Last weekend was different than any other we have spent so far at Chewonki. Instead of the normal routine of Friday night study hours and Saturday night activities we have all become used to, each MCS student was sent to our own section of Chewonki Neck for a two night solo experience. We had been preparing for this all week, with lessons on setting up tarps for OAP and a school meeting about the purposes of solos. I knew some students who were dreading a weekend alone and some who had been looking forward to their solo all semester, while I was mostly excited to have some time to sleep after a long week of late nights thanks to a history paper and a hilarious and noisy cabin. We approached the weekend with a range of emotions, but I’m pretty sure we all shared a common hope that the good weather would hold out and it wouldn’t rain.
Out of my advisee group, I was the first to be dropped off. My solo spot was a small point of land across from Hoyt’s Point that poked out into the salt marsh. I said a last good-bye, went to look for a spot to set up my tarp, and the next time I turned around, the group I had walked over with was gone. I was officially alone.
In general, my solo was pretty uneventful. As we trickled back home on Sunday, each person I saw was filled with stories about the million ridiculous things that began to go through their head by the 30th hour they’d spent alone. I didn’t have many crazy stories to add—mostly I spent my solo sitting on a rock looking out at the salt marsh and thinking. I would like to say that I thought about meaningful, life-changing things, and I did do some of that, but I also have several journal entries I can look back at now where I discussed how much I love cheese cubes. I also have a particularly embarrassing page that is all Paul Arthur’s fault—the day before solos, he told me about a game he invented to stop yourself from being scared at night where you take one word out of a movie title and replace it with the word “poop.” Mature, I know. But by the second day, sure enough, I had a whole journal page covered in a list: Dead Poop Society, Poop in Pink, O Poop Where Art Thou?, A Poop Called Wanda, Poop By Me, The Dark Poop. Believe me, I could go on forever, but you get the picture.
It may seem like I had a really boring solo, but I loved every minute of it. I got to go to bed before sunrise every night, I got to live by the sun with no worries or times I needed to be somewhere, I got to actually watch the tide move in and out, and I got to be totally and completely alone, something I haven’t experienced since arriving at Chewonki, or maybe my entire life if I think about it. My solo helped me realize that time spent alone isn’t necessarily time wasted, something I had never thought about before (being the kind of person who is always looking for someone new to hang out and do something fun with as soon as I have free time). I think we were all glad to have a weekend to ourselves before heading full-speed into our last month together, and I think it was one of my favorite weekends I’ve spent so far this semester.
-Jill Giornelli, Atlanta, GA