It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.

Anthony J. Wong

Staff Writer

More than ever college students are concerned with the economy and their long term career job prospects after they graduate. Recent demonstrations at Occupy Wall Street are an example of growing concerns among young people that their futures may not be as prosperous as the generations that came before them.

Many of the protestors are young Americans searching for answers as to why they are unable to secure employment with the degrees they have earned. The answers to job security and gainful employment maybe found far away from Wall Street. According to sociologist Mark Ganovetter, in his study Getting a Job, greater than 56 percent of the time people find employment through an acquaintance, usually which respondents claim they saw “occasionally” or “rarely.”

That’s a startling statistic showing that one of every two people find their jobs not by submitting random resumes or through close friends, but by soft social connections that Ganovetter calls “weak ties.” In terms of finding employment this evidence supports that the relationships formed during college may be as important as the degree that students obtain.

In a society that is increasingly connected through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there is also growing evidence of increasing social isolation. According to a recent survey by CloudTalk, a corporation that provides companies with mobile social platforms, less than half of smart phone users actually use their phones to make phone calls! The result is that most students are primarily interacting via tweet, text or status updates, depriving them of basic communication skills, social interactions and perhaps career opportunities.

Expectedly there are some easy ways Palm Beach State students can become more socially active. One option is to get involved on campus through student activities, clubs and organizations. Palm Beach State College has more than 20 organizations including; Student Government, Personal Fitness Club, Art Club, Gay Straight Alliance, Psychology Club and even the Beach Comber student newspaper. These organizations offer students the opportunity to interact with others of like mind, build friendships and learn more about topics that interest them.

If specific groups aren’t appealing there is also a simple remedy that anyone can practice, perhaps right at this very moment. There are countless of opportunities to interact with others during class, in between periods or during lunch, so take initiative and introduce yourself to a complete stranger. Look them in the eye, smile, give them daps and ask them something about themselves. The answer might surprise you and it may lead to a new friendship or relationship that eventually brings with it opportunity. Consider that once upon a time Mark Zuckerberg was just another college freshman and that the next genius American entrepreneur might be in one of your classes this semester.