-originally posted on Victim to Charm as a guest post I wrote for Sabina-
Networking seems to be both inevitable and essential to my daily life here in college.
If you’re not joining a sorority for the sisterhood, you’re joining for the social connections. They can get you many things, from access to a party to an in for an important job or internship.
In applying for a student group on campus, I was told that in order to be accepted, I probably had to know people on the inside who would vouch for me. Meaning that even if I didn’t particularly enjoy someone’s personality, it shouldn’t deter me from being their friend because there were advantages to gain from the friendship.
At times, it seems very insincere to talk to people mainly because you want to take advantage of their social situation.
But when you consider the calculative and capitalistic nature of modern day society, you can view these connections in a different light and slowly come to accept/tolerate them. Interpersonal connections stop becoming about one taking advantage of the other and start becoming a two-way street for individuals to contribute what they can to help others out.
As much as I dislike the concept of networking, some people believe that our main purpose here (in college) is not necessarily to learn something or leave with a major, but simply to network and develop connections.
This makes sense, it really does. However, what I’ve learned over this year is that it’s essential not to let networking take over your life. Focusing on it detracts from the amount/quality of meaningful relationships you can maintain with people. You know, the ones that aren’t based on who you know or who your parents are? The ones that consist of weekends in and movie marathons?
Notice that I said maintain, not just make. Making them is easy enough, but maintaining and nurturing friendships takes patience and effort.
Networking can be beneficial in moderation. Just be sure to know when the timing is appropriate. Don’t commoditize your friendships.