Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by International Vice President for Division 3, Carol Comer.
In September 2016, I thought I was merely being inducted into an everyday honor society and would get to wear cords for graduation. I didn’t know I would also be gaining a family and a wealth of information.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “family” as “the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family; or a single-parent family.” However, I would venture that “family” is so much more than that.
The Phi Theta Kappa Family is a family group like none other. There are little sisters you can call to talk about that cutie you spotted at Regionals. There are also big brothers that completely annoy you in the back of the van during that 8-hour road trip to said Regionals.
You have that amazing crazy uncle from another region who always has exciting breakout sessions, makes you laugh until you cry, and has the best advice to give you that final boost of confidence when giving your Honors Topic Speech.
Your aunt is the most supportive and encouraging educator, and you can’t help but to want to aspire to be just like her. She just also happens to be in charge of this crazy train of a family.
Finally, there are also your parents, the advisors and Regional Coordinators that give their hearts and souls to our endeavors, keeping us on our paths to success, all without financial compensation.
These instructors and top educators encourage us to get uncomfortable, learn, grow, and excel by becoming the future leaders of our community. With Phi Theta Kappa, we do just that by graduating, with 91 percent of us crossing that stage as a member of the Sea of Gold, the regalia of our prestigious honor society. Our success is their success. It really is a thankless job.
As I transition with the help of my family to the next stage of my life, I will offer to you what was offered to me: caring guidance, support, and advice.
1. Don’t be afraid to fail. It is SO awesome to get a 4.0 every semester, but maybe the classes were too easy? I would hope that they instead challenged and inspired you, because if you are getting A’s on everything, are you really learning anything new, or are you just showing what you have already mastered? You don’t fail when your grade nears the “C” mark (the equivalent of an “F” to most PTKers). It just encourages you to get uncomfortable, try a different path, and really learn something new. You only fail when you give up and stop trying.
2. Learn to ask for help. Coming into PTK, I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness and/or incompetence. It’s not. It’s actually showing strength and courage to say, “I don’t know; please help me.” It has kept me humble, shown me what my challenges are, made me stronger as a person, and provided me with opportunities for growth. For example, I love biology, criminal justice, and business, and yet I hate writing. However, since I was inducted, I have done two case studies, written five speeches, and this is my second blog entry. Yes, in case you are wondering, I used scholarly references. I also did it with the help of my PTK Family. Go US!
3. Do what makes you happy. Ask yourself what makes you excited and your heart soar just by thinking about it. Combine that with your educational and occupational endeavors. Wrap your life around that one beautiful concept. Find a benevolent way to use that passion for the betterment of your community through service. If you can do this, you will never work a day in your life.
4. Finally, never stop learning. Strive to learn something new each day, whether that be using a new word, looking up a new country, reading about a new religion, researching if last night’s news was biased, or even making a new friend who has a different perspective of life than you. This helps me with being “woke” with benevolence and fellowship, and most times it even expands my family circle.
Growing up I didn’t have a source of parenting in my life. I didn’t have parents until September 2016 when I was “adopted” into this wonderful family. In April at PTK Catalyst, I will be passing on my International Officer position to the next leader. In May, I will become a proud member of the Sea of Gold. After that I will be joining the workforce AND transferring to my choice of four-year university — yes, it can be both!
I would not have been able to do any of this without each and every one of you. So thank you, Phi Theta Kappa Family. Thank you for encouraging me, pushing me, and making me uncomfortable with nurturing kindness and support. Thank you for helping me learn and grow.