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Archive for April, 2018

From the Editor

by Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

“This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There’s only change, and resistance to it and then more change.”
~Meryl Streep

Sometimes, it’s hard to accept change. More times than not, change comes when we least expect it. The only way to accept change, as I’ve come to realize this past semester, is to simply embrace it, even if it scares the living heck out of you.
Embracing change is not done without the help of others. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Montgazette (MG) this year, I experienced changes that frankly were unforeseen, yet embracing these changes could not have been possible without the help of others. I’d like to take a moment and express my deepest thanks to those who have helped me embrace the changes that I’ve experienced as Editor of MG. Unfortunately, I can’t write personal thank-you’s here to everyone who has helped me, for there are frankly too many people to thank, however I’ll just give shout outs to those who have been integral in the paper’s success this year.
I’d like to start by thanking Tyler Steffy and Diana McGuire in the Student Life office for helping me learn the administrative side of managing MG. Without the both of them helping me, I’d simply be lost as an Editor, and for that and more, thank you.
I’d also like to thank Gail Ramsey, the former advisor to MG, and Dave Aston, my predecessor, who despite not being officially on the staff anymore for the newspaper have nevertheless helped me transition into and become more effective as an Editor. Thank you for proving to be invaluable assets to MG.
Producing the newspaper would not be possible without the help and talents of Joshua Woodroffe, our layout designer. Josh, thank you for being so accommodating and being ruthlessly efficient in designing the layouts for the publication, even on the short notices that I have given you.
I’d be remiss not to mention The Montgazette’s new advisors this year, Therol Dix and Susan Masciantonio. Therol and Susan stepped into their roles, and despite the rocky start of having to learn their roles at the beginning of this academic year, have proven to be effective and communicative advisors who have helped me handle every new challenge thrown into the mix of producing every issue this year. I sincerely want to thank the both of you for being great advisors.
I’d like to thank the students and staff of MG. I’ve had the pleasure of reading and editing remarkable stories from the writers and storytellers in the MCCC community. It is through the efforts of the students that this publication’s mission is alive and well. Thank you, students of MCCC, for allowing MG to have your voices be heard.
Of course, there’s no way I could write this letter without mentioning and thanking my successor to MG. Alas, I will be graduating this May and will be succeeded by Bridget Depew, who has served as MG’s social media editor this year. Bridget joined the newspaper in Fall of 2016. Her presence in the publication has been tremendous. Bridget not only has been instrumental as our social media editor but has helped in editing and producing content for the paper.
Bridget, I’m excited to see you take over MG, and despite how unsure of the change you’ll experience transitioning into my shoes, believe me: All you gotta do is embrace the change. There may come a time where you’ll resist the change of transitioning into a new role for MG, as Meryl Streep says, quoted above, but believe me when I say that you’re more than capable of being in charge, I know you are. Thank you for being an invaluable and irreplaceable asset to MG, Bridget; you’ll do great as my successor.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you, the readers of The Montgazette. Without our readers, then it wouldn’t be possible to have the voices of the writers and storytellers in the MCCC community be heard. Thank you for supporting MG this year and beyond. Sincerely yours with extreme gratitude,
Sara Wilkerson

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by Nadia Ellis
The Montgazette Staff

Many people view their college experience as challenging, rewarding, and gratifying. From my perspective, college was about transitioning back into school from a nine-year hiatus. After working at Walmart for ten years, it was time for change due to lack of advancement within the company. I wanted a better life for my children and me, so I decided to pursue a career in nursing.
In August 2016, I decided to go back to school at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC). In essence, I learned that college requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
I would describe my first semester at MCCC as a turbulent roller coaster that took many twists and turns. I registered for four classes in spring 2017: English 101, Psychology 101, Sociology 101, and Math 010. I did not realize what I was getting myself into becoming a full-time student while working full time. Some expected this to be easy for me, but that was not the case.
I struggled with keeping up with my assignments and studying for my quizzes and exams. My class attendance dropped, and consequently, my grades suffered because I did not prepare for my tests. I realized juggling work, school, and my children was more than I could handle.
I immediately made some necessary and beneficial changes. I dropped my most challenging course, my English class; I was not able to comprehend the material and write an essay. Though stressful, I gained the courage to write my first paper. After I submitted my essay, I received a sixty-eight percent on my paper, a grade that killed my soul as a student and writer. I decided that I needed to be refreshed on the basics of English, so I registered to take a fundamental English writing class next semester to improve my writing and better prepare me for college-level English.
I knew that to be successful in my courses, my actions needed to change. Therefore, I scheduled study time – during my breaks at work and setting aside time at home. As a result, I was better prepared for exams. I made sure to start my projects early, so I could pour great detail and creativity into them.
My hard work paid off, wrapping up my first semester with a B+ in Math 010, a B in sociology, and a C in psychology. Overall, my GPA was 2.5. Even though my first semester was filled with many ups and downs, I was still able to prevail with resilience, motivation, self-discipline, and success.
My first semester in college was a turbulent ride for me. I had to reevaluate my study habits, focus, and self-discipline. In addition, I had to gain resilience. It is important for one to realize that going to school can be a struggle, yet it can also be a life-changing experience.
Furthermore, college offers great resources that can help every student to become successful. No matter how hard college may become, students should keep striving and believing in themselves, never losing sight of their goals. In the wise words of Ingrid Fisher, the Keys Director at the College, “Being successful in college is not about being the smartest student. However, it is about having the smarter, more consistent plan to achieve success.”

