Megan Espinoza recently graduated from the University of Washington preparing to enter a dual degree program where she can get her MBA and JD.
We interviewed Megan to learn more about the greatest lesson she learned in college, what impact she hopes to make on the world, and her favorite self-care routine when the going gets rough.
Where did you go to college? What inspired you to go there?
I currently go to the University of Washington. I have two quarters left so that means I will be graduating next March. Honestly, UW was my reachable school. I was a tired senior in high school who just wanted to be done so I only applied to three colleges. UW was the only public school I had applied to, so they gave me the most affordable education and it was far enough away from home to get a little independence plus was still close enough to go home and see my mother if I really missed her. They also had a ton of majors and because I did not know what I wanted to do at the time, that was a huge plus to me.
How old are you?
I am 21 years old.
Where were you raised?
I was raised in Spokane, Washington for my entire life.
What is the greatest lesson you learned in college?
Life is about connecting with people and following through on what you say you are going to do. I used to be a hyper overachiever just trying to be the best at everything and not caring about making genuine connections with other people. I was also afraid that no one would actually like me if I was being genuine. Once I got to college, I realized that was no way to sustain myself personally. No one can be that socially uninvolved and focused; I was dying for interactions with people who cared about what I had to say and wanted to be my friend. I learned about following through in a harder way. I started stretching myself too far. I had 18 credits, two jobs, and I still wanted to try and be a good friend. I realized very quickly that I could not do it all, not only for myself but also for my friends. They would get my voicemail every time they called me, I would tell my roommates I would do the dishes and then not do it for two days. Eventually, my friends one by one got fed up with it and talked to me about it. It made me think about balance and that even if I cannot give them a ton of time, when I say I am going to, I actually need to.
What impact do you hope to make in the world?I hope to bring people together. I have always wanted everyone to get along and while growing up has made me realize that is not going to happen, I still want to do my best. I know that it’s hard to make an impact citywide, nationwide, and globally but I want to at least reach those I come in contact with by making sure they know I am here. I also really care about animals. I hope to one day open my own animal sanctuary somewhere in the US and then eventually expand to Latin American countries where they have a large surplus of stray animals. I know I cannot save every animal; I know it is not a profound new technology, but it is something I am passionate about, something that will recharge me and, something that will help me to help the world.
How can others help you launch successfully into your career?
I just need advice. I need someone who can guide me through Master of Business Applications, someone who maybe knows about the process of starting one’s own business, and someone who can help me flesh out my ideas about my business. I have wanted this for awhile, but the task seems so daunting and sometimes impossible. I would greatly appreciate someone to be there to bounce ideas off of and offer some of their own experiences or ideas for me.
What do you wish your future employer knew about you?
I will work so hard. I am definitely one of those people that tries to be proactive but does not always know what a boss or employer needs from me; however, if you tell me what you need, I will make sure it gets done. I might not always get things right the first time around, but I am open to constructive criticism. What I really want my future employer to know above these few things is that I will always try to bring light and laughter with me. I will be the one dancing at the holiday party, and who come in with coffee and sings to everybody about the day. I am a goofy person and I hope to eventually find an employer who finds that attractive in an employee.
And finally, we asked Megan to answer these three questions.
My favorite self-care routine is…
Baths, baths, baths. I actually like to put on a facemask that peels off, get into a ridiculously hot bath with a bath bomb from lush and then read. I rarely slow down as I am a super busy person, I do not get to relax often so the bath is a great time for me. Creating and performing art, poems, monologues, etc. is also another way I care for myself because I really need to nurture my creative side as well.
The last book I read was…
The last book I read is How Remarkable Women Lead. It’s the book we have been reading for my Women in Leadership Management class and it truly inspires me to be a better leader. They talk about knowing yourself better; your values, strengths, what energizes you while giving examples from women they have talked to. I definitely recommend this book.
My best advice for someone interested in mentoring college students today…
My best advice is to never pass judgement. This might seem like an obvious one, but it is so important. We already have parents, family members, and professors who are there to judge us. We just want someone to guide us. This does not mean to never give back some tough love or maybe constructive criticism because I think that is important in mentorship; it just means never judge their dreams. Never make them feel like you are anything less than right behind them and are there to help them get there because a lot of students will shut down after that. Even if you feel their dream is outrageous, maybe come up with simpler or slightly different ways to do the same thing. Never just tell them its not doable.