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As a freshman, it sounded like an overused business-y word that people used to make fake relationships with other people. It wasn't something I really wanted to do. Over time, I found that that was not true at all. I learned that everyone creates and shapes the kind of networks they have.
Networking is something we do from the day we are born. It's an organic process of meeting and connecting with other human beings. The only noteworthy difference from networking and being social generally is that networking involves an intentionality in the relationship and being an opportunist. Whether it means intentionally seeking out friendships or work opportunities, networks usually make our lives a whole lot better and easier. It's something you don't have to wait to do when you're “all grown up.” It's something you can do here and now. It's something you are already doing here and now. Here are some of the kinds of networks you will encounter in life: