Finding your path in college will open doors to opportunities and personal growth
Choosing a career path is not an easy feat at 18. Josh Monnat was unsure about attending college after graduating from high school in Croghan, New York. Monnat's teacher, Amy Baker '05, from Howard G. Sackett Technical Center BOCES was the first to introduce him to Cazenovia College.
"I remember my teacher setting up a campus visit. Everyone was very friendly, stopping to talk to their peers as they walked by. All of the students in Reisman Hall were just as welcoming and helpful answering any questions that we had," comments Monnat. "I immediately felt at home at Caz College."
Monnat committed to Cazenovia College to study visual communications. His passion for art and creativity, mixed with a desire to work in an innovative industry piqued his interest.
During his first semester, Monnat kept to himself and did not get involved outside of the classroom. His resident advisor changed that by getting Monnat involved in resident hall activities.
Monnat also joined the Cazenovia College chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) club, Students of Every Diversity (SoED), and Improv Anonymous. Through these experiences, he became a key member in each student organization, gaining leadership skills and experiencing personal growth.
During a semester studying abroad in Canterbury, England, Monnat came out of his shell and viewed the world in a different light. He shares, "Canterbury was an amazing experience! It gave me a new perspective on the world and it was nice to share that with like-minded people and bring that back to Caz with me."
During his first semester on campus, Monnat landed a videography work-study job with the Office of Communications and Marketing. Every subsequent semester, he took on more responsibility from editing interviews to choosing the storylines and even setting up equipment for video shoots. In his senior year, Monnat worked there in a paid student work position as a videographer and graphic designer, taking on not only the My Caz Experience and Faculty Spotlight videos, but also the graphic design of a new College promotional campaign for CazMade, the newly established College artisan shop.
Monnat says, "I have learned a lot from this experience, like how to compose myself during meetings and how to work in an office environment. I have learned more about editing, lighting, and all types of skills related to video over the past four years."
Every opportunity at Cazenovia College prepares students for their future careers. Monnat can attest that the videography position has already prepared him for his future. He comments, "I created a short film for my senior project and the editing that I completed in my work-study position has definitely given me a lot of knowledge on the programs and other skills necessary."
Monnat also had an internship helping Salat Ali '17 develop the marketing design for a documentary he was having filmed. Monnat spent a summer coming up with a concept to support Ali's vision for his documentary Leaving Home, But Left Behind, a film highlighting his life as a refugee from Kenya that talks about family members who are still in a Kenyan camp. Through this experience, Monnat was able to create campaign pieces for a nonprofit project.
A Cazenovia College professor helped Monnat obtain his internship. He credits the faculty for much of his success and the skills that he learned. "I think that professors Scott Jensen, Laurie Selleck, and Andrea Hempstead have all been instrumental to giving me opportunities and reaching out when they heard about videos or other projects I would be interested in. I have been blessed with the professors that I have had at Cazenovia College."
Monnat also seized the chance to take classes outside of his major. He continues, "In terms of classes outside of my major, I have had amazing professors from other departments. The professors all around look out for you and they want to bring out the best in you."
Monnat is very appreciative for everyone who helped him while in college. Coming into Cazenovia College with little video experience and an interest to learn more, he is grateful for the opportunities given to him to hone his skills and reach the next level necessary to produce films from start to finish.
"Luckily at Caz, professors are really open to what you want to do. I think that has to do with the small class sizes, where you are able to have one-on-one discussions with your professors about your professional goals," says Monnat. "The visual communications program allows for flexibility to learn new things outside of the regular curriculum that really interest you."
The real-life learning experiences that Monnat was afforded at Cazenovia College have given him skills that will help him land a job in any aspect of the graphic design industry. His interests span from illustration to graphic design to film.
"My Caz Experience has really changed me for the better. It brought me out of my shell and made me open my mind more than I ever would have. I have developed relationships with people with whom I never would have otherwise," says Monnat. "It really was a reality check and I have learned to accept certain things about the world through my education at Caz. It has made me an all-around better person."
Monnat continues, "For future students looking to attend Cazenovia College, be prepared and willing to accept that your perception of work is going to change. Do not be afraid of change. Be open to all opportunities. Allow the people and environment to guide you along that path to change for the better."