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What Defines An Honors Student

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“What defines an Honors Student?” is one of the favorite topics of discussion for teachers and parents of every kind and all of them have their own interpretation. “Honors students do their homework every single night,” says one, or “Honors students like reading and doing homework, not going out with friends or playing video games every night,” says another. But what really defines an honors student? It’s hard to tell for sure, since there are such a great variety of them. However, there are a few traits that seem to hold constant, and others that seem to hold not as constant.
“An honors student holds him/herself to high standards in both quality of work and motivation.” Although not true for every honors student out there, high motivation and work quality remain fairly consistent throughout the majority of honors students. Without motivation, any student is likely to slack, and although he or she may be intelligent, their grades are likely to decline and, in the eyes of the educational system, this means that they are not smart enough to remain in honors courses. Therefore, the majority of honors students do motivate themselves to do their work, and most of the time they put in the effort it takes for good quality, or the best quality they can turn out. The same goes for this work quality; if a student only does a half-assed job on anything, their grades are also likely to slack and will, again, be seen as not worthy of the honors program to the school and the educational system. The reasons that honors students do motivate themselves to perform high quality work has a wide variety of subjects, but some of the most common include college or trying to impress someone, such as their parents. Of course, by retaining high grades in any honors course, the students GPA will increase, something that any college will look at. In addition, many students wish to impress their parents and family, and this can serve as a legitimate reason that a student may motivate him or herself to increase his or her GPA and grades.
“An honors student is only an honors student to look good for college.” Although it’s true that college is a high motivator to participate in honors classes, it is usually not the only reason to participate in them. As stated above, many students wish to impress their parents and family, or try to make them proud of him or her. Sometimes college has nothing to do with the student being in honors courses. Some students that I know are quite intelligent, but are choosing not to go to college. Others, equally intelligent, would rather practice civil disobedience by not doing their homework since they personally believe that homework is not a worthy use of their time, something that colleges would most likely detest. However, most students are in honors classes for a majority of reasons. Most do wish to go to a good college. Most do want to make their families proud of them. Many honors students have parents or guardians who push them and make sure that they are doing well in school. My parents, although separated, are constantly bugging me to complete my homework, turn in late work, and study for tests, even though most of the time I really don’t want to. If my parents didn’t bother me or threaten me with not being able to go out with my friends on weekends if I didn’t do my work, I probably wouldn’t do it, and my grades would slack. Although having “uncaring” parents or at least a home life that doesn’t necessarily push their kids doesn’t ensure that that child won’t be in honors classes, it often seems to be a relatively common theme among students who aren’t in honors classes and receive poor grades for their lack of caring about their work. And while I wouldn’t exactly call my home life “perfect,” I do recognize that I have it better than many other people (even if that means completing excessively boring homework all night).
“An honors student possesses the traits and values of a traditional family, such as a traditional family structure and strong religious beliefs.” Many people do tend to think of the stereotypical honors student as a “nerd,” or as someone with the perfect life with a perfect family who goes to church every Sunday. This myth is probably the most far-fetched, at least in today’s day and age. And although a lot of honors students aren’t the stereotypical “bad kids” either, most do fall somewhere in the middle. In the same honors class, I know people that are pro-life and pro-choice, for and against gay rights, atheists and devout Christians, people who smoke weed and people who are straight edge, actors and singers and band members, listeners of classical and pop and punk and metal music, popular people and “nerds,” and people who struggle with depression or other issues. It is impossible to label honors students in one way, especially by their family lives or personal values.
Of course not everyone has a great home life, and of course not everyone is religious. Honors students have their faults just like everyone else. They procrastinate, they party with their friends, they fight with their parents and they have high school drama to deal with. They get D’s and F’s and they laugh and cry and get angry, just like everyone else. Everyone, honors students and “regular” students, are different, and they all have different opinions and beliefs and values and ethics. Everyone is different, and it is impossible to define an honors student in any way, just as it’s impossible to define anyone in any one way. Despite the fact that motivation and college and family lives do seem to have running themes within various honors students, anyone can become an honors student, no matter their situation if they are so inclined. Everyone is different and every honors student is different too.





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