Hi friends! My name is Sarah Hulse, and I’m an Honors Ambassador currently completing my sophomore year of college. I am a Psychology major with certificates in American Sign Language and the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine (and more than a little emphasis on pre-medicine training). Presently, I am also applying into the Honors College’s Bachelor of Philosophy program, where I will pursue dedicated research toward a thesis project in psychology, philosophy, and medicine.
Being Pittsburgh-born-and-raised, I always had some sense of Pitt’s classic blue and gold spirit. Yet I didn’t truly understand what that spirit meant for students here – or what opportunities such an environment would reveal. In March of my senior year, I attended Honors Day, an event for prospective students accepted to the University Honors College. Event after event, I listened to current students excitedly describe their majors, minors, and certificates – always plural. It seemed every student somehow had time to receive a world-class education in several fields alongside club memberships, volunteer positions, and jobs. It was equally overwhelming and inspiring.
Admittedly, I was more lost on my future plans than I recognized. I was going to college to study neuroscience and ASL, and then I was going to live my dream of becoming a doctor to help people. Whereas my concept of my future was vague, these students seemed to possess a deeper understanding of what they were doing and why they were doing it. The Honors College built this community of students who were specific and driven in their goals. As I talked with students and the dean of the Honors College (who instantly connected me with a student pursuing a course of study related to mine), I felt encouraged to explore where Pitt’s opportunities could take me. I committed to Pitt on the spot.
Through every challenge, I have been surrounded by students and faculty in this community who wanted me to succeed in the way best suited to my goals and interests. In my first year, I would often settle down in my Scholar Mentor’s office, attempting to decipher a clearer vision of my goals, and would leave with renewed purpose after a long conversation with someone just as excited about my future as I felt. This guidance and support empowered me to admit that as much as I love neuroscience, the field of psychology was a stronger option for me to navigate all my other interests through interdisciplinary work. Now I find myself pursuing a dedicated thesis intertwining these fields and leading an Honors College reading group to engage with other students in matters of biomedical ethics. Most of all, the UHC taught me that I was always capable of pursuing these fields with as much passion as I feel for them today. I just needed the right environment to encourage me to take these opportunities as my own.
The Honors College has a way of drawing you in and revealing not only all the opportunities around you but also the ability within you to thrive at them. If you are willing to chase that feeling of being inspired and challenged, you will undoubtedly create paths and seize opportunities you had never considered.