What Honors Students Are Saying
Ashley - The Classroom is Closer to The Real World Than You Think
The Scholars Program here at Endicott is both challenging and eye-opening. While focusing mostly on cultural studies, the course is designed to overcome the line between the classroom and the real world. After completing my first year as an Endicott Scholar, I’ve realized that I have come to view the world around me differently than I did just one short year ago. I have begun to connect the concepts we’ve studied in class, such as ideology, feminism, transgression and ethnography to my experiences in every-day life. The Honors course has continuously provided me with motivation and intrigue, because each lesson connects to the culture of our current society as well as those past. While the concepts are challenging, the outcome of learning a new way to experience the world around me is extremely rewarding.
A major turning point in my learning this freshman year was when the Honors students participated in a class trip to the town of Beverly in order to “read” Beverly as a cultural text. In groups, we walked along two distinctly separate streets in the town, taking notes on the environment around us, such as the building’s structures or the graffiti on the concrete. We then used these observations to form conclusions about the culture of the town. Before this activity, I was able to understand the topics that were covered in class, but I had not yet applied these concepts to the physical world. Once I learned to relate my in-class studies to my current environment, I could not stop. I began viewing simple texts, like the café on the corner or a new popular movie, through different cultural perspectives that broadened my understanding of the world around me. The Endicott Scholars Program has significantly enhanced the way I comprehend my surroundings as well as my ability to communicate these new ideas.
The Endicott Scholars program stands out as a point of great development during my freshman year. In a time filled with such an array of new experiences, being a member of the honors program provided many unique and unforeseen challenges. What I loved about the honors program is that everyone experiences their own personal journey throughout the course of the year. People experience different tests of their abilities and respond in different ways, but in the end everyone realizes dramatic changes in their approach to learning and continued intellectual development. For me as an international student and a recipient of the IB diploma, I figured that the honors course would follow on a logical pattern of my previous academic experiences; but I was very wrong.
The honors program provided great discovery for me as a learner and as a thinker. The cultural concepts we encountered throughout the year often demanded us as students to go above and beyond the classroom, and set extremely high standards of us as scholars. The honors program involves a large volume of reading, which dramatically expands your personal knowledge base, and also creates a cross-disciplinary perspective to be formed in providing sophisticated conclusions from the course material. It wasn’t until the completion of the second semester that I could fully register my intellectual growth. A major turning point for me came after the completion of the cultural work assignment. This essay required me to apply historical context to a popular text, and outline in detail what circumstances provided that text to become popular and sustain its popularity for a period of time. It made me think in a broader sense, and draw conclusions from a large variety of academic disciplines such as history, sociology and English literature.
My favorite feature of the honors program is the encouragement of debate and a multiplicity of ideas to be presented within the class room setting. Interacting with my peers proved invaluable in formulating my own ideas and opinions, and allowed for greater reflection for myself as a learner. In all, I believe the honors programs is about transformation. I know that I have become a more disciplined reader and researcher as a result of the rigorous course of study, and I aspire to continue developing myself scholastically in the future.
Nicole P. - A Beneficial Challenge
I have had a great and beneficial experience being an Endicott Scholar and participating in the Honors Seminar course these past two semesters. Throughout my time in the honors program this year, I have learned and discovered so much about the world and myself that I had never thought about before. I was introduced to cultural studies and the concepts, ideas and theories that deal with this academic area of study such as semiotics, feminist theory, American ideologies, ethnography, transgression and capitalism. I have always been used to learning about the core subjects – math, science, English, social studies – never something that I could really apply to my own life and the culture that I live in. Being an Endicott Scholar helped to open my eyes to the world around me and taught me how to better understand and interpret that world.
After studying American ideologies, I became more aware of the ways Americans view equality, privacy and hard work, and have noticed examples of these in movies that I watch. The concept of transgression made me more aware of how popular culture changes and adapts over time. Although many of the concepts and theories I learned gave me a new perspective on things, one of the projects that we completed in the honors class this year that really impacted me and creating a turning point in my learning was the Ethnography project. I had to choose a site and spend time there; participating in the culture and observing the interactions and behaviors that took place there, and come to conclusions about how the culture of that site works. I made claims about the culture and the behaviors expected and rejected in that site. This really helped me to look at the world differently and to see how people adapt to the culture of different places.
Being in the scholars program was definitely a challenge. Without that challenge, however, I would not have reached the level that I am at today. I had to work hard and struggle academically with the scholarly articles, terms, and concepts that we learned in class to gain the improvement that I did. I have acquired an increased vocabulary and better formal academic style in my writing as well as an abundance of knowledge that I am able to apply to other academic areas. Throughout the year, I have made connections between the theories and concepts learned in honors to things I learned in some of my other classes as well. This has provided me with the ability to gain a wider and fuller understanding of many different areas of academic study. Overall, being an Endicott Scholar this year has positively contributed to my freshman year and my transition to college.