Among all the exciting things I was looking forward to as I was applying to Maine Coast Semester, I had one single doubt: the fear of missing out. If I were to leave, my friends and classmates would be living in their own world making countless memories. Whether good or bad, it felt scary to think of leaving, knowing I wouldn’t get to be a part of them. I decided to push past my nervous thoughts and hit the submit button on my application, thinking, “Blythe, this opportunity is too amazing to let this ‘fear of missing out’ keep you from experiencing such new and incredible things.”
When it finally came time to head to Maine and say a final goodbye to everyone at home, I thought I wasn’t nervous about leaving all the possible memories behind. After all, everyone at home was happy for me and assured me I would be missed. I felt comfort knowing at least they wouldn’t forget about me and continue on as if I never existed. I began to realize, on my long drive north, I wasn’t actually scared of missing home. However, a little doubtful voice in the back of my mind was trying to convince me I wouldn’t make great memories here at Chewonki. It felt silly to me to have the thing I was most excited for, the people and connections I’d make, be the thing I was most anxious for too. I wondered, “What will the people be like? Friendly? Nice? Accepting?” Even knowing that was probably true, anyone needs to go out of their comfort zone in order to make friends. In this moment of feeling overwhelmed, I reminded myself that if I really wanted to have the amazing time that drove me to push the submit button one year ago, I needed to learn to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
It has only been one day of living at Chewonki, and there have been some uncomfortable moments like I expected, from volunteering to wake up at 6:25 a.m. to ring the morning bell to wake up my peers, to talking to 42 new classmates and several more new teachers. Fortunately, my fear is already rapidly dissipating as those conversations have shown me how intriguing and kind each of these people, with whom I will spend the next four months, really are.
Today when we woke up, it was peacefully snowing, so some students decided to start playing with a soccer ball in the snow. The enthusiastic energy surrounding us warmed my heart as people began to slip onto the ground while running to get the ball, followed by a chorus of laughter and then inescapable snowballs were thrown at each other. I could hardly believe that people I had no idea existed before yesterday were throwing any doubts about forming friendships aside to have a lighthearted, spontaneous moment simply playing outside. I now know I don’t need to worry at all about making memories because this morning I already made a wonderful one.
Blythe, The Nightingale-Bamford School, New York, New York
Deadline to Apply for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Semesters: Extended to February 16th!