Finding Your Tribe
Typically, whenever I read college-related articles or use books for research purposes, the majority of the information tends to seep into the category of academics. Makes sense, I guess, but that kind of leaves more to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, advice for boosting one’s GPA, taking notes, and efficient test-taking strategies are excellent and vital for students. Although, I believe that general life lessons are often overlooked when it comes to students.
Writings regarding the topic of guidance or insight about life tend to reveal themselves more to an audience that has already graduated. But by then it seems a bit too late.
Your habits form who you are and college is a long four or more years of ritual and consistent behavior (for the most part). I would imagine that some insight during your college years would save you tons of hassle and stress in your twenties and thirties.
To quote an old wise man by the name of Aristotle (maybe you’ve heard of him), “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”.
A big life lesson that I, thankfully, learned early on was that the company you keep can potentially shape you or devastate you. While I was in college, I had a very close group of friends during the end of my Freshman year up until my Junior year. We did typical things you’d expect from good friends in college. We’d go to the bars, play video games, see movies together, and all the other ordinary activities that young adults in college would do.
Due to complications with regards to my academics, all of my close friends graduated and moved on to different states. While initially depressing and heartbreaking, it was a huge positive. Their departure granted me the foresight to think more carefully about finding friends and how one should define friendship. Fast-forward about a year or so and I’d developed a personal philosophy, so to speak, that every person (especially college-aged individuals) needed to find a “tribe”.
Now, how exactly do I define a tribe?
Well, call it what you want (tribe is just the name I chose) but in essence, a tribe is an extremely close group of friends who come together to ultimately strive towards a common, definitive goal or goals. Members of a tribe actively seek to boost the status of others within the tribe. In return, EVERY individual’s personal value increases as the tribe’s value collectively increase.
I must specify that a tribe isn’t really the same as a general close-knit group of friends. From what I’ve generally seen, your friends are mostly comprised of people that may bond on a variety of things (drinking, video games, movies) but don’t actively strive towards a common goal. They don’t necessarily share the same values.
From my observation, students in college seem to find acquaintances and friends mostly as a result of convenience and proximity rather than shared values. While you can potentially find tribe members from work, fraternities, sororities, clubs, etc., I think a true tribe tends to require more active searching from the individuals.
I know, the concept can seem a bit complicated. However, the sole purpose of a tribe is to essentially find like-minded individuals that can help you (and basically force you) to grow. Before you can even hope to find your tribe, I think some introspection might be required. You’ll likely need to concretely define your goals and core values and be able to visualize where you want to be in the future. My belief is that one can’t efficiently seek out something if they’re unsure of what they’re searching for.
Once that’s complete, you can take the next step towards seeking other members of your tribe. To conclude, I’ll leave you with an interesting quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”.
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