My СӰԺ Story: Journey with Honors

A freshman honors student infuses her academic journey with exploring new ideas in the Honors College.
Perla Zapata stands in front of the Student Center

Name: Perla Zapata

Hometown: De Queen, Arkansas

Year: Freshman

What СӰԺ organizations have you joined?

  •     University Scholars Program

Why did you choose the СӰԺ?

I chose СӰԺ because of the University Scholars program from the Honors College. I knew from the moment I stepped foot on the campus that СӰԺ was where I belonged. The campus is beautiful, and I was excited to experience something new. 

What interested you about the University Scholars Program?

I like how the environment focuses on cultivating social consciousness and allows people to share ideas. Being part of that is empowering and inclusive. I love the fact that it’s open-minded. It’s a safe space where students and professors express new ideas, which encompasses what I value. 

What classes have you enjoyed the most?

That’s an easy one. Exploring religion with Dr. Clayton Crockett. It’s one of my favorites. I love how he approaches the topics. He keeps us engaged and challenges us to think outside of our experiences. Students in that class had different religious beliefs, but he helped us respectfully learn other religions. 

What are some favorite places to visit on campus?

Although there are many spots, one of my favorite things to do is visit the fountain. It’s beautiful to sit and stay for a while. My regular study spots are the Farris Hall study room and a specific corner in the library. 

You’re a freshman. What’s something that surprised you after starting to attend СӰԺ?

I didn’t realize how everything connected. Starting out, many of my courses connected even though they were different topics. That made me realize how I was set up to succeed. I am lucky that my professors and this community are helpful. Feeling like I’m on my own has never been an issue.  

What’s a resource you think all students should know?

I didn’t know about the academic success workshops when I started. It’s the easy stuff that you wouldn’t think about that blew my mind, like how to effectively communicate with professors or balancing family, school, and work. I learned that sometimes I need to tell people that it’s okay to say, “No, I don’t have time for that.” It’s okay to compromise and be aware of how much time you have. Time management is critical. If you work an hour and a half a day, you will knock out so much, and you’re not going to be stressed.

You live on campus. What’s something that you brought from home?

Comfort items. I brought a lot of blankets and pillows to make it homey. I think it’s important to make your dorm feel like your own.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing at СӰԺ?

I want to get more involved and join more organizations—hopefully, the Student Government Association.