The fourth project’s title, ‘Community,’ prompted me to think of aspects of my future that I had never stopped to considered. Rather than seeing the future as the completion of goals like graduating or landing a first job, I began seeing it in terms of self-immersion; pondering where I want to be, what I want to do in that space, and what I see myself being a part of within that space. I can’t write one thousand words about the dream job I have for myself because I don’t know what that dream job is just yet. I haven’t done enough to know what I love and what I hate. I can, however, delve into the different types of social, regional, and workplace communities that I know I would be comfortable belonging to as I transition into my post graduate life.
As I looked forward and brainstormed for this assignment, I identified myself as a very social individual, leading me to consider the interpersonal communities I might find myself in that aren’t necessarily located in professional work settings. These types of communities are all centered around the mingling of individuals, or socialization. Obviously, it would be best to belong to a social community that you enjoy being a part of. Since the young age of four, I have possessed a tremendous infatuation with the sport of basketball, so it makes sense to have a desire to remain involved with the game. I picked one up in the driveway, started shooting, and never stopped. I don’t think I ever will. It’s a game that provides both a valuable means of exercise and peer to peer interaction. The camaraderie teammates feel for each other on the basketball court and the leadership roles varying from game to game fill the sport with a variety of skills that are transferrable into the workplace as well. Lastly, and most important, basketball is essentially a universal game. It is played everywhere across the country, so I know that I’ll always have a men’s league to join no matter where I end up in life.
In addition to befriending local basketball talent, I’d also like to become involved in politics, at least, at the local level. Due to the principles I lead my life by, I have a very strong interest in the direction of the Democratic party moving forward. It is a party that has had its spirit come very close to breaking in recent months due to the abysmal election outcomes in November. For lack of a better word, it appears to be a party in disarray who does not yet understand its true identity, its true base, and what it can do for that base. To do that, I think it must reestablish itself on the lower grass roots level in order to encourage constituents to help create action and become active participants in the political process. This includes voting AND volunteering personal time. It isn’t enough to just vote. Voting is a civic duty action and should be performed anyways. To galvanize Democrats, I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a representative for the State Democratic Convention. This role is meant to facilitate the relationship between government officials and the constituents they are expected to represent. The position makes him responsible for the way the town of Norton votes at the convention, and I can see myself occupying a similar role within the party even if I end up living in a more conservative part of the country.
Playing on basketball teams and participating in the proceedings of the Democratic party are both positively charged communities that will help me develop into an even more strong-charactered individual, and they are two communities that I am certain I will be a a part of some day- I can imagine myself as a forty-five year old man with knees half as good as they used to be. I can’t dunk anymore but I can still get off the ground to block shots and shoot over defenders whose knees are even worse off and elderly than mine. I walk up the court, not jog. Most men my age don’t need chasing anyways. Then, I catch the ball in the corner, shoot a three, and it swishes. I turn to the defender and say, “I helped make our schools look better.” How’s that for trash talk?
Although I love Massachusetts and could see myself being a part of its communities, I also have a slight interest in experiencing what it’s like to be an outsider working and developing in a foreign environment. There’s something about being placed in a world of uncertainty that I believe creates an opportunity to discover untapped skills or interests. I, unlike my sister and many of my friends, chose not to study abroad in college because I was fortunate enough to travel overseas in high school on more than one occasion. However, studying in a place and immersing yourself in its culture are two entirely different things. Large sections of California and Burlington, Vermont also interest me because of the progressive values; I once walked down Church Street with a group of friends accompanied by a one hundred and fifty pound New Foundland. We stopped at a jewelry store and I thought, ‘there’s no way they’re going to let this dog in here.‘ Soon enough the owner of the shop comes over to give the dog a treat and bowl of water. I was stunned. I had never been in a place that was so welcoming and accepting of animals. I feel that I share many of those values and am interested to see if becoming a part of a community like that could contribute to my growth as a person.
While I have a decent idea of where I’d like to work, I still am not exactly sure of what job I’d like to have within those regional communities. However, I have given thought to the type of workplace environment I would like that unknown dream job to be in. First, I would like to work in some sort of open floor plan setting. I am a very social person. Therefore, I’d like to work in a “social” environment. I use the term social lightly because while I want face to face communication with my peers, I recognize that work is work and not a time intended for chatter. The face to face layout would encourage direct contact rather than long, impersonal email chains that make employees feel like numbers instead of people. I want to avoid that scenario at all costs. I also think that this type of floor plan would be, depending on the job, conducive to friendly competition that blends nicely with team work, similar to a basketball game. Also, an environment like this would be conducive to my belief in the grass roots system; building relationships with people is the most effective route to change, and teamwork/friendly competition enhances those relationships. Competition is something that can easily be used to propel a business forward as well, and I’d like to be in a system that utilizes that idea.
Although I still consider myself to be young, inexperienced, and incapable of deciding what career I’d like to occupy for the next decade, I am self-aware to understand where I fit in and what I would like to contribute to the communities I see myself being a part of. Adulthood isn’t that far away, making the need for future-gazing urgent and necessary. I hope that by playing basketball and contributing to my town’s Democratic party, I can lead a life that I’m proud to call my own in a place that I’m proud to call home.