May 01, 2012

Networking Tips: Get To Know Upperclassmen

If you're an underclassman in collefe study music industry, or something related, canbe easy to stick with what and who you know by hanging out with the people you share a schedule with. After all, your classmates are facing the same struggles as you and they're the people you will need to choose from when it comes time for group projects. It's great to have a good relationship with your soon-to-be graduating class but don't miss out on other networking opportunities in favor of becoming BFFs with those around you,. Ultimately there are several reasons it can be beneficial to befriend some of those upperclassmen, even if that may at times seems a bit scary.
Help With Classes
In the short-term, the immediate help an upperclassmen can provide could mean the difference between a torturous term or a pleasant one. You know that part in Legally Blonde where Elle first meets Emmett (Luke Wilson) in the quad after a particualry tough class (sorry for the analogy here guys, but I'm sure some of you have watched too)? He tells her what to expect from each professor, how to prepare for tests, and even where to sit to avoid getting spit on (gross). Having a friend who is a few years ahead of you can help you get the best teachers, the best preperation for tests, and pick the most intersting courses. Plus, if you need a little extra help understanding the material, it can't hurt to have a friend who has already survived it.

Networking
Not only has an older student already taken a lot of your classes, he or she has likely already participated in industry events and maybe even a few internships. If you're lucky, that can mean an intvite to a networking event, a few introductions, or maybe a recommendation to a former boss.

Career Help
A few years from now when you're about the graduate and are looking for a job that upperclassmen will already have racked up a couple years of work experience. (Let's hope the economy/job market imrpove and make that true). As you've heard countless times before, in the music industry "it's not what you know, it's who you know." So, having a friend who graduated two years ahead of you and might know of someone that is hiring can be extremely helpful when you need to get your foot in the door.

Just Because
As I wrote this, I began to worry that this may come across as calculating and coniving when that wasn't my intention. I really hope none of you try to befriend upperclassmen (or anyone for that matter) solely because you believe it will help your career. I know though that it can be intimidating for someone just starting college to introduce themselves to a junior or senior. In fact, when I was a freshmen and met upperclassmen I usually refused to tell them what year I was out of fear they'd somehow think that made me lame (I realize now that this was stupid and most people don't think that way). Making a new friend is always a worthy experience in it's own right, but if you feel a bit too intimidated by that idea, then maybe these points can help provide that extra bit of motivation you need to get over those nerves and meet someone new.

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