Just yesterday I attended the annual ‘Meet the Professionals’ event at Solent University. The event, ran by third year students, is the perfect way to network with professionals from PR, Marketing and Advertising disciplines and I have found it particularly useful each year. Around 20 professionals attend the event each year, willing to share their advice and knowledge to all students studying these courses. Some come with great opportunities too for placements or even employment.
Over these past three years, I have attended this event and have noticeably seen the impact this opportunity to network has had on myself. My confidence and communication have grown massively since I was a timid first year, sticking with my peers as we networked as a three. But this year? I felt very little pressure. I enjoyed floating the room, speaking to professionals as and when, with the ability to network without the desire to gain anything out of them. Simply, a bit of advice and a chat. Maybe that’s why I have struggled in the past? The desire to get something out of networking. A business card or an opportunity of some sort. But also, I think I have simply learnt a lot over the last three years of my degree. I have much more knowledge about the industry and have completed placements over the Summers, ultimately giving myself more confidence. As a PR professional myself (after Graduation in July of course), I believe I have come a long way in the last three years. That is purely down to my degree, the lecturers and the opportunities we are given to gain real life experiences.
Networking is hugely important in our industry, and I believe all students studying PR should have the same opportunity that I have had through ‘Meet the Professionals’. It certainly is a unique but realistic way to understand the industry and grow as a future professional.
I just would like to say a huge thank you to all the professionals who gave up their morning to be with us and share their advice. But also, to Rachel and Dimitra, my amazing classmates and friends who put on such a successful event!