By Guest Blogger: Stephanie Zytowski, BBA '11, MM '13
I cannot imagine that I am the only one who wondered what life would be like after graduation. After years of attending classes, working full-time and managing a social life with family and friends, graduation day was fast approaching. It was not until I submitted my last paper that it actually sank in — I was graduating. Life was about to restart, so to speak. Now what? What I had known for the last ten years was about to change. It was a scary thought, but evolved into something that opened my eyes to new beginnings and opportunities.
After my final semester ended and I obtained my Master’s, it took about two weeks to realize that it was time to get involved in other ways. I was bored by inactivity and I felt like I had lost connections with so many aspects of the business world. How would I keep in touch with old classmates? How would I keep updated with business trends? How would I meet new people now that classes were finished? Questions like that that lead me to my decision to reach out to Duc Abrahamson of the Alumni & Student Relations department at Walsh College through LinkedIn.
At the time, I had not used LinkedIn much, but I knew it was time to start establishing and marketing myself. You could say that is where it all began! After Duc and I connected on LinkedIn, we spoke on the phone. She explained the goals of various Walsh College Alumni Association committees and briefly described them. Two months later, after a simple LinkedIn connection and phone call, I have become a part of the Golf Committee and Marketing and Communications Committee at Walsh College. I feel this was one of the best decisions I have made since graduation. Several of the board and committee members have become my mentors. They have helped me to understand the importance of networking, appropriate business interactions at events, and how good it feels to give back to a college that has supported me during the last four years. I can only imagine how many more lessons I will learn from my fellow committee members and how it will help me grow both personally and professionally. I look forward to this new adventure.
Here are a few things I learned during this new adventure that I wished I knew before graduation. I hope these thoughts will help current students and those that may be graduating soon to get a head start on their new life.
- Create a LinkedIn account prior to completing your degree; it is important to network before and after completing your degree.
- Maintain relations and connections with those that you interact with the most in your classes including students and professors. You never know when your paths will cross again.
- Maintain relations and connections with colleagues and previous colleagues.
- Social media sites like LinkedIn are a way to market your accomplishments and skill set; remember to keep it professional.
- Join organizations that you are passionate about because your end result will be success and a smile — knowing that you are doing what you love.