Four years of hard work have finally paid off for 21 Honors College students who graduated May 14. Although seven Honors College students graduated early, these students represent the first full cohort to graduate since the Honors College began in 2007.
Dr. Ray Green, dean of Honors College, feels a sense of accomplishment watching them go. “Watching the first honors cohort graduate is like watching your child go away to college or get married,” he said. “I am thrilled for our students and their success, but at the same time there is a sense of sadness as they leave. I have enjoyed this group so much and I am grateful for their willingness to join a new program and to be there as we worked out the issues that accompany a new undertaking. They are great students, but more importantly great people who are destined to make our world a better place.”
Four seniors gave their input on what it was like to be a part of the Honors College experience: Jamie Douglas, accounting; Rachel Evans, marketing; Andy Kroll, management information systems; and George Swindell, clinical psychology. While they each came to the Honors College with different academic and career goals, they all left with a sense of community and personal growth.
Here are their stories:
What HC added to the A&M-Commerce experience: Jamie: “It was comforting to automatically be a part of an organization the first day I arrived at A&M-Commerce. We participated in numerous events on campus, which helped me become more involved.” Rachel: “The Honors College helped me connect with my professors, make contacts and network with people.”
The best thing about being in HC: Andy: “The best part was getting to know my teachers better, and receiving one-on-one help from them. They have been able to help me through tough times.” Jamie: “I liked the Honors classes. It was nice to be in smaller classes where I knew my instructors well, and could have group discussions over various topics. I learned a lot from them.”
Advice for future HC students: George: “Start early. Don’t put everything off until your deadlines. Don’t give up.” Andy: “Get involved, because the more people you know, the better. Social and extracurricular activities are just as important as your academics. When you get involved in other organizations, more opportunities open up for you.” Rachel: “I encourage everyone to get involved and give back, just make sure you are focusing the right amount of effort toward your studies.” Jamie: “Get involved on campus, because it will make you a well-rounded student.”
How HC prepared them for the real world: Andy: “I have made many great friends and have a better idea of what I want to do with my life. I have discovered many new areas of study that interest me, and it has made me a better, well-rounded person.” Rachel: “It has taught me to take initiative and make things happen. If I want something to happen, I need to take the steps or find the person to help me find my answers. The level of responsibility and expectations has driven me to mature and move forward with my goals.” Jamie: “It has taught me a about the importance of being involved in something. Getting involved is vital to growing as individuals and finding our place in the world.”
What’s next for these HC grads: George: “I want to stay here and get my master’s in clinical psychology. I am going to be a resident assistant and teach Intermediate Algebra.” Andy: “I plan on entering the workforce, and potentially pursue graduate school.” Jamie: “I hope to continue working for A&M-Commerce, because I thoroughly enjoy being here, and it would be a way to give back. In the near future, I would also like to obtain a Certified Public Accountant license, as this would help my accounting career.” Rachel: “I am moving to Austin, Texas to serve as the marketing intern for LIVESTRONG, the cancer foundation founded by Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner. After the internship, I am looking to stay in the Austin area and pursue a career in non-profit marketing.”