A couple of weeks ago someone asked me if there was something I wanted to accomplish this summer, a goal that I had always told myself to go after. I have to admit, the question was one of the more profound ones I’ve gotten in these last two months so I was a little put on the spot. But as I searched my mind for an answer, I heard myself saying: start making connections, form networks. While a part of me winced at how responsibly my subconscious answers questions, the other part of me realized the validity of the statement.
Throughout our time at Hopkins, students are given incredible opportunities to pinpoint and pursue their passions. And while I’ve joined and left organizations or classes to find what interests me the most, I never really approached my activities in the mindset of resume building. I wouldn’t say that my approach was detrimental in any way; in fact, it led me to what I wanted to do without added stress. However, as we get older and internship seasons come and go, I realize just how important it is to keep track of activities, events, relationships, so I can find more opportunities and help others find opportunities in the professional world. Although I might not stay with a certain job, that doesn’t mean I should lose touch with what I did or what I learned; rather, I should use the experience to propel myself forward.
Hand in hand with this process, comes the proper composure of establishing ourselves in the professional world. We have to learn the lingo, gain the confidence, and perfect that professional email. We have to be able to form connections with people from any and every background or age—something that I tend to struggle with, as I don’t want to come off as disrespectful but at the same time don’t want to seem timid or unwilling to project my opinion. Forming connections are just the first step, we then need to learn how to maintain them and strengthen them. All in all, there’s a lot going on and quite honestly, it can seem very overwhelming. But even as I stress about how well I spoke at a meeting or if I should have said ‘thank you’ instead of ‘thanks,’ I realize that in this learning process, we’re still doing okay. Not only was there a mass joining of LinkedIn or JHU Connect this year (something I still need to do…oops), there was also a jump to help each other—a friend or a colleague involved in a certain industry that was willing to have a meeting or a phone call. Networking can be stressful, but it helps to think that we’re all in the same boat and that we can all lend a hand in some way. So the real question is: have I made any progress? I do like to think that I’ve gotten pretty darn good at that email….