Ellis_Portrait

Nadia Ellis

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Clouded Thoughts

by Sara Wilkerson

I have a lot on my mind
Yet, you expect me to concentrate?
Homework, deadlines
Resumes, careers
People to see
People to meet

I have a lot on my mind
Yet, you expect me to concentrate?
Essays, news stories
Theses galore
People to please, People to entreat

I have a lot on my mind
Yet, you expect me to concentrate?
Textbooks, assignments,
Words upon words
Beat on my crushed spirit
Broken, defeated
You don’t help me up

Yet, you expect me to concentrate?
Then of course, you do it.

Toss me to the curb
Abandoned
When you took me in
You toss me to the curb
Without a glance
You don’t help me
You beat me down
Crush my spirit
But not this time

This time I’m older,
Richer in education
Richer in experience
Richer in self-doubt…
I wait… and I pray… hoping
For the noise to stop
For the world to stop
For everything to just stop…
Yet here I am A brand new day
Homework, deadlines
Theses galore

With all this,
You well now know
I have a lot on my mind. Yet…
You really expect me to concentrate?

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I Define Me

by Natalie Capili
The Montgazette Staff

Every day I deal with different challenges, but the two that affect me the most are depression and anxiety. Depression is a medical illness that affects emotions, behaviors and the ability to function. Anxiety is an excessive amount of apprehension or worry triggered by one’s surroundings.
Depression and anxiety run in my family, and there is no doubt that the gene was passed down to me. Every day I struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed. At school, I have a panic attack when I have to read or present to the class. I take medication every morning to help with my symptoms; however, medication is not always helpful. When I am depressed, I find myself having trouble making decisions or finding the motivation to do an activity. In addition, I have chest pains when I get anxiety, and I am constantly picking at my nails because I need something to do with my hands. I just cannot sit still, and fidget toys don’t always help.
Depression and anxiety go hand in hand, and they are serious mental illnesses. No matter what day of the week it is, I always have some important responsibility to take care of. Whether it is my job, my school work, or my house work, anxiety and depression are always following me around. Every day is a new day, a fresh beginning or a do over. No matter what, I wake up and do what I need to do; I don’t let myself sit around. If I were to let depression consume me, I would never leave my bed. Every day I fight my depression and anxiety and choose not to let them run my life. I have mental illnesses, and I am not afraid to talk about it. I am in charge of my life, and anxiety and depression are just parts of me.
As I become older, I find more ways to deal with the anxiety and depression. Lately, I have learned that doing something I love, like photography, helps with my illnesses. Whether I am taking photos or developing photos, I am free of my illnesses. I am happy and relaxed. I think that taking photos help because I am just so focused on what I want that there is no room for the depression and anxiety. I have nothing to worry about. There is no one to impress, no grade to earn; I am just taking and developing my own photos.
Also, I have a great support system full of family and friends who are always there when I need them. If I need to talk to or just need someone to pull me out of bed, I know I can count on my mom. It might sound corny, but my mom is my biggest supporter. She has known me for all 18 years of my life, and she can tell instantly how I am feeling. She suffers from depression and anxiety too, so she understands how I feel and what I am going through. My mom is always there for me and helps me when I need her.
I know that I will always have these mental illnesses, but I will always find a way to deal with them. I can and I will overcome my anxiety and depression.

 

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Natalie Capili

 

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by Bridget Depew
The Montgazette Staff

