Outstanding Senior of the Year Post: Honors & Opportunities

Gloria LaCourse is the Meijer Honors College Outstanding Senior of the Year. In this blog post she reflects on the Honors College, GVSU, and the opportunities they provided for her.

Entering the Honors College orientation in 2013 was terrifying and exciting at the same time. Gathered with hundreds of the brightest students at Grand Valley, I was unsure where I would fit in or if I would ever find my place amongst the brilliant minds surrounding me. College can be a scary place, but the faculty, curriculum, and atmosphere of the Frederik Meijer Honors College provided the warmest of welcomes and the brightest of futures.

Looking back at my past four years here at Grand Valley, it’s hard to believe how far I have come. When I entered, I feared the unknown, and unwilling to venture into uncharted territory. Now I am graduating this April with many experiences that I’d never imagined possible.

The Honors College heavily promotes studying abroad, promoting students to gain a global perspective of the world. One of my favorite experiences was my trip to Rome to present my Honors Senior Project. I had the opportunity to stand alongside the Director of the School of Accounting as I presented my project titled Family Owned Businesses: International Charitable Contributions & Tax Savings. Not only did I gather a vast array of knowledge from my Senior Project, but I was able to immerse myself in a diverse culture where I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I also studied abroad in London, allowing me to further develop a global mindset in an increasingly diverse America.

My study abroad opportunities were life changing, but my greatest experiences at Grand Valley occurred within my Honors courses. I had the privilege of taking Professor Benjamin’s Big History course during my freshman year. Professor Benjamin instilled in me a passion for learning that surpassed anything I thought possible, developing our discussion-based class into a big family in the process.

In addition to Big History, my science courses weren’t simply classes where I memorized cell structures or the human anatomy. My journey throughout college has focused on real issues throughout the world, not just the details of the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic. We weren’t encouraged to compete, but instead we focused on collaboration. Every other Honors course I have taken has had a similar effect, encouraging us students to genuinely listen to and understand each person’s way of thinking to inspire intellectual conversation and deep learning.

Throughout my four years at Grand Valley State University and the Frederik Meijer Honors College, I have been able to develop an inquisitive mind and deep values that influence every aspect of my life. In addition to finding my new beginning and future here, I found a voice for myself that may not have been possible anywhere else. Although I am leaving in only a few weeks, the Frederik Meijer Honors College is my home.

image1 (1)Gloria LaCourse is a senior honors student set to graduate in April of 2017 with her Bachelors in Business Administration. She was given the 2017 Frederik Meijer Honors College Outstanding Senior Award and is attending Ohio State University next year to obtain her Masters in Accounting. Gloria’s passions include reading, taxes, and her puppy Blue-Ivy!

Student Post: 5 tips about your Honors Senior Project

As an Honors College student, it is required that an Honors Senior Project is completed. Originally a daunting task, I have since come to the end of implementing my project. Here’s what I learned along the way.

Own your education.

Sure, classes can help you get a degree. But does that degree help you get the job you want? Your Senior Project can be used as a way to bridge the gap between what you have been studying and what you want experience in.

Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow.

There are few limitations when it comes to choosing what to do your project on. Learn to love the guidelines (or lack thereof) and choose a project that you are passionate about. Have a topic that you want to learn more about? Always wondered about an aspect of your studies but haven’t been able to take a class? Now is the time!

Choose something that has a real impact.

The Grand Valley community extends further than just GVSU faculty, staff, and students. Use your project to get out into the greater community and solve real problems. Work toward getting your project on ScholarWorks or copyrighted by the end of the semester. A project with an impact can be applied to any field of study.

Do something that you wouldn’t have done ordinarily.

Branch out. Diversify your skill set. Use this opportunity to grow your weaknesses into strengths. You could write an essay on something you already learned or you can challenge yourself to do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Work smarter, not harder.

Honors students get stuff done. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of procrastinating and too much Netflix, but at the end of the day, the assignments get done. Focus on working efficiently and managing your time, which means start planning now, whatever year you are, for what you want to do.

Don’t go it alone.

Oh, and if no one has told you, you don’t have to do your Project alone! Partner with another graduating senior to take on a problem that you both aim to solve. Working with another student not only helped lessen the workload, but it helped us tackle even bigger problems.

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to complete an Honors Senior Project this semester. Not only did I learn about myself and my interests, but I was able to change the lives of others through my work and meet incredible people along the way. Working on this project opened new doors to me, but also helped me create lifelong friendships that I might not have made, had I stayed in my comfort zone.

Get started today and remember that you can change the world.

jaclynJaclyn Ermoyan is a senior in the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University, pursuing a major in public relations and minors in nonprofit administration and international relations. Jaclyn is passionate about Grand Valley and spends much of her time working at her campus jobs. You can find her tweeting or snapping for University Communications and for the Career Center, or serving as the clerical assistant to the executive secretary for University Development. Jaclyn is currently serving as the CEO of Grand Valley’s student-run public relations firm called GrandPR. She is still learning about herself and her interests, so she is always looking for new ways to get involved, meet new people, and contribute her knowledge and experience to new projects.