Networking in College
Networking in college can sound like another strenuous class assignment but in reality it’s quite easy. Just like in the working world, there are great benefits: By networking, you make friends, establish your brand, and have a strong support system to fall back on for your four (or more) years at school. The first person I befriended in college had one of the only air-conditioned rooms in my dorm. (It’s all about who you know!) Turns out, we became great friends and I stayed cool throughout those hot September days. Win-win!
Here are four places to begin growing your college network.
This is certainly not the place to be shy, especially when you’re squeezed into a space the size of a closet and privacy is impossible to come by. While your furiously making friend requests on Facebook, really think about who your floormates are and what you have in common. While I suggest being a little bit more picky about who you connect with outside of Facebook (i.e. not the guy with the funky smelling smoke coming from his door), don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get to know people beyond your computer screen.
I know it probably wasn’t cool high school to speak to your teachers outside of
class, but college is a different story (I promise, you can still have friends and be the
teacher’s pet). Sure, you won’t want to interact with the majority of your professors
but in the span of four years, there are going to be a few you enjoy learning from.
Get to know them because their recommendations are gold come senior year.
Don’t forget about your fellow classmates either. They can be lifesavers if you wake up one morning feeling like your head has been smashed in with a sledgehammer, but you can’t miss the notes from your 9 a.m. class. The relationships you have with your classmates are much like the ones people have post-college. Reciprocation is important. If your classmate lets you borrow notes due to sickness, make sure to return the favor when the time comes.
Join them! Join as many as you think you can handle. Not only are you having fun and getting a ton of experience, but you’re also meeting people who share your interests. Thinking about joining the college newspaper but don’t think your copyediting skills are up to par? There are plenty of staff members to show you the ropes and give you lessons on how to increase your skill set.
As a freshman this is a quick way to make a solid group of friends outside of the dorm. If you do end up sticking with it, you also get the added benefit of having a link to your sorority’s or fraternity’s alumni association, and that can mean things like future career contacts. Take advantage of those alumni weekends. Let’s face it: You can’t go wrong with career talk over a kegs and eggs breakfast.