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I never thought about joining an honors program. Let's admit that honors programs are scary—they’re commitments, but with grade-point averages.
So when Helene Klein, director of Arcadia’s Honors Program, came up to me at the activities fair and asked me what my GPA was, I was kind of stuck (I couldn’t even remember if I knew my GPA, or if it was some repressed memory stored in the back of my mind). When I said “3.5,” I was surprised to be asked to join.
I didn’t know what to say. I’m a sophomore. I thought my chances came and went in my first year, but I was wrong. To join you must have a 3.5 GPA, and to stay you have to maintain higher than a 3.35. Within the next day or two, I found myself filling out the self-nomination form. And just like that—BOOM—I’m in the Honors Program.
To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure what it meant to be in the Honors Program at first. All I knew was that there was some kind of “Hive,” and I was desperate to get some honey. I visited the Hive—what we called the Honors Program headquarters—for the first time for an informational meeting. I was pretty nervous. Being a sophomore, I was afraid that I wouldn’t feel welcome. Since I didn’t start as a first year, I assumed everyone would ask me who I was or why I was there. But when I walked into the room, I was greeted with smiling faces and some good pizza.
After talking to Helene and other students, I found out that the Honors Program is largely based on leadership, volunteering, and helping yourself (and others) prepare for life after college with different events and mentoring. The program also gives students some advantages, like being able to participate in opportunities like the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), where Honors students present on different topics they are interested in or studying.
At SEPCHE, students cover a range of subjects, from perceptions of law enforcement to mindfulness in the classroom. This prepares students for their thesis presentations and helps them network with others who are interested in similar areas of study. I applied to take part in this experience, despite the fact that I just joined. That is simply because of the welcoming environment I’ve experienced since walking through the Hive doors.
During that first meeting, everyone patiently answered my many questions. I walked around and explore. I took pictures and read some fun work from the students in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom— which was pretty fancy, by the way.) I enjoyed the hour or so I was there, and I can’t wait to go again when I have free time.
If you are considering joining the Honors Program, but are nervous about the transition, consider this blog post an invitation. Don’t be scared to try something new. You never know what could happen.