How do I network myself around in the IT community?

To Logan, Wendell, or anyone that can help

Thanks for taking the time to read, I am looking for a job in the networking field(a starting position willing to do any grub work) to get some real good buisness level IT experience. My only problem is I'm fresh out of highschool and I have no real connections to anyone in the buisness that could help me. I've been playing with machines, software and hardware, since i was nine and I've been working hands on with people since i was twelve. I didn't do any major jobs till my freshman year of highschool but have "clients" that I have worked with that would vouche for me if I needed a reference. I have my A+, Net+, and by Aug. 6th I'll have my Security+. I'm also studying for a Linux+, ccent, mcsa, and Server+ certification. If anyone could tell me how to get my foot in the door other than just applying for a position especially in the northern Virginia area I would be more than greatfull. The food industry is killing me and I need to find a way out... soon.

try to intern anywhere, becomes friends with your boss so that when you go to your next job you will have a shining refrence. also, go to any school that's cost effective. in the IT world it's not  very important where you went to school, even sometimes if you even went. IT is all about experience, it's a trumper. good luck you sound like you're well on your way. networking is def key so make friends.

Yeah try to find an internship. Maybe look for job fairs and try to make a really good impression on people by being up beat and social.