4 Ways to Network as a Shy Student

By Alicia Geigel on May 4, 2018

Perhaps one of the biggest expectations when coming to college is meeting new people and forming new relationships. College is often made out to be a pivotal experience in life where you can be exposed to people with different ideas, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, etc. For many, this newfound opportunity to network with peers and professors is exciting and life-changing. For others, like those who may be on the introverted or shy side, the strong social elements of college can prove to be overwhelming and scary. It’s not easy to make new friends and meet new people, especially when you are far away from home and don’t have the comfort of friends to fall back on.

In high school, I was always a social person, someone who would talk to everyone and anyone in school, building connections with anyone I came in contact with. Once I started college, that nature of me did not diminish, however, I did find it harder to put myself out there and make new friends. College for me, was a completely different ballpark when it came to socializing and taught me that if I really wanted to make connections and network, I’d have to put in the work for it. This time around, it wasn’t going to be as easy.

Despite the shift in the social atmosphere, I promise that networking in college isn’t as bad as it seems. There are some things to adjust to, but when it comes to networking, you have the world at your fingertips. Are you a college student that is more on the introverted side? Does the idea of meeting new people and building connections slightly scare you? Do you want to get more out of your college years? Check out these four tips on successfully networking as a shy student below!

talking, people, women, networking, table

Image via Pixabay

1. Reach out to professors: One of the easiest ways to start networking as a student is to get to know your professors. I know it sounds kind of intimidating but I promise you that the very reason professors are there is because of you! Reach out to each of your professors whether via email or in person to set up an appointment at the start of the semester.

Appointments by nature sound off-putting but these are just a chance for professors to get to know you better and for you to get to know them better! As well as simply knowing professors on a personal basis, building a connection with them can bring you all sorts of opportunities like internships, independent research gigs, and even full-time jobs!

2. Don’t Apologize: It’s a natural instinct to want to say “sorry” when approaching or reaching out to someone. Though you may think it’s the most respectful thing to do, it shows the person you’re trying to network with that you’re not confident and most likely lacking professionalism, Meridith Levinson of CIO.com notes.

When approaching someone to build a connection, say something along the lines of “Hello! I don’t mean to take up much of your time, but…” This not only shows that you are considering of their time, but it also shows that you are confident and strong in your communication skills. If you absolutely feel the urge to say that five letter word, just mutter it to yourself after you’re done talking to the person so they don’t hear it!

friends, women, laughter, group, three

Image via Pixabay

3. Find Common Interests: What better way to build connections than to find common interests with others? Josh Steimle of Entrepreneur.com states, “when reaching out to someone, always do your research to learn a few things about them, find an interest you have in common, and ask them about it to break the ice. If you struggle to find a common interest, become interested in something they have experience with by researching it and coming up with some questions on the topic.”

You can find people with common interests through university social media pages on Facebook or Twitter, or by simply exploring different organizations and clubs around campus! Doing so will not only help you to meet new people, but it will also expose you to new areas on campus that you may not have known!

4. Be Humble and Always Listen: When meeting someone new, especially someone you plan to either collaborate with or network with in the future, you want to always be humble (and that goes for all walks of life as well).

No one likes or appreciates when someone constantly gloats and brags about their accomplishments and accolades, it comes off as arrogant and conceited, making you unlikable. Just remember that it’s OK to be confident, but never arrogant. Also, when networking, take time to listen to what the person has to say about their job, their accomplishments, etc. It will show that you care about what they have to say!

Networking as an introverted person is not the easiest task. There’s no denying the fact that it can be hard to put yourself out there and be vulnerable to others. However, through slow and easy steps, you will find that it will be way less painful and overwhelming than you thought! As always, good luck!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | photographer | food blogger if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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