High school students have no problem with the concept of socializing. That socializing generally doesn’t go far beyond dating, going to parties, gossiping, and talking during math class when they’re supposed to be taking notes. High school socializing among students is not the same as networking to get ahead. This type of socializing may be helpful when it comes to dating or writing a gossip column, but it won’t help them further their careers, make themselves more well known in the workplace, or develop a reputation that will make them more successful.
Networking skills can be indispensable when it comes to getting a job, getting an interview, and finding new clients or customers for those who freelance or are self employed. If school is meant to prepare students to be independent adults who can take care of themselves then school should be about more than just teaching kids to memorize facts and recite them for tests. It should be about teaching them to think for themselves and giving them skills that help them take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Being able to network is an invaluable tool in finding and taking advantage of opportunities.
Many seem to assume that kids will learn things like networking on their own. Some of them do, but not all of them. By assuming they all do learn networking on their own we are leaving behind those who can’t learn those networking skills on their own. It’s naive to simply assume that all high school students will learn any type of skill on their own before they graduate. If they learned everything on their own there would be no need for school and we know that’s not the case.
Another sad assumption people also make is that those who attend college and get a degree will be set for life. A degree does not guarantee that someone will always be able to pay the bills. It doesn’t even guarantee an interview or an opportunity to get a job. Knowing how to network can help those students get those interviews to start their careers. Networking is especially important to those students who do not attend college and choose to be self employed entrepreneurs. Starting up a successful business or trying to find work as a freelancer can be virtually impossible without the networking skills that will bring in customers.
Students cannot be dependent on the idea that their college degree will automatically get them an interview that will automatically get them a job. Whether or not they are able to network can be the deciding factor in whether they enjoy a successful career, with or without a college degree. Networking can give students the tools they need to be independent and have the freedom to have some control over their futures. For schools to deny this to students is denying them one of the most valuable tools that can make them successful.