Networking Events are Not as Scary as You Might Think

Back in September I remember saying that I wanted to document my journey with getting a job after graduating. I posted this and this. Well that didn’t happen. While some people probably have an offer waiting for them when they graduate, I’m still stuck at step 1. I have no idea what I want to do and only applied to like 5 positions back in September.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well because today I went to a networking event of sorts. This time it was organized by my school’s career centre and they brought in economic alumni to share their stories.

PS. I had a good time and I do not regret my decision to go.

Fun fact: I almost didn’t go. I almost talked myself out of going. Several reasons. Some made more sense than others, but I still went.

  • My anxiety was trying to kill me. Anyone who has anxiety knows how bad it can be and that a lot of the times you can’t control how you’re feeling.
  • I felt self conscious because of my acne. Its been bad lately, most likely because my period is on its way. And before you suggest covering it up with makeup, I don’t wear make-up.
  • I did not know what to wear. I had classes before and after the event and I wanted to be comfy. I know its a silly excuse but I will make any excuse to talk myself out of something. Particularly, I did not know what shoes to wear. I have boots it has heels and I am afraid of tripping while commuting. I’ll trip with Nike, so booties would be a death trap.
  • I have two midterms next week. I had a whole rant about that in the last post which you can read about here.
  • I am a mood.
  • I was going to bits and pieces of class.
  • Today [4th of February] marked 8 months since my uncle past away. Whenever the 4th comes around, I end up in a volatile mess, about to cry at any moment or hate you.

Since all the panelists were economic alumni, they all shared their experiences of how they got to where they are today. One was a chief of staff, another a senior policy advisor and a head product manager.

Side note: Just my luck that I got onto the elevator with someone who turned out to be one of the panelists at the event. I did not realize that until after.

Things I took away from the event were:

  • Economics is a very broad area and does not have a straight path unlike other subjects. You could be working for the government, in finance or technology. This was something that I always knew but it was nice to see people become successful from getting an econ degree.
  • There is a difference in you saying that you can do something on paper and you actually being able to prove that you can do it.
  • Transferrable skills are very important. You can learn something new by taking online courses or volunteering.
  • Networking is a two-way street. The same way that person can help you, you can help them. Its kind of like the same way you would check on a friend and hope that they would do the same for you. A more technical example would be, lets say the two of you talk about technologies used in the workplace, and one day you stumble across an article with some new technologies, well you should try sharing it. They could find it useful and would appreciate this.

And if you read all of this, and you’re like me and you’re not the type to go to events like that, well yayyy. Can we be friends? But on a serious note, its not as scary as you think. Just be in a small group and let them know your name.

I tried to get to know the individuals for who they are. I did not go into this with the intention of getting a job. And my questions definitely reflected that. While others asked about all these job related questions, I asked one person [who was the only woman there and was a person of color] what were the challenges they faced as a woman and a person of color and I asked someone else why did they start voluntering? What was a quote they lived by. [And they had a bracelet/rope on their hand and I was curious about that but I don’t think that was a good question on my part].

Something that I encountered during this event was that some people like to talk a lot and don’t let others put a word in. I think a good conversation in a group setting requires listening to others and letting everyone else speak. There was this girl who would ask question after question, without letting others ask questions. And if it wasn’t the panelist who prompted me, I wouldn’t have gotten a word in. I get that you can be enthusiastic, but at least be considerate to the people around you. You don’t want to be that person.

I’m going to end it here because this is long enough already. On Thursday I will be going to another networking event, so stay tuned for those rambles. But in the meantime, I will go finish my readings, catch up on Below Deck and head to bed with the hope that I am not late for class like last Wednesday.

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A quirky, possibly crazy 22 year old talking about her life and doggie.

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