Q & A With A Successful College Student & The Importance of Workplace Friendships X Collab with Melanie Gazazian

Melanie is my co-worker at our Public Relations firm, Jane Owen Public Relations. Melanie has been such a great role model, boss, and co-worker. I would even consider her a mentor, which might seem weird to some since we are the same age but there is no age limit to how much you can learn from an individual. Here is the question and answer portion of our blog post all about how to be successful, make connections, and thrive in the  undergraduate and post-graduate world.

Q & A

1.How did you get this job?

In the summer of 2019, I got extremely lucky with a friend recommending InternQueen as a place to get an internship. I saw JOPR listed, and immediately applied because it sounded like exactly what I needed. After interning that summer, I took time away for university, and came back as an intern in March of 2020, and was promoted this past summer as a full employee. Since then, I have been working part to full-time and have loved every second of it. 

2. What is your dream job and position?

Being a publicist is definitely the dream, but I would love to work in either film or books and publishing! Both scopes are passions and loves of mine, and I think if I had a choice, I would do everything I can to work with both!

3. How important are co-worker relationships to you?

Extremely important! If you don’t have a good relationship with your co-workers, there isn’t a sense of camaraderie when going through difficult times, or times to celebrate together. It ends up feeling very isolating. Having a great relationship is everything and makes work, and being part of this team, so much more meaningful. 

4. What words of wisdom could you pass on to people looking to be in your position?

Having a consistent schedule and being available for more than a few hours at a time is definitely my biggest tip! Going from being an intern to a junior publicist/account executive within a year was a big accomplishment for me, and a very rewarding one at that. But it was months of learning, understanding my mistakes when they are made, and adapting to new ways of working. I was able to learn the new systems and databases quickly, gain new certifications in my skills, and become an extremely important member of the team by getting things done, and getting them done well. Being able to learn so much as quickly as I did definitely changed the scope of my job, and would be the best way to get up the ladder higher! 

5. What do you see yourself doing after this?

After I graduate in May, I’m looking to work full time for the summer. However, I am a prospective graduate student with hopes to be at USC Annenberg for their Public Relations and Strategic Communications program! 

6. What is it like working with people all over the country?

Definitely one of the coolest things, but also it makes me a little sad! Living in Los Angeles, I’m really lucky to be so close to the office. But with some of my favorite co-workers and interns being all the way across on the east coast, it makes having those meaningful connections be a bit more distant than I’d like! (Miss Madison, you are someone I need to have in California like asap please and thank yoU).

7. What is your daily routine like?

This is fun lol. 

I wake up sometime around 7/8am PST, get ready, make breakfast, a cup of coffee, and take my vitamins. Usually with breakfast, I’ll lightly check my emails, but not respond to anything and take that hour or so to myself, then log on around 9am to get to work! After my shift ends at around 4/5pm, I get ready to go to CrossFit at 5:30pm and work out for an hour. Once I’m home, it’s dinner time, then homework or class! Working remotely is pretty nice in terms of being able to get multiple things done, so if there’s a bit of downtime between tasks, I can do a bit of homework too.

8. What are your passions outside of your career?

I looooveeee reading! I actually have an entire brand behind the handle @thebookishmel and I’ve loved building that over the course of the last year and a half! I’ve read over one hundred books the past two years, with over five hundred books on my to-be-read lists. Making YouTube videos really changed the way I interacted with books, how I reviewed them, and how I feel about this passion! It’s grown so much more from just reading for fun, to reading with purpose – and I love that.

9. What are your personality types? (Myers-Briggs, enneagram)

Myers-Briggs: INFJ! This is actually different than the last time I took it, which labeled me as an ENFJ. I’m not sure as to how accurate the I/E distinction is for me anymore, but the rest I agree with! 

Enneagram: Either a 3 or an 8! The percentages are always SO close for me! I definitely think I’m more of a Type 8 though. 

10. How do you manage if you don’t get along with a boss or co-worker?

LOTS of patience! I’ve had a few bosses that I didn’t look forward to seeing in my working life, but nonetheless, we continue. Co-workers, however, are a slightly more difficult challenge considering the collaborative effort that comes with it. I like to think of Robin and Patrice from HIMYM, and I thank my LUCKY STARS I don’t have that bad of a relationship with any co-workers that can’t be avoided. 

11. How do you balance college and working so much?

🙂 I don’t.

No, in all seriousness, it’s hard! I organize my entire life through bullet journaling and Notion™, both for work and school. Typically, I organize the to-do list for the week through Notion, 

12. How is life on the west coast? Would you consider moving somewhere else?

I really do love living on the West Coast. Not to sound like a southern California ad, but we really do have the beaches, desert, and mountain, all within a few hours of each other. Being someone who loves the outdoors and is finding new ways to be in it everytime, there really isn’t any more I could ask for. I don’t think I’d ever move anywhere else, and if it is, someone needs to bring me back to reality. Temporarily, maybe I’d make a move to the UK, but permanently, California has my heart! 

13. Do you feel prepared to go into the next step of your career from this job?

Absolutely! I think the team taught me everything I needed to know (up until this point) about PR and about being on a successful team. Learning what it means to do the technical aspects of PR, as well as the managerial aspects of assisting in running a team! I also feel really good about taking opportunities that are up to standard, if you will. I won’t really be settling for whatever I can get, and I’m really excited to be working towards bigger and better things.

14. Describe your ideal peer/coworker. 

Someone who can be both a valuable team member, but also someone who is just like my friend! I want to be able to sympathize with the workflow, be honest about how we’re feeling without it being so ‘oh my gosh I can’t be honest’ – that is the last thing I could ask for. Especially being remote, I need to have coworkers be friends I can rant to but also people that I can rely on, and who can rely on me, as a support system for our success.

15. What lessons have you taken away from college?

CONNECTIONS are everything! I already know how important connections at a university can be, but that carries so heavily into your work environment. Just knowing the right person can be everything professionally, and it’s a great feeling to know that I’m exactly where I need to be right now. 

My Take Aways

Well, she definitely has it more figured out than I do! Lol. But honestly, I agree with her on almost everything. Being an intern is hard work and if you want to thrive in any position, not only the PR world, you need to have a routine and work hard. Being a reliable peer and employee is the most important thing. If you’re an intern, most of your employers won’t expect you to know much, but they do expect you to adapt and learn. 

Balancing everything is really hard, but it’s ok to take time for yourself. Mel and I have really similar schedules but mine is more school/blog focused than hers is. We both know how tough it can be to get to a good routine, but once you do it’s literally magic. 

Connections are 100% the best way to get to where you want in life. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Since COVID is still a thing and you can’t go out and network, utilize your online free time. Start a blog, comment on everyone’s LinkedIn posts, join online seminars and groups on Facebook and talk to anyone that interests you. Email your ideal job positions current employee and find out what you can do to get there. Be proactive, and make the moves to get to where you want to be!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I hope you took away even a little bit of knowledge and continue to work towards everything you want. So there you have it, some tips and info about a successful college gal!

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