College is the whole of our lives lived out quickly in a few short years. There are too many first-year students going into college with a flawed mindset. There is more to college than getting a giant slice of knowledge, making a few good friends, falling in and out of love, going to several awesome parties, and then graduating.
College provides you with an opportunity you will rarely have outside that setting. It is the privilege of being in the same space, getting to mingle with people from all walks of life, and suddenly you have so many choices to affiliate yourself with. Believe it or not, the affiliations you establish in those years can go on to determine how far you go in your chosen career path.

In building a network and establishing connections, it is essential to focus more on the value-adding potential of those persons, organizations, or influences on your life. Weigh your choices carefully and determine what associations are expedient in achieving your goals in the long term. A strong network is not appraised merely by the number of people you interact with. It is in the quality of them and how relevant they are to helping you find a strong footing in college, thriving, and then going on to live your dreams after college.

The big question possibly ringing in your head now is, “How do I get started?” We all crave success. Mediocrity is not something anyone should aspire to. However, achieving said success, in the long run, lies very much with your ability to stay committed to excellence in the long run. Staying motivated while going through college is not exactly the easiest thing to do. You’ll always need a support system, a full-fledged network of reassuring people that keep you standing on your feet and ensure you stay moving forward.

A strong college network is made up of several tiers of components: fellow students, professors, mentors, and alumni. Each of these is of much significance to the cause. This string of connections is necessary for capacity building as a young adult. Every connection established with persons in any of these tiers can play a very significant role in determining how prepared a person will be to venture into the outside world post-college.

Networking in college involves the creation of advantageous relationships with fellow students (your peers) and professionals (professors, mentors, and alumni in related fields). It is important to take any necessary steps to ensure that the future you have created in your head comes to reality. Getting ahead quickly is not always about what you know (although this is also a part of the equation), it is more about who you know.

Making the right connections with the right people is a sure gateway to get connected to future employers or practitioners in the field who can provide useful advice on how to get ahead in your career or even better, secure jobs and internships.
Building the right connections pushes you further on the path you need to walk to achieve excellence, then success. Never neglect the potency that lies in building strong student-professor relationships. You never know how far these will help with your grades or getting that recommendation or even securing that dream job.

Get comfortable with your instructors, try to feel free around them, and do not ever hesitate to approach them if you ever need help getting it right. Get familiar with your school’s career office for students, sign up to clubs and organizations on campus that align with your long-term goals, and be actively involved. Avoid mediocrity, and find a mentor to walk with you every step of the way through rocky uncertain roads. Let your dreams find expression through the many meaningful, impactful, and life-changing connections you will make through your years in college.

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