A majority of teenagers these days are either planning to or are attending college. Attending college is seen as a prerequisite to a successful career as well as comfortable living. However, I see college as a networking opportunity.
Receiving good grades will only get you so far; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Going into tens of thousands in student debt can be rendered ineffective if you don’t take the networking opportunities that being at college offers you. First of all, the essential element to creating a network for yourself is diminishing any fear of socialization. Making your name known to those around you is important and does require some social skills. Whether you are outgoing or an introvert, you need to possess the correct social skills to be successful in life.
Do not hesitate to sit in the front of the class. This simple action allows you to establish a professional relationship with your professors and will give you exposure to your peers; having a network of classmates is very beneficial. Group projects become less of a burden and give you opportunities to display leadership skills and develop project management strategies. This will give you a wide network of ambitious, similarly-minded individuals who you may aid and assist you with any issues.
Another advantage that should be utilized is job fairs and similar events on campus. These events are put together by the school solely to assist you in networking with businesses who are primarily interested in hiring people with skills similar to yours. However, simply attending these events is not enough; you need to network with the people at these fairs. Involvement is also extremely important when attending college; clubs and organizations do much more for your professional prospects than just boosting your resume. Activities in these organizations allow you to establish and maintain relationships with your university’s alumni, current faculty and other student leaders. They also give you opportunities to work on team-building skills and, once again, allow you to immerse yourself in settings containing like-minded individuals.