How to Enjoy Networking: Give More to Get More

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How to Enjoy Networking Give More to Get MoreNetworking. My stomach used to make backflips at the mere mention of the word. Somehow, I’d come up with a ridiculous excuse to avoid meet and greet events altogether. I used to see networking as a forced, unnatural way to get contacts for when you need help, such as when you’re looking for a job. I quickly learned that networking is more about what you can offer the other individual as a professional and less about what you can gain from meeting them. I had the ill-conceived mindset that networking is for the sole purpose of getting a job. At this point, that’s not meeting people but instead piling up contacts in hopes to utilize them or their connections to land your dream job. I wouldn’t call myself an expert networker, but here are some suggestions that worked for me!

 

  • Meeting people at different networking events and scheduling informational interviews are great ways to obtain insight into a particular graduate school program or career path. You’re not only gaining valuable information but in a sense also constructing your brand by illustrating your authentic interest in building a network! Your goal in an event shouldn’t be to grab everyone’s business card, but more so meaningfully connecting with 2 or 3 people.
  • If you’re passionate about a specific area of interest, look into who might be in your targeted field and the work that they’re doing. Even making just one but strong connection makes a lasting impression on the other person and they will most likely want to be a mentor or person of support in your career endeavors.
  • Allow yourself to naturally make connections and develop relationships with others. Your goal is is to make meaningful interactions with people you’re genuinely interested in meeting and conversing about their interests and work.

Where Do You Meet People?

Attending networking events is fantastic, but I believe they make up a small part of the act of networking. You meet people at work, on campus, at the park, where you volunteer, on the T, basically, anywhere you’re having interactions with others. You can kick off with the network you’ve already worked so hard to build without knowing it! One of your biggest networks and mine too is most likely Northeastern.

Your professors, the staff, the police officers, and of course, your friends and other students are all part of your huge network. These are people who you can seek help from whether it’s for pressing questions about a particular industry or genuine interest in the work that they do. And also remember, everyone has their own network, so even if they can’t help you directly, they can always refer you to someone who can. If there are trust and relationship built between you and that person, why wouldn’t want to lend you a helping hand and introduce you to someone who can?

Joviane Bellegarde is a Northeastern Alumna hailing from the Class of 2014. She graduated with a BS in Biochemistry and is working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Technical Research Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys reading, catching up on her favorite shows, and expressing her inner geek. Email her at bellegarde.j@husky.neu.edu or connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jovianebellegarde.

Combatting Imposter Syndrome: A Life-Long Battle

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Aspen ImposterImposter Syndrome: we’ve all felt it at some point in our lives. It starts with a creeping feeling of self-doubt. Then the questions start. How did I fool everyone for this long? Will everyone realize I don’t belong here? How much longer can I keep up this façade? Sometimes nerve-racking situations like giving a presentation to peers will bring the onslaught of questions, while other times all it takes is a bad day at work. It is a phenomenon that is experienced by most but discussed by few as if repeating the questions out loud will somehow make them a reality.

Imposter syndrome was first defined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imesas as: “high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.

Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In :Women, Work and the Will to Lead, also shares a description of this phenomenon:“Many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are- impostors with limited skills or abilities.”

Even wildly successful people such as Tina Fey, Neil Gaiman, and Maya Angelou have admitted to feeling this way at times.

If you Google imposter syndrome you will find numerous lists and articles about how to combat it, and I think many of those suggestions are valid. I particularly liked 21 ways to overcome imposter syndrome by Kyle Eschenroeder. However, most are suggestions that involve intentionally changing your thinking, which is often easier said than done. Instead, I will offer something that has worked for me. It may sound simple, but I’ve found that the best way to combat imposter syndrome is to have a hobby. By hobby, I mean something that you love and know that you are good at. For me, that hobby is photography. When I’m having a bad day, week, or month of experiments in the lab, or when I’m nervous about a presentation, I find that photo shoots and capturing images that I am proud of help to remind me that it’s all in my head. It reminds me that I’m talented and that I got to where I am with hard work, not by misleading a bunch of people about my skills. This suggestion probably sounds weird, because my ability to take a photo and the skills that make me a successful graduate student are seemingly unrelated, but I’ve found that it works. I think it works because it breaks the cycle of self-doubt, even just for a few moments, which is all it takes to fight back against imposter syndrome. It’s like a reset button that gives you a chance to start again and focus on the good things instead of the doubts. Unfortunately, this isn’t a permanent solution, and the next presentation or stressful day to come along brings back those same questions. But so far, doing something that I love has worked every time to stop that inner voice from asking how much longer I have until someone sees right through my façade.

Katie Stember is a Northeastern Alumnae (Class of ’13) who was very involved with Husky Ambassadors as a student. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill studying an autoimmune disease called ANCA Vasculitis. She’s a proud cat mom and in her free time does volunteer photography for a local animal shelter. Feel free to contact her at katie.stember@gmail.com.

