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Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Felicia Molzon, a student at Suffolk County Community College in New York and a recipient of the 2017 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. It originally appeared on the Pearson Students blog and is reprinted here with their permission.
“Who are you meant to be?”
This question riddled my mind for the longest time. It wouldn’t be fair to call myself a person who always knew what she wanted to do. However, this isn’t something that is reflected in my day-to-day interactions on campus. Each day I go to our small, tight-knit campus, all the interactions and experiences shared are beyond fulfilling. Yet, no one can see the years of perpetual acrimony that shadowed much of my life and caused me to ponder this existential question.
Defining my character
Mental illness became my handicap for several years, manifested in years of isolation and desolation. Having to grow up with minimal family support and direct myself through my educational endeavors has challenged me. The tribulations I’ve overcome have been definitive of my character.
I can come to terms with my history today. I’m no longer afraid of it. It is my reservoir of experience that I look to when approaching challenges. To know that I overcame those challenges and that I now step on grounds I once felt were beyond my grasp motivates me. It also drives me to excite this inner realization in others.
Finishing a dream
My mom was in a three-week coma following an accident 26 years ago, forcing a practical cognitive restart on her brain with a loss of fully functioning memory. She wasn’t supposed to survive — but she did. I was her 31st birthday present! Before her accident, she was a high-achieving honors student who had gone to the same community college that I’m currently attending. I think of myself as a vestige of who she was, as someone who is finishing a dream she once started.
Emerging from the shadows
In my struggle with mental illness, I was absent for the greater part of middle school and high school. My true educational journey began with my community college career. “Find Your Start at Suffolk” is my college’s slogan and is fitting to my situation. It’s something in which I genuinely believe.
The appeal of community college was the idea that I could begin my academic pursuits without being haunted by a hanging apparition of my past. I knew there was a capable high achiever who existed in the shadow of the young student who was burdened by mental illness and left in solitude for several years.
In my two years a Suffolk Community College, I’ve been able to become that capable high achiever. I am a peer mentor, an officer for various clubs, and a newspaper contributing author. I am a leader on campus who is a representative of the institution and its constituents: our student body. My friends and faculty in college have played a pivotal role in helping me grasp these achievements. I don’t think I would have nearly as stable a foundation without their guidance.
Last year I was selected as a recipient of the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. In addition to the financial award, I have been paired with a Pearson employee as a mentor as I progress from community college to a four-year school. Mentors are quintessential to the growth of all individuals. I know that without the support of a mentor, I would make a multitude of aimless mistakes.
The service of mentorship is so selfless in the essence of what the mentor does — they’re looking to share their wisdom with you. My Pearson mentor is incredibly sweet and friendly, and she has such a thorough foundation under her. I am indebted to the knowledge she bestows upon me.
The financial assistance of the Pearson scholarship is the security of pursuing my ambitious education. Now that I have another source to cover my tuition and fees, I can devote other financial resources to investing in my future studies. I can now take on more study abroad opportunities to study cultural communication. These things that were once unfeasible are now within my reach, and this is a notion that motivates me every day.
The human experience
I will be graduating in the spring as a communications major. Through each shift in my uncertain educational journey, one thing that remains consistent is my desire to learn about others. My education is how I reconcile with experiences that I never had. That’s why the humanities gratify me so much.
Through my studies, I learn about the human experience through objective, measurable means. I learn the practices and behaviors of humans to understand why we do what we do and how we do it. It helps me live my life at this moment.
I am a student leader; someone I once could not foresee myself as. I have full intentions on continuing to work at the core of my college’s activities to open opportunities for my peers through programming, workshops, peer-mentoring, and unconditional support.
Apply now for the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education on Phi Theta Kappa’s Spring Scholarship Application. The deadline is May 1.
Do you live for social media? Plan to major in digital marketing? Then you should apply to be a Social Media Ambassador at PTK Catalyst 2018, April 19-21 in Kansas City, Missouri.
This is a great opportunity for you to gain real-world experience working with a professional marketing and social media team to promote a large-scale event to an international audience. Four PTK members will be selected.
Important: You must be registered for PTK Catalyst to apply. Ambassadors are responsible for their own convention registration, transportation, and meals.
