Today is the final day on our journey to Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, and I can definitely say that his has been one of the most wonderful and relaxing trips that I have ever been on despite the busy schedule. As all we did today was travel through various airports spend time in some tight seats, I will talk about my experience from the entire trip!
We hit the ground running instantly as we arrived in the Emerald City, touring the iconic Space Needle and taking in the breathtaking sights of the downtown skyline. Once my feet hit the ground again, I hopped aboard the permeating monorail to make a trip to Paramount Theatre, where my life was changed. I had the incredible opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical along with Katie Kramer’s family and Laura Rawls, and it was by far the coolest theatrical experience that I have ever had. I laughed a lot, and I cried even more, but it was a perfect way to start the trip and reminder to not throw away my shot to make this journey one to remember.
The next day began with Chihuly Garden and Glass, which was a fascinating reminder of the endless bounds of the human potential. Seeing all of the amazing glass sculpture altogether and the intricacies in each piece was undoubtedly a sight to behold. After that, I took a trip to Pike Place Market to eat Beecher’s Mac and Cheese and Grilled Cheese before venturing throughout the market and even seeing the amazing gum wall. After that, we saw the many exhibits of the Museum of Pop Culture and Science Fiction, which includes many famous and iconic props from movies and television, and even played looped videos about bands like Nirvana and other pop culture touchstones. I ended the day by spending time with an A-State Honors alumna, Ms. Neena Viel, who talked about the work that she does through Seattle Education Access, which is very similar to the type of work that I want to do throughout my life.
Day three began with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which is where all coffee for the Starbucks brand is made. It was so cool to see the many facets that go into making coffee and the amount of care that goes into making it such a personal brand. After a stop by Pike Place Chowder to devour the best bowl of chowder I have ever eaten, we went on a harbor cruise to take in even more of Seattle’s incredible skyline. After stopping by the aquarium and seeing all kinds of aquatic creatures, I stopped by the first ever Starbucks store to take the most basic photo I’ve ever taken.
O Canada……….. Vancouver was undoubtedly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been with its calm atmosphere and amazing feats of nature. At Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, we got to explore all of the different excursions, including the bridge itself and the awe-inspiring Cliff Walk. After that, I ended the day by spending too much money on souvenirs and foods (but I didn’t really, thanks to those Canadian dollars).
My final full day started with two things that I have always wanted to try. First, I got to experience Amazon Go, which is a grocery store that works all from your phone and computer technology with no checkout process. I definitely feel like I’m living in the 21st Century now (especially since I went twice after that.) I also got to have authentic Ramen noodles, which was incredibly filling but tasty all the same. Next, we got to tour the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is right in line with how I want to serve others through my career path. The sheer amount of ways that thy are changing the world is astounding, and I cannot wait to see the amazing things they do next. After a restful afternoon due to a migraine, we stopped by Serious Pie to eat some…you guessed it…Serious Pie! It was worth every single penny I spent!
All of this brings us to the end of the trip. As this was my fourth straight trip with the Honors College, I have been incredibly blessed to be a part of some life-changing and culturally-enriching experiences. Being the oldest one in the group, I have become very introspective of my time within the Honors College. I have seen how much I have grown in such a short amount of time. I have seen personally what it means to live out the Honors College’s motto to “Live. Learn. Belong.”
To Chad, thank you for being the best Assistant Director any student could have asked for. There’s a reason you’re called “Chad the Dad”, because you care about every single Honors students that steps foot onto A-State’s campus. Thank you for committing yourself to making every student’s experience in Honors worthwhile. You have been the mastermind behind many of my favorite college memories, including the last two Brainy Breaks, as an instructor of the Italy course, and as advisor of the Honors College Association. I know you shrug off compliments, but please know that your hard work does not go unnoticed and will always be appreciated.
To Rebecca, thank you for introducing me to the Honors family almost eight years ago. I have been able to see Honors grow into the behemoth that it is today, and all of that goes to you. I am so grateful that you have welcomed my family with open arms to Arkansas State University and treated us as if we were a part of your own family. Your constant devotion to Honors and encouragement to me has been one of the main driving factors throughout my college experience, and I just want you to know that I would not be the individual that I am today without your guidance, support, and encouragement.
I may or may not be emotional, but I cannot overstate how much Honors has had an impact on my life. Although my time as undergraduate is coming to an end, I cannot wait to see Honors flourish and reach even bigger heights than I thought possible.