Student Callie Stoub reading a book

Sentimental Advice from a Hillsdale Senior: A Series

Written by Callahan Stoub

Dear Freshman Me,

Welcome to Hillsdale College: have fun, stay safe, take lots of pictures, and get ready for four years of life-changing experiences. You’ve made good decisions and bad decisions. You’ve missed opportunities and made the most of other moments. We’re all busy here, and it’s impossible to do everything, but there are some things you should know…

A few weeks ago, fifteen of my fellow history majors and I reminisced on our freshman year as we revisited the annotations in our Western Heritage readers for the senior capstone seminar. In our first week of class, we discussed “Pericles’ Funeral Oration,” a beautiful piece of rhetoric. It reminded us that modern society dissuades us from contemplating beauty, and instead it shapes us into cynical, pessimistic members of society. Hillsdale allowed us a brief reprieve in which we have learned to appreciate the virtues, actions, and character that are good in life.

Another common theme emerged: “Freshman me knew this was important but did not know why.” Perhaps it was a clue from the professor about what would be on the test that caused us to underline certain passages or something that stirred in our souls when certain words and phrases resonated with us. Since then, our classes in logic and rhetoric, great books, and even chemistry have helped us gain a better understanding of specific qualities to seek within a text, and taught us to notice important themes throughout our readings.

While revisiting our freshman year notes in the capstone class made me realize how much I have changed while at Hillsdale, an even greater change emerged when I dug out the old admissions essays I used to apply during my senior year of high school. Four years ago in my common application essays, I defined a liberal arts education as “an opportunity to learn a variety of subjects while tying them together in preparation for the real world.” Today, I define education as “the process in which students, teachers, and supporters gather together in a place of sound instruction in order to gain a better understanding of God.” Since I first stepped foot on campus, Hillsdale’s mission to develop the minds and improve the hearts of its students has transformed my outlook on the definition of education while undergoing the process itself.

Here I am, senior year, with a completely different perspective on Hillsdale College and why we gather together to study. I’ve learned a lot in my time here not just about history, philosophy, and academics, but also about relationships, opportunities, and community. Each time I gather with the familiar faces I have grown to know and respect over the past three years, I am reminded that our time here is limited and drawing to a close.

As I embark on my final year, there are a few pieces of advice I’d like to share with “Freshman Me.” Welcome to my journey reflecting on my time at Hillsdale as it comes to an end. Don’t forget to come back soon; I have someone I’d like to introduce to you.

Callie StoubCallie Stoub, ’21, hails from the Southwestern corner of Michigan, best known for its beaches along Lake Michigan, and studies history. When she’s not reminiscing on her time at Hillsdale, you may find her diagramming sentences for fun or experimenting with creative omelet recipes.

Published in October 2020