Beneath the Surface: Living the “Honors” Life

Hi everyone, my name is Nathanael Linton. For most of my life, I have been involved in education as an Honors student. From taking advanced classes in public school to joining the Honors Program at my college, “Honors” is literally a part of me. The experiences that I had as an Honors student not only strengthened me academically, but also helped my personal life. Although some people may argue that pursuing Honors or advanced programs are unnecessary, these types of programs are essential to all students because of all the benefits that one can gain from joining them.

As you know, the word “Honors” can be very controversial. Some people see it as students having to complete rigorous amounts of work for little reward. The reward that many people think they will receive is an honorary sash, ribbon, and a certificate showing they have completed Honors (I received these things). Former classmates have asked me, “Nate, why do you complete all of this work just to receive a sash?” My answer to this was (and still is), “Honors is more than a piece of fabric to wear at graduation.” These types regalia are used to commemorate and “honor” the Honors student. Although it represents the physical achievement of completing such a program, it does not equate to the life experiences that a student can gain from joining the program. The lessons and experiences that I have gained from joining the Honors Program has helped me in more way than I can imagine.

Joining Honors Programs has its benefits. One benefit is the rewards (more than a sash). I am now a junior, and I attend Pace University; I am also a member of their Honors College. Prior to transferring to Pace, my first two years of college was completed at SUNY Orange (Orange County Community College). At SUNY Orange, I got so many rewards, and was recognized for the amazing feats that I accomplished. For example, I received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award- this is the highest award a student can receive within the SUNY system, only three students from SUNY Orange received this award. The special thing about this award is that for the first time, all three students were Honors students! Another reward I received was being inaugural Northeast Regional Honors Council “Student of the Year for Two Year Schools.” I was the first Honors student to receive this, and many will follow me afterward. The last example is even here at my new college, Pace. As of right now, I am the first transfer to be accepted into the Honors College at Pace University as a junior. I have reached many milestones being in Honors, and I would never have to ponder whether “Honors” is a path for me; I have always done it, and will continue to do so.

Even though Honors can bring a student prestige and recognition, it can do more than that. The rewards are great, but eventually they will rust and be forgotten. I joined Honors for the experiences that I could make. I exceeded all my expectations, and that is worth more than an award to me. Honors has helped me build long-lasting friendships. Even being at Pace, I remain connected to my friends although they go to different schools. Honors has helped me financially; I went to SUNY Orange on a full academic scholarship, and received many scholarships for Pace as well. Most importantly, Honors inspired me. Although I was a good student in high school, joining the Honors Program at SUNY Orange and now Pace, I realized that can succeed in anything. I have been blessed to learn from people who strive for knowledge and growth, and these same people share a passion to learn- just like me. My life has been blessed because of Honors, much more than words can describe.

In the end, what can a person gain from Honors? This question has multiple answers- it is up to the Honors student to decide. Honors helped many aspects of my life, more than academics. So far it has paved the way for my education, but I believe that one day it can help me build a foundation for myself, and for my family. Beneath the surface, “Honors” is more than a title- it’s a lifestyle worth living, and I am proud to live it.