Why I Chose Hillsdale: Giannina Imperial

Why I Chose Hillsdale: Giannina Imperial

Written by Giannina Imperial

I’ll be brutally honest. I have little interest in politics, little desire to pick apart the brains of Aristotle or Socrates, and I had no interest in attending Hillsdale College as a senior in high school. My dream school was the University of Michigan, with a population of 45,000 and an extremely hectic, exciting, and thriving social atmosphere that I wanted to throw myself into. But I ended up here (which is good, by the way), and here’s why:

I was eagerly preparing to sign the next four years of my life away toward becoming a U of M Wolverine to study chemistry, and all that was left to do was to send in my deposit. Then I hit a bump in the road: Hillsdale College, located in small-town, rural, south-central Michigan, came into the picture. My parents loved it, and so did every radio talk show host they listened to. I figured I should indulge my parents and visit the campus, though in the back of my mind I considered the excursion quite pointless.

Everything changed. After exploring the beautiful campus, learning about the College’s history and culture, meeting the students and professors, and experiencing Hillsdale’s love for higher education, I knew that I was meant to be a Hillsdale Charger. (It didn’t hurt that Hillsdale was financially more forgiving than U of M, since I’m being honest with you.)  A few signatures and a handshake later, I lost my cynicism and was ready to start my new life pursuing what is good, true, beautiful, and eternal.  Since then (three years, many many classes, and a psychology major with a biology minor later), I’ve discovered that becoming part of this profoundly enriching institution was the best decision I could have made for myself.

Throughout my time here, I’ve discovered what higher learning is meant to entail: growth, struggle, the tearing down and building up of mindsets and concepts, developing a love for learning, discovering how to learn well, discarding the junk from my life, building lasting bonds with fellow students and professors, and a thirst for knowledge that I didn’t realize I was capable of. Through the lens of psychology and biology, Hillsdale has nurtured in me a desire to understand the human condition and experience, and to utilize the resources I have as a human being to touch the lives of others and the community I exist in. Even my involvement in the music program has fostered a mindset of humility and grace in performance and in all other aspects of my life.

Now I know that college is about more than bare activity and shallow aesthetics. It’s about finding truth. Though going to big flashy football games, crazy college outings, and being surrounded by thousands of people would have given me the excitement that I had pined for during high school, I discovered that those aspects of college life simply were not what I truly wanted—or needed—in my individual college experience. These aspects are neither wrong nor bad. But they would have left me unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

I’ll be a Hillsdale senior this fall. And you should know that I still don’t like politics, and I’m still not as interested in perusing the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers as others are. But that’s OK. I still love Hillsdale, and I’m learning what is important to living a good life: true happiness, unconditional love, persistent curiosity, and a desire for knowledge, truth, liberty, and justice for all.


Giannina ImperialGiannina Imperial, ’18, is a psychology major and biology minor from Jackson, MI. If she isn’t in the Psychology Suite running research participants or in AJ’s immersed in her biology textbooks, you’ll find her in the music hall for one of the dozen rehearsals she’ll have that day. She loves God, neuroscience, dancing like no one’s watching, getting ice cream with friends, and trying out every Filipino recipe in her mother’s arsenal of cookbooks.