Monday, May 13, 2013

Unique Experiences At Phi Theta Kappa Int’l Convention

By Ahmad Maruf


Phi Theta Kappa’s 2013 Annual Convention in San Jose, California, April 4-6, has been indeed one of the best weekends in my college life. As one of the six-member-team, I was privileged to represent Alpha Theta Phi, Phi Theta Kappa’s chapter at LaGuardia Community College at the convention. Students from all over the US and from the other places where PTK is present were at the conference. They shared accomplishments and learning from one another. Late night conversations with people became a popular trend. Almost 4000 members, officers, and advisors from about 1,300 PTK chapters participated in the event. It delighted me to see hundreds of happy and smiling faces all around me, dancing and cheering for their respective state throughout the General Sessions. Besides the General Sessions, educational forums on contemporary topics were also conducted to enhance students’ knowledge on different topics. The workshops mostly offered advice on how to get the most out of our membership in Phi Theta Kappa. I attended various educational forums to share my experience with other LaGuardia students, including Leading with Ethics; You, At Work: How to Get the Job You Want; Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship Opportunities, How To be a Successful Transfer Student.
At least 100 four-year colleges and universities have registered for the Senior College Transfer Fair during the 2013 Annual Convention in San Jose, California, bringing the world’s top community college students face-to-face with hundreds of recruiters from a wide variety of transfer institutions. Students greatly benefited from attending the Senior College Transfer Fair. I personally learned more about what these schools had to offer in terms of majors, learning environment, transferability of courses, and general transfer friendliness. Advisors also collected information to take home to students not able to attend the Convention. And for the four-year schools attending, the fair was a great opportunity to work with students face to face, build longer term relationships with chapter advisors and chapter student leaders and experience the energy and passion that members had for Phi Theta Kappa and higher education in general.
One of the main attractions was to see and hear the lecture from the sports revolutionary, social justice pioneer and entrepreneur Billie Jean King on the second day of the convention. King, as a world-renowned professional tennis player, shared on a personal note how she revolutionized all professional sports for women. King joined us as a replacement for Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, who had a contractual commitment that forced him to cancel. We were thrilled to hear King's inspirational speech, humorous presentation, and her unique perspective on The Culture of Competition.

We were also inspired by Geoff Colvin, an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on today's most significant trends in business, was a keynote speaker. His groundbreaking book, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, has remained a popular-selling book since it was released in 2008. At the convention, he said to an audience of almost 4000, "What we achieve isn’t about natural gifts. Research and dramatic real-life examples show that great performance is more available than you ever thought." He emphasized practice—the more we practice, the more we get better. And that is the main difference between those who succeed and those who do not.
After the General Session on Saturday, I, with some of the fellow officers and new friends, headed towards the gorgeous San Francisco City. We spent the whole evening traveling around different popular places there, making many new friends, and riding on the cable cars. It was blissful.
During the Hallmarks Awards Ceremony, the most satiating moments were when our fellow PTK member at LaGuardia Svetlana and Chapter Secretary Moreen won the awards of ‘Most Distinguished Member’ and ‘Most Distinguished Officer’ respectively.
On Sunday morning, when we were at the San Jose International Airport, I was a little sad to come back to New York, since I did not want to leave the beautiful California. However, I was consoling myself thinking at least it was an amazing experience that I could carry forever. Thanks to Phi Theta Kappa for giving me this opportunity.

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