Joe Eynck: The most awesome experience I have had at the Islandschool already in the short time I have been here was a blessing in disguise.  I had woken up at three in the morning on the 27th to catch my flight from DC toOrlando and I was not expecting to meet up with any other kids until my connecting flight in Rocksound.  I was very distraught when I realized my flight was delayed while waiting inOrlando.  I thought I may be alone inNassau for the night.  I was very happy to meet Kyle Titsworth.  I thought inside my head at least I am not alone here not really knowing if I would like being around this “new kid” Kyle.  We waited patiently together in the airport constantly asking on updates to see if we would make it to Rocksound in time for our connecting flight.  Finally the airline and our very sweet helper Bernadette realized we would be staying in a hotel in Nassau together with the head of staff Kalin.  I was very out of my comfort zone because I had not mentally calculated any changes in my already stressful schedule.  We eventually arrived inNassau much later than expected, or desired and by this time I was really wondering what is going on.  This part in my experience is where it all changed.  After talking with Kyle I realized he’s a really chill guy and I was lucky to be stuck with him in Nassau.  Kyle and I talked and got to know each other while we waited inNassau realizing we were going to be friends I got more excited to see what we would get into that night.  Finally we met with the head of staff Kalin and discussed our plans for the night.  We checked with Bahamasair to see what they were going to do for us and got a very hospitable deal.  Bahamasair gave us two nice hotel rooms for the night along with another flight early the next morning to our desired destination, and taxi service to and from the hotel, along with thirty dollars on them for our dinner.  Now I was thinking…Awwww yeahhh this is going to be sick.  I went on to have a really great night with an awesome dinner, chill conversations, meeting new people not even acquainted with The Island School, and bonding with my new friend Kyle.  When I contemplate the events beginning my mind, spirit, body journey I can assure you this could not have ended up any better.  The ironic thing was this great experience happened because of a mistake that at first seemed very bad to me, I guess you really do learn from mistakes.

 Mathilde McAlpin: “Meet at the boat house at 1:15” I was hot, feeling the exhast from the heat of the day, and tired after another oversized plate of food at lunch. I was looking forward to learning about all the projects provided for the spring semester, but in the moment was struggling to express my enthusiasm. After a few moments of announcements and a run through of our student count off we were free to explore the wide selections of research projects. Still feeling sluggish from the morning’s rays I turned to the nearest table to begin the selection process. “Bonefish and Climate Change” was my first stop. My eyes wandered the poster board trying to gather any idea of what this project would entail. Grasping onto familiar words, but struggling to put the concepts together. I look up from the board to two bright enthusiastic faces, positively beaming. After a short explanation of their goal for the spring semester I was hook, completely captivated. They explained that the work done behind Bonefish research is a large and important contribution to majority of studies on the topic around the world. With every addition to their explanation, I could feel some emotion inside of me building up, ready to spill over. That was it; I was beaming right back at them. My curiosity was ready to flourish. I hoped I would be given the chance to join a whole other community inside of my new one.  I looked to my left and realized this was only one of eight new communities that I could be a part of, and through the process I came to realize that I could continue to beam in any one of these communities.

Robbie Balloch: The world seemed to slow down, everything was so mellow yet tense. The feeling of the pure exhaustion pressed down on me like lead scuba waits yet, hope, that insane, insatiable, unstoppable, emotion pulsed through me, and drove me on. This hope inspired and also exhausted me because to take on all the potential opportunities and challenges presented is more than a man or woman could bear. These new experiences turned days into weeks and minutes into seconds. Time was both slow and fast. Yet still we played, we learned, and we were filled with hope. The live that had only been an unachievable dream has become a very vivid reality before our eyes. My pears and I were filled with the hope, that we had not experienced since we were children. Our new immaturity is so unique and innocent in nature that it is almost beautiful to see in another’s eyes. The world has once again become our playground and we are more than eager to play. The new world that we are now a part of seems to be more dream than reality. I am always uncertain if I am awake because every experience is so beautifully innocent and genuine that it is almost unreal. I feel as though any minute I will be forced to wake up and the cold oppressive nature of life and responsibility will once again fall on my shoulders. But while I am still dreaming, I hope to make the best of every second of every day and finish the volleyball game, but take these thoughts that had hit me in the millisecond between a serve and the opponents getting the ball, with me forever.

