Long after the final test is taken and your graduation cap has been tossed in the air, you may find your thoughts wandering to friends you made and acquaintances you met during your education.
As new responsibilities and commitments may pull you in different directions, it can be difficult to stay connected and keep in touch with your classmates. Moreover, you may find yourself wondering if it's even necessary to do so. It might take a little extra effort to maintain those connections post-graduation, but staying in touch with classmates provides many benefits, both personally and professionally.
Networking for your career
The most notable benefit of staying connected with fellow students is the chance to grow your career through networking.
If you have regular interactions with former classmates, that creates the possibility that one of them may share information about a job opening where they work. If you're looking for new employment, this not only makes you aware of the position, but also gives you a connection who could possibly serve as a reference during the hiring process.
The situation could also be reversed. You may have information to share about an opening at your company. In some cases, an organization may offer referral bonuses if someone is hired as a result of your recommendation. You'll also play a role in helping your company find and hire outstanding colleagues.
Discovering a new passion
You may have aspirations to take your education further and earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. With a number of career path choices, it can be tough to decide which specialty track you'd like to enter into -- education or informatics, for example.
A fellow alumni may be able to help.
You may find that your former classmates have entered into a variety of specialties. Their insights and experiences can give you a glimpse into different career paths for nurses, and help guide you towards the one that's right for you.
Foster personal connections
It's always great to make new friends and find others who share your interests. When you spend time with fellow students during your education, you may discover that you share a love of music as well as caring for others.
It's important to cultivate these blossoming friendships in order to care for yourself as an individual.
And as an RN, staying in touch with new friends can also help manage your emotional well-being by serving as a support system during difficult times.
Solve shared problems
If you’re having concerns about something at work, a former classmate may be able to help.
Reaching out to a fellow nurse to ask them for their opinion about a situation can return a number of benefits. For example, if you’re encountering an issue with scheduling at your workplace, a classmate could offer insight based on their own experiences. Perhaps their organization uses a different system which addresses the issue you face. You could then share this information with your co-workers as a possible resolution.
Similarly, if your friend works in a different capacity than you, then they may be able to help you understand a different viewpoint in regards to the matter. Perhaps they set the department schedule at their workplace. If so, they could explain some of the factors that guide their scheduling decisions.
Boost your confidence
By regularly interacting with your former classmates, you’re likely to learn something from them.
Unlike the previous example which focused on solving an existing problem, what you learn from casual conversations about your day-to-day experiences as a nurse could help you with challenges you’ve yet to face.
Nurses are known to have candid conversations about work, so you and your classmate will have stories to trade about experiences you’ve had and what you discovered worked well given the circumstances. Should any of your friend’s tough moments happen to you in the future, you’ll have a better idea about how to react.
These shared experiences can help you feel confident as you become more aware of what someone else has done when they faced a similar situation.
Why do you stay connected with your classmates? Share the benefits you've found.
By Ryan Segovich
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