Have you got time to network? Your first response may be: are you kidding! I’m too busy with essays to write, books to read, research to complete, deadlines to meet, etc. etc. etc.
It is very easy to isolate yourself while studying and become engross in your work. But taking the time to network with fellow students and lecturers can be very beneficial, the minimum, it gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and bounce ideas off other people.
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, will increase your confidence to discuss your research. This is really important especially when preparing for your PhD upgrade and Viva, because the more you talk about your concepts, theories, study, the more embedded in your mind they become and easier to explain.
Having like-minded academics to talk to also gives you the opportunity to get advice from them on all sorts of things related to your studies, the institution, even your personal life and obtaining that important study-life balance.
There are other benefits to networking while studying. For example, it allows you to form links with a wide range of people. And making contact with academics from different disciplines will expose you to opportunities for joint research ventures and job opportunities. You can also tap into advice and expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get hold of. But caution, make sure you are getting solid advice from the right person.
Networking is not only about receiving, it gives you the opportunity to help others. Your fellow academic may have a problem or issue they are finding challenging. You may be able to help them solve their dilemma. There is great satisfaction from helping someone to solve a problem they have.
And finally, many friendships form as a result of networking. So remember to network while you study.