Editor seizes opportunity for senior honors projects

BY MADISON CLARK, NEWS EDITOR

Come this spring, during my final semester
of undergraduate study at Susquehanna,
I’ll be completing two departmental
honors projects for fun. Yes, for fun.
These honors projects are offered to students
with GPAs of a certain standard. As
far as I see things, though, this is the chance
to do one final project in both creative writing
and religion — two departments that
have taken me in with open arms over my
career at Susquehanna.
Last week, a fellow senior asked me
why I want to take on extra work, especially
in my final semester. He said I should
be celebrating surviving four years of such
extensive undergraduate work rather than
taking on another project, much less two. I
suppose I should mention, then, the extent
of these projects. The religion project will
involve researching interfaith food ethics
and the ways in which modern day farming
techniques do or do not abide by what
guidelines ancient religious texts supply.
Essentially, it’s another research project,
though it is more extensive and involves
one-on-one work with a favorite professor.
The project for my creative writing
major, though, will end up being between
80 and 150 pages worth of creative work.
While I had the option to write another
research paper — researching any topic
under the creative writing umbrella — I
chose to complete a manuscript of poetry.
If my decision to undertake both of
these projects doesn’t sum up my four
years at Susquehanna, then I don’t know
what possibly could.
I’m taking the chance offered to me by
my programs to explore, in an entirely new
way, the way in which I interact with these
fields. I’m able to work intimately with
professors who have greatly influenced my
undergraduate career, and I am absolutely
comfortable turning to them for support
with any part of these undertakings.
A friend from home, who attends a
large state school where she’s simply a
number on a roll sheet, tells me regularly
that she wishes she had attended a smaller
school. This is the same friend, mind you,
who told me during our senior year of
high school that I’d need a big school because
I have such a big personality. While
the latter is true, the former has (clearly, I
think) been proven wrong.
On a campus like this one, I’m able to
hold personal conversations — between
hugs, of course — with people across departments,
in student life, in various academic
departments and all throughout the
athletic staff. At the larger school, she takes
a shuttle to make it across campus in time
for class, and still only knows one or two
people, at most, that she comes across
while getting a meal.
Every once in awhile, when I have a lot
of work to do, I wish I went to a school
like that. It would be significantly easier to
write a paper — or this editorial, if I’m being
honest — if I didn’t know every third
person who walked through the door. It
would also make for a far less fulfilling and
far lonelier undergraduate experience.
Maybe it’s just the departments I’m a
part of, but it seems to me that professors
across this campus are fiercely protective
and supportive of their students. So, I suppose
this is a bit of a love letter to the departments
I’m a part of on campus.
It’s a thank you to religion professors
who will move independent study meetings
when I get stuck with a shift at work.
It’s a thank you to writing professors who
will look over a draft that is anywhere from
three pages to 56 and offer the same detailed
responses every single time.
As a senior, I spend a lot of my time
looking back over the past four years. I
am proud to see what I’ve done here, who
I know here and how these things have
impacted and shaped my life. I’m also
more excited than I probably should be to
complete my Susquehanna adventure of a
semester filled with the work I am hopelessly
in love with. I wish everyone the
same luck and passionate ending to their
Susquehanna careers.