Hi, I am Noelle and a student here at The Island School this semester. I will be writing this week’s blogs! Yesterday we woke up, all very excited for our first “psycho”, which is an intense and rapidly changing workout regiment. Although a little nervous about a workout given the name “psycho,” I ended up having a lot of fun. Not only did we run, but we also had piggyback and leapfrog races, did hopscotch over other students holding plank, and played blob tag. Not only was I getting really energized for the day, but I was laughing and watching a beautiful Bahamian sunrise the whole time. It was a perfect start to the morning. Then we had out first lengthy research class. I am in the Queen Conch class and have to admit I was not excited about the project until yesterday morning. Hearing my advisors so passionately illustrate why this issue is so relevant and important made me realize that I am so lucky to have the opportunity to make an impact on the marine ecosystem. I could already feel my research group getting closer, with a shared feeling of excitement. Almost every other student felt the same way.

After other classes such as Art (where we had an intro to photography) and ecology, we had the option to either scuba dive or have querencia time. querencia time is a time to find a special place on Eleuthera and be completely by yourself, as you reflect on your experiences here and what type of member of this community you want to be. Many students enjoyed the dive, but I enjoyed my querencia time. I biked to a fruit tree where there is a small bench. Sitting there, I drew in my placebook. I love to draw at home but have not yet found a lot of time to do so here. Therefore, doodling in my placebook reminded me of home more than I thought it would. For a few minutes, under the Sapodilla tree, I was transported to a place of peace. I was immersed in this place, here on Eleuthera, yet I was still able to feel the comforts of home. Finding this balance made my querencia time a success. I hung this particular doodle above my bed, so that in my happiest moments at The Island School (laughing so hard my stomach hurts in the dorm with my friends, for example) I can look up at that picture and be reminded of the perfect balance between being fully immersed in this community and knowing I have friends and family at home thinking of me. Understanding this balance is something that only querencia time could have given me, and I am so thankful that I go to a semester qschool that urges us to self reflect to better understand what this experience should mean to us.