Want to hear one of the more pragmatic things that Cornell graduates have always recommended to me? Get to know as many people as you can during your college years…as they’ll serve as your professional network for life.
It may be hard to believe this at first, but I bet it rings true. Cornell has many ambitious, determined students who will go on to do great things, and if you connect with them now, you never know when those contacts could come in handy.
So, how do you connect with these amazing people? Yes, forming friendships are a great way…but networking can also result from spontaneity and being open.
Cue the story:
Last Thursday, it was freezing and incredibly windy outside. It wasn’t just chilly…I’m talking about weather so cold that your Facebook newsfeed is filled with iPhone weather app screenshots with single digit numbers. Days like this, I’m not too thrilled that my classes are on the Ag quad, but I’m optimistic and make do.
As I was walking down Libe Slope in the snow, bundled up in a heavy coat and hat, I turned my head to face the opposite direction of the wind… just as a huge gust blew. As I did this, a woman 5 feet behind me did the exact same thing. We caught a look at each other and started laughing at the ridiculously cold weather, as well as our synchronized reactions to it. I learned quickly that she was from the south and hated the cold just as much as I do.
As we got to talking as we walked down the hill (more like yelling, since I had to be heard over loud howls of wind and a hood that covered my face), I learned we had a lot in common. She was a grad student studying a subject similar to mine, and had interests in economic policy–like myself. By the time we reached the bottom of the hill and had to part directions, I had told her of my D.C. plans for next fall, and she said that because she worked in D.C. for a bit, she could get me an internship at a place that might interest me. Then, she proceeded to give me her contact information.
I was, of course, appreciative, and also amused by the funny scenario. Who would’ve guessed that, as a student bundled up trying to avoid the wind on a snowy slope, I’d bump into someone that could offer me an internship?
If this is how the business world works, I guess I’m ready for it…