I have thought a lot about what I wanted this piece to be like. I wanted it to be funny, memorable and unique. All things I never really felt I was.
Growing up I never pictured myself being this old. As a child, I never saw my life past high school. Anything beyond it was simply unthinkable. Not that I was suicidal, but I just didn’t see the point in existing past that point in your life. Wouldn’t that be the best life would get for me?
As a freshman at Montclair State University, I had no friends. I went to school, sat alone in the Venture Cafe in the School of Business most days, watched Friends on my laptop while I ate lunch and put headphones in as I rode the shuttle.
The one organization I did join, though, was The Montclarion.
Due to my crippling self-doubt, I never actually wrote anything for the paper my first year. I was just a sports photographer. Photography was something I was completely secure in.
In the fall of 2019, my sophomore year, I decided to start writing.
I needed something for my resume and I loved cooking. That’s when I started @Gourmetbailey’s Just a Bite, my recipe column in the paper. I finally felt like I was good at something.
Even with writing for the paper consistently, I still didn’t have any friends at Montclair State. I don’t know if it’s because I have a certifiable “resting [expletive] face” or because I was afraid of opening up to people. Maybe it was a bit of both.
It stayed that way until this past fall when I found the friends I had been longing for.
While being on the Executive Board, I felt like I finally belonged somewhere and I actually looked forward to being on campus rather than in the previous three years of being a commuter when I’d avoid it at all costs.
When we came back in the spring, it felt like we were filming the final season of a TV show. Everything was a little ominous and bittersweet. I knew the end was coming soon.
In the final few months at this paper, I became close with a number of people. These people have given me something I hadn’t found yet at this school, genuine love. A feeling like I would do anything for them and vice versa.
I have never laughed as hard or smiled so big as when I would spend time around them. I’m eternally grateful to those people.
As my time at Montclair State ends I’ll look back at my experience here incredibly fondly. I went from hating it here to hating the thought of leaving.
I know we’re leaving our paper in the best hands and the people who will be in charge are all so talented and I’m thankful I got to know a lot of them very well. I’m also grateful for our 2021 to 2022 E-board. They are some of the best people I’ve met in my life and I’ll miss them significantly.
Despite my previous notion, being involved in this organization has given me the confidence and love I need to not only picture my future life and career but work toward it. I finally see a future where I can be funny, memorable and unique in whatever I choose.
I owe a lot of that to this paper, this school and these people.