Socializing Vs. Networking: Tips for Navigating a Semi-professional Situation

 By: Arrita Mallory

Arrita serves as a 2017-2018 Content Editor of the MU Impressions newsletter.

While attending this year’s ASDA District 6 and 7 meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, in addition to partaking in the valuable sessions during the day that featured speakers and chapter reports, the evenings were a time of networking and fun. Spending time in a new city with new people always is a great time to learn about other students’ and graduates’ perspectives on navigating dental school and the profession. While the evening activities planned were less structured and intended to promote camaraderie and unequivocal fun, maintaining a professional image is of course still of great importance. There are some key ideas to keep in mind while navigating a professional, casual social event.

  • Be sure to introduce yourself to the sponsor’s of the event.
    • Even if you only speak with the sponsors for a moment or two, having the chance to thank them for their contributions and to introduce yourself briefly makes a huge impact. I think this of great importance even if you’re a D1 or D2 and not considering job opportunities or what types of insurance you might need.
  • Step outside your posse!

    • I personally find this the trickiest to implement; it can be easy to be a creature of comfort and talk only with your classmates or students from your school. However, when I force myself to introduce myself and spend time chatting with students from other areas I never regret the decision. One important lesson I have learned from entering this profession is that you can learn so much from each other - so be sure to take the opportunity to get to know others!

  • Keep in mind that you’re in a community of professionals!

    • While complimentary refreshments can certainly make for a fun evening, it is important to remember that representing not only yourself, but also the greater community of your school and profession is of utmost importance.

  • Bearing these tips in mind should make for a successful and fun time in any professional social situation.