I walked into the dining hall on Friday afternoon right after a shortened last class to find utter chaos. There were boxes of food everywhere, tarps flying, water jugs being frantically filled, all in a mad rush to get ready for a weekend out on Chewonki Neck with nothing to occupy us but our own thoughts. It was the beginning of solos at MCS and there was a flurry of emotions. Some of us were nervous about being in the woods alone for two nights, others were ready for a relaxing weekend with lots of napping, and some of us were grateful for some nice time alone to think.
In my opinion, solos could not have come at a better time for us. We were just coming off one of our hardest weeks academically, filled with mid-term tests and papers, and most of us were exhausted having missed out on a relaxing Sunday last week due to Wilderness First Aid training and Outdoor Classroom. It was about the halfway mark in our semester, and we certainly had a lot to think about. We have been together for about two months, and together in the truest sense. We eat together, study together, play together, and live together in such a remarkable setting, but often a little alone time is something to be cherished. So, that afternoon we all headed out to our assigned portions of the neck for our weekends alone.
Our time alone on the Neck was, however, cut short by the threat of an incoming storm Saturday night, to the chagrin of some students and to the satisfaction of others. All throughout the Saturday mid-afternoon students tramped in from various places around the Neck in various states of contemplation and disarray, many eager to share whatever conclusions they had come to or questions they had raised over the course of their 24 hours alone. We all gathered to talk through our different solo experiences before dinner, to hear about whatever challenges others had encountered and to reflect on those we found ourselves.
Many in the group took the opportunity to share their thoughts on the possible directions that the rest of our semester could take, to reflect on whatever opportunities for change they had unearthed during their night away. While our solo weekend was ultimately cut short, I for one feel that I took what I needed from it; a bit of perspective and with it the perhaps the thought that it’s still not too late to keep striving to take something important out of the rest of my time on the Neck.
-John Russell, Baltimore, MD
& Nick Devlin, Portland, ME