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Honors Orientation Packet

Incoming freshmen who need a digital copy of the Honors Orientation packet  can download their Honors Orientation packet pdf here

This document includes information on the summer reading assignment, how to earn Honors credit, and the early move-in schedule. 

Text from the document on the summer reading assignment can also be found below.

Your First Assignment

Station Eleven cover, with tents lit up under a starry sky.

College does not teach you what to think, but rather gives you the tools to think clearly, concisely and strategically. Ponder that statement. What does it mean to you? As you prepare for this new chapter in your life, why did you choose to invest in higher education? What are your expectations? What kind of person do you hope to be after college?

Through the Honors College summer reading assignment, you will think critically, consider all options in order to make the best possible decision and work toward becoming the best version of yourself. This, after all, is a huge piece of what college is all about, and what makes the college experience something that is invaluable and life changing.

The award-winning novel, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, is the 2018-19 Campus Read at WVU. As an Honors student, we ask that you delve into the material a little deeper and reflect on the book before starting your classes this fall.

The Honors College has developed three prompts for you based around the reading. Please choose one prompt and write an essay that is 4+ pages, double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font with one-inch margins (roughly 1,200-1,500 words). Your essay will be due the first week of classes (Aug. 15-Aug. 21) during your HONR 298o orientation class.

From this reading assignment, we encourage you to consider the individual stories of each character in “Station Eleven” and relate their struggles and triumphs to the path you are choosing for your life. How will you achieve your goals in spite of many obstacles that may come before you? How will you face challenges and use your intellect to change your own life? What are the bigger forces in play that shape your education? We hope that you will take advantage of every opportunity set before you at West Virginia University, and that you will utilize all available resources hereto shape your life into one unforgettable story.

Choose One

Prompt 1:

Chapter 6 of “Station Eleven” begins with the words “an incomplete list” and describes all that was lost after the Georgia flu. Can you imagine a world with no more pharmaceuticals, no more airplanes, no more countries, no more fire departments, no more police and no more internet? In a story that makes the relevant become irrelevant, describe how you would decide what is needed to rebuild communities. How, essentially, would you reestablish society? What is a society? What are the building blocks of a community?

Prompt 2:

When faced with the unimaginable and material possessions are lost or rendered useless, people must decide what matters most. Explain the significance of the arts like the Traveling Symphony during times of adversity or hardship. On a less extreme level, elaborate upon how the arts affect one’s life during a period of change or stress, such as beginning college, using examples from the novel and your experiences.

Prompt 3:

In Chapter 10, the author states that “there is a problem with the Traveling Symphony, which is the same problem suffered by every group of people everywhere since before the collapse, undoubtedly since well before the beginning of recorded history.” Secret resentments, jealousies and neuroses suggest that some things may never change because it is simply the nature of human beings. What are some examples of how humans have contributed to our own demise? What are some examples of how humans have contributed to and advanced society? Use examples from the novel, current events and your own experiences.


If you have questions about the summer reading assignment, contact Ashley Watts at 304-293-1808 or For more information about the book, visit