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Chandler Lasch | Col­legian

Three papers due by mid­night, two tests the week before finals (who does that?), and, of course, don’t miss class because this material will be 50 percent of the final. Welcome to Hell Week at Hillsdale College, a time when we all ask our­selves, does strength really rejoice in the chal­lenge?

With finals right around the corner, the library is packed more than it has been all semester and sleep schedules land in the toilet. Student stress is at an all-time high. I’ve expe­ri­enced this phe­nomenon for the past three years, and there seems to be a natural order of things: Too much work and too little time.

The end of the semester is a time filled with bleary-eyed stu­dents sleep­walking through their lives, praying they make it home for Christmas.

But that’s not all that Hell week and finals bring to campus.

This isn’t a cliche pep-talk to remind 1,400 stu­dents that every­thing is going to be okay. It is a reality check. To my peers, I’m right there with you. I have papers due, finals to study for, extracur­ricular com­mit­ments, and not nearly as much time as I wish I had.

But I also have much more. I am blessed to be a student at a college that values truth. Here at Hillsdale, we’re sur­rounded by fellow stu­dents and pro­fessors that earnestly believe in the value of pur­suing the higher things in life. I don’t love studying for finals or painstak­ingly revising term papers that I should have started weeks earlier, but I do love the eternal things that I am studying. As post-graduate life nears, I know that the coming decades will rarely give me the oppor­tunity to pour over C.S. Lewis, Friedrich Hayek, Fyodor Dos­to­evsky, and Winston Churchill for hours on end. This oppor­tunity is a blessing not to be taken lightly.

To the freshmen tackling Hell Week and finals for the first time: Your class is sup­posed to be the smartest that has ever tra­versed this campus, but guess what? You’re going to be chal­lenged and, more likely than not, knocked down. That’s normal — it’s a place every Hillsdale student has been at more than a few times throughout their time here. But the chal­lenges you are sure to face over these last two weeks are just the beginning of a journey that will hope­fully help you grow into a fuller, more com­plete human being. at’s why you are here. at’s why you chose Hillsdale College, of all places.

During my time here, rarely have I been accused of being the smartest, most accom­plished person in any room. But I have picked up a small scrap of wisdom along the way (four years seems too short a time to learn all the lessons Hillsdale has to offer).

Thank­fully, amidst the sleepless nights of cramming and hasty paper writing, I’ve come to under­stand what my student ambas­sador told me four short years ago: A Hillsdale edu­cation is about the cul­ti­vation of your soul in order to live well; it is about preparing yourself to live a life that is edi­fying not just to yourself, but to those around you, too; and ulti­mately, it’s about under­standing what it really means to be human.

Hillsdale stu­dents are not defined by the GPA’s on our resumes or the cords we donat grad­u­ation. Such things are admit­tedly of great impor­tance, but they are not ulti­mately what we will remember when we fondly look back on our college years. Rather, we will remember the small moments we shared with our peers and, hope­fully, the lessons of great thinkers that we couldn’t quite t into a study guide.

Friends, embrace the chal­lenge of finals, study hard — and most of all, try to learn a thing or two along the way.

Erik Halvorson is a senior studying eco­nomics.