By: Matthew Lowery
When I first started getting settled into the college environment at IUPUI, the majority of the Kelley meetings or presentations that I attended had some sort of theme about networking and getting your name out there. In all honesty, this surprised me. I was just getting situated in a new environment and now they already want me to get out and network? Not only was I surprised, I was skeptical. Networking at a freshman level seemed impractical, if not impossible. I have no intern experience, no solidified college GPA, not even a core class for my Finance degree. So why would I need to start networking now? But the truth is, I was wrong in doubting Kelley.
Within the first week of attending the Kelley seminars, I learned how important networking truly is, whether it’s personal or professional. Not only that, but how important it is to network as soon as possible. The more contacts you possess, the better your chances are in landing that beneficial internship or even the dream job you’ve been working so hard to get. If you’re just starting school out like I am, you may be wondering, “How can I start networking at such an early stage of my college career?” My suggestion for some of you will come across as a simple task, but for others, this may be a challenge. Here it is:
Get out and do something that you’ve never done before.
A lot of incoming college students have never networked beforehand, simply because they knew who they were dealing with each and every day in high school. But now, it’s a whole new ball game. You’re now separated from your family, your old friends back in your hometown have moved out, and your surroundings have been completely transformed. Get yourself out of that comfort zone and take part in new experiences. For example, there are a multitude of clubs on IUPUI’s campus, and not only that, the campus offers plenty of intramural sports that you could participate in. Find something that you have always been interested in, yet, you’ve never been able to do something with it. Do you enjoy the Harry Potter movies and/or books? IUPUI has a Quidditch Club waiting just for you. Were you involved thoroughly in the 2012 Presidential Election? Become a member of the Democracy Plaza and help develop political awareness on our campus.
Networking is all about being yourself and connecting with people whilst expanding your reach within our campus and even more so, our community. Enjoy your experience and don’t be shy to IUPUI because this campus offers plenty of opportunity for you and your network.