Solo Spring ’14

Spring ’14 students have been griping recently that they were mislead – the season we have lived through for the last three months fits no one’s definition of spring. It’s been all George R. R. Martin style winter all the time.

We have finally, in the last week, progressed into spring. It is warm enough that the lettuce we’ve been sheltering in polyhouses all winter can now grow outside. We no longer have to wear more than one layer of pants. The fields are slowly turning green. All very exciting.

But none of that mitigates the fact that when we left for our three day solo camping trip on April 23, it was very cold and many of us camped on or right next to snow. Two of our three nights in the woods had below-freezing temperatures. Some of us even got snowed on the last morning. (Thanks, Mother Nature). The good news is that the second full day had beautiful weather, so everyone was able to enjoy at least one day of sunshine and warmth.

Liam's beaver pond (just another reason to be jealous)
The beaver pond at Liam’s solo site

Every semester, students go into solo expecting to be enlightened by nature and return fuller, better humans with profound new understandings of the world. As Grant said, “Before solo, I had this expectation that I was going to have deeper thoughts than usual. That’s something I’m never going to be able to do. I’m never going to be a meditator. I just pushed down trees and talked to myself.”

Here are some other students’ reflections on their solo experiences:

“There were these moose tracks all around my site. I was clearly staying as a guest in someone else’s home.”

“I tried to look closer at what was in the woods.”

photo 2

“A lot of what I did on solo was sit in places and just look.”

“I found flagging from a previous solo. It was cool because I realized, I’m not the only one who lived here.”

“I thought a lot about the happiness you get from yourself vs. the happiness you get from other people.”

“I was scared that I would be bored, but then I walked around and realized it was OK to be alone.”

“On solo, I would think of something, and laugh out loud. I kept cracking myself up and it was so wonderful.”

“I felt at peace with myself in a way that I haven’t been before.”

“I was always trying to drive myself to be more productive – to read, sketch, draw a map. Then, the last night, I decided I didn’t want to do that.”

“I worried that once I was alone, I wouldn’t have anything inside of me to be interesting. But I sat and watched bugs for awhile and realized they have really complicated lives.”


“I usually have something I have to do. On solo, I was able to sit in a hammock and do whatever popped into my head.”

“Every train of thought I had on solo led back to the same place of feeling lucky.”

“I felt grateful to see the beauty of nature.”

“I thought solo would be refreshing, that I would not have to focus on what other people want me to think. I would finally be able to concentrate on one thing. But instead, I let my mind go and got pulled in all different directions.”

“I was really surprised by how self-sufficient I was able to be. I got really into problem solving. Usually I’m so focused on efficiency and moving on instead of focused on finding a solution.”

Congratulations, Spring ’14! We’re proud of you!


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