What do current students say?

We offer challenging academics, a community, and great freshmen experiences (Hume, H-Camp).  

But don't take our word - listen to our students talk about the program.

Podcasts

Videos

Check out our Youtube channel to see what students have to say about the program!

Speeches

Isabel Puppa - Address to Students at our Spring Banquet (Alice in Wonderland Theme)

“I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then."

I entered the university as a Chemical Engineer pursuing a pre-medical, pre-law track in the Warrington College of Business with a minor in Mass Communications.

They told me I was a mad hatter, but I looked into my [Queen of] Hearts, and knew I had the honors advisors here to support me.

Now as I look back, with my graduation a mere 26 days away, I may have changed my major a few times and I may still be attempting to decipher where my path may lead, but the beauty of all this madness is that I had the opportunity to do so.

Home is defined as the social unit formed by a family living together; and when Hume was home with U in it, that is exactly what I found. I had the opportunity to explore academic topics from departments I would never have stumbled upon without a prod from the H-Box. I had the opportunity to delve into reflection of societal implications, interdisciplinary studies, and my sense of identity through reading my favorite books in an uncommon manner. I learned how to become Honors Involved through a conference that led me to my niche on campus.

I applied to the University of Florida Honors Program during my senior year of high school after an invitation suggested my GPA and test scores made the cut, but from the application itself, I could tell that the program was looking for more than that. It was when I was asked to describe my favorite food in a poem without actually naming what it was that I knew that I would fit in just fine. The nerd stigma followed me in high school, but I wholeheartedly embraced it. I knew when I was in high school that there would be a group of individuals like me at university.

But it was not until Honors Visitation Day that my story became like many other honors students in this room. It was in that moment that I chose to become an Honors Gator. Still, for a while I had trouble putting into words just exactly what it meant to be in a “Community of Scholars”. In retrospect, I suppose the best part about it is that it is not something that needs to be defined--it is felt.

Recently, a friend of mine described the Honors Program as a conglomeration of incredibly passionate, ambitious, and talented students who had the opportunity to pursue any track or institution, and they decided to come to UF. Some may have been curious at the opportunity, some may have fallen down the rabbit hole--but each of us is here now a part of this Wonderland.

Each student has a story and an opportunity. For me, having the privilege to be President of the Honors Ambassadors has allowed me to meet countless individuals and learn of their stories. From the music major on the pre-medical track to the culinary genius pursuing a pharmacy degree to the philosophy and mathematics extraordinaire--each one of you in this room has continually inspired me and kept me focused on the beauty that unique passions are so tangible. When I think of the Honors Program, not one specific individual comes to mind. I think of a collage of students who have things figured out and secured their next research or internship opportunity and I think of the students who are taking the time to explore.


Sometimes we do not have the details figured out. Sometimes we need to jump down the rabbit hole and trust that we have the resources we need, the motivation we need, and the support we need to make the walk towards the right direction.

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" I asked Kristy Spear over our coffee dates in a similar fashion as Alice asked the Cat.

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Kristy and the Cat.

The only difference between the next line and myself is that Alice notes she does not much care where so long as she gets somewhere. I was sure to get somewhere from walking long enough thanks to the sheer size of this campus. Only stumbling and finally reaching a point in my academic journey where I don’t need to use my UF map anymore. But the goal of where I am going is more specific--one I discovered through my time here.

I hit a lot of road bumps along the way--literally, starting my third day on campus flipping over my bicycle and receiving a concussion, despite wearing a helmet. I missed five weeks of school after that--advised by other departments on campus that I should withdraw, but knowing that I was an honors student and that was not happening. The years passed and I involved in the college of business and the college of law. I steered away from my chemical engineering path and embraced that of an attorney. Only after involving in academic research did I vision that of investment banking: I worked an internship at a bank, and then I realized that is not the path for me. This last semester, I learned that is not where my journey ends. Like Alice, I met a multitude of situations along the way and new that if I kept walking I would stumble upon the right path.

Overwhelmed at the idea of completely changing my major one semester prior to my expected graduation to Biology as peers noted “It is just way too late for that”, I saw that it is possible. I was inspired by a conference that fulfilled an honors program requirement and my own medical disabilities; and I remembered that taking 16 credits is what us students can do, and “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I entered the university as a Chemical Engineer pursuing a pre-medical, pre-law track in the Warrington College of Business with a minor in Mass Communications and am leaving as a Finance major pursuing a premedical / pre law track.

The road is winded, and sometimes I didn’t want to be among the madness; but, "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad…but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”

From the University of Florida Honors Program, I gained an incredible family and a better sense of self. I gained lifelong friends and a direction of where I am going. I know my path is not complete and it may diverge, but the experiences and the privilege of being an honors gator has been invaluable.

I knew myself this morning, but I am grateful that I’ve changed a few times since then.

PodCasts

Hear about our program from current students!

Podcasts:

Videos

Watch out students talk about the program.

Produced by the UF Honors Special Event Interns; Directed / Edited by Eliana French; Hosted by Austin Landis

Check out our Youtube channel to see what students have to say about the program!