We are all clear about the importance of making connections in order for you to thrive in Canada, and that includes school too. Clearly, the best thing that comes out of the college experience is building a network of folks who will help you walk a career path that delights you, therefore, making strong connections in the early stages of each academic term is a smart thing to do.
Here are 4 people you should connect with during your first week at school whether you are beginning your educational journey or you are a returning student:
1. Someone who does not speak your native language:
Not only we are in Canada where thousands of languages are spoken everywhere, but we are also part of a global economy where it has never been easier to do business with other folks around the world.
Strive to connect with folks from other cultures and who are “different” from you. Find out how those differences fit into your world so you can learn from them, unlearn whatever you need to unlearn in order to open your mind for building meaningful relationships, grow, and explore how you can support each other’s academic and career endeavours!
Also, if English is not your first language, by connecting with these folks you will force yourself to immerse in the language and enhance your communication skills.
2. Someone who works at your institution:
Identify the services and resources available at your school, decide which division resonates with you, make an appointment, introduce yourself to the staff, tell them your story, your goals, understand their service model, and find out how they can support and optimize your learning experience throughout your schooling.
3. Someone who teaches in your program:
It is paramount that you build relationships with your program coordinators and faculty since these are the folks who are up to date on the trends of the field, and who know the market and what employers look for in new hires. Connect with them at the beginning of the class, during break time, or once the class is dismissed; make sure they know your name and who you are from the beginning of the semester. From my personal experience as an educator, I can tell you that we will go beyond and above to help you because we love students who take initiative and show engagement and drive.
4. Someone taking a different program from the one you are taking at school:
Don’t play safe by interacting only with the people who are getting the same training as you; there are many spaces available at your institution (even in an online environment) to connect with students who are getting trained in other areas, so go meet them, find out what their goals are and if they align with yours, so you can join forces for future collaborations or develop initiatives combining the strengths that you are acquiring in your program with the ones they are acquiring in theirs.
Ok, so now what?
For some of you, this is easier said than done and I understand that making these connections represents a challenge. The task seems simple but there is a complexity behind it because you have to reach out, ask, and speak to “strangers”, but rest assured that every single person within your academic environment is there to help you succeed.
Aim for making those 4 connections but don’t limit yourself there. The more people you connect with, the more opportunities you will be able to create for yourself.
Don’t leave things for later – START CONNECTING NOW!