Sarah Borger

Why I Chose Hillsdale College

Written by Sarah Borger

I don’t remember a lot from my first visit here. I can recollect the campus being really pretty, my feet hurting on my tour, interviewing with an admissions counselor whose name was also Sarah, and sitting in on Dr. Smith’s Dante class. While I don’t remember much aside from those bare bones memories, I can remember what it felt like to visit. There was a feeling of these are my people.  They were very academic and seemed to participate in a classical education much like what I was accustomed to, and they took learning seriously, aiming to grow, not just to survive. I remember this calming me. I also remember it worrying me. Is there more to Hillsdale than the academics? What about the community? Staying overnight in Olds soothed this worry, as I lay awake late into the night unable to sleep due to the High School Musical soundtrack being performed live in the lobby in preparation for Mock Rock. I was comfortable in the Lower Right prospective room. It felt like home. I wanted to be part of this place.

As I got ready the next morning, Olds girls greeted me, helping with the finicky Lower Right shower that I now know never to use, unless you enjoy washing your hair under a weak trickle. They seemed like a family. They joked with one another, groaned about the lengthy assignment of the day, and cheered one another on in the face of 8:00 a.m. exams.

The sense of family was a big part of why I chose Hillsdale. I suppose I didn’t completely realize this then, but I was seeking fellowship at college. Leaving home was something I was nervous about, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I moved into Hillsdale, I found a second home. Our hall turned into a family. We called our RAs “mother” and “father,” half in jest and half very honestly, and met for weekly SAGA family dinners. Together we won the Christmas Decorating Contest (courtesy of five hundred hand-cut paper snowflakes), crammed into the little floor space we had for a pizza party, watched children’s movies in one room, played murder mystery games in another two, dressed up as Batman, the Beatles, and a rather lumpy pumpkin for Halloween, and popped 367 birthday balloons for stress relief.

We laughed together. We bemoaned Hell Week together. We cried together and ate chocolate together and even called home together. My hallmates helped me study. My roommate and I suffered through an end-of-semester paper till 5:00 a.m. while another hallmate stayed up to cheer us on and make sure we weren’t writing complete nonsense. I could open up my heart to them and they would take care of it, and I could discuss ideas I was wrestling with, and they would be there to work through them with me. We puzzled our way through the first year knowledge dump. We struggled to rejoice in the challenge of Hillsdale and comforted one another when the challenge was a little too much.

I didn’t know when I visited Hillsdale that all this would happen. But that feeling of home I remember so well drew me to the Hillsdale community, where I could then discover the fellowship that academics, faith, and community life, when combined, can bring. That fellowship is why I chose Hillsdale.

Sarah Borger, ’19, is an English major.