An hour before sunrise on Monday, seniors and credit-wealthy juniors will roll out of their beds, load WebAdvisor, and stare at their computer screens until the clock slips from 6:59 to 7 a.m.
After they click the SUBMIT button, they’ll conclude the ritual by staring bug-eyed at the screen until, no, the webpage does not need to be reloaded and, yes, they’ve registered for classes.
The hidden joy of signing up for classes — buried deep beneath the morning fatigue and the webpage-freeze anxiety — is an eagerness for next semester’s schedule. The college offers a diverse selection of classes, many of which students take not to fill a core or major requirement, but just to learn.
Humanities majors might be shocked to find interest in a course taught by a chemistry professor, but the “beer class,” officially titled Beer: Science, Styles and Sampling, draws science and humanities majors together. (Note: Only students 21 and older can partake in the fermented festivities.)
Science majors, for their part, benefit from an introduction to the fine arts. Luke Bessmer ’15 majored in biochemistry but took a sculpture class his last semester to break from his left-brained courses.
“I had never taken an art course before, but a few dental professionals recommended that I should study sculpture before entering dental school,” Bessmer said. “Being able to visualize and sculpt replicas of the head and neck gave me great practice for a career in the reconstruction of dental anatomy.”
Business, politics, and other majors mingle in General Counsel Robert Norton’s Negotiations class. He’s taught a similar course in corporate environments and other universities for almost 20 years, but he’s taught it at Hillsdale just a few times.
“Negotiating is not just a unique business tactic. It is something we all do on a regular basis,” Norton said. “Doing it better can improve your life and the lives of those who rely upon you.”
Senior David Stone said he took the class to expand his education beyond textbook knowledge. Norton simplifies his real-world experience into basic principles students learn in the classroom. Through various negotiation exercises, the class teaches students how to put those principles into practice.
“His class makes you realize that there is so much more to any given situation than what initially meets the eye,” Stone said, “and that there is always more than one way to settle a negotiation without a 50/50 compromise.”
The history department offers several classes that extend beyond the study of the Western tradition. Professor of History David Stewart offers History of the Far East and a one-credit on Public History & Museum Studies.
The study of the far East expands our knowledge not only of world affairs but also of our own heritage, Stewart said. Studying museums, on the other hand, offers students new options for applying their majors.
“More people visit museums and national and state parks each year than view professional sports, visit theme parks, or watch television news,” Stewart said. “This means museums and parks are hugely significant in shaping Americans’ ideas about history, art, and science, and we ought to be prepared to engage with those venues.”
For students looking to add just one more credit to their schedules, the Collegiate Scholars Program offers diverse courses, from An Intro to Comparative Indo-European Linguistics to Ethics in Video Gaming. Non-CSP students can sign up in the registrar’s office a week after registration.
“I’d suggest just going for those wacky-sounding seminars,” Rachel Solomito ’17 said. “They usually pay off.”