Butterflies are not an accurate description for an eager and intense anticipation. Perhaps a combination of excitement, bouncy energy, and uncontrollable smiles describe the feeling in my soul as we approached Snow Wolf Lodge two weeks ago. Time has absolutely flown by; I am very grateful Semester is longer than the two-week summer sessions. If it were not, I would already be saying goodbye to the wonderful people I have met.
One illuminating aspect of Semester is that it is very organized. For a schedule oriented person such as myself, knowing precisely what is planned helps my day go tremendously well. The official start of every day is breakfast at 7:50, though some of us rise at 6:30 to enjoy a run in the crisp, mountain air. Several times we have been blessed with sightings of deer and turkey. At 7:50, breakfast time begins with a devotion; we then sing the Doxology and proceed to eat the fantastic meal that our gifted chef has prepared for us. At 9:00am, classes begin. For the rest of the morning, we cover topics in Church History, English Literature, and Politics. Dr. Michael Bauman is our professor for the first five weeks of Semester. At first, I found his teaching style (he replicates the Socratic method of teaching) to be quite frustrating. However, as time has gone on, I have seen how much this benefits each person. We are learning to willingly ask questions, risking potential personal humiliation to find truth. In reality, humiliation is not a problem here at Semester, even though it does seem like a possibility in the moment. Several times I have heard people comment that they feel comfortable doing things they normally would not do because they know others will only encourage them. Dr. Bauman also sporadically adds humor into lectures and conversations, putting all students at ease and boosting morale.
At 12:15, we all head to lunch. After-lunch activities vary by day. On Tuesdays and Fridays, we have work crews from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. All of us are divided into four teams: outdoor crew, indoor crew, kitchen crew, and babysitters. Twice I have been privileged to work in the wonderful weather outdoors; both times pulling thistles and watching dandelion-like seeds fill the air. On the other days, the afternoon hours are devoted to study time, free time, exercise time, and solitude time. Because days are so filled, the intentionally set aside time for study is welcomed. Exercise time is one of the thrills of my week, because I spend that time on the volleyball court where I have discovered an intense passion for the game. Solitude time occurs on Wednesday afternoons and lasts for about 1.5 hours. During this time, study for class is not permitted. This time is devoted to our great King, through study of His Word, journaling, personal worship, and prayer. Each student has their own location on the property of Snow Wolf Lodge where they spend this intimate time with Christ. My solitude spot has become a safe haven. It is where I go to pray, think, and simply be still. Since it is about a ten minute hike from the lodge, I also find it a wonderful place to concentrate on my studies during free time and study time.
Dinner is normally at 5:00pm, and the activities that follow also vary by day. Evenings usually include class, free time, or small group time. Our evening class is dedicated to Hebrew studies. The first quiz took place this week, for which we committed to memorizing the first six consonants and two vowels of the ancient language. Learning language is a passion of mine, so I am thoroughly exhilarated with the opportunity to study a language with which Jesus was familiar.
“Can you believe we are actually here?” Already two weeks have passed, and still this question permeates conversations on a daily basis. I have gained incredible insight on so many types of issues already. “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way” (Proverbs 14:8a). This Semester, God has given 32 students the opportunity to understand. I am truly humbled as I can only imagine what ten more weeks will hold.
Alex Coleman has made the northwestward journey from Georgia to attend Summit Semester with her sister, Stormey. This summer, Alex served a staffer at Summit Tennessee, where she was a student last year. In conjunction with her love for studying Spanish and Portuguese, she is planning to pursue a degree in International Studies through Bob Jones University. Alex enjoys spending time with others in a variety of settings, including playing volleyball, hiking, running, or working. She has combined her love for people and romance languages by participating in several mission trips to foreign countries, which have led to open doors for sharing the Gospel.