My Fearless Story: Student Speaker at UMD Event
Two weeks ago, I had the absolute honor of being chosen to be the student speaker at a University Campaign Event! I was able to share my Maryland Journey to a room of amazing people. Today, I am thrilled to share with you all how the event went.
To start, everything happened so quickly! I had received an email at the start of the semester stating that I was nominated as a candidate to be a student speaker for a university campaign event and they wanted to know if I was interested. I happily expressed my interest! Although I didn't have many details of what the event would entail at the time, it sounded like an amazing opportunity. I set up a little interview in which I met with one of the campaign managers and we basically chatted about why I chose to come to the University of Maryland and my experience at the university so far.
She informed me that the campaign was about student scholarship, for those who don't know I am a Banneker/Key scholarship recipient which is a full academic scholarship given to the top 2% of honor college students. I started chatting with her about my scholarship and how much it meant to me, my family, and my academic journey. After our little chat, I was told that recommendations were made to the Vice President for University Relations office and that I would hear back soon.
On Monday, September 16th I got an email congratulating me and letting my know that I was chosen to be the student speaker! I instantly got chills....like oh my gosh this is actually happening!! The event would take place on September 20th, giving me a week to prepare. Of course the first thing I did was call up my family, friends, and mentors and let them know the good news.
So next, I had my official briefing at the Office of Alumni Center, and that is where I realized what this event really entailed...I was informed that the president of the university, President Loh, would be there as well as other notable VIPS and donors. He would be inviting me to the stage to speak after him. I also learned that the event was taking place at this super fancy club in Washington DC. I got chills but tried to stay calm in the meeting and make sure I understood all that was expected of me. Once my briefing was over, I couldn't help but start crying, I was overcome with just gratefulness for this opportunity that I could have never imagined would happen!
Next thing I knew, it was time for the event. I had written and practiced my speech and chosen an outfit. I wore this blush blouse from T's Closet that was in my opinion, perfect for the occasion. It has beautiful ruffling detailing that looks so elegant and timeless. My nude heels paired nicely and make the look very professional. This was an event that I really had to be appropriately dress for. I am so glad I had these in my college closet because as I mentioned, this event happened so quickly!
The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the venue was. It had gold detailing and marvelous paintings on the ceilings. We also had a small orchestra play as guest began to arrive. I had my speech printed out and I was getting more and more ready to say my remarks as the evening progressed. Surprisingly, I really wasn't nervous at all. I think it is because I wrote every word from the heart and I was just ready to share MY story because I am the only person who can do that.
During cocktail hour, I was able to interact with the various people in the room. I think I was more nervous about this networking part than the speech because it can feel awkward to walk up to someone and strike up conversation...but after a while I got used to it. I chatted with President Loh for a bit and then we all took a group picture. I also was able to talk to various alumni and hear about how UMD was when they went to the university.
After cocktail hour, it was time for the program to begin. I was called up onto the stage and began my remarks. To summarize what I said, I introduced myself and talked about immigrating to the US from Saint Martin and being a first generation college student. I talked about the college application process and how excited I was to begin my college journey and then how grateful I was when I found out that I was awarded the Banneker/Key scholarship. It was hard not for me to get emotional when talking about it because it I honestly feel so fortunate and so grateful and so thankful to the people we have invested in my education and given me the opportunity to be one of the first in my family to graduate from a four year college and debt free!
I went on to discuss what my experience has been like at the University of Maryland such as the amazing and supportive community I have found here. I discussed some difficult times I faced, such as when Hurricane Irma hit and I expressed my gratitude for those who helped me and my island during that time. Finally, I discussed my future plans and how the University of Maryland has prepared me for a future in medicine and how I hope to give back to communities and provide opportunities, just as opportunities had been provided to me. To close, I thanked everyone who had been a part of my journey: my family, friends, peers, mentors, professors, and a special shoutout to my mom who has sacrificed so much for me.
After giving my remarks, I was met with wonderful compliments from the crowd which meant a lot to me. I was so touched that they said I inspired them! Just wow, I was really full of emotions throughout the whole night. I hope that my story showed them how much the scholarship meant to me, and that they will continue to generously donate to other students and give them the opportunity that was given to me.
I am really excited to say that I have been invited back to attend another campaign event and participate in a Q&A on stage with President Loh and share my fearless story with some more amazing people.
Thank you so much for reading! I will be back next Sunday with another post.
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