Janaan Banner Frederik Meijer Honors College

Xinyi Ou

Class Year:
2015

Hometown:
Grand Haven, Michigan, United States

Major:
History

Minor:
Sociology

Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
One day when I was working, I was serving a customer who was actually an anthropology professor here. He started telling me why I should go to Grand Valley and asked for my number to have someone get in contact with me. The Honors College did call me and talked to me about national, competitive opportunities that could be available through the Fellowships Office. I ended up touring the Honors College, sitting in on several classes, and meeting the professor I will now be doing summer research with. So, all that sealed it for me.

What do you like best about Grand Valley?
Everybody is focused on your success and nobody ever tries to hold you down. Nobody has ever been discouraging to me at Grand Valley. People are always letting me know about opportunities and leading me to success. It has really built up my confidence. And having mentors that really do give me the constructive criticism and help that I need to succeed.

How have you benefited from Grand Valley's liberal education foundation?
I have really found things that I'm passionate about and things that I can take with me in every aspect of life. Taking courses on all sorts of things and being a part of different events on campus has helped me see how I can take leadership roles. Liberal education really gives you a different perspective and makes you able to turn things on their head and look at them in different ways. It helps you not just be open minded, but gives you the base to be able to communicate with lots of different people and be able help them become more open minded.

How will Grand Valley help you meet your future goals?
Barbara Pierce Bush came to campus recently and said that the true goal of nonprofit work is to work yourself out of a job. So, when I think long-term goals it is really hard for me to pinpoint what that is, because I will be doing what I can and then stepping out when the services aren't needed anymore. But, whatever my future goals will be, Grand Valley giving me confidence in myself and my abilities gives me the base I need to succeed. College orients you and can give you a sense of peace about what you want to do with your life, even if you don't know the specifics exactly.

How has the Honors College enhanced your overall education?
I have learned a lot on how to be vocal and how to communicate well and have good relationships. And I've formed relationships that encourage me to apply for grants and nationally competitive scholarships. Also, I want to be a professor in the future, so being involved in different committees that place me in a professional and academic setting is a great experience.

How have you benefitted from living in Honors College housing?
I do live in Niemeyer, which is a huge part of why the Honors College is so successful. We all come from different perspectives, but we are all similar in that we want to succeed and be leaders and really learn.

Why would you recommend the Honors College to others?
The faculty members here are really able to connect with students, especially first year students. You start out with 12 credits in Honors your freshman year, which really helps you claim your education and learn on your own right away. They want you to have the essential skills to be able to get the absolute best education that you can. They are more than willing to go above and beyond to help you. Everyone will set their expectations high of you, which is really empowering because you want to meet those expectations.

Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center • Allendale MI 49401
Phone 616-331-3219 • honors@gvsu.edu