College: A Time for Making Changes, Part 1

A Time for Making Changes

Written by Crystal Schupbach

How Exploring the Core Helps Find Your Passions

For many students, deciding on a major is not a clear path. Marcella Brylski ’20 began her time at Hillsdale anticipating that she may double major in mathematics and philosophy. When she had to complete the core language requirement, she chose Greek and liked it so much that she began the Greek major. However, she discovered shortly thereafter that her passion lay elsewhere.

“I always came back to Greek because I felt there was part of my brain not being worked,” she said.
While taking Dr. Jackson’s Anglo Saxon and Medieval Literature class, she learned that this same feeling could be satisfied while studying English. This was what she had been looking for: English was a way to incorporate all of her academic loves into one.

English embodied philosophy, included the logic and rigor of math, and capitalized on the close analysis utilized in learning Greek. Because English is a particularly philosophical department at Hillsdale College, she was able to feel like she wasn’t missing out on her passion. Marcella mentioned that not overcommitting at first was the key to finding the best fit. While the core can be daunting and appear limiting, there is space that can be used wisely.

“Don’t be afraid to try things, because it’s worth it to do the things you love,” she said. “Soon enough, as long as you’re being honest with yourself, you will figure it out.”

Changing Your Dreams Means Changing Your Discipline

Like many Hillsdale students, Victoria Schmidt ’21 entered freshman year with the intention of going into law through studying politics and history. When she was deciding on colleges, she thought that meant choosing between pursuing politics or her other love of biology and medicine. Since she chose Hillsdale, she thought she chose politics. When she started here, she invested her time into politics-related activities such as College Republicans, Federalist Society, and Praxis.

However, in the fall of her sophomore year she took Biology 101 with Dr. Johnson as part of the core, and she rekindled her love of science amidst her involvement in the political sphere of academia. She slowly started adding more science courses, even though she was three courses into politics and two courses into history. At the end of her sophomore year, she knew she was going to pursue a pre-med track. Even though she switched to a completely different major, her prior classes supplemented her new studies.

“In my chemistry classes now we’re referencing things I learned in those history classes,” she said. “The classes here blend together—they aren’t mutually exclusive.”

As a liberal arts school, Victoria said she believes Hillsdale balances the intersection of science and humanities perfectly.

“The whole point is to understand the broad picture. At the end of your core classes, you aren’t going to know everything about Western heritage or economics,” Victoria said. “But you’re going to know enough to have a good conversation.”

Even though Victoria decided to pursue biology during her sophomore year, she still plans on graduating on time after spending a few summers taking summer credits at her local community college to stay on track. After college, she is considering taking a gap year to get more medical experience as an EMT. Afterwards, her ultimate plan involves going into trauma-medicine through the military—the military has been part of her plan since she was ten years old.

“You can like everything but love one thing the most,” she said. “There’s nothing that should hold you back. If it takes you more time to get where you’re going, that’s a small price to pay to do what you want.”

Crystal Schupbach Crystal Schupbach, ’20, is a Michigan native studying psychology and journalism. A few of her favorite things include dogs, summertime concerts, and garage sales–in that order.

Published in November 2019