I just officially received my thesis grade!! Yay!! And, as when all good things come to an end, I’ve been doing some reflection.
For those of you who don’t know, I completed the honors program here at Naz. Our honors program is a minor with required classes, like rhetoric and philosophy, that culminates with writing a thesis. The program is A TON of work and there were definitely days, lots of them, when I considered dropping the program. Now that I’m finished, though, I’m so glad I did it. It is incredible how much I’ve grown because of the program. Though everyone’s experience will be different, these are some of the more general ways I believe an honors minor helps you grow as a student and as a person.
1) An honors minor challenges you everyday. All college classes are going to be more challenging than those you faced in high school…ok well most…but the honors minor pushes you to a whole new level. As a freshman, I was taking upper level English classes with juniors and seniors in the English department and as a junior I was taking grad classes all on top of the requirements for my major. Don’t get me wrong; there were days when I took it easy and didn’t work on homework but, with all that work to do I always had to be focused. My time management skills as well as my general reading, writing, and critical thinking skills have improved every year that I’ve been here and I credit a lot of that to my honors classes.
2) An honors minor allows you to fully dive into a liberal arts education. As a physical therapy major, I have to take a lot of science classes but I’ve always loved humanities classes as well (yup world’s biggest nerd over here). The honors minor allowed me to continue to take humanities classes, like English and philosophy and upper level history classes, to flesh out my academic career. As much as I love science, I think there’s a lot to be said for being a well-rounded student with excellent reading and writing skills, skills you mostly focus on in humanities classes especially those of an honors minor.
3) An honors minor teaches you responsibility and long-term planning. For my grad classes junior year, I was reading a new book and writing a paper each week. There’s no way I could have finished both of those as well as all of my other class work without some serious time management skills. Furthermore, writing a thesis is the epitome of responsibility and long-term planning. I was responsible for researching and writing an original document of at least forty pages. Though it sounds incredibly intimidating, my advisers helped me break it down into weekly, short-term goals. Writing two pages a week sounds much less intimidating than forty pages! These skills are probably the ones I am most thankful for; as I start grad school my ability to focus on studying first and break huge projects down into small, manageable ones will be a life-saver!
4) An honors minor looks incredible on a job resume. This one cannot be stressed enough!! When it comes down to it, any job applicant who participated in the honors program will be more prepared to handle a job than an applicant who didn’t complete an honors program. Successful completion of the honors program demonstrates responsibility, long-term planning, a desire to be challenged, a well-rounded skill set, the ability to successfully complete large projects, and the desire to go above and beyond what is required of you.
I cannot say I hope you all decide to pursue an honors minor because its really not for everybody but I will say if you have been invited to an honors program it is totally worth it! The work you have to do sounds incredibly intimidating but once you complete the program it will be worth it in ways you never imagined.