Before coming here I had always heard stories about how great Chewonki was, but nothing that was said could have ever prepared me for an experience quite like this. Living in “a bubble,” everything and all we do has an effect on the community. All of us are tied together with an invisible rope that gently rests on the grass, surrounding the campus. Everything we do throughout the day is community related, and all of it has a huge impact. Coming from a school with 350 people, it was rather hard for a few people to have such a voice or influence. Being amongst forty students makes it rather easy for everyone’s opinions to be heard. I live here knowing that all I say has a real impact– in an area that is judgment free. This place is a sanctuary where ideas are put into play. Recently, in Environmental Issues class, I brought up the idea that although we, as students, are aware of climate change, the issue persists. In order to target such an immense problem, we had to act. This is where the close-knit community of ten students came together to create public service announcements centered on the amount of time that should be spent taking a shower. Outside a community like this one, it would have been exceptionally hard to gather ten students to film a movie in only two days.
Every morning, at 6:40, my cabin-mates and I leave South Hall, to gather underneath the pine trees that shadow us during our morning meeting. We greet the rest of the community with a quote that “Plato” reads, setting the mood for the day to come. We then proceed to work in small groups, working efficiently to get our morning chores done. Breakfast time soon follows, and all of us are yet again gathered in the dining hall to be amongst our greatest friends and teachers, all of which have amazing stories and ideas to provide to the table. As I have explained, we follow an intricate pattern of community. Each semester is uniquely built upon each individual’s personality and values, creating a foundation for new semesters each year. With this in mind, we are able to craft the semester the way we want. Never before have I had such amazing conversations and bonding experiences, knowing that each and every one of us is here for a reason. The community takes charge of our beliefs, and instills the importance of community life in each one our heads.
I am going to leave Chewonki, knowing I have the power to make a difference, knowing that each and every one of my thoughts, which may or may not agree with everyone else’s, will be heard and have an impact. I leave here knowing that I have the power to change something that I may not believe in, to change something that has been oppressing our society for many years. I’ll leave here knowing that I have connected with each student and faculty member on some of the deepest levels I have ever experienced in my life, forming bonds that would otherwise take a lifetime.