Students Young Professionals
Networking is an Important Part of being Successful in College
Attending college is exciting but it can also be stressful at times. While you may think the focus should just be on your grades, that isn’t true. It is a prime opportunity to meet new people, try new experiences, and make memories. Networking is an important part of being successful in college. You won’t feel alone and you will have a support system in place. Such individuals and organisations can help you with any challenges you face during your college experience.
Of course, you have to balance your networking with completing your studies. When you form a study group, you may discover it motivates you to get your assignments done timely. It also helps you retain information for exams. Networking can help you hone in on your strengths and get help for your weaker areas. For example, if you struggle in a certain course, a tutor that excels at it could be the best solution. You can find such individuals through your networking.
Networking at college helps you develop a diverse group of friends. They all come from different backgrounds. They all have different goals. Yet the common thread is the type of education you seek. Perhaps you also bond over certain organisations you take part in. Shared hobbies or interests can help create a great friendship with mutual respect.
Don’t Feel Intimidated
Some people naturally feel at ease around everyone, and others struggle to make the first move. College gives you the opportunity to network at your pace and in your comfort zone. Make a sincere effort to smile at others, extend an invitation, and join organisations that capture your interest. These individuals and relationships will become valuable as you navigate through your college experiences.
Some of them will have connections for jobs you want or other resources. Don’t overlook your favourite professors either. They can write you a letter of recommendation as you near graduation and look for employment.
Gain New Experiences
College life provides ample experience on campus to connect with others. You can network when you meet up with people that share a similar interest or when you are in the library studying. Show up for events where professionals come in to talk about careers, mentorships, and other opportunities. Sign up for emails and read newsletters. Find out what is going on and make an effort to attend some of those functions. You can even get involved in helping to set them up!
What are your plans after you obtain your degree? How should you apply for the best jobs? What is the job market like? Your campus career centre can help you identify this information and make a plan. They have plenty of resources free of charge for you to learn from. This is a prime place to find out how to apply for internships or the process to create a resume that employers will love!
The career centre may hold practice job interviews to help you calm your nerves before you get out there and go to real interviews. During your senior year, find out about job fairs so you can have some wonderful leads for your first job after college graduation!
We live in a world of social media, but don’t let that be the only way you network. Yet it can be a way for you to connect with other students and join organisations. Facebook often has many pages specifically for students at a given college or specific areas of study. Consider creating a profile on LinkedIn if you don’t already have one. Social media can be where you learn about on-campus events too.
Get to know New People
While you may get comfortable in your small group of friends at college, try to branch out. Get to know new people. Find out what they do and what their goals are. Be friendly to the person working at the coffee shop you visit frequently. Talk to other students when you eat in the cafeteria. If a student makes small talk or invites you to do something, interact with them and see where it goes.
Don’t Worry about Rejection
You aren’t going to click with everyone you try to network with, and that is fine. Don’t worry about rejection either. Often, the lack of follow-through by the other person has more to do with them than with you. They may have too much on their plate to accept the invitation. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them and smile. When you are confident and they feel comfortable around you, it encourages them to get to know you.
Ask people questions without putting them on the spot or interrogating them. Ask open-ended questions so they can share details with you. Really listen to what they say to you, people like it when others are interested in them. Avoid negative comments and try to keep a positive mindset. It will draw people to you.
Put Forth Effort
Communication is a two-way street. Put forth effort to maintain your network and forge strong relationships. College life is busy, and it is all about balancing it. Yet it only takes a few minutes to send a text, make a phone call, or have a short visit with someone when you see them on campus.