Why Honours Might Be Worth Your Time
If you’re anything like me, maybe you walked into university with the goal of completing a year of classes and seeing how that went.
When I first came to UVic, I was mostly focused on figuring out what classes I liked and, by extension, what I wanted to major in. I started out in general Social Sciences with my major undeclared, but within weeks was drawn into the Geography department.
Since then, I have grown to really love what I study in Geography: the intersections of people, nature, and places, and how they each impact one another. I love that in Geography you can study the physicality of the environment, from mountains and glaciers to rivers and oceans, yet questions of the urban, cities, and humans are just as important. For someone with a brain whose strengths are straddled somewhat equally between the arts and sciences, and who enjoys working in both the qualitative and the quantitative, Geography has been a great option.
And so this fall, I began my honours program, to go further with my degree. Each department’s honours program differs from the next, but all seem to give students a chance to dive into a topic that they are interested in and gain experience completing a research project, from initiation to dissertation. It is undoubtedly hard work and not for everyone, but here are the reasons I personally would recommend honours to somebody:
1. A chance to study something you are interested in, in depth!
My honours project let me choose a subject I’m interested in and work with a professor that can offer my guidance, insight, and knowledge into that subject.
It lets me expand on topics that have interested me in classes, but allows me to go further and take the project in a direction that makes sense for me. An 8-month long project is the longest I’ve ever undertaken, but it gives you the time necessary to really dive into the information and become a mini-expert.
2. A chance to gain experience with research and research methods
There’s no better way to understand research methodology and processes than to dive into it head-first! By designing and constructing a smaller-scale academic research project, I’ve already learned way more than I would have by just reading about these processes. Also, having already done an academic research project if I go to grad school will almost undoubtedly prove useful.
3. A way to give back
Of course, this will depend on your project, but there are so many ways you can make meaningful impacts with your research. For my honours thesis, I am using community-based research methods to work closely with my participants, and particularly those who might be most impacted by the results of the research, in order to make the research a relevant and meaningful process for them.
So, in sum, if you’re looking for ways to further enrich your degree and are up for a challenge, honours might be a great option for you! Look into it, you never know.
Photo by Dan Dimmock (on UnSplash).