This school year has been already crazy busy with homework and projects. I believe most of you value academics as your number one priority. If you don't, you probably should.. :] But sometimes, don't you want to get some more feedback from other people besides your peer or professor?
Well, as a design student, I certainly do. I want to see what the actual professionals do in the field that I am interested. That's why networking is really important. Networking allows one to explore the actual industry and give a sense of idea what you'd be doing in the future. I am sure all of you have different dreams and goal in your lives. So I can't really capture all the profession.. However, I'd like to share my story of how to get involve and network.
Networking for design industry is CRITICAL! It's not something you should be doing, rather it's something you need to be doing. The interior design program at the U, recommend students to attend many events of professional organization, such as ASID, IIDA and AIA. This is a first step for you to get to know what is happening in the industry. Giving an idea, what would it be like if you are actually working as a professional.
Another way of networking is knowing how to use your Alumni system!
For College of Design, there is a mentorship program for students to join. Through this program you paired up with a mentor who is a professional and is in same industry where you are interested. I did a mentorship last year and it was a great opportunity for me to get feedback for my projects. My mentor gave me some tips with the portfolio. Even just listening about what she does daily, helped me to be more aware of the profession "Interior designer".
If you are worried about what you want to do after graduate, you should go talk to an alumni. Personally, I would like to get a job in America after graduate. So, I wanted to know more information on getting a job in U.S.. I contacted a Korean professor at the UofM and he actually referred me to an architect at a successful firm in Minneapolis. We had lunch together and I got to talk to him about how to get a job in America. He was very inspirational for me.
Overall, I just briefly mentioned a couple ways to network, join professional organization and attend events, get a mentorship through your college and reach out to Alumni.
Networking is a great way to put yourself out in the actual market. It lets you to figure out what you would like to do in the future whether it is a good fit for you or not. Because, we are international students, we need to meet a lot more people in the industry. and there are many ways to achieve that! I hope my blog will guide you to reach out to professionals. Good luck!!