Written by YWA member Victoria Vorsas
Does anyone else feel like the older you get, the harder it is to connect with people? Responsibilities and obligations can make me feel sluggish and unmotivated, feeling like I have no time left to put in the effort to be social. I moved to Austin in the winter of 2019. I was jobless, friendless, and determined to just start my career in a new and exciting city. I thought to myself, “making friends, connections, etc. isn’t a priority. I can worry about building relationships later.” Cut to a few months later. COVID hits, and I’m stuck working from home in my 300 square foot apartment. So maybe being antisocial was a bad thing after all???
The lesson I learned was this: don’t wait to connect. I know it’s been hard, but there are so many ways that you can still have a social life, and still be at home. I joined YWA when I moved to Austin, and honestly, did not utilize it as much as I should have. Then when COVID hit, they wasted no time transitioning everything online. It was amazing to me how a group of women, a lot of them still working their full time jobs, and struggling like the rest of us to adjust to a global pandemic, were able to do all of that. Women get it done!
Now people are looking towards the future. Yes, the pandemic isn’t going away any time soon yet, but that doesn’t mean we put our lives on pause. One of the hardest things I think introverts like myself learned during the “lock-down” portion of the pandemic was how much we needed people. YWA made it possible for me to interact with other people, virtually, and still feel like I was connected to my community. Through the safe, distanced volunteer opportunities they provided, I was able to feel like I could give back to my community as well.
Something that I think a lot of people struggle with is finding a way to put down roots in a community. There are so many options, it’s almost overwhelming. In my research, I chose YWA for several reasons: prominence, affordability, and how much they give back to their community. Unlike some of the other women’s groups I researched, YWA has opportunities to not only make friends and connect, but also grow your skill set and career. There are several committees, and there’s a role that fits everyone! From being the VP to a committee member, you’ll find something that works for you. You’ve got a large group of women who want to support and uplift you so that you can be the best you can be! The best part about it is everyone is growing and learning together, so you’re always supported by your fellows members. YWA is a safe space to explore your skills, some you may have not even known you had!
Another bonus I’ve found within YWA; effortless networking. One of the hard things I’ve found too is that in business, networking matters. You really can’t escape it, and YWA makes it easy. I’m a part of the mentorship program, and speak to my mentor regularly. I am able to keep in touch with the trends in the job market that way I can be prepared should I want to switch jobs, or even careers. Because of my mentor’s job, I am also able to be aware of the average salary of my profession, benefits, expectations, etc., and that allows me to negotiate like a boss and ask for what I deserve in jobs!
To put it plainly; don’t wait! Connecting is something I know everyone struggles with, so why not make it easier on yourself? Join a group that does the hard work for you, so all you have to do is take the opportunity!