National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 95–97


Copyright © 2022 Ashley Gerstle (née Offenback)


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.

My undergraduate experience was mundane, average, and boring. I excelled academically, a little too easily. I could skip the readings and ace my classes half asleep. It was a normal experience for me to write entire papers an hour before the due date and receive As. In one instance a professor publicly recognized me as having written the best paper in the entire class. I beamed with a shocked kind of pride, laughing on the inside because I knew at that moment that something seriously needed to change. I sought out the honors program because I wanted an increased academic challenge for personal fulfillment and to differentiate my résumé. I never dreamed I would find an experience so transformational and inspirational, shaping my interests and still affecting my choices years later.