Name: Rebecca Sewdyal
Campus: Stony Brook University
Expected Graduation Year: Spring 2024
Degree Program: Social Work B.S.
Current Officer Role(s): Chapter President
LinkedIn handle: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-sewdyal-88426519b/
When I reflect upon my involvement and commitment to NSCS, Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “The Best Way to Find Yourself is to Lose Yourself in the Service of Others,” resonates with me the most. As an NSCS member, chapter officer, and aspiring social worker, I aim to serve those in need. I aim to serve my community and many disadvantaged communities in our country. I aim to promote positive change and create influence those who sought my help and trusted me to find the solution. In serving others, I found myself to be a social worker to continue my passion for being of service.
NSCS opens the doors for me to do this. The three pillars of NSCS are Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. Service enticed me to join this prestigious national honor society. I joined NSCS in April 2022. I received the nomination in the mail. After extensive research on NSCS and what it does for its members and the community as an honor society, I was eager to join with no hesitation to pay my commitment fee. I was extremely excited to be a part of this organization and all the great work it does. At the time of nomination, I was a recent transfer to Stony Brook University. I was a remote student, so I could not have been able to meet new peers and acclimate to the university environment as smoothly as I wanted to. Joining NSCS before my in-person arrival at SBU gave me something to look forward to. I was excited to become involved in my campus community and have an active membership in a prestigious national honor society.
My excitement increased when I was nominated to be a chapter officer. Becoming a chapter officer was life-changing for me. As exaggerated as that sounds, it was. In all my years of extra-curricular involvement, I was always a member rather than a leader. I was offered leadership positions due to my skills and qualities, but always timid to accept them. I started to build on my leadership skills when I became a Residential Advisor at my first college. When I saw how much I could be an influence and a role model to my residents, I began to picture myself more as a leader than a member. My time as a Residential Advisor had abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all of us being sent home. However, this was a hidden skill that was waiting to be exemplified. It finally was when Zoe Bond nominated me to become an Executive Vice President in August 2022. I was honored to accept the position and become a chapter officer. I was even more excited that I could improve my leadership skills, which were starting to blossom from my time as an RA. Being a chapter officer is the best way to fulfill two pillars: leadership and service. I could be able to serve NSCS and the members of the SBU Chapter. I could serve my campus by being more involved through NSCS. My passion for serving others was fulfilled by being a chapter officer.
As a chapter officer, I can be a leader for all my members who are a part of the SBU Chapter. I can represent what NSCS stands for and how we will contribute and continue the work that NSCS is renowned for. I was later promoted to Chapter President in October 2022 when Zoe acknowledged my passion for NSCS and my leadership qualities. As a chapter officer, it is not all about holding a prestigious title. It is a commitment and a demonstration of excellence. We fulfill our position’s responsibilities wholeheartedly as we are motivated for progression. We are representatives of NSCS’s purpose and mission and will use our position to achieve it. This is why I became a chapter officer.
As a chapter officer, the unexpected reward I received was finally getting our chapter re-registered at Stony Brook University. It was a grueling process as Student Engagement continuously denied our proposal. It was a huge accomplishment when we were finally approved and recognized as an active organization on campus. I felt rewarded to be a part of a team that all diligently contributed to the re-registration process. It was a collaborative effort. In this process, we exemplified our passion for NSCS to fulfill its mission and purpose on campus. We used our leadership skills to contribute and petition for Student Engagement to approve our proposal and recognize NSCS. It was gratifying in the end. This is what motivation and commitment allow.
Another unexpected reward given to me by NSCS is my recent nomination to be the first Officer Spotlight feature of 2023! I am grateful for all these rewards NSCS has given me! NSCS began to open doors for me. It has blossomed my leadership skills that were concealed for a long time. I can exemplify these skills in my role as a Chapter President. As we are now an active organization on campus, our first goal is to plan community service events to serve disadvantaged local communities and populations. We also have the PACE program that we will relaunch to become mentors and tutors for high schoolers. We will host assemblies at the high schoolers and have “March to College Day” for high schoolers to gain insight into what college entails and the reality of being a college student. We want to thrive as members and allow others to thrive with us. I can apply for scholarships that I am eligible for through NSCS. NSCS has opened the door for me to afford college through its partnered donors and opportunities for scholarships.
