Another WhatsApp Group?! Virtual networks.
In this post, I give some tips on how to build valuable connections with people in spite of the lockdown environment we live in.
I believe that interacting with people that think differently, inspire you and bring you up can change the direction of your life – particularly at university. We become the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with, so ensuring that you get a balance of people who are now undertaking a path you one day want to pursue can be invaluable in helping you maximise your potential.
But how can you connect with people when those random interactions no longer happen in the lockdown world we currently face? Hopefully the following insights will give you some ideas.
- Virtual Society events (e.g. WDS) and society messenger chats.
Joining societies to meet people with similar interests to you can be an invaluable way to connect with people that think on your wavelength. Whether that’s through an academic society to learn about study hacks from your fellow course mates, a careers-focused society or sports society (worth trying out e-sports in the current environment), you can build strong connections online.
I have very close friends I haven’t met in person yet, which shows the power of virtual calls and when you create these relationships through a society-related activity, the bond naturally strengthens.
- Asking for a 10-minute phone call with someone in a path you want to follow (e.g. when you’re in second or third year).
When I was in first year, I was reluctant to reach out to people on LinkedIn, because of the fear that I wouldn’t know what to ask or of being embarrassed by an awkward silence. I cannot recommend reaching out to people on LinkedIn enough, whether they’re currently at Warwick, or alumni. This extends even to people that went to different universities currently in an institution or organisation you one day want to be part of. Sometimes it is the most unexpected connections that lead to the most fruitful learning and mentorship.
- Joining LinkedIn networks.
Although I am not being paid to promote LinkedIn, joining networks established on the site can be very powerful – or alternatively joining society-related Facebook groups. In fact, I would even recommend getting the £25/month premium version of LinkedIn to access these features, because of the freedom this gives in terms of being able to search for more people.
It is at university that you can begin forming connections with people from different walks of like – especially powerful if you want to follow a more non-linear career path (which I believe suits more people than one would typically think).
These three suggestions are all virtual and lockdown-friendly, but there are more you can harness. For example, people you meet on subject group chats or seminar classes could be a key to forming a study group (especially for modules like EC104 for Econ-related students). The networks you form are immensely powerful. It is the people you find, are inspired and taught by that can be most influential in putting you onto the path of fulfilling your potential.