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I Really Do Be Graduating Though

by Adrian Maldonado

When I transferred to Montclair State University from Middlesex County College, I never expected my senior year to end the way it did with a global pandemic. I never saw this coming, I went on spring break and never came back. As sad as it makes me, I’m still thankful for the time I spent at Montclair State.

My first semester at Montclair State, I felt lost. I somewhat knew what I wanted to do with my life but I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t really involved on campus either and by the end of the first semester, I realized that needed to change.

As I sat in the School of Communication and Media, students would walk by and pick up a copy of the newspaper as did I. After reading it, I decided to go to one of the meetings, “just for fun.” During my first meeting I was welcomed with open arms, support and everyone wanted me to get involved right away. There, I met so many people that I now consider some of my closest friends.

Managing Editor, Editor-in-Chief and Web Editor pose on The Monclarion's rock. Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

Former managing editor, editor-in-chief and web editor of The Montclarion pose around The Montclarion’s rock on campus.
Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

I quickly got involved with The Montclarion, helping shoot and edit videos since I didn’t consider myself a writer and wanted no part of it. But somehow I started writing entertainment articles, mostly video game, movies and television show reviews and I quickly fell in love with writing. I finally found something I was passionate about, and eventually became the web editor of the paper.

That’s when I realized I wanted to get even more involved on campus, to meet more people, expand my connections and enjoy my college experience. I started to reach out to some friends to see if they needed any help with projects at school and that’s when I started to help Nicole Fidalgo, who was the current campus ambassador for Coca-Cola, with her events. While helping Fidalgo, I met so many cool students and faculty.

Fidalgo helped me out so much during my time at Montclair State and when she graduated she recommended me to be the next Coca-Cola Ambassador and evidently I did.

Adrian Maldonado poses during one of his Coca-Cola events. Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

Adrian Maldonado poses during one of his Coca-Cola events.
Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

This was a dream: Who would’ve thought that a boy from Dominican Republic who came here with his family with little to nothing would be working for one of the biggest companies in the world? I realized here that any dream you have you can achieve it. I learned so much from my internship at Coca-Cola and made some life long friends when I went to the Coca-Cola headquarters for training.

But my journey didn’t end there.

During my senior year I landed another internship with iHeartRadio, for the radio station KTU 103.5 with the help of Maria Nunez and Ime Mark, which I’m so thankful to have them in my life.

Even though I only worked for a few months because of the coronavirus, I had so much fun and learned so much through my experience. I can’t wait to be back there once this is over. Having these internships made me realize that no dream is too big and thanks to these experiences at Montclair State, I found my passion. My desire is to work in the video game industry and I thank this school for making me realize that.

Adrian Maldonado poses on The Montclarion's rock. Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

Adrian Maldonado poses on The Montclarion’s rock in front of Blanton Hall.
Adrian Maldonado | The Montclarion

But as I look back at all the memories I made, and friends I met along the way, I realized that I’m so lucky to be where I am right now. I will always be forever thankful that I decided to commit to Montclair State.

From my experience, I can greatly say that we have the power to control our own destiny, the future is never written in stone and we can change it if we set our minds to it.

To all my friends who I met at Montclair State, thank you for being yourself and welcoming me into your lives. I hope that 10 years from now we look back and laugh at the inside jokes, memories and moments we shared at Montclair State.

This is not goodbye, it’s a see you later.

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