Honors Students Speaks Passionately about the Program

honors studnets work around portrait

Honors Students Speaks Passionately about the Program

Date: Friday, January 20, 2017 - 3:45pm

Cassandra Grigware had no idea what she wanted to do when she arrived at Western, not because she wasn’t passionate about any subject, but because she was passionate about too many of them. “I love math,” she says, “I love English, I love chemistry, I love art, I love biology, I love philosophy, I love economics, I love sociology and psychology and fitness and, everything. If I could do it all, I would.”

In the Honors program, Grigware found her answer: “what honors does for me is it allows me to take all these interests and put it into one conversation. And I don’t have to be a sociology major or minor to talk about it, or to learn about it, and I don’t have to do economics or philosophy to be philosophical, or understand how money works in the world,” she says. “It gives me time to let my brain expand beyond what I am in, with other students, and it also gives me an opportunity to learn about things that are non-traditional: homelessness and world writers.”

Her favorite parts of Western’s Honors program are the independence that is given to the students and the continual conversation that the students have with each other. In the honors forum class, the students spend the first few weeks discussing and deciding what they would like most to learn about. “There have been classes that have picked to talk about coffee. There’s one on the meaning of art. And so those classes, especially right in the beginning, teach you to have deep conversations that make it look at things in many, many different ways.”

The focus on students directing their education continues in higher level Honors classes, where students determine what they are interested in learning, speak with professors about the possibilities and hold a vote to determine the class offerings for the next year.

Grigware entered into the Honors program because “I’ve always been in higher classes so I wanted to be in classes that push my thinking more.” But the program was not what she expected: “because I did expect more work and harder classes, and that’s not what Honors is all about. It is all about enhanced and enriched learning. It’s diving deep into things that you wouldn’t necessarily dive deep in [otherwise].”

Girgware is currently a junior and a double major in art and biology. She hopes to someday work in nutrition or at a hospital.