You cannot get around this beautiful campus without seeing or feeling the impact of our school’s Honors program. The people, the programs, and the events all have such a profound influence on campus life and the Arcadia community as a whole.
After a little over one year, I have come to adore the melting pot of fascinating people I have had the pleasure to meet and interact with on a daily basis, and the fantastic opportunities the program has presented me with.
My love for the Honors program is actually quite ironic now that I think about it. When I was applying to Arcadia back in high school, I had no interest whatsoever in joining the program, whose admission is generally based on your GPA and SAT score. I had a lazy demeanor and figured it would simply involve struggling though more schoolwork than I cared to complete. Oh how sorely mistaken I was. Luckily, the gentle persistence of one of the Enrollment Management Counselors here, Danielle Luszczyk, who deals with first-year admissions into the Honors Program, in conjunction with good friends temporarily stealing my identity to sign me up for it, convinced me to give it the good old “college try”.
I unknowingly was propelled onto a winding track lavished with instances where I could (and can still) better myself and become more aware of my own leadership style.
Leadership is one of the main focuses of the program, utilizing various academic sectors and extracurricular activities. Academically, the program is such a manageable commitment. If you “adapt” one of your major classes by completing an extra project or writing a brief paper to waive the requirement for one Honors Colloquia class, you will only need to take 14 extra credits to complete the program. Yes, you heard correctly. This is a small amount of class time for a program comparable to an academic minor, so it turned out my original scholastic worries were fruitless. Even being a part of an accelerated degree program, I have found time to fit in all of my Honors requirements with no problem.
My enjoyment of the Arcadia experience increased exponentially as I began fully immersing myself in more of the extracurricular opportunities Honors has to offer.
For instance, this Halloween Weekend, a committee of Honors students accompanied by many other Arcadians put on a full shadow cast accompanying the cult-classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, right on campus. It is one of the biggest events the Honors Program puts on each year, and it is completely student-run, executed by passionate, energetic students. The two recent shows were full of lots of laughter and some casual cross-dressing that brought in a sizable audience eager to indulge in the raucous event that is Rocky Horror.
The program also helps run an amazing event called Celebrating Cultures in partnership with the Office of International Affairs. Here, fascinating students from our global, diversity-rich population set up tables or booths to display a heritage, ethnicity, or any form of culture they want to showcase. The community-wide event allows all who visit to experience, appreciate, and dare I say, celebrate, the vast array of cultures members of the school are proud of sharing with everyone. This year, I set up an “eco-friendly” table with my friends and other executive board members of the Environmental Network, we showed our peers the importance of green behaviors and how they help protect the planet. Puro Ritmo, our Latin dance club on campus delivered some stellar performances, while students also enjoyed a plethora of free food samples from around the world. We all know when it comes to college students, “If you feed them, they will come,” so the venue was packed and the event was once again a huge success.
Many more creative, well-planned, and entertaining events are put on throughout the year by our dedicated team of Honors students who strive to continually liven up our campus. These include Murder Mystery, a scripted, Clue-esque dinner event where participants try to solve a fabricated crime in our very own Grey Towers Castle while trying to stay alive from a vengeful murderer in pursuit. And then there’s AU Stop Hunger Games in which we recruit tributes who donate canned goods to help stop hunger and have them duke it out in the middle of campus. I would compare the trauma of the experience to how Katniss Everdeen must have felt in the actual “Hunger Games”, but with less “death” because our Legal Department wasn’t a big fan of that idea. Despite some slight emotional scarring, being a tribute last year was an insanely fun time and a great way to end the spring semester of my first year.
Never in a million years would I have imagined how much I would have grown both intellectually, emotionally, and socially because of what the Honors program has to offer. I am constantly learning from inspiring faculty members, especially our exalted, motherly program director, Helene Klein, who makes the experience even better than you would ever expect. I’m sad that my time with the program will be over in a little over a year, but I cannot wait to see what new adventures it will throw my way in the future.