Sarah Merion is a “Social Media” pioneer for Gen Y. She has her own website, SarahMerion.com, where she educates on Social Media and challenges people to think about using social media to benefit their business. She has a cult following on Twitter (check her out @SarahMerion) and has even hosted multiple workshops on using Twitter and LinkedIn at her campus at Northeastern and at MIT. Her RoofUp Tweetup was the biggest in Boston and Northeastern approved a grant she wrote to finance her trip to a Social Media conference in Chicago called SOBCon.
On top of all of that, she’s only 21 and still a student at Northeastern, studying Spanish, Management Information Systems and Finance, currently on internship in NYC doing data analysis for a mega media company. Not to mention, she’s sassy, hilarious and can we say: Coolest. Hair. Ever. When I discovered this girl, I knew I had to bag an interview, so I contacted her via YouTube to grab her attention (don’t laugh). It worked and we quickly began collaborating on this interview, on top of a few other projects in the works. Sarah Merion is an inspiration for college girls who want to be entrepreneurs while still in school and proof that maybe, just maybe, the finance world isn’t as screwed as we thought.
5 Questions We Ask Everyone:
1. What is your most ridiculous college memory/most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Haha, no comment. Definitely did not involve me dancing on a bar. Hoo boy.
2. What are five things you can’t live without?
1. MAC foundation.
2. iPhone! Hello Tweetdeck, I love you.
3. Pink and black Herve bag. I seriously carry it EVERY. WHERE.
4. Hanky Panky underwear
5. Classic cherry chapstick. Wait, no! Friends! The TV show. Oh also, vanilla Yoplait light yogurt. And Kashi GoLean. Kashi GoLean Crunch. Grande non fat cappuccino with one Splenda. Shoot, that’s more than five, isn’t it?
3. What’s your motto/advice you live by?
Break the rules.
4. What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar/in the car/for karaoke?
“Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money in the bar, but I’m not gonna lie, once, I rolled the windows up to my car I sang every word to the entire Celine Dion CD. Yes. I know every. Single. Word.
5. Ten years from now you will be….
Skinny. Rich. Married. Kidding! No, I’ll be really fit, not skinny. Kidding aside, I’ll own my own business. Either be a solopreneur or some sort of entrepreneur starting many different companies. I’ll be active in many different philanthropies and I’ll continue spreading my message about social media and inspiring Gen Y.
5 Questions just for Sarah Merion
1. Your motto is “Break the rules.” Now, does that mean break the social norms and go out on a Monday night when you have a final tomorrow or…?
My motto is “Break the rules” because when you break the rules or step outside the mediocre, then you create your own game. No one can beat you when you create your own path. Do something that scares you, make yourself totally uncomfortable. Life doesn’t have to be about the “norms” and staying on path. You will always succeed when you push yourself to go against the grain.
Now, I’m not saying go out and break the law, skip class and be a bum. What I’m saying is, challenge yourself, push boundaries and do something that people might look unfavorably upon. No one ever got noticed by doing what everyone else did. Even though blood and needles terrify me, one day I stopped and thought “Hey, I could be a surgeon” and I seriously thought about it. I realized it wasn’t my calling, but I wanted to because I COULD.
2. You talk about Gen-Y a bunch.What the heck is Gen-Y and what’s their deal?
Gen-Y is our generation, that age range from about 10-25. We are the internet babies in a way. Our biggest problem is that we have big goals and aspirations, but we don’t act nearly enough on it. We’ve been spoiled by the internet and technology and instead of harnessing it for our good, we’ve been expecting instant gratification. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
Gen-Y needs to step it up, break the rules and work hard. We’re in a rough time right now and people have been saying that we won’t be as successful as our parents. That’s a really scary thought. But, we can fix it! Gen-Y can take full advantage of all our opportunities and create their own lifestyle, instead of simply expecting it.
3. How did you get into all of this? What were the obstacles? Did all those super serial Finance major peers think you were nuts?
Honestly, I was just bored one day. I was in school, not working and I just got the itch to do something. I found this guy @LewisHowes on Twitter and he really turned me onto Social Media, we connected and before I knew it I was his assistant. I wasn’t getting paid, but I was getting a ton out of it. He was mentoring me and I began building a network on Twitter. My parents, peers and classmates were appalled. They couldn’t believe I would just work for free.
I started living by “break the rules.” I’d always been very organized and planned everything and all of a sudden I found myself just jumping into the social media world, going against the grain and standards of the “typical” finance student.
At the time, I was in a very competitive program at Northeastern for International Business. This program requires you to both go abroad and study in a foreign language for a semester on top of a six month internship in that company. It’s widely renowned and I was mere months away from going when I started getting into this social media world. I started doing workshops at Northeastern and MIT and eventually wrote the grant to go to SOBCon. After the conference, it was settled. I knew I had to drop out of the IB program and focus my energy on what I was succeeding in. I never regretted my decision to completely switch paths and my successes have proved that it was the right choice.
4. We recently wrote an article about “Facebook bullying.” Since you are such a prominent figure in social media, and also a college girl, what advice would you have for girls about getting attacked through social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, AIM, etc…)?
Not to be a mom, but just ignore it. Don’t engage in the behavior. The other person looks like they’re just talking to themselves. Or, just write an article about it that a ton of people read. Look who’ll be laughing then!
5. You’ve made your professional name through Twitter, LinkedIn and your site. We like to tweet and blog about boys, booze and bathing suits. Are we totally screwed down the line in our professional careers?
Honestly, I started out writing a really racy “Sex & The City”esque blog before I realized how I wanted to make my name. I took it down because I really believe if you don’t want something you write to be on the front page of the paper, then don’t write it at all. I decided to focus on a different area and leave the racy stuff offline.
But no, if you do it the right way, you won’t be screwed. You just need to step back and assess your goals. If you want to be a corporate lawyer, maybe you shouldn’t write about your sexcapades. However, you can be a professional woman and if you’re creative and savvy about it, you can create your own niche and write about whatever you want. Just OWN it.
Thanks Sarah! We’ll keep on blogging about lip gloss then… in a fierce and professional way, of course! Sarah will be attending CollegeCandy’s Cocktail Hour in NYC! Come stop by and say hello!
Melanie currently interning in NYC, taking full advantage of all margarita specials and those blonde summer boys. Stalk her on Twitter: @tinkermellie