Most of you know that there aren’t enough honors dorms for all of the honors students on campus. (Okay, I’m channeling Robin Williams for this next bit) It’s all part and parcel of the honors gig. PHENOMENAL [intellectual] POWER, itty-bitty living space.
Sure, the rooms are great, but there aren’t enough so lots of us get “relegated” to other sections of campus and miss out on the honors community. Or at least, that’s what a lot of people are worried about.
Trust me, living away from the honors dorms can be amazing!
I lived in the honors dorms last year as a freshman and, while I enjoyed the amenities, I didn’t quite fit in. The classes were fantastic and I loved my professors, but I didn’t click with the majority of people in my dorm. Yeah, I’m friendly, but I’m friendly to everyone. See, what they say about college is true: There’s a niche for everyone. However, the honors dorms took that a bit to the extreme. People who had a stereotypical set of interests (e.g. civil rights with political science or a party guy doing business as a fallback) fit in just fine. Those people found each other like magnets! I still see friendships between people who bonded in the first week of freshman year and I doubt that they’ll ever part. Fantastic! Good for them! However, there is a caveat: People who have a heck of a lot of interests are sometimes left in the lurch.
In some ways, it was like high school all over again. People formed cliques. There just wasn’t any bullying or gossip that I noticed. However, the groups didn’t mingle much. I’m a bit of a social butterfly, so that proved to be a problem. It was as if I couldn’t quite connect with any one group because I felt attracted to many of them. Sure, I was invited out and all that, the honors people are wonderfully friendly that way, but in other ways I felt as though I was associated with a single group in the others’ eyes. The other people had a blast. Personally, I need variety.
Expressing this to my father, he said that it was weird that our faith in intelligence had let us down. He then said something that bears considering: “The brainy ones are not reliably any better as people than the jocks and slackers.” While I think it’s a good bet, he has a point. Honors students are as human as anyone else and as prone to flaws as the next chump. Better yet, you need to consider the other end of the spectrum: It doesn’t matter if someone is in the honors college or not, they can still have a great heart.
I’m living away from honors this year and I feel like I hit the jackpot. I’d signed up for the Creative Expressions residential community and now I find that I’m with the greatest hodgepodge of people that I could have imagined. We have jocks that love anime, musicians who are business majors, stoners that are hardcore academics, and any number of other combinations and they all intermingle! It’s fantastic! I’ve never lived anywhere where I have felt so happy and accepted, despite being so far from my friends in the honors dorms.
However, the fact of the matter is that, while I wasn’t so lucky last year, my case was exceptional. UMass Amherst is a great school. Yeah, we’ve got our slackers and jerks like everyone else, but we’ve also got a ton of good students here. As my father said “You are among motivated, smart people committed to what they are doing, and in such surroundings, it’s hard not to find good company.” Well, apparently I’m finding them! It just took me longer than most others.
So, the takeaway from this is that, no matter where you end up on campus, you’ll find your crowd. Just because I shouldn’t take up gambling doesn’t mean that you’ll have a rough time in college. Look forward to the people you’ll meet here because, not to brag, we’re all pretty great.
Song of the Week: Here’s a throwback for those of you who remember “Drake and Josh!” Just like Drake did, you’ll find a way.
Wow that sounded really corny. Anyhow. Here’s the song! “I Found A Way”