Working hard is a fool’s errand.
This statement should not surprise any college student in the slightest. It is naïve to think that the amount of time and energy spent on your work will make a difference in your overall success.
Yet, we see our peers walking around campus every single day stressing about their projects, presentations and exams they have for class. Many strive for that ‘A’ or at least a high ‘B’ because it speaks better for your overall grade and GPA.
However, all that effort is mostly futile in the grand scheme of things.
Growing up, our teachers in primary school sold us this narrative that “as long as you work hard, you will be successful.” That is simply not true in the slightest.
That’s why it’s a different ball game in college. When you are starting to advance in your major, your professor starts pushing for internships to gain experience and build contacts with people in your industry. They endorse school and organizational events for you to network at and make an impression on those same contacts.
Even Forbes, the business magazine dedicated to helping its readers become top dog in their fields agrees that networking trumps hard work.
“Networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits,” Bianca Cole, a Forbes contributor, said.
“For many individuals that have succeeded in their career, the causes have largely been contributed to the strong networking channels they have created over time.”
Professors would not be promoting networking if it wasn’t important.
It’s not just your hard work that determines if you get that job or promotion. All of that is determined by whether the guy in charge knows and likes you enough.
Think about it: if you ever had an internship, unless a GPA standard was a requirement, the supervisor didn’t inquire about that A+ you got on your final exam. They didn’t want the specifics of that bomb presentation you gave in your research class.
You probably wouldn’t even be given the opportunity to get that internship if your professor or mentor didn’t put in a good word for you.
The same is true in the real world whenever you graduate: the guy in HR conducting your job interview isn’t prioritizing your grade. He wants to know if you have the required degree, can do the tasks they need and if you can gel with their company’s culture. That’s it.
Everyone, especially in college, has something that they’re great at. Everyone works hard. You’re not going to be rewarded on that sole basis.
It’s not about what you do, but it’s how you do it. You can be the best, most talented person in your field. That alone will not get you employed.
Students should not be stressing over their work at all. We should not be working as hard, but we need to work smart.
Promote your work on your social media. Get other people to do the same. Go out of your way to develop a camaraderie with your professor, someone who does have connections in your industry. Take initiative and go down to the Career and Opportunities Office and use their professional contacts.
We have all the power when it comes to our success. We need to put ourselves out there by selling ourselves. Being seen and being likeable is the key.
This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.