Interview by Curt Thomas, Graphic Design Major
with Montana Kowalczik, Sophomore, Art Education Major
What personal experience or journey brought you into your current role at or connected with SUNY New Paltz?
I am pursuing a degree in art, and I have always been told what an amazing art program New Paltz has. Everyone I know that works in the field that I plan to work in has received their degree from New Paltz. I also wanted to stay pretty close to home, and campus is only an hour from my house, so attending New Paltz seemed like the best option.
What issues or challenges are you confronted with?
This is my first time on campus due to the pandemic, so I didn’t really know my way around in the beginning. I also came here knowing no one, so that was pretty difficult. I also work two jobs while going to school full time, so I’m limited on the amount of time I have to meet and hang out with other people. Working so much also leaves me with limited time to study and do my homework. Although everything seems to be working out so far, and I’m grateful for that.
Why do these challenges exist?
These challenges exist because of covid, and because I wanted to attend this specific school instead one that my friends were planning on attending. Also, I have to pay for my car, pay for my dorm and other things so I do need to work quite a bit.
What challenges exist in the larger system?
Covid has caused many issues in and outside of the school system. Many students spent over a year on online classes and might not understand any of what they learned in that time frame. Others might be struggling to get back to normal everyday things like school, work, etc. Many students also fear that schools will once again shut down.
What are the blockages?
The fact that Covid is still a huge problem is a blockage. It is not going away anytime soon, and it will continue to cause changes and problems.
What are your most important sources of success and change?
My most important source of success and change was when I got accepted into New Paltz. I didn’t think I’d ever go to college, and yet here I am part way through my degree.
What initiative, if implemented, would have the greatest impact for you? For the system as a whole?
I think people being more understanding would help to create a better system. The world is crazy right now, and I feel everyone is struggling with something or has lost something because of it. Implementing this could help improve how people feel about life and each other.
If you could change just a few elements of the system, what would you change?
If I could change the system, I would want to improve the way we react to others. How we help them and how we stand buy them in times of need.