Professional development

Student Corner

From Regret to Opportunity

By Rebeca Blyde on June 10, 2024

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Rebeca stands on the right side of two other females while at a networking event.

Do you ever feel like you missed the networking train during school because you were too buried in books and assignments? Trust me, I’ve been there. As an almost-graduate from the PR and Strategic Communications program at Durham College, I used to feel guilty for not attending events and networking out of school. But here’s the good news: it’s never too late!

Recently, I finally found the courage to dive into the networking scene (okay, maybe my boss gave me a little push). In just a few weeks, I’ve attended a CPRS networking event, the #FindYourPossible Career Expo and Ovation Awards by IABC Toronto, and the Durham Accessibility Conference. And let me tell you, it’s been a game-changer.

Here’s what I’ve gained from these experiences:

Building Connections

Meeting professionals from different sectors of the communications industry has been invaluable. These connections may offer mentorship, advice, and potential job opportunities in the future. I’ve met people who have shared their unique career paths, challenges, and successes, giving me a broader perspective on the endless possibilities within the PR world. Plus, it’s always inspiring to hear firsthand how others navigated their careers and overcame obstacles.

Continuous Learning

Some of these events have introduced me to essential tools and techniques, helped me identify trends, and taught me valuable practices I wasn’t exposed to in the classroom.

Industry Insights

Keynote speakers and panel discussions have provided a deeper understanding of industry challenges and innovations. I’ve learned how companies are adapting to new technologies and behaviours, as well as about accessibility and inclusion in the workplace and how to navigate it. These insights have broadened my understanding of the dynamic nature of the communications industry and prepared me to think critically about future strategies. 

And last but not least…

A Confidence Boost and Personal Growth

Stepping out of my comfort zone and presenting myself at these events has improved my self-confidence. I feel more prepared and capable of entering the professional world. And I won’t lie; I still feel intimidated by the prospect of networking but networking itself, introducing myself, engaging in meaningful conversations, learning new stuff, and even just mingling in professional settings have significantly boosted my confidence. 

So, if you’re on the fence about networking, remember, it’s never too late! Each event you attend can open new doors and present opportunities you never imagined. Trust me, there is much to learn from others in the field, even if they are students or entry-level professionals.

Don’t let past regrets hold you back! Take the opportunities right in front of you and watch your career grow. Whether attending a networking event, learning something new, or meeting industry pros, every step can open up exciting new doors. So, go for it!

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