I’ve come to accept the inevitability of two questions when I meet anyone on campus: “Where are you from?” California. Immediately, it’s followed by, “Why would you come to Illinois of all places?” The exact wording varied a little, but I came to answer this question like I was reading from a script: I wanted a change, Bradley offered a great program, I wanted a smaller class size, etc.
My first year at Bradley was difficult. I spent many long nights wondering if I was as crazy as everyone thought I was when I told them I’d left California for a school I’d never even heard of before the spring of my senior year in high school.
Before I changed my major to photography at the end of my freshman year, I wasn’t as happy as I hoped I’d be. I began to pursue art full-time and found my place in campus-life.
I never really thought much about photojournalism. When I joined The Scout in my sophomore year, I thought it would just be a line on my resume and a way to practice my photography skills. I didn’t know how wrong I’d be. Friends and family have gotten an earful, more than once, as I expressed my frustrations with the campus events which always managed to start 10 minutes after they were supposed to. Also, weekly Scout critiques rarely discussed the photographs I put so many hours into, but the experience was worth it.
I may not have loved those weekly critiques, but they taught me valuable lessons about telling a story and choosing the best photographs for a purpose, be it journalism or art. I also got to take pictures from some pretty awesome places like the roof of Bradley Hall, in front of the stage at a concert and courtside at a basketball game. You may not have noticed me lurking in the back with my camera (or maybe you did), but more often than not, I was there. During my time with The Scout, I captured you, my Bradley family, making memories, and all the while I was making my own.
As I look back on my time at Bradley, I can say with certainty that my road to Bradley was riddled with potholes and that the college life wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. However, my time at Bradley and The Scout will be a treasured memory.
I want to give a huge thank you to the entire Scout staff for a wonderful three years. I also want to thank Margaret LeJeune, my wonderful photography professor, for her dedication and for pushing me to see beyond the “simple” into projects that really mean something to me. Finally, thank you to my family and friends for their support from near and far as I split my years between my childhood home in California and my college home in Illinois. I couldn’t have done it without you (cliche but true).
These uncertain times leave me with more questions than answers as to what the future holds, but that’s okay. I’ve spent much of my life taking each day as it comes and facing each challenge head-on, and I’m not going to stop here. Wherever life takes me after graduation, one thing is for sure: when people ask me why I moved halfway across the country to a town I’d never heard of for college, I’ll tell them “why not?”