Three years, a review of my college years.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I am about to be a college graduate…times two. I will have two diplomas from college a week from tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited but scared. I mean, I spent three years in college and I’m going to come out with two pieces of paper that say that I am capable of being somewhat of an adult. I mean, I don’t think that I will ever truly grow up, because being an adult seems kind of boring, but I’m going to be able to say, “Yeah, I graduated, and I can talk to you about aperture and shutter speeds, and I can talk lighting set ups with you.” That’s right folks, I’m going to be a bonafide photography graduate.

So let’s talk about the rough three years it took to get me here.

School Year 1: September 2012 – June 2013 – Applied Media and Communication Arts

What even was this year? This year was so intimidating at first, because I hadn’t been in any sort of educational setting since graduating high school in 2009. I remember the night before/morning of, walking up before my alarm, anxious, nervous and having nightmares. Why? Because for some reason I thought that little ol’ me wasn’t going to make any friends. That’s right, I was twenty-one years old, and as scared as a small child about making friends. I remember being scared about how well I was going to do there, if I would like my teachers and if I was going to like what I was going to be learning.

Let me tell you friends, there was nothing to be nervous about. Really and truly there wasn’t. I pretty much made friends the first day, which took a lot of the anxiety off. Shout out to ‘other Beth’ and Marc for becoming those great friends on that first day. I think the best part about how they run the Applied Media and Communication Arts (AMCA) course is that they do this big collaborative project at the beginning of the year, and they throw you into a group so you HAVE to make friends. I remember getting really excited meeting another “Beth” and I also remember Marc stealing my goldfish crackers. (Yes, I was a twenty-one year old college student with goldfish crackers, fight me.)

Also, my teachers were fantastic and I am still very grateful for them. I remember going to orientation, and being so nervous, and I was trying to find the room I was supposed to meet everyone in, and this man comes up to me and asks if he can help me find where I’m going. I told him that I was looking for Applied Media and Communication Arts, and he immediately got really excited. “You’re with me!” and he introduced himself as Erin, and walked me to the room, where the other AMCAers were. After that, it was all sunshine and rainbows because this school year was absolutely fantastic! Shout out to Erin, Matt and Steffie for making this year wonderful, even in the midst of some of my hardest times.

Speaking of those hardest times, in late September 2012, my cousin was hit by a car and died several days later. This year wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention this, because it’s had a huge impact on it. It was so hard to get out of bed for the first little while, because Peter and I were really close as children, and then he was just gone. Even though the school year was great, this is definitely something that clings to those memories, because it was an extremely hard time, but I was thankful to my teachers who helped pull me up and were patient.

I remember Steffie accidentally made me cry in class one day when we were watching PSAs (this one was a texting and driving and people dying in cars one), and she felt terrible. I remember after it happened she came right over and gave me so many hugs, and apologized profusely. This memory will always stick out to me because it’s proof that even in college, your teachers care about you, your life and your education so much, and even now, I joke with Steffie about her making me cry in class.

Half way through the year I had a solid base of friends, in Beth, Marc, Alora, Aurora, Jake and many others. By the time the end of the year rolled around I was made a ‘team lead’ on our second collaborative project and I got to work with people from the other class as well. By June I was graduated (though I didn’t go to the ceremony) and had a base for my next college adventure and a solid group of friends!

School Year 2:  September 2013 – June 2014 – Photography Year 1

This year was bananas. I wasn’t as stressed or anxious in the beginning about meeting new people because I had Alora (who would very quickly become one of my closest friends ever) and some familiar faces from AMCA joining me. This year was totally different though, and challenged me in ways that made me reconsider my career choice a few times. There were times that I was extremely frustrated, and times that my anxiety would go absolutely crazy, and only got worse after a break up with a guy who wasn’t worth the clouds in the sky.

I was frustrated in the way I was learning it felt, and I didn’t enjoy the first semester at all, despite making a lot of really great friendships from outside of the AMCA circle. (Shout out to Nydia, Leigh, Kate, Rachel, Amber, Paul, Donna, and Avery. Heck, most of the people in our class.) I also still had Beth around who was in her other program, as well as Marc! (Who I became pretty close with as well.)

I considered taking a break from my post secondary, because I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I had in AMCA, but I decided to stick through it and into second semester. Ah, that was so much better. I was less frustrated because I felt like the learning dynamic was different. I was finally learning something that I was itching to learn since being admitted into the photography program, STUDIO LIGHTING! This is where I felt myself grow an incredible amount, which made me feel a lot better.

I also built friendships with new friends in the Graphic Design program, and became really good friends with a lot of them as well, thanks to my roots in AMCA, and even one from high school (Shout out to Nichole and VCubz.) With all of that, I was finished my first year of photography!

School year 3: September 2014 – June 2015 – Photography Year 2

My final year of college, at last! I am not going to lie, this year went incredibly quickly. I can’t believe that it is finally coming to an end. Being able to make friendships and connections with the new first years was wonderful as well, and I hope they know they can come to me if they need me for anything (hint hint.) This year was a whirlwind and so exciting. It’s almost hard to believe that in a week I will be walking across the stage, accepting my diploma and being done.

