Let Life and Networking Guide You

by Grant Batchelder

My professors always told me that networking was one of the most important things I could work on while I was in graduate school. This, for me at least, was an understatement. During my first year of graduate school, I attended my first national NASPA conference in Phoenix. I met many interesting people and had some truly amazing conversations. I had decided to focus my attention on meeting other graduate students, as they would one day be my peers in the professional world. I did not think that meeting other graduate students would get me my first professional job, only that later down the road I would be able to connect and get help from my peers. This worked out well for me.

On the last night of the conference, a friend and I went to the NODA meet and greet. Here I met a young woman who I would later become great friends with. We talked about our programs and she told me about her job search, as it was her second year of graduate school. Over the next year, we stayed in contact over Facebook and email. Mostly to say happy birthday or to check in on how school or our jobs were treating us. Then my own job search began. This friend gave me some advice and asked me how my search was going early on in the process. However, from February to June I had still had no interest from schools and I was beginning to admit that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be working in California like I had wanted to, so I widened my search a little bit. A few weeks later and I still had no bites. I had been forced to move back to Maine from California and was honestly more than a little down.

It was at this point that my NASPA friend posted on Facebook saying that there was an opening at the school she worked at. I was desperate enough to apply to a school in Texas and see where it got me. A few minutes after sending in my application, the assistant director of residence life called me and asked if I could interview later that day. I had a job within the week and it was all thanks to my friend from NASPA. Networking really works! It can get you a new job or building friendships that will help you develop beyond your current abilities.

There is one part of the story that I left out. Back in March of 2012 when I met my NASPA friend, I shook her hand and knew that I would one day marry that girl. I didn’t really believe it, but I felt it. This last Monday, my NASPA friend agreed to marry me. Long story short, go out there and network. You have no clue what life has in store for you, but if you don’t go out and seek your opportunities/meet people, then you won’t give life the chance to give you the job or girl/boy of your dreams.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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