Peter Graham: I have been through five years of boarding school so far in my life. The opportunities that I have had there have helped me. Being at The Island School is possibly one of the best opportunities that I have ever had. I think may people here feel the same way about this. I mean in all honesty in my past five years boarding I have never seen so many people come together this quickly. It is honestly amazing! I feel that if I was a visitor on the campus I would think that all the kids have known each other since kindergarten. It was just such an easy transition for us. I think that is the main part of The Island School that separates it from other schools.

Rachel Cohen: Running through the woods, towards the swimming entry point, I couldn’t help to let my anxious side of me take over and a bunch of intimidating thoughts ran through my head.  I was never a good swimmer as a kid and I was feeling overly nervous for the swim despite teachers’ reassurance not to be concerned. As I dipped my toes in the water, I told myself not to worry and tried to beat the anxiety out of myself. From the moment I heard, “go” I frantically pushed myself as hard as I could. After a while of what seemed like twenty minutes, I glanced at my watch to realize that only five minutes had gone by. A sense of relief washed over me and I began to relax my arms and my thoughts. Passing the teachers in kayaks, who shouted that there was only a short distance to go put me at ease. Even though the stroke I was doing could probably not be named because it was a blend of several different ones, I became more confident just by the encouragement. Reaching the shore was even more reassuring because many other students were cheering on the others. For some reason when I got out of the water I was more confident and happy with myself because I felt that I had pushed myself. I was so pleased that the idea of doing swim-track was a new possibility for me. Despite the fact that I was not the fastest, the pride that I had from completing just a small challenge was enough for me.

Ocean Recreational Cleansing Activities (ORCA's) are a way of life at Island School, no wonder they were one of the most frequently written about experiences here by students. Now, for three more looks at ocean showering from three clean but salty young ladies...

Annie Obrecht: At home, long showers are something I don’t even think about doing; its completely natural. However, when I got here I quickly found out that water is sacred. I was in the mindset that I would be able to, at least, take a navy shower, but unfortunately the water to our showers was turned off, after 3 days. After not showering for the longest period of time in my life, I decided to brave the ocean with a towel.  Biodegradable shampoo and conditioner in hand, I walked down toGirlsDormBeachto take an ORCA. Getting in the water felt strange, the salty water was not my usual shower. After finishing I actually felt clean again. The ORCA was successful! Having my first ocean shower with new friends was one of the most challenging, yet amazing experiences ever, being able to put myself in a completely new situation felt empowering. I can’t wait to take another ORCA, and another, and another…

Emma Barbera: One thing that is unique to The Island School over other places that I have been to is the necessity and popularity of ORCA showers. So far, I have taken two of these showers and they have been really fun. It’s a much different experience than I have had my entire life. To be focusing on conserving water when showering, feels really good afterwards, because of the way that I am caring for my community. We get to take our ORCA showers down at a beach that you can see sting rays from. This is crazy! But, so cool at the same time. The outside showers have not been working so we cannot even rise out all of the salt water afterward, but that is a feeling I am getting really used to. And, I am sure it is one that I will feel throughout the entire rest of the semester.

Casey Rutherford: Today I took my first ORCA. We had no outside water showers and since the campus is low on water, being the dry season, we decided to finally wash our sunscreen off in the ocean. The water in Girls Dorm Cut is cold, so getting into the water took some time to get used to. Since we did not have much time before dinner circle started, all the girls had to ORCA as quick as possible. After shampooing my hair, I grabbed my conditioner to make sure my hair didn’t get too tangled in the salty water… the conditioner did not do its job. The ORCA made me realize that I take the water access I have at home for granted.