Learning to Ask Questions
Written by Sarah Chavey
Though senior Jared Eckert spent many years growing up in Hillsdale, he wasn’t drawn to the college until a “shameless” Google search for top politics schools led him to Hillsdale College. He then began to seriously consider staying in his hometown for undergraduate studies.
Once on campus as a prospective, he immediately realized how different the college was from the town of Hillsdale—almost as though he were going to a new city. He wanted to make the best of the activities and intellectual opportunities the school offered while continuing to embrace the town he grew up in.
“Having been in the community, I wanted to stay in the community. Going to Hillsdale would give me four more years in the city. I loved what Hillsdale was doing and what it was, but I felt called to go here, regardless of what my major was. I felt God was really making this opportunity and opening the door, and this is where I wanted to go,” Jared said.
Despite his initial interest in Hillsdale’s politics, Jared was soon won over by the philosophy classes. Rather than providing answers, philosophy provoked questions.
“As a Christian, you can give me the answers about the big social issues in political debates. Why is gay marriage wrong or abortion wrong? You can tell me as a Christian, but the rest of the world doesn’t believe that. So I realized that my political concerns were really more philosophical concerns,” Jared said.
He dove into these types of questions in Dr. Nathan Schleuter’s ethical theory class but has found the entire major to be immersed in asking questions—both relevant to politics and simply to life. He believes if students would ask questions about politics rather than allowing their emotions to dictate their beliefs, there would be much less confusion. Philosophy and politics are closely connected, but philosophy doesn’t pretend to know the answers.
“The beauty of philosophy is that it’s not saying, ‘Here’s a list of answers,’ but, ‘These are questions, our questions,’ and figuring out how to answer them and making them my own has been a really great experience. These questions are not something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. We need to come to terms with these questions and realize why no one is asking them.”
His philosophy is indirectly associated with another of his loves: graphic design.
“Both are forms of art,” Jared said. “Writing an academic paper for a class (and enjoying it) and designing a poster are both forms of art, and they both involve a certain kind of thinking.” Jared’s graphic design interests have led him to work with Hillsdale’s Student Activities Board, External Affairs, Career Services, and other various campus groups that need help with graphic design.
Though Jared’s family has now moved from Hillsdale, Jared will remain in Hillsdale this summer working in the city’s economic development office with Mary Wolfram, wife of economics professor Dr. Gary Wolfram. This opportunity will allow him to embrace his background as a “townie” while making the most of his Hillsdale education.
Sarah Chavey is a music major from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She hopes to pursue journalism when she graduates in 2017.