Two years ago, when I received my associate’s degree from Bergen Community College I sat in a poncho, as it rained during my commencement ceremony. Years later, as I receive my bachelors degree from Montclair State University, my cap and gown now hang in my closet, as a pandemic has postponed yet another one of my commencement ceremonies.
No one could have predicted that I would finish my senior year during a global pandemic. Many seniors, including myself, feel like they lost something as a result of this. It’s true that we were robbed of a normal college experience and celebration but despite the turn of events, we also gained something during this process. At least I know I did.
While trying to finish up my last spring semester classes at Montclair State and fulfill my role as news editor for The Montclarion, I learned how to be a leader.
Managing groups of people is hard enough on its own. Then, you throw in a worldwide crisis, scared students and your own anxieties into the mix. I have dealt with anxiety for most of my college career but this was entirely different.
Every buzz, ping and phone call sent my anxiety through the roof.
I wanted to turn it all off but I knew that wasn’t an option. I didn’t see stopping as an option because I recognized that the news section was essential, especially during this time. If students ever needed a news source like the The Montclarion to keep them updated, it was now.
For about two weeks I updated the Montclarion website daily with information from administration and updates from Gov. Phil Murphy. I also kept a steady stream of news stories with the latest information on the pandemic.
This is when, along with stepping up in my leadership role, I learned about grit.
Tara George, faculty advisor of The Montclarion, spoke with me on the phone often during this time. She offered me guidance and reassurance as I tried to grasp with the intensity of the pandemic.
Considering George has a family of her own to take care of during this time I am extremely grateful for her dedication to The Montclarion and her helpful advice. One thing she said that stayed with me was that the situation we were being faced with was a “marathon” not a “sprint.”
It changed the way I looked at all of the daunting tasks. It wasn’t a matter of doing things fast, it was doing things right. In order to do that I had to steady myself and push through for the sake of my community and those around me.
With holding onto my grit during this time came feelings of passion, resilience and the courage to be strong. For everyone dealing with the uncertainty in the world right now, you must push through and focus on your tasks.
With my newfound courage, and the help of my fellow editors and writers, we pushed through. The teamwork I witnessed during this crisis was astounding and I believe that going through this event made all of us stronger in our soon-to-be career fields, and as individuals.
Along with my fellow coworkers on the editorial board, I also had the pleasure of working with some wonderful writers that were always willing to work during this time. Especially, my assistant Rosaria Lo Presti, who will be the next news editor for The Montclarion.
Rosaria helped me tremendously and I believe she will be a great leader. I can move on knowing that The Montclarion is in good hands.
Being a news editor during this time helped me grow as a person as I discovered a strength within myself that I had not known before. As we continued to cover news during an overwhelming pandemic, I continued to motivate and encourage writers to write during this time, all the while motivating and encouraging myself, despite my own fears.