Blogs - Summit Semester
October 01, 2008
No More Lazy Days
It is amazing to think that this Friday will mark the end of the first four weeks of our semester. I can not believe that we have been here at Snow Wolf Lodge for that long. It seems like it wasn't long ago that we were just trying to get settled in and get to know everyone. On the other hand, our days now seem so routine and the people here such good friends that it feels like we have been at it for more than just one month. I guess this is caused by our never dying schedule. I have almost completely forgotten what a lazy day feels like. Each day is packed with things to do, and when there is not something specifically on the schedule, we often have our noses in books or we are talking about the issues brought up in class. Needless to say, our days here are anything but boring.
It was brought to our attention last week by Dr. Bauman that we are actually about a week ahead of the previous two semesters in the material that we have covered. Good news, right? Well, not really. He said that the students who attended this program the last two semesters were more inclined to debate with him and ask more questions in class. However, not wanting to be outdone, we have seemed to step up our game. The last three days of our political class has been spent writing reasons for abortion on the board and only erasing them after we had proved them to be invalid. In the theology class we have been learning about different heresies that arose in the early church. We have discussed Gnosticism and the beliefs of other heretics like Marcion and Montanus. Today we began our discussion on the Trinity, and the different views that have arose on that point. In the English Literature class we have been discussing the series of poems written by Sir Phillip Sydney called Astrophil and Stella. We are supposed to write a sonnet that is due Friday. In case you don't really know what a sonnet is (it's ok, neither did I), it is a type of poetry that uses fourteen lines to ask and answer some of the biggest questions in life. Oh yeah, and if that wasn't hard enough, it has to follow a rhyming pattern and have the same number of syllables in each line. Sounds like a heap of fun, right? It is good though, because we are being challenged in ways that we did not even imagine, and for the most part, everyone seems to have found enjoyment in the challenge.
Just as we have come to expect, Dr. Bauman does not simply tell us what he thinks about any issue. He asks us what we think and then by default takes the other side of the argument. By the end we are simply shaking our heads in confusion, because most of the time we have never questioned the beliefs we hold in order to defend them. We can't say that he did not give us fair warning though. At the beginning of the semester he said that we would spend the rest of our lives trying to get his voice out of our heads.
This past weekend a group of us went on a camping trip and we hiked a fourteener (a 14,000 ft mountain). After lunch on Friday, we all piled into a van, literally. All thirteen of us, and all our packs, squeezed into one van and three hours later we were there. We hiked about a mile and set up camp. That night we made a fire and cooked the best hotdogs that I've ever tasted. The next morning we set out on our ascent. It felt pretty surreal for me because I've only seen pictures of the Rockies before. But to actually be out there in the middle of them was amazing. When we were about a thousand feet from the summit, it started snowing on us. That just added to the excitement for this South Floridian who's only seen snow like three times! It was definitely one of the coolest things I have ever done, and it provided a great experience for us to get to know each other better. The rest of the group (those who were too scared to go on the hike! ...just kidding), got to spend Saturday hanging out in town, which supposedly, was a lot of fun too.
On Tuesday night, a group of us went on a night hike up to one of the ridges that is behind the lodge. Because we are out here in the middle of nowhere, I guess it goes without saying that it was pretty dark and we kind of lost the trail like, I don't know, maybe five times! So a hike that should have taken about forty-five minutes ended up lasting almost two hours. We still had a good time and it was a good team building experience.
I will end by saying that if there are any parents who are worried that we are not learning and having a good time out here (this is for you mom), stop! I can't really speak for the rest of the students, but I know that I am having one of the best experiences of my life. I am being challenged in ways that I never imagined. We are able to learn under Dr. Bauman, maybe the best teacher in the known world (not even kidding), and we are able to spend time with students and staff who are all striving for the same things we are. By living in such a tight community and spending so much time together we push each other to be better. If this was not enough, our days never seem to lack fun. In short, so far this semester has far exceeded my best expectations.