Commencement speaker Myles Lum’s first year at UNLV was about as straightforward as you can get: go to class, go home, study, and do it all again the next day.
“But that didn't produce any sense of fulfillment in me,” the English student said. “I wasn't joyful at the end of my first year.”
He talked with his Honors College academic advisor, Daniel Coyle, about what he could do. Coyle told Lum to get more involved around campus. He made up for that first year by joining the Honors Student Council, helping with new student orientations, and becoming a Presidential Student Ambassador, which including participating the annual Foundation Dinner.
“I was definitely a lot less confident when I first came here,” Lum said. “I was very outspoken, but I was very shy at the time. During my time here, I've learned to be confident in my own skin. In the public speaking opportunities, I've better refined my voice, and how to better communicate with others.”
With his bachelor’s in English in hand, Lum is now applying to master's programs for the fall en route to a doctorate and a career as a professor.
Helping guide students as a professional academic is something of an extension of what he’s done in his time at UNLV, as an ambassador for the school.
He spoke at new student orientation, where he made the case to incoming freshmen that being a Rebel meant questioning norms, and challenging yourself to grow as an individual. He led a freshman orientation seminar in the Honors College, and at a scholar achievement reception he shared what it meant to be in the college to prospective students. He served as a Bennett honors mentor where he showed freshmen the ropes on time management, study skills, and academic opportunities. And he was a presidential student ambassador, serving as a face of the student body during university events.
“As a presidential student ambassador I got to coordinate with multiple local, state, and federal dignitaries, talking about why UNLV is such a great institution and how they can better contribute,” he said. “It's all coming from a place of truth. I'm not building a facade. I'm being open and honest with people.”
Lum’s commencement speech, he said, will touch on the mass shooting at the Route 51 Harvest Festival Oct. 1. In the way the city, and UNLV community, pulled together to help survivors during that night and the days ahead, Lum saw the character of the university.
And that character drives the advice he gives to new students.
“What I tell incoming freshmen was there are so many resources here at UNLV and it's important to do and use as many of them as you can. But I also tell them to always remember to try to be a resource,” Lum said. “Be someone incoming classmates can talk to and listen to. Be someone who is engaged on campus and helping someone else.”