Hillsdale College Tower Dancers

To Live Life, Not a Career

Written by Emily Depangher

“In the end, I think that we all want to know that our lives will not be defined by the career we have but by the strength of our character.”

An experienced dancer with a deep love for art history and design, Priscilla Larson exemplifies how a Hillsdale education prepares its students’ minds and hearts to look at the world critically and retain the truths they have learned inside and outside the classroom.

During her internship with a bridal designer in New York City last summer, she was confronted with a world of cutthroat competition and saw firsthand how her time at Hillsdale prepared her to stand her ground and live a life of truth both inside and outside of her work.

“I love the creative work and all the possibilities that come with the beautiful textures and colors of bridal design. However, it was interesting to be designing in the heart of one of the greatest fashion centers of the world. How do the ideals that Hillsdale promotes stand true in one of the most materialist, career-centered cities in the world? They become very small and insignificant.”

However, Priscilla did not succumb to this prevailing attitude of materialism. She considered how to live a life of truth in the face of it.

“In my classes I have found that a study of art gives us a better understanding of people, their dearest wishes, pursuits, values, and ideals. When we study art, our human sympathies increase, allowing us become more human in return.”

Priscilla demonstrates how lasting character requires a virtuous yet sympathetic approach to life—something the College teaches us through the core curriculum, the honor code, campus life, and so much more. Understanding that the dignity of the human person is rooted in Christ is essential to finding an ordered balance between work and life that enables us to chase after goals centered on sympathizing and loving other human beings.

Along with empathy, strength of character requires continued spirit and energy to pursue a life lived for others.

“My time in New York confirmed more than ever that life is so much greater than the career we choose. I hope to live life and not simply work in it, especially as I am recognizing that I will end up in a career where the timeless truths that Hillsdale upholds will be pushed aside for material goals. But I hope and pray that the education that I have received at Hillsdale, the friendships made, and lessons learned will help me live wisely and fully.”

Emily DePangher, class of ’16, plans to pursue a career in criminal justice in Washington, D.C. post graduation. As a George Washington Fellow and politics major, Emily has had the opportunity to participate in a myriad of political events while at the college. Furthermore, her participation in mock trial, volunteer hours at the local nursing home, and two summers spent living and working in DC have provided a host of real world experience that she highly values.