Study Groups for Grown-Ups

Starting fresh can be a relief, but also a challenge. Whether in your career, your code, or your social life, the possibilities are simultaneously exhillirating and overwhelming. For example, those that move to a new city/state/country spend the first few months or years in a period of social rebuilding. Children and students often take for granted the social incubation that formal education affords. Adults must adapt to a more segmented social landscape, which can vary wildly by location or interest group. As an ambivert, I have grown to appreciate my alone-time; but in my opinion, being too alone for too long is not good for the soul or for the empathy necessary to maintain a functional society.

As a thirty-something transplant in Ohio, I immediately felt a connection to my city. It has taken a bit longer to connect with its people in a long-term, meaningful way. Clevelanders are warm and welcoming, so I have never felt rejected here. My only troubles have been physical, which is annoying considering activity groups are usually how I make friends in a new city. Instead of being angry that I can’t go to run club on Wednesdays and volleyball on Thursdays, I have taken advantage of my physical inconvenience and turned it into an opportunity.

There are plenty of tech meetups in the greater Akron/Cleveland area, so I’ve no need to be physically and mentally idle. My run club friends will still meet up with me for walks or yoga while I heal, but my most consistent social outlets are Data Mondays and Development Hacking Thursdays. Tech meetups were intimidating at first because anything new and unknown has the potential to make you feel like an outsider. However, my experience has been nothing but positive, even when I do make a fool of myself. I’ve come to realize that these events often feel like the study groups I enjoyed in college – a gathering of friends that work hard and like to have social outlets for their inner nerds.

I know that I will settle into a routine and find my tribe of Tuesday night taco people, just like I have in every other location. In the meantime, I am more than satisfied with my ephemeral social circles and my professional development pursuits.

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