Whether you are 21 and just now taking on this fancy title of “young professional” or 82 and remember what it was like to be a young pro, you certainly remember the need and desire to make new friends with similar interests and lifestyles. I grew up in the Lansing region, but following graduation from Michigan State University in 2015, I was immersed in the Lansing community that looked and felt so different than when I was a Spartan and certainly from my years growing up in Charlotte. I was now a young professional.
I lived in Downtown Lansing – there were cool bars and restaurants, eclectic shops and artistic ambiance along the streets in Old Town, fun and funky events in REO Town – but this was all new to me.
Where were all the young professionals like myself that I was anxious to meet? Who was going to be my new best friend? Where were the creative, welcoming and aspirational young people that I needed to meet to make #LoveLansing the home for me?
These were the questions I tossed and turned with each night, trying to identify a way to meet others. I was grateful to have been referred to Grand River Connection where I was able to meet other young people… but I was looking for an additional outlet to meet other artistic individuals, like myself, who had a shared passion for stimulating creative conversations, networking and new friendships!
I grew up attending musical productions at Wharton Center, so my interest was piqued when I was invited to attend a NextGen@Wharton event. A young professionals group that attends a series of shows within the Wharton Center annual season… and wait, they have pre-show parties with fancy appetizers and wine? AND there are other creative folks like myself there? SIGN ME UP!
NextGen@Wharton is an opportunity for young people to become engaged with Wharton Center in a unique way. Attend the VIP events, get a behind-the-scenes look at shows, meet the artists and enjoy one-of-a-kind social opportunities (that’s the fancy appetizers and wine I was talking about). It became the perfect opportunity for me to confirm #LoveLansing was the home for me.
The next show in the NextGen@Wharton series is Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the world’s most popular modern dance company. NextGen@Wharton has this remarkable ability of introducing young pros to shows they may not typically purchase a ticket for. This year's series included Wicked, Cabaret, Alvin Ailey and Fun Home. I’m a huge fan of musicals, but with so many activities in Lansing, I may not always purchase a ticket to see a dance company, comedian, or orchestra. But with this group, you're exposed to productions just outside of your comfort zone with something new and always something amazing!
I’ll be there this coming Tuesday, April 18, 2017 for Alvin Ailey! Come to the event, introduce yourself to me, make a new friend, I’d love to meet you.
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.