A senior's quest for the classics


Elizabeth performing in Sacred Heart’s production of Pygmalion. Elizabeth Bachmann ’17

While reading philosophers such as Homer, Sophocles, and Aristotle, Hillsdale College students focus their classroom discussions towards reforming American civic society. At Hillsdale, senior Elizabeth Bachmann will pursue the classics and major in a combination of American Studies, Philosophy, and Journalism, with a possible minor in Theater.
Hillsdale requires students to follow a Great Books program during the first two years of the undergraduate academic curriculum. The Great Books explore the realities of the human condition, and the greatest mysteries of the theological canon, according to thomasaquinas.edu.
“The primary reason to go to college is to grow and mature as a whole person by learning, not just about your major, but how to think. Hillsdale’s Great Books core tackles all of the enduring ideas and timeless questions from the Renaissance to the Modern Era through books and Art and I think it will teach me just that,” Elizabeth said. “I won’t just learn how to be a good doctor, or a good journalist or lawyer, I will first learn how to be a good and thoughtful person.”

Elizabeth performing in Sacred Heart’s production of Pygmalion.
Elizabeth Bachmann ’17

In the first year at Hillsdale, students take humanities courses such as “The American Heritage,” “Great Books in the Western Tradition: Ancient to Medieval,” and “US Constitution,” according to hillsdale.edu. These courses will provide students with an understanding of critical philosophical works and also the nation’s founding documents.
“I am most looking forward to taking ‘Great Books in the British and American Traditions’ because the course includes some writers I already know that I love, such as Shakespeare, [Walt] Whitman, and [Mark] Twain, and a myriad of whom I am eager to become acquainted,” Elizabeth said.
In addition, Elizabeth will pursue a rigorous science and mathematics curriculum. She will take courses such as “Core Principles in Biology,” and “General Chemistry I and II,” according to hillsdale.edu.
As all freshman and sophomores “explore timeless themes and learn from some of humanity’s greatest thinkers” at Hillsdale, their conversations will spread throughout the classroom into enriching extracurricular activities, according to hillsdale.edu. In fact, Elizabeth plans to continue her passion for theater in college. While learning about timeless plays in the classroom, she is excited to reproduce the texts on the stage.
“I have been acting in Shakespeare plays since I was eight years old, and it was through Shakespeare that I first discovered my real love for words and reading. I also think that acting Shakespeare, rather than reading it, is key in that it makes the text, the characters, and even the author come alive. They seem real and contemporary and bring into vivid relief  times and lifestyles that [one] can barely even imagine,” Elizabeth said. “This is the main thing that draws me to classical literature. It can unearth forgotten perspectives, ideas, and worlds which, even in their antiquity, are surprisingly relevant and familiar.”
Ultimately, Elizabeth believes that Sacred Heart has instilled in her a love of learning and she hopes to grow even further in inquiry and scholarship at Hillsdale.
“Sacred Heart’s English department, in particular, has prepared me well for the types of reading I will be doing at Hillsdale. Further, I think that my Senior Seminar class has given me a crucial leg up on philosophy,” Elizabeth said. “Sacred Heart has given me a solid foundation and the tools I will need to succeed at Hillsdale.”
– Arielle Kirven, Co-Editor-in-Chief