As we’ve discussed as part of #CuriousCoLab, community takes a variety of different forms. I’ve been very fortunate to consider myself a member of many different communities, including my academic homes of VCU (as faculty), UMD (as grad student), and TCNJ (as undergrad student). However, something I’ve discovered over the years is that non-academic/non-work-related communities are just as important, and can sometimes teach you more about life than you could have possibly imagined, or even find in the more traditional classroom setting.
For me, that community is the lovely Ballroom at Maryland dance team at UMD (AKA BAM). I joined this community in Fall 2011 as a way to find an outlet to release stress while writing my dissertation. Little did I know that I would meet the most amazing people, including my wonderful fiance Derek. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had never decided to try that free ballroom dancing class BAM offered at the UMD School of Public Health gym almost four years ago.
With all of that said, this is exactly what is so interesting/fascinating about community – sometimes you fall into them without knowing what to expect, and you find your life completely changed because of it.