I spent the summer after junior year living in Germany and traveling Europe, and although I didn’t want to come back, I was so excited to start my senior year. Senior year of college is supposed to be the absolute peak, right? I had so many plans. I was an advertising major with a minor in international studies, I had a good 10 extra pounds on me from eating a brat and a beer for every meal for the last few months, I was in a sorority and lived with some of my very best friends.
A few weeks into the semester I started having weird symptoms come up. What started as psoriasis turned into my immune system basically just not working like it was meant to. I was getting sick all the time, I had so many symptoms nobody could really figure out, and I had no energy to do anything. I became obsessed with finding a solution and quickly swore off gluten, dairy, alcohol and refined sugar, I saw doctors and holistic specialists and even went as far as removing my tonsils over Christmas (10/10 would not recommend). Nothing worked, and in fact, things actually seemed to get worse and worse. I was losing hair, I was advised to stay out of the sun, I had lost so much weight and had no energy to do anything.
I had scheduled senior photos with Melanie early on when I truly thought I would be on the upswing by then. The date came around and I was nowhere near where I wanted to be. To everyone else, I realize I probably looked no different. I could have taken my senior photos and the same flock of relatives and my mother’s friends would have liked them on Facebook. But I knew what it would take to even feel halfway decent about how I looked. And what’s more, I knew I’d have to look at those pictures for the rest of my life knowing fully well how horrible I felt and what a rough season I was going through. I teared up in my room as I emailed Melanie to cancel, which may seem dramatic, but it seemed like such a set back. Just one more thing I was having to miss out on that I really wanted to do, and something so personal to my self-image.
Things do get better, life does go on, and you learn how to adjust as I have learned. I have since graduated, I live and work in the city and I have found true advocates and ways to get back to a good place mentally and physically. I emailed Melanie wondering if I could reschedule and she gave me the first spot of the 2018-2019 season.
Shooting was a BLAST. Melanie was so encouraging and enthusiastic. She made me feel like a model (which is a BIG deal as I am 5’3” with the makeup skills of a 4 year old). I hope everyone reading this knows they are a 10/10 and perfect in every way, but for the few who may have once doubted their worth or their beauty, you know even just an hour of feeling truly beautiful and healthy is one of the most taken for granted feelings.
I was amazed by the photos she was showing me as she went along, the way she was capturing it all.
I’m so happy I chose to take a beat and reschedule. I was able to take my photos after all the stress of senior year and graduation. I was able to walk the campus and truly miss and love the way the buildings look in the sunlight. And most importantly, I have photos I can look back on for the rest of my life knowing I was in a place of progress, not of set back. I look at these photos and think of how healthy I feel, how grateful I am to be in this season of life where I’m growing, learning, shaking my plans up, moving things around, and surrounded by more love and grace than I thought possible.
So, if you’re in a place where your senior year (or season of life) isn’t where it feels like it should be, I get it. And I hurt with you. But I also know that throughout one of the more challenging years of my life I found a lot of good times, a lot of happy moments, a lot of love and a ton of grace. Those moments will always be there, but they shouldn’t be forced. So maybe take a beat, and reschedule. Sometimes God shakes up your plans to to take you somewhere else, and sometimes photos are just as much about the memories and feelings behind them as they are the makeup and the hair seen in them.
For more OU senior photoshoots, click HERE!
To schedule a shoot with Melanie, click HERE!