U of O Honors College

Write a clear, well-organized essay of one or two typewritten pages (250-500 words) that critically evaluates an important aspect of your education to date. Among your options are a book, a course, an individual, or a significant experience that influenced you. Then, in light of your discussion, briefly indicate what important ways you think the honors college might shape your future education.

In the average high school experience, the closest one ever comes to applying the abstract concepts of math and science is the occasional story problem or chemistry lab. These may be effective learning tools, but they are not a true test.

The summer after my sophomore year my math and science skills were put to the test. The day after school got out I drove 120 miles south of Newport to the town of Coos Bay. It was in Coos Bay that our commercial fishing boat was being rebuilt and I was to stay the summer in an apartment near the construction site. This process required professional architects, metal workers, welders, plumbers, electricians, computer technicians, hydraulic engineers, painters, foamers, sandblasters, surveyors, diesel mechanics and carpenters. My principal function was to assist each of these professionals during their days and continue with their work and special projects after, and before hours. Working 12 to 16 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week for two months, I learned about each of these professions and eventually began to replace some of the workers. While applying the various systems that others had designed and invented was a healthy and enjoyable experience, I came to realize that I would rather be the one developing the chemistry of the paint rather than using it, or inventing the aluminum alloys rather than simply welding them.

As the project neared completion and the deadline approached, the work intensified and more men were hired. Some of the crew traveled back to Newport to prepare the fishing gear. Everything was meticulously gone through, cleaned, tested, and maintained. This preparation would later pay off and play a key role in our success.
The boat was completed just in time and traveled back to Newport. We loaded the fishing gear on with just hours to spare before the five day Sablefish season began. In the next five days we would make over 50% of our annual income, and we all hoped that the intense preparation and improvements to the boat would pay off. I worked harder in those five days than I had ever worked in my life. The boat ran 24 hours a day with the crewmen on a rotation, one man sleeping at all times. Each man worked on deck for 15 hours and was then given five hours to sleep and eat before his next 15 hour shift began. Everything worked reasonably well with only a few minor emergencies which were solved on site. Working as a team of professionals, we landed more Sablefish than any other boat on the coast, and returned to port very proud of our performance. I had never witnessed or been a part of such an amazing accomplishment and was honored to have been included.

After recovering for a day, I returned to school, having missed the first week of classes. I attacked my work with a new vigor, wanting to accomplish and learn everything that was possible. It is my firm belief that with good preparation and a high degree of motivation, much is possible. The possibilities are compounded when a team effort is applied. It is my hope that the University or Oregon Honors College can provide for me a team of highly motivated individuals to work with who can further extend my growth into new intellectual arenas.