Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by International Vice President for Division 2, Jay Fritts.
PTK Awareness Week is here! During this week, we are spreading the exciting news of what becoming a member of this life-changing organization can do for the students on our campuses. Sounds easy enough, right? If only it were that easy.
Before we joined Phi Theta Kappa, most of us started at the same place: we knew absolutely nothing about PTK. Although we know now what PTK can do for its members, it is hard to relay this message to potential students. However, through personal experience, I found the best way to get my message across to prospective members is by sharing my personal journey as a Phi Theta Kappan.
The first days of my college experience were not memorable ones. I would wake up, go to class, and come home, only to repeat this process again the next day. When beginning community college, my goal was to receive my associate degree as quickly as I could in order to transfer to a four-year institution in Mississippi.
After a few weeks passed, I tried getting involved with the different clubs my campus had to offer. I was a member of the Honors Council, I served as a student recruiter for Ivy League Ambassadors, and I volunteered to play piano for the Baptist Student Union. Although I did enjoy these clubs, I only joined them to boost my resume.
Then I got an invitation to join an organization called Phi Theta Kappa. Thinking to myself, “This is a smart people organization,” I decided to join, and my life has never been the same.
Being a member of Phi Theta Kappa has allowed me to experience a life I never imagined. I have been able to travel the country and meet people from all over the world — definitely a culture shock for me, being from a small town in Mississippi. I have helped lead members of an organization that I have fallen in love with as a chapter, regional, and now International Officer, served my campus through the College Project and the people of my community through Honors in Action, and developed friendships I know will last a lifetime.
Phi Theta Kappa is more than just a “smart people organization” like I once thought. Phi Theta Kappa exposes us to the world and opens our minds to diverse experiences. It gives us the opportunity to develop ourselves as leaders by stepping out of our comfort zones and into something we never thought we were capable of doing. PTK teaches us to serve those around us and to better the communities we live in.
The student that once wanted to finish community college as quickly as possible is now in his third year of PTK and a “super sophomore,” and he would not change that for anything.
Turning down the opportunity to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa would have made my life drastically less fulfilling. It is our duty as Phi Theta Kappans to spread awareness in order to give other students the opportunities that we have been afforded through PTK. I am fortunate to be in the position I am in — one where I can encourage others to take a journey that will change their lives by showing them how it has changed mine.