Walking into the first Montclarion meeting I attended, I didn’t know if how I wanted to contribute was even an option. I first started contributing to The Montclarion by writing satirical pieces for the opinion section. I’d write humorous commentary on topics such as bugs found in the food at Sam’s Place and the burst pipe that left Life Hall a foot deep in sewage.
Though my ambitions at The Montclarion began as an outlet for writing some jokes, I soon realized the many injustices being perpetuated against the student body. While I was writing jokes about a beetle a student found in their salad or what must have been a particularly smelly day in a performing arts class, I was actually commenting on a lack of resources for campus dining and infrastructure improvements.
Suddenly, there was an upcoming opening for opinion editor. I figured, “Why not me?”
Thanks to my dedicated and talented predecessor, Rebecca Serviss, I began preparing to take over. As I learned more about how The Montclarion operates, I discovered what this organization means to its community.
I learned of The Montclarion’s importance in keeping the student body informed about the institution they call home for four years or more. I understood its responsibility of holding university administrators accountable and making them aware of injustices they committed against the student body.
I have been quite critical of President Susan Cole and her administration during my time as opinion editor, but none of the criticism I published was ever done so out of malice. It was done out of care for the community The Montclarion serves.
I know Cole’s job is an incredibly difficult one, and both her administration and The Montclarion only want what is best for the student body and this university. I thank Cole for her support of The Montclarion throughout her honorable career at Montclair State University and I wish her a happy and healthy retirement.
I think I can speak for most of my peers in saying we all have two separate identities. There is me before college and there is me after. I am a completely different person today than I was when I moved into Bohn Hall four years ago.
Furthermore, people often say college is the place where you find yourself. For me, that place was The Montclarion.
I owe my entire future to this organization. I found what my strengths are here. I found my career goals and what I have to contribute to the world here. I met the love of my life here. And I couldn’t have done so without the help of so many passionate people.
Thank you to Professor Castro, my professor in my first general education writing course at Montclair State, for telling me I was a good writer.
Thank you to Haley Wells and Heather Berzak, two previous editor-in-chiefs, for valuing my perspective and giving me a place to express it.
Thank you to Professor Tara George, The Montclarion’s faculty advisor, for always pushing me to do better at every critique meeting on Monday mornings and for providing me guidance whenever I was struggling to find an angle on a topic.
Thank you to my dear friend Jen Lesos. Working with you enriched my experience at The Montclarion greatly and I will always remember sitting beside you on the few production days we spent together. Reporting to you during the pandemic transition made the whole thing suck less.
Thank you to Thomas Neira and Samantha Impaglia. Reporting to you for our final two semesters has been an honor. You have both done excellent work and I cannot wait to see what you accomplish.
More than anyone, thank you to Ben Caplan. You are the reason I walked into that first general body meeting three years ago, and you are the reason I decided to make that leap to an editorial position. However, your role in my experience with The Montclarion will always take a back seat to the friendship we share.
To my successor, Maddye Belov-Boxer, when you feel as though the work you are doing here is not worth it or sometimes even pointless, do it anyway and do it well. The voice of the opinion section is too important to this university. I wish you luck and I know you will do outstanding.
Thank you, Montclarion. I came here looking to write some jokes and you made me an award-winning writer. Thank you for giving me my life. I love you.