As a student in the iSchool at Syracuse, I have the opportunity each semester to join other students and faculty members on iSchool road trips. iSchool road trips are jam-packed, two-day, career-oriented, learning and networking experiences in different cities around the northeast including Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., and Buffalo.
During these trips, students are able to visit a variety of technology-centered companies, while networking with successful Syracuse alumni and bonding with fellow iSchool students. Each road trip has the common goal of narrowing students’ career paths through exposure to real-life applications of what we have been learning in our classes. However each road trip is unique in that they are focused on different industries, such as entertainment and media, retail, sports management, or finance.
The first road trip that I went on was to Boston during the first semester of my freshman year. It was simultaneously the most nerve-racking and most rewarding experience of my time at Syracuse so far. As someone who has always been awful at public speaking, the idea of networking with industry professionals absolutely terrified me. I had just barely began my curriculum in the iSchool, and didn’t know anyone else that was going on the trip.
I remember visiting NESN, the New England Sports Network, when we were given time to network in place of a Q&A session. Fully panicked, I tried to hide in the back until we moved on to our next activity. But then, one of the group coordinators introduced me to an alumnus. The moment I had been dreading for so long turned into not only a great conversation about the opportunities in technology within the sports industry, but also created connections that eventually lead to a summer internship with the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Most importantly, the openness and friendliness of this alumnus made networking seem much less intimidating, and I have refused to miss another iSchool road trip ever since. Through my experience I learned how true the saying “you get what you give” really is–if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and go after possibilities wherever and whenever they present themselves, you will reap the benefits of new and rewarding opportunities.