December 31, 2019
By Ethan Howe
In the Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education course, a major component of the class is “solos.” Solos are a designated time each week where students return to their solo spot and spend reflective time alone in the wilderness. A solo spot is a quiet place in the forest that each student has chosen. Everyone’s solo spot is near the yurt in the State Forest. Every student has built a primitive shelter in their solo spot, but besides that the place is very wild. Limited materials are allowed including, rope, a tarp, a knife, a whistle, matches a journal and a mat to sit on. Electronic devices are not allowed. When the first snow hits the ground students are allowed to have fires during solos. The fire not only provides warmth, it is also like a companion.
During my solo time while I am gathering my firewood I like to think about myself in different ways. Some people have different coping skills then I do, so they might think about different things. After every solo when I go home I feel stress free. While I’m alone, I’m not thinking about school. I’m thinking about myself and who I’m going to become.
On December 12th there was an overnight solo. During the night when everyone’s fire was going all I could see was sparks pouring into the night sky. It was a great experience. I worked on my survival skills and my impulsive behaviors. After that experience I feel like I am a different person and I like the way I feel after spending a night alone in the woods.