National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 85–87


Copyright © 2022 Heather Ness-Maddox


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 first honors course was Introduction to Psychology. I begrudgingly enrolled to fill an area. In high school, my psychology course was boring, but the honors course environment allowed me to read and critique research studies, analyzing the methods, the findings, the meaning behind the research. In high school I felt confident psychology would not be my major, but after the honors course I felt a passion for the discipline. Taking other courses in our honors program, I was encouraged to apply course content to my interests, and my interest has always been stories, in any medium. In American Literature, I connected transcendentalism to Star Wars. As I took more psychology courses, I interweaved Jungian psychoanalysis with Little Red Riding Hood and principles of narrative therapy. Our honors director encouraged me to present my work at state, regional, and eventually national honors conferences. In my honors program, I was in a continuous cycle of question, discover, apply, and disseminate. As a doctoral student, I find myself in this same cycle, honing the skills I learned from my honors experiences.