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Looking back on your college experiences, would you say that the social and net-working aspects from college are just as valuable to your current careers as the education you recieved in college? why or why not?

Although the point of college is to learn and become educated for future careers, I've been told the importance of networking. I am wondering, from others' personal experiences, how being social and networking may have helped them build their careers. #college #career #graduate #social #networking

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Marie’s Answer

I would agree that the social and networking aspects from college and throughout your life is as valuable as the education you receive in college. Starting now while you are in high school start your social and networking with peers, teachers, teams, etc. This will not only help you to figure out what your interests are but will also create long lasting relationships that will be very beneficial as you grow as a person and in your education. That's all a part of your experience.

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Devona’s Answer

Hi Lauren,


I absolutely agree that networking skills are just as important as the degree you earn in college. My college made it mandatory for each student to attend career development courses that will prepare many students for life after school. Classes like resume writing, interviews and of course networking 101. It was mandatory to attend a minimum of the on campus events hosted by recruiting companies as well as the career fairs both on and off campus.
Some might say it was frustrating having to worry both about class work and career skills but if it wasn't for these early on lessons, I would have never received my first internship as a freshman. Some may say its a waste for a freshman to attend a career fair because no one will hire them, this is absolutely NOT true. I didn't have much work experience on my resume, but I knew how to sell myself, communicate with new people, and often gave out my own business cards. I branded myself on campus by holding leadership positions with societies and these societies paid for me to travel to National Conferences to attend even larger networking events.
It was at these events that I landed an internship with a major engineering company as a Junior in college that later turned into a full time offer after college all from using my skills to speak highly of myself, look people in the eye, and the art of the follow up. Even after landing the job, there are corporate events, happy hours, and networking events that may include Senior VPs and CEOs, so it is definitely important to know how to catch their attention and make them remember who you are. You just never know when it will come in handy.
Getting a degree obviously was a major part in my success, however its not that great if you don't have the social skills to show or tell others why you are so great at what you do (in a humble way of course). I think both are equally important to each and you'll find that with both, you can go very far in life.

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Andy’s Answer

Hi Lauren,


That's a very insightful and forward looking question. You will meet a lot of different and unique people in your college career and you should definitely take the opportunity to broaden your horizons and world view. While I would say that socializing and networking can prove beneficial later in life, it might not be the best mind-set with which to make friends.


Getting great connections should be a side benefit of getting to know people, and not the primary intent. People are about more than what they can do for you. There will probably be actual networking events geared specifically for that purpose and everyone there should be aware of what they're getting themselves into. I'm not trying to lecture or project my personal values on anyone else. Just something to keep in mind. Maybe you'll be the one to help out your friends in their careers. It goes both ways.


That being said, I actually got a very fortuitous connection that helped me out in my career. After I had finished my Masters of Fine Arts degree I was having difficulty breaking into an art career. However, one of my friends whom I had known since undergrad started working at EA as an engineer and offered to show my portfolio to an art director there. To make a long story short, I ended up getting a job at EA and here I am, more than 10 years later still working in the industry doing what I love every day.


So yes, even though my undergraduate education (in biology) didn't help me directly, someone I knew in school ended up helping get into a great career. But many more of my friends and social circles have nothing to do with networking or directly involved with my current career and I'm glad to have known them all. Keep your mind open to new friends and educational experiences regardless of how you might benefit later in life. Sure you might end up in a great career. But even if you don't, you'll have some great experiences and great friends.


I know it sounds kind of cheesy but I believe it. I hope that this helps.

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