I have really enjoyed my time in Warnell and learning about the forestry profession. I may not be a stellar student, but I have above a 3.0 GPA and work to keep it that way. Grades are the most important measuring stick on a student’s resume (or so I have been told), but a lot of students do not think past the resume when preparing to search for jobs. On a resume you can show previous work experience, membership in clubs, how you have still managed to maintain Zell Miller Scholarship after 3 years of school, but one of the most important assets in applying for a job, which a lot of students forget about, is knowing the person/company/agency you are applying with.
You don’t have to be family friends or old buddies to know a person you are applying with, but you can make a concerted effort to be involved within your field before you graduate, and when you do so, it can be more beneficial than the best resume ever written. To have met a Forester at the Society of American Foresters Conference, or a Fisheries Biologist at the American Fisheries Society Conference, and to later apply to work for that person could be much more beneficial than any .05 bump in GPA could do. To meet these professionals isn’t that hard, and Warnell makes it easy.
Recently, I attended a Virtual Networking Event hosted by Warnell, where I talked to three people in the industry. They all gave me their contact information afterwards so that I could follow up if I had more questions or needed any help. I have met the former bosses of my professors at Conferences and gotten their contact information to talk about jobs later. I watched a student walk up to a random professional at a Conference and strike up a conversation, and he later got an interview with the company the professional worked for and was extended a summer internship offer.
People want to help you succeed but it can be hard to meet these people when you are spending your time sitting in Warnell, and not getting involved. and do not go to a club meeting after school because you were too tired. It can make sense to miss class for a day in order to go to a networking event where companies are looking for people to employ. The employees that companies send to hire students have the same human nature as everyone else; they would rather hire a friendly face they know and know is qualified instead of someone who the first time they see them is at an interview.
The grades you get in college can affect the rest of your life, and just as importantly, the people you meet in college can do just the same. So take the extra time and meet those people who can help you do more than barely getting an entry level position at your second choice of a job. Be the kid that people talk about with envy years after you graduate, because you’re the person that got the job. You’re the person that is living the dream.