What I Chose When I Joined PTK

Mark D'Agosta in parkour move on ACC campus

Mark D’Agosta participating in Parkour Club at ACC.

Consequence of Choice

I never tell anyone that I think they are talented, because I believe in the golden rule. To me, every talent is a consequence of a series of choices made. The choice to train results in fitness, the choice to spend time with a loved one results in a healthy relationship, and the choice to study results in academic excellence. Yet with each action we choose, another action is left undone. In this way, the life of a college student is brimming with choices. Do I get straight As, or do I enjoy my free time? Do I spend the money for extra classes, or do I upgrade my failing car?

Luckily the decisions we make are more complex than the arithmetic of choice A or choice B. Like a great investor, a great person puts up a large investment when the return is guaranteed, yet they also make small investments that have the potential to pay out big. The strategy involved in such investments is rarely a simple matter to predict; there are risks and nothing is certain. However, good strategy involves identifying patterns, calculating odds, and making the right move.

I made a choice to join the Arapahoe Community College Sigma Phi chapter of the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). It was not an ignorant decision, it was a calculated move based on some particular ideas gleaned from my previous career.

PTK Can Help You Stand Out In The Job Market

I have interviewed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, and I have to say–screening applicants is difficult. I learned three things from my experience. First, in the world of mass applicants, two extra seconds of attention make all the difference. Second, there are some triggers that attract an experienced reviewers’ eyes: anything extra! Most applications are very similar, they have the same types of information, in the same order, said the same way. If you break the pattern you get noticed. Finally, once face-to-face with applicants, the interviewers appreciate having something to ask you about. So, providing the interviewer with additional fodder for discussion can make a difference in an interview situation.

PTK Can Give You A Stronger Narrative

While being a member of Phi Theta Kappa gives me the slight edge in applying for schools, scholarships, and jobs, I find the benefit runs deeper. I chose to be involved in PTK to develop a stronger narrative and a richer college experience. When an interviewer asks me to give an example of a specific experience, I have an answer. I explain how I sat down with a Senator to address the issue of failing depleted water resources. I talk about how I initiated new systems at the college and in the community, and how my follow PTK members made those systems work. Thanks to PTK I have success stories, not because I am talented, but because I was supported by others who wanted to achieve as much as me. Interviewers love this type of response, because it predicts success. Involvement in PTK makes me look like a better applicant, because it makes me become a better applicant. Being a member of PTK gives students access to a community that is dedicated to excellence. Just to be associated with this community brings esteem, and my involvement binds me to success. This is what I chose when I joined PTK.

by Mark D’Agosta, ACC student

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