When you get accepted to Chewonki, they give you a packing list and ask that you get here before 3 P.M. That’s great, but what they don’t give you is a list of mental things to bring along with your stiff, new Carharts and flannel everything. So, what should I be psychologically prepared for? What should I bring in my mental suitcase? I’m glad you asked…
You should fill your suitcase about 25% of the way up with the ability to listen. Why? Well, other than the fact that most of the faculty here are PhD’s in their respective fields, there is no way to learn without listening. Never underestimate its value, especially at Chewonki. You may be asked to listen to absolutely nothing—like when you’re at your solos—but if you do it, you’ll find that you learned much, much more listening to nothing than you did while always talking.
Now, if you only read the last section, you might think that silently and submissively listening to teachers is the only thing that goes on here at Chewonki. Well, I’m glad you kept reading because that’s simply not true! You should go ahead and pack at least 25% of your suitcase with speaking. Chewonki is a place where your thoughts are just as valuable as the teachers. You should be willing to challenge the teacher and voice your own opinion. You should go off on a limb, try something new, speak your mind, and see what comes of it. Hey, when else in your life are you going to be able to tell your Ethics teacher who is a PhD in Philosophy that he’s got the wrong idea? Go for it, you’ll be glad you did!
3.) Be Open.
Openness, ironically, should fill about 40% of your suitcase. When you’re at your regular school doing your thing, it can sometimes be hard to jump out of the ordinary and try something new. At Chewonki, you are constantly asked to come out of your comfort zone and do something that you’ve never even thought of doing before. Be like a Nike ad and Just Do It! You will gain at least 10x more here by doing something new and exciting than by staying in your comfort zone. Want to go jump around in the salt marsh and get covered head to toe in mud? Sure! Want to milk a cow? Why not? How about spending a weekend alone in the woods? Of course, bring it on! Chewonki lets you do all these great activities that may, at first, seem a little hard to wrap you’re mind around. Be open to them, try them; you won’t regret it.
Now, how much space do you have left in your suitcase? 10%? Well, as the great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball’s 90% mental and the other half is physical.” The same goes here for laughter. You should fill the other half of your suitcase with laughter because laughing is arguable the most important thing you’ll do here. Whether you’re watching your history teacher play the bagpipes or telling jokes around the campfire, I can guarantee you that you’ll laugh more at Chewonki than you will anywhere else. So go ahead, laugh! What’s more fun than playing dodge ball in the most ridiculous outfits, anyway?
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