Hello fellow young professionals! My name is Coult Culler, and I am the current summer intern here at the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA). After completing my internship, I will officially be a North Carolina State University graduate. I am graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with a concentration in Natural Resources. My time here at NCRPA has allowed me to sharpen my profession skills, learn new ones, and most importantly meet some great people. In this month's YPN blog, I will discuss the importance of staying connected with past friends, classmates, professors, and other contacts.
Over the course of my four years in college, I was able to meet hundreds of individuals. Some of whom I now consider to be my best friends and will always keep in touch with them no matter where we end up in life. Others I have met were classmates, coaches, teacher assistants, and professors. It has taken me until this point to realize how important it is to stay connected with them. Staying connected has the potential to open doors and create new opportunities that may never have come around without the help of an old friend.
After finishing your general college classes, you are able to move into your major-specific classes. In these classes, you start to meet fellow classmates that more than likely share similar career goals as you do and partake in the same extracurricular activities. It is scary how fast those four years can fly by, and people start getting jobs and going their separate ways. After those four years, people have more than likely shared contact information or are friends on social media of some sort. Taking advantage of that information may benefit you more than you think. If you are currently working a job and have already started looking for new ones, or you are still on the search for either a part-time or full-time job, take advantage of the contacts you have access to. Your classmates may be in a position to help you find a job or even offer you a position at their current organization.
A lot of us had a favorite professor that taught multiple classes related to our major. He or she was able to get to know who you are from your assignments, projects, papers and other school-related content. They were also able to see you grow as a person over a couple of years. Professors are there to share their knowledge with young professionals that strive to make a difference in the world no matter where they may end up working. But looking down the road, they are there to help you even if you are not in school anymore. Professors have an endless book of connections that may assist you in the job search. When you are stressing about your current employment position and where to go from there, don’t hesitate to send that email. The connection with past teachers and professors goes past the classroom doors. Reaching out for advice or suggestions is something that they would be happy to share with you.
During my final year at NC State, I started to become stressed about finding an internship. I spent hours looking and applying but was unable to hear back from anyone. I finally ended up reaching out to my advisor who I had become close with over the years. Thankfully, she was able to give me a couple of leads to different places that had internships available around the Raleigh area. I ended up applying for the position with NCRPA later that day. Not too long after applying, I received an email back from NCRPA asking when I could come in for an interview. I immediately sent my advisor an email saying thank you for all of her help because without it I may have never gotten the internship. That just goes to show that building relationships with people over the years can benefit you in tough situations.
My time at NC State was more than anything I could have asked for because of the people I met and the education I received. Now moving forward as a young professional, I am able to see the unwritten side of the real world. It is up to us to find a profession we have a passion for, but that is a lot easier said than done. Take advantage of the friends and contacts you have made over the years because you never know how they could positively impact your future.
Meet the Author
Coult joined NCRPA this summer as an intern and is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina. He is planning on graduating from North Carolina State University at the end of this summer with a Bachelor's of Science in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with a concentration in Natural Resources. Coult lives in Raleigh and enjoys making trips back to Wilmington to fish and be on the water.
Coult can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-832-5868.
If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at email@example.com or 919-832-5868.