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My College Essay

Hi everyone! Happy Sunday. :) Today I'm sharing a blog post that is super special to me and some senior photos from this past summer in South Carolina that I love! For a while I've been wanting to share my college application essay on here, not to show it off in any way, but rather because I think that somehow writing this oh-so-important essay really helped me to process how I see the world, and what I want to become within it. I'm actually super happy with how my college essay turned out, and I thought that for any of my friends/family that read my blog, it might be of interest to you as I move onto the next chapter of my life. Here's the prompt, and my 250 word essay of love.

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Prompt: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

I've always had a fixation with wanting to capture moments. Throughout countless schools, relocations, houses, and foster children, I've longed to somehow save all of it inside of me forever: the stories, the people, the memories. I've tried countless ways of capturing these intangible moments and knowledge: Composition Book field guides of my backyard findings (a word of warning: don’t touch the three leafed plant), iMovie trailers of my brothers and I playing dress up (who needs a film crew when you have an iPod Touch?), diaries of my middle school thoughts (spoiler alert: the football boys suck), even elaborate YouTube documentaries detailing my life in high school... all leaving me wondering:

Why can't the memories and emotions that last eternally be truly seen? What is keeping me from giving eyes to these unseen forces that guide our lives from the moment we're born to the moment we die? The Bible verse 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us that "what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal"... but what if it doesn’t have to be?

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I was half way through fifth grade when my family’s car, packed to the gills with all of our belongings that didn’t fit in the moving truck drove away from the sixth house of my eleven year lifetime. A spiraling and slightly existential thought process kept one question bouncing around in my head: How can I capture unseen emotions just at the moment they become memories? I didn't quite know how this documentation was possible, as I hadn't yet discovered the artistic expression and historical narrative of photography, but I knew that the confusing feeling I felt inside myself - the result of multiple interstate moves - yearned to be communicated, somehow.

Is that not the soul of creative expression? A pain, an experience, a perspective, an intense emotion demanding to be understood, released, and shared. I have found that sharing perspectives is what motivates my creative expression. The idea that through the images I create I can widen other people’s worlds inspires me deeply. Because if I don’t share these stories, who else will? Who else will show the close-minded rural kids at my hometown high school that there is more to the world than our little mountain? Who else is in my position – a day student at an all-girls boarding school, deeply intertwined in both small town life and international school, who has moved through seven houses, become temporary siblings with countless foster children, gone to a variety of public, private, and religious schools – who else will share the unseen stories of hope and perseverance I’ve had the privilege of listening to?

A tiny blank canvas at the end of a black void. That is to say, the viewfinder of a camera.

Looking through that half-inch piece of mirror prism, my world changes. I can be anywhere, see anything, tell any story. That space filled with reflecting light on glass becomes my world, my haven, my home. Above all, it becomes my tool with which I understand this life and share that understanding with others. With this camera, I can bridge the gap between still images and spoken words that can communicate unspoken feelings and stories. The wordless decades of depression told through my mom’s eyes, the political instability of my international classmates told by the foreheads wrinkled too young, the scenes of life with the South Sudanese seen in my great uncle’s desert-worn hands, the years of patience and selflessness exhibited by my nana’s kind smile. These stories and perspectives mean more to me than I can say in words, but finally I have found a way other than words to express them. I don’t yet know everything I will see through the viewfinder in my lifetime, but I know that whatever I see, I want to share it with everyone I can.

Here's to the next chapter. 💌

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