National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 149–50


Copyright © 2022 Daphne Watson


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.

Each of us enters higher education with our own life experiences and beliefs. As a Black woman over forty, I was not your typical college sophomore. Returning to college full-time filled me with uncertainty, so unlike when I first began undergrad more than twenty years prior. A lifetime of highs and lows, failures and successes cultivated a certain fearlessness, yet I was unsure of where I might fit within the university culture. And then I was accepted into the University Honors Program. “Scholar” was always a mantle I desired to carry. Although I’d spent my life exploring ideas and collecting knowledge on my own, being an Honors Scholar provided me a pass, a sort of permission, to explore ideas and better understand what I thought, while providing connections to challenge and reinforce those thoughts and ideas. I became a part of a community of people who were just as intimidated by the power of their own minds as I was, yet we continued to show up and do the work that never really felt like work. All the while, we lifted each other up, filling sagging sails with the winds of our encouragement.