NSCS Alumni Spotlight: Alyssa Hironaka


Campus: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Graduation Year: 2020

Degree Program: Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance

Previous Officer Role(s) you held during your undergrad experience within NSCS: Star Status Coordinator, Vice President of Social Media, Chapter President

When did you join NSCS? I joined NSCS on February 24, 2017.

I was an NSCS chapter officer at UH Mānoa’s NSCS chapter from 2017-2020 and fulfilled three positions: Star Status Coordinator (2017-2018), Vice President of Social Media (2018-2019), and Chapter President (2019-2020). Not long after I joined NSCS, the Chapter President at that time sent everyone an email with available chapter officer roles.

As someone who was super shy and dealt with social anxiety, applying felt scary for me. I decided to apply after realizing that becoming a chapter officer could help me develop leadership skills, overcome my shyness, and build experience applicable to future jobs.

To my surprise, my confidence levels improved significantly after becoming a chapter officer; I became much more assertive, personable, and approachable. If you’re thinking of joining your chapter’s board, I highly recommend applying for a position! As a chapter officer, you can gain valuable personal and vocational skills that can transform your life for the better and help you land jobs.

How did your time with NSCS help prepare you for life after college? The social confidence and administrative abilities I developed as a chapter officer prepared me to become a piano teacher, get involved with the Hawaiʻi Music Teachers Association (HMTA) as a social media coordinator, and be a highly successful graduate assistant at UH Mānoa’s music department during my entire Master’s degree. I am extremely grateful that my NSCS experience enabled me to adjust well to my GA work, which involved giving music history lectures, grading assignments, making concert posters, and office work that required a high level of organization and some computer skills like Microsoft Office and Google Suite. My background as VP of Social Media caught the attention of a board member from HMTA who was impressed with my work and invited me to volunteer for them. In addition, my piano students enjoy working with me, thanks to the mentoring experience I gained as a Chapter President.

What was the most important thing you’ve gotten from your time as an undergraduate NSCS member? Again, the positive and practical attributes I attained from being a chapter officer, which has significantly helped me with my career. I’ve also benefited from the many workshops my chapter offered on topics such as grad school, stress management, credit money, resumes, and more. As an NSCS member and officer, I also made many connections-being involved with my chapter was a great way to network and meet others with similar interests.

What is the most important thing you are getting out of your time as an Alumni NSCS member? The NSCS member benefits and discounts! It’s awesome that NSCS members retain membership for life without additional fees, even after graduating. The travel and car rental discounts are fabulous for musical NSCS members. I also love hearing about the success of current and recently graduated UH Mānoa NSCS members and chapter officers. Seeing the success of fellow members is highly inspiring to me!

Where are you now since graduating? I just graduated in May with my Master of Music in Piano Performance, continue to teach piano in Honolulu, HI, and volunteer as a social media coordinator for the Hawaiʻi Music Teachers Association (HMTA). I am currently taking a gap year to recharge and plan to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at another school in the future. If I ever work at a college someday, I hope to be able to get involved in NSCS again as a Chapter Advisor if possible so I can help the next generation of NSCS students and give back to the honor society that helped me with so many of my successes.

If you could give a newly inducted undergraduate NSCS member advice on their path through their collegiate journey, what would it be? As high achievers, we frequently deal with many challenges that our achievements often mask: imposter syndrome, perfectionism, anxiety, burnout, and the list goes on…I’ve dealt with those things too. It is highly important (especially with “hustle culture” and the current state of the world) to prioritize your mental health and well-being. Taking care of yourself does not mean that you don’t care about your work, that you’re lazy, or that you are inferior. Taking care of yourself and setting aside time for yourself and self-care allows you time to breathe, enjoy activities that bring you joy, and rest, which gives you more energy for higher quality work. Devoting unnecessary time to excessive commitments is very unhealthy. Prioritize the things that are most important to you, don’t be afraid to say no, don’t compare yourself to others (you never know what they’re going through), and remember that your self-worth is not measured by how many achievements you gain. You are wonderful and worthy simply for being you. 🙂

If you could give an undergraduate student who is considering joining NSCS advice, what would it be? NSCS is not a scam!!! Other people say otherwise because they didn’t take the time to learn more about NSCS, ask the right questions, and get involved. NSCS is a legitimate honor society that is accredited by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), which is also legit. I sadly felt quite skeptical after receiving my NSCS invitation due to the internet. If it wasn’t for my academic advisor at the time telling me that NSCS is indeed legit, I would have lost out on so much. The sky’s the limit with an NSCS membership. You never know how much NSCS can help you unless you join. Also, the benefits of being an NSCS member depend on how much you want your membership to benefit you. Failing to explore and/or use the services and opportunities that NSCS offers to you limits how much an NSCS membership can help you. To make the most use out of your $97, view NSCS as a useful tool in your success toolbox; find out as much as you can about your chapter, apply for scholarships, volunteer as a chapter officer and/or at a community service event if you can, and enable NSCS to further your aspirations. You never know what you may accomplish!

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