Before this interview jumps into full swing, I (Jessica) would just like to say a few things about the gorgeous woman above! Makena, a soon to be alumna, is the co-founder (with Hillary Coombs '14) of Her Campus Bryant. All other campus correspondents can relate when I mention the hard work, dedication, and love that is needed to be put into starting and running your own Her Campus branch...and Makena did this her last semester of senior year! You would think she'd give into senioritis, but that didn't happen as quickly as it did for others (yes, it did happen eventually). She is the girl with a ten-page resume that always needs to be cut down for an interview, the girl who spoke multiple languages by the age of ten, and the girl who has joined more clubs and organizations on campus than any other person I know. Makena, as you approach your last week or two as a Bryant undergrad, I
hope know you are able to look back on your past few years (specifically this semester) and smile. You've brought this organization such a long way and I can ensure you it's about to go much further! Congratulations on your outstanding GPA, success with HC Bryant, and of course for being such a role-model for me! A huge smile and hug for your fashion (those red cowboy boots are campus-wide famous), love for life, and ability to look absolutely beautiful in everything! You rock girl, never change! XO
Name: Makena Sage
Bryant Graduation Year: 2012
Major/Minor: International Business; Marketing & Spanish (double-concentration)
Hometown:Maui, Austin, NYC, Amsterdam, Munich… Oh wait you want the short version? Austin, TX then ;)
HC: You've mentioned to me before that you had a pretty terrible pre-school/kindergarten experience, what was that story again?
MS: I honestly don’t remember this all that clearly, but from what I do remember my parents tried putting me in pre-school or kindergarten for a short time when I was little, and I absolutely hated it. When the teachers told me I had to take a nap I thought they were crazy (I always thought I was much older than my age). One day we were supposed to go on this field trip to a pool, and we got there late, so the school left without me. My parents ended up driving me there anyway, but I guess it was the last straw for the 5 or 6-year-old me. That was the first and only time I ever went to a “normal” school… until Bryant, that is.
HC: Haha! Home-schooled? What was that transition like (home-school to college student)?
MS: I’m sure any senior will tell you that their past four years have included a lot of ups and downs. A lot of mine just happened to be a result of the transition from home-schooling to college. Sure, there have been challenges. I’d spent most of my life before Bryant around adults, so trying to fit in with people my age wasn’t easy. To this day, there are a lot of social cues and pop culture references I just don’t pick up on! Also, the only test I’d ever taken prior to college was the SAT’s, so I just about had a nervous breakdown during my first math exam (luckily, I adjusted to academics a lot more quickly).
However, there are also a ton of things I love about college. Bryant’s campus is gorgeous, the professors and staff here are incredibly dedicated, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of trying to be involved, get good grades, and have a social life. Not the easiest balance to achieve, as you know. Looking back on the past four years, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. Every experience – good or bad – has made me grow as a person, and gotten me to where I am today. Now I couldn’t be more excited for the next transition: to an alumna and business woman!
HC: You're the co-founder of this Her Campus Bryant branch, what were the positives and negatives about this experience?
MS: Launching Her Campus at Bryant has been a true labor of love. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I applied (with my co-founder Hillary Coombs ’14) in December. As Hillary and I Skyped back and forth over winter break to get everything set up for our February 7th launch, I realized that this was a much bigger project than I’d bargained for. Posting original content to seven sections of a website on a weekly basis is no small feat in itself, not to mention getting established as a club/org, recruiting members, setting up organizational systems, running meetings, and organizing events. Long story short, I was spending a good 20-40 hours a week on Her Campus for the first couple of months of the semester (and no, we don’t get paid for this). The most amazing part was that I didn’t mind one bit!
Her Campus reminded me that when you’re truly passionate about something, it doesn’t feel like work at all. In fact, it's part of the reason I decided to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur instead of getting a corporate job after college, and I couldn't be happier. I have met such strong, amazing women as a result of starting this organization at Bryant. I feel so blessed to be leaving it behind as my "legacy," and taking those friendships with me as I embark on my next adventures.
HC: Will you still be writing for or taking part in Her Campus?
MS: Unfortunately, only current students can write content for the site. However, I will definitely keep in touch with the new E-Board, and I’ll always be happy to serve as a resource/support for the organization in any way I can. Like I said before, one of the best parts of Her Campus has been the close friendships I’ve formed with the rest of the staff, and I look forward to maintaining those connections moving forward.
I’ve also been incredibly inspired by the Her Campus founders and the staff at headquarters. I definitely plan to keep in touch with them as well, and hopefully work together in some other context in the future.
HC: Other than succeeding academically (she's graduating summa cum laude!), how else have you seen yourself as a success? In other words, what makes you such a "Campus Celebrity"?
MS: That’s such a difficult question to answer about yourself! In all honesty, I just strive to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, and put 110% into everything I do. I give all the credit to my family for instilling that (and so many other lessons) in me, and for supporting me every step of the way. I know it’s a cliché, but I really wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the support of my mom, sisters, brother, nanny, and many other “family” members I’m not even related to by blood. Whatever I’ve accomplished so far – and whatever else I achieve moving forward – is only possible because of the love and support of other people. In fact, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those people. You know who you are.
HC: Since you are handing off "your baby", also known as HC Bryant, any advice for any other seniors handing off their most-prized clubs, organizations, or projects here at Bryant?
MS:Put as much as you can down in writing – procedures, contacts, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked in the past –, train your new E-Board (or whoever you’re passing the project along to) as well as you can, and then let go! Chances are they’re going to run things differently than you would, but that’s one of the great things about campus organizations: they’re always being reinvigorated by the next generation of leaders. Now take a deep breath and soak up these last few weeks! You’ve earned it.
HC: What was your best experience here at Bryant?
MS:Wow that’s a tough question too! My first thought was studying abroad in Argentina, but I guess that wasn’t technically at Bryant… I think I’d actually have to say that this semester has been my best yet. It’s great to be able to look back on four amazing years, and forward to a life and career I can’t wait to start. I’m enjoying making the most of my last few weeks here, and I can’t wait for my family to come and see my school for the first time!
HC: Any regrets here? You have to have one hidden away somewhere, spill it!
MS: Like I said, there have been plenty of challenges, but I honestly don’t regret a thing. :)