Letter to Red Hawks, from a Montclair State Super Senior

I’ve been a student at Montclair State for the past four years, and this is my last semester. I’m graduating with two majors and a minor, but what they are doesn’t really relate to this letter of sorts. What’s more important, is what has happened over the course of my college experience.

I’m not that social. I can be talkative, but I’m not the best at making friends, and yet, after all these years, I feel strangely connected to the students at this university. A silent, invisible connection, would be the easiest way to describe it. I know most of us want to label it “school spirit,” but it really isn’t. In fact, this letter has nothing to do with the school.

This has to do strictly with the students, with us. Have you ever walked along the quad, outside the Student Center, on a busy day? On an amazingly beautiful day, and you see crowds gather together? There are usually some people playing football or frisbee. Then, there are others sprinkled along the stone steps or at the table. If you pass, there always seems to be a funny conversation happening; laughter fills your ears. When I find myself here, in this moment, I feel hope.

College has done so much for me. I love to learn; academia is something I treasure. My professors have expanded my knowledge, the clubs I’ve been a part of have left me with beautiful memories and great friends, but the students are something else entirely.

The world we’re living in now is tough. It’s always been tough, and it’s unfortunate to say, but currently I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. That doesn’t mean we can’t fix it though.

Lately, I find myself staring at others on the shuttle. Just quick, little glances. It forces me to think, about how we’re all people, you know? All of you, me, all of us. We’ve got our futures ahead of us, we’re studying material that will get us a career, we’re working hard. Everyone has such potential in them.

The past four years have gone so fast and this last semester is going even quicker, but when I look back what sticks out to me are the students. The little discussion I would have with peers before class starts, the funny moments I’d have in my clubs, the weird things I would see day to day on campus. Then after a moment, it hits me. Everything I remember has to do with the Red Hawks, it revolves around the students. We’re energetic and passionate, but also cynical and humorous, bitter, caring, exhausted, loving and talented. We’re all so powerful.

I’m not good with endings. I’m not good with change, so maybe I’m getting emotional, but there’s still truth in these words. I’m also not sure what I’m doing with my education, so I might be back for my Master’s. I might go somewhere else, who knows where the wind will take me.

Carpe diem, is Montclair State’s credo. It means seize the day. Well, when the shuttle is late and registrar is a disaster and classes keep overfilling and midterms are breaking you down, it’s hard to believe that you’re seizing anything.

Let me tell you something, you are always seizing the day. Getting up, dealing with campus traffic, running to your class, passing out in a lounge somewhere, typing up your final paper—filling a not-so-social student with hope. You have seized the day, now and always. Keep going, keep being yourselves. The world is out there and it is huge, but like I said, we’re people. We’re alive. We can accomplish great things.

Thank you, Red Hawks, for everything. We may have never met, but there is something here that I know I will not feel elsewhere. Until we meet again, carpe diem.