To the New Members: Making the Most of TSA

As I start my seventh and final year of TSA, I realize that I will be doing many things for the very last time. I have already experienced picking up events for the last time. I will also experience my final regional, state, and hopefully national conference this year. I will participate in my last TSA fundraisers and community events like organizing robotics at the elementary schools. And most importantly, I will be competing with my TSA friends one more time. 

But there was a period when I first experienced all of these things. When I joined TSA in 6th grade, I was like any other new member: clueless of what TSA even was and what to expect of the club. Luckily, I had extremely helpful peers and advisors to guide me along the way. Here are some tips for the people who were just like 6th grade me. I hope it helps you out!


1. Get to know your officers and advisors. The most important thing for you to do is to reach out to the leaders of your chapter. They have the most experience and can answer any questions that you may have. When I first met my high school’s chapter officers, I was surprised by how inclined they were to help me. They also encouraged me to run for chapter and state office, which allowed me to be where I am today. 

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new. In my first year, I had never heard of parliamentary procedure before and had no idea what Chapter Team was. But when my friend Elliot Ginzburg (you might or might not know him) invited me to join the team, I was open to the idea and thought trying the event would be fun. And fun it was. Years later we won Chapter Team at States and placed 2nd place at the national competition. The point is, I excelled in something I initially had no knowledge of. And even if you aren’t any good at it, you might enjoy the event, and that’s equally as rewarding.

3. Be prepared to fail. In my six years in TSA, I don’t think there was ever a time I got something on the first try. It took me many, many attempts to win my first TSA event at States. For events like Engineering Design, we had to construct multiple prototypes in order to make our design work. My Chapter Team teammates can attest that we spent countless nights perfecting our business meeting. However, if you’re persistent, you’ll eventually achieve the end goal you’re striving for. 

4. Engage with your chapter. This goes hand in hand with the first tip. The students in your chapter are your teammates, mentors, and most importantly, friends. I realize that COVID-19 has made engaging with others tough. You might not recognize half the people in your chapter simply because you’ve been online for the past two years. But I assure you that TSA is one of the most welcoming and supportive clubs you can join at your school. Once again, start off with the chapter officers. They know the club members the best and can connect you with the community. Next, attend any fundraisers or events that your chapter plans. A great way to become acquainted with your chapter is to help with its community efforts.

5. Have fun and capitalize on the experience. One of the things that challenged me was being too focused on winning. Sure, after spending hours grinding events, it’s nice to get some recognition with a shiny trophy. But winning isn’t what makes TSA truly rewarding. It’s the experiences that you gain from those hours of work. Personally, I now know how to prepare for interviews after spending hours practicing for semifinals. It’s also about the fun you have when working with your peers. What other clubs allow you to spend four nights in a resort with your friends? Competing in TSA is a once in a lifetime experience, so I urge you to make the most of it.

Overall, I am super excited for this year. Although I’ll be experiencing the last of many things, I’m happy to guide the new members of our state delegation in their TSA journeys. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at historian [at] patsa.org. I’m always happy to help TSA members out!