Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why you should travel in community college

So the reason I've been MIA this week is I was traveling around in California speaking at a community college and doing research for my next book. 

And as I walked around the bay, looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, I remember thinking about my very first flight. It was when I was a sophomore in community college, traveling to Nashville, TN for the international Phi Theta Kappa convention.

I was attending college in Florida, so while this wasn't that "far," it was still a turning point for me. Being on an airplane was something, in my mind at that point, was reserved for "rich" people. It wasn't something I'd ever done. 

Being physically up in the air, moving from one place to another in a matter of hours, was nothing short of empowering for me. It made me feel like maybe that professor was right, maybe community college really could be this launching point that could take me farther than I could even dream.

That feeling of being in the clouds that first time has never left me. I still feel this incredible sense of gratitude every time I'm up in the air, going from one place to another. It's nothing short of magical to me, and I still can't believe I'm actually someone who gets to travel around like this. 

I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to travel while you're in community college. Look into study abroad trips both at your college (many community colleges have these!) and through outside organizations, like Diversity Abroad.

Also look into clubs and organizations that provide even local travel opportunities. Usually officers are the ones who get to travel, so it's another great reason to get a leadership position! This is one of the greatest benefits of community college - because you don't have to compete with juniors/seniors for the highest leadership positions. You can be a president now, and I encourage you to do just that. 

My first travel opportunity is still one open to many community college students every year! Phi Theta Kappa has an international convention in a different state each year that is just out of this world. They often have amazing celebrity speakers! If you've gotten your invite letter, don't just join the chapter on your campus - become an officer!

Traveling in college, especially for anything that can add to your professional development, is WORTH THE INVESTMENT! Don't let the money scare you. Be creative and look for ways to travel for free. But don't be afraid to put a little skin in the game either. 

Because travel, to me, is about so much more than just the experience itself. It's what that experience does to your brain, your sub-conscious. I think it sends this little, very quiet, yet oh so powerful message: you can do big things. 

So go. Go somewhere. See another part of this country or this world. Let it remind you that no matter how small you feel at times, you really can do more than you ever thought possible.

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