Recently, I reviewed my unfinished blog posts to see what was left. This post is my oldest draft, last modified on April 19th, 2016. I drafted this near the end of my second semester of freshman year in college. This was a pivotal time for me for various reasons: family background, living in a new place after so long, finding a community of people, and a few months before one of my earliest trips abroad to Kraków, Poland. My 2016 year in review captures this sentiment.
The blog post I wrote comes from this place in my life. It writes in a voice I would not write in today. It also does not accurately reflect my current perspectives. However, instead of tossing it, I figured to publish it unfinished with this disclaimer would be no different.
Unmodified text: The Integral of a Community
Many times I’ve sat down to write about the same topic in this same seat. Many times I’ve been filled with the same unique feeling. It’s difficult to put into words. It’s easier to understand it and describe it in my head. But it’s easier to describe it to others when I’m still feeling this feeling. It’s harder to come back to it later and write about it.
This “feeling” is something powerful and organic. I believe it is derived from a core part of what makes us human. In part, it’s a form of social stimulation, but it’s also a little more. The “feeling” is what I’m beginning to term the integral of a community.
integral: (adjective) ˈin(t)əɡrəl,inˈteɡrəl/ – necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental.From Oxford Dictionaries
What is a community?
Communities are a fundamental part of our daily lives. We all belong to a community in one form or another. In my view, community is a loosely-defined word that gives rise to many forms. Our immediate family is a community. Our workplaces are a community. Our friends are a community. Our schools are a community. Our homes are a community.
Maybe we feel different about some of the above examples of a community. Your feelings on your familial community may be different from mine. Maybe we feel different about our school communities. But regardless of where you fall, there is a community that you are attached to. Maybe you don’t realize it, maybe you do. But this community holds a special part in your heart. It is, by definition, integral to what makes you, you.
Going forward, it is important to establish your own personal definition of this integral community. Whatever group of people you feel most comfortable with. It doesn’t matter what size. It could be one person or it could be twenty. It could be a hundred. But this community is fundamentally important to you.
What is integral of a community?
Several different components comprise a different community. They are formed around a range of different topics. Communities can be based around blood ties. Your family. They can be based around a shared interest, like art or technology. You may belong to a community based on your profession, such as a group of educators. Or perhaps you belong to a community full of differences. All of its members come from different backgrounds, professions, races, or anything. Maybe it’s because of close geographical location. Maybe it’s because of a former close geographic location. It depends on the community you identify with.
With such wide difference, it can be curious what makes a community so incredible for you. What components are integral to you? If you break down the outer shell, the answer becomes more clearly visible.
You identify with a community when you share a mutual interest, passion, or engagement with the others in your community.
When you feel most interconnected to your community is when you can feel or understand this most.
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My community is the free and open source software community at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There are several individuals who have built this community from the ground up to make it what it is. It has endured its fair share of hardships and challenges. It has celebrated victories and achievements among its members. In the stereotypical application of the phrase, it feels like family.