February 25, 2010 - 8:30 PM
I know a lot of students in the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon who hit it off with the department really quick. It seems like so many of the students within the college become instant friends and bond over the same quirky things. Many of the students are super involved in its student association and special events. I was always envious of these students. For one reason or another, I never felt like I really fit in with the Honors College. I always find this fact funny. If I am a nerdy girl who can't fit in within the Honors College, I must be this biggest dork on this planet! Anyway, this is perhaps why I haven't really blogged much about it until now. Unlike many Honors College students, it took me a bit longer to warm up to the program and finally have that realization of, "Wow, I think I really do belong here."
I have become increasingly passionate about the quality of higher education recently. I think it has been a mixture of a few things that have got me to thinking about this incredible gift in front of me. And, although controversial, I must say that a large part of what has gotten me riled up about the quality of higher education has to do with the Athletic Department. Now, let's get this straight before I say anything more - GO DUCKS! I love the Ducks and I always will.
This is not about team loyalty, but about where our school's, community's, and nation's priorities stand. Across the United States, are we truly beginning to sacrifice education for moneymaking sports industries? The UO used valuable real estate to build a building only for student athletes. Every time I see the moat-surrounded building or athlete-only parking, I can't help, but cringe a little. Meanwhile, if anyone has even been remotely following the news, they know that several of our student athletes have become entangled in legal trouble and have been getting into mischief. What a waste. I understand that athletics is a huge thing for them and that it is where they find intense passion (I understand not everyone finds passion in Kombucha and homelessness policy like I do), but why not open your eyes and look at what's being offered to you? Many have a full-ride to an incredible institution of higher learning. That is so wonderful! Take that gift and embrace the education, please! But, no, instead on the cover of newspapers, we see student athletes getting into trouble. Why doesn't the community instead care about what the University is really about? It's not a sports institution, it is an academic institution. Why not feature that incredible, high-achieving student on the front page of the Register-Guard? Anyway, this is a slight deviation from my initial topic of finally finding myself in the Honors College.
This year, I have grown to really appreciate the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. It is such an amazing opportunity for students to take advantage of. It is a place where you can really let your brain soar and feel like the faculty truly cares about you. It is a more personal approach to education, nestled within a large research university. My teachers know me and remember me. Not only do they remember my name, but they also remember where and when I studied abroad, what I'm majoring in, what my hobbies are, and so on. They know me and care about my progress within the program. The Honors College has such a quaint little library and student lounge that are perfect for studying in. They offer their own scholarships for academic merit. They are fabulous. I cannot wait to start my thesis next term with the reassurance that the Honors College faculty will be there to support me throughout the entire process.
When I registered for classes this week, I couldn't register for more than 18 initially and I needed 19. However, the Honors College recognizes my needs as a student and with a quick and easy talk with faculty, I was told that they would hold my spot in the Honors College thesis prospectus class until week ten when I would be authorized to register for more credits. I just felt so taken care of.
In summary, I love education and I am becoming a bigger and bigger supporter of it every day. This love is helping me to finally find my place within the Honors College. I belong there. I think my readers can expect to hear more about it in the last four terms of my undergraduate career.