Ironically, going into my first year at Montclair State University I did not know what I wanted to do with my life.
Before Montclair State, I went to Raritan Valley Community College for communications while working at ShopRite. My plan halfway through community college was to drop out and be a vendor at Coca-Cola because I hated school so much. Three years later and here we are.
Journalism is something I stumbled upon completely by mistake. I applied for a general communications degree, but my advisor accidentally put journalism (shoutout to Stephanie Wood).
It goes to show that you’ll never know where life is going to take you. That’s the lesson I’ve learned while being here.
Maybe it’s true that you do find yourself in college, the amount I’ve grown as a person is shocking for me to look back on. Before coming to Montclair State, I had essentially no social skills. I could barely hold an intelligible conversation with a friend, let alone a stranger.
Turns out an associate’s degree in communications from a community college doesn’t teach you how to communicate.
I barely had any friends to call my own in high school. I showed no interest in romantic relationships or even just making new friends.
Community college got a little better, but after transferring, I have three friend groups that are stronger than they’ve ever been, and an annoying person I’m romantically involved with.
Not only did I find something I’m good at, but something I love doing: photography.
What I love the most about photography is meeting new people. I have a huge sense of adventure, and photography satisfies that craving. Nearly every assignment was something new and I loved it.
It filled me with joy every time I heard, “John, go photograph crazy evangelists,” “John, go photograph Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “John, go photograph Barack Obama,” “John, go photograph a weed dispensary.”
It never really hit me how many people have seen my photos until I’ve had people pass me by and say, “Hey John! Love your work, keep it up!” I always think to myself, who was that? However, it’s still a really cool feeling.
Personally, I think we’re the best The Montclarion has ever had. Nine awards, including overall general excellence, are no joke.
Not to mention, the whole team has a great sense of humor and was fun to talk to. You’d think a bunch of writers and editors would be dry and boring, but everyone shines with both personality and charisma.
Sure, sometimes it was stressful, but the adventure that came with it was totally worth it.
Most importantly, were the friendships that came along the way. I’m probably not gonna have the chance to see anyone again after graduation. But hey, the memories and the photographs will still carry on for the rest of our lives.