Your Community is Your Network
By Denise Smith
Create your Community by Networking!
Why is a sense of belonging so important and how do you take charge to create it? Networking is an easy way to start cultivating a sense of belonging within your campus community.
The what and why to Networking
The word “networking” sounds extremely formal, technical and intimidating. What is networking? Networking is the act of building relationships and connections. Why is networking, building relationships and making connections so important? Research shows that students who have a sense of belonging are likely to be more successful in college!
Not only is this probably the first time you are moving from home and everything you know; now you are being thrust first into college life which is super overwhelming and intimidating! This is true for those of us who are a little shy or reserved.
At this point you can think of “networking” simply as “creating your community”.
The how to Networking
So, how do I get started, you ask? Easy! First start with peers in your dorm! Get involved in dorm activities and opportunities! Make friends with your Resident Advisor/Assistant (RA) who can be a support and help you get connected with others. If you are a student that does not live on campus and commutes, you can start with peers in your class!
The how’s and why’s to making connections with peers in class
- Learn outside the classroom by creating study groups
- Built in study buddy!
- Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you, they may be a great resource later on to help you with an assignment.
- You may want to take a class together in the future!
- They might connect you to other people, easy way to expand your network.
- You might get a chance to be exposed to people with different interests-expand your horizons!
The how’s and why’s to making connections with faculty
- Connecting with faculty could lead to future internship opportunities or even job opportunities. You never know!
- Don’t limit yourself to just faculty you have classes with; maybe there is a faculty within the department with who you want to make a connection.
- Your faculty may become your mentor
- Talk to professors inside AND outside of class (office hours); this increases the likelihood that you may connect with peers in class who have the same interest in discussing topics from class.
- Try to engage your faculty in different settings. If you see them at a campus event say hi, discuss your experience of the event.
In conclusion, take a chance! Put yourself out there! Create your own success!