Network with peers, take initiative

Bryce McelhaneyI’ll start this thing off by apologizing, because this is going to be cheesy. Seeing this is my very last editorial for the Pioneer, I wanted to leave some words of advice to my peers at OCCC. I’ve attended OCCC since fall of 2012 and it’s been a ride, and it has been quick. Peers, this college is full of opportunities — not only for learning, but for networking. I cannot stress enough how important it is to network with fellow students and professors. These people can help you out in many ways, and will if you’re nice enough to them.

According to, here are a few tips on learning to network:

“Be cognizant of your image and reputation.” I have to say, dressing nicely and maintaining a perfectly groomed beard has gotten me places. Okay, not really, but people take you more seriously when you look professional. Showing up to an interview like you just woke up and mowed your lawn isn’t the way to go.

“Offer to work for free,” a concept many people disagree with, but I’ve offered to work for free on projects I wasn’t familiar with and learned something new in the process.

In fact, basically any Jake McMahon film you see from here out, I acted in for free — with the exception of a paid iHop dinner (thanks Jake).

But that’s the exception — make sure you’re only working for free on something that can offer you new insight. You may not get paid, but you’ll earn some knowledge.

Last, “adopt the right mindset,” which means learning how to become valuable to the people you meet. I’ve developed a motto recently, “be valuable to me, and I promise I will be valuable to you.”

It’s important to let people know that you’re a valuable asset to their team or network. Everyone is in search for information, or somebody who knows things they do not, and in that way, information truly is power.

In the end, it’s all about who you know. If you play your cards right and talk to the right folks, you’ll find yourself in a group of talented and eccentric human beings like I have.

Also, take advantage of your resources. The college has many which are available to you all semester.

But more than using the college resources, find your own resources. Create a project with your peers that can impact your community.

I’ve learned recently in economics, it’s all about marginal benefit above marginal cost. Ask yourself, are you benefiting from your life activities more than the cost? If not, do something about it.

As much as it pains me to say, keep an agenda. Staying organized is a crucial part of being successful. I’ve learned to utilize my iPhone calendar and alarms so much that it’s pretty much how I get most things done, because I’m a forgetful person.

Finally, don’t ever be afraid.

Honestly, do not fear anything when it comes to becoming successful. Success isn’t something that just happens — it’s a practice, or a craft which anyone can master.

Forget every single insecurity or fear you have about meeting people or doing things, because the truth is, nobody has any idea what they’re doing to an extent.

There is an empowerment that comes with letting go of your doubts and I’m passing that secret on to you, because I want you to be successful, to be valuable, and to not be afraid to take control of your situation.


To contact Bryce McElhaney,email

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