College isn’t just a place for academic education. It is a place to make connections, so it is essential to understand the purpose of your social interactions.
The crowd you decompress from work and classes with may not be the same you develop for networking and connections, but it is important to remember that both groups should see both sides of you.
Your professional contacts should be able to see you as a real person, professional, a knowledgeable peer, and a reliable employee and team member.
But how do you make these connections with either grouping of people?
- Get involved with school social and academic groups.
- Attend school-sponsored functions.
- Go to mentor groups. Finding an experienced mentor can help you learn about campus and the places to study, connect, and relax.
- Create study groups. Not only will this improve your grade, but it gives you a chance to nerd out or just meet people interested in the field you want to go into.
- Join a sports group.
- Attend dorm or apartment events. Some college housing has periodic mixers for students.
- Get a job on campus. This helped me make some school acquaintances and start learning to network and balance the fun me versus professional me.
- Do volunteer work. Check with your university to see if they have a volunteer group.
- Do light studying in common areas.
Once you’ve done that be sure to:
- Find common ground. Trust me, even your obscure interest may help you connect with someone.
- Be prepared to introduce yourself to people when you go to events. I have elevator speeches for professional introductions and fun introductions.
- Connect with your study group for lunch or dinner.
- Invite individuals and groups to enjoy activities with you.
- Be yourself, whoever you are as you learn and grow.
- Use social media to connect with classmates locally. You can like or reply to their treats or follow their Instagrams to see some of the fun things they do in the college town.
- Practice being confident and approachable.
- Leave the earphones out sometimes.
- Stay current with campus info, politics, and other current events.
And don’t forget to be prepared to build your social calendar. Check out this post from “The Organized Professional” Series to see how to start this.
Good luck on your college journey!