How to Network as a College Student

Hello all! It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted on my blog. I’m not going to lie.. My motivation slumped, and a lot of life happened to me these past few months. Currently, I’m back in college and in full swing (Lord, help), but I’m ready to be back in your news feed.

To begin, there has been a puzzling question that has been on my mind for some time now. If you know me, you know that I am extremely eager to learn new things. So, my question is how do you break into the PR industry (or any industry you are working in) as a college student?

Believe me when I say this, I’ve Googled this, Pinterest-ed it, Youtube-ed, Read books and articles, Podcast-ed it and just about everything else. I made myself a LinkedIn account, follow about 10-15 new people/companies on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat)  every day, and read articles written from professionals. Here’s my problem that many of you might have in common with me: How do I break into the industry if I’m from a small town and don’t live in a major city? This question has been TAUNTING me. I feel that I have been doing all the right things..so where are my results at?  So far, I’ve connected with professionals on many platforms and I stalk their pages religiously, but it is hard to meet them because I don’t live in their city. Like I said, I’m eager and hungry to learn more.

Even though I haven’t gotten my big break, I have thought of 4 tips on how to network and learn more about your industry and what you want from life.

1). Find a job in the industry you want. Any job.  I recently got hired as a Stylist at Francesca’s Boutique. I love fashion, but truthfully never thought I’d work retail, but I’m learning a lot about production, sales, and what it means to work for a corporation. Even though I may never meet the CEO at least I know the retail side of the Fashion industry.

2). As a college student join clubs that you may have an interest in. On my campus at Western Michigan University there are over 300 RSO’s (registered student organizations) and I’m currently a member of M.O.D.A which stand for Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association. One reason why I enjoy it is that I’m with other students who love fashion just as much as me. Again, I was hesitant at first, but I went for it. I may not have met career changing professionals, but there have been a few speakers who are big names in the fashion industry and hearing their stories are so inspiring. Also, weekly M.O.D.A meetings is a good break from my academics.

3). Follow as many people as you can that are in your industry on social media. Okay, maybe not EVERYONE. But, search for people and companies by looking at their pages and seeing if you have something in common. Do they like fashion? Are they from a big city? Do they love sweets like me? Are they in my field? I ask these questions and when I do find new accounts to follow I follow them on EVERYTHING. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn. I mean, what if I got called for an interview and I already knew more about their company than they thought (impressive, am I right?)

4). Be hopeful! I’m from a small town and I don’t go to school in a major city..and I forgot to mention, I’m a poor college student. So, at times I feel disappointed and behind. Some days I feel that I already need to have 5 internships and a 4.75 GPA. Then I float back into reality and remember that working hard is a process, and good things take time.

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Networking doesn’t always mean face-to-face interactions. For me, networking means learning about new people and companies in your industry and following them on social media, because I LOVE the power of social media (the positive one, of course). Networking also means trying new things and figuring out what I want in life. And of course, networking is an on going process, so you do have to stay hopeful. Truthfully, I’m no expert. I’m just a really driven young millennial who is extremely passionate. Now, I want to ask you..What tips do you have to expand your network? Anyone else work in the PR industry?

 

 

 

 

 

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An Honest Conversation About Priorities and Relationships

Whatever type of relationship it is, ignore it. What’s more important to you, your relationship or career?  In theory, we like to believe that priorities are simple, even obvious, but they are not.

Wow, this was a challenging question that I had to answer. I somehow felt like the antagonist to my relationship. Am I not paying enough attention to him? Am I toxic to him? I’m finally so content and joyful there’s no way I could handle another heartbreak. It seemed like a downward spiral of anxiety and negative thoughts.

At a very young age I’ve had to work for almost anything that I wanted. My father’s work ethic was basically ingrained in my genes, but if you know me you would know that I set large goals for myself. I’m a neat-freak. I literally think about my career every five minutes. I want to do this, or that, or want to do all three! Sometimes, I forget to slow down.

Being near the end of my first year of college I have realized the exact path I want to be on (how many Freshmen can say that?) By the age of 23 I hope to live in Chicago in a tiny studio apartment in The Loop with my small pup, a boyfriend whose heart is bigger than life, and with a job in Public Relations. I know I have to be honest with myself that life doesn’t always go as planned. But come on, I’m an ambitious woman.

What are my top priorities? I’ve recently feel that if I don’t put my relationships first than I’m a bad girlfriend. But no, this is definitely not true. Women should not feel pressured to put their significant other before themselves. I once read a quote that said, “A lover does not discourage their growth. A lover says, ‘I see who you are today, I cannot wait to see who you become tomorrow”.

This is so freeing for me and should be to all the women who put their significant other in the center of their world. They are not the sun, you are! I am working hard to become a better me, for me before I can be anybody else’s. Shouldn’t it be important to make yourself happy first. That’s not selfish, that’s telling the world that you see your own worth.

I learned that even though I want my career to be my number one, I cannot ignore my boyfriend. But rather, find a balance between my priorities. It’s all about balancing priorities. It seems simple, but I’m learning it’s not. I want to give myself  the best possible life that I can, but I remember that my boyfriend has helped me see my worth, and because of that I feel even more encouraged to pursue my dreams at the age of 18. How freaking lucky of me to have somebody who is okay with my larger than life vision for the future and who supports that and better yet, encourages that.

Many of my friends care more about their relationship than college. To me, college is basically the beginning of my career. Why not have two jobs and an internship in one summer? That sounds like the best summer to me, just getting as close as possible to my career. Even thinking about that I have to remind myself that balance is key.

Balance with my career, family, boyfriend, friends, myself. I cannot feel guilty for the order of my priorities. Even though each priority may not have equal time spent on them, it doesn’t make them any less significant. I’m learning that I can dominate my career while still caring about my relationships with others.

What are some of your top priorities?