What brought you to Shimer?
At first Shimer for me was a convenient fix to a lot of different problems, only some of which were academic. I was working eighty hours a week at a gas station, and my career at the local community college had gone flat. My boyfriend at the time was going to Shimer, and that’s how I heard of it. My transcripts were less than stellar for the above mentioned reasons, but I knew that I could ace an interview and an essay. I decided if Shimer was willing to take its chances with me, I would reciprocate. I came to the school in the Spring semester of 2008, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. The quality of the education I’ve received here is unbelievable.
What's your major?
I’m a Natural Sciences major. That’s rare at Shimer. Students enjoy the natural sciences core here, but few consider focusing on it. I was an English major at a community college before I came here, but I plan to go to grad school for history and philosophy of science. There’s a great essay by Stephan Jay Gould, called Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA). It discusses the relationship between science and religion (and by extension the humanities). He describes science and the humanities as two interlocking hands. I am most interested in the fingers of science.
Thus far what have your favorite and least favorite texts been?
My favorite text was probably Einstein’s Relativity. We read it for two different core classes. In Nat Sci 4 I came very close to understanding it, which few people do. I promised myself I would work through the Lorentz transformation for a paper I was writing, and I actually did. That paper, even though I only got a B+ on it (even when I rewrote it, and received comments back, saying, “B+, but a better B+!”) is still by far my favorite paper I’ve written. Freud is my least favorite. I recognize his importance, but I cannot stand reading him.
How about favorite and least favorite courses?
I’ve enjoyed in one way or another most of the classes I’ve taken. The cores, whether you enjoy thinking about the subject or not, are all well put together and too fundamental to disregard. I’ll go with my favorite electives then; Origins with Jim Donavon and Tale of Genji with Ron Kidd. Least favorite? I’ll just say I’m grateful for having completed Social Sciences 1.
What would you say are the pros and cons of Shimer outside the classroom?
If you’re the type of person who likes anonymity at school, you’re probably going to be frustrated at Shimer. The flip side of its size is that you get a lot of attention. I don’t have the option to slide by, and people will know if I become less rigorous in my studies. The whole set up fosters a sense of responsibility, both academically and socially, which I respond really well to, and the Assembly reinforces that.