What brought you to Shimer?
I came to Shimer through an articulation agreement with Harold Washington College. HWC was developing their own Great Books program at the time, which offered more rigorous course work and original texts but still adhered to the lecture format of most college classrooms.
Stepping into the Shimer classroom was a pretty radical change in pace. I loved encountering knowledge in the uniquely critical and personally engaging way that the Shimer class structure promotes. I would leave class with my head buzzing, not so much with facts or information, but with questions. I felt personally invested in these questions, personally challenged to contemplate them and to work towards the answers rather than trusting some authority to give me a ready-made answer.
After a few weeks it became clear that this was the direction I wanted to take in my education, so I decided to transfer to Shimer the following semester.
What's your major?
I’m double majoring in humanities and social sciences. Initially, I hope to go on to grad school in a social science field related to psychology and anthropology. Right now, my thesis concern is developing a theoretical foundation of what I’m calling ecological education. This will be applying ideas in ecological psychology and extend/enacted cognition to arts integrated education and social justice curriculum. I hope that this will serve as a foundation for grad work in a psychology related field.
Thus far what have your favorite and least favorite texts been?
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais and Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson. These two have been the most illuminating to my own perspective, and the most enjoyable to read. Neither of them are in the core either. Favorite core text, I want to say On the Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, but I can’t say that I actually understood that book, so that feels ill-informed. My least favorite was Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State.
How about favorite and least favorite courses?
Each class has its own experience. That is about as much as I want to commit.
What are the pros and cons of Shimer outside the classroom?
Your arbitrary boundaries are antithetical to a philosophically informed perspective. Seriously, though, the biggest pro of Shimer life outside the classroom is that the discussion permeates into the community outside our academic work. The con is that you can’t shut it off, and everyone thinks you’re a jerk for saying pretentious thinks like, “Your arbitrary boundaries are antithetical to a philosophically informed perspective.”