University of Southern California senior Melissa Margulies is spending her summer at the beach -- but she's not just lounging around. As a player relations and online media intern for the professional beach volleyball AVP Tour, Margulies is traveling around the country hitting some of the most popular beaches, writing articles and hanging out with players. Here, she talks about her all-expenses-paid internship, the benefits of being a collegiate athlete working in sports and an embarrassing interview with a U.S. Olympian.
Why did you pick this job?I know that my eventual career will be in the sports world. I also wanted to gain more experience as a manager interacting with athletes. The AVP internship is perfect because it fulfills my desire to work both in sports and with the actual players.
What was your first day like?My first day was at the Huntington Beach tournament. I wasn't nervous but I do remember meeting so many people that it was a little overwhelming. But, my first day was fun because I got to sit back and enjoy the tournament that was taking place. I got to observe and kind of get a feel for what I'd be doing.
What do you do on most days?When I'm on-site at a tournament, I'm usually interviewing players and developing content to be able to post on AVP.com. I write at least one piece a day during the tournament weekends and then one piece to go online mid-week. If I'm not interviewing and writing, I help out where I'm needed.
Where is the job? Where are you living?I live a couple blocks off of USC. The office is in West L.A. but I don't spend too much time there. The job takes me around the U.S. because I travel with the tour. So, I've set up my desk, which is really just my laptop and a pad of paper, in different cities like Atlanta, Louisville and Hermosa so far. Ten more stops to go!
Any perks?It's a low stress environment where most everyone is laid back. My bosses are great and they are full of knowledge that I've been slowly absorbing. If you like to travel like I do, then you sure get a lot of miles under your belt. Also, since Hilton is a sponsor of the AVP tour, we stay in Hiltons when we travel. I love their beds.
Have you met any famous people?I'm constantly interacting with the players. Many of them are past Olympians, like Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Sometimes, celebrities come to watch the events but I haven't met any yet.
What's been the toughest part?The toughest part is the hours. Even though I get to visit all these cool cities, I have almost no time to look around. We fly in on Thursday night. On Friday through Sunday the event goes from 9 a.m. -- 11 p.m. and then we fly back Sunday night or very early Monday morning. So, I work over 40 hours in three days not to mention the travel time. While the actual job is not hard work, it feels hard by Sunday because you've been running on a few hours of sleep a night.
If it's not paid, how are you getting by?Let's just say I have a high credit card bill and have had to borrow some money from the parentals.
What do you do for lunch? Eat with coworkers? Bring your lunch?In the office, I usually bring my own food to save money and eat with coworkers. On site, they provide us with meal tickets that are good for a meal from the vendors that are at the tournament.
What's been the best part?The best parts besides what I said were perks are the fact that, because I write a lot, I feel like I'm sharpening my writing style. It also feels good to know that the stuff I'm writing is actually being read and enjoyed by people.
What is most unique about this internship?I think that what makes this internship unique is the amount of responsibility that the AVP gives its interns. I don't have to file, answer phones and go on coffee runs. I get to travel with all the big boys, write material that will remain as I wrote it, intermingle with the athletes, and observe my superiors firsthand.
What's your dream job?Truthfully, my dream job would be to become a professional athlete. Even more truthfully, I'd be a football player. Pro athletes get to play something they love, entertain people and make money doing it.
You played volleyball in high school, was that extra motivation to do this internship?I love volleyball, I miss it a lot. Before the internship I had never really heard of the AVP, I had obviously heard of May and Walsh. I couldn't say that I had extra incentive because I had heard of it before. Once I found out it was the league they play in I was into it. And for me to know volleyball helps me when I write my articles.
You've gone from athlete to tournament employee. How has that played a part in how you view sports from the other side?I wouldn't say it changes my viewpoint. Being an athlete and working on the other side makes it easier for me to understand the athletes' view points. I kind of know what they are feeling.
Any funny stories from your experiences at your internship?In Boulder, a couple weeks ago, we didn't have a writer writing about the day-to-day game notes so I had to do it. I was writing about the men's finals and I knew Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers would be in it. I was waiting for a semi-final game to end so I could find out who would be playing against them. I wasn't paying attention and when it was over I thought that Nick Lucena and Sean Scott had won and were advancing. I went up to Nick and said "I was looking for you, because I know you guys won and I wanted to talk about your thoughts on the upcoming final." He looked at me blankly and said, "Um, no, we lost." I quickly tryed to cover myself and said "Oh my gosh, I meant to say that I wanted to hear your thoughts on what went wrong this last match." It was so embarrassing. He was already in a bad mood because of losing and then he had to tell me about how it happened.