Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
I cannot begin to count how many times I said “I’m passionate about building community,” during my grad school interviews this past spring. Finding or building community is important to me, partially because I was deprived of community for a good chunk of my post-college “real world” experience.
So given that I did not have community during most of 2008 and 2009, where did I find it in 2010?
The first thing I did was to connect with the young professional community in Seattle. That’s fancy speak for saying I hung out with my roommate, her boyfriend, and our friends A LOT because: (a) I was making up for lost time (curses, Everrot); (b) I lived in Seattle!; and (c) they are all awesome people, and many of them shared the same QLC-symptoms of being caught somewhere between adulthood and a prolonged adolescence. I needed to be around people who were not planning weddings or talking about babies, though– as much as I love all my friends who are in those places of life, it is not something with which I can connect. I’ve been through TWO awful break-ups now this year, and it gets annoying feeling like Ted Mosby. I’m going to be the weird middle-aged girl that everyone calls “Auntie Ardith.”
The other communities that I connected with– and thank goodness for them– are the young student affairs emerging-professionals and the 20sb.net community. Being around other people my age who are pursuing student affairs gave me an extra push, in terms of realizing that the SA field is right for me. And if it weren’t for 20SB, I probably would have been miserable in Madrid– I met two amazing bloggers that made my stay in Spain a thousand times more fun.
In 2011, I would really like to network even more with the SA community. I’m satisfied with my involvement so far, but I know I can get more in-depth. If I can do the same type of networking that I pulled off during the application process, I foresee a lot of good things in the future. If I sit back and keep wasting time on Hype Machine and Facebook, though, I’m not sure I’ll do much more than do well in school, pull off some good events, and make some immediate friends. While that’s all good and well, it’s not enough.
What does “enough” even look like? Good question… I don’t know. I suppose it would be able to participate more actively in online communities, and the ability to travel to national conferences and have people with which to spend time. It would be the ability to know when a sweet, sweet job is coming up for availability. It would be people all over the country (and world) being able to articulate what it is about me that is so darn unique. It would be the certainty of knowing I will never have to pigeonhole myself again.
That’s only one community, of course. However, at this point in time, it’s the most important for growth.
Let’s get this going.