T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Community Means to a Newbie

The 4th quarter of 2012 has marked many firsts for me. I attended my first SQL Saturday and my first PASS Summit. I joined my first SQL User’s Group. I started a blog, and now I’m participating in T-SQL Tuesday. This month’s topic is about what community means to me. Since I have only recently found this amazing community, I’m blogging about the community from a Newbie’s perspective.

In the beginning…..

I knew no one in the SQL community outside of my IT department. The database side of my IT department has less than 5 people. I desperately searched for a local SQL Users group, but I couldn’t find an active one, so I widened my search criteria. I found I was half way between the LA SQL PASS chapter and San Diego SQL PASS Chapter, both of which are 50 miles away and a 1.5 to 2 hour drive on a Thursday night. What to do, what to do.

I lucked out. On Sept 15th, 2012 the San Diego SQL PASS Chapter (SDSQL) was hosting a SQL Saturday (#157).

It changed my life.

I drove down to San Diego (by myself) not expecting much. I took Jason Strate’s (B|T) session on Discovering the Plan Cache. His session was so good, that I changed my schedule and attended his other 2 sessions. By the end of the day, I was happy with the day, but I had hardly said two words to anyone. I had really wanted to network, but my shy side had stopped me (yes I do actually have a shy side. It’s very small, but it’s there). Phil Robinson, the president of the chapter, invited everyone to a local sports bar for dinner and I went.

This is where the magic happened.

Before I even went into the building I was greeted by someone from Quest. She happens to work in the building next to me. She introduced me to others and I finally began to network. As the night moved on, I met Phil Helmer (B|T) and everything really changed. He introduced me to other frequent members of the local chapter, as well as some of the speakers. We talked about the PASS Summit 2012, which I wasn’t going to be able to attend until 2013. After talking to Phil for a couple of hours, I decided I wanted to go this year, so I convinced my manager to let me go.

Phil was also the one who convinced me to set up a Twitter account, which I’m now an active member of. Twitter has provided me a way to stay in touch with the SQL community. It has also provided a way to help others with SQL questions.

That night I also struck up a conversation with Benjamin Nevarez (B|T). I told him how I use to be a Microsoft Certified Trainer and I wanted to start speaking on SQL topics in a year or two. He thought that goal was too far away and that I should speak at the next Huntington Beach SQL Saturday coming up in early 2013. He was very encouraging and has convinced me to submit a proposal.

But it gets better.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks prior to SQL PASS Summit 2012. I received an email from Joe Fleming (T). He was to be my mentor for Summit 2012. He was so helpful, answering all my questions and making sure I met people at the Summit. He’s not the only one either. Before the Summit even started, I had met new people on Twitter who would be attending the conference. Once I arrived at the Summit, I didn’t sit still for a week. I met so many fabulous people, and they accepted me, just the way I am. I never felt like the ugly stepsister. I never felt like the eccentric artist. I was never shut out because I’m Christian. I was accepted.

I was part of the SQL community.

Update: After reading the other T-SQL Tuesday #36 blog posts. I realized that I hadn’t thanked the host, Chris Yates (B|T) for hosting this month’s SQL blog party. Thank you Chris.

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