Our undergrad years are undoubtedly one of the most stressful and confusing phases of our lives. We enter our college careers with the mindset that maintaining a high GPA and doing well in our pre-requisite courses are our main priorities. Although that’s true to an extent, we tend to forget about crucial things that may not just help us on our Grad school applications, but also aid in our quest to find our inner passion for these careers we’re chasing after.

The big word that we’re missing is “networking”. Unfortunately, many undergraduate students completely ignore this vital aspect of their professional lives. If many of us are fortunate enough, we will be able to get those 4.0 GPA’s and solid scores on our standardized exams, but we will be missing that true passion and drive, which comes from experience, which ultimately stems from networking. So, what is “networking” and how can we improve ourselves through it?

There is a national meeting known as the Greater New York Dental meeting held at the Javitz Center in NYC once a year for one week. There you will find an established Dentist from Arizona chatting up with a sales representative from a high tech X-ray company about how this dentist can technologically advance his clinic and provide more efficient care for his patients. You will also find a dental hygiene student talking to a dentist from NYC about what career opportunities await her once she completes her education. This right here is a perfect example of networking and every career path has multiple opportunities like this one, you just have to look. You may then wonder, “I’m just a sophomore at a CUNY, how can I possibly put myself out there?” and this is perfectly fine, as many of us have been in this intimidating position before.

Pre-med students have a very accessible and outgoing organization known as AMSA, just as pre-dental students have ASDA. Lets also not forget about you pre-veterinary students who have APVMA; as you can see the list goes on and on. By simply paying a small membership fee, you can gain an invaluable experience and connect yourself to a world filled with people who share your interests and actually know exactly what you are going through. Sure, without our pre-health advisors and professors we would be nowhere and would most likely be too confused to even bother coming to school. However, with the additional help of people who have been in your position before and have made it to the top, you can open yourself up to a world of endless opportunities.