By David Mueller (New Mexico)
A normal day here at Summit Semester starts at 7:48 am.
You roll out of bed to the sound of your alarm, you scramble for pants, a clean shirt, and socks as the remaining time before breakfast fades from two minutes to one. The slight snag of your left sock on a toe brings the unwanted reward of the sound of the doxology as you reach the bottom of the stairs. You sprint up the steps, skipping a few in an effort to reach the top before people notice you are not on time. Your full-out sprint is cut to a walk by the baby gate at the top of the stairs. You feel eyes on you as you look for an open seat. Breakfast is a fight to stay awake, even when the food calls you out of your sleep-soaked mindset. After receiving the infraction, you knew was coming for being late, you head into the kitchen for dish pit. Clearing tables, replacing dirty dishes with clean ones, and throwing silverware into a soak-pan with the largest splash possible becomes the norm of a meal with dish pit.
After breakfast, there is always the option of a quick shower or a couple games of pool before the morning class. Most likely awake by this time, the students start the banter of the day. Jokes roll around the room, followed by sleepy giggles and lighthearted grumbles. Class begins, and consists of attempts to understand, to answer, to defend your beliefs, and to stay awake. Lively discussions and arguments make you regain consciousness on the rare occasions when you actually do actually fall asleep in class. After a quick refocusing break in the middle of class, by 10:30 or so you’re really awake.
As you make your way to lunch, arguments are continued or finished, followed by the custom of students boxing in faculty to ask them questions as they try to get to lunch. Good food normally outweighs conversations for the first half of lunch, then the volume level rises once again. Immediately following lunch is study time, which is a fruitful hour of reading and writing, but every now and then it ends in an accidental nap before exercise time, which is directly afterward.
The day’s classes weigh heavily on your mind and figuring out how to articulate the things you’ve learned can be extremely challenging, so surrounding yourself with people who don’t run from challenge can really help.
Exercise time is either a run for phone service or a time to take the classroom banter to the field with healthy competition. Games of ultimate Frisbee are won and lost, games of Spikeball end in scraped knees and victorious smiles, and volleyball games are decided by terrible serves and rare, well-played volleys. For those who choose phone service, a decent hike is required for the views that make it actually worth it. Sometimes the beautiful views even distract you from conversations with the outside world, which in many ways is wonderful.
Dinner is relatively quiet in comparison to breakfast and lunch, mostly because the exhaustion finally catches up with you. Conversations are more calculated and pertain to the events of the day. The day’s classes weigh heavily on your mind and figuring out how to articulate the things you’ve learned can be extremely challenging, so surrounding yourself with people who don’t run from challenge can really help.
The day draws to a close with evening class (the hardest to stay awake in, especially after good food). Fellow students field hard questions, faculty airs out the assumption made in the responses to those hard questions. Yet, somehow, amongst the chaos of working to answer questions never asked before, an order shines through that, against the odds, keeps the community from imploding. Insight into the people around you is always provided in class. It strengthens opinions of those around you and sheds new light on things you agree with and things you don’t. Open conversation, delving into hard things, can change friendships, some people growing further apart and some drawing closer. The opportunities to make life-long friends are so numerous and readily available that there is no excuse for missing out on them.
After class conversations break out or subside, games of scratch are played in the game room (never quietly), and some people even hike all the way up the mountain for phone service. All in all, the day ends with a joyful heart, a strong community doing things that require strength, a family that has fights, disagreements, growing pains, and victories. It’s just another day here at Summit Semester.