I was surprised but pleased to receive an invite to join Golden Key International Honour Society in Fall 2008 because I had never heard of it before. The CSU San Marcos chapter was chartered at the same time that I transferred to CSU San Marcos from Palomar College, the local junior college. When I decided to join, I had no idea what was in store for me. My first member meeting was after the New Member Recognition Ceremony, and the chapter was holding elections, looking for new officers for the upcoming school year. Having held leadership positions since the age of twelve, it felt natural to me to be involved, so I ran for and was elected to be our chapter’s first secretary.
I began work as the secretary in Spring 2009, designing the position. Remembering my own experience when I was invited to join Golden Key, I have tried to spread the word about our chapter to as many people as possible and improve communication between chapter leadership, chapter members, and prospective members through email, Facebook, Twitter, and creating a chapter website. I attended the regional conference that spring and the international conference the following summer. My past leadership experience as being president of the Latter-day Saint Student Association at Palomar College, a student org with over 150 members, as well as my strengths in organization and planning lead me to become co-president in Fall 2010 in addition to filling the secretary role. In my time as an officer, I served with three sets of officers and learned a lot about myself as a leader, the value of synergy, and how much can be accomplished by working together for a worthwhile purpose and goal.
In addition to leadership experience, Golden Key really has enabled me to reach my academic potential. While attending CSU San Marcos, I discovered that I have a passion for cultural linguistics and began working with speakers of a Maya language to create a trilingual dictionary. My work on the project led to one of my professors encouraging me to submit a paper proposal to the Workshop on American Indigenous Languages. I did, and my paper was accepted, but the cost of attending the conference was out of my personal budget. I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by, so I applied for scholarships to help me cover the cost of the conference. I was awarded one of our chapter’s scholarships, awarded based on chapter participation, academic excellence, leadership experience, and service, and the amount awarded was exactly enough to cover the cost of the conference.
I now am striving to give back to Golden Key and am now an advisor for my chapter to help the new officers grow into their positions, continue to meet Gold Standing, and provide benefits to members. I’m looking forward to being involved in our next New Member Recognition Ceremony and other service projects. I know that you can only get out of something what you put into it, as I experienced for myself with my Golden Key membership and am grateful for this opportunity and the wonderful benefits I have received from it.