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Engaged Living as an Honors Experience

"Engaged Living" is a conscious, critical choice to explore, develop, and commit to a lifestyle pattern or cause that adhered to specific ethical orientations and/or value sets. Activities will represent a deep exploration of and sustained engagement in that lifestyle pattern or cause.

What is Engaged Living?

In short, Engaged Living is the "rest of who you are." This is where you take the opportunity to make a purposeful life decision to be more than your job or career, or the things you do in Service to others.

Why should I choose Engaged Living?

No person is all one "thing." We are not just future doctors or teachers, not just literary critics or engineers. Many times, we embed ourselves in "real life" obligations and to-do lists, forgetting that real life should also include balance and self-care. The Honors College not only wants you to reach graduation, we want you to do so with a healthy mindset and interests.

To live a fully engaged life, you must be more than your career or major. Working toward a purposeful interest provides the opportunity to create habitual connections to your passions, habits that we hope will follow you for the rest of your life. Living an Engaged Life reduces stress and anxiety, as well as broadens support networks and resources.

Is Engaged Living only for artists, musicians, and athletes?

No. These are common spaces for Engaged Living because most students do not have career paths planned in these areas. Engaged Living is, by definition, NOT related to your career (that would be Professional Development), instead it is the pursuit of life patterns that display your values. Your personal values are determined by your own system of priorities.

What have other Honors Students done for Engaged Living?

  • Development, execution and maintenance of a social organization dedicated to philosophy or lifestyle.
  • State or national recognition for sustained expertise in hobby that reflects your values and ethical orientations, such as orienteering.
  • State or national leadership position in a political, activist, or other organization that reflects your values or ethical orientations.
  • Being an NCAA athlete or participating in sports club.
  • Training and successful completion of a marathon.
  • Sustained, demonstrable achievement as an advocate or activist in a local community, e.g., the Center for Refugee Services.
  • Self-improvement/reflection from reading the collected works of a particular hero outside of their career field.
  • Pursuing a hobby/interest to the level of competition for the purpose of improvement. 
  • Pursuit of a passion for the result of a culminating work (publications, gallery exhibit, etc.).

How do I get credit for Engaged Living?

Applying credit for Engaged Living to satisfy Honors SPICES requires a minimum of 75+ hours of time on task while supervised/mentored, have a stated goal to be reached by the end of the project, and be presented for a passing score of 80% or higher at the Experiential Learning Fair (ELF) in the spring semester. For more information on Honors College Experience requirements, visit the Experience Approval Process page.

How do I find an Engaged Living Experience?

Ideally, you'll already have a hobby or interest you can continue to pursue more intentionally through the Engaged Living Experience. Perhaps you enjoy running or other ways of being healthy, or maybe you play piano to relax, despite not being a music major.

Due to the open nature of Engaged Living, it requires significant self-reflection rather than prescribed activities. Students interested in Engaged Living should consider their current hobbies and interests, no matter how small, and ask the question, "do I want to be more purposeful with this interest?" If the answer is "YES", the next step is to meet with a Peer Coach to get small goals toward the realization of that purpose.

What should I know before choosing Engaged Living?

Engaged Living is not a passive hobby. It should be done with the same effort you're giving to your career path, a conscious choice to commit to a lifestyle pattern - for the betterment of yourself and those around you.

How can I be successful in my Engaged Living experience?

Make a conscious chose to have time for the process of life NOT related to you major or career. If you do not think you have time, meet with a Peer Coach or with the Tomas Rivera Center to strategize your priorities.

Pre-Designed Engaged Living Experience

If you're not sure where to start, but are interested in using FREE resources at UTSA to begin building an Engaged and Intentional Life, you may pursue the following option:

Engaged Living by Design at UTSA (PDF)

Example ELF Posters and Presentations in Engaged Living