When you attend a unique campus like the Universities at Shady Grove, there’s no telling who you might run into. Throughout my time at USG, I’ve reconnected with so many people from my past. Tim La is one of them. I met Tim when I was six years old in Mrs. Malveaux’s class at Stonegate Elementary School. We also went to the same high school for two years. But somehow, we never once spoke to each other.
Years later, I ran into Tim again. I remember walking into a classroom in Building III to set up for a geriatrics outreach training that I was leading. Tim was studying quietly in the back of the room. When I told him I recognized him, we struck up a good conversation. He was excited to hear about the outreach I was planning, and I was likewise interested in his obvious passion for leadership and forming collaborations between students of different educational backgrounds. My post today is all about Tim, how USG changed him for the better, and the impact that he’s making on the USG community. Here’s his story:
Tim was always a pretty quiet kid and often had trouble initiating conversation with other people. Throughout his childhood, he tried several times to step out of his comfort zone, but these attempts were of no avail. Tim recounted to me the time he ran for the position of Class Vice President in elementary school. He had prepared an amazing speech. But as soon as he stepped up to the podium to deliver it, he froze. He was overcome with anxiety and ultimately had to back down.
Tim can honestly say that it wasn’t until he found himself at USG that he was finally able to gain self-confidence. It all began quite serendipitously. Determined again to come out of his shell, he joined the Student Athletics Organization. The pharmacy students who ran the organization, however, were pre-occupied with their last year of classes. Tim was asked to take over the entire organization. He accepted. And just like that, Tim became the new President and saved the organization from becoming obsolete.
Around the same time, the President of another organization Tim had joined, USG’s International Club, had to resign because of other priorities. The current Vice President took over for her and appointed Tim to be the new VP. Suddenly, Tim had two leadership positions! He went a step further by becoming involved with Toastmasters, an organization whose mission is to help members by improving their communication, leadership, and public speaking skills. By giving ten speeches, he met his goal of officially becoming a “certified competent communicator”.
Last spring, Tim ran against six other University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) students for a position on USG Student Council. He came out first in the group which allowed him to be the institutional representative for UMCP. In addition, he serves as Chair of Advocacy & Outreach on Student Council. His latest endeavor has been co-founding a new student organization, called Ceadership, with his good friend and former Montgomery College Student Senate President, Jonell Malone. Ceadership is similar to Toastmasters, but is geared more specifically toward students as it allows them a platform to practice for their class presentations, meets more often (twice weekly), and requires no membership fee to join.
Tim has come so far from those days of being a shy kid. He is now a recognized and respected student leader who is dedicated to helping others “become better than they expect themselves to be” and to building connections between students from all 9 universities represented at USG. After all these years, I’m glad that I had a chance to finally establish a friendship with Tim.
Tim will be graduating this May with a Communication degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is interested in pursuing content marketing and is currently a business development news intern at DelfinoCo.