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by Nazea Khan

On the evening of Wednesday, February 21, I attended the Young Professionals Networking Night at the Universities of Shady Grove. During this event, we had the opportunity to network with young professionals within and outside of our career interests. We were able to also ask questions during the networking portion. Additionally, young professionals asked us questions as well. Beforehand, I prepared to talk about my career goals and academic progress. I was really excited because a lot of the times during networking events, we meet with older professionals and have a hard time connecting with them. I was able to meet young professionals who were a few years older than me that could give me advice on career steps and education which I could actually relate to.

Before I walked in, I was able to take a couple of professional headshots. I was able to take one with and without my glasses. I can’t wait to see the headshots and upload one to my LinkedIn profile picture. We then proceeded to go inside the main ballroom in Building II and I took my seat up front. My advisor, Ms. Wells, welcomed everyone in and rolled a video about the ACES and CEO programs.  I actually did an interview for this video which I totally forgot about and saw myself in the video talking about how great the program is. At first, it was really weird seeing myself up there but then I was really proud of myself because we took a lot of shots during filming.

Then, we had a guest speaker Judy Smith who talked about the importance of networking and how it is a muscle that we all need to slowly build up. It’s scary at first but mostly, everyone in the room is also nervous. She did an activity with us where we had to imagine our first networking event and how we didn’t know anyone. We came back together and she explained to us that if we ever see someone wandering by themselves at a networking event, they most likely don’t know anyone and we should go talk to them. We’ve all been in their shoes, so why not make new connections and help someone who struggles. My biggest take away was just being open-minded and asking

In addition to connecting with a few old friends, I also met a communications major at USG who is part of the Hillman program and I was able to talk with him about how the adjustment is going. We did an icebreaker and then went to our designated tables where I was able to talk to young professionals in the communications and business fields. They had a lot of great advice and many of them attended the Universities of Shady Grove. One professional who works in a marketing firm gave me her business card and told me to send her an email in my last semester before I graduate. Hopefully this is a job opportunity and I have kept her card in a safe place.

Overall, I learned so much from how to network to meeting and receiving optimal advice from actual young professionals. Throughout this networking event, I met many individuals from USG that are in ACES and I was able to connect with them as well. I can’t wait to attend the one next year and learn even more.

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