To All First Year Students in the Honors Program

April 10, 2000

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

Call for self-appraisals

Please submit an assessment of yourself and your first year at Boston College for inclusion in your personal file. Besides its usefulness to you in examining your life, it will be helpful to us who seek to understand and advise you. We use your assessment in conjunction with the instructor's written evaluation.  Discuss  the importance of this document with your seminar instructor and ask about its place in her or his curriculum.

Your self-appraisal should be turned in to us in Gasson 102 no later than Tuesday, April 25, before registration for fall, 2000 classes. We are determined to have a document from each and every student. Those who do not have self-appraisals on file by that date risk losing their place in an honors program section at registration.

This essay should be typed and carefully crafted. You may be able to say what you want to say on a single page. More, as needed. Be sure to include your name on the top of each page.

An important topic for you to address is your academic work. Since you will be submitting this appraisal before finals and before grades are sent, you can let us know about courses in which you look forward to great success or suspect you may not do well. Your  understanding of a situation may change after the grades are in. This is useful. Often grades alone do not tell us enough to reach a full understanding of your semester.  We want you to reflect on your year before final exams.

But the appraisal should range far beyond coursework. Think of the Honors Program as a four-year pilgrimage, either the sea road back to Ithaca or Dante's climb. Where are you on your journey? This is perhaps the first time in your educational experience when you are not writing to apply for admission or for a scholarship, when you are not trying to put yourself in the best possible light to make an impression on someone else. You have been reading various "self-appraisals" all year long -  Augustine, Boethius (?), Dante, etc. Now it is your turn. Yours should matter to you just as much as these better known efforts mattered to their authors.

Prof. Tim Duket, supervisor of first year students
Prof. Mark O'Connor, director of the Honors Program
This document is available from a link on the main page of Humanities House (

Humanities House