Paola // SEU 2016

College years are such a special moment in your life. You are challenged in new ways through academics and life. You enter a new world where you start to become adult, but you still have a lot of support from your community and family. You will make new friends, and some of those friends may become part of your family - the ones that you turn to at your hardest points in life. It’s those people that you meet during your college years that make the experience richer. Paola Gallegos found this family during her time at St. Edward’s University.

Paola graduated from St. Edward’s this semester with a degree in Global Studies and Economics with a concentration in Latin America. After graduation, Paola returns to her hometown of El Paso, TX. She hopes to attend graduate school one day to get a Masters or Phd in Economics. In true St. Edward’s fashion, she wants to create programs to combat inequality around the world.

Paola’s graduation shoot was on a chilly December Saturday evening on the St. Edward’s University campus. The night before our shoot, Paola asked if three of her best friends could be in some of her portraits. These are the same three friends, Caroline, Reina, and Andrea, that she shared a boat party experience with: Paola, Caroline, Reina, and Andrea were all rooming together during their Sophomore year. That evening, they returned home around 9:00pm after a day long boat party celebrating the end of the semester. Paola then talked about how they all woke up at 3:00am to cook food and talk about life. I have no idea how they managed to wake up after an all-day boat party, but they did. That was her favorite memory. It’s those little special moments that make you think about how lucky you are, and Paola knew this too. Two years later, and they are experiencing their Senior year.

I first took photos of the four seniors as a way to remember their lasting friendship. Paola is the first to graduate out of their group, but they will always continue to be in her life. After I finished the friend portraits, Reina and Andrea went to take care of some errands before they all met up for dinner after the shoot. Caroline stayed and acted as a brilliant cheerleader for Paola as we took her portraits.

*St. Edward's University students get 40% off their 1 hour graduation shoot cost!