By Jade Jacobs
This article can be considered as an open letter to the incoming freshmen. Look at this as a mini crash-course on “what have I gotten myself into” of sorts. If you’re like most of us, you’re moving off to college and joining the Kugelman Honors Program because an honors student is what you’ve always been. Hailing from the lands of AP and dual enrolled course work, you feel like college is just another step on the way to that dream job. Sure, having “graduated with honors” on your diploma looks nice for your resumé, but being a member of the Kugelman Honors Program offers so much more than a check mark in a box. It’s not just about the prestige or specialized classes, it’s about a network and community that will have impacts lasting long after graduation.
This fall I’ll be starting my third year within the Kugelman Honors Program, and if someone had told me when I started that I would be in the position I’m in today, I probably would’ve nodded at the ground and silently walked away. Working my way up from an introverted freshman to running student organizations such as the Residence Hall Association and National Residence Hall Honorary wasn’t something I had planned, it’s something that resulted from connections I made on campus and within Honors. Stepping out of my comfort zone has never been easy, but the people I’ve become surrounded by here have made it an adventure. I could have easily hidden myself away in my room freshman year and avoided the amazing events Honors and UWF offer, but I never would’ve met many of the most interesting people at UWF. Bonding with my mentor Alyssa and waving ‘hello’ to my across-the-hall neighbor in my first few days here ended up gaining me two of my best friends. Alyssa ended up inspiring me to become an Honors mentor myself, leading to more wonderful experiences and an amazing support system with my colleagues.
In everything from simply attending Honors Council meetings and volunteering or enjoying committee events, to going to Honors retreat, presenting at conferences, and studying abroad, the Kugelman Honors Program is more than just a line on paper. Honors gives you the opportunity to broaden your horizon, build character, learn and strengthen leadership skills, and be a part of something much larger than yourself. All you need to do is decide that you want to make it happen. Opportunity is knocking, it’s time to choose whether or not you’re going to open the door.