Going to college was a culture shock for me. My first year of college I was bombarded with students asking me to join their organization every time I walked to my classes. I grabbed fliers, subscribed to every email list that interested me and connected with each organization on social media. I wrote down meeting times in my calendar and made it a priority to attend as many events as possible. I was so desperate to find community.

However, I didn’t feel like some of these organizations were the communities my heart desired. I wanted something more than a group of people who met every other month to talk about the one thing that tied us together. I wanted a community of friends who treated me like family. I wanted to devote myself to a community of people who helped me find my purpose and fulfill my potential. Thankfully, I found two groups during my college years that gave me meaning and helped me fulfill my potential.

A few months into my first semester of college I became heavily involved with a campus ministry called Chi Alpha. I attended weekly meetings, events and eventually joined the leadership team. Three and a half years later I’ve grown so much as a person because of this community of Christians. Throughout the years I’ve watched friends from this group graduate, pursue their career, get engaged, get married and have children. These people are the same people who invested time and energy into helping me grow in my faith and in my collegiate life. Now I am the one pouring love and investing my time into mentoring young women in their studies and in their faith. My favorite author, Mitch Albom once said,

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

Joining Chi Alpha did exactly that for me. My sweet friends have laughed with me, cried with me, listened to me, encouraged me and came to my rescue numerous of times. I am two months away from graduating college, and I am so proud to have invested four years into this community. The friendships I’ve made are life-long and so dear to my heart.

Plaid for Women holds a special place in my life. Words cannot even begin to describe how lucky I am to be part of this empowering team of women. When I first met Shivaun I was interning at a TV station in Fort Worth last summer. We sat in my supervisor’s office and conversed. She was so passionate about Plaid for Women and I immediately gravitated towards the vision of Plaid. That night I spent time reading articles on the Plaid for Women website and I confess that I Facebook stalked many of the Power Bloggers. I was so impressed!

I loved how Plaid accepts everyone despite their race, religion, sexual orientation or economic background. I jumped on the #EstrogenExpress and I’ve been inspired everyday since then. I’ve only met a handful of the Plaid community; and I’ve always felt like these women genuinely care about empowering one another. Being part of this community has reminded me of my worth and how valued I am as a woman. If you or your friends are not part of Plaid yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? This community of women is waiting for you to join.

No matter where you are on this journey called life; I hope that you will be encouraged to invest your time into a community of people who value you and the things you believe.

Remember: the people you surround yourself with affect your personal success.

The Importance of a Strong Community