The Honors Project, Demystified

Culp 1Hello fellow Honors students! My name is Megan Culp and I am a senior here at Iowa State majoring in English. This summer while everyone else was enjoying the sun I was working hard on my Honors project. I know the Honors project can seem daunting when you have no idea what you want to do and/or no idea what you are supposed to do. I have a few tips to share with all of you as you think about or even get started on your projects!

Allow me to introduce you to my own Honors project: I am presenting a paper at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois this fall. I wrote a paper about the knock and announce doctrine; I will be using this experience as my Honors project. I read a lot of law reviewed articles and Supreme Court cases to prepare and to use as sources within the paper. I also made a PowerPoint which I will present in September. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity because it is something that will help me with my future in law school. I am getting great writing experience, and learning to speak in front of groups without feeling like I am going to die. 🙂 Although my project may sound a little boring to many of you it was actually pretty fun and educational!

Some tips for your projects:

  1. It’s not as stressful as it seems right now. As soon as you choose a topic it will run smoothly.
  2. Pick a topic that really interests you so that you do not get burnt out working on it. You don’t want to resent your honors project. You want it to help you in the long run or at least give you a great experience!
  3. Find an advisor that is just as dedicated to the project as you are. My advisor was available via email all summer to read drafts of my paper and to give me advice on how to prepare for the conference. Also pick an advisor that you are comfortable with, one that you will be okay with contacting at any time. You don’t want to feel alone when you hit a huge wall in your project process because discussing problems with yourself will just cause an argument. 🙂
  4. Choose to complete your project during a semester that works best with your schedule. Don’t just put it off until your last spring semester if the fall semester of your senior year would be a better time for you! Also if you choose to present in the fall you can work on the project in the summer (that’s what I did). That will take off some of the stress because you won’t have a lot of other homework to deal with.

All in all, the Honors project isn’t as stressful as it seems especially if you choose a project that you know you will enjoy working on. Although I did spend a lot of my summer working on this project I did take time to enjoy summer break. Because, like I said, you don’t want to get burnt out! So make sure to enjoy and learn something from your project!


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