Four Lessons Learned From My #LIMITLESS DECA Experience

Alyssa Heitz | Cox Mill High School DECA

Since joining DECA, I have seen myself grow as a person and as a potential employee for businesses around the world. I have also seen my peers grow into leaders, gain confidence, and discover new skills and passions. DECA empowers its members to find their voice, take risks and step into leadership. Through my various leadership roles and conference experiences, I’ve developed both personally and professionally. I am proud of the success I’ve experienced and I hope that sharing these lessons learned will encourage or inspire other members to rise to their own potential. 


Through my experiences with DECA, I have created connections with girls and boys from my state that have shown me that we all have very different opinions and views on life, business and DECA. I have seen firsthand that having conflicting opinions with your coworkers and employers is okay! You are still allowed to express your point of view and how you may personally feel about a certain situation. The key is to listen to others’ opinions and viewpoints as well. 


I went into my first Career Development Conference thinking it was all about winning and competition. Ultimately, I realized that DECA is truly about making connections with people of your age and connections with business owners that may be interested in you and your qualities once you come of age to work at their company. During my role plays, I received business cards from employers at Publix and HP.  Although it is a wonderful feeling when you win and get the glass, DECA is so much more than that. It prepares you for your future – from college to career. 


I attended one workshop about LinkedIn in which the speakers described the site as a virtual resume. Their presentation persuaded me to create a LinkedIn to connect with businesses from around the world that I may be interested in after college or for internships while I am still in school. This workshop taught me how to use social media to further my career instead of using it as a personal site. They described that there are appropriate times and platforms for sharing different things. Social media gives us a chance to share accomplishments and convey professionalism to colleges and businesses.  Before posting, think about whether you would want your dream employer or the admissions officer form your dream college to see that tweet or photo. 


Time management is more than just planning your day or having a calendar. We can do more than just “manage” our time.  Before creating a schedule or filling in a planner, it’s important to first list out priorities and responsibilities. CDC offers a great example of how time management can make or break an experience. There are meetings, workshops and role plays. You need to take tests and attend award conferences, all while keeping up with your chapter, meeting new people, snapping a few photos and networking. Eating and sleeping are helpful too. The truth is that you can maximize those three days and experience everything you want to experience, but it takes some serious planning and prioritization before even packing your bags. Throughout life, responsibilities multiply and there continue to be 24 hours in a day. DECA has helped me learn to evaluate and manage my priorities to become the best me I can be!

DECA has given me the confidence I need to go into the world and become a leader. I am thankful for the skills, experiences and connections DECA has provided me. I know that I am now equipped to handle any challenges (and opportunities) I face in the future. 


Follow DECA Inc. on Twitter @DECAInc. This article was written by Cox Mill High School DECA President, Alyssa Heitz. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @alyssaheitz


Categories: College Career Advice