For insight into the life of the Fellows, check out our Academy Life blog posts.
While most days are hardly typical, there is a rhythm to Academy life. Below is a list of the most common weekday activities for reference and a narrative from current Fellows Jake Thomsen and Jenn Harris. Note: Fellows rotate Lodge shifts and average 2-3 shifts per week. The Academy usually hosts one guest speaker per week and other community meetings are often scheduled between three and five o'clock.
||Guest Speaker / Community Meeting
Throughout the day, Fellows that don't have Lodge work, often spend time on the following activities:
- Reading for class
- Writing responses to readings and class discussion
- Preparing research project
- Attending to household chores
- Sharing meals together
- Recreation activities - games, movies, working out, frisbee, kayaking
- Visiting mentors and host families
- Personal devotions
- Conversations with other Fellows and staff
Overall, life at the Academy is fairly busy. Days of Silence and Solitude are scheduled to give everyone a quiet space to process class learnings, growth of the community and personal insights. Many weekends Fellows are free to travel, relax or catch up on studies.
A Day in the Life by Jake Thomsen
Jake came to the Academy following four years of bank management and investment experience at the Bank of Hawaii. He holds a degree in Economics and Japanese from Pomona college and is spending his time at the Academy evaluating a Christian's role in the banking sector.
"For many of us, the unique lifestyle at the Academy lies somewhere between that of a studying collegiate, a thesis-writing grad student, and a working professional. While this sounds like a lot to fit into nine months, even the busiest days are manageable. Such days usually begin with morning chapel and class followed by a series of required activities that include work shifts, lectures from guest speakers, trips to neighboring cities, and dinners with professionals in various fields. Our multi-tasking skills are tested and refined as required class readings and written responses, household chores, and cooking duties must be attended to in the downtime.
On more flexible days, Academy activities may be done by late morning, and the remainder of the day is spent as we deem best. Some fellows catch up on reading and research for final projects, meet with mentors and host families, or take part in personal devotions and group Bible studies. While we tend to have steady schedules, life on the Bay wouldn't be complete if it were all business! It's common to find a group relaxing with a movie or taking advantage of the warm days canoeing or playing ultimate frisbee, tennis, or volleyball. We also visit the town coffee shop throughout the week to enjoy hot drinks and relationships we've built with those from the local community. Whether at the coffee shop, on the way home from a church service, or at the house during all hours of day and night, the Academy fosters a lifestyle of thinking that manifests itself in conversations on everything from movie critiques to economic and political issues to deep theological questions.
With days that are both busy and less intense, life at the Academy offers an excellent balance to grow academically, spiritually, and physically, complete with involved and supportive staff members and all the tools one could ask for during such a formative time in life. Each day is a blessing and a challenge."
A Day in the Life by Jenn Harris
Jenn comes to the Academy with her husband Adam. After graduating from Stanford in 2006 with a degree in biology, she worked as a cancer researcher while applying to medical schools. Her vision at the Academy is to develop a vision for biblically-rooted psychiatry, to better understand the role of spiritual change and sin in mental disease, and to study how the body and soul interact in illness and healing.
"After being out of school and on my own for two years, I'll admit, I'm was not so excited about having a scheduled day again. But now, after about a month and a half, I find that I enjoy the discipline of a schedule. The quick but steady pace set by matins, class, work shift, evensong, and dinner disciplines my mind. One of the beautiful things about the schedule is how it reflects the Academy's desire to integrate our faith with our bodies, minds, and hearts. Matins and Evensong serve as bookends to the day, opening and closing each day with meditation on God's greatness and reflecting on what He has done. This sets the larger context before we plunge into the turmoil of class, where we have been sketching out the rough outlines of a Biblical understanding of this culture and our place in this world. It's quite a challenging task, lacking neither frustrating and unfinished discussions nor seismic conclusions. With all the sweeping ideas of class, our work shifts at the lodge humbly reminds me that change is ultimately wrought through sweat: one dirty dish at a time.
And the conversations and frictions that come from rubbing up against the lives of thirteen others reveal what beliefs and sin dwell in my heart. The schedule can be grueling - some days I am wearily running from class to work shift to preparing dinner at Windrush, followed by an evening cramming in reading for the next day. I am learning to focus, to be intentional about my time and find quiet in the midst of busyness. With each day I learn to more fully serve with my body, mind, and heart. When I re-enter the working world in June, I hope I can better serve His kingdom and His glory."