Melissa Kravitz: Manager and Publisher of Inside New York



Recently, we interviewed Melissa Kravitz, manager and publisher of Inside New York, one of the three Student-Run Enterprises at Columbia. Spry, bright, and easy to talk to, Melissa gave HC Columbia the scoop on her busy life, plans for the future, and views on Columbia. 

Why did you choose to come to Columbia?

I spent the summer before my senior year at the Pre-College Program at Barnard and I fell in love with the Columbia University campus.  I wanted to go to school in NYC where I could learn both in and out of the classroom, via museums, field trips, etc.  I ultimately chose Columbia over Barnard for its Creative Writing program, and I'm currently majoring in Fiction.

What were your first impressions of Columbia?

Intense.  Everyone here is so serious and smart, I remember spending the first few weeks on campus constantly on the phone with friends from home, worried about whether or not I made the right decision.  (I did). Also, I was super impressed with Butler Library and wanted to spend all my time inside the beautiful building. 

What makes your Columbia experience unique?

I've spent the past two years managing Inside New York, a student-run guidebook to New York City, sponsored by Columbia Center for Career Education's Student Enterprise Program.  Running a business while being a full-time student has been hugely challenging but simultaneously rewarding; I've employed over 150 NYC students with jobs and internships, and I've enjoyed meeting people all over the city. 

Also, I'm working towards a BA in Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which has been another unique challenge over the past three and a half years. I've taken 6-7 academic classes a semester, and managing my time while trying to be an average CU student has can be overwhelming.  Hanging out at 1020 when I have 7 midterms in the upcoming week is (sometimes) impossible!

How would you describe yourself?

Hilarious, glamorous, brilliant, and beautiful. 

Is there anything you wish you could change about Columbia? Is there anything you wish you could change about your experience here in particular?

I do wish there was more of a sense of community. We have a few traditions, especially for seniors, but I keep meeting great people on campus that I wish I knew for the past seven semesters.  That being said, I do wish I moved off campus earlier.  I live in the East Village with a high school friend and friends from NYU, which is pretty much unheard of for a Columbia undergrad.   I really enjoy the commute, which gives me a chance to read for fun on the train.  I love exploring new neighborhoods! I think leaving the Morningside Heights bubble on a regular basis allows me to separate my school life, my work life, and my personal life, which has benefitted me immensely. 

What do you enjoy doing around the city?

Brunch followed by thrift shopping in Brooklyn or downtown Manhattan is my ideal weekend.  I spend a lot of time at cafes in my neighborhood, writing, reading, studying, and spend almost more time convincing my friends on campus to come downtown...

What is it like to manage Inside New York?

It's fantastic!  Easily the best experience I've ever had, personally and professionally.  It was a bit bizarre at first to hire and manage my peers, but I've learned from my experiences how to best run a company and publication, which I hope will benefit me in my future plans.

What’s next for you? 

I'm graduating in May, and my latte skills aren't quite perfect, so I'm a bit worried about finding employment with a degree in Fiction Writing... I plan on writing novels, and I would like to run my own publication again someday.  I also work on some freelance writing projects for various publications and I'm excited to have more time to focus on my writing and expand my body of work. 

Barista or award-winning author--we wish Melissa the best in all of her future endeavors!

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