Starting a New Chapter in Life
By Guest Blogger: Stephanie Zytowski, BBA '11, MM '13
For ten years, I juggled working full-time, taking classes at Walsh College, as well as spending time with family and friends. Like most Walsh alum, the juggling act taught me how to manage and prioritize my schedule so that I was using my time efficiently and effectively. When I submitted my final paper, I realized my life was about to change and it sunk in – I was graduating. The heavy load I had carried for the last ten years was going to lighten up. A new chapter of my life was about to be written and I had no idea where to begin. All I had known for the last ten years was about to change. It became a scary thought, but ended up turning into something that would open my eyes to new beginnings and opportunities.
Free time had been rare and far between for so long. After my final semester ended, it took about two weeks to realize I had free time. It was time to get involved because not having something to do was not only boring (if you can believe that), but 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 stay updated with business trends? How would I meet new people and expand my professional network? These questions led me to reach out via LinkedIn to Duc Abrahamson, Alumni and Student Relations Manager at Walsh College.
At the time, my experience with LinkedIn was minimal, but I knew it was time to start establishing and marketing myself. This is where my new chapter began. After Duc and I connected, we spoke on the phone and she explained the goals and descriptions of various committees that Walsh offered to Alumni. Two months later, after a simple LinkedIn connection and phone call, I am now a member of the Golf Outing Committee and Marketing & Communications Committee. This was one of the best decisions I have made since graduation. Several of the board and committee members have become my friends and mentors, helping me understand the importance of networking, appropriate business interactions at events, and how good it feels to give back to Walsh, the institution that has supported my success and skill development over the last four years. I can only imagine how many more lessons I will learn from my fellow alum and how it will help me grow, not only as a person, but as a professional.
Graduation season is now behind us. I remind you of the importance of networking whether you are a 2013 graduate or if you are celebrating your 25th anniversary as a graduate.
- Creating and maintaining a LinkedIn account plays a significant role in marketing yourself and/or your business, consider joining the Walsh College Alumni LinkedIn Group
- Maintaining relations/connections with those that you previously interacted including alumni and professors
- Maintaining connections with those that you have met at various functions and events; you never know when your paths will cross again
- Maintaining connections with current and past colleagues as well as vendors
- 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 the end result will be success and a smile knowing you are doing what you love; get involved with the WCAA today
This chapter is still being written, but what I can say to my fellow alumni is that with determination and support of Walsh College faculty/staff, current students and alumni, I will continue to write successful chapters, build relationships, and inspire others to accomplish their goals. I can now say that I have something to do in my free time, and that is giving back and being a member of dynamic committees with people who have the same goals. It is truly inspiring and motivational.
What do you do to stay connected and on top of business trends? Share your recommendations below.
-Stephanie M. Zytowski
Nemeth Burwell, P.C.