National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 73–75


Copyright © 2022 Taylor C. Bybee


As part of the National Collegiate Honors Council’s (2022) collection of essays about the value of honors to its graduates (1967–2019), the author reflects on the personal and professional impacts of the honors experience.

Standing in line at the local fire station, my wife and I were waiting for our COVID-19 inoculations. The firefighters had been commissioned to administer the vaccines. Health department workers were examining paperwork, and volunteers were guiding patrons through the line. Looking around while trying to manage our children, I noticed a volunteer with a familiarlooking face, half-concealed by a mask. I had not seen the instructor of my first honors course in well over a decade, so, to confirm, I greeted her and asked, “What’s your name?” She was indeed my former honors professor, and what followed was a short yet buoyant exchange in which I eagerly shared some updates, such as the major I had settled on in college, my current job, and my family status. I was excited to see her. That first honors course included honors students from a variety of disciplines, and as an engineering major, I was not expecting to build a strong connection with them or with the instructor, a linguistics professor. Yet her concern for each student coupled with her willingness to listen fostered camaraderie and conversation, both in the classroom and personally, and my self-imposed barriers quickly collapsed.