So, I just returned from a fantastic trip to Orlando, where I took part in the annual Phi Theta Kappa convention, Nerdnation. There were over 3,000 students registered and the energy was amazing. While getting to Orlando was a bit of a struggle for me on account of missing a plane (it wasn’t my fault!) and overbooked flights, the experience was worth the struggle! But from start to finish I learned a few things:
1. One does not simply do homework on an airplane. I really thought I would be able to do homework on the plane, or even in the airport. No. I learned that I am incredibly distracted in busy airports and too nervous on a plane ride!
2. Orlando is THE PLACE for: tourists, cheer competitions, conventions, and humidity. So many people, so much moisture in the air (hey, I live in California…we have a “dry” heat)
3. Phi Theta Kappa is IT. If you are currently a community college student who is eligible to join PTK, do yourself a favor and join! I have no regrets whatsoever about being a member. I met a lot of really fantastic people this week and I feel really inspired to start writing my book.
4. If you plan to climb a mountain, be prepared to weather many storms…regardless if you are climbing a real mountain or your current situation feels like a climb (and it probably does). Alison Levine, the author of “On The Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership” explains that you don’t just climb straight to the top of Mt. Everest. You have to climb up to one camp and climb back down…then climb to the second camp and come all the way back down. The same goes for life, and college success: You don’t just climb straight to the top of the mountain of success — it takes a lot of backtracking, and adjustments to be successful, to reach your goals.
5. People are serious about scavenger hunts. Pearson Students had to work hard overnight to decide the top 3 because SO MANY teams tied for first in the Nerdnation scavenger hunt. Competitiveness is not restricted to their academic lives, PTK students are competitors in all areas!
6. Students and people with disabilities are still not treated with respect and courtesy. Those not in a position where they have to depend on a wheel chair, or certain types of foods don’t realize the struggle involved in being in such a position. I helped a friend with a temporary disability try to navigate through crowds of people both at the convention and at the Magic Kingdom and I was disappointed with the lack of respect given to those who deserve it just like everyone else.
7. There are SO MANY moms in college, and while the number of dropouts is discouraging, there are moms just like me who are serious about their education and are proud of be part of PTK. Also, moms in college come in all shapes, ages, and situations: young, older, single, married, widowed, etc. So if you think you are the only mom in your PTK chapter, hey you might be…but you aren’t the only mom in PTK so take comfort in that!
8. Pearson cares about students. OK, so I already knew this but when I found myself faced with a skeptic, I was more than happy to let people know that Pearson cares about students…that there is more to Pearson than textbooks and mylabs! My team worked really hard this week to make each student feel welcomed and cared for. We were in charge of the scavenger hunt, featured Isa Adney with an autographed book giveaway, and then had many, many students sign up to honor their One Professor. Not only that, but we invited all students to hang out in our “dorm” style booth.
9. One does not simply do homework in their hotel room. Because comfy bed.
10. I am really lucky. Like, really. I have this great team of people to work with who all encourage me and care about me and others. I cannot imagine my life without having known each one of my team members! What does that matter to you? Well, I want to challenge each of the moms in college who read this to do a few things: 1) Join PTK, 2) Join a club 3) Join Pearson Students. Even if you don’t do any of these three things, the keyword is JOIN! Be part of your college campus, even if it’s just a small part. Reach out to those around you, and set aside the fears of not being “good enough” or “accepted” because you are a mom. I promise you, there is a spot on your campus just for you!
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