Should college students be networking?

It depends what you mean by network.

When I was twenty-two I paid $900 out of my own pocket to go to a Functional Training Summit in Chicago. It’s a three-day conference in a giant hotel for fitness professionals to meet each other and learn from experts in the field. On the second night they held a networking event — two hours of unscheduled time for speakers and participants to meet each other and share ideas.

I intentionally met every speaker. I asked them questions, figuring if I asked enough questions, proved to them I was good enough, smart enough, one of them might tell me about a job.

Of course, nobody told me about a job. Nobody owed me any favors. Nobody trusted me. My questions were interesting, I presented myself as smart, but my intentions were misguided at best.

We can network to provide value, to learn from people, and to connect with them. Or we can network because we have ulterior motives.

One is a good idea, and one isn’t.

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