What comes to your mind when you hear “networking”? A room full of strangers? Professional business attire? Handshakes? Business cards? A paralyzing fear of awkward conversation?
OK, hopefully not that last one, true though it may be. As a junior, soon to be jumping into my senior year, I suggest you put those clichéd notions aside. Networking is not as bad as you might think. And it can even be quite different from what you think. My path to debunking networking myths has been paved by my friends, colleagues and other amazing people that I’ve met at Mount Holyoke. Look no further: Much needed help is already around you.
The second annual Mount Holyoke College Girls in Tech Conference (MHC GIT) took place March 5. The one-day event, founded in 2016 by Onji Bae ’17/18 and Hashma Shahid ’17, is dedicated to inspiring local high school students to explore technology through engineering and entrepreneurship. It included interactive programming, hardware workshops and talks by inspirational women who employ technology in a variety of fields. Participants also practiced public speaking, networked during lunch, brainstormed together and experienced the power of mentorship — high school students were paired with Mount Holyoke student mentors.
A warm breeze, the unmistakable scent of life and growth, the riot of colors in the blooms of early flowers — all are welcome harbingers of warmer, brighter days to come. That’s perhaps why the Mount Holyoke College Flower Show remains a perennial (ahem) favorite among Western Massachusetts residents.
After my final round of job interviews in New Jersey, three in one day, I kept re-running them in my head. I thought I had done OK — I’d gone through the cases calmly and quickly and felt that I’d connected with the interviewers. But was my best their best? So many questions, so many emotions: an unfiltered look at the modern quest for employment.
So, there is this local children’s theater group. The director, known for her eccentric and involved theatrical style, was looking for an assistant. I was thrilled to get the job.
At one of our first meetings I casually brought up my trans-ness. Relieved, she said, “I saw your trans-ness on your resume. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to be the one to bring it up.”