Berit Ramstad Skoyles: Start of new school year begins - in March
As the month of March rolls on and summertime in Chile quietly fades away, school is in full session.
Bed time at 7 a.m. is replaced by bed time at 10 p.m., and being up before the sun rises is routine.
Last week was the first week of school in Chillan and that meant seeing people that I hadn’t seen in almost three months. Having a first day of school in March was one of the strangest things ever. I still have to remind myself that it’s not September.
I can’t get into the fall season in March. I mean, come on, it’s March. I don’t have Christmas to look forward to in four months. All I have is the dread of my return date in only four short months.
If I think about it, my days in school aren’t really all that different from my days in summer. Sure, during the summer I didn’t spend six hours in a classroom, but I do almost the same exact things. I eat, I draw, I read, and I hang out with my friends.
My first four months in Chile all I would do in school was sleep, eat, be banished to the library, spend hours in the music room, play piano and take English tests. This year I’m hoping to be banished to the library a little less frequently. So far, so good. I haven’t been banished once.
I’m still planning on spending hours in the music room while playing piano — that one I can’t resist. I have already taken more than just English tests, having taken eight tests in the first two days of school.
My classes are a bit different and more advanced than last year’s classes. My class is the advanced mathematics class so we took a leap from Algebra 2 to Advanced Calculus. Oh the joy!
I don’t understand anything, but I take notes to help me in the future. How on Earth am I supposed to know what exclamation points and backwards letters mean in math terms? I completely missed those explanations.
I also have a regular math class in which the students are given books to do their homework in. It’s basically a book of homework. Because I am an exchange student I was not given a book, so I’m unable to do the math homework.
My teacher is a fan of the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Because of that, my homework in his class is to memorize poems by Pablo Neruda in Spanish and in English and present them to my class. I honestly say that I enjoy that much more than doing actual math homework.
I haven’t had the chance to spend hours in the music room yet due to only having one music class. Usually after music class my teacher has me stay in the room to play piano and sing.
Those are my favorite days.
In between classes, we have breaks of 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is a bit ridiculous, but it’s a chunk of time perfect for naps and snack time. (Sometimes I feel like I’m in kindergarten again.)
It feels good to be back in school. I get to see all my friends every day, speak Spanish all day every day and maybe, just maybe, learn something new.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally figure out what those exclamation points and backwards letters mean.
Berit Ramstad Skoyle is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School and is studying abroad in Chile this year.