The Life of an Introvert at a Networking Event

As we move along in our college careers dragging our exhausted rears to class and wandering around looking for free food, we start to realize that we are essentially here for a reason: to get a job. Unfortunately, in a competitive job market, it can often take more than a stellar GPA to get your foot in the door. The connections you make while in school can help you tremendously when it comes to internships, jobs, or even general advice. But for some people, the idea of making those connections is terrifying. If you are an introvert trying to branch out of your comfort zone at networking events, your experiences have probably gone a little like this:

1. First of all, someone just says the word “networking” and your stomach instantly starts to turn.

2. You stand outside the meeting room going through all of the excuses you can possibly think of. Unfortunately, none of them are good enough to justify to yourself a last minute escape.

3. Alright. Step one: find the food table.

4. Step two: hover.

5. Circling the room like a hungry (but timid) shark, you start to approach a group of people. But just when you get close enough to jump in, you chicken out at the last second. Oh no, just strolling by. Carry on.

6. So, you try to catch someone’s eye, but you don’t want to make it look like you’ve been staring at them the whole time.

7. Just start with a smile. You can do this.

8. You go to shake hands with someone right as you become painfully aware of how sweaty your hands are. Is there a way to wipe them on your pants without it being totally obvious?

9. “Hi, how are you this evening?” “I’m well. How are you?” “Good thanks. How are you?” Oh God, kill me now.

10. Uh oh. You were so focused on saying your own name that you forgot to listen to theirs.

11. You try to zero in on their name tag but are too afraid of being caught squinting at their chest.

12. “Tell me about yourself.” Umm…I take it, “My talents include watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black in two days and drinking absurd amounts of boxed wine,” is not an acceptable answer.

13. By the time you think of something relevant to say, the conversation has jumped to a new topic. Better luck next time.

14. Well, that conversation didn’t go anything like how I rehearsed it in my head.

15. You carry around every business card you get like it’s precious cargo because it’s concrete proof that you at least attempted to socialize.

16. At the end of the day, you should pat yourself on the back because you stepped out of your comfort zone and hopefully made some good connections. Now run home and reward yourself by diving into bed with a cup of tea and some Netflix.

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