Why I Chose Hillsdale: Anne Hotz, ’18
Written by Anne Hotz
For a long time, I thought my Hillsdale story wasn’t much of a story at all. Since middle school I had been familiar with the College and its mission due to a number of family friends who had attended. The more closely I looked into Hillsdale, the more I was intrigued. I knew that I wanted to be an English major (a dream begun in seventh grade), and the prospect of intense upper-level English classes and an education based in the West’s rich heritage thrilled me. Those who told me about Hillsdale used phrases like “self-government,” “civil liberty,” and “the good,” which I certainly didn’t understand. Yet something about them compelled me in a way I couldn’t explain.
On the way home from my only high-school visit to Hillsdale, I told my parents that I wanted to be a Hillsdalian. But even then I couldn’t quite express what it was that had drawn me. Though I now adore Hillsdale’s stunning campus, during my visit I only noticed the chilly March rain. Being an introvert, I was nervous to stay in a dorm alone, and I thought that my interactions with my temporary roommate were awkward. I was tired and overwhelmed, even though my parents were staying only a block away. Still, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the generosity and kindness of the residents of Olds during my visit. I’m sure they could have been spending time on dozens of other activities and assignments, but several girls invited me to watch Pride and Prejudice in the girls-only movie room. I don’t think we even finished the movie, and I don’t remember any of their names, but four years later, I vividly remember how loved I felt in Olds.
This theme was repeated throughout my visit, and I could tell that the admissions representatives, students, and faculty genuinely cared about each other and about me. As I participated in other activities during my visit, I kept hearing those words: “liberal arts,” “habits of mind,” and “great books.” I still couldn’t pin down exactly what they meant or what they meant to me, but I felt inexorably drawn to something higher. Had I not encountered those great ideas in the context of loving, caring Hillsdalians, who knows what my decision might have been?
Today I’m a junior at Hillsdale, and over the last three years, I’ve been unbelievably blessed to call this incredible place home. Not only am I taking those upper-level English classes that I dreamed about for years, but I think I finally understand why I came to Hillsdale. I came because I wanted to know that eudaimonia isn’t just a word meaning happiness but an idea leading to so much depth and reflection about what it means to live a good life. I came because I wanted to know that a novel isn’t just a book but an expression of human nature that is incredibly compelling and universal precisely because it is particular. I came because I wanted to know that a Michigan town surrounded by cornfields and bright leaves would mean more to me than I could ever imagine. I came because I wanted to know that Hillsdale students are smart, but they’re also growing in wisdom daily. And every time a classroom discussion spills over outside the door and down the sidewalk to the dining hall, I recognize the incomparable mixture of knowledge and camaraderie, and I know why I chose Hillsdale.
Anne Hotz, ‘18, is an English major and Classical Education minor from Lincoln, Nebraska. She is passionate about C.S. Lewis, musicals, British novels, sweaters, and hedgehogs.