By Hannah Magino
Many students know that academics and extracurriculars are a significant part of high school. Networking can be equally important too. Networking is the process in which you develop and build connections with a variety of people. Through these relationships, you can exchange and receive beneficial information and resources. The professional bonds you form with mentors, teachers, peers, and other important people throughout the four years of high school can have lasting impacts on your life, not just in school. You can weave a net from the connections you make and use that net to catch new opportunities. But why exactly is it important to start networking from high school?
Relationships are a fundamental part of life and the bases of networking. It’s crucial to start building these relationships from a young age. The people you meet and bond with in high school are the ones you can ask for advice and help with SAT preparation, referrals for jobs, recommendation letters for scholarships and college, and much more.
Networking can happen anywhere, anytime in high school. When you join clubs, connecting with the sponsors, engaging in conversations, and asking them questions is building your network. Meeting other high schoolers, not just inside your school but also outside, helps you develop relationships with those with similar interests. Strengthening these bonds is useful as you make your way through life. Your neighbors, coaches, teachers, and friends are all people you can form relationships with and create a lasting impression on. Simply greeting teachers in the hall when you pass by or stopping to have conversations with neighbors you see is a great way to start forming these relationships.
When you form connections with people, opportunities are bound to come knocking on your door. Someone you meet can connect you to jobs, internships, or summer programs. For example, the upperclassman who sat next to you in math may have noticed how good you are at explaining topics they don’t understand. As your friend, they may recommend you a job at a tutoring center. They may even know the boss and be able to put in a good word for you. The jobs you get can lead you to more fantastic opportunities, expanding your network circle as you meet more people with experience. Sometimes, while chatting with your neighbors, you may learn about the field they work in and advice they have for life after high school based on their experience. So, try to create a wide network and meet new people. You never know how your connections can benefit you later on.
Networking in high school can also help you build a successful profile. The connections you make will expand, and you can create a reputation that could be an asset in school, jobs, and careers you may pursue.
Even in high school, there are countless ways that you can begin your networking journey. One way is to find a club that you are interested in. Through the club, socialize and expand your circle. You’ll be able to meet people who have the same interests as you and can connect you to peers, mentors, or organization leaders.
Another great way to start is by finding a mentor. A mentor is someone with rich experience and expertise who can provide guidance. They can also introduce you to others while bringing you into a field you might be interested in. When finding a mentor, you can look for upperclassmen in the clubs you are in, teachers, or recent school alumni. You can even ask your parents and friends if they know people in the field you are interested in. For example, your friend from school may have a sister who recently graduated high school, and is going to college to study a field of your interest. If you connect with your friend’s sister, she can give you helpful tips on classes to take, clubs to join, and people to talk to, which can direct you to the right path in and beyond high school.
With networking, you have access to more resources and information than before. High school is one of the best times to absorb new information, gain experience, and master skills, so take advantage of this time to expand your network.