I started college when I was only seventeen. It is absolutely incredible for me to even think about that and how young I was. I was so eager to be an adult and do well. I registered at Indiana University - South Bend, just down the road from Notre Dame. Little did I know or understand the cross-town rivalry back then. They were both good schools and compared to the small town of LaPorte about 38 miles away, population 20,000, South Bend seemed like a big city. I commuted to South Bend every day. I guess I was destined, even at seventeen, to drive long distances.

Being new to a bigger town, I was enthusiastic to meet new people and try to fit in. This was WAY before social media, so basically, I had to cold call – in person. I entered a CoHort, of sorts , for a specific program and incorporated rather quickly with twenty-five people with whom I would be spending the next three semesters. They were all interesting and nice, but as in most situations, there are certain people that gravitate toward each other quickly and become fast friends. This was most certainly the case.

At the end of our first week, I invited who ever wanted to go with me, in my ’67 VW Bus, to a fast food restaurant for lunch. Several took me up on my offer and I was in heaven, with about seven young women in a noisy, rough-riding vehicle that bounced us along. In an effort to see with whom I might align myself, I shouted from the driver’s seat, “Who parties?” Several hoorays filled the bus and I suddenly remembered that I didn’t party, I was only seventeen. I said, a little less enthusiastically, “I don’t.” There was an awkward silence but now, I knew with whom I should hang out.

Not the best method I suppose, but it was certainly a crystal-clear effort toward targeted networking. I had identified individuals that enjoyed getting together off campus and then I further filtered it down to who participated in off-campus activities that I shouldn’t and didn’t. Yes, I wanted to have a good time, but I was there for an education, first and foremost. This first-week effort made known who I would like to get together with for a study group, as well as who I might want to hang out with on weekends.

Lines had been drawn, but being one that doesn’t sit back and wait for life to happen, I had taken the bull by the horns and cut through a lot of crap that would have taken weeks to get through. My in-person cold call resulted in two very good friends and study partners. When life moves quick and time is short, certain quick action becomes requisite. This was one of those cases. I took that experience with me and have refined my approach somewhat but also have learned that directness is best for me in most cases. We all have stuff to do, we all have accomplishments to accomplish and the less time we have to spend developing our various networks, the quicker route is clear and the closer we get to achievement.
  
Point in case? Cold calling of any kind is not dead. Actually, it is the exact opposite: alive and kicking!

by rayannethorn



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