Be In The Room

 

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By: Ellie Shulman

When college students complete their degrees, the advice that they are repeatedly given is to build their social network. Although this is straightforward advice, networking can often become a daunting task. What can recent graduates do in order to build a strong professional network?

I was recently volunteering at DonorsChoose.org when board member Yvette Nicole Brown was addressing the staff. The advice that she gave her attendees has had an immense impact on how I perceive networking.

Ms. Brown stressed, “There is no door that is going to open for you that is not supposed to open for you. So never doubt why you are in a room. You are in a room because you are supposed to be in a room. That’s just it. Own it”

These words resonated with me tremendously. Since that day, I have been working hard to put myself in ‘the room’ in order to create new experiences for myself and grow my professional network.

So how can college students put themselves in ‘the room’ to build their social networks and achieve success?

One way to do this is through volunteering at a nonprofit that they support.

The reason for this is that volunteering allows individuals to be invited into situations that they would not have been otherwise. Volunteering is also a great way for graduates to meet people from different backgrounds who also support a cause that they care about.

Through this experience, recent graduates have an opportunity to put themselves in ‘the room’ and build a strong professional network.

The Value of a Mentor

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By: Ellie Shulman

For many undergraduate students, the feeling can seem overwhelming. It can often appear that every individual in their lives has an opinion about what their next career move should be post-college. This intimidating feeling often follows college students throughout their undergraduate studies.

So what can undergraduates do to help themselves achieve success in their post-college careers?

Although the answer to this question is simple, the execution is harder. College students should seek out a mentor throughout their four-year studies. This strategy is proven to help students succeed post-graduation.

A recent study by Gallup, published by Inside Higher Ed, demonstrated the success of having a mentor during one’s undergraduate studies. It was found that students who had a mentor or professor who showed a personal interest in their success post-college often ended up in careers that they thoroughly enjoyed.

The shocking aspect of this study was that only fourteen percent of recent graduates remembered having such an individual in their lives during their time in college.

So what should current students do in order to help find suitable mentors?

College students should ingratiate themselves with professors who they admire. This often requires students to step outside their comfort zone and interact with their professors outside the classroom. Make an appointment to meet with a professor during their office hours and ask them for guidance about your post-college career. Professors will admire that students are seeking them out and inquiring about their ideas.

In a recent USA Today article, Jonathan Gibralter president of Wells College explained “Although you may feel inundated with advice about what to try in college and tips for success, summoning the courage to open up to a mentor can change your life”

Do you believe in the importance of students seeking out a mentor while completing their undergraduate studies? What attributes do you think are most important in a mentor?