Why You Should Attend ANN
ANN. By now you may have either heard of ANN or seen something pop up on social media about it. But what exactly is ANN? ANN is the annual Alumni Networking Night hosted by the MSA’s Academic Mentorship and Professional Development program (AMPD). This year AMPD will host its 2nd Annual Alumni Networking Night on March 9th at which students will be able to network with Muslim professionals from the Los Angeles area. Many people may be thinking that ANN is just another one of those events where you drop off your resume to a couple dozen vendors, cross your fingers, and hope for a phone call. However, ANN is about creating opportunities, preparing Muslim students for the future, and most importantly, forming connections within our ummah.
So at this point you may be thinking “How is ANN different from any of the other career events on campus?” What sets ANN apart from your typical networking night is that in addition to helping you network, ANN will provide you with the opportunity to build connections within the Muslim community. The recent political climate has left many Muslims feeling disconnected from society which makes interconnectivity within the ummah all the more important. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The example of Muslims in their mutual love, mercy and sympathy is like that of a body; if one of the organs is afflicted, the whole body responds with sleeplessness and fever.”(Hadith-Muslim). As Muslims, we should strive to maintain relationships within our community so that we can be there for each other during times of need. Participating in ANN and becoming more connected with our fellow Muslims is one way in which we can embody the communal aspect of our religion. We are often so busy juggling classes, work schedules, and club activities that we forget to make time for our community. ANN is an opportunity to address this lack of interconnection and to fill the gaps within our ummah. By bringing together Muslim professionals to advise and guide aspiring students, we hope to strengthen our community so that it can act as a resource and source of support for undergraduate students.
With that said, the idea of stepping into the real world is a thought that many of us students are often afraid to entertain. A lot of students feel like they don’t even know where or how to begin. ANN will serve as a stepping stone to help you get started and demystify the process of leaving university life, whether that be by exploring different careers, accessing resources, or working towards your professional goals. Professionals from various backgrounds such as healthcare, business, marketing, law, education, etc. will be attending the event to talk about their careers and shed some light onto how they got to where they are today. This will help those who know which career or field they want to pursue get started. For the students who don’t know what they want to do in terms of career or post-undergraduate studies, ANN will give you the opportunity to explore various careers by giving you access to representatives from diverse fields . Students will be able to to learn more about what is out there. ANN will also benefit those who don’t know what jobs are available in their field of interest. Interacting with different professionals in your field of interest will help you narrow down your choices or even open up new options. Whether you are someone who just needs tips on how to get started with your chosen career, someone who has no idea what you want to pursue, or someone in between, you will be able to benefit from attending ANN.
Coming prepared with reasonable expectations and knowledge of how networking works is key to making the most of ANN. Many people think that they will leave ANN with a job lined up. That is not how networking works. Building connections isn’t something that will happen overnight. Networking takes time, patience, and persistence. The purpose of ANN is not to hand out jobs, rather to provide a platform for students to begin making contacts with professionals. That is why knowing ahead of time what you would like to gain from attending ANN is key to benefiting from the event. Understanding how networking works and the etiquette behind it will help you be better prepared to network. If this happens to be your first networking event, do some research on networking and think up of what you want to get out of ANN. Once you’ve done that, mark your calendar for March 9th. See you there!