I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first stepped foot on Chewonki Neck. For the past three years, I’ve been hearing from my three second cousins, Alison, Emily, and Katharine, that Maine Coast Semester is going to be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of my life. However, as I laughed and smiled at all the thrilling stories that my cousins had to tell, I still had doubts. What was it going to be like living for four months on my own? How was I going to adjust to the weather (I’m a California kid that thinks cloudy mid-’50s is the worst type of weather because I can’t wear shorts and a t-shirt)? Why was I having these negative thoughts when I was supposedly going to a place that is so magical?
The night before I arrived at Maine Coast Semester, my doubts kept me awake through the night. Part of me wanted time to slow down time so I could consider my increasing nerves more carefully. Even after the final, 45-minute journey from the Portland airport to Wiscasset and the “Welcome to Chewonki” sign came into view, I still felt like a fish in a sea full of plastic. What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I didn’t like my cabinmates? These thoughts kept bouncing around my brain as my cabinmates slowly poured into Gordy Hall.
Now fast forward one week. I already have countless memories with my cabinmates. The doubts that once fogged my mind are long gone. I have developed great relationships with my teachers through hilarious conversations at the dinner table and engaging classes. This first week has already made me start thinking about how much I am going to miss my peers and cabinmates, my teachers, Gina the cow, and the incredibly special Chewonki environment four months from now, when I depart in December.
James Tilson, The Nueva School, Burlingame, CA