TA News

Students Reflect on 24-Hour “Solo” Experience

In TA’s environmental studies and outdoor education course, students spend part of every Friday’s two and a half hour class in a designated “solo spot.” Solo spots, selected by each student early in the semester, are a place where students can spend time alone with their thoughts–disconnecting, reflecting, and observing. Many students choose to build rustic shelters in their solo spots, offering a bit of privacy and protection from the elements. These weekly “solos” are a lead up to one of the course’s culminating experiences.

The 24-hour solo experience challenges students to spend a night in their personal spot. It’s a spartan affair – students are permitted to bring only 10 items and are asked to refrain from speaking for the duration of the event. This year, students had one assignment for their solo time: write a letter to themselves that their teacher, Scott Ellis, would mail to them in one year. Each of the class’s fifteen students were successful in their 24-hour solo and shared their reflections afterward.

One student wrote, “After about two hours, I felt that I had reached a deep relaxation. I thought to myself, ‘This is just what I needed.’ I realized that when living daily life, we are often overstimulated by a constant stream of noises, thoughts, and anticipations. In other words, I was able to accept the experience as a gift of time.” This is a good example of what Ellis hopes students gain from the experience: “The 24-hour solo is a deep learning experience, I find that it allows students to understand themselves more deeply and to learn what they are capable of.”



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