Hillsdale – First Impressions

August 26, 2008

I moved into my room on Thursday, August 21. I only had a chance to drop off my stuff and then I had to take off and go to a camp about ten minutes down the road for the Honors Program annual fall retreat.

 

I spent Thursday-Saturday at a retreat with the Honors program, which I really enjoyed. Though we had a lot of free time at the retreat to roam around the camp at will and play frisbee/water slide/hike, the lectures each day were engaging. The topic was on the Inklings (see Wikipedia for explanation), C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The breakout groups  focused on collaborative learning. We wrote short stories and read them aloud to the group and praised, gave criticism, and edited the stories as a group and then focused on one story out of the group to really focus on and then read aloud to the entire group. (The entire Honors program here only has a little over 90 students combined, but that was intimidating for the reader nonetheless.) I got a lot out of it. Great retreat. The upperclassmen were very nice and very helpful. I feel great about being part of the program.

 

After getting back to Hillsdale on Sunday, I was able to drive around and see where everything is in town and where the stores are. I met my roommate, Robert, and lots of other people and finally got my room situated. I got my orientation materials and got my photo ID and picked up the books at the bookstore that I was not able to buy elsewhere for cheaper. Then came Freshman Convocation. Convocation was on East Lawn and it was a neat event. The chairs and speaking platform were set up in the middle of a grove of very large and old trees. Very nice day. In fact, all of the days so far up here have been pretty fair. There were a few people set up playing string instruments and there was a light breeze. I will spare you the rest of the details, but in short, a few students spoke and the president of the college spoke and nearly the whole faculty showed up in robe. 

 

The freshmen and their parents had to split ways at that time and the freshmen went to meet their mentors and their advisors (I had already met mine because the honors students have the program director as their advisor and a student in it for their mentor, which is nice). We had a dinner with some upperclassmen and then dorm activities (ultimate frisbee). 

 

On Monday, breakfast was early and then the freshman had to meet at different times to listen to speakers and other activities. The major thing was that we had to attend a dinner with the greek houses and then we all went and met professors and ate dessert at the President’s house. Yes, all 380 of us. It was fun. I met a lot of new people and professors, none of whom I have but two I had met at FEE this summer which was cool to talk to them again. Later in the evening was a “Welcome Party” which consisted of food and very loud entertainers named the Dueling Pianos. Some people danced, but I spent most of my time, as did a lot of other people, taking to upperclassmen about life at Hillsdale, professors, and classes. This is when I realized that I needed to talk to a math professor and get into Calc II because I had already covered Calc I in high school. 

 

After a long morning running around campus getting signatures and advice about my schedule from professors, I finally got my schedule ironed out. Luckily Hillsdale is making this entire process streamlined through their website starting next semester. Anyway, I learned that I could not move into Calc II because the only section was the same time as my Honors Western Heritage which cannot be switched. So the math department suggested that I drop Calc I and pick up Physics 201 in order to fulfill some requirements. Physics 201 is for students who had physics in high school and uses calculus in it, so I will not be going a semester entirely without math. Then I can pick up Calc II next semester since there will be more sections available. With the addition of physics and dropping calc I, my total credit hours were 18 so I was advised to drop U.S. Constitution so that my load was just a little lighter and so that I could focus on the honors courses and the higher level physics course. According to the upperclassmen (even the ones who have done very well), the courses here are actually very difficult. That would explain why my advisor, Dr. Raney, wanted me to go down to 15 credits. I guess I will see on Wednesday when classes start.

 

Oh, a note on the meals. I was told that the food here sucks, but what I have eaten here the last three days ranged from okay to pretty good. There always seems to be something that I like in one of the sections of SAGA. SAGA by the way is the name of the dining facilities.

 

So here is my updated schedule: 

  • University Physics, Dr. Smith, MWF 8:00 – 9:00 a.m., Strosacker 120
  • University Physics Lab, Dr. Smith, MW 3:00 – 4:50 p.m., Strosacker 112
  • German, Dr. Reisch- MWF 9:00 – 9:50 a.m., T 8:30 – 9:20 a.m., Lane 234
  • Honors Rhetoric & Great Books, Dr. Freeh- MWF 1:00 – 1:50 p.m., Lane 125
  • Honors Western Heritage, Dr. Siegel- MWF 10:00 – 10:50 a.m., Kendall 237

 

Yes, that is correct. Only one course on Tuesday and nothing on Thursday. That is okay though. I will be loaded up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes to make up for it. Tuesdays and Thursdays will most likely be study and homework days. I have yet to take photos around campus. I will soon and post a few so that everyone can see how beautiful it is here!

I am off to get books together and then go to bed. Physics at 8 a.m. tomorrow.