What to Do During Your Last Few Days at Hillsdale

Written by Brynn Elson

At the end of my first semester at Hillsdale, I booked a flight home for Friday of finals week, not realizing that all four of my finals fell on Monday and Tuesday. Though the process of preparing for and taking several exams in a short period of time was stressful, it was worth the free time that came after Tuesday evening. Thanks to my scheduling slip-up, I had three whole days to wander around campus with almost nothing to do.

The extra time that I accidentally bought myself allowed me to explore campus in a way that I never had. Without the stress of finals weighing on my shoulders, I was in the right mindset to relax and enjoy Hillsdale. Obviously, you don’t need to clear half a week to end your semester on a high note like I did. It’s still possible to fit some of these activities into a single day (or a single afternoon)!

To start off your day, pick up your favorite drink from AJ’s or Penny’s, and savor it slowly. Coffee shouldn’t just be fuel for your all-nighters! If you don’t feel like sitting while you sip your drink, take it to go for one last walk through campus. You might be surprised by what you notice when you’re not hurrying from one class to another.

Spend a leisurely morning with a book. Being somewhat of a nerd, I took a bit of extra time to finish the reading assignments that I never got to during the semester (we all miss reading assignments from time to time, right?). If you’re genuinely interested in a subject, it could be worthwhile to crack open the textbook and read those last few pages.

At noon, grab one last Saga lunch with your friends. I won’t miss the insanity of the overcrowded dining hall, but I will miss eating sweet potato fries with my friends in our favorite booth. With summer break stretching in front of you, you might be concerned about the prospect of missing your friends. Take advantage of your last afternoons on campus, and lounge on the Quad or go for a walk around campus with friends.

Use up the last of your Charger Change! Charger Change (a component of the meal plan that students can spend on food) doesn’t carry over from one academic year to the next, and students start spending money very quickly once they realize they have to burn through $98 in three days. Typically, AJ’s, Penny’s, and the Old Snack Bar see a huge surge in patronage in the last few days of the semester. It’s not uncommon for AJ’s to run out of ice cream, or for the snack bar to run out of chips, so you might want to burn through your Charger Change sooner rather than later. I once heard a rumor that five girls pooled their Charger Change to buy $300 worth of bagels from Penny’s.

To alleviate exam stress, load up a car with people and head to Baw Beese for the evening. By early May, the water just might be warm enough to swim in. Pick up snacks at Kroger on the way.

Alternatively, you could have a “fridge cleanout party” everyone shares the food they’re trying to get rid of, potluck-style. Crash a dorm kitchen and cook up one final meal together.

To cap off the day and the semester, pay one final visit to Christ Chapel. The chapel is open to students throughout the day, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding time to go in. Take this opportunity to thank God for the semester and pray for safe travels home. 

As Hillsdale students, we are “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” of civil and religious liberty. The end of the term, however, is a reminder that we should also be grateful for the inestimable blessings of our education—for the challenging papers, the headache-inducing exams, and above all, the people who work hard alongside us.

Brynn Elson, ’23, is a biochemistry major with a decent comprehension of the English language. She enjoys drinking coffee, playing the clarinet, and overcommitting to things. When she’s not studying (which is rare), you might be able to find her running (read: getting lost) on the back roads or complaining about Hillsdale’s lack of mountains.

Published in April 2021