don’t come across as an intellectual. I spend a long time deciding which earrings to wear every day. I ask a lot of questions that, in my valley girl-esque voice and, like, wording come across as ditzy. My favorite movie is a Bollywood musical version of “Pride and Prejudice.” And when I hang out with my friends we usually watch “our” show rather than talk about philosophy or theology.
Yet, my first-choice school was the Templeton Honors College (THC). I interviewed in November and put down my deposit by January. I was one of only a few of my friends who was genuinely excited about my college choice. I loved their style of education: participating in discussion-based classes, reading primary texts, and being asked to demonstrate knowledge in well-thought-out papers rather than exams where I would pour out facts instead of arguments. I was told that I would get the opportunity to wrestle with big questions. Coupled with a school that was my second choice even without THC, a school that proclaimed proudly that it stood for “faith, reason, and justice,” I couldn’t have been more excited about this fit.
So what happened that changed that proud girl into the one who is now writing to you about the unique compliment of being told “I didn’t know you were in THC”? It’s not that I don’t want to come across as cerebral–contrary to first impressions, I’m definitely enthusiastic about learning. I mean, the dentist I’ve gone to since I was a kid has come to expect that I’ll be reading throughout my appointments, and I don’t hide that I’d rather curl up with a book more than almost anything else. But I’m still thrilled when someone says they didn’t realize I was in THC; I’m still pleased to know I was able to keep that part of my life under wraps.
It’s not that I’m embarrassed to be in THC, but I am embarrassed to be associated with the stigma that comes attached to it. I’m embarrassed that there is this divide within the school I love and that I’m somehow a part of it. I’m embarrassed to be associated with a superiority complex. Regardless of whether anyone in THC really feels this way, the stigma is there, and I don’t want to come across as thinking I’m better than anyone else because I took “The Good Life” instead of INST150.
I’d be the first to admit there are real problems in THC. We have a tendency to get too caught up in our heads instead of living out Eastern’s virtues. We have a tendency to cluster together in groups of THC students, to be cliquey. There is a reason that this stigma is still pervasive at Eastern.
But this is not the definition of the Honors College, and I think it’s time for this perception to change. There are enough of us who surprise people daily with the news that we’re in the Honors College that maybe this antiquated relationship between Eastern and THC can be improved to one of better understanding. THC is about a certain type of education: nothing more and nothing less. I personally think it is the best form of education, but I’m also aware that people with other learning styles would not find it the best, and I’m aware that academics aren’t the be-all and end-all of life. Even Plato was considered most wise because he knew just how little he knew.
So yes, I am in THC. I’m glad you don’t associate me with this negative view you have of it, but it’s time for both of us to embrace a new perception instead of just encouraging individuals to go against it.