Academic Discipline: 10 Ways to Get More Involved in Yours
An academic discipline is more than just a series of related classes. That’s all it may seem like at first, but you will realize it’s your entire future as you move up the educational ladder.
In this article, we give you 10 tips to move further and further down the rabbit hole of your academic discipline. Employ as many of these as you can, and you will be well on your way. Good luck!
1. Join the Chamber of Commerce
Why would a student or recent graduate want to join a local chamber of commerce? Simple, really. It’s a matter of branding.
These days, it’s not enough to simply apply for jobs. Employers know you are out there on social media and in other online locations. They will immediately seek out information on you through these avenues.
To get out ahead of their search, you can start branding yourself through the local chamber as whatever you want to be. Make sure you have good samples to show from your website, and take advantage of networking events.
There are not many college students willing to join a chamber of commerce. That’s a mistake. These organizations are filled with local movers and shakers who can connect you to those making hiring decisions.
2. Attend Specialist Networking Events
Chambers of commerce tend to focus on general networking opportunities. If you stick to that, you can get a lot out of it. However, you may be missing key opportunities.
Ideally, one should go well beyond the general. As the saying goes, there are riches in the niches. Learn more about your niche and the networking groups that are active in your area.
Get involved as soon as you can. You don’t have to be a fully developed professional or even someone with examples of professional work. All you need to show is an interest, and these groups will welcome you with open arms.
3. Request Job Shadowing
Most companies are happy to help out a student. It’s a good look for their social media pages and a nice stroke of the ego. However, many students fail to ask outside of a classroom assignment.
You can set yourself apart from the pack by using your own time to pursue a job shadow. Go to area businesses and ask to speak to the administrative assistant.
Start there because it conveys respect to the gatekeeper of the main boss’s time. When you befriend an administrative assistant, it’s easier to make the jump to their boss.
Learning from an executive will teach you more than many whole semesters of classroom time. Make your intentions clear from the get-go, and be polite and respectful of everyone’s time.
4. Volunteer With Relevant Causes
So many businesses and executives are involved in charitable causes throughout your community. If you are having a difficult time reaching someone at the office, then connecting with them through such a cause is a good idea.
How do you know which charities a company supports? This information is relatively easy to come by thanks to their websites, news stories, and, again, the local chamber of commerce.
Insert yourself into the causes that are important to companies in your academic discipline. From there, it will be easy to make the necessary connections.
5. Ask Your Professor to Connect You
Universities often work with leaders in the community. With that in mind, you may wish to cozy up to your professor. Not only might it help your grade, but it also could put you in touch with someone relevant to your industry or job of choice.
Be mindful, however, that professors have reputations to uphold. If you haven’t tried very hard or given their class much thought, now might be a good time to start. They will not risk what social capital they possess on someone they can’t believe in or rely upon.
6. Start Your Own Community Improvement Project
The one way to show more initiative than getting involved in an existing community improvement project is to start one of your own. Ask around to find where the needs are. Start attending civic meetings and discussing issues with your town’s leadership.
Tell them you would like to get involved. Ask where they think the biggest needs are relevant to what you are trying to do. Then, spearhead an effort to get others active around that cause.
This can be a stress-free way to introduce yourself to major business professionals and get you used to asking for their support. It will certainly leave an impact on them that you have shown such initiative.
7. Link Up On Social Media
Sometimes it can be difficult finding people in the exact area that you want to go in to by simply looking in your geographical area. A way to facilitate this is to look for specialist groups on social networks that you use frequently.
Connecting there can help you start networking in the industry before you even meet anyone in person. In fact, you may not even need to meet up physically. There are many people using Slack and Trello and other networking channels to work together on something. You could join them.
8. Follow Industry Publications and News
Don’t stick to your groups or word-of-mouth only. Seek out professional industry publications and trade news. This will keep you current on the events that matter and also tell you who the major players are in those spaces.
Industry news is so supportive of your future goals. It teaches you where to look for jobs, what areas of education to focus on when pursuing CE opportunities, and more.
Get some subscriptions to popular magazines going. Also, start an RSS that pulls the latest articles from reputable publications.
9. Start a Blog
Starting a blog can be greatly beneficial to growing your understanding of a topic. In time, it could even make you an industry thought leader.
Take it one step at a time, though. Start with your own personal insights about things that are happening in your industry. Ask for interviews with credible sources who are further ahead than you in the sector.
In time, your blog can be a go-to resource for others. But even before then, it will serve as a showcase of your professionalism.
10. Ask for Advice
Wherever you go, whether it’s to a school counselor, business leaders, or anyone in between, ask for advice. Each person you ask advice from can lead you to bigger insights and more important personalities to your academic discipline.
Listen more, speak less, and soak up what you learn along the way. It’s the only way to stand out in a sea of resumes and faceless applicants.
Embracing Academic Discipline Is the Key to Your Future
Grasping the importance of your academic discipline and taking proactive measures to learn more about it and become more involved will help you in your future endeavors. It will make others realize that you care and that you’re willing to fill the gaps left by retirements and departures.
What is your academic discipline, and what are you doing specifically to know more about it? Share your journey in our comments section below!
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]