Because of where IU Bloomington is geographically situated, it is usually only a few hours of driving by car or a quick plane ride to where you need to be. For instance, I had the opportunity of going to the 99th Annual International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Conference in Boston and was able to get heavily subsidized through a scholarship made available for those students that went to this conference. Networking always scared me, but being put into the situation where professionals are constantly trading business cards, it seemed like 2nd nature after those four days that I was even giving them to a couple of strangers on my plane ride back to Bloomington.
The work, however, with professional conferences come after-the-fact. With all those business cards, you need to contact them so that you can remind them of yourself, in addition to giving them more information that you weren’t able to during the hustle and bustle of the day’s agenda. No matter what, getting out of your comfort zone is the cliche that’s actually true, at first; then it becomes a natural extension of yourself and eventually a skill that you can use again and again in the future.