What did you gain in TSA?
TSA played a deeply integral role in my personal and professional development; it is difficult to say what I did not gain from the organization. What immediately strikes me as particularly impactful is TSA’s commitment to encouraging its members to challenge the status quo and pursue excellence through competitive events, workshops, leadership development programs, and other methods. I found a lot of my self worth and confidence by engaging in as many of those TSA opportunities as possible, which led me to cultivate a mindset of perseverance and redefine failure. I now approach any problem or conflict with the goal of resolving the issue when possible—while finding a way to learn something from the situation.
In addition, the sheer number of connections I made through my seven years of TSA membership not only laid the groundwork for some of my closest friendships, but it also introduced me to a diverse range of individuals and significantly broadened my worldview. Serving as a local, state, and national officer (national TSA president and vice president; GA TSA president and reporter; chapter treasurer and president) taught me the importance of servant leadership and how much more beneficial involvements and commitments can be when you prioritize others.
Collectively, the handful of qualities and skills that I have mentioned and the dozen other things I gained from TSA have assisted me in shaping my career path and current involvements. I am pursuing degrees in international affairs and eventually hope to enter international law to advocate on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.
To push myself outside my comfort zone, I studied in four countries in Europe and will be interning in Brussels for the European Parliament. I constantly try to maximize the opportunities and challenges presented to me, and I believe that is a direct result of TSA. I point to my membership in TSA as the most defining chapter of my life, and I expect to still consider it to be, many years from now.
What advice do you have for current TSA student members?
Take advantage of every single opportunity provided at the chapter, regional, state, and national levels to grow as much as possible. TSA facilitates leadership and personal development for every single member—if each member takes advantage of the opportunities.
I vividly remember sitting in the audience at my second state conference in 7th grade, thinking I would never be able to lead as effectively as the state officers on stage. Five years later, I stood onstage as the national TSA president giving a farewell to an organization that has changed my life for the better, and I do not credit myself so much for that drastic change so much as I do the enrichment and support I received through events, workshops, and programs offered by TSA.
One of my proudest moments as a national TSA officer was witnessing our motto change to “Learning to Lead in a Technical World”—reflecting and exuding our true purpose as an organization. Everyone has the capacity to become a leader and to influence others to aspire to greatness. We are all filled with the potential to change the world, and I think TSA enables us to see that it really is not so difficult to do so.