Ambassadors will produce two to five posts each day of convention — with at least one per day being a video — for all of Phi Theta Kappa’s social media channels. They will be also be assigned specific events to cover and will work directly with PTK’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Kierra Thomas.
Social media ambassadors will receive a special badge identifying them as ambassadors. Upon successful completion of the ambassadorship, they will receive a free PTK Catalyst t-shirt.
The deadline to apply is Friday, March 16. On the application, you will be asked to share links to your personal social media accounts. Your accounts must be set to “public” so we can review them. Private accounts will not be considered.
You will also need to provide writing, photography, and video samples.
Applicants will be notified the week of April 2. A mandatory Ambassadors meeting will be held the week of April 9, and the ambassadorship runs from Wednesday, April 18, through Saturday, April 21.
Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Heather Yush, PTK’s Associate Director of College and Transfer Relations.
Whether you plan to transfer or enter the workforce immediately after completing a credential, Phi Theta Kappa may help you land your dream job. Participation in PTK provides a leadership laboratory where you can strengthen your soft skills and build your resume, making you more competitive for scholarships, transfer, and careers.
Here are seven ways membership in Phi Theta Kappa can boost your resume.
1. Find a Leadership Role that Suits You
PTK is an inclusive organization. Whether you’re shy or outgoing, there is a place for you and a leadership role you can take on.
If you don’t feel comfortable standing up in class or approaching strangers, it’s a sure bet that your chapter also has fundraising/marketing/social media needs that are more “behind the scenes.” Just don’t miss your opportunity to get involved, whether it’s as a chapter/regional officer, team leader, or active member.
When putting together a resume, don’t forget to list the membership itself in addition to your other PTK accomplishments, including serving as an officer, participating in Honors in Action/College Projects, and attending international meetings.
2. Use Your Competitive Edge
As a PTK member, you have access to a powerful tool for the job market — Five Star Competitive Edge. This online, self-paced professional development program will enhance your soft skills, including interview prep, public speaking, proper etiquette, and academic research. It’s a sure-fire way to enhance your resume.
3. Your College Application/Scholarship Resume Counts Too
Tabitha-Anne Bloodsaw, an alumna of Passaic County Community College in New Jersey, added a copy of her Five Star Competitive Edge certificate to college applications, along with a program description in the personal essay section.
“In several of my acceptance letters, it was noted that due to certain professional and leadership training I had received through Phi Theta Kappa, I was given additional scholarships/funds,” she said. “For example, one college gave me an additional $1,000 on top of the regular PTK scholarship.”
4. Take the Credit
Ask someone who knows about your PTK involvement (such as your advisor) to critique your resume. Some students inadvertently shortchange themselves, not realizing what a sizable impact they’ve made. For example, skilled graphic designers may not realize the marketing campaign they created was impressive because in their eyes it was just another project.
5. Avoid PTK Speak
Then, seek out someone who is NOT as familiar with PTK to read your resume to make sure there’s not too much jargon that could cause a resume reviewer to pass over your application. If the reviewer is distracted by trying to figure out the meaning of unique phrases and words, your chances of being called in for an interview are slim.
6. Wear Your Pin
Madeline Adams, an alumna of College of the Mainland in Texas, decided to wear her Phi Theta Kappa pin to a job interview and it really paid off.
“The interviewer asked me how my grades were, and I showed her the pin,” Madeline said. “She turned around, got the employee packet and said, ‘You’re hired. I’m a PTK graduate too.’ ”
Read more of Madeline’s story.
7. Leverage Your Membership
You’ve heard the expression “you get out what you put in” — this perfectly summarizes participation in Phi Theta Kappa. Technically there are no minimum requirements beyond maintaining your GPA to retain your status as a member. Yet, at the other end of the spectrum, you could maximize and leverage your membership in a way that can change your life.
Running meetings, facilitating an orientation session, organizing a recruiting event, building a social media account or website for your chapter — all of these are transferable, marketable, and valuable skills.
Start thinking now about how you will leverage your PTK membership and use your experiences and skills developed through Phi Theta Kappa to tell your story.