GUWIL Hoya Spotlight – Megan Schmidt

     BIO : Megan Schmidt is a junior in the college, majoring in Digital Art and minoring in English and Film/Media Studies. She was born and raised in St. Louis, MO where she attended an all-girls school, sparking her interest in women leadership and GUWIL. Megan is never more comfortable than when she is holding a pencil, and she’s used her creativity to infiltrate Georgetown culture as much as possible.  You may have seen the comics she draws for the Hoya or maybe you’ve listened to her on the air of WGTB. Her creativity and passion for the arts has molded her experience at Georgetown, granting her a unique perspective as a student and through the job search.

 

BIO: Megan Schmidt is a junior in the college, majoring in Digital Art and minoring in English and Film/Media Studies. She was born and raised in St. Louis, MO where she attended an all-girls school, sparking her interest in women leadership and GUWIL. Megan is never more comfortable than when she is holding a pencil, and she’s used her creativity to infiltrate Georgetown culture as much as possible.

You may have seen the comics she draws for the Hoya or maybe you’ve listened to her on the air of WGTB. Her creativity and passion for the arts has molded her experience at Georgetown, granting her a unique perspective as a student and through the job search.


Q: How did you become interested in Art and Graphic Design? How did you decide it was something you wanted to pursue for a major/career?
A: I’ve always been surrounded by art; my older siblings loved to draw, my dad works in marketing, and my extended family is full of creative thinkers. However, I never would have guessed that art would one day be what I study. I came to Georgetown as a physics major, switched to econ, and I even almost transferred to the business school at one point. Every decision I made was based on practicality rather than passion. In reality, I was just prolonging the inevitable: art had always been and will always be in my life. It’s easy to look back now and think that this is obviously where I would end up, but my first two years at Georgetown were spent trying to convince myself otherwise. It was a struggle, but it has absolutely led me to where I belong.

Q: What do you do to standout when applying for an internship in the creative world of graphic design, art, etc.?
A: This past January, when all my friends were desperately vamping up to apply for internships, I realized that who I am and what I do cannot be contained on a one-paged résumé. So, at the suggestion of my father and with the help of a comp-sci roommate, I made myself a website. It’s pretty common in the art world to have an online portfolio, but even just with the few places I’ve already applied to it’s been such a great asset. I think it brings a lot of professionalism to my applications, and if what I do is predominately in the visual realm it only makes sense to show rather than tell.

Q: How did you prep for interviews?
A: Interviews are really just wild cards. I’m always sure to go in knowing everything I can and need to know (when I’m available for the job, what it would entail, fun facts about the workplace, etc.), but after that you really just have to trust yourself. If it’s right for you, it will work out. Otherwise there’s always next time. I absolutely have my fair share of horror stories when it comes to interviews, but time has taught me to just be honest and, especially, quick. No one wants to wait around for you to think of the perfect answer, so don’t make them.

Q: How might an interview or application for a creative position differ from other job acquisition processes?
A: The market for creative jobs is, much like all other jobs, very competitive. It’s especially tricky, I think, because you have to stand out in a sea of people who are already devoting their lives to creativity. Interviews and applications seem to be much more based on what you have claimed you are able to do. For instance, if your résumé says you can work with Adobe Illustrator, you will need proof of that in your portfolio. I wouldn’t dare say it’s harder than applying for a job outside the creative realm, but it certainly is different.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you faced in the workplace and how did you overcome it?
A: Full disclosure: I’ve never really spent time in the classic workplace. My jobs have always consisted of babysitting, industrial dishwashing, and overnight camp counseling. However, if you’re willing to count me being the GM for radio, I certainly have some challenges as it relates to that.

After being elected GM of WGTB, I inherited a lot from my predecessors. We already had a concert booked, our website was only weeks away from a complete redesign, and there are even some talks of getting a mobile app. However, I also inherited a board in which eight of fourteen members were new to their positions. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was suddenly assigned the task of helping others learn their roles as well. However, once we realized what a unique opportunity we had, it didn’t seem so scary anymore. As a board, we had the chance to redefine our roles as they relate to each other, the station, and the DJs. In the end, it all came down to transparency. If ever there was a question or problem, we let each other know. We still do. It’s only been a few months, and we’re all still learning, but keeping communication going has been our greatest asset when it comes to achieving our goals.

Q: Your experience as GM of WGTB, Georgetown’s radio station, is a lot of work on top of classes and the other things you do. What advice would you give to someone who was interested in taking on a leadership role on-campus that comes with a large time commitment?
A: Everything depends on prioritization and balance. Maybe taking on extra responsibility means I don’t get to go out every night of the weekend, but I believe having this leadership role is worth a couple lost Friday nights.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? Modern feminism?
A: Feminism, to me, means equality. I went to an all-girls high school, and my education was deeply rooted in the idea that something as silly as gender will never keep me from achieving my goals. I’m very grateful for that, but I do think it blinded me to a lot of the inequalities that still exist in the workplace today.

For example, WGTB recently put on a spring concert. Two of the older men who work with the performer we brought in were talking to my friend, Brett Treacy, and me about the event. They were continuously complimenting him on how well it was going, yet simply smiling and nodding when I tried to contribute. I didn’t even realize what was happening until Brett said it was only going well because of my fearless leadership. They were surprised and did not try to mask it.

I think one of the most unfortunate parts of our generation as it applies to modern feminism is what we have condensed it to. So many conversations as they relate to feminism revolve around supporting certain movies, websites, classes, songs… you name it. It’s so easy to shout your praise for someone else’s words, but it won’t mean a thing until you yourself live them.

Q: How has your Georgetown education thus far prepared you for your future?
A: I could not be a bigger fan of my liberal arts education. As I said earlier, I bounced around between all kinds of majors, but having that core curriculum has really helped me in the long run. I figured out what I’m good at, what I like, and how I learn. In terms of my major, though, Georgetown has been incredibly beneficial. The art community here is underground, but tightknit. The professors are able to devote time to each student individually, and with access to things like Gelardin or Lynda.com it’s clear that the university wants us to have what we need. I’ve also had some fantastic advisors along the way who helped guide me to where everyone always knew I would end up. It’s just been really great feeling like someone’s always got my back.

Q: What’s the best piece of professional or career advice you’ve ever received?
A:My dad once told me that the first day you do what you love is the last day you work. It is incredibly intimidating to decide you want to pursue a career in the art world—that’s why I struggled for so long with choosing my major—but if it’s what you love and what you’re good at, there’s simply no reason not to go for it.

Q: Where do you see yourself going from here/What’s your next move?
A: I guess from here I’ll just start narrowing down what I want to do with Digital Art, English, and Film. I’m looking into internships with ad agencies, comic books, film studios, and magazine publications. If choosing my career is half as difficult as choosing my major was, I know I have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m extremely excited to see where I end up.

 

Get to know Megan and check out her answers to the GUWIL Quiz!

megan-finished-quiz.jpg