Getting with the Honors program

Jacob Jardel

Jacob Jardel
Assistant Managing Editor
@JJardel_Writing

It was no more than five days after I signed up for the Honors Program in the spring of 2011 when I did my first activity with them. Lani Malcolm called me, saying the Program was going to Dallas for the weekend and had an extra spot.

She asked if I wanted to go. I asked when they were leaving. She said in five hours. I was ready to go in four.

Needless to say, that trip was an accurate sign of things to come.

My life as an Honors Kid was and still is, without a doubt, the defining aspect of my Cameron experience. My Psi Chi presidency, my Graduate Student of the Year Award, my job on the Collegian – all of it and more has its origins in the Honors Program.

The fall of 2011 was probably the weirdest time of my life. My grandfather almost died, and I was single for the first time in two and a half years. It was undoubtedly the best time for me to officially start my life as an Honors Kid.

The first class I had was Honors Colloquium I with Dr. Vivian Thomlinson, whom I still consider to be the biggest influence in my college career. It was an amazing class that allowed me to think in every way I was unable to in other classes, and I learned so much about so many things.

But one of the more overt perks of the class was the direct link between the Honors Program and two new awesome things: Mind Games, the academic team, and Study Abroad, the best experiences of my life.

Mind Games gave me an opportunity to unleash my inner “Jeopardy” kid to earn much-needed scholarship money, while Study Abroad gave me the opportunity to explore places and things I had previously seen only on screens and pages.

But with all the good from the Honors Program, my life as an Honors Kid has not been without work. Between the work to maintain the GPA, time management and budgeting to do all that I wanted to in the program, I was no stranger to long days on campus.

When I added research to the mix, whether for class or for conferences both near and abroad, I was a full-steam freight train of book knowledge, deadlines and copious amounts of stress that ran faster than my head could take. It was overwhelming at times, for sure.

But it prepared me for the 12+ hour days I have on campus three or four days a week now. It showed me the value of hard work and the proper mindset to stay mostly sane. It gave me the opportunity to be the conductor of that freight train and own it.

Overall, it taught me that the meaning of life truly is other people.

From the moment I took Honors Comp. I in 2009 to the Honors Core Classes I took from 2011-2013, amidst shifts in professors and curriculum, the Honors Program promoted a mindset of interdisciplinary learning en route to becoming a Global Citizen Scholar.

One look at the words of that mindset shows how integral other people are in the life of an Honors Kid. We need other people to learn about different disciplines. We need other people to become more globally aware.

We need other people to build us up, keep us in check and help us stay sane in the busy times that define the life of an Honors Kid.

Without those other people, everything I talked about above – the events, the studying abroad and the research opportunities – would have been a far-off thought to me. Sanity itself would have been nothing more than a pipe dream.

So, when people ask me to define the best aspect of my life as an Honors Kid, the answer always leads back to the people I met along the way: the professors, the staff, the fellow students, my best friends Brent and Tori – all of them made the Honors Life the best life.

Looking back on Spring 2011, I got ready in four hours for the trip of a lifetime.

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