Opinion

Seek personal goals, not public honor

Illustration by Silvana Arguello

Illustration by Silvana Arguello

Colleges and universities across the country have established honor societies to recognize outstanding members of their community. The University of Miami is no exception.

While the various schools and departments may have their own honor societies, a handful stand out with respect to prestige and visibility.

The biggest and, at times, the most mysterious honors on campus are Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), Mortar Board and Iron Arrow.

ODK and Mortar Board are national organizations while Iron Arrow is unique to UM.

Twice a year, once per semester, students are selected or tapped into these honor societies.

Every semester, as soon as tapping season is finished, social media explodes with congratulations, complaints and speculations.

Regardless of how content we are with our own lives, a little part of us always seeks this same pat on the back. It’s just human nature.

However, the desire for acknowledgement should not be an obsessive goal, if a conscious goal at all.

Being selected for ODK, Mortar Board or Iron Arrow is an amazing accomplishment, but those honors (or lack thereof) should not define your entire college experience and your self-worth.

If you base your campus involvements solely on becoming a good candidate for one of these honor societies, then you probably won’t make it in. Those selected usually don’t expect it and are not actively seeking it.

Instead, you should focus on what truly makes you passionate and happy.

College is too short for students to be pursuing something that doesn’t truly interest them just for the sake of attaining an elusive honor.

Many work so hard to earn these organizations’ recognition because they believe that without them, they won’t be outstanding candidates for jobs or graduate school. This is not necessarily the case.

Yes, having these accolades on your resume can be an asset because they speak to your accomplishments as an undergraduate.

But these aren’t the only things that employers and graduate schools look for.

They are normally looking for candidates who are interesting, competent and able to fill a school’s niche.

As long as you have a way to add value in finishing your education, you will be just as competitive as the peers who got inducted into those honor societies.

So don’t sweat your undergraduate career if you aren’t selected into one of these great organizations.

What will matter most is not what printed jackets you wore or what pins you kept, but the impact you had on campus for future generations of Canes.

Taylor Duckett is a senior majoring in business law.

March 29, 2015

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Taylor Duckett


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Seek personal goals, not public honor”

  1. Roy says:

    I think when you see best friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, presidents of the same clubs from different years, individuals of the same social groups get into Iron Arrow, questions surely are raised about this “honor” society.

  2. Yogi says:

    Thank you for this very on-point article. As a student I often reminded my fellow classmates at both the graduate and undergraduate level of exactly this. Find something you are passionate about and do it to the very best of your ability. If you happen to get recognized for your work and dedication and the impact it has made, great, but never lose sight of the fact that you didn’t do it alone. I can also say that as an employer, it is up to the candidate to demonstrate their competence; have awards and laurels mean little to me if you cannot demonstrate that you are worthy of them. In my experience, many, if not most, employers hold little regard or weight to awards and honor societies beyond that they are a sign of dedication to something and hard work to get there. I think it’s easy for students to forget that most employers have no idea what the thresholds or criteria for selection into societies or for awards are in general, and so a good employer will tend to sidebar these in lieu of demonstrable skill sets and characteristics.

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