My Introduction to Networking
On the first day, I was excited, I was nervous, I was curious, and I was ready to take on new experiences. I only packed one bag and carried it onto the plane. Listening to my new favorite Quinn XCII song, I sat on the plane and prepared notes on my interests, goals, and values that I held. I got off the plane, traveled to my hotel where I was staying, ate a nice dinner, and fell asleep. The next day when I woke up, I spent 45 minutes debating what outfit I should wear. For me, this was very out of character. For some reason, this felt like a massive decision. I eventually dressed myself and was standing in the lobby of the hotel with a couple of friends and 15 other students I was just now meeting. We all loaded a bus and were on our way to our first event. Questions that rushed into my head as I got off the bus and walked into the building included, “What do I do?”, “How do I introduce myself?”, “When do I shake the alum’s hand?”, and especially, “Why am I so nervous?!”
The group of us were greeted by a lady who brought us into a room where we were introduced to a panel of kind, open, and passionate people who were invested in OUR development. Listening to the panel talk about their professional experiences was incredibly motivating. As I sat in my chair, I was still nervous. Thankfully, after 10 minutes of hearing the speakers candidly talk and taking notes in my book, I was able to relax, ask questions, and was ready to engage in conversation.
I took a step back for a moment and began to reflect on the past 48 hours. I had gone from comfortably being at home, full of excitement, to being frighteningly nervous, along with every other confused feeling in between. But now I was confident, filled with ease, and ready to take on the week. Each day I had the most incredible opportunity to meet people and develop as a young professional in ways I hadn’t expected.
It would be easy to think that I am reflecting on my experience of my first week at St. Lawrence (SLU) as a first-year student. However, I live in Toronto, Canada, so my first trip to SLU was not a flight. Rather, my journey was five hours of bonding with my family in a truck packed full of “stuff.” Instead, the detailed experience above is my reflection on my experience with SLU Connect-San Francisco. A trip put on by Career Services, filled with networking opportunities, career discoveries, and a chance to get completely out of my comfort zone.
SLU Connect brings students to cities all over the country where Laurentians live and gives participants the opportunity to learn about the location, people, and professions in the area. It is a great opportunity for students to develop professional skills. My experience with SLU Connect-San Francisco and my overall experience at SLU have a tremendous amount of parallels. From the incredible people I have been able to meet, to the leadership opportunities I have experienced, to the moments that have shifted my perspectives on life, and the numerous overall invaluable skills that I have learned, I have cherished every moment I have had thus far at SLU.
Before participating in the SLU Connect-San Francisco program, I had always heard, “Take advantage of Career Services, they are there to help you,” from nearly every Laurentian I had talked to. It was not until I went outside my comfort zone by participating in SLU Connect that I realized how truly valuable Career Services is, but how valuable the whole St. Lawrence community is, too. Whether it be professors, peers, Dining Services, coaches, custodians, or anyone else, Laurentians lift each other up. The key idea that encompasses how I view the St. Lawrence community is that it is a melting pot for individuals to engage in new ways of thinking and make new connections. It's easy to see how walking through the door to Career Services in the Sullivan Student Center is a representation of the lasting connections and skills gained through being a Laurentian.