’16 Latin American Studies, Spanish, and Global and International Studies 

Living a life with honors is to live life with respect of others – their cultures, their religions, their dialect, their histories, their lived experiences. Through the Paterno Fellows Program I was encouraged to study abroad, which I did during two semesters in Latin America, and which inspired me to shift my life towards one of service – leading me to join the Peace Corps. During my time in a small town in the Dominican Republic I learned that my various majors, semesters abroad, honors thesis and number of books read over the course of my collegiate career mattered far less than the ways I learned how to interact with others, how to listen, how to be an advocate for change.

My time as an honors student taught me the value of hard work, how putting in the time and dedication will produce results; I did not realize how this might affect the ways in which I measured success in the real world. I became so accustomed to the hard work that at first taking things easy was difficult. In my Peace Corps service I wanted so urgently to jump in and get started, to start putting in the hard work I was taught to love at Penn State, but I quickly learned the value of sitting down with neighbors for a cup of coffee to talk about life and their experiences. To incite change is to first listen to the people you aim to help. I am so grateful for the foundation of dedication to work that I learned at Penn State, because to me, living a life of honors is about listening to others and sharing in what they have to say.

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