How did people generate relationships without Facebook? College students these days have no idea! However, there was a time where people valued picking up the phone or creating groups in the real world. It may be hard if you are shy or an introvert, but it is important that you make those connections. These connections during college are going to help you professionally and sometimes personally. Therefore, here are some ways that you can generate your own network without the computer.
Depending on your school, there can be hundreds of student organizations, including your NSCS chapter. Find a group that interests you! When I was a freshman, I knew that I wanted to be a journalist. I joined the college radio station and an online publication to get meet people who were interested in the same field as me. We had a common interest that was a great way to break the ice.
Even though I was in a classroom of sometimes 600 students, I made sure that I stood out to my professors. At the beginning of each semester, I made sure to introduce myself to my professors. Throughout the semester, I attempted to go to their office hours at least once a month. I was able to get one-on-one attention regarding the material, but my professors kept me in mind. When it came to use them for references or letters of recommendation, they were able to talk about me because they knew me.
I have been to 10+ conferences while in college. This is definitely taking your networking skills to the test because you are meeting with people from other institutions. It is not that much differently. I loved attending conferences because I was able to meet people who were similar to me. Afterwards, I did add them as Facebook friends and got their email addresses – it was important to keep that communication open. Networking at conferences has helped me professionally and gave me some places to visit!
Residence Hall Experiences
Your residence hall is not just a place to sleep and study. You can get your start in networking right in the residence hall. If you still live on campus, you can meet people down the hall or your RA. You can also get involved with hall programs and residence hall government. This baby step can help you definitely later in life. I chatted with my RA and now I have a career in Student Affairs. Who would have thought?
Volunteering is a great way to network with classmates and great organizations. It looks amazing on a resume and transcript and you feel amazing afterwards. Nevertheless, many times, you get to meet great people who may not have met otherwise.
When All Else Fails …
Everyone knows those go-to questions that help break the ice and get the conversation going. If you do not know, here they are:
- Where are you from?
- What is your major?
- What dorm you live in?
Now there are probably more, but these three really got me out of otherwise awkward encounters; they helped me make lasting friendships. Also, know that those questions will be tossed back at you, so have some witty things on deck to use.
Networking is important; you can get help from social media and social networking. Its quick and easy, so start making lasting experiences staring away from the computer and into the eyes of someone new.
VaNessa Thompson is a graduate student at Lawrence Technological University majoring in Technical and Professional Communication. She graduated with a BA in Communication from Michigan State University where she was a NSCS member. Currently, she is one of NSCS’s Social Media Ambassadors and one of Dormify’s Style Advisors! In her free time, she blogs and vlogs! Feel free to tweet her @nessabirdie!