Expanding your network is important

Staff Editorial

In the last year, a number of professionals have come to the high school from political officials to authors, including the likes of
Re-Center Race and Equity in Education Program Director Derek Hall and authors Chris Crutcher and April Henry. For the majority part, the attendees to their workshops tend to come with classes or clubs, with a lesser portion of students electing to attend on their own. However, we believe that it is important to take advantage of the opportunities to interact with other professionals. Professionals have a bank of knowledge that can be exceptionally useful to you.

The authors, for example, that have come to the school have not only talked about their current works, but also their work process from writing to editing to publishing to promoting, etc. In many cases, they give specific resources and websites that have helped in their careers. This new knowledge can help you in preparing for post-high school or in thinking about what you can currently be doing to help yourselves when you do leave.

In the capstone courses, it is required that students have a community contact, a component that can often cause anxiety in
students who are more introverted or anxious about their social skills. As the world adapts to the newest technology, we interact less through phone and in person than we ever have before. Thus, having a simple phone conversation can panic students.

However, we believe that reaching out to professionals puts on the necessary pressure that students need to thrive in the real world. First impressions matter, and sometimes you do not get redos in life. Practicing the art of professionalism and interacting with professional strangers can be nothing but beneficial. Like many things, interviewing and communicating are skills that need to be rehearsed. So learning to approach others in person or on the phone in a way that airs of civility and rectitude. Reaching out to others also opens the doors to developing a network. A professional may not seem important now, but may be a great opportunity later on when you are looking for internship or job opportunities.

What’s more is that these professionals often know others in a similar field; maybe they cannot be of future help to you, but someone they know may be a new contact for you. Though you may not have read a particular visiting author’s book or be interested in a particular area of expertise of a professional, it may still be worth your time to reach out. You never know where your path will take you in life or how important that contact might be.