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Humans of New Jersey: Slices of Suburbia

The Finale

Humans of New Jersey: Slices of Suburbia
Madison Goldberg

The last installment.


Jacqueline Goldberg

For the final feature, I thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Madison Goldberg, and I'm a senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. I've been writing for "Odyssey's Millennials of New Jersey" for over a year now. I first got into journalism as a junior in high school, when I joined the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Culmen Yearbook staff. I went on to become the Writing Editor my senior year. Before all of this, I sat, a small, curly-haired 8-year-old, in my elementary school library, listening to an author named Dar Hosta speak about her work. I was amazed by the art of storytelling through words and pictures. That was the day that I came home from school and told my parents that when I grew up, I wanted to be a writer. I continued with art and writing over the years, and picked up a camera in high school. I began to capture moments in time that I knew would serve as still-lifes that encapsulated memories and experiences that my peers and I would want to remember. It was at this point that I realized that I truly wanted to share my stories with the world, and to also give voices to those who may have not otherwise been heard.

This project has allowed me to learn the stories of people that I have often encountered on a daily basis, though never having the full picture of. Like a typical millennial, I am constantly entwined in technology. As a society, we have become entirely consumed by images, popularity and whatever we see on the surface. My photographs and interviews were my effort to combat the stereotype. I was lucky to find the authentic stories of people from various age groups and ethnicities, all creating the unique fabric of identity that is my hometown.

It's been an honor to depict the town that molded me into the person I am today. The town that is home to all of my firsts, including successes and failures, and where I learned some of the most valuable life lessons I have ever learned. This August, my family and I will be moving to Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. A few weeks later, I'm off to my dorm at Emerson College in Boston. In the next year, I will be all over the map. But a town is only a location--what creates its identity are its people.

I will never forget the people that I grew up with, for they taught me all that I know. I can only hope to meet people who are as interesting and determined as those in this town. These people contribute far more than what meets the eye, pouring their talents and efforts into a community that is greater than themselves.

I describe myself as considerate, because I have always felt that you will never truly understand a person or situation without knowing the full story. I am considerate because I try to have an attention to detail with everything that I do, whether it be a drawing, a photograph, or a piece of writing. I am considerate because I believe that it is of the utmost importance to be kind, and to always look past the first impression. Finally, I am also considerate because I will never forget my roots. Even as I move to a big city miles away from my childhood home, I will still have started out as so many do--as a suburban teenager with a dream. I'm just another human from New Jersey with a story to tell.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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