What brought you to Shimer?
Even when other aspects of my life were chaotic, reading has generally remained a constant source of enjoyment in my life. Additionally, I had been attending a community college that I was less than satisfied with after having graduated early simply to extract myself from what I felt was a poisonous high school environment. Combine that with the fact that I was looking for a place to be accepted after an eventual coming out, and Shimer seemed like a magical place. I was primarily attracted to how Shimer educates rather than what Shimer educates
What's your major?
I'm actually double majoring in the Humanities and Social Sciences, which is due partly to the fact that I had a ton of extra Humanities elective credits from the community college. I've always had a healthy interest in art and literature, though, so it works just as well. I decided to take on a Social Sciences major just after Ann Dolinko's Social Sciences 2 class, as the subject of politics and such has always fascinated me, and History is one of the recommended degrees for the career path I have planned
Thus far what have your favorite and least favorite texts been?
Oh my, this is really difficult. I'm leaning towards the Marx and Engels that we read in Soc 1 and again in Soc 3. Rereading texts at Shimer is one of the most rewarding experiences, especially if you take liberal amounts of marginal notes, because you can easily compare what you thought of Marx as a Shimer newbie, and what you think of him after having read Locke, Rousseau, the Declaration of Independence, and others in Soc 2. I would say my least favorite is also from the Social Sciences concentration, and it's the Durkheim's Suicide from Soc 1. I definitely understand the importance of Durkheim (especially after reading him in Soc 4 again), but it's extremely difficult for me to read that book without getting emotionally involved.
How about favorite and least favorite courses?
You know, it's funny, part of the reason I came to Shimer was to read things that I would never have read normally, and it's one of the things I appreciate most about it, so I guess it's fitting that my favorite class is not only not from either of my majors but it's also not a class I did very well in. But just for being so mind-blowing for me (at least at the time) I'm going to say Nat Sci 2. For someone who had previously held the belief that science was “over his head,” and “not interesting,” that class was one of the most rewarding educational experiences I've had. I think my least favorite course is probably Math Workshop 2, and the only reason I'm choosing that is because it was frustrating for reasons beyond Shimer's control. That is, every class I've had at Shimer has been rewarding in some way other than that one
What would you say are the pros and cons of Shimer outside the classroom?
t's an extremely small school, and that creates a warm and tight-knit family-like atmosphere much of the time. This also means, though, that the bickering is just as family-like, and, unrelated to the family metaphor, the dating pool – especially for GLBTQA people – is minuscule. Additionally, Shimer can be aggravating to navigate—both socially and physically—if you have a physical disability, but it hasn't really been a larger issue than the small dating pool has. On the flip side, I've generally found Shimer to be a very accepting environment, and because of the tight-knit nature of the school, there will always be someone around to talk or answer questions or distract you from life's more difficult trials, and honestly I think that's exceedingly rare