Semester 47: Mini Golf, Solo Time, & Chores

Written by: Ann, Grace, Sasha, & Marley

The weekend started early Saturday morning with a lovely run to the fish hatchery with friends. We had Saturday morning classes and then some wood chopping (a favorite!) and free time. Soon after that, we loaded up the busses for an evening of fun. The drive was a little over an hour and, of course, included a dance party in the bus. When we arrived at the park, we hung out, ate pizza and fruit, and explored the play structure. Everyone’s favorite was the playground’s roundabout equipment, which was constantly spinning—before, during, and after pizza. We finished our pizza, loaded up the busses yet again and drove the quick drive to mini golf. Mini golf was so fun! We split into groups of four and played 18 holes, some groups adding in fun challenges or others taking the intense golf-dad caricature seriously. Playing mini golf with our teachers is never something that would have happened back at home for a lot of us, but it is definitely something we enjoyed! After wrapping up the cutthroat and competitive match, we had some ice cream in the parking lot and yet another dance party. The night ended with a beautiful drive back to campus and one final bus dance party. It was definitely one of our favorite weekend activities so far, and we were all exhausted when we got back to campus. We slept in Sunday morning and had some super chill solo time at our designated solo spot. Sunday afternoon was full of lots of free time and some optional off-campus activities. Some folks went bouldering for the first time! It was really fun to try something completely new with such a supportive group of people, a group of people we can’t wait to spend the next 3 months with!

Cabin time is one of our semester’s favorite times of the day. At 9:45 every night, we return to our cozy wooden homes, giving us a much-needed time to unwind and reflect together on our days. It truly feels like a big sleepover every night. Depending on how early we have to get up the following morning, we’ll stay up a little past lights out, (shh, don’t tell our apprentice!) often journaling all together with headlamps or just talking. Sometimes we’ll play card games, have fashion shows, or talk in British accents for hours on end. Cabins really feels like a family, a smaller community within the larger HMI semester.

“Hanging” out during free time.

Walking into the cook crew for the first time was scary for some of us. We did not know what to expect or if it would be fun or not. But, when we walked into the kitchen we were greeted by Madeline, our chef at HMI. She was very friendly and welcoming. We started cooking with four other students. It was so fun and exciting. Music was playing as everyone talked and cooked Sunday morning breakfast. We then served the meal of blueberry pancakes to the students and faculty. From there, every cook crew kept getting better and better. Everyone is so supportive of each other in the kitchen and working together to create a meal. It is a great place to have conversations and always has a good vibe in the kitchen. So when we finish our meal and serve it to everyone, it is very gratifying to know that we all worked hard on it together. We have made some delicious meals here at HMI, French toast, pancakes, tikka masala, congee (a traditional Asian savory rice porridge) and so much more! Cook crew really is the best!!

Cook crew serving dinner in Who’s Hall.

Before coming to HMI, the chore system was an enigma—how could 45 students keep an entire campus clean? Now that we’re here, it makes total sense. Students, faculty, and staff make chores as fun as they can be. There is constantly music blaring in Who’s Hall, people laughing, singing, dancing, and overall making the most of the chore that they have to do, even if they have to clean the bathrooms. Chores breed collaboration between students as we all share the same materials. Chore time can be rejuvenating; we get to start every morning feeling productive and energized by a sense of accomplishment. Cleaning the classroom has become a routine for us, too. Everything that we have to do is now muscle memory, and feeling that motivation in the morning gives us a wonderful start to our days! It’s also great that this is a way for students to take responsibility for their own spaces and for us to be held accountable if we are not maintaining them. The process of doing chores adds to the meaning of “every student makes the semester what it is,” as many of our teachers like to remind us. It is our responsibility not to be living in filth and to clean our space, not just for ourselves, but for others. Chores are an enormous part of Semester 47 and the whole HMI community because they show how much we care about being here and how much we care about this campus.

Wood chopping is a staple activity on weekends at HMI.

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