Why I Love the UK Honors College (And You Might Too)


Jack Weaver

Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Luke Schlake, Reporter

People don’t really “love” institutions anymore, and if loving an institution is out-of-style, complaining about one is equally in-style. And I get it. 

There is a group of students that is less-than-enamored with the Honors College. The usual culprits tend to be attendance at a lackluster speaker event or the scheduling difficulties with honors classes (heads up guys — there’s a senior thesis). 

For my part, I’m still waiting for a ping pong table in the Lewis Lounge, but ultimately, I’m convinced the experience is totally worth it.

While the Lewis Honors College may have its weak spots, it has one particularly incredible quality: the people. 

The college attracts and connects some of the most fascinating people on campus. It functions as a giant social intersection for smart, curious students of every major. That means that some of the best inter-departmental relationships are formed there.

I’m a second-semester senior and looking back, an uncannily high proportion of my closest friendships started as Honors College connections. The cross-campus connections formed in the college alone make it worth loving.

But it also includes professors. The quality of faculty — and their willingness to form personal connections with students — is superb. 

My closest faculty relationships were formed in the Honors college: Dr. Rebecca Howell taught me to critically argue, Dr. Ryan Voogt taught me how to navigate big life decisions and Dr. Daniel Kirchner taught me how to write well. 

That’s not to mention the time I’ve spent with Dr. Eric Welch, Dr. Kenton Sena or Dr. Kondwani Phwandaphwanda (if you haven’t met any three of these gentlemen, you’re missing out). And sure, maybe a weird number of the Lewis faculty are obsessed with studying trees.

But that’s part of the point. They are nuanced, real and thoughtful professors who care a lot about their students. I can’t help but be incredibly grateful.

If you disagree with my claim, then I have a recommendation: Suspend your disbelief for a moment and try to find something meaningful in the experience.

If you have yet to find a quality friend, a quality professor or a quality advisor in the Honors College, I promise you, they are out there. Go to office hours. Go to a Lewis event. Talk to a stranger in the lounge. (And if you’re not yet a part of the Honors college, consider applying!)

Is the Honors College perfect? Um, no. Not at all. But you can’t wait to love something until it’s perfect. In fact, if you wait to love something until it’s perfect, you’ve missed the point of love. 

Institutions are made of people, and people are flawed. But people are also brilliant, fascinating and make the whole experience of college worth doing. 

I’m convinced the experience is what you make of it, and that can be a heck of a lot.

So yeah, I’ll admit it: I love the Honors College. And if you give it a chance, you might too.