“Isn’t it exhausting being with people 24/7?”. This is a question that I’ve heard a lot from my friends back home. It makes plenty of sense why they would ask- I am notorious (or really, infamous) for being hard to get a hold of. My usual excuse for not being able to hang out is that I’m too tired and my social battery is drained. Most of the time, this is true. You can imagine my friend’s shock when I answer their seemingly obvious question with “no, not at all.” It confused me at first because I’ve never been much of a social butterfly. I noticed I was feeling content being social and kept bracing myself for some violent crash and extreme social exhaustion, but even at this point in the semester (two weeks left) that come-down still hasn’t hit and I doubt it ever will.
I wish I could articulate what it is about Chewonki that makes being social constantly a breeze, but I’m not entirely sure. My best guess is this: the people here become a constant. The usual unpredictable stress of socializing is removed. What if I’m late? What do I wear? How should I act? None of this is a concern at Chewonki. There’s almost no planning necessary, you can make spur-of-the-moment decisions to be social with no drawbacks. Don’t like what you’re wearing for your current activity? Run back to your cabin and change! Nervous about how they perceive you? They live with you, they’ve seen you at your worst and they still like you! These are not just your friends and not just your classmates either, they are your community. You live together, eat together, study together, go on backcountry expeditions together, and so much more. Being with my friends here at Chewonki is effortless and even leaves me feeling recharged.
Another beautiful thing that’s pretty unique to Chewonki is the normalcy of just sitting and being together. No words need to be exchanged, maybe it’s stargazing, sitting in your cabin, or studying in the Ellis room. Either way, everyone just enjoys each other’s company while doing their own thing. It creates an air of support, an “we’re all in this together” of sorts. To be clear, if you find yourself needing alone time, you can absolutely get it just with a little more effort than it might have required at home. The neat thing about Chewonki is that you’ll find being alone matters less and less, and spending time with your community matters more than anything.
Eliza Moorhead, Waynflete School, Portland, ME