The Honors Method



It’s not complicated. Learn all you can every day. Use the word “study” sparingly, and instead identify with a strategy and a vocabulary in which learning is at the center. Real academic performance on which careers are built is a function of learning. Academic scholarships are maintained not by studying but by learning. Become a genuinely knowledgeable person in an area of your choosing. That’s impressive. Become a life-long learner. What you learn at any college or university will serve you well, but success in a career and success in life requires constant learning. While we are on the subject, learning is a whole lot of fun. What’s better than learning a new thing?


Anthropologist Melvin Konner has written, “people in positive and playful moods are more open to experience and learn in better and more varied ways.” We could not agree more! Learning is fun. Learning is a form of play. A relaxed, open mind is more receptive to new information. Physical activity – play – stimulates cognitive activity. In the HP we strongly affirm the classical motto: mens sana in corpore sano, or “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” Play in all its forms has an important place in the routines of every day.


Regular rest is essential to high performance, but sleep only addresses one recuperative aspect of our lives. The spiritual life is central to the experience of virtually all cultures and peoples. Attendance at religious services, prayer, reflection, meditation, and other spiritual activity can ground students during their college years without closing their minds. We believe the life of the spirit and the life of the mind are deeply linked.


Cramming all night for a test, studying through mealtimes, skipping exercise to finish a paper – we may occasionally do these things, but they are not sustainable practices. The goal is to repeat: develop habits that are conducive to good mental and physical health. Success happens not in a moment but flows from a way of life. Create a rhythm of learning, play, and rest that you can sustain throughout the year . . . and over a lifetime.