Being a part of a community is a wonderful thing. In fact, it’s one thing I missed about 2010. I don’t know what the deal was, but I just had a difficult time finding and becoming part of a meaningful and healthy community for me.
I’ve always made friends pretty easily. In undergrad, I found a wonderful community of diverse, interesting, brilliant, and beautiful women who remain my closest friends and community. Of course, time moves along, and we’re spread across the country now, so it’s not quite the same as the little community we formed when we were all living on the same floor of Bradley-Patterson almost 8 years ago, staying up until all hours the night and getting into all the mischief that college freshmen get into.
I’ve always seemed to find my place in most communities: my chicas, the mountaineering club, co-workers at the climbing wall, and then with the camp crew. When I started grad school in 2008, I also found a wonderfully supportive community in my cohort of recreation students. We pulled all-nighters together, edited each others lit reviews, helped enter each others thesis data, and gathered for themed family dinners every Thursday. The stress of moving to a new city, starting grad school, and working over 40 hours a week would certainly have been a different kind of hell without the wRECking crew.
But my second year of school was more difficult. Many of the wRECking crew had graduated, and I was joining a new cohort of environmental studies students. For some strange reason, I never hit my stride. I always felt like “that girl.” I made some acquaintances, sure, but was sorely missing the comradery and support of a true community.
This trend continued into my last quarter of grad school. Again, I was “that girl,” but thankfully I did seem to make some real, true friends towards the end of my time in school, and I’m hoping to solidify these new relationships into a small community of my own.
Unfortunately, I’ll be moving to a new city in early 2011, and while I’m definitely sad to leave behind the small community I’ve found, I’m also really excited to find and become a part of new ones – I’m planning on volunteering with Girls on the Run wherever we move (which will most likely be Cincinnati), join a running club, and a book club. I’m definitely looking forward to cultivating new community in a new year.