-changers; we are the future.
We set out this weekend with ourselves as our guides.
Emily, Mt. Ararat High School, ME