The Reach - Phi Theta Kappa's Blog

The Reach

All the latest information, news and stories to inspire and inform Phi Theta Kappa members

Finding Self-Worth Through Free Membership

Finding Self-Worth Through Free Membership

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Sara Hwang, International Vice President for Division 1.

During my sophomore year of high school, my family and I found ourselves on the streets after my father became unemployed. In addition to the normal stressors of being a teenager, I faced the additional stress and uncertainty of moving from place to place. Because of the stigma associated with poverty, I felt ashamed. Instead of talking about it or asking for help, I kept up appearances, pretending everything was fine.

My senior year of high school, I worked two jobs and used my earnings to help my family relocate. This experience brought me feelings of pride and independence, but also feelings of disappointment and disillusionment. I felt confused.

Even after my family was able to permanently move into a home, I found myself lonely and depressed. Instead of feeling carefree and optimistic about my future, I felt disconnected until I realized that I wasn’t alone and that my suffering was not unique to me. Like Kevin Conroy said, “Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique.” Eventually, I realized that my situation was not a roadblock; it was an opportunity. I had been holding myself back.

I realized that rather than being ashamed of my finances, I should be proud of what I’ve accomplished despite my obstacles. And it was through Phi Theta Kappa that I started seeing myself as the leader I am.

Every year my college raises money to donate to a scholarship for eligible Phi Theta Kappa members who cannot afford the membership fee. Fortunately, I was chosen as one of the few to be sponsored.  One week later I was able to attend the induction ceremony in spring 2015 and become a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

I cannot imagine how different my life would’ve been if I hadn’t been sponsored and become a Phi Theta Kappa member. I’ve been welcomed into a supportive community of scholars that creates an environment of success, one that produces critical thinking skills and tackles real life problems.

By becoming a leader on campus, I began taking an active role in my community while building my self-confidence and re-evaluating my self-worth. Not only did I develop my leadership skills, but I was also able to work on my professional development. Through programming such as the College Project, I established and maintained relationships with my college’s administration. Most importantly, Phi Theta Kappa has helped me find myself and pushed me to become a better human being.

The Golden Opportunity Scholarship is an initiative to help eligible members cover their international membership fee. This would give a chance for students from low-income families such as myself to be able to afford the cost of membership so they have access to all of the benefits Phi Theta Kappa has to offer.

This is an exciting step forward in giving the life-changing opportunities that come with Phi Theta Kappa membership to those who often need them the most. I hope you’ll join us in supporting this initiative as we work to change someone else’s life for the better, just as Phi Theta Kappa changed mine.

Learn more about the Golden Opportunity Scholarship. Nominations are due Friday, November 4.

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