The “Nerd” Conference

I’ve had a few posts about being in New Orleans and just to clarify, I didn’t come down just for jazz and gumbo. I’m here for the National Collegiate Honors College Conference. Yes, I’m one of THOSE nerds in Honors College. However, being in Honors College doesn’t make you nerdy per say…

At UIndy, being part of the Honors College means you take 18 credits of Honors coursework. Six of those credits is a project. For my project, I wrote a children’s book about Indianapolis in order to promote affinity of city. I partnered with Emily, a fellow Honors College student, for her to do the illustrations because I can’t draw if my life depended on it.

After three years of hard work on this book (which writing a children’s book is a lot harder than you would think!), Emily and I have finished our project. Now we are in the final stretch of putting together our final manuscript and presenting our project. We were fortunate enough to be selected by NCHC to present our book in a poster session in New Orleans.

I’m proud of the project, but I’m also my worst critic. When I look through my story, I always think of what could be better—the character development, more research, writing more drafts—but coming to these type of conferences help guide all of the negative criticism in my head. Emily and I received nothing but good advice of where we need to head next with our project.

I think the extra work keeps people away from the program, as well as the stigma that being in an honors program means you have life…which is only partially true. I decided to go through with the honors program for a few reasons: graduating with honors (I wanted some more tassel bling at graduation when I was a freshman), having an honors diploma would look good on grad school applications, and a part of me felt like if I didn’t go through with the program, I would be disappointed. Although there have been stressful moments, I’m glad to have a finished product. I never knew how much I would get out of my Honors project, but I have made something along with Emily that I will always be able to look back at and say, “Hey, I did that.”

Thanks to NCHC, Emily and I are inspired to see if we can pitch our book (Treasures of Indianapolis) to the mayor’s office to get in classrooms and libraries across Indianapolis. Who knows, maybe the two of us will quit our day jobs and travel the country creating children’s books for all of these places. But before we think too big, I just want to get through my presentation to the Honors Committee next Thursday. After that, then we will start planning on taking over the country one story and illustration at a time.

Go ahead and call me nerdy, but can you say you wrote a children’s book when you were in college?

forget the risk

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