What brought you to Shimer?
Thanks to ACT testing, I received hundreds of college information packets and postcards throughout high school. I had a tendency of looking at the city the postcard came from and if it didn't appeal to me, I would throw the mail immediately in the trash. If I was interested in the city, only then would I take a look at the college. So what really caught my attention about Shimer was that it is in Chicago. Once I took a closer look at the school, I was particularly struck by the Socratic method of dialogue. After I sat in on a class, I knew it was the school for me.
Other than the Core Curriculum and Socratic Discussions, what do you feel sets Shimer apart from other colleges?
The community. Shimer has a unique social environment. Because I'm not surrounded by swarms of people all the time, its more difficult to find someone with the same interests as me. I've really had to branch out on my own to find the things I love to do in Chicago, like running for instance. I never really found a "running buddy," so I ended up running in Susan Komen's Race for the Cure in order to keep up my motivation to run. Looking back, its one of my proudest moments last year. However, I wouldn't have been able to register without the donations that all my classmates gave me. They were very supportive of me, and even baked me a congratulatory cake. So even though I do things independently, I always feel the support of the Shimer community in whatever I do. That's what I think is great about it.
What do you want to do after Shimer and how do you see your education here supporting that endeavor?
I am interested in nutritional psychology, which is an up-and-coming field of psychology that looks beyond normal diet theories in order to better understand negative habits, such as addictions, eating disorders, and depression, that can inhibit living a normal life. Combining psychotherapy with an analysis of dietary habits, nutritional psychology helps individuals lead healthier lives naturally, without having to resort to psychiatric drugs. Shimer has helped me look at science in a new way. I had always tended to look at scientific explanation as scientific fact. Now I question the validity of everything I read, which has helped me open my mind to different explanations of consciousness. In the field of psychology, I will always have to look for different ways to help patients, so I definitely think I will be using the skills I have learned at Shimer everyday of my life.
What are the best and the worst book you've read in the core so far and why?
I loved On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz. He offered a very unique explanation for the animal behavior that first started getting me thinking about the way the mind works. Though there have been books that I struggled through at Shimer, I can't say I hate any of them. Whether I want to admit it or not, I have learned something form every book I have read here.
What's been your most memorable experience at the college thus far?
The people have been the most memorable for me. I am much more conscious about the world around me thanks to the people I have met at Shimer. The students and the staff here all have such insightful and strong points of view on the world that have helped me mature and become much more self-aware.
Any nuggets of wisdom for prospective students?
Shimer is definitely a place to discover who you are, so be prepared to be questioning yourself a lot. Don't come with any expectations, because things are never what you expect them to be.