4 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved Beyond the Classroom

The start of the New Year signals resolutions! Everyone wants to lose weight, and eat healthier, but do we really end up sticking with it? Have you ever considered setting a resolution where you could open up a window of opportunities for yourself that could lead to more internship, job, and scholarship opportunities?

This year, I challenge you to make that your resolution and trust me, it’s easier than it sounds! Participating in events outside the classroom such as competitions, conferences, or hackathons makes this possible. I built Competitions Zone, a site that simplifies the search for competitions, hackathons, and conferences. I would love to share this resource with you to make it easier to reap the benefits of participating in these events, and you can check it out at https://competitions.zone. The best part is that you choose these events based on your interest. But why are these events important? Here are a few reasons why you should consider participating in these events:  

1. Gain Real World Experience

Going to class, and getting good grades is great, but the next step is applying those skills that you’ve just learned and build a portfolio of skills. It’s important to engage yourself outside the classroom so your learning continues to develop beyond a classroom setting. Competitions, conferences, and hackathons should be your first step in gaining real-world experience prior to securing an internship. For example, competitions and hackathons are based on solving real-world challenges and problems. When employers see your participation in these events, it shows them that you have interest and experience in the field that you want to work in, gives you great talking points during interviews to show off your talents, and even lets you showcase awards you may have won!

2. Boost Your Resume

The resume is one of the first introductions an employer has with you, so you want to make a good impression and stand out. Students get stressed about having blank space on their resume and not having relevant experience. If you go to more events, guess what, you can put them on your resume and highlight all the various skills and knowledge you’ve gained! Build your resume by showing off your passions and have fun doing it.

3. Network with Professionals

Attending these events is the best way to network and meet professionals in the space. Every single hackathon, competition, and conference that I’ve attended has had a set of recruiters and companies visit or host the event. For example, when I participated in the Estée Lauder beauty and technology hackathon, I was able to network with such high-level company executives including the CIO. I left the hackathon with the employees telling me to come back for an internship next summer. It was through that weekend opportunity at the hackathon that I got know the employees better and make a good impression by showing them my passion in the space.

4. Discover Your Passions

This is probably one of the most important reasons to participate in these events. You never really know what you’re interested in until you experience it. It’s also a smart idea to learn about areas that interest you before you begin your internship and to not just let your internship provide you with that experience. I always knew that I was interested in entrepreneurship, but it wasn’t until I started attending conferences such as the Forbes 30 Under 30 conference when I heard from other entrepreneurs speak and share their experience that this was something that I wanted to go into!

 

The question now comes, how can we find these events? I always found searching for competitions difficult, and I would spend hours searching unable to find anything of interest and relevance. This is the ultimate goal of Competitions Zone, a site that simplifies the search for competitions, hackathons, and conferences. Now you that you know the benefits of participating in networking competitive events, be sure to check out Competitions Zone. Change up your New Years Resolution this year and set something both attainable and beneficial for yourself!