I’m from Minneapolis, which is a pretty big city, so living and working on a farm is far from what my everyday life at home is like. Before I arrived at Maine Coast Semester my friends from my home loved to tease me about milking cows and harvesting carrots. Little did I know this would become one of my favorite activities. At Chewonki, every student has work program twice a week – a three hour block in the afternoon after classes. Each Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, work program assignments are posted on the bulletin board and it’s always a blast, running over and finding out you are on farm chores with your friends or you get to do maintenance with your favorite staff member. Each assignment so different and enriching in its own way. There are no short sticks when it comes to work program, no matter where you land you are going to have a fun time with great people — it’s like winning the lottery, but every week!
When I arrived at Chewonki on my first day, I took a tour of the farm with the farm manager Megan and she showed us around the farm and told us all about the different produce that Chewonki grows. I remember looking around the farm with my eyes wide open. The transition between places can be a little overwhelming but being able to visualize my next four months after weeks of anticipation was like a wave of calming energy. I remember towards the end of the tour Megan told us that, “Many hands make light work”. I still remember this quote even after a busy three weeks. I believe that hard work and everyone doing their part is the foundation of this community and what makes Chewonki such an important place.
Hard work at Chewonki is also very different than anywhere else. At home I do simple chores, like weeding the garden and laundry. These tasks are definitely not the highlight of my day. But, it’s a complete 180° at Chewonki. There is nothing that fills my heart quite like spending an afternoon pulling weeds with the wonderful people I’ve met here. Doing chores that I would dread at home have now become my favorite part of the day.
In the two weeks since arrival, I’ve done four different work programs. I’ve been on farm (twice), maintenance, and admissions. It feels good to be able to give back to a community that has given me so much in return. My first time on the farm, I harvested potatoes with the rest of semester 63. The three hours pulling potatoes from the rich soil left me filthy, covered in dirt, and smiling. My mom loves the flickr pictures of me holding up huge, round potatoes, with dirt smeared on my face while I’m sporting the biggest grin possible. My second time on the farm was pulling basil plants and making pesto in the kitchen with the products. At home I love to cook with my family so getting to do the same at Chewonki was such an enjoyable experience. When I was on maintenance I carried heavy parts of boats from the water, all the way to the other side of campus and it was easily the best part of my day. I was on program with three other girls who are so silly, we talked and giggled the whole time and before I knew it, we had to carry everything up the huge hill, laughing the whole way up. Admissions is what I get to do right now! I get to write blog posts about how much fun I am having at Chewonki for prospective students to read. I remember a few short months ago reading blog posts from past Chewonki students trying to grasp some kind of idea of what the next four months had in store for me, I remember being so full of worry for the unknown and now I’m living in pure euphoria. Work program has become an essential bonding time and has given me the opportunity to give back to my community and grow as a person simultaneously, there is really not much more you can ask for in life!!
Lucy Wolfe, The Blake School, Edina, MN