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Hillsdale stu­dents enjoy taking classes outside of their majors. | Wiki­media Commons

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.”