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#HonorsProblems: Obsessed with Checking off the Boxes? Don’t Be.

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Brianna, an SMPA junior studying journalism and mass communication and political science.

Throughout my time at GW, I have become obsessed with checking off the boxes. Whenever I see a requirement gain that coveted green check mark on DegreeMAP I get a somewhat concerning degree of satisfaction.

Like many dedicated and responsible Honors students do, I had made a four-year plan that I thought perfectly mapped out how my four years at GW would go and everything I would do each semester to make sure that I checked off all the boxes. When Mary says that your four-year plan is just a roadmap to guide you through your four years at GW, that it can in fact be changed, listen to her. If I didn’t become okay with letting myself stray from my four-year plan, accepting the fact that simply checking off the boxes isn’t the best way go about completing my college education, I never would have ended up on the incredible program I am now participating in this semester.

So where am I now? I’m in Los Angeles studying film and television while interning for Dateline NBC and NBC News. I knew I wanted to do a semester abroad, and yes, mapped that into my four-year plan, but I always assumed that I would be doing a program through GW, somewhere in Europe, and that all my classes would smoothly transfer so I’d still be checking off all the boxes. Instead I’m taking three courses this semester, which only actually satisfy two requirements, but are courses that directly relate to the career path I am pursuing and that I would never have been able to take if I hadn’t sought out this program and been ok with not doing things exactly as I had planned. I left enough wiggle room in my four-year plan for senior year to allow me to still graduate on time, with all the boxes checked, even though I’m only taking three courses.

Normally I would be cringing at the thought of only get two checkmarks on DegreeMAP for the whole semester, but the experiences I have already had during my first three weeks here in Los Angeles have proven that the best opportunities can often come out of stepping out of your comfort zone and throwing your perfect plan out the window. (But not totally out the window, because my four-year plan, which will soon become my one-year plan for senior year, is still very much a part of my life with its many changes and edits.)

I can’t believe I almost let my fear of straying from my plan stop me from applying for this program. So basically what I’m saying is pursue the opportunities that you think will be most beneficial for you, even if it those opportunities require you to veer off track from what you thought you needed to be doing. The boxes will all get checked – I promise.