What It Means to Be a Hillsdale Senior
Written by Corinne Prost
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” —Winnie the Pooh
For the current graduating class, it appears that the first semester on campus wasn’t all that long ago, yet looking back suggests that the person you recall was a version of you from an entirely different lifetime. As a senior looking back, your four years might have gone a little like this:
Freshman. At freshman convocation, everyone is rustling with the energy of what’s to come. The students you meet come across as much older and wiser, and they’re all friendly to these new faces. It’s exciting. It is a whirlwind adventure of new beginnings and opportunities, gone faster than you can process it all. You are flushed and blinking in disbelief like a runner at the end of his race as you pack away your dorm room to head home. It is the very “fresh” in freshman that you’ve experienced, and before you know it, you’re onto the year of the “wise fool”…
Sophomore. You’re wiser to the significance of your course load, and perhaps more adept at managing it, but you’re still young enough to make those mistakes crucial for growing. Still, you’d like to think you’re much wiser than you are. Hence the sophomore slump. You think you know what’s expected of you and where you’re supposed to be headed, but you’re progressing about as fast as a West Coast freshman shuffling along on her first patch of Midwest black ice. This year slows down a bit, but before you’re ready for it, you’re a…
Junior. It’s the height of your college experience—you’re transitioning into those classes specific to your major, which feels a bit easier because it’s what you enjoy learning specifically, but the workload is definitely similar. Perhaps you are now a rising leader or significant team player in those sports, clubs, jobs, or other activities you’ve accumulated hours in since The Source. The year speeds by as you find your groove in what interests you most. Summer comes in an oddly quick blur, bypassing spring just after winter break ends, and suddenly you’re a…
Senior. While you don’t feel much older, you’re actually the same age as those you once thought so mature and sure of themselves. With post-graduate plans looming in the future and many decisions to be made, you attempt to soak in the last of your college experience. All the while, you wonder if the incoming freshmen look up to you the way you used to look up to the seniors from your freshman year.
In a classic move of sentimentalism, I reached out to some of this year’s most impactful seniors on campus. While many outside their class know them as friends or mentors, they are especially notable among us as our leaders.
Club Soccer Facilities Manager • Chi Omega Advisor Relations, Philanthropy Chair • Football Team Student Athletic Trainer Assistant • All Women Bible Study Group Leader & Founder • Football Junior Recruitment Day Coordinator • Youth Soccer Team Coach
Advice to Freshman Self: You do not need to be everything for everyone. DO NOT WORRY SO MUCH. Worrying probably stole most of my brainpower freshman year. You will get a job, you will have friends, and you will have joy. Pray way more. Encourage others like crazy! Cheering for the person next to you will not take away from your own success.
How Your Four Years Grows You: Over the past four years, I have grown in so many ways. People say they “changed” so much from the beginning of college to the end of college, but I like to think that I just enhanced who God already made me. These last four years I have grown so much in my love for Jesus, which I would have never thought could happen in a college setting, but God likes to work in unconventional ways, I guess. I also grew in confidence: in myself and in the people around me. I learned that I am capable of some pretty awesome things, and that people do show up and will be there for you when you need them most.
What Will Be Missed Most: Being around all the amazing people here. We are so blessed at Hillsdale to be surrounded by the highest caliber of individuals. Every person I have met these last four years has impacted me and helped me grow, and that you can’t get anywhere else.
Simpson Dorm Head RA • A Few Good Men CEO • ODK Leadership Honorary
How Your Four Years Grows You: I have grown in countless ways over the past four years. My leadership positions have taught me numerous things from conflict resolution to event planning. Just having a busy schedule has taught me time and stress management. Obviously, I have grown intellectually from my classes. And most importantly, I have grown in my faith immensely from the Christian community and challenging experiences I have encountered here.
What it Means to Be a Senior: Being a senior is setting the example and being the standard for students across campus. The consequences of your decisions are not relegated to yourself; they effect all the students around you and especially those younger than you, who look to you for a role model.
Most Important College Lesson: Character.
Hillsdale Collegian Reporter, Editor-in-Chief • Hillsdale OPC Sunday School Teacher, Nursery Volunteer • Hillsdale Preparatory Academy GOAL Tutor • Hillsdale OPC Women’s Bible Study • Praxis • Hillsdale College Admissions Office Student Ambassador • Faith & Works Book Study Founder, Leader • WHIP
Advice to Freshman Self: Don’t spend so much time worrying about what people think of you— and you don’t have to get to know everyone on campus.
Most Important College Lesson: One thing a student can gain is a better sense of your place in the world. College should teach you your strengths and your weaknesses, where you should devote your time and energy—and where to let others lead.
What Will Be Missed Most: It’s cliche, but I will miss the people here. Professors and peers have had a great influence on my life here, challenging me to be a better person and encouraging me along the way. In general, the community at Hillsdale is caring and intentional and sets high standards. I will miss that after I graduate.
Outstanding Senior Man 2019 Nominee • Niedfeldt RA, Head RA • Intervarsity’s SOMA Co-Head • Jitters Student Manager • Niedfeldt Homecoming Director • Dorm Bible Study Leader • Homecoming King
What it Means to be a Senior: Seniors have the unique and short experience of knowing a majority of the student body and classes while also trying to figure out where to go from here. I have found it quite valuable and meaningful to spend time pouring into my classmates and those in classes below me. During my freshman year in Simpson, multiple senior men lived in the dorm, and my sister had a large number of senior friends whom I had the privilege of knowing. It meant worlds that various senior men and women took time out of their busy schedules to spend time with me during my freshman year. After always looking up to the senior class, I have the opportunity to show my younger friends what I have found important at Hillsdale by living life alongside them in the dorm.
The Important Things in College: My belief and trust in Jesus Christ has been the most important
thing to me during my time at college. He is the most true, valuable, and defining thing I have ever encountered.
Most Important College Lesson: College students should put themselves in a position, wherever they end up, where they can grow in community toward the betterment of themselves, service of others, and a devotion to God. Many times, college students grow more self-centered in college, but actively use this time to serve others and put yourself into situations that challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone. Do not waste your time here. Push yourself and strive to make the most of every situation.
Camerata Student-Led Orchestra • Buddy Bowling Volunteer • Adopt-a-Grandparent Volunteer • Orchestra Principal Flute • Flute Ensemble Principal Flute • HCCAP Goal Leader • Contact Center Team Leader • Grosvenor House Museum Volunteer • Pi Delta Phi French Honorary • Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary • Middle Eastern Club Event Marketer
Advice to Freshman Self: Get more sleep! Not very profound, I know, but honestly, I wish people would have told me that more often. Everything goes better when you’re not staying up till 2:00 a.m. every night!
Most Important College Lesson: I think college can be a time of great personal growth and getting to know who we are. You’re probably not going to come out knowing exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, feeling like you’re an expert in whatever you majored in, or thinking you’re going to have no problem transitioning to living on your own, but if you know yourself, those types of things will follow. In college you have this amazing opportunity to try all kinds of different things and see if you like them. You can see how you react in new situations and in ones where you’re very comfortable. How do you respond to criticism and failure? How about success? These are all things that we experience in high school, but we change so much in college that I think we have to re-learn them to some extent.
What Will Be Missed Most: Definitely the people. You just can’t match them.
Corinne Prost, ’19, is an American studies major and rhetoric minor. She dreams to one day own a library so extensive that it rivals the one from Beauty and the Beast.
Published in March 2019