A wise old woman and a mustard seed, the difference between a watermelon and a cloud and getting internships of your dreams! These were some of the topics discussed by the phenomenal speakers that attended this years’ National Society of Collegiate Scholarsnational convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Graced with the presence of the Emmy Award winning journalist and author Byron Pitts, we learned of his struggle as an illiterate child until the age of 12 and the strength his mother, a woman of faith, portrayed and demanded he have all while carrying a mustard seed on the necklace she wore which always remind her and others of the small amount of faith that was needed to succeed.

Today Byron Pitts has gone on to flourish in various aspects of his profession and as a testament to his character, took the time to speak to anyone and everyone who approached him, even if there was a line out the conference hall. Mr. Pitts presented us with an outline, a sort of guideline to reaching our goals. Making a list of the five things you would like to do, where you would like to work and under whom you wish to work; all falling into a timeline of ten, then twenty and even thirty years from now and actively pursuing those goals.

“A watermelon is 94% water and a cloud is 97% water…I believe it is that 3% that distinguishes those of us who [settle] in life and those of us who succeed in life]…” Josh Shipp is a professional motivational speaker and has been one since the early age of 17. After enduring perilous times growing up in the foster care system, he emerged strong and with a mission: To let kids and teens everywhere understand that “…you don’t have to be perfect to make a difference, you just have to be willing…”

He is a prime example of the human potential and the ability to rise and prevail in the face of adversity. Believing that it is not where one comes from, but where one chooses to go and sharing his darkest moments empowered all who were present for his talk. His no-nonsense attitude toward life in pursuing success really did “drop kick [us] with some knowledge” as he would later on describe. It is about being active in the pursuit of your goals because, “dreams are for sleeping people, goals come true!”

Our final group of speakers consisted of three exemplary business owners and mentors in how to get the job or internship you’ve always dreamed of! First, Ryan Kahn of Dream Careers informed us of the amazing opportunities his company offers to students who want to break into those “impossible/dream” jobs and internships; whether they be in the music industry or for MTV, USA Today and so on.

Next was Lauren Berger who owns her own company entitled, Intern Queen, Inc. which is a business that opens doors for students seeking their dream internships. Her business has helped many get the internships they never thought they could and the ones they didn’t even know were there. She was also named as one of the Top 10 Youth Marketing Minds of 2010 by Mobile Youth.

Finally, Ms. Toni D. Avant, the Director of the Career Service Center at the University of Mississippi offered some invaluable advice about how to use our own Career Service Centers to find the jobs that can help us reach that next level of success. It’s all about using the resources available to you!

Having these speakers present was such a gift. Their genuine interest and eagerness to assist anyone who had a question or was searching for advice was exemplary of the kind of atmosphere and character of all that NSCS advocates. Both their personal and professional choices shown in their shared experiences embody the will to honor their work and do all things with integrity, engaged all who were present and inspired those who thought their dreams were out of reach.

Sydni Gonzalez is currently a junior at The University of Central Florida pursuing a Creative Writing major and Cinema Studies minor. She holds the position of Historian on the executive board of her chapter of NSCS and is also a member of Delta Epsilon Iota and the Legacy Mentorship Program. She hopes to soon gain an internship with a top production company to fulfill her dream of becoming a respected film producer, actress and nonfiction writer.