Girl working at laptop

A Passion for Learning, On Campus and Off

Written by Allison Schuster

I came to Hillsdale College because it defies the norm in its unshakeable pursuit of learning. Students, professors, and staff share in this passion, and, as I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand, it’s what drives their daily work.

In high school, I worked hard with the hope of achieving something tangible. A good GPA leads to acceptance into an esteemed university that produces a well-paying, respected job that will help my future children repeat the same process, or so I thought.

When I visited all the small liberal arts schools in the midwest that I thought would be the next step in my success sequence, almost all of them touted job placement rates, average salary after graduation, and other tangible figures. My student ambassador at Hillsdale, however, spoke of the College’s “rigorous” core curriculum, strong honor code, and incredible relationships between students and professors.

Additionally, she and all the other students I observed during my visit were passionate about what they learned, as evidenced by the library. The library gains its nickname from Dante’s “The Inferno,” taught in freshman English class, and a copious amount of students can be found there at any given moment, mixing work and pleasure by studying with friends. These students find value in study itself rather than as a channel to a job. Their love for their education alone is not only evident but contagious, as I found myself craving this uniquely-held passion while visiting the College for the first time.

Since coming to Hillsdale, I’ve grown to understand how and why people are passionate about their education. In inclement weather or perceived social crisis, Hillsdalians value their education enough to continue. Through the trials of 8 a.m. classes, cramming for exams, and running on hardly any sleep, students and professors persist and become stronger and more joyful. In spite of social convention, students’ passion for their work pushes them forward.

Hillsdale refused to close classes due to cold weather conditions for a period of almost twenty years, until 2019 when the safety of students and faculty warranted a single-day hiatus for unprecedented, freezing cold weather. On federal holidays such as Labor Day and President’s Day, when most other institutions cancel class, Hillsdale conducts business as usual.

When all other colleges closed their campuses due to the outbreak of coronavirus, Hillsdale College proceeded reluctantly.

I miss learning in fellowship with friends and professors on campus, including essays, midterms, and all nighters. It is times like these, however, that we students can more fully realize our love of learning.

Allison Schuster, ’21, studies Politics and Journalism. She currently serves as the Associate Editor of The Collegian and co-hosts a show for Radio Free Hillsdale. When she’s not polishing her journalism skills, Allison is often found singing at Penny’s or spending time with her Kappa sisters.

Published in April 2020