Every day here at Chewonki is different. Monday and Wednesday are full days of classes, and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday there is either a work program or field lab in the afternoon. Weekends are much more unscheduled, with lots of downtime, and some semester-wide programming. Every morning at 6:55 we gather as a semester and then head off to our chores. After chores we have breakfast, then morning meeting, and after morning meeting we go to our classes.
Classes are different every day. Most days the majority of classes are held outside in an outdoor classroom space. Getting to explore nature while in class is one of my favorite things. The incorporation of nature and wilderness in the curriculum of most of my classes makes the material we learn about so much more interesting. Between classes, people usually run into the Wallace (the dining hall) to grab a snack, which typically involves anxiously waiting for the toast to pop before the next class starts. Or they dash back to their cabin to grab a sweater since the temperature fluctuates so much every day. Weekdays at Chewonki move by so quickly and it feels like time is constantly flying by.
Our days are so full of programming that by the end of study hours each night I am usually very ready for bed. Spending time in my cabin has become one of my favorite ways to wind down in the evenings. All my cabin mates have fairy lights around their windows, and our cabin always feels so cozy. At the end of a long day, there is no better feeling than going home to my cozy cabin, and my best friends who live there with me. But there is always one thing we do before we go to bed: stargaze.
I live in South Hall, affectionately called SOHO which is on the lower field of campus. In my opinion, lower field is one of the best places to stargaze here at Chewonki. Down on lower field near our cabin, there is another cabin called Binnacle, and we stargaze together most nights. After study hours are over at 9:30, we start to head back to our cabins. We grab our “crazy creeks” and set them up on the field. Getting to stargaze right before bed is a very special activity for me because I love to see the stars and I can’t see them very often where I live. Most nights while staring at the stars, or clouds as it has been the last few days, we listen to music and all chat about our days. Spending time with my friends right before bed just talking, having a dance party, or even taking videos of a porcupine climbing up a tree are my favorite ways to end a long day here at Chewonki. Laying in the grass surrounded by the people I have grown immeasurably close to over the last three weeks, all of us singing badly to 2010’s throwback songs, makes me realize that Chewonki is my new home.
-Lily Weissman, Open World Learning, St. Paul, MN