Semester 48: Solo, Family Weekend Poems, Throwdown Showdown, & the Paintball Biathalon!

Written by: Kennedy, Jack G., Max, & Anna M.

Solo: When I first heard about solo at HMI, I didn’t know what to expect or how to feel. Little did I know, it would become one of my favorite things at HMI. Solo is scheduled alone time in nature (with zero technology). For a lengthy period of time, students sit outside alone to reflect, rest, or simply be by themselves. Solo happens on Sacred Sundays, aka Sundays when we have no activities or outings. We gather up everything we need and go to our personal solo spots. This past Sunday, I gathered my sleeping pad, sleeping bag, book, and journal. Next, I went to my spot, my cabin’s back porch, and laid on my pad, in my sleeping bag, for three hours. I journaled extensively, finished my book, and took a much needed nap. I love solo because it’s a time for me to be alone and to think about everything going on in my mind. In the past, I haven’t taken time at home to simply sit and reflect, especially in nature. Our lives always feel so busy, and it can feel impossible to get that sacred time. Solo enforces this special time, and I always leave solo feeling incredibly rejuvenated, refreshed, and recharged. I find myself eager for Solo at HMI. At the end of the semester, we have an eight hour solo that everyone seems to be really looking forward to. Solo is a special part of my time at HMI, and it is one of the many things here that I definitely want to bring home with me.

Family Weekend Poems: With families arriving on campus in just two days, the entire community is scrambling to welcome all of the incoming visitors. One of the more fun ways that the students have been asked to prepare for this weekend is to write a poem dedicated to one of our family members. The aim of this assignment is to help us illustrate the nearly ineffable experience that is the HMI semester program. It has continuously been a challenge to adequately communicate how full of bliss the backpacking experience has been, or how comical it has been to slip, slide, and face plant into the snow with my peers, or how mentally and physically challenging it can be to live in the cold mountains. The Family Weekend Poem has given me the opportunity to attempt to put into words the many life changing memories and people that I have had the privilege of living with during the past three months. The project serves as a dedicated time to reflect on the many triumphs and hardships that have fostered self-growth, for which I will be forever grateful. My favorite part of this poem, however, is the fact that it gives me an opportunity to express my immense gratitude for my parents who have allowed me to attend such a transformative and incredible institution. 

Paintball Biathlon: Most people don’t ever have the opportunity to participate in a biathlon, let alone a paintball biathlon. Last Saturday, right after classes concluded, we began preparing for HMI’s first ever running Paintball Biathlon. Traditionally, the Paintball Biathlon is raced on cross country skis, but due to the lack of snow this year, we decided to race on foot. Students dressed up in bright and colorful outfits and, at 4:30pm, began lining up for the race. The total distance was about three miles, which consisted of four laps around campus. The track went up towards the road first and then back, followed by a lap around the cabin loop.  In between each lap, we would have five attempts to shoot a paintball gun at a target. For each shot we made, ten seconds would be taken off our final time. The race began with a scattered start to make sure that there would not be a hold up at the shooting station after the first lap. The running part of the race was fun and it was really motivating to see everyone else running past me. There were a lot of motivating chants and high fives which lifted everyone’s spirits and kept us going throughout the race. Everyone also really enjoyed the shooting aspect of the race.  There were four shooting stations set up, and the target was about 15 feet away, which was a relatively difficult shot. However, most students, including myself, shot much better than we had anticipated. Most people knocked down at least five shots out of their total 15. The highest anyone hit was 12 shots out of 15. The fastest overall time was a little over 19 minutes, and the top ten finishers all finished within 25 minutes. Overall, the biathlon was really fun and motivating, and it raised everyone’s spirits for the Throwdown Showdown, which took place later that night. What a great Saturday!

Cabin Throwdown Showdown: The night is young and the stakes are high. It’s the Throwdown Showdown, HMI’s fierce cabin vs. cabin competition. The six cabins are scored in different tasks, and the one with the most points will be crowned victorious. The winners will be immortalized, their names inscribed onto the majestic flower-pot trophy. Round 1: A cabin introduction— some sort of chant, song, or presentation. Cabin 4 discussed a day-in-their-lives. and Cabin 7 rewrote “Daydreamer” and sang along to a guitar. Round 2: All cabin mates must stand on a sleeping pad and flip it over without any people falling off. The girls of Cabin 2 had a successful strategy, and although the Cabin 5 boys were quite innovative, they were less successful with their method of “jumping as a clump.” Round 3: Similar to the Newlywed Game. Whoops and groans rang through Who’s Hall as cabins were tested on their knowledge of one another. Round 4: Replicate a drawing—without the artist seeing the original art. It was chaos: kids rushed every which way, yelling out directions. Round 5: Lip-sync battle. The boys of Cabin 6 formed a human pyramid and belted out “Firework” and the Cabin 3 girls danced a routine to “Price Tag.” After all this, we waited impatiently for the final results. It was a tough battle, but CABIN SEVEN was victorious! That night, the Cab Sev girls signed the legendary trophy, where they will be forever remembered as the Semester 48 Throwdown Showdown champions.

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