Erin Koch

Hillsdale, Honor Codes, and High Heels

Written by Erin Koch

My first steps on campus were in seventh grade for a Science Olympiad competition. I was prepared after months of practice for the geology tests and bottle rocket design events I would be competing in. Outfitted in khaki pants and tennis shoes, I was ready to take on the day. Little did I know that those sneakers and khakis were preparing me for a pair of high heels and a pencil skirt just five years later.

By the time I was a senior in high school, beginning to search for colleges, Hillsdale wasn’t my first choice. It was always my backup plan, but as I began to investigate, I realized that many people in my life had connections with the College. My middle-school gym teacher: Hillsdale graduate. My high-school Bible study leader: Hillsdale graduate. My violin teacher’s brother: Hillsdale graduate. Even the woman I was babysitting for was a Hillsdale College graduate. My AP economics teacher spoke highly of the Hillsdale education during class. My dad was reading Imprimis. Hillsdale was everywhere.

So I visited the College and hoped to find out what the talk was all about. My first official visit was with my mom, and we toured the campus, interviewed with the admissions office, and explored the option of applying to Hillsdale. I was intrigued by the tangibility of the Honor Code on campus, which saturated students’ lives rather than stop at their academic integrity. I decided that a place with that kind of integrity could be a place for me.

My first visit to campus ignited me to schedule a second, an overnight visit, to get a true feel of what the campus was like as a student. I had driven myself to campus on a Sunday, taken the next day off of school, and was feeling as independent as could be. I walked up the stairs of Central Hall and patiently awaited my student ambassador. The genuine excitement and welcoming spirit that my ambassador exuded made me feel at home. The day I spent with her was insightful, and further secured that Hillsdale was where I wanted to be.

The next morning came, and as I walked up the hill to Central Hall to speak with admissions yet again, it happened. A Monday on campus, better known by sorority women as “pin day,” when each member on campus wears business casual attire to outfit the pin of her particular sisterhood. I was intimidated. Picturing myself walking in heels was the equivalent of watching a newborn foal take its first steps. I couldn’t keep up with these girls! They had it all together, obviously stated by their choice in footwear.

However, the apprehension of the sorority girls’ outfits spurred a thought: not only did these women take pride in their appearance, but evident by their attire, they also took their education seriously. The way in which they presented themselves was graceful, poised, and showed respect for not only themselves but the education they were receiving. The heels weren’t pretentious or vain. They were composed. And that’s when I decided that the respect displayed on campus was what I wanted to be a part of.

I finished my walk up to admissions and promptly told Mrs. Braman that I was excited to be back in the fall. As I drove back home to announce the decision, I began making a list of items to add to my wardrobe that would emulate the respect I’d gained for the institution that would educate me more than I could have ever known.

Erin Koch, ’19, is a marketing management major. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her sorority sisters, hiking, and playing tennis.

Published in June 2018