Moving into this year, I was nervous and anxious because, this is my last year, and after this, I have to go out into the world and adult. I also hold on to every great moment, my friendships with Alora, Marc and Nichole developing and becoming the best ever. They are 3 unforgettable people who made the college experience the best. Becoming closer friends with my classmates, and knowing that they will be the people I will be working with and around for years. It’s going to be weird not seeing them everyday anymore, and having fun in the studio, setting up lights and eating food, and dancing to cheesy music.

Then having two great teachers and mentors for the last two years, Dave and Ingram. Though things haven’t always been easy, they’ve been there, fighting for us to excel and do better. Challenging us to look outside of our normal box, and really trying to get us out there and learning new things. And then pushing us out into our work terms.

Also, can I please talk about my work term? Because I feel like I need to brag a little bit, because I feel like I probably had one of the best! And I don’t say that because they are one of the best around, (which they are, btw) but because they were the best fit for me. Talk about cramming a lot of information and fun into one month! I got to spend the month of May working with Jeff and Jenn over at Cooked Photography. Jeff and Jenn are absolutely wonderful people and I am so thankful that they let me tag along for the adventure.

I got to sit in on client meetings, watch, learn and assist on awesome commercial and engagement shoots, shoot behind the scenes, learn more about story telling and what it means to catch a moment, as well as learning a different way to edit. Having these two very passionate, fun loving, awesome people mentor me, and let me absorb as much from them as I possibly could is probably one of the biggest highlights in my academic career. They are photographers that I have looked up to for so long, and being able to build those connections and friendships with them was so exciting and fun. So thank you Jeff and Jenn for making the tail end of my schooling the best, I appreciate you guys so much.

The End?

This is definitely not the end for me. I don’t know where I will go from here, but I do know I want to do big things. I want to build my confidence, and continue to learn. I know that I have a really long ways to go, but if I’m still learning I’ll still be happy.

I would like to thank some people who helped me continue on in this little adventure, because without them, I think I would have fallen apart at the seams.

Mom and dad. You guys put up with late nights, long days, anxiety attacks, crankiness, sadness, stress, extreme joy, overly excited, personal growth and everything in between. You guys are my biggest supporters, pushing me forward when I didn’t want to move. Thank you for everything, I really truly appreciate you both so much, and I guess I kind of love you guys too.

Alora. Dude, a girl would be lost without a friend just like you. We’ve endured two and a half/three years worth of early mornings together, break ups and make ups, and the craziness that was the college experience. Thank you for being there when things got hard, I am so thankful to have a friend who I could complain to, but who I could also enjoy the great moments with too. You’re wonderful and I’m proud to call you my friend!

Marc. My backup plan for when I’m 40! Haha. Thank you for being that friend that when I’m having dude issues, you have the dude answers. Thank you for always surprising me (like showing up to the art gallery to see my print when I was so sure you were going to flake. Sorry for that, ahaha.) and just being a great friend. I’m thankful to have you in my life and don’t you forget it!

Nichole. It’s strange when you meet someone you have so much in common with, and you’re both relatively introverted people. Thank you for listening to my craziness, and being such a wonderful friend! I’m so thankful for you!

Leigh. Oh gosh Leigh, thank you for just being you! You’re truly a friend, a hilarious one at that, one who isn’t afraid to tell me when I’m being stupid. I’m thankful for that, because sometimes I do stupid things. Thank you for making me laugh, and being someone who I can bounce ideas off. You’re wonderful.

Kate. Thank you for being a great listener and friend. You’re a wonderful person, and I’m so happy to call you friend! You made these last two years a little bit better.

Erin. Thank you for being so encouraging! Having you as a teacher has been one of the highlights of my college experience, and I am really glad to call you friend! Thank you for everything!

Matt. Thank you Matt for being so great, for trusting me and my skills. You were wonderful as a teacher, filled with so much technological knowledge when I was in a bind. Thank you for being great!

Steffie. Thank you for helping me grow, pushing me to do my best. Also for trusting me to take you head shot, ahaha. You’re awesome!

Ingram. Thank you for making my first year of photography great. Because of you I have that base that I needed to continue on in this crazy world, and helping me learn my camera inside and out. Thank you, you rock.

Dave. Thank you for really pushing and encouraging me. Thank you for believing in me and my skills when I didn’t believe in myself. You’re a wonderful teacher, and I’m thankful to have had you!

Cathy. Thank you for making my early mornings a little bit better. Early morning chats in the cafe with you gave me the laughs that I needed to get through the day. You’re a ray of sunshine in that school, and I hope you continue to be for years to come! Thank you.

Jeff and Jenn. Thank you both so much for taking me under your wing, and making sure that I had the best possible work term. You both work so hard, and even still you made time to fit me into your lives and helped encourage me to keep doing better. Thank you guys so much.

Anyone I may have missed. Sometimes I’m forgetful, and I know I probably missed someone…or more than just a someone. Thank you anyway, you guys have been wonderful and I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

Here, have some memories:

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