How Important Is Networking in College?
When it comes to college, not many people highlight the importance of networking. It often stays out of focus besides the studies and self-development. However, it has great potential and can be an investment in your future.
What Networking in College Means
Networking refers to meeting new people and connecting with them to exchange important information or develop particular skills. It is mostly used in relation to career and professional activities. However, it can offer various advantages in many spheres.
College is a great time to start networking because you get to meet a lot of new people naturally. Also, you are exposed to both like-minded people and those who have different experiences. This is helpful in expanding your worldview and boosting your interpersonal skills.
College also delivers a lot of events, seminars, and meetups to reach out to industry leaders, potential employers, or experts of all sorts. So what is stopping students from it? One of the major reasons is the lack of time. It is not a secret that higher education can be challenging when it comes to workload, lectures, and the number of written assignments.
Often students are overloaded with essays, term papers, or other projects, so it is hard to find time for anything else. If you find yourself wondering, “Could someone write my paper for me so I could meet with the guest lecturer?” – the answer is yes, absolutely. You can get help from a professional academic writing service that offers writing, editing, and proofreading assistance. Experienced authors can nail any type of college assignment on the shortest deadline without compromising on the quality.
This is the perfect opportunity to polish your paper or get it done from scratch. And it can also be a learning activity as you get to collaborate with experts and access their expertise.
Networking in college might come in different forms, namely:
- Making friends among classmates;
- Establishing fruitful relations with college staff;
- Reaching out to alumni;
- Making connections with industry representatives at career fairs or seminars;
- Going to internships and apprenticeships, etc.
Some of those connections might be helpful for your future career, and some might become lifetime friends.
Benefits of Networking
For some, it might feel like endless small talk, but it doesn’t have to be that. It is a meaningful way to meet people and offer them the value of some sort. As a response, they might offer you something as well, whether it is a new job opportunity or expert advice. Here are some other advantages of networking.
This is probably the easiest way to get some valuable information. For instance, you might hear that a company you are interested in is recruiting. Or you might find great internship opportunities. You also may meet other exciting people through already-made connections.
There is no shame in asking someone about referrals or tips. Students can get career guidance, industry insights, college advice, or other pieces of information. Many times a lot of positions are filled by recommendations without being posted online, for instance. In such a case, it is good to be known by people in the industry so they can recommend you.
It is also a powerful learning opportunity. After all, college is all about developing skills and competencies. Some knowledge doesn’t come from lectures and course materials.
For example, you might connect with digital marketers and learn more about current Instagram promotion strategies and trends. Social media rules change quite frequently and fast. So by the time you graduate, the knowledge you have might be outdated. Networking allows staying on top of the industry you are looking into.
Another example is asking about relevant competencies, certifications, and programs for a specific job. Some of this might not be known to the general public, and it is better to be ahead of the competition.
No matter what type of job you are willing to pursue after graduation, it will probably involve collaborating with people. Surely, for some professions, it is more critical than for others. But communication and emotional intelligence are among the top soft skills all employers are looking for.
Networking can be just that – a field to practice and develop your social skills. Reaching out to people can be difficult for some. A lot of students might struggle with social anxiety or feel a bit awkward. The good news is that it goes away with time and practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
You can observe others, learn to listen better, and boost your empathy. It is important not to see people only as assets but as humans with their own emotions, motivation, and interests. Communication, persuasion, and emotional intelligence will be helpful in your future professional and personal life.
Having a mentor can be an immense opportunity. And with networking, students can get several mentors for different aspects of professional or personal growth. There is no reason to wait until graduation, especially if you know exactly what industry you want to get into.
Mentors can share experiences and help make your investment successful, for instance. They might also offer better opportunities and ensure you stand out in a good way. This is also one of the best ways to learn something without making your own mistakes.
Making friends among peers is also important. They are students now, but they will be professionals one day. And having connections in different fields may be incredibly useful in the future. Even if you are going to be employed in contrasting spheres – you never know when you might need someone’s advice.
And you can become lifetime friends. This is the basis of the support system in college that helps stay motivated, focused, and happy.
Networking in college doesn’t end with career opportunities you might get. It is a powerful way to access information, develop valuable soft skills, and meet new people. It is an investment in the future, both in professional and personal aspects of life.