Strive for Honors

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Published on October 22, 2014

The best action I took for my academic career was joining the Honors Program at HCC. Everyone should strive to be a part of it. The honors program is a four-part program and is open to any student who has completed at least 12 credits and has a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The first actions that most honors students take are the two In-Class Honors Projects, which allows the students to explore the subject matter of a class more deeply. For example, it might be writing an essay or giving a presentation on something that interests you in a class. The next action is the Honors Seminar, HN 200.

HN 200 was one of the best classes I have taken at HCC. It is offered every fall and the topic is different every time. When I took it, the syllabus described the class as “the cultural construction of genius.” The class is like no other that I have been a part of. It pushed me to new academic places I did not know was possible. I also learned a tremendous amount of information and research tools throughout the out-of-the-box class that will help me for the rest of my scholastic career. We did everything from a class field trip to the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (an improvisation theater in New York City) in order to study the idea of collaborative genius to bringing in an art therapist who did a brief exercise with us. The class built its way up to the grand finale of everyone writing a 12 page essay and giving a Pecha Kucha presentation. The presentations were given to everyone in the class as well as faculty, staff, and guests of the students. This gave valuable public speaking experience.

“The honors program has really helped me communicate better with my peers and work on my public speaking skills,” said Emma Tecun, an HCC student who took HN 200.

“The program helped me by constantly putting myself in an unfamiliar situation, and making me learn things in a new way,” she added.

HCC student Ed Bloom, who also took HN 200, had similar sentiments, “It increases your capacity to do more in a better way,”he said.

The only way you can take this very beneficial class is if you are in the honors program.

The final thing that you need to do in the honors program is an independent study. The topic of the independent study is radically different for every student since you are able to tailor it to your own unique interests. In the past, students’ projects have ranged from a collection of short stories to a choreographed dance. This independent study gives students a way to explore their academic interests and prepare themselves for the type of work that is expected in more advanced education.

Once all four parts are completed, you are eligible to join the elite group of Housatonic Scholars who graduate with the honors program and are memorialized on a plaque. This distinction goes a long way when applying to a four year school. A student is more desirable when they have demonstrated that they are willing to work hard and go above and beyond for their education. The program helps encourage students to do well since there is a GPA requirement, which creates accountability for your grades. Knowing that you have to keep your grade up helps prevent procrastination and laziness when it comes to assignments because the consequences are greater.

Another great benefit is that you are able to meet like minded students who care about their academic success. It seems like there are too many students at HCC who do not take their work seriously and disrupt the flow of a classroom. Everyone has seen the students who spend entire class times texting, show up late, and constantly miss class. Students like that bring down the learning environment for everyone.

“When a student comes in late, it does affect the learning environment,” said HCC student Anot Ifrach. “Students pay attention to the person who is walking through the door rather than the professor.”

All the students in the honors program care about their education and it helps to know students who are working as hard as you are.

I know that I would not be as successful at HCC if it was not for the honors program. It may seem difficult at first to maintain a GPA of 3.5, but it is easy once you get the correct mindset. If you treat school with the respect it deserves, the good grades will come. Every student needs to be trying their hardest and the best way to ensure that you are is by joining the honors program.