Column: Take time to learn about your fellow classmates

Megan Ivey, Staff Reporter

It’s senior portrait week at Eastern, which means the journalism department is full of soon-to-be graduates in their best attire. While we had the 2017 senior class handy, the Warbler Yearbook staff initiated a project. In addition to the professional portraits, we wanted to have a little fun by opening up a photo booth. The booth has a ton of props, from hats to feather boas. 

The idea was inspired by Western Kentucky University’s yearbook, The Talisman. In the 2014-2015 book, students took their portraits however they wanted. Some people brought their friends into the shot, and one came in with a horse head mask.

I wanted to replicate this fun energy. I love seeing the seniors dressed up, ready to take on the working world, but I also believe college is some of the funnest years of a person’s life. We should remember these times with a playful view.

I wanted to learn about the people of Eastern, too. I asked the seniors questions about their time at Eastern or a random fact. Putting on a funny costume helps take away the seriousness of a formal interview, and I was able to have an easy conversation with strangers. You’d be surprised to what you can learn about a person if you just ask.

I’ve been taught countless times as a journalism major that there is always a story, you just have to wait for it or ask the right questions. Of course, you have to be open to finding new stories.

It is around this time of year that I fall into a slump. I ignore eye contact in the hallways, just trying to get through the day. I know I am not the only one because the people I pass in the hallways do the same. This is a disadvantage to ourselves. There are so many people on campus with stories to be told and conversations to be had. It is all the more apparent to me after this project.

My fellow classmates have dreams, and are on their way to accomplishing them. Some want to travel to the East Coast, some want to move to Europe. Some want to open their own business, and others wanted an education to further the careers they already have. It’s amazing how many different walks of life walk around this campus.

We have students researching fish. We have students who pull all nighters as night assistants. We have people who love to DJ at parties, and those who are celebrating their birthdays with a bar crawl this weekend. Listening to their stories reminded me of what makes Eastern great.

You can always find out more about a person, even if you feel like you already know them. During one of the interviews, I talked to Alex, a person whom I’ve met my freshman year. He told me he is looking to meet new people throughout his last semester and develop better relationships here.

I admire Alex. We all have at least one thing in common: Eastern. We all chose this university in one way or another. All of our lives have crossed paths here, so why not try to meet others and make stronger connections?

Senior portraits have become a ritual, and with rituals come reflection. It is only January, but I, as I’m sure other seniors as well, are looking back on their years at Eastern and toward the future. We have four (ish) years to craft our experiences and grow. I think we should take every opportunity to grow from one another.

We’ll be continuing the photo booth today from noon-2 p.m. in the journalism department office. I encourage all seniors to come, take a silly picture and share your stories.

But the conversations don’t have to stem from a photo booth. Grab coffee with your classmates, or start up a conversation the next time you’re waiting in line. Let’s learn about one another.

Megan Ivey is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].