There is something in life called “Social Capital.” The people you know; the people who know you and how they know you.
Quite unfortunately, people think or behave like social capital is only needed on weddings, burials, sickly etc. and in the context of academia, when you have already failed in a unit(s), missed a course, unable to pay school fees, etc. etc. That is why you see someone who has not contacted you in many years, out of the blue, they are sending you a message, “Hello so and so, long time. Btw, next Sunday is my pre-wedding. I need your support.” kind of messages. In the context of academia, you will see a message like “Hello so and so, long time. Btw, I was deregistered and so I cannot access my account. I need your help.” While these messages are not wrong by themselves, this is not a foster to social capital creation.
Social capital is not built overnight; it is reciprocal and does not need money (especially in this virtually connected world) to build. It just needs being sensitive that people have emotions and that you can’t sneak into their lives only when you need help. It must be built over time with even frequent salutations.
Social capital is massively important and when built and used correctly, it can make a very big difference to one’s quality of life. It can save you money, make you money, get you a better job, make things for you easier and safer, it can save you from prison, or save your life: it can save you time and effort, and make life more enjoyable and productive.
As we progress through the year, please learn to connect with people in your circles. Check on people, send someone a birthday message, check their timelines and comment something positive and inspirational. Pick your phone and call someone or text them. It could be your relative, your colleague, your former schoolmate, a former or current boss, your CEO, your parents etc.
Creating a connection with people is important for building your social capital. And even if they don’t respond, at least keep in touch, and don’t just reach out when you are in need
Most importantly, respect everyone no matter their status in life and be there when others need you. Be a solution, an encouragement and inspiration. Avoid being a leech, a user or nagger. Just be a nice person who in a calculated way stays in touch with people and brings joy, encouragement, and hope. If you asked for helped or even got help without asking, remember to always appreciate those that supported or directed you. If they referred you, remember to mention to them the outcome of your encounter. It is good manners.
The most important asset you have in life is not your job, money, or title; its People Thank you.