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Pamela Nguyen: Editor-in-Chief of Surviving College

Pamela Nguyen was a Stern student with dreams of working at a nonprofit when a marketing internship led her to create Surviving College, her publication chock-full of tips and tricks to navigate through university life.  Today Surviving College is one of the top college blogs out there and gets thousands of visits a day!  Her Campus NYU chatted with Pamela about how she got her start, her time at NYU, and her advice for current students.

HC NYU: What inspired you to create Surviving College?
PN: Surviving College was a happy accident! I had started an internship at a marketing firm in midtown and didn’t know many details about my role besides the fact that it was related to internet marketing. My very first day, my boss gave me the URL, SurvivingCollege.com, and told me, “Your project this summer is to make this URL popular.” That was not at all related to what I expected to do for a summer internship, but I took it in stride. I had always wanted a platform where I could create an all-encompassing guide to everything college, and this internship (and now, full-time job!) gave me the opportunity to pursue this passion.

HC NYU: How have you grown the site since you first founded and launched it?
PN: Surviving College is now almost one and a half years old! When I started, we were but a blip on the small space that was the college blogging world. The only people I could get to read my posts were my Facebook friends. (Seriously though, the first 100 people to like Surviving College on Facebook were my friends!) Now, we’re getting thousands of visits from people all around the world a day. We’ve been recognized as one of the top college blogs, and I’ve even worked with Adobe as a judge for their latest t-shirt design competition! We’ve really grown our site through the content. I have a team of excellent, ambitious writers who have strong opinions about surviving college life who provide me with fun articles on a weekly basis. My goal is for Surviving College to eventually become an all-encompassing college life blog that features relevant news, funnies, and helpful topics.

HC NYU: Did you always anticipate creating Surviving College or did you have a different career goal?
PN: I had several career goals in college, and they were rather different. First, I wanted to be a nonprofit manager — that can still happen in the future, but I need a masters degree first! Then, I wanted to go into consulting. Finally, I wanted to combine my passion for social entrepreneurship by being a social venture consultant. As you can probably guess, none of these goals involved writing full-time. Managing Surviving College has given me a chance to understand some of my other talents that I want to cultivate for my future. Maybe it was a secret career goal I didn’t know I had!

HC NYU: What is the most rewarding part of getting to work with college students?
PN: The most rewarding part has been my ability to help other college writers cultivate their own skills and achieve their dreams. I’m making great connections with different college students across the country, which has expanded my bubble beyond its old limitations. The college writers on my team have a lot of passion and great ideas I couldn’t come up with on my own, and it’s nice to see how much I can still learn from college students even though I’ve already graduated.

HC NYU: What did you major in at NYU?
PN: I went to Stern and majored in Marketing and Management! It’s been pretty useful in managing Surviving College.

HC NYU: What clubs or organizations were you a part of at NYU that you feel helped you with your career?
PN: I actually worked a lot while I was at NYU — by my senior year, I was working at Scholastic 20 hours a week and continuing with Surviving College and another blog, Redesign Revolution, another 20+ hours. The few clubs that did resonate with me were Alternative Breaks and International Business Journal. I volunteered for a Habitat for Humanity trip in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Alternative Breaks allowed me to break out of my Stern bubble and taught me some valuable skills (one was driving in New York City and all along the eastern coast!). I was the creative director for International Business Journal, and it helped me strengthen some of my personal design and marketing skills that I use everyday now!

HC NYU: What advice do you have for current NYU students who aspire to have a career like yours one day?
PN: If you want a blog to become popular, you have to network. Beyond committing to writing frequently, other people in your blogging community won’t know about you if you don’t say hi to them! Twitter is a really useful tool for networking with your own personal idols. You get to ask them questions that can help push you to the next level in your own career.

Stephanie is in the class of 2014 at New York University studying Journalism and Dramatic Writing. She is currently a production intern at NBC News, after previously interning at ABC News. In addition to being the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus NYU, she is also an entertainment and lifestyle blogger for Seventeen Magazine and a contributing writer for USA TODAY and The Huffington Post, as well as a member of the MTV Insights team. Stephanie loves Broadway and performing in musical theatre, as well as shopping, singing, and playing the piano. Follow her NYC adventures on Twitter at @StephanieJBeach.
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