Have you ever met those people that seem to change your life in a short amount of time? Those people that become your best friends over night, and that group of individuals that you call family after spending a couple months together endlessly.
For me, this group was the THON 2013 OPPerations Captains, and our journey together began back in September. It was like a whirlwind of excitement as I walked into the first meeting... kind of nervous, a tad shy, but without a doubt excited beyond belief. Looking back on this memory, I recall trying to remember everyone's names at the first meeting because I am the worst with names. We played a word association game to remember everyone's names, and I went home that night at 1AM trying to remember what food each Captain had brought on our pretend picnic.
After this first meeting, it seemed like we were constantly with one another. Whether it be our weekly Tuesday meetings, an OPP work day, THON event, or just hanging out on second floor HUB, we were inseparable. THON became our lives and we became a family in a matter of days. We immediately hit the ground running with OPP tasks and our annual mat cleanings. I think this may have been the beginning of my photography for the Captains this year, and needless to say, I was fortunate enough to capture some of the greatest memories I have made while at Penn State.
Working together brought us closer than ever because we quickly learned one another's strengths and weaknesses. We learned to help one another with each responsibility we were given, and we grew with each week that passed by. The weeks flew by and suddenly Fall semester was over. It was as if I blinked and suddenly we were exchanging our Secret Santa gifts and having our last potluck of the semester.
Where did the time go?!
I mean, I remember Michelle coming to my door with a balloon and congratulations card in hand, and suddenly we were leaving for Winter Break. This would be longest separation we had from one another since meeting months prior. After returning from break, we picked up right where we had left off weeks ago, and THON seemed to be right around the corner. As we spent the last month or so preparing our Committees and working with one another, I couldn't believe THON crept up on us so quickly.
THON weekend and for that matter this entire year was an inexplainable experience and one that I will cherish forever. The memories we made throughout the year will be with me forever and it's hard to believe that we are separated once again - some of us home for summer and some of us moving on to bigger and better things.
Again, that word graduation as I discussed in my last blog post.
Such a bittersweet time of year and one that really didn't hit me until I took these pictures of the OPP Captains that graduated with the Class of 2013. One of these Captains, I have known for three years, and the rest I met this year. In reality, however, it seems like I've known all 22 of these crazy kids my entire life.
This final day I spent with the eight seniors was some of the most fun I had with them all year. We spent the majority of the afternoon walking around campus as I captured them being their usual goofy selves. I have to say, that I am truly going to miss each and every one of these Captains next year. THON 2014 is already in the works for next spring, but honestly, no group of people could ever replace the 2013 OPPerations Captains and the times we shared. The crazy, crazy times.
As we finished our day together at the lion shrine, it may have been one of hardest moments for me to photograph all year. I love each of these Captains because they impacted my life and changed me forever. I know they will do great things as they move into new cities and start their real world jobs.
I'd like to say that I am truly proud of each and every one of these Captains for putting forth so much effort into THON, into Penn State, and for ultimately making this an unforgettable year!
So, Michelle Gettle, Amy Homan, Dana Pascoe, Jared Beers, JJ Hue, Karrie Vlahos, Nicole Habovick, Tory Carlsen, and Brett Kamin DO WORK and make an impact wherever you end up! I love you all.
**Check out the rest of this album on my Portraiture page under The Unforgettable**