With exactly seventy-eight days to go before I would step onto campus, my eighteenth birthday was a pivotal moment. I realized that the things I had spent eighteen years building up and being built up by, would all be one-hundred twenty miles away when I arrived at my dorm.
I was happy with where I was in life. I had been successful in high school with good grades and my tendency to be over involved in school functions. I had earned the rank of Eagle Scout and achieved lots of personal goals on the swim team. My family life was great and I had a solid group of friends, but that was gone.
August eighteenth, seeing campus as a student, was the first time I truly valued the groups of people I had left at home. An Eagle Scout pin felt like nothing when my troop wasn’t with me. The cross I received on my first retreat was a mere piece of jewelry. No one at the pool recognized my bag and towel that bore my high school crest. Suddenly, I was an outsider and had no place to belong.
Now, this isn’t a pity story. It’s a story of the way communities effect our lives. I believe in the power of a community. I believe communities have the power to enable persons to realize their potential, to feel at home, and to feel whole.
The university environment is probably the easiest place to witness communities. Within ten square blocks you have a mess of church groups, sports teams, greek letter organizations, and academic clubs. The streets are dripping with logos, symbols, and letters.
The first place I learned to call home was actually the place I lived. On the first day my new roommate and I began wandering the halls to introduce ourselves. The weeks progressed and every resident of Newman Hall were suddenly friends. We had a common need and a common want. The most essential part of happiness is a place to call home.
The Business College was a big place, I had few friends and even fewer experiences in the business world. So, I found community by joining a business fraternity where I have made lifelong friendships and gained experience with business. In the fraternity I have witnessed my friends achieving high goals and accomplishing great things.
Organizations do great things and do them because of the people within them, who do them because of the other people in them. It’s an energy, a synergy, that you can’t create synthetically. The most successful businesses have employees who feel community; they are then intrinsically driven to excel.
I believe in the power of a community to provide shelter. I believe in the power of a community to provide comfort. I believe they are the source of joy and happiness in our lives. More then anything, they are home.
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