Four Years of Laughter and Learning

Written by Victoria Barry

When asked about her past three years at Hillsdale College, Katie Summa reflects, “Hillsdale made me a whole person.” Katie explains how Hillsdale helped her to understand who she is in her entirety, with all of her various aspects. It is here that she was at last able to synthesize the different parts of herself into a unified whole.

Katie is a senior History major and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary and Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honorary. Her intention to study history was part of the reason the school initially attracted her attention. She also recognized that Hillsdale would “nurture her faith and education.” Katie appreciates Hillsdale’s environment, where she can integrate her faith into her learning and immerse herself in “thought-provoking ideas” proposed by professors and students alike.

Over the past three years, Katie has formed a deep friendship with Dr. Gaetano, one of Hillsdale’s admired history professors. Katie comments that the formation of Dr. Gaetano’s classes “equips students to learn how to get an education outside of the classroom.” Specifically, Katie finds “laughter and friendship” to be sources of knowledge and education outside of the classroom. Some of her most memorable moments consisted of staying up until four in the morning talking with close friends. In friendship, people are “pursuing something beyond us,” beyond themselves. In her Hillsdale friendships, Katie discovers the ability to connect with others and form a “communion of persons.” Fruitful conversation among friends can teach in a different and sometimes more meaningful way than reading a book ever could.

As a Student Ambassador, a Resident Assistant, and a faithful Bible Study leader, Katie displays her natural leadership abilities. Although her schoolwork and extra-curricular activities keep her exceptionally busy, Katie makes sure to set aside time for the development of her friendships and her faith. Her active participation in Hillsdale’s Catholic Society witnesses Katie’s strong faith, which her time at Hillsdale has significantly deepened.

With Hillsdale’s wonderful opportunities and programs, it is easy to be perpetually busy. Katie advises current and future students to resist this temptation and “focus your time here on academics and friends.” Rather than spending time and energy on attempting to impress people, Katie urges students to “pursue good things—friends and education—and fall in love with them.”

Victoria Barry is a junior majoring in English with a minor in Classical Education. She participates in Hillsdale’s Catholic Society, volunteers at Mary Randall Preschool, and is the vice-president of the A.A. Milne Society.