Honors: Happenstances and Luck

After helping out with the Experience Iowa State day on Friday and then going to the Freshmen Honors Program retreat this year, it really got me to thinking about all of my hopes and fears coming to Iowa State as a freshman. I was never worried about class sizes and I wasn’t really worried about how hard my classes would be (I already had credit for a few of them), but I was worried about making friends. I hate to say it, but I think one of my biggest fears was going to the dining centers alone. How intimidating and embarrassing right? I thought I’d look like such a lonely loser. (I’ve gotten over this problem, no worries) Luckily I happened to end up in Anders House, which seemed to solve all of those problems instantly. The whole lot of us would all go to dinner at the same time each night, and I could almost always find someone to eat lunch with. It was great. All of my problems were pretty much solved without any effort on my part. Looking back, I have to wonder how many meals I would have missed if I didn’t have such a social house.

Anyway, talking to prospective students about all of this really made me reflect on how I made the decisions I did, and how those decisions had such a huge impact on who I’ve become. What I got out of all of this thinking was this: It was all luck. Almost by happenstance I set myself on the path that would work out so well for me. I only joined honors when I realized that so many of my high school friends were going to and I selected my dorm based on recommendations I got from my older brother after asking where I’d be least likely to find vomit in the hallway etc. I’m pretty sure the fact that it was an honors dorm didn’t even register to me. In fact, I distinctly remember choosing a dorm based on the names of the buildings and how cool I thought they sounded. (Barton sounded more regal than Harwood) At some point I must have absentmindedly checked a box saying I was interested in honors housing, because that’s where I ended up.

I remember regretting this decision right up until the day I moved in. I was terrified that everyone was going to be super serious and shut-ins. That I would never make friends and I’d have to always be visiting people in other buildings… Happily, that wasn’t the case at all, and I’ve learned to stop stereotyping so much. My first night there they pulled me out of my lonely dorm room and took me to dinner. We all spent the rest of the night in the hallway just hanging out and getting to know each other. The friendships I started that day have played a starring role in the rest of my experience at Iowa State and my involvement with the honors community has shaped a great number of the choices I’ve made here at Iowa State. It’s a bit crazy to think about how, if I’d been slightly less interested in taking classes with my friends, my entire experience at Iowa State could have been so much different.

P.S. below are pictures from this year’s First-Year Honors Program Retreat!

Posted by Emily




One comment on “Honors: Happenstances and Luck

  1. Mark Law says:

    It’s been this way for 30 years. Honors is more than just classes!

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