As I am in my third year of college, I am starting to project my life after I graduate in the Spring of 2024. I will be earning my bachelor’s in social work. After my bachelor’s degree, I will continue to be a student at Stony Brook University as a graduate student. I plan on applying for the Advance Standing 1-year Master of Social Work program. In three years, I will have completed all my required coursework to be eligible to take my licensure exam. In projecting my future after my master’s and licensure exam, I see myself jumping into my career right after graduation. I am still deciding which fields I want to work in. There are a few that fit in. NSCS also opens doors for internships for its members. Through NSCS, I will look and apply for internships aligning with my major and degree.
My advice to newly inducted undergraduate NSCS members is to embrace the moment. When I first walked into my first lecture my first year, it was nerve-racking but astounding. It was a moment of realization that I was finally an adult. College is something spoken about from our early years of school, and it felt like forever to come. The time has finally arrived. It is also a realization that I am at the stage of life to focus on my future career. The education I receive from college will depict my future. It is your first step to success. Thinking of all that can be overwhelming, but it is incredible. It is an amazing reality.
Also, ask for help from peer mentors, residential advisors, and academic advisors, and even seek counseling from the counseling services at your school to help you transition better. When I first attended college, I was extremely homesick, and my residential advisor was whom I turned to. He was an excellent resource for providing me with advice and resources to better transition to college. I also had a peer mentor who was an excellent resource for better transition and emotional support. Reach out to these resources as they are available to your benefit. College wants you to succeed and will provide you with all the accommodations to achieve your success for a prosperous future. Please use these to your advantage!
In addition, join a club or organization that will allow you to feel a sense of belonging and recreation. College is stressful, and looking forward to attending a club meeting and event can alleviate that stress immensely. I joined NSCS for all its advantages for my academic future and the social benefit of feeling a sense of belonging. I came to Stony Brook University not knowing anyone and had to make friends as I encountered people along the way.
NSCS created that pathway for me to do that. As an officer board, my fellow officers have built a professional relationship and developed a form of connection. This set my sense of belonging in the Stony Brook University community. The four years of undergraduate goes by quickly. I write this as a third-year student. The cliche, “It felt like yesterday, I began,” really stands true. Make the most of your undergraduate career and create fond memories worth looking back to! College is primarily about progress and success. The best way to exemplify that is by joining leadership in the organization or club you are a part of. My advice to a student considering joining their leadership team is to go for it. Yes, it can be highly intimidating when the thought even crosses your mind. I am an excellent example of this.
As I previously mentioned, I do not have much leadership experience. When I started leadership as an RA, it was abruptly interrupted and ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was paused for two years until NSCS. I was nervous when I first got the nomination to be an NSCS officer. I thought I had forgotten what it is like to be a leader. I feared the leadership traits I held disappeared after not being able to blossom fully. I talked myself out of the negative thoughts that came my way and all my self-doubt. It was also with the support of Zoe, who saw fit in me fulfilling this position based on what she read on my resume. I confided in her my leadership skills were halted because of the pandemic, and she reassured me that this was the opportunity to continue its growth. Self-doubt will come when you are the event of being a leader and a person to be looked up to. Fear has its way of doing that. Positive encouragement, thinking, and determination will help you overcome those obstacles. When you are in the position, the feeling of empowerment and influence will supersede the initial emotions you felt prior to considering joining your organization’s leadership.
To wrap up, joining NSCS was one of the greatest choices I made when I joined Stony Brook University. I want to be a part of an organization that promotes scholarship, leadership, and service. Not only does it prepare me for the future with all the opportunities NSCS offers, but it also prepares me for my career as a social worker. Connections and networks with fellow members within my chapter and chapters nationally can create opportunities in my future career.
My active involvement through NSCS will build my character to be a well-rounded individual. Academics are one element of creating your future. The other element is extracurriculars and campus engagement. Being involved in your campus community and contributing to it speaks louder on your resume. It portrays the student as a well-rounded character. My membership to NSCS is still new. However, this organization has begun to impact me positively and created opportunities to benefit me. As per Mahatma Gandhi, I am finding myself as I serve others. I provide service through community service involvement and my leadership to my SBU chapter members. I look forward to continuing my membership with NSCS and entering the doors it will continue to open for me throughout my academic career at Stony Brook University!