Last night, I had the pleasure of photographing the St. Edward’s University Hilltop Send Off; this is an event that honors graduates with a symbolic walk through campus, champagne toast, a moment to see friends before the craziness of graduation day, and a chance to eat all the cupcakes and goat shaped cookies - definitely snagged in between shots. It was surreal for me since just last year, I was the grad making a champagne toast. As I was working, I kept running into students that I know from when I was a student at St. Ed’s. It also warmed my heart to see the graduates that I photographed in the last month.
You have no idea how honored I felt to be asked by these Hilltoppers to photograph each of them. I loved meeting each of them, hearing their individual stories, learning about their goals and dreams, and meeting their friend or significant other that she wanted present during the session.
I feel that it is so important to celebrate the relationships that helped get you through the struggles and the stress but also there to celebrate the accomplishments and the victories. College is not easy, and I don’t know anyone who didn’t get through it without a friend. This is why I love allowing my grads to bring their friend or significant other to the shoot. The friend that comes along to the session usually is important to the grad in some form or fashion.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a good few posts, recently, referencing Mr. Fenny. For some reason, the lessons this fictional character taught 90s kids has been popping up in my head for the past month. Mr. Fenny is a teacher from the Disney show Boy Meets World. He is a constant figure of wisdom, advice, and stability during the main character’s journey through childhood, young adulthood, and entering post-college graduate life. One of Mr. Feeny’s quotes is:
“Friendship, for example, is a real gift. It’s given with no expectations and no gratitude is needed, not between real friends.”
His description of friendship is spot on with this single quote. A person’s true friends will stick by them without expecting anything in return. In college, you’ve probably made many friends, but there was always that core group - the ones that you always turned to when things got tough. Hold on to those friendships as you go off into the world. There are so many more struggles and challenges to face, and if you can hold onto one or two of those core friends, you’ll always have someone to turn to. Things will change, but trust in these friendships that act as your rocks. They’ll be there when you need them most to help you navigate the post-grad life. Furthermore, trust that the ones whom are meant to stay in your life for the long haul will still be there. Not every friend is meant to stay in your life forever, that's just a fact of life, but there are those special people who will always be there. Even if it seems like y'all are forever a ways away, and your friendship isn't like how it was in school, trust that God put the right people in your life to show up when you need them the most.