Networking in College

My name is Jessica Morgan, and I’m a junior at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. My father served in the military, so I grew up around the world…everywhere from Washington to Japan to Germany and Belgium (there’s more). I am studying criminal justice, and I am considering minoring in journalism. My passions include writing, traveling, cooking, and acting, to list a few.

“You should go to this event on Friday! It’s a great networking opportunity.” These two sentences (or derivatives) are completely lost on us college students. Well, most of us anyway. Those of us in our late teens to early twenties do not quite understand the importance – nay the value – of a good network. Some of us may think it is tedious to get off of Netflix and put on business appropriate clothes and schmooze to business executives who are old college buddies of our fathers. Or maybe it is too inconvenient to drive all the way downtown and fight for parking. Either way, we are willingly giving up these opportunities that could possibly land us jobs after graduation just so we can finish our It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia marathon!
Our generation has become so complacent and comfortable in our lives, and we blame society for having to work to get a job as a barista at Starbucks after we graduate with a Bachelor’s. But I know what you are thinking: Networking sounds like something adults in suits do. Well yes, that is something they do. But think about this as well: we are adults. Being in college does not quite feel like being an adult because adulthood, for us, is modeled by our parents and their friends mostly. We did not know our parents when they were our age, so for us the model of adulthood is having the house, the kids, and the Toyota Camry. In so many words, adulthood for us is having it all together. Which as we all know, being a college student is so far from having anything together in our lives.
There are lots of great opportunities on college campuses across the country that can help college students start the networking process, whether you are a wide–eyed freshman or a senior who is just ready to bust out and never look back. Most of these chances can be found in campus clubs or professional fraternities (no, not the beer pong and Greek letters). I know my campus has at least a dozen professional clubs and fraternities; these include pre–med, pre–dental, business, and pre–law to name a few. I have personally been involved with the pre–law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, and in one short semester I already have met two circuit court judges and one law school professor. All it takes is one firm handshake and a good impression and that could define whether you get that clerkship or entry–level career position.
Another great chance to network would be partaking in an internship. This is usually everyone’s least favourite option because it usually entails working for no pay (if you are lucky, some internships do pay). My sister attended university in Southern California, just outside of Los Angeles and was given the opportunity to intern at the Pacific Council for International Policy in downtown Los Angeles. She had chances to meet many international political figures and even met Hillary Clinton. If you live and attend university in a large/major US city, chances are you can have similar prospects.

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