We are thrilled to introduce you to Melissa Minton, a full-time student at the George Washington University, President of GWU’s Epsilon Sigma Alpha chapter, Her Campus Correspondent and Co-Editor-in-Chief of GWU Branch, and content intern at Birchbox and Birchbox Man. Whew. We know that’s a lot to get through, but that’s what makes Melissa so awesome – she keeps herself open to opportunities and then utilizes them when she has the chance.
It’s certainly not easy being a full-time student and juggling a handful of other pressing responsibilities, so we asked Melissa to provide us with some insight into how she does it all and still has time for herself! If you want to find out organization tips, learn more about securing incredible internships (Melissa has previously interned at the National Press Club, ELLE Magazine, and De*Nada Design, to name a few), or be inspired by this multi-tasking master, read on!
Name: Melissa Minton
Education: B.A. from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in the School of Media and Public Affairs from George Washington University
Follow: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest
Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?
MM: I think seizing your youth means actively searching for new experiences and opportunities. Nothing is going to be handed to you unless you’re going out and searching for it. Even if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, just be open. And if there is an opportunity that falls in your lap, say yes. Always say yes until you have to say no.
CJ: What advice would you give to your 13 year old self?
MM: Don’t downplay your passions and don’t worry about what other people think. I would probably still need to follow the latter even today, but when I was 13 I thought that reading and writing and fashion were just hobbies. It wasn’t until I realized that putting my three passions together could make for a great career that I started to really hone in on that. Also, I wish my 13 year old self knew that bangs aren’t a good look for me.
CJ: What is the benefit or downfall of having such different internship experiences?
MM: I think that in today’s work environment, you need variety. Especially in the media industry you have to be able to do everything yourself. I chose the internships that I’ve had because they all have to do with media, but I learned about different facets of the industry with each experience. You’re never going to be able to explore your interests as thoroughly as when you have different internships, so I think it’s a major benefit to have unique experiences. However, it could be seen as a downfall for the future if you don’t sell your skills in an interview, so before you start an internship you should always know what you want to get out of it.
CJ: What three traits do you think make an outstanding intern?
MM: Willingness to do anything, thinking ahead for your boss, and enthusiasm.
CJ: If you could pinpoint one common thread through all of the work you’ve done to secure your internships, what would it be?
MM: In order to secure internships, being really professional and thorough in every contact you have with your potential future employer is key, whether that be email, phone, or in person. You want to come off as friendly, but I think employers respect professionalism in a young person. If you’re able to point out what skills you’ve used in the past that will be useful to them in an eloquent way, you’ll never be rejected. I like to think that I’ve done that for all the internships I’ve secured.
CJ: You are a student at the School of Media and Pubic Affairs at GWU. What does your major involve and how did you decide what to study?
MM: My major is Journalism and Mass Communications and I am absolutely in love with it. I didn’t discover the program until my sophomore year after trying out classes that interested me. I was taking classes focused on culture and thought I might go into American Studies, but ultimately figured out that I wanted a more real world perspective rather than analytical. As a Journalism major I learn about not only many theories behind how the media industry works, but also skills such as video editing, and lots of writing in different styles. It’s a very hands-on major but also backed up by knowledge of theories.
CJ: What have you learned from your experience as a Her Campus Co-EIC?
MM: I think one of the biggest take-aways for me is that writing is very personal, but the entire process takes a village. From coming up with ideas, weeding through the good and bad, drafting, editing, posting, promoting on social, the process is in constant motion and no one person can lay claim to all of that work.
CJ: What kind of responsibilities do you have as President of ESA?
MM: As President of ESA, I am essentially the brain that works all of the different appendages. I use what I’ve learned in my past years on the executive board of ESA to map out our future, our goals, and objectives, then trust my e-board members to do the muscle work. I’m pretty type A when it comes to organization, so I task myself with mapping out timelines and due dates and checking in on progress. There are lots of nitty gritty details, but basically I get to conceptualize what I want the organization to look and feel like, which is really satisfying.
CJ: Did you choose to study abroad in college? Why or why not?
MM: Unfortunately, with the requirements of my major, I wasn’t able to do a semester abroad, but I was happy that I found a short term study abroad option. I took a class called “Globalization in Media” in which the class met on campus during the semester, and then went to Paris for 10 days of spring break and had lots of amazing speakers and seminars. I’m so happy that at least I was able to experience that. Not going abroad for an entire semester is definitely my biggest regret!
CJ: You are a student, an organization leader, an intern with multiple groups – How do you create a strong work-life balance (socially and personally balanced with professional goals)?
MM: I think that’s a challenge for everyone and I’d be lying if I said I had achieved it. One of my role models, Ann Shoket, said in an interview with The Every Girl that “There is no balance. You have to embrace the mess.” I think that’s true. I try to do everything in moderation and on a schedule. I like to do recurring tasks on the same day at the same time weekly so that I won’t forget. But, flexibility is also key. Sometimes you’re too tired to do extra work, and sometimes you need to push and get something done instead of relax. I think the balance between regiment and flexibility is the key to balance between personal and work priorities. That’s a long way of saying that I try to embrace the mess.
CJ: What are your best organization tips?
MM: I’m always trying to find new apps or programs I can use to be more productive and organize, but it always goes back to pretty simple things for me. To do lists and iCal are my best friends. If every night you write down all of the things you have to do the next day you’ll wake up feeling more in control and ready to cross things off the list. I’m also crazy about color coding and timelines.
CJ: Would you have done anything differently during your college experience looking back with 20/20 hindsight?
MM: I do wish that I had found the School of Media and Public Affairs sooner, but I probably would not have been able to take some of the really cool classes I took freshman year. I think every upperclassmen wishes they took advantage of their freshmen year more, but that’s what it’s for – to be a buffer time between high school and real college work. I always wish that I had gone abroad for a semester as well, that is one thing I am sad about.
CJ: What motivates you?
MM: I’m motivated by the strong women that have the jobs I want. Seeing someone else doing what you want to do is the best way to motivate yourself to get there eventually.
CJ: Where do you see yourself going next?
MM: Hopefully after I graduate I’ll be in New York City.
CJ: When you aren’t busy working and studying, what do you enjoy doing?
MM: Recently I’ve gotten really into painting and drawing and I want to learn how to throw pottery. I like anything creative. Also, watching reality TV will always be my un-guilty pleasure.
CJ: What is your favorite book?
MM: If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone
CJ: What is the best piece of college related advice you would give to your 18-year-old self?
MM: Don’t do anything just because everyone else is. And conversely, just because no one is doing something doesn’t mean you should stay away from that either. Do whatever you want to do.