The Columns

Meet the Johnsons: Shlomo Honig ’18 Meet Shlomo Honig ‘18, whose day consists of analyzing rocks, protecting the environment, and ultimate frisbee

— by on March 5th, 2017

“It is both humbling and inspiring to be immersed in an environment with so much to teach and offer to the mind, body and soul.”

Meet Shlomo Honig ‘18, whose day consists of analyzing rocks, protecting the environment, and ultimate frisbee

Q: How did you first hear about the Johnson Scholarship?

My sister was a First Year at W&L when I was going through the application process, so I was already somewhat familiar with the Johnson Scholarship and its prestigious reputation for bringing in top students who are ready to be leaders on campus and in the community.

Q: Were you considering other colleges when you applied to W&L?

I was also considering Miami University, University of Michigan, and Case Western Reserve University.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?

Really, the people. Everyone from the professors and students to the cafeteria workers and campus security played a large role in my decision. I felt that I could thrive here and that my peers and professors would help me develop into a well-rounded and capable individual by the end of my undergraduate studies. Coming from Michigan, the less harsh winters and amazing mountains were also a bonus.

Q: How has Johnson affected your views on leadership and integrity – or on academics?

The Johnson has certainly helped me realize that leadership is something embodied in your actions. I also think the Johnson has changed the way I view education. Since freshman year, I have put far less emphasis on knowing every textbook detail, instead focusing on what I learn from my interactions with peers and professors, both during and outside of class. While I enjoy the exceptional education and intellectual experiences, the personal growth fostered along the way will help me achieve knowledge and perspective beyond my own expectations (which were pretty demanding to start with). It is both humbling and inspiring to be immersed in an environment with so much to teach and offer to the mind, body and soul. I feel it is my duty to carry that forward and make a meaningful difference, as well as to impart that sense of duty to others.

Q: What is your favorite story about your W&L experience – if you had to pick one?

During February Break my sophomore year, I went hiking on Mount Pleasant with a few close friends, and we camped overnight at the peak. Even though there was a torrential downpour, sub-zero temperatures, a nearby tornado warning, and near 60 mph winds, I wouldn’t have traded that trip for anything. Though the conditions were far from ideal, our tight knit group decided to stargaze at a truly mesmerizing night sky. It was a perfectly clear night and there were thousands of stars that we could see. I’m also convinced I saw my first “shooting star,” which made the experience even better.

Q: Do you have a mentor on campus? Faculty, staff, or another student?

Probably Kim Hodge. She’s an incredible person who balances a million things at once but will always drop what she’s doing if I ever need to talk about courses, work study, career aspirations, or the meaning of life. Washington and Lee would be a lesser awesome without her.  

Q: What extra-curricular are you involved in right now that you are extra passionate about?

I think Hillel and Ultimate Frisbee are at the top of that list right now. I have been involved with Hillel since I was a First Year, and I enjoy being a member of the Hillel Student Board, which allows me to play a significant part in a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making Hillel a great experience for a lot of students, Jewish or not. The Ultimate Frisbee club started this year, and although we often play on Saturday mornings, it has become a worthwhile part of my schedule because I can work off some steam from the previous week and clear my head.

Q: What is your favorite campus tradition or piece of history?

I’m not sure if it’s technically a tradition or not, but I’ve made a point of walking the Colonnade as much as I can. As a geologist, I would say that the best history in the area is the nature and the surrounding mountains. As a student, I think it’s fascinating to consider how long Washington and Lee has existed and how different things must have been back then.

Q: If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to “first day on campus” you?

I would probably tell my past self to never pass up an opportunity to learn a new skill or do something with which you are unfamiliar.

Q: If someone asked you “why choose W&L” – what is the one reason you would tell them?

Living in an unpredictable world with increasingly interdisciplinary work and unfathomable technological advancements still to come within our lifetimes, it is imperative to establish a well-rounded foundation to prepare yourself to become a lifelong learner and active contributor to society. The students and professors at Washington and Lee, as well as the surrounding community, provide such an environment to hone skills and explore diverse passions that will ultimately help you define who you are as a scholar and, more importantly, as an individual.

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