Life has a funny way of bringing things into your life…and then bringing them back up again and again until you can’t ignore their existence. Oftentimes, something is put on your radar—maybe an idea or a thought—and then it keeps reappearing. Lately, I’ve been having one of those experiences. What’s on my mind and in my universe, you ask? The idea of community being greater than competition.
The end of my senior year of college is quickly approaching and everyone knows that for most people, the end of college means looking for (and usually worrying about) getting a job (don’t get me wrong—a lot of people don’t take this conventional path and we totally support that at QFYC!). The first “hey, listen to me!” sign from the universe came to me a couple weeks ago. My university was sponsoring a career panel that I was incredibly excited about. It was relevant to what I hope to do after school and a good friend (and alumna of my university!) from my internship this past summer was coming back to campus as a panelist. I eagerly picked her up from the airport, excited about the day ahead and our time together. The next day at the panel, I saw a girl who interned at the same place this past summer and said hello. She immediately asked if I had brought my resume, which hadn’t even crossed my mind. I brushed it off and settled into my seat, focused on the speakers before me. Halfway through, she leaned over and said, “Looks like we’ll be competing for the job,” as if there was only one. I tried to engage in the present, but was disappointed by how much her comments upset me. Luckily for me, one of my dearest friends was beside me and helped me debrief and come back to my center after the session.
The Sunday after the panel, I was at a yoga class on campus and I ran into the same girl. I was wearing my QFYC “Get Lost Finding Yourself” shirt and she immediately made a comment about liking it, followed by something along the lines of how every time she sees me doing something interesting, she becomes more and more worried about getting “the” job. In a strange way, this hurt, and it also made me feel bad for her. The Sunday yoga class is taught by my favorite teacher on campus and she only teaches once a week, so I really wanted to enjoy my practice, but I couldn’t shake her words. Why was it such a competition? Why did I feel so unsettled by her behavior? Why did it matter?
I was lucky enough to have coffee with Jordan and Pete the following week and they introduced me to The Rising Tide Society. Their message? Community over competition. Why work against those who have the same passions as we do when we can work together? It made logical sense to me immediately and also gave me a deeper understanding for the insecurities of the person I’d encountered previously and all of a sudden, I didn’t fault her one bit. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear of falling “behind” or the shame of feeling like we’re underachieving. It’s sad, but true. Society has trained us to believe that there is one path to success, one “right” way to do things, one job, etc. We subscribe to the safety of the conventional life path—high school, college, graduate school/job—that we forget about the multiple other options that are out there, many of which might actually be a better fit for us. In a world as crazy as the one we live in, we should feel relieved when we meet someone who shares our interests, not threatened.
This lesson was wrapped up nicely for me with an article by Maxie McCoy, a favorite blogger of mine, who put words to all of the feelings I’d been met with during this experience (definitely worth a read!). She writes that, “Coming together causes miracles in our lives. We have a ‘me too’ moment and immediately feel peace with our own journey. In the summoning of the troops, the ones that know you. Get you. The one’s that don’t, but get it. You’ll see magic.”
Dear Universe, thank you. Thank you for these moments that bring me back to reality. Thank you for reminding me to create, build, and embrace my community. Thank you for reminding me to value community over competition.