I was pretty excited when I found out I’d be leading recruitment for the Orr Fellowship this year at DePauw (my alma mater) and Wabash College. Even two weeks after graduation on May 19, I was craving reasons to be back on a college campus, so it was a win-win opportunity.
And so we went to DePauw, before classes even started. On August 26, I and five of my peers in the Orr Fellowship made the drive to campus to talk Fellowship, recruitment and professional life. We had lunch with 149 DePauw sophomores who attended Sophomore Institute. These 149 sophomores (all of whom dedicated a day to Sophomore Institute) heard from all-star alumni Bill Caskey ‘78 and Andrew Wills ‘11 about skills to build in college, online profile management and goal-setting. They had already absorbed a lot by the time our 11:30 lunch rolled around.
At my lunch table were nine sophomores who were concerned primarily with networking. It occurred to me that networking is a word we throw around often – we attend networking events and we network our way through coffee and lunches and LinkedIn. As networking has become widely understood to be a necessity in professional life, I think lots of people have gotten progressively a lot worse at the purpose of networking. I told the sophomores at my table that good networking is just relationship-building. It’s not about how many business cards you have in your wallet at the end of the day; it’s about the number of lasting impressions you made via genuine connections. However, if anyone would like a business card, I have about 500 with my name on them waiting for homes.
The Fellowship has already given me a lot, networking skills included. As I make more trips to DePauw and Wabash I hope I’ll be able to impart more little nuggets of wisdom learned from my (admittedly short, at this point) time in “real life.”