Who would have thought a pandemic could be conducive to building your professional network? I certainly didn’t. Yet Covid moved most parts of our lives, including networking, online. Having joined ScotNet not that long ago, I’ve never known it in its non-virtual form, but I imagine the past year has been nothing like the 29 before it. At least in practical terms, of course – the network’s warmth and friendliness, which have undoubtedly been a constant throughout the years, have been shining through on my computer screen for months.
When it became clear that Covid wasn’t going anywhere for a while, I finally found the time I could never find to apply to ITI. Another reason I’d been putting it off was because I was temporarily living in France with my partner. We had resolute plans to return to Scotland, but I had no control over when that would happen. It had seemed daft to join an organisation and regional network in a country I wasn’t based in. But suddenly it didn’t matter where you were based. The only place anyone was going was Zoom.
That’s how I began making connections and even forging friendships back home in Scotland despite living across the Channel. ScotNet helped make that possible by adapting to the circumstances and ensuring its members could stay connected. Between the autumn workshop, the AGM and the Show & Tell sessions, I had plenty of opportunities to interact with other ScotNetters, with breakout rooms leading to friendly emails and discussions on Twitter. I now find myself with a Scottish support network made up of people I’ve never met in person but who have shown me nothing but kindness. As my personal life crumbled and “we” became “I”, it became clear that one of the silver linings is that I can now return to Scotland and, Covid permitting, enjoy the company of kindred-spirited ScotNetters offscreen. Thank you all for making me feel so welcome and I look forward to being part of ScotNet’s next 30 years.