When people are still at university, they are quite often so hyper-focused on their studies themselves. Of course, the main objective of university (or any form of education, for that matter) is to study, but at university one of the most important things is also beginning to navigate the real world and, in turn, one’s future industry of choice. The modern student is busier than ever. Not only are they juggling course content and impending assessment due dates, but they must do everyday day things like go for a run, buy the groceries, or open a bank account online so their finances are easier to sift through on the daily.
In short, life as a modern student is busier because we live in a world that is more expensive. Honestly, that is what it all comes down to. With rent, bills, gas, gym memberships, groceries, course materials, and the courses themselves to pay for (as well as trying to save as much money as possible to avoid living paycheck to paycheck), there is more to somehow balance, but still the same amount of time to balance it all. Because of this, students these days must be willing to incorporate career progression steps into their schedules as well. Why? Because life after being a student does not get any easier – and if you do not start now, you start lagging after your competition when you do enter the workforce.
University is a chance for students to begin networking and getting to know others in their respective industry. Through networking events you not only gather more solid perspective and understanding of the industry at its core, but you get to experience in real time with others who are finding their footing as well. Networking events are designed to push you out of your comfort zone, to drive passionate people in the same industry together, to make connections and to develop a reputation for yourself in the industry – so getting in the door before you have graduated is the only sure-fire way to establish your professional reputation ahead of the competition.
The great thing about going to networking events as a student is that you are not expected by any means to be the most well-informed person in the room. If anything, people are impressed that you have been brave enough to start making your mark in your yield at such an early – even precursory – stage in your professional career. The people you meet at networking events are likely to remember the eager university student who went out of their way to introduce themselves.
Those same people could be – and have been – the same people who hire you right out of university, or give you a positive nudge in the right direction further down the pipeline. At the end of the day, you should be focusing first and foremost on your studies, but it is never a bad thing to fine-tune your people skills and start your networking experience nice and early.