 

The Pros and Cons of Living WAY Off Campus

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With room and board being ridiculously high in the city, some students turn to alternative living situations. Thinking of living WAY off campus? Here are some pros and cons I’ve gleaned from living in a small suburb in Malden, Massachusetts.

Let’s start with the cons (we’ll save the best for last!)

backpack2THE COMMUTE
The commute is by far one of the toughest parts about living far off campus, especially when the Boston snowpocalypse descends upon our helpless souls. Every morning and evening, I travel 40 minutes to and from school and occasionally endure the hellish 7-8 rush hour on the T. And no one is a happy camper on the T when it becomes a stuffed sausage in which no one wants to make room for the person next to them.

NO MIDDAY NAPS OR PIT STOPS IN THE DORM ROOM
One convenient thing about living on or close to campus is being able to collapse on your bed in the middle of the day. I mean, I guess you could find an unoccupied couch in the library. And if you forgot your class materials back at home, better come up with a GREAT excuse as to why you’ve come to class empty-handed!

CARRYING EVERYTHING AROUND ALL DAY LIKE YOU’RE BACKPACKING ACROSS EUROPEbackpacks
While living on campus allows one to take only what you need to a certain class before returning to your room to pick up the necessities for a later class, living way off campus means having to take everything you need in a day, packing it on your back like a mule, and hiking to every class with a lunchbox, laptop, and notes. On the upside, it’s trained me to think “light” and take only what is absolutely necessary. Last year, I left my laptop at home and got used to using the computers in the library. May sound ludicrous, but it helped me focus better in class when I couldn’t get on Facebook as “wah-wah, wah-wah-wah,” started coming from my professor’s mouth.

SOCIAL DISCONNECT
When you can’t walk over to a girlfriend’s room or classmate’s dorm at 12am for a little fun time or a class project because you’ve already gone home for the night, it’s hard to have that 24/7 access to campus social life.

THE MONTHLY OUT-OF-POCKET RENT
If mum and dad can’t help out, and you didn’t hone in on your saving and budgeting skills over summer break, paying for rent out of pocket can be a pain and a pressure. $650 a month means cutting costs for most college students. It means rarely ever going out to eat or shopping in order to afford the monthly payments, and working all year round to make sure rent is always covered.

While that may sound rough, here are the reasons why I LOVE living WAY off campus!

Woman with coins in jar

SAVE THOSE $$$
The best thing about living off campus, is, of course, the affordability. While living on campus in the cheapest dorms can be up to $3,100 per semester, some of the cheaper living situations off campus can be up to $2,600 a semester with the internet, water, electricity, and laundry included. For example, my current rent is approx. $650 a month with all expenses included. It helps me sleep better at night to know that at least room and board aren’t being added to my college debt!

AWAY FROM THE NOISE
One of the struggles of living in a campus dorm is loud neighbors and the hubbub of noisy city life. For someone who doesn’t really enjoy having neighbors who constantly invite people over, play loud music, or simply have people living around them who seem to be unidentified zoo animals, the quietude of a small suburb and mature and respectful housemates can be a godsend.

FEEL LIKE A REAL ADULT
Many graduate students or mature young adults live in rentable rooms out in Boston suburbia and commute thirty minutes or more to work or class. One plus of living off campus is feeling like a legit grown-up instead of the “waking-up-5-minutes-before-class-and-skipping face-washing-or-teeth-brushing” routine. In order to get to class on time, being on top of time management is essential. Great practice for the dreaded ADULTHOOD!

MEET UNLIKELY FRIENDS
Living off campus, I’ve met graduate students and interns from all over the world–from an Austrian archaeologist to a Venezuelan lawyer. I’ve also befriended the neighborhood mom-and-pop hair stylists who trim my hair for $10. Pretty good deal on a haircut if you ask me!

BUILD UNREAL WALKING MUSCLES
For some busy students (or anti-fitness individuals), walking is the only exercise worked into their schedule. Walking to the T stop every morning and night are sure to have your calves walk-marathon ready.

OWNING A SEMESTER T PASS
Having a semester T pass is a must when commuting on the daily. While the price for a semester T pass is high (and also un-refundable if you lose it), having a T pass is like having the FastPass at Disney World. Worrying about refilling your charlie card is a forgotten misery while your friends struggle on the other side of the gate to recharge their cards!

Despite all the difficulties of living out of the way, I love living off campus and would recommend it to anyone looking for comfortable and cheaper rooming options!

This Blog was written by Laura Ma.  She is currently a third year English Major and ex-Architecture Major. She has an assortment of passions including working the drive-thru window at Taco Bell, learning to speak German, and dancing solo in her basement. Feel free to reach out to her at ma.l@husky.neu.edu.