Finding Your Tribe

by Olivia Miller

This past week I attended the last meeting of the academic year for Young Professional Network (YPN) – a group for young professionals on our campus. This organization has helped me transition not only from a graduate student to professional, but also in my transition to Lincoln, and true adulthood in general. I have met people outside of my advising bubble and have learned about presenting at conferences, financial literacy and at this last meeting growing my network – or finding my tribe.
The new Associate Director of Career Services gave a presentation of your network – the four different categories of your network, where you need to focus on growing your network, and ultimately “who you need and what you need.” We were given a worksheet that outlined the four areas: Connectors (people who know many people), Mentors (who you want to be), Subject Matter Experts (SME) and Peers. What the group quickly brought up is that as young professionals, most in our first job, we might have trouble finding mentors. We had people, specific mentors throughout our undergraduate and graduate careers, but now we have left that area and trying to find that new mentor in this new step. Having been at K-State for 7 years, I had a tribe of people – mentors for different areas of my life, but since moving to Lincoln almost a year ago, it has been challenging to find my Lincoln mentors.  
While I might not have found my mentor yet, I do have plenty of connectors and lean heavily on them as well as my peers. In addition, connecting with other young professionals through Twitter and this blog has made this entire journey so much easier. While I may not have a tribe of 150 (the Dunbar number known as the maximum number of relationships you can healthily maintain), I do have a core tribe that I connect with in person or online and that is comforting. And for anyone that loves the TV show Brooklyn Nine Nine as much as me, my hope is that I can find the Captain Holt mentor to my Amy, which address this very topic in this week’s episode:
As young professionals, how have you gone about finding a mentor? What advice do you have for finding and growing your tribe?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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