Semester 42: A Week in the Life

As the semester is coming to a close, our lives have become increasingly filled with intense activity and excitement for the future. It can get a little stressful sometimes, so the weekends are a great way to relax our minds. As the days get warmer, we’ve all been enjoying time outside slacklining, playing Frisbee, and just hanging out in the sun. Two Saturdays ago, after taking the SAT at Lake County High School, we had some time to hang out in town, followed by a square dance before dinner! Everyone dressed in their best western attire, and we were professional dancers by the end of the night. After dinner, we rearranged Who’s Hall into a movie theater and had an “HMI Film Festival” where students could show their videos they made during expedition to the whole community, followed by an impromptu dance party before bed! The next day, we had 2 hours of solo time, and then drove down to Buena Vista to play soccer, eat food, and hang out in the warm weather. Everyone was ecstatic to be able to hang out together again after expedition, and this weekend helped us relieve the stress of taking the SAT and the ramping up of academics in the coming weeks.

Last week, we woke up to eight and a half inches of fresh snow. Prom was on Saturday which meant that prom proposals were a daily occurrence last week, especially during meals. From food-based asks to full-on skits, the campus was full of excitement for prom. Some memorable prom proposals were Caroline D’s biscuit prom ask to Ayden that included her whole cabin prancing in the snow and Coco’s stolen portrait ask to Carly which involved half of the administration as well as a multi-part set up. Among the prom craze and plenty of fresh powder, student led cook crews have begun shaking up the usual campus menus during these remaining weeks. Here, residential life is buzzing with activity from Frisbee throwing challenges over the East building to music jam session in the cabin at night!

At HMI we read… a lot. A typical day of school includes two to five classes filled with discussions, analysis, group collaboration, and the occasional set of notes. Each class is taken four times in a six-day school week, and often has some sort of reading, writing, or assessment homework between each class. In science, we write a book chapter every week, accompanied by reading for lab day, and reading for discussion. In English, we read a section of a book or a reading about the American west. History class often has a few readings to be discussed as well as a writing assignment. In Practices & Principles: Ethics of the Natural World (also know as P&P), the one class a week outlier, has multiple readings about the same topic to be discussed and responded to. Math class requires little reading, but does have take home assessments every week. All of this combined seems daunting, but after a week of school here you figure out a system to get all of your work done, and you become a pro at reading and annotating. All academics at HMI revolve around the West and understanding the different points of view or ethics that are found here, with the exclusion of a group work-based math class. In general, the academics here are engaging, hands on, and a ton of fun. They let you and your peers discover things, without boring monotonous notes, and the ever-increasing pressure of traditional grades. Feedback is also key all curriculum here and is provided on a four point scale that lets you know how you are doing and what you can improve on, instead of a letter grade that tells you little about what needs to be improved.

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