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Old 2012-12-24, 18:02   Link #1
Nina_Wang
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College: Making connections etc..

So why is it important to make connections in college?

I am getting an associates degree in Art.

Dunno what to major in.. I might major in Art and minor as an Asian translator.

Anyways, back to the first question, Why is it so important?

It kinda feels like your sucking up to people who have more authority then you.
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Old 2012-12-24, 19:29   Link #2
DonQuigleone
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I don't know. I didn't really make any connection while I was in college.

Then again, I'm currently unemployed right now...
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Old 2012-12-25, 05:19   Link #3
NorthernFallout
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To increase employment odds, basically.

Personally I've been awful at tying connections at my university (and I still am) due to a personality clash. I know several people there who tied connections and now have good jobs somewhere else, or are natural entrepreneurs.

That said, I did manage to get some kind of connection with many professors and I think they'd remember me if I'd contact them again... if I ever wanted to get into academia more seriously that is.
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Old 2012-12-25, 08:32   Link #4
DonQuigleone
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I'd say most students don't ever manage to build connections in college.

The fact is, as college has become a less exclusive institution, it's become far worse for "networking". Time was, everyone in college was either from a wealthy family, a genius, or part of the aristocracy. Everyone you met was going to be of some importance. On the other hand, now most of the people you meet are as likely to end out as bums as anything else.

To get good connections, it really depends on which college you attend. If it doesn't have Ivy or the initials "MIT" (or Cal Tech ), you're not meeting anyone.

As ever, the common man has no hope of breaking into the Old Boy's Network. Of course, if just everyone was part of the Old Boy's Network, it wouldn't be much of a network...

(If everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody -W S Gilbert)
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Old 2012-12-25, 10:49   Link #5
Solace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nina_Wang View Post
It kinda feels like your sucking up to people who have more authority then you.
This pretty much sums up what you'll be doing for most of your life.
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Old 2012-12-25, 11:20   Link #6
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
This pretty much sums up what you'll be doing for most of your life.
QFT. Or you could just be a contractor-freelancer doing 2-3 year contract jobs and ignore every single office politics that goes on.

Or you could join the analysis/tech department, and stay out of HR, finance, management. Rarely do I see politics happening between geeks; they are just there to enjoy their job or get their day over to their online world.

With regards to building connections, you are better off connecting with people around the campus who have the same interest as you, or basically, those that discuss IDEAS and EVENTS rather than people or what is most popular at the moment. Just be wary of those that discuss ideas, they tend to be a little self-serving, whereas those who discuss event at the nerd level tend to be some sort of emotionless-by-the-book anchorman/anchorwoman in the future; I once know a girl who enjoys talking about accounting standards and financial science that she became the assistant to the chief of accounts in an MNC - in school everyone was ignoring her.
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Old 2012-12-25, 22:22   Link #7
Knightrunner
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I guess it really depends on the campus. Just making connections in general will help build up your career and improve your life. Don't kiss up, just talk about your ambitious in life and what you want to accomplish and eventually you'll get people that want to follow you. I use to think only of only just doing well in academics, but really people should strive to be the all-around if they can. Thanks to my professors I can attend some academic conferences across the US. Plus, there guidance in research helps too If you're lucky enough they might view you as their academic child.

It's always nice to make friendships with people within the same major as you too. Pick the people that actually care about you.
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Old 2012-12-25, 22:32   Link #8
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Well, nowadays a degree alone doesn't get you a job nor does your fancy suit or your awesome personality (though they are bonus points) at an interview. Knowing someone that works at that company whether it's a manager or just a regular employee already increases your chance of getting the job.

So...make friends! To be more exact, befriend and get to know your professors as well as your counselor. Making friends with classmates are a plus, but chances are they are in the same boat as you. Hang out and socialize with people that are of the same major as you or similar to yours.

So one should make connections whether it's in college, at a party, or at work so that it can possibly help you in future jobs. You don't have to, there are other people that do just fine without making connections, but if I had to say, there numbers are small that do succeed.
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Old 2012-12-26, 01:35   Link #9
Traece
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Making connections goes beyond talking to professionals.

Getting to know people in general will not only increase your chances for success but it will make you appear more successful. The more people you know from many different lots of life, the wiser you will be from the knowledge they will have to offer you. Depending on the kind of people you know, you may be a happier individual in general as well. Chances are you'll also be a more confident and sociable individual (which are skills required to varying degrees to make friends in the first place) and thus a better person by appearances. Being a confident and socially capable individual makes you a better hire because those things reflect positively in interviews. Plus, being outgoing at work around your bosses (without even sucking up) and a hard worker makes you look like a better investment (promotions).

