Tag: National Honors Blog Week

Think Bigger by Starting Smaller

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There are no two ways about it: the events of the past few weeks have been trying, and not only for the students of UD. People everywhere are still reeling from the effects of the Boston Marathon bombings, the attacks in Iraq, the earthquake at the Iran-Pakistan border, the Texas plant fertilizer explosions… sometimes, it seems like the list of things that are going wrong is infinite and unyielding. There will always be times when pessimism would be the easiest route, when writing off humanity is inherently bad would be the simplest… but that wouldn’t be very daring at all.

This week is about daring to think bigger, and even in light of the tragedies, accidents, and mishaps of the past fortnight, I truly do believe that humanity has done that with stunning perseverance and encouraging optimism. The “dare to think bigger” comes in the form of Boston Marathon runners crossing the finish line and going straight to the hospital to give blood to the victims, of the Yankees’ tribute to the Red Sox in the middle of a game, of the national and global support to every person feeling the shock of these events.

Looking back, here’s what I’ve come up with: that daring to think bigger means starting smaller. All of the positive responses to these and, I think, all things start with individuals who cannot stand to sit idly by while others are suffering. These changes come in a number of shapes and sizes: time, money, prayers, helping hands, random acts of kindness… the list is miraculously long, so much so that I could fill a month of posts on the beautiful, thoughtful ideas people conceive.

But instead of filling a post, what I want to do and to see more than anything is the filling of campus. In conjunction with “dare to think bigger” and what this post has been about, I’m issuing a challenge to UD; our partner in National Honors Blog Week, Temple University; and everyone reading this post.

Dare to think bigger by starting smaller. It’s one thing to march onto the street and announce a staggering plan for global change, but it’s entirely another to take on the perspective of another. There’s no way of knowing what a passing smile or a door held for the person behind you can do. If everyone reaches out just a little, hands will join. Perspective expands when minds do, and by reading to the end of this post, you’re already a small part of the way. To get you that little bit farther, I’d like to leave you with this quote:

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.” Queen Victoria.

Have a great weekend, UD.

~Claire Davanzo


Push Harder, Go Farther

Today we hand over the blog to our guest writer, Kristin Bennighoff, Associate Director of the Honors Program to let her dare you to think bigger:

“You know why? Because I’m a pusher. I PUSH people…and now I’m going to push you because I know you are smarter than this.”

            -Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls

One of my students told me I was a pusher, referring to this quote, and she is right. I dare students to think bigger all the time by pushing them. That’s my job: get students to challenge themselves and encourage them to do things above and beyond their expectations.

I do not approve of “easy” schedules: only 4 classes, no Honors sections, no courses on Fridays (or any other day of the week). Life is never just a 4-day week, so you may as well come to terms with that now! I knew a senior in the Class of 2012 who took two 8:00 AM classes in her final semester. Some of her friends called her crazy, but I called her brilliant. Take it easy in your last semester before med school? No way for that student (she won the Warner Award for the outstanding woman in the senior class, by the way).

What makes me happy is seeing a student who is not afraid of what I suggest to them, even if it is a challenging path. When I see potential, I have to let students know that they should think bigger. I need to plant the seeds in their minds so they might take a chance and think of themselves as something MORE.

What are the things that you can do to think bigger? The feasibility of these ideas depends on your year, what you have done so far, your GPA, and your ambitions. These are the bigger things I would encourage students to do when they are sitting in my office:

  • Take as many Honors courses as possible.
  • Get involved with Undergraduate Research and try for an Honors Degree with Distinction (writing a thesis!).
  • Think strategically about what you do with your winter and summer breaks.
  • Talk to faculty and form relationships. Faculty know about all kinds of opportunities—research, internships, upcoming speakers, etc. You will need letters of recommendation or references, so these relationships are key.
  • Get involved—with the Honors Program as a Fellow (Russell, Writing, Senior), by joining clubs & organizations, starting your OWN club or organization, participating in student government, becoming a Blue Hen Ambassador, and so on…
  • Think about how you can make an impact on your community, your country, and/or the world.
  • Add another major, degree, or minor. Take another foreign language. Take a graduate level course. Explore a new subject/course just for the sake of learning. (If you have space in your schedule)
  • For students with GPAs of 3.7 and above, look at the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman scholarships. Yes, you must have leadership activities, great relationships with recommenders, and big dreams, but you can’t win one of these if you don’t apply. Think about other national and international scholarships: the Fulbright, Goldwater, Udall, and Mitchell. Our students have been competitive for these awards and have WON! This spring alone we have a Truman, Fulbright, and 2 Goldwater winners. These prestigious awards could be within YOUR reach.
  • Network: Talk to faculty, staff, alumni, other students. You never know what can come of these conversations!
  • Read/Explore: Watch or read the news and understand what is going on in our country and around the world. Read scholarly articles in your major or written by your professors. Read good books and attend campus lectures with outside speakers (especially ones sponsored by the Honors Program!).

