As the cost of college continues to rise and student debt remains a concern for many, scholarships are more important than ever.
With extra funds, students can get closer to their goals faster. We're continually impressed with students who not only earn prestigious scholarships, but also what they do with it to drive positive action.
One member we recently featured donated some of her scholarship money to charity, even though she was in a very tough financial situation herself.
This idea of making a better world at all costs is our mission at The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). For this reason, we're especially proud to spotlight Tonya Hensley from the Stanislaus State chapter.
We featured this nursing student in our October Members in the News and again in our Year in Review for earning the $15,000 Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar Award by the California State University Office of the Chancellor.
She earned this recognition for her work helping others. Besides being a single mother, she provides free childcare to other single working parents, and helped seniors with their grocery shopping during the pandemic.
Her passion for helping others led her to nursing school with the goal of becoming a labor and delivery nurse. This Dean's List student sees passion, hard work, and goal-setting as the keys to her success.
"I feel that being goal-oriented and passionate about nursing helped me achieve this accomplishment. I maintained my focus and allowed myself the adaptability needed to reach my goal."
Don’t Just Build a Skill, Build a Skill Set
Outside of goal-setting techniques, Tonya attributes organization and other factors to her success.
"Organization and motivation are two skills that I feel were necessary in order for me to obtain the award. I believe that other skills I’ve developed over the years also helped me, such as appropriate communication, problem solving, showing initiative, and being adaptable to different situations, as well as having time management skills and maintaining a positive attitude."
She highlights different attributes, illuminating the symbiotic relationship between one skill and another. One is about keeping your agenda in order and the other is more of a state of mind. There’s no one skill that will take you to your goal.
Showing initiative is one that doesn't come up as often as you might think, but it's important. During his Speaker Broadcast, Terry Crews talked about seizing opportunities instead of waiting around. Opportunities don't appear before you, but are out there in the world waiting to be grabbed.
For Tonya, the end goal for using all these skills is to make a positive impact. That's why she looks up to Mother Theresa as a guiding force.
"Mother Teresa is a prime example of how I feel people should be. She went out of her way to help those in need and she truly cared about every person she encountered. She actively listened to those she worked with and inspired so many people to help those who were less fortunate. Mother Teresa has a pure heart and was confident in her role."
Tonya's Advice for Future Leaders
When building a set of skills, or putting yourself out there to find great opportunities, you'll inevitably come up short. Failure is a part of the path to success. Embracing failure is what's important. Tonya understands this and knows to never stop moving forward or adapting.
"The path you choose to follow through life is yours and yours alone. When you look back on the steps you've taken, don't focus on where you should have gone. Instead, just look at how far you've come."
But what about when times seem really tough?
"Never give up on yourself. With motivation and persistence, you can achieve anything your heart desires."
Obstacles are part of the journey, even if they're not part of the plan. Adjusting to them is what matters. Tonya reiterates how important it is to keep a positive attitude. Without that, obstacles can seem insurmountable and you can lose sight of your goals.
She also brings up integrity. Without it, can you actually be a leader?
"Leadership means inspiring and leading a group with honesty and perseverance. Someone who has goal-oriented and motivational skills that are innovative all while displaying integrity. A leader is passionate about their goal and has the ability to motivate others to better themselves or their work."
At the NSLS, leadership is two-fold; on the one hand, you need to develop a set of leadership skills. On the other hand, you need to apply them to make a better world. Honesty, integrity, passion, and staying positive are all drivers to making that positive impact.
As Tonya brings her leadership and nursing skills to a local hospital, she also looks forward to furthering her education.
You can always improve your skill set, just as you can always help others.
Though nurses were always heroes, the pandemic brought their heroic work to the forefront. Read about another NSLS member who brought her leadership skills to the nursing profession in Award-Winning Nursing Student Talks Leadership.