I guess it’s fitting that now, as I prepare to pack up and leave Hillsdale behind in just nine short months, I’ve started thinking about what it means to make a home. And I don’t mean the kind of “homemaking” where all of your furniture matches and the kitchen smells like cookies all the time. I mean that something odd happens when we make a place something more than a place, simply by calling it “home.”
This thought came about shortly after my roommates and I had moved into a white Victorian house on Fayette Street for our senior year. It’s beautiful and quirky, but most of all, it’s old; I was shocked to find on a real estate site that it actually had been built around 1890. Maybe that doesn’t seem all that remarkable, but to a girl like me from Arizona, where hardly anything stands from before 1970, it’s an incredibly humanizing thing. We are 21-year-olds inhabiting a place that has lived six times the life we have lived, and has seen so many people come and go through its red front door. Dinner was served here, laughter was shared here, and children grew up here. Signs that others have made this place a home in the exact same way that we are now can be found in the chips in the paint and worn spots in the carpet. Old homes bear their humanness in every corner.
And in that way, that makes my house a whole lot like Hillsdale. We move in our freshman year, confused and intimidated by the newness of it all, but we come to realize that it is only really new to us. Abolitionists, Civil War heroes, influential conservative thinkers, and just ordinary good people have helped create the place that was handed to us when we stepped onto campus for the first time. So whenever it becomes our turn to say goodbye to Hillsdale, we can know that we’re a part of the group of people who have never stopped making Hillsdale a home, even after they left. And we can feel comfortable leaving the door open on the way out — somebody good is always moving in.
Haley Hauprich is a senior studying English.