Networking Is Really Just Making Friends

Networking Is Really Just Making Friends

The best friends are the ones that give you jobs!

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"Networking" is the dominant topic of conversation in college. "Are you going to Nonprofit Networking tonight?" "Did you go to Women's Networking Night last week?" "Hey! Wanna go to Entertainment Networking Night together?" I even remember a college panel I went to in high school on which one of the panelists said that his campus was small enough to have an intimate academic experience but big enough to "network." I remember thinking--"Does he just mean making friends?"

The word "networking" presents itself in an intimidating way. It implies expansion; the expansion of your professional brand to as many people as possible. Its connotations transport me into a world of handshakes, ironed dress shirts, and sensible high heels. Friendship, on the other hand, has always made me think of genuine laughs, great meals, and connection on a personal level rather than on a basis of someone's career trajectory. I always thought that the two were mutually exclusive.

But now that I'm nearly halfway through my first semester of college, my perception has changed. It was, funnily enough, at UCLA's Women's Networking Night last week. One of the panelists, an incredibly accomplished lawyer, stated that her tactic for finding business partners is connecting on a level deeper than work. She said that once she connects with someone on a moral or ethical level, or even on opinions on things like pop culture or food, she knows that she can pursue a genuine connection with them that may help her later on. She presented networking as something that stemmed from genuine friendship.

This thought to me was revolutionary. I'd always seen networking as a robotic means of elevating one's career, but I've learned that it doesn't have to be that way. The best connections are authentic. The best way to make a friend is to be nice and show you care about them, and this applies wholeheartedly to professional pursuits.

When meeting someone you aspire to be, first ask them about their day rather than asking them if you can friend them on LinkedIn. This sounds intuitive, but being authentic is harder than you might think. Despite my intentions, I often find myself reverting to conventional questions when meeting professional people. "Are there any internships available at your company? Where can I send my cover letter?" It's not that these questions aren't valid, but that they're stereotypical questions that cultivate purely business relationships, rather than friendships. And friends are who people remember. Friends are who people help.

I'm at an age where the #1 thing on everyone's mind is advancing their career, but amidst all that, it's imperative to remember human connections and compassion. I quote icon and genius Brene Brown when I say that authenticity is "a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." It's not just about being an authentic networker and friend, it's about being an authentic person. People follow authentic people; they follow genuine sentiments and real expressions of care. The more authentic you are, the more successful you'll be.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Your Future Self Will Thank You For All Of This Hard Work

Is it really worth it?

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Why are you up past midnight studying a concept you just cannot get through your head? Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you spending countless hours looking over this material you may never use again?

Because you are amounting to something greater. You are bettering your past self and looking for a future. This is the step you have to take in order to complete what you want in life. If this is what you want, take action, get your ass moving, and graduate.

You are studying to create the perfect piece of jewelry for Tiffany's and for the perfect couple to use in their wedding. You are studying so those children you are teaching, can get into a college and maybe become a teacher themselves. You are studying to save a life one day. You are studying to not only impact your own life but to impact others as well.

It is going to seem tough. It's getting to that time where exam scores are coming in, you somehow have 5 group projects, and now you have to go to work. It is draining and it is hard. There are times you feel absolutely defeated. You failed that exam. You failed a class. You couldn't figure out a lab test. You couldn't pass that skill. You turned a paper in late.

Welcome to college and welcome to life. You are not going to pass everything, nothing will be perfect, and nothing starts on time. You are more than that number. It is not about what happened, but how you respond to it. How are you going to bring that grade up? What changes are you going to make in order to achieve that end goal?

Grow through what you go through.

Make the changes necessary so you can be where you want to be in life. It does not matter how long it takes. Whether you finish your bachelors in 4 years or in 5 years, or you go back to school years later to finish, it does not matter. As long as you get where you want to go, it does not matter how long it took you.

Measure yourself from the year previous, or even the semester previous. You most likely completed one thing you thought you couldn't. You did something better and stronger than last year. So wherever you are now, keep your head up and keep pushing through. College is rough, but you can do it.

And yes, it is 100% worth it.

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