Why I Chose Hillsdale: Haley Hauprich
Written by Haley Hauprich
Up until now, I’ve always used that word to describe the house that I’ve lived in for the past 18 years, my small and close-knit high school, or the city of Phoenix, Arizona (which, if you didn’t already know, is a place about as un-Michigan as it gets).
So I think I stand with most college freshmen when I say that picking a new home was a little frightening, and occasionally disheartening. When I started visiting, their campuses never felt like real places. There were large, pretty buildings full of what seemed like an infinite amount of people, all detached and completely foreign to me, and maybe even to each other. I could walk in their halls and across their quads for a day and then go home, without leaving a trace of myself or taking anything meaningful back with me.
Hillsdale wasn’t, and isn’t, like that. People at Hillsdale will always remind you that they are real, whether they hold the door for you, or smile at you as you cross paths in the quad, or strike up a conversation with you when you are a high school junior nervously sitting in on a 300-level English class (like I was just two years ago). It feels familiar from the moment you set foot on the steps of Central Hall. Whether that’s due to its small size, or united purpose in the liberal arts, or the passion that its students have for forming meaningful relationships with their peers and professors, or all of these and more, I haven’t figured out yet. But for now, I’m content with just being grateful.
My new home doesn’t have the mild winters or the trendy new restaurants and shopping malls like my old one did. Having grown up in a large city, transitioning to a small town has been a little strange. It’s been difficult to adapt to life without a Chipotle within reasonable distance, but El Cerrito and taco Tuesday in Saga have held me over, as well as a roommate who loves salsa almost as much as I do. And as much as I miss my little corner in the Southwest, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here. For me, home has less to do with location and more with the memories and people that happen to inhabit a place. I chose Hillsdale because I knew I’d find the right people here, and so far my expectations have been exceeded. We’ll see if I stand by that statement when it’s -20 degrees out, but for now, this Arizonan couldn’t be happier.
Haley Hauprich is a freshman at Hillsdale College. This post is part of our “Freshmen Journey” series in which current freshmen write about their academic and student life experiences, and give their perspective on Hillsdale College.