If I had a penny for every time I heard Hillsdale referred to as “the conservative Harvard,” I could build another Chapel. As senior year comes to a close, it is impossible to challenge the incredible education that Hillsdale gave me and my peers.
Even as I grumbled through baby chemistry as a Bachelor of Arts student, I never doubted the value of a well-rounded education. Our parents, the administration, and strangers who spot our Hillsdale gear in the airport and yell “I get Imprimis!”, never hesitate to applaud our one-of-a-kind education. Truly, Hillsdale has offered edification unlike any undergraduate institution in our country. However, as we leave campus, for good or for summer, it is important to consider other things that contribute to a good education. There are things Hillsdale taught us that we ought to carry; things that can fall by the wayside amongst the undiluted praise of Hillsdale supporters.
There is incredible value in setting aside books and papers and going out and living life and participating in those things that are not strictly academic. Hillsdale is a place of learning, but there is much to be learned outside of the pages of a book. After all, things in books had to, at some point, be observed and absorbed to then be catalogued and critiqued. It seems that Aristotle had to go out into the world and love and be loved and see love to be able to categorize it.
Seniors aren’t the only ones faced with the opportunity to grab life by the horns. In fact, underclassmen can and should start using their education now. There are so many other worthwhile things to spend time on at Hillsdale that don’t present you with a grade at the end of semester, but are just as important to a well-rounded education.
Extracurriculars provide a real platform on which to interact with the ideas we learn about in lectures. Societies and clubs not only create community, essential to good learning, but also teach students how to manage multiple tasks and relationships at once. However, extracurriculars are not just for the purpose of self-gratifying resume building. They are a way to selflessly contribute to the Hillsdale community and make a difference in our world. Sure, an incredible GPA is impressive, but if you don’t donate your time to a club or throw yourself into a GOAL program, you will come to realize you have wasted your time at Hillsdale.
God created an incredible world and blessed us with a strong community. There is more to experience than can be found at a desk in the library on a Saturday night. No senior would say that you should boycott classes and turn in blank pages for your senior thesis — but, I will say that I remember each March for Life much better than I remember the evenings before my deadlines. There is excellence in friendship, and the ability to maintain good grades, but fulfilling extracurriculars is not something that should ever be undervalued. Rather, they should be celebrated.
Reaching out of the world of academia does justice to our education. The purpose of scholarship is to go and use it to make the world a better place. Frankly, a good GPA means less if it is the only thing that we, as students, have achieved during our time at Hillsdale. Education is not in itself an end; it is the means by which we learn to better serve God. Being involved in extracurriculars is serving others. It’s supplementing your grades and learning in a way that benefits campus and our greater community. Don’t wait until you have a diploma in your hands to start using your education.