I will come out of Hillsdale a different person
Written by Chandler Ryd
Imagine a mild spring day. Sunny, moist ground, soft shadows, and a spark of green across an otherwise muted lawn. Campus is quiet—there are small groups of friends stretching their legs after the winter, throwing a baseball, going for a walk. Clusters of curious prospective students traverse the walkways, exploring Hillsdale—the place they may decide to call home. These are the conditions under which I first met Claudia Sladick, a young woman whose experiences summarize what it means to be a freshman here on campus.
I met Claudia during the Leadership Weekend, an invite-only scholarship competition for well-rounded prospective students who can bring more to Hillsdale than just a high GPA. In catching up with Claudia, I learned what had drawn her to Hillsdale in the first place.
“It’s just so unique,” Claudia told me. “It’s amazing what Hillsdale tries to do through its students.” She was impressed by how the entire school—not just the professors—was willing to “ask the hard questions” and “get to the core of everything.”
Before coming here, Claudia attended a public school only slightly larger than Hillsdale in her hometown of Middleburg Heights, Ohio. After seeing her older sister attend a large state school, she decided that she wanted a “school where things happen” and where she feels like she matters. Hillsdale, Claudia knew, would deliver on both fronts.
After arriving on campus for freshman orientation, Hillsdale has been exceeding Claudia’s expectations. She aspires to study Politics and Economics and has already gotten involved in groups such as the Conservative Women’s Club and Praxis. Although dorm life has been a definite adjustment, she has some helpful RA’s and has not yet met anyone unwilling to help her with the transition. “Without a doubt,” Sladick says, “Hillsdale has been above and beyond.” She enjoys Hillsdale’s willingness to pursue truth and engage in the process, not simply chase after a result.
That’s not to say that the move into college has been easy. Claudia cites dorm life, especially, as being particularly different. She lives in Olds Residence, which has community bathrooms. At first, she was unsure about all of the sudden changes, but living in such close proximity to all of the other women on her hall, she says, “allowed me to meet people more easily.” Claudia added that moving in with a roommate whom she had never met before has not been an issue at all.
Along with living in the dorms, Claudia has noticed how seriously Hillsdale students take their academics. However, she has yet to feel the heavy workload, as her professors seem to be taking into consideration the fact that freshmen may not be ready for the full weight of Hillsdale’s academic rigor. “I see people stressing about tests and essays,” she says. “I’m just waiting for it to hit.” Sladick is currently taking thirteen credits between four classes: Western Heritage, Constitution, Political Economics, and Spanish.
“I’m confident that I will come out of Hillsdale a different person,” Claudia says. “I want to grow.”
Chandler Ryd is a freshman at Hillsdale College who is majoring in English. He is a Collegian Freelancer, creative writer, photographer, filmmaker, and craft root beer enthusiast.