Last week, my English 325 teacher gave my class a brief presentation about NELP (New England Literature Program), a University of Michigan academic program that takes place at Camp Wohelo on Sebago Lake in Maine during the spring semester. He talked about how NELP students and teachers live and work intimately during the program’s six and a half weeks, going camping and hiking and exploring the New England culture and countryside, all the while writing in journals about their experiences. Sounds awesome, right?
Here’s the catch: no technology. Read: no computers, basic electricity, and definitely no cell phones.
That was the most intimidating part for me. I love the outdoors, and was extremely intrigued by the prospect of climbing mountains, canoeing, and enjoying nature while using writing as a medium for understanding and enjoying the experience. Yet, how could I ever survive for six and a half weeks without checking my texts, e-mails and voicemails? I know, what an incredibly stupid question. But I think that in some way, we are all somewhat (and some more than others) connected, even dependent, on technology for feeling safe, comfortable and connected. Perhaps, then, a goal of NELP is to show how something like writing can make us feel safe, comfortable and connected with the world without the distractions of technology.
Have any of you ever participated in NELP, or thought about applying for it?