By Emily Mathe
You may have heard about it—whether mentioned in one of the brochures mailed to you, or from a recruiter who showed up at your high school with a lot to say about scholarships and financial aid, or if you happened to see it mentioned on PUC’s website. Wherever and however it happened, it’s a fair bet at some point you encountered the term, “Honors Program,” without knowing what it meant.
So, what is the Honors Program at PUC? And, more importantly, why should you care about it? I asked myself the same questions before I came to PUC as a freshman, and now, four years later, I’m going to give you the best answers that I can. It’s my goal that after you finish reading this, you’ll consider becoming a part of PUC’s Honors Program!
1. The Course Load
Choosing to be in the Honors Program means plugging different courses into where many of your General Education classes used to be. Often, these courses are either Honors-only seminars, or “H-designated” courses that fulfill your graduate requirements. However, diminishing your course load doesn’t reduce your choices—there are plenty of options open for interesting classes: from physics, to creative writing, to Portuguese, to advanced computer science. Especially if you’re double majoring, you’ll want to seriously consider Honors. In my experience as a double major in English and communication, this program was one of the main reasons I stayed on track for graduation!
2. The Interdisciplinary Approach
The Honors Program isn’t just for students majoring in humanities like English or history. Often, the Honors cohort includes science majors, pre-med students, future engineers, pilots, and educators. I was attracted to the program because it ties my passion for writing and the English language to overarching themes in philosophy, politics, religion, and social criticism. The interdisciplinary approach is one of the unique aspects of the Program. You’ll learn how to find the connections between particle physics and Plato’s “Republic,” and you’ll broaden your own scholastic horizons in the process.
3. The Honors Project
Throughout your years at PUC, you’ll have a lot of papers that you just don’t want to write. So, during the second half of your graduation year (or earlier, if you’re on top of things), your reward is a project on a topic you’re passionate about. Finally, you get to study something meaningful to you! However, self-directed research can be tough, and depending on what you choose for your project, you’ll want to pair up with an advisor who can give you encouragement … as well as lighting the fire under you when those important deadlines start approaching.
4. The People
Everyone in the Program is there for a reason. Even though you may walk into your first class feeling intimidated by everyone else in the room, keep in mind they most likely feel the same way. After all, this is “Honors,” which means everyone is super-scary-smart, right? While intelligence is a common trait, it’s not the defining trait. Honors students are driven, passionate, and focused, but they are also people—students. Just like you. One of the best things about the Program is getting to build connections with others who share your interests. And yes, you might be able to do that in a 50-person lecture hall with a crowd of freshmen … but do you really want to make the job more difficult than it is already?!