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How to network and build connections

Hi, I’m Nat a third year Social Work Student at the University of Huddersfield. At the start of this academic year, like most students, I was feeling isolated and unsure of what student life what going to entail. The COVID pandemic had just hit, I unwillingly moved back home and student life as I knew it had vanished. So I started reading motivational books, which I surprisingly found very motivational. I realised that there isn’t many student who like to read non-academic books in their spare time but that the information I was reading was too good to not share. This led me to set up @selfimprovementsociety, a society that focuses on helping students to self-improvement.

Over this academic year we have created a virtual community, to enable students to make friends, seek signposting advice and join online activities. This society has been the foundation for my journey, which is just at the beginning. Following many successful events, campaign and society awards, a SU staff member suggested I ran for SU President. I was shocked to say the least, but I gave it some thought and I applied. Why not? I had nothing to lose right?! With everything still being done virtually, I began to build up my social media accounts. This admittedly took a little while and at times was frustrating. But the confidence I gained through posting photos and videos of myself was tremendous. I no longer cared about the social media ‘expectations’ which I often worried about when posting on my personal account, I wanted to win!

My hard work did payed off, I won the elections! So I was now taking a year out of studies (4 year integrated masters programme). This admittedly came at a good time as I was already unsure of whether I wanted a career in Social Work. This led to me to download Linked In. Admittedly, when I first started using this platform, I was confused, very confused. I sought advice on how to use the platform effectively and my network began to grow. I started messaging professionals in fields of interest to me, ranging from management consulting to clinical psychology. Finding out their day to day job roles, how to stand out from the crowd and any general advice and tips they may have. Networking is key to getting where you want and need to be, it just takes persistence. I must have messaged over 50 people to get 5 responses at the beginning, but in the end I got the information I needed. My journey so far, would not have been possible without mass dedication to my personal and professional growth through networking, hard work and grit. My advice would be whatever you do, never give up. Keep making progress and you will get there in the end.

If you wish to stay updated with my journey as SU President- here is the link

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