The people most likely to give a creative review of Hillsdale College are not renowned architects or art connoisseurs. They’re kids. I turned to eight kids aged 4 to 7, each one a child of a Hillsdale College professor, to discover what Hillsdale College looks like through young eyes.
What do college professors do all day?
According to 3‑year-old Elizabeth Gaetano, daughter of associate professor of history Matthew Gaetano, her dad dresses up to get fancy before going to work and checking papers in the work printer.
“He has to get dollars so we can eat cake and ice cream,” Elizabeth said.
Six-year old Marie Gaetano explained that in order to get money, her dad has to check papers.
“So first of all, everyone gets a piece of paper then writes on it,” Marie said. “They give it to Daddy and there’s a little post thingy and they put it in there. Daddy takes it out, puts it in an office, and checks it. He gives it back to the students. Then, after that, if they did anything wrong they give it back to Daddy and if it’s wrong they give it back and it keeps going and going.”
She said the students write about important stuff like going to the library or quitting college. She said her dad probably says to them, “No, no! You can’t quit!”
According to 6‑year-old Ramsey Stoneman, son of Ethan Stoneman, assistant professor of rhetoric and public address, his dad goes to work and does “computers, coffee, and maybe some peanuts.” His dad teaches “about reality and stuff.” Ramsey and his 4‑year-old sister Veera Stoneman tell people that their parents are “doctors of thinking.”
Six-year-old Evelyn Servold, daughter of Maria Servold, assistant director of Dow Journalism Program, said she thinks her mom’s daily activities include grading and teaching students how to make newspapers.
Seven-year-old Margaret Schlueter, daughter of professor of philosophy Nathan Schlueter, said she knew her dad taught philosophy, although she clarified she had no idea what that meant.
What is Hillsdale College like?
To the youthful eye, the architecture of Hillsdale College may appear to be more colorful than the limestone brickwork visible to most adults.
According to Elizabeth, her dad works in a tower with princesses and knights.
Veera said Hillsdale College looks like “a pink and purple hospital,” to which her brother Ramsey replied, “well, you are fixing people’s brains.”
Margaret took a more realistic approach, and said Hillsdale College looks like a big building and has many desks, just like the classrooms at her school.
“It’s next to the new chapel,” Margaret said. “Sometimes, at his window we would shout and he would open his window and throw candy down.”
What are college students like?
While it was difficult for some of the kids to describe their parents’ jobs, they were very knowledgeable on the day-to-day lives of college students.
Marie said she thinks her dad, who she guessed was 83, teaches 50-year-old students. Margaret and her 5‑year-old sister Judith, on the other hand, figured most college students were probably about 14. Ramsey guessed “20 and 50,” while Veera just counted from 1 to 5.
Apart from making newspapers, 4‑year-old Lizzie said she was unsure as to what college students learn about. She said she thought college students likely studied things similar to what she learns about at school.
“I learn how to make noodle necklaces like I did today,” Lizzie said. “I learn about letters and numbers.”
According to Marie, college students know everything and read many books, including the Bible and “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” Evelyn said college students learn math facts and read books, most likely with no pictures.
Judith said she doubts college students learn about anything other than philosophy.
“Really funny story about philosophy,” Margaret said. “Judy has two cavities and she came in and said ‘guess what?’ and Helen said ‘what?’ and she said ‘I ate philosophy.’ It was actually floss.”
“No, I had floss,” Judith said with a laugh. “Why would I eat philosophy?”
Marie said she thinks college students probably go outside and play football for fun. “I’ve seen a lot of grownups play,” she said. “They play soccer and all kinds of sports. In winter they like to play snowball fights. Maybe they can make a little igloo cave.”
While Margaret was thinking about what games college students play with their friends, Judith yelled, “big red strawberry!” and the two set off giggling.
“They play checkers and they play cards,” Margaret said.
When asked what college students do for fun, Lizzie said they “play with their kids that they have at home.” Evelyn said college students “play games like ping pong” for fun. Judith said college students “work on philosophy” for fun.
Do you want to go to college?
When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Lizzie said a superhero, an astronomer, and a mom. Evelyn said she hoped to become an artist. Marie said she doesn’t want to go to college because she wants to read books with pictures, which she figured she is not likely to find at college. Elizabeth said she wants to go to college so she can be with her dad during the day. Judith said she didn’t want to go to college because it sounded like a lot of work.
“My favorite animal is a horse and I want to be a horse rider,” Margaret said. “You have to live out in the prairie and can have one only if they’re really really well trained.”
“Margaret’s my horse,” Judith said.
When asked for further comment on her mom’s job, Lizzie gave some astute advice.
“Sleep at night time,” she said.