Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Choosing Gemstone: A Freshman Perspective

Congratulations! You've been accepted to the Honors College at the University of Maryland....
                                             ... Now what?

Ever wonder what makes students choose the Gemstone Program out of all the programs offered through the Honors College?  
Freshman Class Representative, Amelia Bateman, has shared with us some of her thoughts and motivations in choosing the Gemstone Program upon receiving her acceptance to the Honors College.

On Choosing Gemstone: 

        When I received my acceptance letter from the Honors College, I was not yet sure whether I would attend UMD, but was thrilled nonetheless.  I then realized, with only weeks to decide my own fate for my next four years at Maryland, I knew nothing about the different programs. I had my criteria set: I wanted to be in a four year program and I wanted something applicable to my fields of study, math and computer science. While researching the various programs, I immediately knew that I wished to be in either Gemstone or University Honors.
         The question then became whether I wanted to tackle a more rigid course structure packed with a high workload through which I would see the tangible result of my own research project, or if I wanted a more hands-off approach to the Honors College through University Honors. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous about the prospect of 18 credits worth of work; I had heard horror stories about sleepless nights prepping for project proposals and theses. My nerves dissipated however when I found these were more rumors than the actual Gemstone way of life.  I made sure to talk to the few students I knew in the program, all of whom made me feel much better about the prospect of a three-year research project through addressing many of my questions and concerns.
         My final decision to go with the Gemstone Program was made in part by the program’s ability to guide me in achieving my own personal academic goals.  The Gemstone program serves to mentor students as they conduct research, learn about the scientific process, and hopefully use their findings in a practical, meaningful way.  I have always wanted to give back to the community with my knowledge and Gemstone gives me a way that I can hope to ultimately achieve this.  
       I now write a message to the students newly accepted into the Honors College faced with the same decision I had to make not so long ago and I urge them to take the following advice: think about what you hope to accomplish and which niche of the Honors College is best suited to help you actualize those goals.  Do thorough research, understand each program’s required coursework and time commitment, and most importantly reach out to current students.  Gemstone students are one of the best source of information about the Gemstone experience and are more than happy to help you make your choice. Good luck!
-Amelia Bateman: Class of 2015

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