By Sam Wilk, The Montclarion I March 30, 2022

Even if community service is not your thing, the environment Montclair State provides for its students is an experience that any young adult can benefit from. Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

If someone had told me a year ago I would fall in love with Montclair State University, I wouldn’t have believed them – falling in love with your school during a global pandemic is as hard as you might think.

When I was first applying to schools, I knew I would go to a public university, but I definitely did not want to. The environment in my high school made it seem like going to a public university wouldn’t provide nearly the same level of education as private institutions. When I started to immerse myself at Montclair State, I realized how wrong they were.

That’s why when I was approached to represent Montclair State as part of “The College Tour,” a streaming show that lets prospective students take a virtual tour of colleges and universities, it wasn’t even a question.

I started at Montclair State remotely in the fall of 2020. I believe you can’t become attached to a school if you don’t get to know it, so I started putting myself out there through community service projects with the Bonner Leader Program at Montclair State.

In fact, during our first in-person event on campus, I randomly met the person who would soon become my best friend. When I returned to in-person classes as a sophomore, I was so excited I felt like I could skip to class. I’d realized that at Montclair State you can make friends with almost anyone — the friendly atmosphere here is contagious.

I had no reason to be nervous about coming to Montclair State, I just didn’t know what was ahead of me. While getting to be on a show like “The College Tour” is cool, it’s something I wanted to do because if there’s a prospective student trying to find where they’re going to spend the next four years, I’m glad I can be a window into that future. It’s like being able to tell them, “you’re going to enjoy yourself if you take every opportunity that comes at you.”

During my time at Montclair State, I’ve had the opportunity to do things such as help rebuild homes, assist in facilities for people with developmental or physical disabilities and feed the homeless in Atlantic City. Through the course of these service projects, I formed a family-like bond with my fellow Bonners as we put our efforts into causes bigger than all of us.

Looking to the future, I can’t imagine having a career that doesn’t involve me giving back to the community and watching people grow. The only way we’re going to become the best version of society is if we take care of our communities, and Montclair State helped me see that.

Even if community service is not your thing, the environment Montclair State provides for its students is an experience any young adult can benefit from. I’m now a sophomore and have already become so much of the person I’ve dreamed of becoming, and I can’t wait to tell prospective students about it on “The College Tour.”