From misconceptions to life-changing experiences: My Honors College love story

They say to never judge a book by its cover, but when it came to the Honors College, I didn’t even make it as far as first impressions. I passed judgement based solely on the title, without even breaking open the cover or reading the plot synopsis.

Emma Alexander

Let me explain… When I was offered the Stamps Scholarship, I was overjoyed. However, there was one stipulation I wasn’t so enthusiastic about: the requirement that I be in the Honors College. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the opportunity. But, I sincerely did not believe it would impact my career as a Boilermaker in a positive way (Yes, you read that right). I jumped to the conclusion that it would just be additional work, making my engineering degree even harder than I already knew it was going to be. And I was far less than thrilled at the prospect of living with all Honors students.

That being said, and upon reflection now (as a third year student) many of the greatest parts of my experience at Purdue have either been directly due to the Honors College, or have stemmed from it in some way. Within hours of moving in freshman year, all of my preconceived notions about the Honors College were absolutely obliterated. From the community, to the courses, to the faculty members, I loved every bit of what the Honors College was giving me.

Although the first year engineering coursework was just as rigorous and challenging as expected, it prepared me for future classes, life and real world work experience in more ways than I care to count. I now look back fondly on the team meetings, projects and late nights, wishing I had appreciated it all more while it was happening.

And you don’t even want to get me started on the people. I would go back to living in the Honors dorm right now if it meant I could again be surrounded by bright, driven, charismatic peers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although I now live in an apartment, most all of my closest circles of friends were formed freshman year in Shreve.

It’s truly astonishing for me to think of how far I’ve come with regard to my sentiments for the Honors College. I mean, I’ve even been working as the Honors College communications Intern for almost two years now.  It brings me such joy to help share the truth about the Honors College to all current and prospective honors students.

It has truly been such a blessing to be a part of this program. I’ve gained leadership experience and a greater appreciation for interdisciplinary learning. I’ve had the chance to co-chair a national conference. I’ve sat down for dinner at Westwood with our Purdue President Mitch Daniels. I’ve grown a great deal as a person and I’ve found people that I’ll likely maintain friendships with for the rest of my life. I am also confident the Honors College is not something I’ll be leaving behind when I graduate. It has altered the trajectory of the rest of my life and given me experiences, opportunities and skills I will not soon forget or cease to utilize.

I love a lot of things and a lot of people. But this Valentine’s Day, let it be known that I also love the Honors College.