By March or April of 2008, word had drifted to me that there was “some sort of great books school, somewhere in Chicago.” By that time, I had dropped out of Bard College for personal reasons outside the scope of this post, then taken a few classes at Columbia College, and then found work at an independent book store. I had graduated High School in 2006, and not set foot in a classroom since May, 2007. The goal of returning to school was bouncing around in my mind, ever so vaguely, though I still thought I’d return to Bard.
Then, one fateful evening, on a whim, I googled “Great Books Chicago.” Long story short, I fell in love, submitted my application at the end of April, visited and was accepted in May, deposited in June and enrolled in August.
There are two points to this little story:
- Firstly of all, Shimer is still accepting applications. Whenever you are reading this post, this will be true. We have a rolling admissions policy. I have friends who applied two weeks before registration. And if you apply after registration, then start the next semester. We’re small, we always have room!
- Secondly of all, Shimer loves people who take circuitous routes here. I am hardly the only person to come to Shimer after one, two, or three other institutions. We have high school drop-outs (and not just the early entrants who enroll at sixteen and seventeen), people coming from the military, people who’ve spent the last few years hitchhiking, couch-surfing or drifting across the nation and lots of other interesting stories. Ages are pretty well distributed from 16-23, despite a notable, if predictable, peak at eighteen.
More importantly, one of the first things I learned here was that temporal age is kind of meaningless. Some of the younger students are far more mature than some of the much older students. Finding out people’s temporal ages is just confusing.
Also, this is me. I don't usually wear a feather boa, I swear!