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Stephanie Melia Pi Beta - University of Hartford
Transfer Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, Sacred Heart University
Which of the Delta Zeta shared values resonates with you the most? Generosity
How did you discover your passion for what you do, and what opportunities have helped shape your career?
I was a psychology major and thought I wanted to do clinical social work and help people talk through issues in their life. I discovered after my internship at Sacred Heart that my passion is actually with working to help college students. I plan to enroll in the Masters of Higher Education and Student Affairs program to one day move around offices and help with student life and engagement on campus. I want to help other students make the most out of their college experience like I did. I always tell my students to join clubs, apply for internships, and always put themselves out there because even if they think they know what they want to do, they might just find something even better along the way. Having leadership positions in Delta Zeta and on campus helped me be better at my current job and understand how to communicate effectively with college students and staff.
Who has been an invaluable mentor for your professional career? What did you learn from them?
I would say my biggest mentor who has helped me see exactly where I see myself is Amanda Wagner. She saw something in me and helped train me into the Counselor I am today. I get to work in a building I feel comfortable in with friendly faces and get to help students that were just like me. She helped me learn to get out of my comfort zone and try to hear from other offices. She helped me discover that this was a job I’d be great at. I appreciate that she helps support my goals of balancing work, community service and fun with friends and family.
What words of wisdom or advice do you live by?
”Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
The quote is from Winnie the Pooh. He has always been very important in my life in connection with my dad. The saying is so true in the sense that small things that others may not see as incredibly important could be the most important to you. I believe that small things like taking a shower at the end of a hard night or being able to take the time to read throughout the day are much more important than some of the larger, harder and bigger things in life as we get older. It’s important to enjoy the little wins. It’s important to say you did your best at the end of the day even when you didn’t accomplish all you wanted. Small things that fill your heart are just as important as large time-consuming and rigorous things that can also fill your heart. Sometimes the smaller things fill your heart quicker such as a compliment from a family member vs a stranger.
What is the most impactful book you have read, or podcast you have listened to, that relates to you professionally? What made it so impactful?
”So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. I read this book in my senior year internship class at Sacred Heart University, and my professor truly helped make me feel better about what path I was going on professionally. She explained that the book would help us be able to get a job after college but also discover ourselves, and it did. I loved the book and the advice in it so much I kept the book and annotated it to hold onto for myself and my friends/family members. The first chapter talked about not following your passion in a job which sounds crazy but makes so much sense. You will grow to hate your passion if you make it your job. You want to be open and find a job that can grow into a passion. Having a passion for a job from the start does not equal motivation. Having passion makes you less motivated and has less room for improvement since you are already comfortable with it and may be great at it. Finding a job or career with room to improve and grow is much more fulfilling. They talk about Steve Jobs and how it is okay to change your path and alter the way you see your career. Overall, the book taught me to go out of my comfort zone in everything, that way I can see the things in life I enjoy or dislike.
How do you make sure you stay connected with your professional network?
I use LinkedIn as well as other social media platforms including some of our Sacred Heart specific apps and websites and our Delta Zeta Connections. I do not use Facebook a lot but I will engage in our Delta Zeta alumnae groups as well as any of my work-related Sacred Heart Family groups.
How have friendships helped you professionally? Is there a friend (or Delta Zeta sister) that has been behind you every step of the way on your career journey?
Friendships are incredibly important to me. My entire Delta Zeta family line has been by my side from the beginning. I have a big and family line at the University of Hartford where I was initiated, and I love hearing from them and seeing what they are up to. My big is still very close to me, and she will always be a very special person to me. When I left the university to attend Sacred Heart, I started my own family line. I took twins and then the family has just kept growing since. We now are one of the biggest family lines in our chapter with nearly 12 girls. I love having so many girls to rely on and I couldn’t be happier with who they each are. My glittle Sara is always there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on and my other glittle Kelsey is always there to make me laugh. All of their littles are so important to me, and I love them all endlessly. I still help as a graduated sister with their big/little reveals, and I am so happy that they want me to be a part of it still. These friendships will last a lifetime, and these women will forever be a part of my life. They are a large part of why I stayed close to Sacred Heart University in my career currently.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love coaching gymnastics in my free time for a local gym. I also love hanging out with sisters in the area including some alumni that work close to me!