It's So Easy to Get Sucked Into LinkedIn Stalking—Moving On and Making Connections

Sometimes, late at night, when I’ve already scrolled through my whole Instagram feed and watched all the stories on my Snapchat, I’ll open LinkedIn and see what my high school friends and acquaintances are doing. Since starting college, the majority of them have already added new positions as interns at startups, become involved in cultural and social groups, or changed their profile photos to professional headshots. And it's only been a little over a semester since most of my peers started school.

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I’m left feeling like I’m already behind because I’m taking my freshman year slow– both to give myself time to adjust to a new lifestyle and as a break from the 50 hour work week I juggled during my gap semester. One of my biggest fears is that I’ll lose my drive and end up settling for a 9-5 office job just because it pays the bills. One of my other biggest fears is that everyone else I know will have amazing, successful jobs they genuinely love.

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While my peers are hardworking, intelligent people who deserve the internships and jobs they’ve held, competition is a big part of where I grew up: Silicon Valley. Just last week, when the college admission scandal broke, many of those indicted were from the Bay Area. One of the families’ children even went to my high school.

For a better idea of the competition and high level of achievement, here are some common occurrences in the Bay. Many people have their first internships as high school juniors at companies such as Lockheed Martin. During college applications season, spreadsheets of where other students were applying were made, so applicants could play the numbers game and see what Ivies had fewer applicants from our school. The Atlantic even wrote an article on Palo Alto, and how the pressure cooker environment led to mental health issues and suicide clusters.

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Moving on from that sort of mentality and environment is hard, and it’s a part of the reason why I constantly find myself checking on my peers’ LinkedIn profiles. It’s both motivation to put myself out there and make connections, but also a warning sign not to “fall behind.”

I haven’t made up my mind yet on whether this habit is actually more so beneficial or harmful, but until then, make sure to take a look at my LinkedIn. I worked hard on it.

 

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