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You and three other people were asked by a researcher to assess an abstract art piece. This researcher wants a general consensus about how this particular image makes a viewer feel. You come to realize that each person, including yourself, is different from one another, thus the evaluation is detrimentally skewed. The four of you can not agree on an answer. What will you do? Well, maybe this doesn’t need fixing. You all have dissimilar opinions and that’s ok. Some things in life don’t have a set response or reply; sometimes those mixed perceptions are better than that one sole answer. Just as this scenario proposes, defining the art piece is hard and results in many definitions. Recently, I’ve been wondering about another almost artistic form of expression that, in turn, is also quite ambiguous: honor students. Who are they? What makes up one? How are they viewed? What is their “set” definition?
To begin my investigation, I began by looking for answers on one of my favorite sites, urbandictionary.com. Although not a conventional dictionary, it is still considered one. This site allows anyone to post his or her own definition, hence the word urban. I was eager to get an honest opinion of what real teens think. One person comments, “Honors students are smart people, normally first in their classes or high in society that you would never expect to do something wrong, and they occasionally smoke marijuana.” And lucky for me, he or she even provides a skit to demonstrate this scenario.
Person 1: Yo, did you know our valedictorian rolls up on weekends and gets faded?
Person 2: Oh word? Dang, that dude is on the honor roll.
Kudos to some kid for saying what he or she truly feels. I would imagine it is hard to make this harsh of a claim. Basically, he or she is saying that honor students are drugees who are also smart, oh and they are probably rich too. This “definition” can leave many honors students feeling offended, sad, furious, and down right pissed off. But, is this assumption true?
Knowing that I couldn’t just rely on urban dictionary for all my insights, I decided to be fair and perform the same test using dictionary.com. This site has the more traditional explanation, so I was only able to search the term “honor.” Three definitions prominently stood out.
1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family.
3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
At that moment, I felt as if I could have correctly predicated this site’s particular classification. I wasn’t surprised to see that this type of “honor” promotes a good connotation, where as the site before may have shown an honors student in a not so flattering light. However, I may be wrong. Maybe urban’s characterization is right on point and maybe some kids can actually relate to that loosely structured assertion. If I was to be technical, dictionary.com does encourage the more well known interpretation that is most likely customary for many folks. Comparing the two sites, may seem like an easy task. The kid spewing his thoughts to the world through urban dictionary isn’t right. He’s so superficial. Dictionary.com definitely has the one up, or does it?
I decided to stick with the online dictionary theme and visit the Oxford English Dictionary site. I was presented with information concerning the origin of the word “honor.” The site claims that this term was originated from Middle English and comes from the old French term “onor.” Just as I suspected, the definitions were similar to dictionary.com. They mainly focused on respect, rank, and integrity. Also, having proof that this term came from aged culture was somewhat confusing. When I was younger, my parents always told me to respect my elders and listen because they are very wise. This word descended through many cultures and, in my eyes, deserves notification. However, one does not know what definition those people used. From what we know, “honor” could have meant several different things. I feel it hard to honor (no pun intended) the correct definition when we don’t know which one to utilize. So, this brings me to the question: How can anyone ever correctly define an honors student?
I started my search with urban dictionary and felt it necessary to end on a fun note. I knew it would eventually come to this. Facebook, the site I will be eternally addicted to. Come on, you know that most everyone has one and, just like me, can’t seem to stop arguing about how it is hard to focus on other things in life while checking your status, updating your status, adding pictures, making comments, and sometimes even stalking someone else’s page. I get it. I have all the same problems. However, I never thought people on facebook would have so many lengthy statuses about school. I am an honors student and have many other friends who are one too. I’ve found that all we do is complain about how much we procrastinate and use facebook as an outlet. My friend posted a comment that she had one AP paper and one hundred pages of reading due the next day, and she hadn’t even started. No joke, a few minutes later, ten other people commented on how they had the same or even more work to do. While I was silently laughing at everyone’s posts, I had forgotten that I too needed to finish a ton of homework. Wow, not a surprise considering I was on facebook. As facebook honor student fanatics, I would say that postponing assignments is a huge part of our definition. But, of course, that’s just my opinion; how do I know I’m right?
There are so many unanswered questions. I feel that just like the art piece, you, me, or anyone else will never have a “set in stone” response. I’ve learned that honor students have many definitions and to say they have one label is completely ridiculous. If you believe that you are a respectable, high powered, procrastination loving drugee that is indeed an honors student, then be my guest. Nobody can tell you that otherwise.