Thursday, August 02, 2007

Heading Off to School

In two weeks, I will be in the car driving up to a remote town in southern Michigan. My trunk will be full of clothes, books, and miscellaneous items with which to survive over the next eight months. Yes, the time is almost here for me to go to college. Let me tell you, this is a pretty big step for me, but the truth is, I'm greatly looking forward to it. Everyone who I talk to tells me "College will be the best four years of your life" (or, as the guy I met on the beach said yesterday, "College was the best seven years of my life"). As I head off, I thought I would tell you guys about the school and what I'll be studying while I'm there so that you can pray for me.

Hillsdale College was founded in 1844, and it was the first college in the nation to accept students regardless of race or sex. It has always been committed to the principles of freedom and liberty, and although it is not a "Christian" school, it is very conservative and teaches everything from a Judeo-Christian foundation. It is a small school, with only about 1300 students, and it is known for being very academically rigorous.

One of the main reasons that the school is well-known is because it has refused to take any federal funding for the last several decades. Most schools depend heavily on funds from the government, either in grants or in financial aid to students, but the government takes such aid as giving them the right to interfere in the college's daily operations. When Hillsdale discovered this, it made the decision that rather than have it's independence compromised, it would simply refuse all federal aid and rely on private donations. This tactic has worked remarkably well, and the college has no trouble raising funds (it has just completed a huge renovation of the dining hall, and has also built a new Student Union building within the last two years).

Hillsdale has a very strong liberal arts program, and actually requires all freshmen to take a number of specific courses, including "Western Heritage" and "Rhetoric/Great Books". That way, every student has the same foundation on which to build their education. It is especially well-known for its history program, which is the program I currently plan on entering. I will be majoring in history, with the intention of going on to either law school, grad school, or seminary.

I am in the HonoUr's Program (yes, we insist on spelling it with a U), which I'm very excited about. In the Honours Program we take special sections of certain classes, go on a yearly retreat, and do all kinds of fun things together. I have several friends already at the College and in the Honour's Program, and they tell me that Honours is one of the best parts of the school.

My first semester I will be taking Western Heritage, Rhetoric/Great Books, Latin I (I flunked my placement exam, so I have to take it over again), Differential Calculus, Choir, and either Golf or Weight-Training. I'm very excited about my schedule, and I look forward to getting started in all these classes (except for Calc, but after that math is over forever :D ).

Sprititually, I'm looking forward to making my way through some classics of the faith. I want to read some Edwards, some Owens, some Augustine, some Spurgeon, some Bunyan, and other great works. I am currently reading John Stott's classic The Cross of Christ which is excellent, and after that we'll see what I can get my hands on next. I am also buying Calvin's Institutes with the money I got from my birthday, as Mr. Boisvert told me that every serious student of the faith should have it in their bookshelf. I look forward to benefitting from it when it arrives.

Here, then, are my prayer requests over the next year:

  • That The Clash would prepare me mentally for the spiritual opposition I am sure to face, both from professors and from students
  • That I would have the self-control to get up early enough to have my quiet time every morning, no matter how early my classes start
  • That I would have the courage to engage my unbelieving friends in conversations about their faith, and that I would be faithful to share the gospel with them
  • That I would be responsible and spend my time wisely, and especially be able to budget my time spent blogging and browsing the internet
  • That my roommate and I would get along and experience fruitful fellowship together as brothers in the faith (his name is Tom, and he was in my AP US History and AP Macroeconomics classes, so I know him a little bit and know that he's a Christian)
  • That I would call home regularly and stay in touch with all of my dear friends back in Maryland
  • That my computer would not have any problems for at least the first year :D

Well, there you go. Please keep me in your prayers over the next few weeks as I pack, attend The Clash, and move into my new school. I'm so excited to see what God is going to do!


Andrew Cureton said...

Welcome to Hillsdale! You'll fit in *just fine.*

I look forward to meeting you!

Karyn said...

i will definatily be praying for you Sam. I'm sure you'll do great there. Oh and hey, I just found out that I guy I know is going to school at Hillsdale. He's either a sophomore or a junior this year. I told him about you and he said he'd love to meet you. His name is Zach Howard. Don't feel any obligation to follow through on this, btw, it's not as if you don't have enough people to meet.

((oh, and what's the name of the girl you know who's going to biola. i know you told me, but it's not on the social board anymore...))