By Ciara Patterson, Class of 2021
The summer before our freshmen year, the 37 other admitted honors freshmen and I started a group chat. By August, the group chat was full of pictures of our dogs and questions about ourselves, and as soon as we arrived at Gonzaga, my phone buzzed with requests to meet for dinner in the Cog and invitations to see each other’s newly decorated dorm rooms.
After those first couple of weeks, the whole program went to Camp Reed together, the site of the fall honors retreat. I had already gotten to know the freshmen a little bit, but we had only spent a week or two actually talking to each other in person. In some ways, we were still strangers to each other. We also had barely spoken to anyone from the other honors classes. Some of us were nervous to meet so many people in one weekend, but, luckily, the retreat was filled with swimming, skits, getting to know each other, and meeting upperclassmen who were eager to welcome us into the program.
Later, when classes became harder, and a certain first-year writing professor made us question if we were all really cut out for this college thing, we helped each other through the stressful times as well. Every time I felt overwhelmed or like I couldn’t keep up with the work, there was someone there to remind me that I belonged at Gonzaga and in the honors program. That social and academic support network was invaluable to me during my first semester of college.
My classmates still continually remind me of the kind of student and person that I want to be. Even as we make fun of each other and make self-deprecating jokes, I don’t think that any of us forget how lucky we are to know each other and to be a part of this program.
Through long nights spent reviewing philosophy topics, late-night walks to Dutch Bros. Coffee for an extra caffeine boost, and dinners in Cataldo before colloquium, I have met some of my best friends and come to recognize the Honors program as a community full of individuals who are as kind and compassionate as they are intellectually curious and hard-working. So if you are a prospective Zag, I would highly recommend applying to the program. It is so much more than just an academic program.