By Kara Morrow
History Major, Honors College
As 2016 comes to an end and seniors take their leave, we could not let them go without asking them to impart some graduation words of wisdom. Both Brenda Lara and Melissa Valdez have grown through their experiences at Grand Canyon University and in the Honors College, and they are following what they are passionate about into the future.
What has your experience been like here at GCU, and what story or advice do you have for new and current honors students?
Brenda Lara, Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies and Bachelor of Science in Psychology: “It sounds cheesy, but I really think that I found my purpose by coming to GCU. I was able to follow my passion for law enforcement and combine it with the social aspect – prisons, victims and crime. Every opportunity that has been given to me at GCU has helped me grow. If there is anything that I could tell incoming freshmen it would be to take the opportunities that are available and not overlook any options.”
Melissa Valdez, Bachelor of Science in Business Management: “Before I came to Grand Canyon University I was a shy, insecure and introverted student. I didn’t think trying would get me anywhere or that I was good enough, but coming to GCU made me think differently. Having the positivity of being a part of a community and receiving encouragement through all my professors gave me the motivation to work hard. It was the first time ever that I experienced hard work paying off. I was finally receiving straight A’s and being noticed by other peers as the “smart student.”
It was not until my sophomore year that I received a brochure for something called the Honors College. I did not think of this as an option for me since I was never in anything like it. Of course through the encouragement and pushing of my mother, I was finally convinced to go ahead and apply (with no high hopes). It was not until the summer after my sophomore year that I received the email stating that I was accepted into the program!
Two years later I have been able to be a part of the Honors College and its growth. I have excelled in my studies, I have made more friends, I have had the privilege of working as part of the Honors College event planning team and, most importantly, I have grown as a person, both academically and socially.
Being a part of the Honors College has been the biggest blessing during my time here at GCU. It helped me to step outside my comfort zone, gave me opportunities that I would not have gotten if I was not in the program and has grown and prepared me to be the future employee and student that I will soon be in the ‘real world’ after graduating.
My advice to you honors students: Get involved! Like with any other opportunity, you get out what you put into it. Going to the social events and the academic events and making the connections you can now will benefit you in the long run and will give you opportunities that you will not be able to get any other way. Trust in God, believe in yourself, and take on the wonderful privilege of being a part of the Honors College.”
Thank you so much to all our seniors for their impact on GCU and the Honors College. We are so proud of you and cannot wait to see how God is going to lead you and use you! Thank you to these lovely ladies for your investment and commitment to the Honors College and for your inspiring graduation words of wisdom. We are going to miss you!
GCU’s Honors College helps bright and ambitious students find their purpose through extracurricular activities, challenging curriculum and one-on-one mentoring opportunities. To learn more, visit our website or contact using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.