College Reflections

  • By: Raquel Baudrit
  • American University

pictures spread out over a mapAs a person who has moved a lot throughout my life –fourteen times to date -I have found that the hardest part of the transition is maintaining and nurturing the relationships that I have made along the way. With the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), I feel that I have a community of scholars that I can rely on no matter where in the world I end up. Today I serve as the President of the National Leadership Council for NSCS, but my journey with NSCS began in 2015 as a brand-new member at Hillsborough Community College. I attended my first general body meeting and I was intrigued by the work my peers were involved engaging in throughout the Tampa Bay community – long story short, I was hooked.

After attending events and getting to know the people at Hillsborough, I ran for Chapter President and was elected to serve in 2015. I had volunteered before and had held roles within my high school extracurriculars, but this was a big leap for me, and I embraced it. I learned to understand my limits as a leader, as a student with a job, and as someone with a full course load. I became more organized, and more aware of my options. Through workshops I organized and conducted at my college I helped my fellow NSCS members and friends do the same. With every general body or executive board meeting I led, I gained bits of confidence and self-understanding while simultaneously improving my public speaking skills. Most importantly, I learned the necessity of serving and understanding my community.

Our chapter accomplished a lot in during the 2015-2016 academic year. I built a team of twenty passionate volunteers and together we established a student-led mentoring program with our local elementary school, held biweekly community service events, and doubled our membership. Throughout my term as president, I fostered enthusiasm for our mission and encouraged my executive board to come up with creative approaches to traditional programs. In a year, our chapter went from Silver to Diamond Star Status, the first community college chapter to do so.

I firmly believe the support that I received early on in my undergraduate education made a difference. As a first-generation immigrant and student, there are many things about college I had to learn the hard way, but NSCS made many of these tasks easier. When it came time to transfer to a four-year institution, the nationwide influence of NSCS inspired me to go beyond my comfort zone and apply to schools I hadn’t previously considered for my Bachelor’s degree, and I decided to attend American University in Washington, D.C. Coincidentally – the NSCS National Office is also in Washington D.C.! I served out my first term on the National Leadership Council as Vice President and with a dedicated support system in a new city.

Although my undergraduate journey with NSCS will soon come to an end, because I will be graduating in the spring, I am excited for the future that I have been able to build with the support of NSCS.

About the Author:

Raquel Baudrit is a senior at American University working towards a Bachelor of Science in economics with a minor in international studies. Originally from Costa Rica, Raquel has become an advocate for students throughout her undergraduate experience; leading multiple student organizations and using the knowledge gained from her path to U.S. citizenship to help international students transition to community college.

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