Beyond the personal benefits, you also get the benefit of... you know... knowing people. Not every person you meet is going to be the CEO of the next big internet business, but they could be important or well-connected people one day. Every individual is someone who has the potential of offering you a benefit be it small or large. This is especially important if your career is something like photography, and thus each friend you make could be a potential client willing to pay for your services simply because they like you. People liking you and your business is a big deal! Just ask the guys who made the WarZ game. Let's face it: knowing people is power. It works for individual, it works for companies, and hell it even works for entire countries.

Now obviously being liked doesn't necessarily free you from hard work and skill. It sure as heck doesn't hurt though.
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Old 2012-12-26, 02:01   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nina_Wang View Post
So why is it important to make connections in college?
I don't really know.. unless you're a aiming to be a teacher in your college you are currently enrolling.

I had a school mate back on Nursing college who's a bit too friendly with our Nursing staff that are affiliated with our school's hospital... I heard she is currently the college's school nurse...

Base on that, probably... if you wish to have a lead after you graduate. Having connection could help you get access to vacant jobs they knew and hold...
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Old 2012-12-26, 03:12   Link #11
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I'd say most students don't ever manage to build connections in college.

The fact is, as college has become a less exclusive institution, it's become far worse for "networking". Time was, everyone in college was either from a wealthy family, a genius, or part of the aristocracy. Everyone you met was going to be of some importance. On the other hand, now most of the people you meet are as likely to end out as bums as anything else.
Don't be so pessimistic. Most jobs in the world are not linked to the Old Boys' Network, you know.

Yes, you probably won't be getting doors opened to the heart of Goldman Sachs if you're from a US public state university, but most people in finance don't work at Goldman Sachs.

Moreover, for all the disrespect thrown at them for being in "the ivory tower" and out of "the real world," professors are highly respected professionals with generally more than average links to people and positions, and a good or even decent public state university in the US has extensive links to local businesses (I'm not sure how things work in your Ireland), while as you know powerful private institutions have their own alumni networks to rely on. Sometimes all you have to do to "win" these professors over is just doing really, really good work in their classes. Think of it as the geeks' way to network. Kick ass rather than kiss ass. Impress with your brilliance and just don't be an ass, and you don't have to speak up or kill yourself pretending to be an extrovert. Doesn't work every time, unlike ass-kissing, but you only really need to get it working a few times to have a much higher chance than the average college graduate at getting that one door open. And being a geek, you don't want that many doors anyway. Pain in the ass to keep up. I can't even keep friends, psht.

(How many times did I say a--?)

Shockingly enough, many professors (especially if they're less of an "I do my research and teaching's just the extra pain" type in STEM) love to help propel their favorite students' careers forward if they can, and even more shockingly, favoritism based on talent (so, er, a roundabout meritocracy?) is not that rare. In the age of ever-expanding college enrollment, good students are remembered fondly. Ass-kissers too, maybe, but eh those guys need to get somewhere too before they can become full time politicians.

///

And if you think you missed that opportunity, think again. Remember that one class you did well on? Send your prof an e-mail. Oh you never did all that well in college? Fine. You did graduate right? Well, you're now an alumni, a recent graduate (think of yourself as one even if you're out of it for a year, two years, three years); look up someone in your desired field of profession who's an alumni of the same school, send a polite and relatively short e-mail introducing yourself and your interest in the industry, request guidance, how's the job works, how to get your foot in the door, how's the industry feeling -- whether you want to ask for job search assistance right away or not is up to you, there are different opinions -- if you get a negative or nothing, shrug and move on; get a positive and, voila, a connection.

Last edited by Irenicus; 2012-12-26 at 03:22.
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Old 2012-12-26, 04:16   Link #12
SaintessHeart
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Tip : The best connections are made out there in the working world with people working in a different industry from you. Get into a hobby group or something, and most importantly, find people who LOVE what they do.

And there is nothing wrong with having multiple interests, neither is there talking randomly to someone at a convention, or having some group meet in a forum. Always start out as someone trustworthy before pulling that connection - bottom line always to make friends first.

Of course, the best way to attract people is still by being the string others can pull : most people come to me for IT stuff and "assistance with personal interests".
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Old 2012-12-26, 07:00   Link #13
Lota
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Well, I guess making connections is sort of important. I've been told that I'm naive because I thought that people passed exams and entered Universities and got jobs without any help (yeeeeaaaah ) and now I know that... it doesn't always work that way.

