By Bryant Flores
During my time at Montclair State University (MSU), financial insecurities have plagued much of my college experience. I transferred into MSU in 2015 from Union County College and ran into issues filing for financial aid. In 2015, I discovered that I struggle with anxiety and depression, something that still affects me today. It affects my confidence in things like my schoolwork, decision-making, desire to better myself, and makes the simplest tasks seem impossible.
This past semester I had trouble doing the easiest things, even something as simple as filing my FAFSA and applying for a loan. I registered for all of my classes, but due to a financial hold, my classes were dropped. That financial hold didn’t allow me to register for my classes until January 16, five days before the semester began. At any point in the five-month fall semester, I could’ve applied for a loan for the spring semester, but just the mere thought of thousands of dollars frightened me. Once I got the email that my financial hold was released for my final semester at MSU, my choices for classes were slim. Two classes that I planned on taking were full and, naturally, panic set in. I made a pot of coffee, opened up NEST and began my search for courses. I found three classes that fit my schedule requirements and then stumbled on the Hawk Communications Public Relations class. Though merely a two-credit course, this class helped put my mind back on the track for the first time in years.
This course piqued my interest on the very first day, when our NJ Warriors Hockey client visited and explained what he needed from the Hawk Communications team. Before that class, I expected to come into a boring, easy course that required little to no effort from me. My mindset changed once the clients visited or were discussed, and I became excited for the class. A class where students take control, are allowed to let their creativity show, and get hands-on public relations experience with real companies and clients.
Working with the Center for Cooperative Media was daunting, but it inspired me to work harder. Meeting with Joe Amditis, discussing ideas with Professor Green and working with my group was a bright spot for my semester, even if our time in class was short. I finally regained the confidence to take matters into my own hands, pitched my ideas to both Joe and Jeannette Beebe, the CCM’s freelancer, and felt more capable.
Although our time was short this semester, this class was involved in me taking control of my life again. For a couple of years, I’ve felt lost and even failed a couple of courses because I just couldn’t get myself to do my work or to even get out of bed for class. This semester changed that for me, thanks to professors like Professor Green who’ve shown me they have students’ backs and are here to guide us. As I wait for a response from the CCM on plans for a social media push led by the Hawk Communications team, I’m hopeful and glad that I was able to push my voice out far enough to at least be heard all semester long. Thanks Professor Green, even though our time in class was short-lived, you and a handful of people at MSU helped me pick myself back up in a way.