Hey HCCS blog-readers! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Josh, a junior HCCS member, and I’m studying off-campus this semester at the Oregon Extension in Lincoln, OR. I arrived here in Lincoln, a little cluster of houses (whose population grew by about 250% with the arrival of our cohort of 28 students) for the OE on August 17 and am here until the middle of December.
The only reason this program is possible this semester is because of a two-week quarantine that we all participated in upon our arrival. We were each given a tent, our own silverware and plates, and a campsite out in the woods surrounding our small campus. We spent two weeks attempting to get to know each other from a 6ft away and exploring our surroundings. Reflecting on those first two weeks especially, as well as the rest of my experience here at the OE has really accentuated the value of music in building community.
As we trickled in from various states across the country, one of the interns awaited our arrival from the porch with his guitar. Music was a commonly discussed topic during our socially distanced meals creating conversation and providing a way to relate to one another. After our 2-week quarantine concluded and we were officially in a Covid-free bubble, a dance party was thrown in the newly erected pagoda.
I’ve noticed the prevalence of music continue throughout the semester thus far. An open mic night we had was one of my favorite nights of the semester up until now. Not only did I get to hear great music from my very talented classmates and professors, but it resulted in some wonderful conversations. Asking about talents I had no idea about led to chats about friend’s childhoods, families, passions, and goals for the future.
My cabin has also decided to start the “Cabin 6 Concert Series” We play one song each night on our porch for our classmates who live in the neighboring cabins. Once everyone is out on their porch, the humorously horrible singing commences. Despite the general ineptitude of the band (currently consisting of 5 singers, a guitarist, and myself banging a coconut husk on the railing), we have a great time and there’s always laughter. We’re most likely the least musically-gifted cabin here but, no matter the quality, live music creates community through a shared experience. It brings people together and allows us to find connections.
Thanks to these experiences, there are countless songs that will never fail to make me think of this place and the people I’ve met here. We’ve started building an OE2020 playlist and it’s growing to an absurd length. Music, and especially live music (no matter the quality), creates community through a shared experience. It brings people together and allows us to find connections.