Networking Night 2.0

Networking Night: Round 2     By Michelle Vuong

I may be bias, but Networking Night is my favourite event of the year.
Honestly, I cannot stress enough on how important it is to get out there and see what an amazing opportunity net night has for students to dip their toes into the professional world, outside the lecture hall and into a business suit.

Last year, I had gone as a part of the executive team, therefore a host. Had I not been a First Year Rep, there was no way I was going to put myself in that seemingly vulnerable and intimidating position…so I went and I don’t regret it the slightest. It had opened my eyes and widen my horizons of the communications world — meeting all these professionals from different fields, hearing their stories on how they started (whether it was towards communications or by accident), receiving their advice on what they wish they had done in their undergrad, and receiving genuine tips on how to dip your toes and network.

I, one of the only two meek little first years that attended, had left with a list of job and volunteer portals, new LinkedIn connections, a couple business cards, and a nagging feeling to get my own.

Fast-forward a year later, we’re at The Grand in the Byword Market. Much larger than the previous year, much more beautiful, intimate and delicious pizza out of an actual pizza oven is being served. We’ve got almost double the amount of professionals than last year, each with their own designated booths and students with their time-slots. Drinks on hand, students and professional are mingling as our executive team runs behind the scenes. Our presidents say a few words, one of our CUSS alumni, the president two years prior, says a word, and Finn, our wonder friend and photographer is snapping a way.

How did we arrange so many professionals from a diverse range of communication fields? Through our own networking skills, of course. All of them were already connections made through members of the executive team or were recommended by friends and colleagues.

All my new friends in 2nd year COMM told me how much fun it was to get to know these professionals, learning about their career paths and breaking that divide. Our current First Year Rep, who was beyond nervous about talking to ‘adults’ because it is branching out and conversing with all the upper years and professionals over pizza.

From my own experience, the more networking nights I go to, the more I learn. And to paraphrase one of the professionals I had conversed with:

“As soon as you stop learning from somewhere, it’s time for change.”

– Daniel Lauzon, Director of Communication for the Finance Minister of Canada

This time, I learned and heard stories between the public and private sectors of communication, and many opinions on both realms. For someone who is interested but concerned about the fast-paced and exhilarating private sector (but who is clutching on to a stable government job) it was such a relief to hear stories on how many people often start in the government and decide to branch out, or who branch out and find exhilarating experiences within the government. To me, it felt like I was another step closer to these people, by relating to this employment experience, but it was so beneficial to hear their advice and tips on what my next steps should be.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be the one telling my story in a couple of years. What I do know, it that there is nothing to lose by branching out and trying a networking night on your own, or by dragging a friend with you. Food, drinks, great company and more knowledge, what more do you ask for? At least I know, when I graduate, I’ll have many connections, some on-hand communication skills, some more friends and a better idea on what I’m doing with my life.

Michelle Vuong

2nd Year Communication Studies

VP Special Events

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