Monday, April 2, 2018

Networking for a Non-Networker

I consider myself a social being. I was involved in tons of extra-curricular activities as an undergrad as a member of a multiple social clubs. However, I have found that professional networking is much harder for me than I thought it would be. I do not have as much confidence approaching a stranger as a law student as I did as an undergraduate club leader.

Ultimately, I think that it comes down to age and comfort. I do not have as much confidence as a first year law student competing with third years as I did when I was a senior undergrad competing with younger peers. At the start of the year, each time I would go into a networking event, I was plagued with the fear of “not being good enough.”

Today, I am still not as comfortable as I hope to soon be, but I have gained more confidence. Not only have I been in school longer and learned much more about the law, I have also had the opportunity to interact with far more law professionals than I imagined. As a member of the Consumer Law Society on campus, I have sat in on several lunchtime lectures by guest alumni and learned about their paths and experiences. I have had the opportunity to meet alumni at different fairs on campus and been invited to panels on different areas on the law. Basically, I have had the opportunity to get over my feelings of timidness: I have had real time opportunities to realize that my fears are unfounded.

Every single Loyola alum that I have met has been welcoming and helpful. I have never been made to feel like I was a burden or inexperienced. I still have some fear, but it is a feeling that I know I will soon get over. The Career Development Office requires 1L students to attend at least two networking events by the end of the year in order to facilitate this comfort, and it has truly helped me.

Being a social person and being an effective networker are not necessarily the same thing, and I am glad that I have had organizations and departments on campus to help me through the transition. I know that my interactions with Loyola alums helped me secure my job for this summer, but will also help me make connections for the future.

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