Class: Chancellor’s Honors 2017
Minors: French & Francophone Studies, Psychology
Hometown: Jackson, TN
I came from a small private high school in West, TN. In fact, when I looked out over my class on graduation day, I recognized every single face. I had been the typical honors student in high school. I took almost every AP class offered, pursued meaningful extracurricular activities, and simply loved learning. At the time, I thought I understood what “honors” was. I thought it was about grades or achievements—a reflection of accomplishment. It wasn’t until I came to UT that I saw just how crude my understanding really was. The first thing that struck me about honors here was not the accolades or prestige but the people.
I lived in a living and learning community (LLC) my freshmen year, and this gave me the once in a lifetime opportunity to work and grow alongside people vastly different from myself. I met people who were smarter and more ambitious than me, and it was the greatest gift I could have ever been given. During my first year, I discovered the importance of seeing the brilliance in other people. I met people who wanted to make a difference—people who wanted to use education to achieve their dreams for good.
This realization was the igniting spark that grew into a full-fledged flame. This is when I began to understand the full scope of Honors & Scholars and when I began to value the three-dimensional nature of education.
In high school, it was easy to believe knowing the answer is the ultimate goal. Through Honors & Scholars, I quickly learned the utmost goal to which I could strive was actually to ask increasingly better questions. Even beyond the LLC, I discovered that being an honors student is about surrounding yourself with people who will make you think deeper and ask those kinds of questions. The Honors & Scholars Programs facilitate opportunities to find common interests with other students. Whether it’s going to an on campus seminar together or serving the community in a similar way, honors students are connected by scholarship and compassion. I like to think of honors students as the movers and shakers of UT. Regardless of the specific program, Honors & Scholars is a lifestyle not just a line on a resume.
As an Honors Ambassador, I’ve been given many opportunities to share why I think the Honors & Scholars Programs matter. The honors approach to education inherently facilitates curiosity and creativity, and these themes have defined my journey at UT — the reason I believe an honors education makes all the difference. Because of the older honors students I had to look up to, the honors advisors I consistently drew support from, the professors I depended on, and the peers I came to call friends, I will step into my medical school journey next year with a humble heart and fiery spirit. The Honors & Scholars Programs encourage diversity in thought and individuals. If I’ve come to know one thing in my years at UT, it is this: any successes or accolades that may arise with the honors title are mere byproducts of this noble pursuit.
May we never stop pursuing.