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Networking is one of the most important parts of college

Alex Mazzaferro, Contributing Writer

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College is expensive. According to collegedata.com, the current yearly cost of attendance is $26,074 for in-state students and $43,394 for out-of-state students at The University of Alabama. These prices don’t even include the costs of books, room and board or general living expenses.

 

A four-year university experience is a large investment and everyone expects a fair return in the form of employment or acceptance to a post-graduate program. It’s one big cash cow that’s got to be milked. For that reason, crack your knuckles and grab an udder; we’re about to dive into how to squeeze the most milk from this beautiful beast.

 

Most of the information we learn in undergraduate classes is readily available at any library or public database, either for free or for a marginal fee. So, why do people continue to pay the rising cost of tuition?

 

When someone pays to attend a four-year university, they are paying to have access to the school’s alumni base, as well as for the opportunity to build their professional network so they can find a job. Additionally, a college degree serves as verification to employers that you’ve actually learned the information you claim you have.

 

Keeping the cost of networking in mind, the decades old trilemma faced by every student involving the balance of studying, socializing and sleeping becomes simple. Students often find they can really only choose two of the three, forcing them to sacrifice the third. There is often a heavy emphasis on studying and sleep, but students should socialize more often to get the most bang for their buck.  

 

The most underappreciated task of the three is networking. A person could have a 4.0 GPA and be well-rested, but this alone is not enough to find a job or be accepted into a post-graduate program. The job market is extremely competitive, and students need to have connections to get their resumes sent to the top of the pile.

 

Everyone has heard “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” at least once during their academic career, and that reality hits hard when applications open for companies and universities. Nowadays, computer algorithms throw out resumes without certain buzzwords, so having an actual human in your corner to endorse an application is invaluable.

 

Furthermore, networking is an important skill to hone in college because it helps for the entirety of a professional career. A sad reality that becomes apparent quickly to those in the professional world is that the people who get promotions are not always the hardest workers. Rather, they are often the people who are the best at marketing themselves and those who make connections with managers and executives. Building the skills to market oneself early can prove to be worthwhile.

 

There will be opportunities for many students this semester to study for a test for one more hour when they know most of the material. At the same time, that same student might have the opportunity to go to a social event for a student organization or to enjoy Tuscaloosa. When the opportunity arises for this student, they should choose to bump elbows, shake hands and make friends in lieu of over-studying. The connections made at these events will prove to be much more important than the marginal amount of information absorbed for an exam.

 

Students are paying for personal growth and networking opportunities as much as they are for the opportunity to be in the classroom, so they should spend their time accordingly.

 

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Networking is one of the most important parts of college