Start small—introduce yourself to your classmates
You will continue to meet people for the rest of your life. Just like learning, relationship-building is an ongoing process. So, making sure you connect with classmates early on in the semester will make group projects, forming study groups, confirming class information, and your life easier! One way I did this is taking on leadership roles on campus. As a Student Ambassador for the UT Dallas Career Management Center, I have made friends with classmates while sharing information with classmates. Additionally, roles such as this offer the chance to ask other students questions and hear their perspective based on their experiences. So, I encourage you to actively look for opportunities to interact with your peers on campus. This practice pays dividends!
Create a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is the premier networking site for business professionals. On LinkedIn, you can read articles that relate to industries of interest, share posts, build your network, and get to know other individuals better. Studies have shown that employers have made a habit of checking applicant LinkedIn profiles before the interview stage. By making the choice to begin developing your LinkedIn presence now, you will have resources at your disposal that many students do not take advantage of. You can start by connecting with your classmates, campus recruiters, and also people you will meet at professional development events.
Go to on-campus events
You can choose events related to your major or your interests. Even if it’s just something that sounds fun to you, this is a chance to meet business professionals. Also, take your friends with you and share the experience with other people. This goes back to importance of relationship-building. While in college, you are in a safe environment to explore. Often times, resources are brought to students, so checking your school’s event calendar regularly for updates will ensure that you do not miss out on opportunities for personal and professional development.
Visit your professors during office hours
Believe it or not, professors are people too! In fact, chances are that professors traveled a similar path to your own during their time in college. They have words of wisdom to share and, from my experiences, they are eager to get to know their students more. Building a rapport with your professors shows that you are serious about making the most of your time in college and makes the classroom experience more enjoyable.
Giving back in the community has lasting effects felt by many. This goes along with the idea of making the most of your time for the good of others. You never know who you will meet or help while volunteering. This is also a great way to supplement your learning outside of the classroom. Volunteering is time well spent!
I will leave you with a quote that I have carried with me the past few months. Neale Donald Walsch noted that “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I have found this idea that if you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’re not growing, is true. Feeling uncomfortable with trying something new is natural. By pushing yourself to feel uncomfortable, you will become more comfortable. I hope this is a source of inspiration for you to continue to grow. Thanks for reading!