So, now it’s up to you! This is your education and your decision. Will you take it to the next level? I can only push so much. You have to make the choice to push yourself.



Undecided? Fundecided.

Our theme this week is “dare to think bigger.” I’ve decided to take this in a somewhat different direction and examine majors. Specifically, I want to look at what happens to the hundreds of students who enter UD each year undeclared.

I started here in fall 2010 undecided (officially University Studies), and not really sure what I wanted to do. I liked journalism and so was leaning toward English, but I wasn’t ready to commit yet. I was initially apprehensive about coming in without a major, but the Blue Hen Ambassadors I had on my several visits, as well as my advisor and lots of people back home, all told me not to worry, plenty of people enter undecided.

And so, I started college undecided. Most of the people I met at UD early on did have a defined major, but it was kind of cool being different. I quickly found out all the people I spoke to were right: it’s not too difficult being undecided. Freshmen year you take a lot of general, university-required classes anyway, so being undecided did not have much of an effect on me then. In my first semester, I also took a one-credit course with a couple of other undecided freshmen who were hoping to figure out what to study. Due to my lack of a major, one of my friends called me “fundecided.” Other than that, there was little difference.

Over my first three semesters I did take a few courses in subjects that interested me and were potentially worth pursuing. I also got a number of those pesky requirements of the way.

As my third semester neared its end, I was ready to declare. I had taken a basic English class, one that all English majors need, that semester, in preparation for what I thought would be my major. I still was not sure what I would do career-wise with an English degree, but I had some ideas, and at any rate, I figured there was no point in waiting until after the completion of my fourth semester, when all undecided students must declare. I was confident English was the field I wanted to be in, and I went for it.

I wasn’t ready to declare a major when I entered college, so I waited. And things have been ok. So I’ll tell you, if you’re “undecided” about what to study, don’t worry. Try courses out, and take your time. You’ll find your niche.

Also, we’re still in the midst of Honors Blog week, so be sure to check out our partner in crime Temple University’s blog at HonorsLounge.com.

~Matt Bittle

How-to: Broaden your mind and ‘think bigger’

We have all seen the theories that meditation will help you broaden your mind and be at one with yourself. You will be more connected with your emotions and feel more relaxed. I’m not disproving the power of meditation when I say this, but who has time for that?! I know I don’t, especially during a week like this one where my professors decide to have all my term papers due. Unfortunately, that’s when I need it most!

However, I do have some tips on how to broaden your mind (without meditation) but also without overloading yourself with graduate level classes because you think that’s the only way to expand your knowledge. I know Honors students don’t like to be mediocre, so here’s how to reach above that.

1.       Take ten minutes to yourself in the morning. Most mornings, if we’re not rushed because we slept through our alarm clock, we’re feeling lethargic. Take advantage of that feeling and while you’re brushing your teeth, waiting for the shower to heat up or watching your eggs cook, do something intellectually stimulating (like read our blog! Start here for some more inspiration!) . Many mornings, I’ll read through my Twitter feed for the latest PR news or check through my bookmarked websites. Not only will it help you expand your knowledge on things that interest you, but it will also get your day kick started.

2.       Allow yourself ONE fun/challenging class a semester. It depends where you get your kicks, but I would suggest setting aside time in your schedule each semester for that one challenging class that is outside of your major that will force you to think, or take a fun class like Team Sports. You will stimulate that part of your brain that isn’t engaged during your Organic Chemistry classes and work the creative side.

3.       Visit somewhere new. We are lucky enough to be close to at least four major cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City. All of them are within three hours driving distance and you are able to take in so many new sites and an immense amount of our nation’s history. Even if you wanted to head to the aquarium for the day, just take that extra time to learn something new outside of the classroom (even if it is what type of food penguins like to eat).

4.       Get involved. Maybe you think you might not have the time to donate to something else as an Honors Chemical Engineer, but there are so many clubs out there! Sure, it’s great to be involved with something related to your major, that’s what I do, but maybe try something in an area of interest. Perhaps you really like environmental causes, or health-issue groups. Challenge yourself to attend a meeting and you’ll even meet a new group of people!

As Honors students, of course we have a full course load. However, we also have the drive to push ourselves further all of the time. Don’t overdo it of course, but take a step towards broadening your mind and daring yourself to think bigger. You won’t regret it.

Don’t forget to check out www.HonorsLounge.com for some more inspiration! Dare to think Bigger!

Take it easy.

~Chelsey Rodowicz


This week we are teaming up with Temple University’s blog Honors Lounge to have an online forum surrounding the idea that Honors programs dare us to think bigger. Please comment, interact with, read, share, retweet etc. our posts and Temple’s all week!

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