Semester 43: Final Days

Written by: Brandon, Mae, Kendall, Julia T.

This past week has been a busy but fun final week of academics! Time was split between finishing up final projects and apprentices teaching their units. After a busy weekend, I submitted a final essay for my English class on our course text, Ceremony. I had a creative project due in history responding to a central course theme of our choice. For me, that looked like a ‘op-ed’ that looked critically at the way most schools address Civil War history, but other students turned in essays, poems, letters, art pieces, and Photoshop projects. Next up was the central project of the week for most students: the PEEP. No, I’m not talking about the Easter candy marshmallows—PEEP is the abbreviation for our P&P (environmental ethics) final project. The project was very open-ended with the goal to define and explore our own personal ethic of the outdoors. Our last class consisted of presentations from each student, showcasing their PEEP and elaborating on their personal environmental ethic. It was fascinating not only to see which issues resonated with different students, but also the myriad of creative mediums they expressed it through. Projects included vegetarian menus, posters on carbon usage, poems about interactions with nature, songs about waste management, and beautiful drawings of the natural world we’ve had the privilege to live in these past 4 months. Apprentices have also been having their final projects, in a sense: they’ve been teaching lesson plans they’ve created this week. This means tons of fun in classes, but also lots of learning as they’ve all done a great job! The apprentices worked so hard to prepare awesome lessons for us all week!

This weekend was HMI’s prom. Throughout the week leading up to the event, students planned and witnessed the most creative promposals they have ever seen. During prom, you could either play games in the Library, dance in Who’s Hall or relax in The Classroom. Throughout the course of prom, we played games the Cabin Representatives created and led and also had a slow dance with one another. My most favorite part of prom though was the photo booth. Taking pictures with many people and thinking of weird poses to do was very funny. Taking a large amount of pictures can also help us remember this day where we had fun and dressed to impress as a semester. Prom was a great weekend activity as we all shared memorable moments with another.

This week, we were all recovering from our packed weekend. In Cabin 2, we have been staying up late. We sang a ton of songs and picked one for the Coffee House show coming up! It feels very bittersweet to be back from break so during Cabin Meeting we talked about what going home felt like, and what it will feel like once we go home since the semester is ending. The consensus is: Weird. The cabin is, as always, super supportive about whatever weird feelings we’re all going through. We’ve been careful about making sure we have enough kindling, so that we can stay warm since it’s getting colder here.  

This week HMI has been hit hard with a wave of grief and sadness. The realization of HMI’s mortality is setting in and we are struggling with what that means for us. For most this means endless hugs around every corner, tears at night and long talks of, “What’s next?” and “How do I say goodbye?” Even though we are told that we aren’t leaving yet and we should live in the moment, we can’t help but think about the coming days. What they will mean for us and how we are going to protect ourselves from or be vulnerable to the pain that will come next Wednesday morning. As for now, we will continue experiencing the “lasts” and try to take in every moment of them. The last community meeting, the last cabin meeting, the last history or english class, the last cook crew, the last stressful study hall or the last awkward late night bathroom run-in. Every trivial task suddenly becomes sentimental, the fear of it being added to our list of lasts constantly nagging. This past week has been the week of unearthing emotions that we had been scared to face since the moment we understood the love we have for this place and these people. Now we are on our journey to face the happiness, joy, fear and sadness that the coming days will bring. Wish us luck!