National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 51–53


Copyright © 2022 Pepper Hayes


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.

Twenty years ago, I was an honors student with a very well-rounded course schedule and a résumé full of interesting extracurricular activities and leadership experiences. Unfortunately, for me, “well-rounded” translated to “directionless,” and I had no idea what to do after graduation. That’s when I made my first mistake: I crowdsourced the decision. I asked nearly everyone I knew for their opinion and the feedback was unanimous: go to law school. I can see why. If you had asked me at the time, “what is the benefit of an honors education?” I would have told you that the honors program trained me to think analytically, made me a stronger writer, and increased my intellectual capacity. In short: it was the perfect proving ground for a future lawyer. So, why not? It turns out that law wasn’t for me. I won’t go into the long list of reasons why, but I can tell you that I realized this incompatibility on my very first day of law school.