I am a huge Marvel comics fan, so there was nothing that could keep me from seeing Marvel’s latest blockbuster, “Black Panther”. Superheroes? Action-packed fight scenes? Angela Bassett looking just as fly as she wanna be? Yes, please!
When I heard the movie was coming out, the draw for me was not the spectacular all-black cast. The draw was the spectacular cast, who happened to be black. The “Black Panther” movie resonated with many, but with black people in particular. One reason being is because some say it is not often that blacks are represented with such regality and poise. It is not often you see an all-black cast in a movie that is about their success, wealth, and un-matched intelligence. Additionally, if you see such a black character, it is usually somehow portrayed as the handy sidekick. In the film world, the term is called the “Magical Negro” – basically described as the black person whose focus and attention is set more to the advancement of their white counterpart. This movie was quite a coup for a lot of black Americans. For me? It was… a movie.
I didn’t see the movie as a coup. I saw it for what it is – entertainment. Some blacks felt inspired by it. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying that I don’t look to Hollywood for my inspiration, nor do I want my children to.
I catch a lot of flak for this amongst my black peers, but I don’t wear my blackness as a badge of honor. I don’t want someone to look at my successes and remark, “Wow, look at that black girl go!” I’m a wife, mother of two and a student maintaining a 4.0 GPA. I’m not extraordinary because I’m managing to do that all while being black. I’m managing to do all of that because I work hard.
Successful black people are not unicorns. And while most black people would agree, some take pleasure in showing us off as if we are. Don’t get me wrong. I understand where they’re coming from. It’s the fact that we are portrayed in such a positive light (for a change) that blacks are most proud of. I don’t disagree. I am always happy to see blacks in film where they’re not selling drugs or killing each other. Unfortunately, there are a lot of small-minded people who think that what is portrayed in the media is a mirror of the truth. But I’m here to tell you that blacks have been successful long before Hollywood was hip to it.
What I teach my children is that success IS the norm because they are intelligent and capable children who are taught by their parents that hard work leads to the success they seek. I teach them that it’s not necessary to wear their blackness as a badge of honor. I don’t want my children’s successes to be recognized because they’re black. I want it to be because they’re just that good.
“Wakanda Forever.” That was the phrase of solidarity amongst the Wakandans in the movie. Solidarity is important. But I want my children to stand in solidarity and pride amongst ALL their fellow man.

 

Depew_Wakanda Kids pose

Lucas Depew and Sienna Swanson in the Wakanda pose depicted in “Black Panther”. ~Photo by Bridget Depew

 

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by Justin Patrick Oakes
The Montgazette Staff

Every burnout, hippie, and reggae lover (a list I myself am not excluded from) for the past 30 years has owned a well worn out copy of Bob Marley’s greatest hits album “Legend”, an album packed with favorites like “Three Little Birds” and “One Love.” These anthems have taken on a revival in the age of Libertarian-minded millennials of other relaxing musicians who are less likely to… ahem… stir the pot, shall we say. This is “Legend’s” biggest flaw: it alienates potential Marley listeners and never even touches the surface of the revolutionary’s vast music catalog.
In the wake of yet another school shooting in America, I found myself listening to Marley’s album “Rastaman Vibration,” specifically the song “Johnny Was.” The song tells the story of a mother’s heartbreak as she finds out that her son, whom she describes as “a good man,” has been killed by a stray bullet in the streets, a victim of a system that slaughters too many of its youth. Even though the woman is presumably Jamaican, it’s hard not to empathize with her, or even envision our own American mothers’ collective lament over the wholly unnecessary and avoidable death of a child. In some cases, we’ve even seen it, such as the mothers and fathers of victims of the Parkland shooting who bravely spoke to the world about the changes that they sought.
Alas, “Johnny Was,” perhaps one of Marley’s greatest songs, is nowhere near a greatest hits album. After listening to “Rastaman Vibration,” I poured over the rest of my collection before throwing on the quintessential Marley album, “Survival.” Unsurprisingly, not a single song from this landmark album ended up on “Legend”. But, if given the opportunity to listen, “Survival” could hold a lot of weight with a lot of people. Each song carefully constructs the conditions that led to the black liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s and serves as a call to action to people of color all around the world to rise up and demand justice, not just in one’s hometown, but in the African continent continuously being ravaged by colonialism. Each word simmers in the brain like an ember ready to spark a massive fire that will burn down the entire system with words and peace over guns and violence.
I have yet to discover what it was that made a song like “One Love” more popular than songs like “Johnny Was” and “Africa Unite.” Perhaps it was marketability. Maybe record executives thought a wider audience would prefer a black man put in his place as opposed to a black man speaking out. Maybe it was easier to brand a Jamaican man as just “another dumb stoner” as opposed to a revolutionary figure whose words could move mountains. Maybe taming a poetic beast was more profitable than letting him out of his cage. Whatever the answer, if you only listen to “Legend”, you’re missing out. If you don’t think reggae is your thing, you’re missing out. If you want to participate in an everworsening political climate that will literally determine the future of this planet, I’d suggest you start listening to Bob Marley, the real Bob Marley.

 

Oakes_Marley Album

Bob Marley’s 1979 album “Survival” ~Photo by Justin Patrick Oakes

 

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Watched

by Sable Meorow

Moss chokes the sound of life
Our footprints sink in slow
We wander the sacred holy place
And keep our gazes low
We march a slow and steady trail
Lost in everlasting green
We stop for moments, sink further down
And pray the spirits leave us be
For they watch us slowly pass
Our every move they see
We dare not snap a single branch
Lest our lives they seize
Ghostly forms flit between
The everlasting trees
Their soft glow, their bright eyes
In the darkness gleam
We trespass here, walking through
The shrine of untouched green
We did not want, we did not mean
This was not planned to be

Montgazette Illus 3

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