Fashion journalism student and Social Media Center intern Marisa Tania happily traded a safe job at a family business in Indonesia for an unexpected San Francisco experience. Between class assignments, hanging out with her dog Nemo, and aerial classes, she took some time to reflect on her life.
Social Media Centre: What brought you to the Academy of Art University?
Marisa Tania: Back in 2015, I was working as an intern at a fashion magazine in Indonesia, and I love my experience there. However, I didn’t have a degree, and I felt that there is something important missing. I asked myself, “What is the closest degree to what I was doing as an intern?” and the answer I came up with was fashion journalism. I Googled “fashion journalism,” and the Academy of Art University popped up as a first result. I decided to apply and the next thing I knew, they accepted me and three weeks later, I was on a plane to San Francisco. It was not planned at all; it just happened, but sometimes things happen for a reason.
SMC: What was it like moving to San Francisco from Indonesia?
MT: It’s just like all I’ve ever dreamed of, and I didn’t feel that I had to adapt at all. I love the diverse culture and the openness of the people in this city. Back at home, most of us tend to work for the family business in a way. However, I felt like I needed something more, something that was more for myself. You can have a good life in Indonesia, but it’s also really predictable, and sometimes it’s nice not knowing what’s going to happen. If I stayed at home, my future for the next 15 years would already be decided. Instead of being married with two kids, I can explore and push myself. So far, this city has never failed me in offering the endless possibility to do so.
SMC: What inspires you?
MT: I think just stories of people are my biggest inspiration. Working in the journalism industry requires me to meet so many people and interview them. Everyone has a story behind him or her, and whether I know that person or not, I always find something that I can learn from that person. That’s the main reason I love writing profile stories so much.
SMC: What are you most known for?
MT: People would say I’m a hard worker and I tend to do my work pretty well. My friends would also say that I’m usually late [laugh]. Everyone knows I’m always with my dog, Nemo, that I adopted a year ago from the San Francisco SPCA. I even brought him to New York last year when I was attending the New York Fashion Week. I grew up with eight dogs, so I’ve always had dogs around my whole life.
SMC: Do you have any strange talents?
MT: I think my talent is “learning.” I can learn things pretty quickly even though I’m not a genius at one thing like some people, who might be a master in math or playing musical instruments. For works or leisure, I tend to pick up things relatively faster than others. Lately, I’ve been learning aerial as a hobby. It’s still really new, and I’m just a beginner, but I sure have a lot of fun.
SMC: What brings you to the Social Media Center?
MT: It just makes sense. There is an opportunity at this school to learn, why not to take it? I’ve taken all the social media courses, and the school gives me access to a platform where I can apply what I’ve learned.
SMC: What’s been your experience as an intern at the Social Media Center?
MT: Really positive! It’s great. I’ve already learned a lot in just a few weeks. This internship offers a real work environment where I can work and learn at the same time. It’s nice to work with a great team of interns that’s also as passionate as you. I’m so glad I can work closely with Director of Fashion Journalism program and the Social Media Center Stephan Rabimov because I genuinely think he is a great mentor. You will feel like he is constantly pushing you to get better, which is great.
Personally, I encourage every student to contact Stephan and ask for an internship; it’s a really smart move if they want to get a good start in their careers. He connected me with so many people and sent me to various events for stories. I wouldn’t be able to talk to them if it wasn’t for Stephan. He helps me grow my personal network.
SMC: What’s next after graduation?
MT: My goal is to stay in the Bay Area and build my career here. I’ve lived in several different places before — Indonesia, Singapore, and China — but San Francisco is the place I love the most. I like the startup culture here. I have a good feeling, so hopefully, it all turns out well when I start sending my resume out.
SMC: Do you have a dream company you would love to work for?
MT: Any company that needs a social media strategist and a content marketer, I’m your gal. If I had to pick one dream company, then I will pick BarkBox. It’s a brand I was working on while taking courses offered by the Social Media Center. I did a lot of research, and the company seems creative, engaging, and fun. I love the fact I could bring my dog to work all the time.
SMC: Any tips for future interns?
MT: Don’t treat it as an assignment; treat it as your real job. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm ideas and pitch them. Probably not all of them are going to be approved, but it’s another way to learn what’s working and what is not. I think this also applies to any student when I said do not be afraid to fail and just learn from your mistake. Everyone hates to fail, but don’t let your fear of failure stop you from trying.
Text by Margaret Winkler, BA Advertising and Social Media Center Contributing Editor, Academy of Art University