Hilbert First Year Experience Program held their annual “Hilbert Reads” speaker event earlier this semester.
Throughout the fall semester, all freshmen at Hilbert College participate in the “Hilbert Reads” program, where they read and discuss a book in their GS 101 classes. In the past, they’ve read Maid by Stephanie Land, and What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan. This fall, the freshmen read Normal Sucks by Jonathan Mooney, who spoke to students over zoom.
Mooney’s book explored the challenges of living and learning with differences such as ADHD and dyslexia, as well as attempts to answer the question of “what is normal?”. These topics opened a wide range of discussion opportunities for GS 101 classes, including Brett Gomez’s. Gomez is a freshman in Dr. Reis’s GS 101 class, studying Digital Media and Communication with Graphic Design.
“I did enjoy the book. It definitely brought out some thoughts about growing up in the public school system.” Gomez said regarding the book, “You see these things he talks about, the discrimination against some kids by making them go into these special classes. And as Mooney says in the book, they’re not worse or stupider in any means, they actually can be smarter than us.”
Gomez’s class talked about these things during group discussions. “Its always easier to talk about things and express how you feel via verbal communication”, he said. Overall, this is a goal of the Hilbert Reads program, as students practice open communication on difficult topics.
In Mooney’s presentation, he further discussed the book’s topics of not being “normal”, and fielded questions from students.
“It was very helpful to get a better point of view on what he believes about the whole situation”, Gomez said when asked about his thoughts on the presentation. “It definitely brought it (the book) more to life when he expressed his emotions. You could hear it in his voice when he would talk about certain things, so it made it a little more emotional.”
As the first year experience program wraps up this fall’s Hilbert Reads, it looks towards next fall and the incoming freshmen class.