Why I Chose Hillsdale: Katarzyna Ignatik

Written by Katarzyna Ignatik

I’ve liked Anglo-Saxon poetry since high school. Usually, when I bring up this penchant of mine, people simply smile politely or give me bewildered glances. But when I brought it up as a prospective student visiting Hillsdale for the first time, I got a different response.

“Anglo-Saxon poetry!” a senior at my reserved dining table exclaimed. “I just took a class on Old English!”

They teach Old English here? I thought. That was incredible, and unexpected. I continued the conversation, saying, “I’ve read ‘Beowulf,’ ‘Elene,’ ‘Dream of the Rood—’”

At my last mention, the student was so overcome with enthusiasm that he pushed back his chair and clasped his head. “I wrote my thesis on ‘Dream of the Rood!’” he cried. “I’m so glad you mentioned that. It’s amazing!”

Now, I’d first heard of Hillsdale when I was just starting high school. My mom, who was extremely excited by the discovery of a potential college choice for me, told me about it. I researched Hillsdale to become better acquainted with its academics and values, and throughout high school it was always in the back of my mind.

It was early in my senior year that I finally visited the College on a homeschool-visit day, and I was impressed with the campus, the classes, the visit programming—but it was at that lunch table when I knew for sure that this was the college for me.

Finally, I’d found a place where I could tell people about my “nerdy” proclivities and not only see understanding but a shared passion. These were my kind of people, and this was my kind learning—learning that extended outside the classroom and permeated other aspects of life. These were people who were excited about the knowledge they were learning and truly loved it, instead of dismissing it as something they just needed to study dispassionately and conveniently forget later. These were people with a real understanding of and appreciation for the education they were getting. They wouldn’t simply complain about their studies; they would accept the challenge. After all, Hillsdalians know that virtus tentamine gaudet—“strength rejoices in the challenge.”

Hillsdale College was my first choice throughout the college application process, and now I get to attend the college I love. I’ve learned that, here at Hillsdale, everyone who is open to learning can truly become a better person.

Katarzyna IgnatikKatarzyna Ignatik is an English major in the class of 2020. She spends her time doing homework (of course), binge-reading, binge-writing, singing, and laughing at everything and anything. Talk to her about Tolkien, the 50s, or abstract philosophical concepts, and she’ll be perfectly happy.