Moving in another city to study it’s challenging, especially if you are 18.
Another factor that influences your ability to succeed in doing extracurricular activities and building soft skills is your ability to meet new interesting people and building a network.
It becomes also harder if you starts from scratch.
But in the past years, while I have been a student, I have learned how to become adaptive and flexible, especially when I had to talk and meet people who are extremely different from my view of the World and with different ages.
Those are some of my “Hacks” and suggestions that I used to meet and know people from different Backgrounds (from the Entrepreneurs to Consultants, arriving at Politicians and Subject Experts working in Startups)
Be Extremely Honest
Don’t fake to be someone who you aren’t.
It Doesn’t Pay into the Long Run: Who lies tends to release some “traces” and inconsistencies, in fact, this behavior could apparently be “convenient” into the short-term, but people are smart and rapidly will understand if what you said to be or to be able to do was a lie or not, so especially if you plan to succeed you will need to be credible.
The reason is that Business is about Trust and Credibility – isn’t only about Technical Skills.
Be Honest about what are you able to do, and be really committed to learning how to repair your lacks and your skill mismatch.
Build your Competitive Advantage on real and measurable skills, constricting yourself to being honest, in fact, if you lie you will convince yourself that you will not need to improve.
Remember: Economic Value it is About Cooperation, not about Resource or Services
If you have all the Resource of the World, but nobody available to acquire them, your net-worth will be equal to 0.
Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Remember the Importance of People, Every time.
Don’t be arrogant, be available to listen Everyone: don’t underestimate and judge who is in front of you.
During my experience, I met people that launched Startups that worth millions, but they dress and looks like a
Don’t underestimate the skills and the value of advice given by a person just because they don’t dress good or don’t look smart to you.
People can surprise you in ways you couldn’t imagine: be gentle and friendly and let things happen.
Remember: You don’t know what you don’t know (and sometimes else what you think to know), so don’t be deterministic in judging people and yourself.
Try to learn every time from people, find the persons that can mentor you on how to improve professional skills or just in life.
Don’t spend too much time with unilateral persons (who wants only to receive without giving back) and build a circle of multilateral friends which average represent the Vision of your future
(Ex. If you want to launch a successful startup, you have to build a friendship circle made of successful start-uppers)
Remember: Your Network, especially your closes circle, must be driven by genuine common passion or it will be difficult that will last.
Use Eventbrite and LinkedIn
Social Networks and Event Apps are a fast and efficient way to be in contact with people.
If you want to be informed about a subject or about a technology you can simply join free events via Apps like Eventbrite.
I used it to join Start-Up, Hackathons and Meet Up Events where I Meet wonderful people that gave me amazing advice (that let you to save time and a lot of money).
- Average Investment per Event: 3 Euros (or Dollars) – 2 tickets for the Metro
- Return: Consultancies and Network valuable thousand of euros (or dollars).
LinkedIn is also a great solution, especially for an individual meeting.
If you are in the same city of someone that inspires you or represent in part your future vision, you can use it to contact him and offer a coffee or an appetizer.
Also you can search for a specific job in your area and look for someone of your same university or your same background that work in the field.
People generally are more friendly than we think and being able to recognize when to ask help is an important predictor of future success.
Expert advice could be life-changing and worth a lot, don’t underestimate it.
A friend of mine met Luca Maestri (the Senior Vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Apple – one of the most paid Business Manager in the World and Luiss Graduate) through this method (Just offering a coffee).
- Average Investment per Person: 5-10 Euros (or Dollars).
- Return: Professional Advice and Network valuable thousand of euros (or dollars).
Also, pay attention if that person is in contact with someone of your interest: don’t under-valuate other’s people network too.
Learn the Importance of the Inclusiveness
This is advice true not only for professional purposes: this is an advice for life.
We live in a challenging, constantly changing, World, we have to learn (especially for the young generation) that we will determine how the World will be and will work in the Next Future.
Our Individual Choices can make a huge impact, also if the effects are not visible in the short run.
We have to learn that an Exclusive, Just for Few, World is not more sustainable.
We must build a New World build on Social Inclusiveness and Open Source Ethics, Knowledge must be Free and Frictionless.
This is a long run reasoning: in the short term sharing skills and knowledge could appear counterproductive but the Truth is that sharing our information will incentive yourself to build your Competitive Advantage on Tacit Real Skills and not only on asymmetric information.
Also Sharing Knowledge will let independent people with a different background generate better ideas that could revolutionize and improve the World, factor who everyone will benefit!
Join an Association or do Voluntary
During my Bachelor, I helped to launch a Political Party focused on Innovation and Technology (2 Topics that I Love).
I started as a simple voluntary and helped the spread and organization of the project.
I knew a lot of fantastic and lovely people, united by the scope of changing the World in better.
That’s the real value that made me really committed and passionate about the project!
The night we need to deposit the Political Brand I stayed alone in front of the Viminal for 10hrs consecutively.
My commitment impressed the actual President of the Political Party, and now he nominated me as National Young Leader of the Party (for the Young Section)
- Lesson Learned: Be Committed about what you like without expecting nothing in exchange will let you meet new wonderful people
Also, Joining Associations could be a way to meet similar people or just people with the same interests.
For example, when I was 18 I was really interested in improving my information about cognitive and personal growth (and also to find interesting people to talk with about philosophy and politics)
So I joined “Mensa”, an association where I met a lot of different people which I could talk together about Philosophical and theoretical Ideas.
If you are for example interested in more practical and useful skills, there are plenty of associations oriented to spread of skills and that organize meetings about specific topics, where to meet interesting people who maybe will be your Future Teamworkers in Developing Interesting Projects!
- Just Google “Associations about” + (Your Topic of Interest)