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Jasmine Peteran

The New Networking Reality for Students

Illustration of diverse young people sitting on various large colourful speech bubbles.
Illustration of diverse young people sitting on various large colourful speech bubbles.
Yury Vainitski ©

For students trying to establish themselves as freelance editors, networking is key to success. Now that the fall semester has started, students are dreading the anticipated lack of opportunities with this new post-secondary experience.

Networking is central to nearly every professional field, but especially true for those of us who work primarily as freelancers. As editors, we consider that one job done well could earn us a second, and the cycle continues as our credibility weaves its way through the industry. This initial starting point is often a struggle for students faced with the daunting idea of competing with experienced and highly regarded colleagues for freelance jobs.

Learning beyond the classroom

When institutions across the country announced the closure of their campuses this summer, none of us could have anticipated how drastically this would affect our career paths. As a student of creative writing and publishing, my learning extends far beyond the classroom; pre-pandemic, I was surrounded by members of the literary community every day on campus. My peers and my professors were always passing around new industry information.

I tended to linger after class, as most people would, because it was through all those in-between conversations that we were able to network. A casual after-class conversation with a professor led me to attend my first editing workshop, which in turn led me to a panel of professionals who were not only willing, but also eager to give advice. The remote delivery of this fall semester will exclude some of the most meaningful and impactful moments of the college experience.

Networking online

Now, we are faced with scheduled video lectures and discussion “chat rooms” — limited by screen time and spell-check. There is no place for discussion unrelated to assignments or lecture notes and therefore, no room for networking. Editors spend enough time working alone as it is, and for many of us, the classroom (or the office) was an escape to a more social side of the literary world. I find myself now wandering not from room to room, but rather from tab to tab. I’m concerned that the lack of networking opportunities available online will put my career on hold while we all wait patiently for a vaccine.

Finding new ways to promote and hone our skills

However, we are a fortunate group to have such a well-established plethora of online resources, Editors Canada being a leading example. Many organizations have truly made the most out of this situation by pouring their efforts into their online platforms. I have been fortunate enough to work with ARTS by the People, a non-profit organization that is thriving under these new limitations with virtual events happening every week. For any readers out there who consider themselves an artist of any kind, I highly recommend taking a scroll through their home page. You won’t be disappointed with the community you’re sure to find!

While our local networking abilities may be hindered, we may very well be at the peak of a sustainable global network. With uncertainty still looming over the winter semester, students across the globe are finding new ways to promote and hone their skills online. And the options available to this generation — from a revamped personal website to a social media marketing class — will give students the push they need to jump-start their careers during a new era of remote learning.


Previous post from Jasmine Peteran: Transitioning Between the Home and the Home Office

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