Olympians! Honor Students! And Community College?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the past 22 years of my life is that you get what you give. That pertains to the effort you give in yourself, the relationship you give to others, the passion you give to your projects, the physical goods you give, and the dedication you give to your goals. I realized that you can be a footstep away from winning an Olympic race, but if you don’t give enough to your preparation and your will through the race, then you won’t win – point blank.

You can wake up and think, “I’m going to shatter the records for Olympic running.” Sure, that is one of the pieces to do it, but one day of commitment and focus, however, will not shatter those records. The effort is not enough. The attention to detail around shattering the records, including diet, training, sleep schedule, motivation, research, muscle memory, time management, and coaching, is not enough. You cannot shatter those records in a day. It takes preparation. It takes research. It takes mentally and physically training. If you focus on running on the track for the long term, and truly set yourself on a plan toward shattering those records, then what you are giving will undoubtedly provide what you will get – you will shatter those records.

It’s a common misconception in this day that if you are involved, you will be rewarded. That if you are out on the field, than you can win all the games and score all the goals.

My grades in high school were normal, but not exciting. My resume of clubs and extracurricular activities were slim, mostly listed with soccer and sports leadership. The options I had after high school were to schools that had a soccer program mainly because that was the only route for me to get to the next level. Thanks to the help and support from my parents, I earned a spot on the soccer team at Georgia Military College, an Associate’s degree thus far, and a mindset toward giving before receiving.

After my first semester at Georgia Military College, my life changed due to one of the most pivotal experiences of my life: Phi Theta Kappa. I am beyond thankful for the invitation I received from Phi Theta Kappa, a national honor society for 2-year students. Phi Theta Kappa was an entire new life for me. The culture at PTK pushed me. They gave me all the resources for success. They gave me the mindset that was needed to make things happen. Every person I came in contact with at Phi Theta Kappa was invested in the organization and invested in standing up for tomorrow. The atmosphere and the culture was unlike anything I had ever been a part of.

Corey_PTKmedasI used what they gave me and pushed to give myself to others to help and lead them. I earned president of the chapter and then president of the entire Georgia Region. I used that as a platform to lead others and serve in any way I could, speaking at events and writing blogs to motivate my peers. If you would have told me two years prior that I would be the president of a national honor society in college and speaking at events in front of 200+ people, I would have laughed for hours.

Still to this day I meet other Phi Theta Kappans, I still have my medallion on its stand on my desk, and I still have my induction certificate hanging on my wall. It’s a mindset and culture that will carry on with me forever. 

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Thanks to community college and Phi Theta Kappa, I have taken down walls that once overshadowed me. Now that the walls are down, I will graduate from one of the most prestigious business schools in the nation. I also stand as regional coordinator to a student program of the world’s leading learning company. The limits are endless and I thank my community college and Phi Theta Kappa for giving me a chance and for giving me all of the resources to succeed.

Community college and Phi Theta Kappa alike, stand for something that means more to this nation in a time of change than ever before: that no matter where you start, where you are from, where you want to go, who your parents were, how smart you are, what your financial background is, no matter what color you skin is, no matter the goals you have, the people you’ve lost, or the grades you have, the people that doubted you, the people that never gave you a chance, the failures you’ve faced, the shots you’ve missed, how old you are, how young you are, what culture you are from, the way you dress, or the passion you have… no matter what the circumstances are, if you give, and I mean give with all your might, then in the near future, you  will create CoreyGrad_1change and you will undoubtedly succeed. Give it enough, and you will witness a new standard.

Corey is a Pearson Campus Ambassador and Hope Scholar at University of Georgia where he is majoring in Business Management. Read more inspiration for students on Corey’s blog.