Semester 41: “It was awesome to see everyone having so much fun”

In science class we recently visited  an old mine. We learned about the effects of acid mine drainage on the environment, and took qualitative notes on observable differences in water sources with high and low acidities. We took samples of the tainted water at five different sites, and measured their pH levels, turbidity, and metal content in class. In Spanish class with Sadie, we have been studying vocabulary surrounding culture and identity, and every day we explore the Spanish language in a new way through listening to songs by different Hispanic artists. In English we have been reviewing how literary devices enhance writing and give it deeper meaning, in order to create concise essays on the book A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean. In math, we have been using Desmos, the online graphing website, to understand the relationships between functions and the graphs they create. Each class we are randomly put in groups of three to encourage working with everyone and having a new experience each class. For Practices and Principles: Ethics of the Natural world (P&P), we have all been preparing for a debate on the ethics of animal husbandry and whether or not it is morally correct to consume meat. We will all try out our ideas in class when we represent either PETA, the Tyson meat company, or a young farmers coalition in a student-lead discussion. Overall, we have had a jam-packed week full of academic classes, but we are all learning how to manage the workload through using study halls, down time, and free periods to our advantage.

This past weekend was packed full of fun activities for HMI students. We started off Saturday morning with a field trip, and later that day, we all went downtown to explore. We went thrift shopping, ate ice cream, took cool photographs, explored Melanzana (which sells locally made fleece jackets), and walked around the busy streets. The highlight of the day, however, was driving up to Turquoise Lake and having a BBQ on the sandy shore. Burgers, salads, s’mores, campfires, and pick-up soccer were almost as wonderful as the beautiful sunset we saw over the Rocky Mountains and the clear blue water. Later that night after we got back to campus, we had our first Coffee House, which is like a talent show. People sung, danced, and showcased random talents. It was awesome to see everyone having so much fun. The next day was what we call a Sacred Sunday. They’re sacred because they don’t happen very often, but when they do everybody loves them. We got to wake up late and then had brunch from ten to eleven. It was a feast of French toast, bacon, eggs, fruit, bagels, oatmeal, tea, and hot chocolate. After breakfast, we took some time to reflect alone. We each went to our own little quiet place in the woods on campus and stayed there for a few hours, just reading, napping, drawing, or thinking by ourselves. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day with just a hint of crisp fall breeze blowing through the aspen trees. Sacred Sunday ended with some free time, where students went for bike rides, played guitar, baked cupcakes, or took a nap. Overall, this weekend was amazing and we can’t wait to see what fun activities we do for the next one.

HMI residential life embodies the best of community. Meal time debates with friends over a hot plate of lasagna for lunch, loud singing in the bathroom before bed, and living in cabins with quality individuals. The best way to describe what it’s really like to live at HMI is through the lens of daily life. Waking up around 6:30 every morning, we often change as soon as possible and start AMX (a morning exercise), with the hopes of being the first ones back to take a shower. After taking a shower, people run back to their cabins with ideally at least a half hour until breakfast to get done any last bits of reading before History, or to change into the fresh clothes. Otherwise, people will go check emails in Who’s Hall before breakfast. Cook crew will ring the breakfast bell at 8:00, and then everyone scrambles to toast their bagels before the line builds up. Since breakfast is considered a rolling start, people come in at any time before chores begin at 8:30 to grab a bite of food. The favorite breakfast foods are often avocado toast, bagels, fruit salad, and eggs. A couple times a week, we are treated with bacon. After eating, chores start. We wipe tables, mop, empty trash and recycling bins, vacuum, and rearrange chairs however the teacher with the first class would like. We play music and we get energized not only to do our chore, but to take on the day with a productive mood. Chores take about twenty minutes if done right, and as we finish we smile at friends, return the cleaning supplies, and hurry to class. After a long morning of classes, everyone is eager to eat lunch. Again, lunch is rolling so the line isn’t usually as bad, but it never hurts to hustle from class to Who’s for your best chance at beating the line. After grabbing food, kids like to sit outside and soak in the sun on the back porch. Since eating doesn’t take super long, students like to slackline, run, bike, or just hang out for the last half hour before classes start up again at one.

It all started about four or five days ago when Jack commenced the game. This was no ordinary game, however, and it works like this: any student, apprentice or faculty member who signed up to play picks a name of another player by random draw. They then draw a paper with a random location, then a paper with a random object or objects. The goal is to get that person, now your target, to that location while holding your unusually wacky object. If your plan works, then you acquire a new target, and this goes until there are two people left. For example, it was someone’s goal to get Dan to the Red Room (a classroom), while holding a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette; another was to get a fellow student to the tea bar with a pair of hiking boots in hand. The first day paranoia ran across campus, as people began to assess their targets and make agreements with others to gain an edge. This game has created a super fun atmosphere around campus as you never know when someone will walk up to you holding a Nalgene full of wood chips, or three expo markers and get you out. Plus, everyone has been really creative with their strategies!

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