Peer Mentor Spotlight

Benjamin Janicki

Peer Mentors play an important role in the Honors Program by sharing their experiences and helping students of all ages and majors make decisions throughout their undergraduate careers. You can search for mentors with similar interests on our Peer Mentor profiles page!

Ben Janicki
Ben Janicki
Mechanical Engineering with Interdisciplinary Honors, '14

Why did you chose to become a Peer Mentor?

Because I want to offer advice to other students. Especially freshman, being a freshman is tough, and it can be a huge help to hear anecdotes and advice from more experienced students.

What is one experience related to Honors that has been informative in your educational career (i.e. what experience was a highlight for you in Honors)?

That’s a tough one. Being a Peer Educator for Honors 100 was probably the most formative. Not only did I get the experience of teaching a class to fellow Honors students, but I also learned a lot from my fellow PE’s and the Honors staff, and built another community there.

Another great experience was Honors Housing. I lived on the Honors Floor of McMahon my freshman year, and it was great. I loved all my roommates, and I am still close with several of them today.

Also, classes are a big deal. Honors Classes are super fun and you can always get the chance to have discussions and build relationships through them.

Tell us about your favorite Honors class you’ve taken so far. What made it so great?

I love both the Classes I’ve taken from Jon Herron. “Evolution & Human Behavior”, and “DNA & Evolution” (currently taking). Extremely educational, interesting, and fast paced.

If you’re an incoming freshman, there’s a great class for you only: “Leadership, Democracy, & a More Thoughtful Public”, with Roger Soder. I took this as a freshman, and it was a great experience. First of all, the readings were top notch, and the following discussions were deep. I thought: “this is what an Honors class should be like!” Also, it’s great to take a class with fellow freshman Honors students your first quarter. Watch out though, there’s a lot of papers due.

How did you choose your major(s)?

I really don’t know what I want to do with my life, so I chose Mechanical Engineering partly because it is the most diverse of all the engineering fields, and would prepare me for a variety of career or grad school options. I wanted to learn new skills that would be hard to learn on my own, and develop the means necessary to make a difference in the world. Also, the department is ranked very high here, and I’d heard great things about the professors (they are great).

What is a piece of advice that you would give to incoming students? What advice would you give to current students?

Incoming students: take an easy load your first quarter. Trust me. And don’t give up, whatever you do. It will get better. Start assignments early so you can ask questions before they’re due.

Current students: if you haven’t already, go to the HSAP events! One of the reasons that you joined Honors is for the community, so go these Honors events to have fun! Get a bike - it saves so much time.

What is something you wish you knew going into college?

That it was going to be hard, and I should start assignments early and get used to it.

Where is your favorite place to go on campus?

Well that’s not very specific, it depends on my reason. If I’m giving a friend from out of town a tour, I’ll take them to Suzzallo. I love the Graduate Reading Room, but can’t study there because I’ll doodle architectural drawings instead. If it’s sunny, the quad is nice, but if it’s busy, the shady field in front of Denny is usually very nice. I love the ice cream at Rick’s Cafe under Haggett.

What does Honors mean to you?

It means another source of community, and a diversification of my education. I get to take classes outside my major that are small, discussion based, and interesting.