The Benefits of Being an NSHSS Member: My Journey
I remember receiving my NSHSS invitation in the mail nearly three years ago. As a soon-to-be high school junior, the prospect of college applications was certainly weighing on my mind. As I am sure many high-schoolers can attest to, my list of “to-dos” seemed like it was constantly growing. On top of traveling up and down the East Coast touring colleges, I was trying to acquire leadership opportunities, compile a variety of extracurricular experiences, determine what I wanted to study in college, apply for scholarships and of course, all whilst maintaining a high GPA, rigorous academic course-load and striving to do well on the SATs. Being a high-school student can certainly be overwhelming at times! When accepting my spot as an NSHSS member, I did so knowing that, in the least, it would benefit my resume. What I did not know was that this one organization would help me in tackling a lot of these pre-college preparations and also remain an incredibly valuable resource beyond high school.
An Extensive Network
I attended my first NSHSS event, Scholar’s Day DC, just one month after joining the organization. Although I had read about how far-reaching the NSHSS community was, that day cemented this idea for me as I sat amongst thousands of students and their families, who truly did hail from countries around the world. I quickly realized how invaluable this extensive network was. That afternoon, I sat in on a panel with students on the NSHSS Student Council, members who were college students at the time, as they shared their guidance for receiving scholarships. As someone who felt that they had “done all of their homework,” I remember walking away with new ideas about how I could fully maximize my time as a high-school sophomore. Through this peer-to-peer Q & A, I realized just how impactful it was to have a network that was not only reliable but as rich in experiences and academic backgrounds as the NSHSS community.
Leadership Opportunities: Becoming an Ambassador, Student Council Member, and Student Council Executive Board Member
Eager to become more involved in the organization, in my junior year I was accepted as an Ambassador which allowed me to build closer connections with both NSHSS staff and members. Being an Ambassador opened the door to holding leadership roles at member events, including serving as a keynote speaker and several times as a social media takeover. These positions built my relationships with students, which was certainly one of the best takeaways, and helped enhance my communication and leadership skills. After graduating high school, I joined the Student Council and a few months later was invited to join the Student Council Executive Board as the Vice President of New Member Engagement. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences, and it is a privilege to be able to connect with college students around the world. Becoming more involved in NSHSS allows students to become further engaged with the community and to take on special roles within our organization.
Virtual Workshops: Skill-Building
I have found NSHSS to be extremely helpful during the time of COVID-19 as well, as the organization has adapted to these changing times and ensured that members are still able to stay connected as they make progress in their academic careers. Although member events were put on a temporary hold, access to virtual events such as “Distance Discos” and weekly guided workouts support students in areas beyond academics. After the cancellation of jobs, internships, and other student opportunities, NSHSS has created ways for students to remain productive and to utilize their new spare time for skill-building and personal development. Recently, I was able to consider my future investing plans while participating in a webinar entitled “What You Need to Know About Money Before 20”. NSHSS is dedicated to ensuring its members’ success from the day they join, and since it is a lifetime membership, the opportunities for workshop engagement and self-advancement continue far beyond high school.
It Doesn’t End After High-School!
Career Exploration and Development Opportunities
Since graduating high school, I have found that the window of opportunity in NSHSS is equally as great for college students as it is for high school students. Upon entering my freshman year of college, I found myself wanting to experiment with my different academic interests as I tried to narrow down a field of study and determine what career path I wanted to pursue. As I was considering medicine and healthcare, NSHSS gave me the opportunity to travel to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Over the course of several days, I participated in doctor-led workshops and was able to attain a comprehensive understanding of what such a career would entail. This was an invaluable experience and serves as just one example of the unending exclusive opportunities NSHSS grants its members.
In my three years with NSHSS, I have grown alongside this organization. Each day it seems that they have new opportunities and benefits to offer, and I look forward to being a part of this organization as our community grows even further. I love meeting NSHSS Members, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at email@example.com or on Instagram (@lexyvandekieft), and make sure to say hello at future NSHSS events!
(Above) This was me at the NSHSS event at Columbia University in 2018.
(Above) This is me and my takeover team at the NSHSS event at Columbia University in September of 2019. Check out more pics from that day here.
(Above) This is me at the NSHSS event at St. Jude in October 2019, such an inspiring experience!