Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Ashlynne Banks, International Vice President for Division 2.
Sitting in an airport, I find myself in the middle of a conversion point between cultures, ethnicities, races, genders and every other type of diversity I could ever imagine. Being here provokes me to consider where my place is in this massive world we call home.
My initial reaction is that I feel incredibly small and powerless. Then, I remember all of the privileges living in the United States gives me. Suddenly I feel like I have too much power, and the responsibility to make change in the rest of the world overwhelms me. This particular instance of paralyzing global responsibility was suddenly halted when I looked at the Phi Theta Kappa backpack at my feet.
I realized that although I may feel insignificant, I have made a choice in my life to better myself, and in turn, create a world that is fundamentally better. I have joined an honor society full of like-minded but diverse individuals committed to excellence. Feeling particularly inspired, I asked my fellow Phi Theta Kappans what being a PTK member means, specifically in a global community. Here are a few responses:
“Being a Phi Theta Kappan means tearing down those walls that separate our culture and religion and see one another as family.” Dakota McCullum, Hillsborough Community College, Alpha Beta Beta Chapter
“Being able to use a name bigger than my own to do some good in the world.” Ariel Bradford, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Alpha Rho Nu Chapter
“As an alumna, Phi Theta Kappa means that I like being a part of an academic honor society whose members and alumni accept me for who I am. As someone who has disabilities, it is nice to know that the members and alumni that I have known are able to make me feel welcomed and included within Phi Theta Kappa.” Jenn Braden, Elgin Community College, Rho Kappa Chapter
Almost every response I received mentioned endless opportunities, a sense of family, the desire to make positive change, and a big-picture outlook on life. It is not much of a stretch for me to say that Phi Theta Kappans are the greatest assembly of catalysts for change in the world.
You may have figured this out already — you are an honor student after all — so I will leave you with a challenge. Be a Phi Theta Kappan in every aspect of your life. Evaluate yourself, because it is easy to be a PTK member inside the classroom walls. However, are you committing that kind of excellence to every part of your life every single day?
I challenge you to question and research everything; do not settle for any less than your absolute best; be a family to everyone regardless of the degree of diversity between you; and always work toward positive, effective change.
Every good challenge is measurable, so as part of this one, I’d like for you to share your non-academically based achievements inspired by PTK. Use any form of social media using the hashtag #PTKeveryday. Some examples might include: “I ate healthy today, making a change to be excellent in everything I do. #PTKeveryday” or “For today’s #PTKeveryday I discovered the difference between baking powder and baking soda. #useful”
Whatever it is, no matter how small, share your passion for excellence. Show me how you #PTKeveryday.