Event Recap: Heller Alumni Networking Event 2023

Serina Herron-Smith, MA SID'24

March 05, 2024

Serina Herron Smith headshotOne of the most rewarding (and important) parts of Grad school is making connections. I don’t just mean with your cohort, who basically become your family. I also mean with alumnus and other experts in the field who will help you for the rest of your career and beyond.

With that in mind, I, your favorite advice-giver, am here to share my experience about the first networking event I ever attended as a baby grad school student. What I enjoyed, what I regret, and What I plan to do next time. Let's go!

The Deets

Back in early October, the wonderful staff at Heller organized an alumni working event. It was located at the Mighty Squirrel Brewery right here in Waltham (excellent place to hangout btw!). If you don’t have a car you can uber or carpool with someone who does.

What I Enjoyed

The atmosphere was incredible at the event. I really enjoyed the location of the event and the snacks and food they provided for us. It really felt like a well-planned event and it felt very grown up. Even though I’m 27 (wow) and I worked at a full-time job for 5 years, somehow grad school and student life makes you feel like a freshman in undergrad again. 

I also had an amazing time bonding with my cohort. At some point when the crowd thinned out, we ended up playing foosball and laughing and having a great time. That’s its own form of networking! 

What I Regret

Readers, I have a confession to make. I was so shy at this event. Even though I was excited to attend (I dressed up too, hello!) approaching these esteemed alumni intimidated me, and even worse I didn’t think to formulate some questions beforehand. 

Additionally, I wished there were more alumni that I would speak to about my practicum/internship. One thing about the SID degree is that a lot of our second-year students are gone because they’re completing their practicum so it’s hard to find many people to ask about how it went for them. Most of the SID alumni were dual degree recipients so I couldn’t ask. 

What I’ll Do Next Time

Next time, I plan to come in confident and mingle more. The whole point to a networking event is just that – you network. I did have nice conversations, but I’ll make sure to add people on LinkedIn and relay my interests and career goals clearly. Talking is nice but connections grow when you foster ways to stay in contact and bond over shared interests.