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Lizzie and Evelyn Servold ponder their mother’s career.
Courtesy | Maria Servold

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.”

Eliz­abeth and Marie Gaetano bundle up for Hillsdale winter. Courtesy | Matthew Gaetano

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. 

Mar­garet and Judith Schlueter love col­lecting flowers.
Courtesy | Nathan Schlueter

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.