I think that you have to work hard and earn everything yourself, but I guess sometimes connections are helpful. Like when you have to get a job. Having someone influential recommend you or push you through really does make things easier.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I don't have those kinds of connections, but I have plenty of others. Like my former classmates and friends, people from the University and other acquaitances. They're all very different people who have chosen all sorts of specialties, but I know that if I am in need of help — they will help me. For example, I'm bad with technology and stuff, and know some people who can help me. In turn, I'm good with languages so sometimes people come running to me as well It's all about being friends and helping each other really.

I have never tried sucking up to people and hopefully I'll never have to unless life makes me (please life, don't make me do that). Just be friendly with people and don't think about whether they will be *useful* to you in the future. And if your friends become successful enough to help you in any way — consider yourself lucky. And try as hard as you can on your own too. After all, you too may be someone's lucky connection.
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Old 2012-12-26, 09:25   Link #14
Arturia Polaris
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Basically making connections, or what I consider making connections, is not strictly sucking up to professors. It's making them notice you, so answer things in class, offer help, etc. If they notice you and they know you're good material, they are more likely to offer you a job than some NN.

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Old 2012-12-26, 09:49   Link #15
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I can't help but feel that people are over-thinking the matter. All I ever thought about in college was getting drunk and having the best possible time.

Okay, okay, I exaggerate. I did, in fact, try to study. Seriously.

But, some 20 years after the fact, I wish I simply allowed myself hang loose a lot more without worrying about what was to come. Most of what I studied didn't matter to what I subsequently did. And, by extension, most of the "connections" I made don't count for squat today.

If anything, the "connections" I made in secondary school through junior college count for a lot more. But they're valuable because they aren't "connections" — they are friendships, plain and simple.

I "collected" friends, not names in a phone book. You know, the kind of people I can call anytime and ask for advice, while joking about how fat we've become or moaning how about teenagers are running circles around us on the basketball court, where we now suck, as fat middle-aged men usually would.

It doesn't matter how successful or not my friends are (and some of them have indeed become very successful) — that's not going to stop us from making fun of each other over the silly things we did as teenagers, the teachers we had crushes on, the pranks we played, the rules we broke (intentionally or not) and all the embarrassing mistakes we made.

Friends or connections, which should you choose? Do I even need to give you the answer?
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Old 2012-12-26, 14:23   Link #16
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I would choose both friends and connections, even though I never thought of my professors or anybody that I associate with as "connections".
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Old 2012-12-26, 14:30   Link #17
SaintessHeart
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The problem with friends is that over time, as you grow older, your priorities change - more often than not you drift apart due to that. Most of the friends I know since secondary school are already overseas, having work or migrated there and not wanting to come back to "a land of strangely limited opportunities".

Connections don't change though, so long as you bring them benefits to have you by their side. Communications go as far as getting a deed settled and it is still fine, though it is better to have friends who you can relate and exchange ideas about rather than someone who just wants you to clean up their mess; though as far as I know, -friends- are hard to find these days.
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2012-12-27, 02:33   Link #18
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nina_Wang View Post
So why is it important to make connections in college?

I am getting an associates degree in Art.

Dunno what to major in.. I might major in Art and minor as an Asian translator.

Anyways, back to the first question, Why is it so important?

It kinda feels like your sucking up to people who have more authority then you.
This is almost like "why is it important to have friends?". You build business connections to create networks of trust and people who know people. That way when projects or openings pop up, someone says, "know anyone who does blah?" and the listener says, "yeah, I think Bleeble does blah! Give 'em a call and interview them!"

College connections, professional association connections, conventions, seminars, etc etc. -- anywhere there are groups of people who might hire you or know someone who might want to. You go, you strike up acquaintances, possibly friends. Probably 8 of any 10 contracts, jobs, projects, etc I work on come from "who knows who".
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Old 2012-12-27, 14:15   Link #19
DonQuigleone
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More seriously, I think being involved in certain extra curricular activities can do just as much (if not more) then getting good grades, in terms of increasing your employability.

For instance, I did a 6th month stint in a student newspaper and got an award nomination for my work. That gets brought up a lot in the interviews I do.

There are a lot of graduates in any given field. To really stand out you need to have "extras", and many of those extras are considerably easier to do then getting good grades. And considerably more fun too. I only wish I cottoned on sooner.

Some activities are much better then others though. Choose activities that build universally good skills, that are uncommon for people in your degree to be involved in, and indicate good abilities to work with others.

So student newspapers, or some entrepreneurial group is good. However an activity where you just play games, or drink, isn't likely to do much for you.


Also, the people you work with in those extra curriculars are likely to be much better connections too, as they'll have actually worked with you in some capacity.
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