Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Advising graduation

"A graduate takes a high vantage point as she searches for family following the College of Graduate Studies and Research College of Education commencement at the Towson Center Arena on Wednesday, May 21. Towson University will award about 2,027 baccalaureate degrees, 547 master’s degrees and 15 doctoral degrees over a three-day period during its 143rd commencement exercises."

The countdown begins.

I leave for a quick get away to Ocean City, Md. in three days. I depart from the county enroute to Japan in 15 days. When I get back I start my internship at the Baltimore Sun; 33 days until that.

And after summer, in relation to my past assignment, one semester to go before I complete my undergrad at Towson University.

Unfortunately, I was not walking across the stage, flipping my tassel and receiving my diploma a couple weeks ago as commencements around the Maryland area began.

I must say, each time I shoot a graduation and see students walk across the stage it gets harder, knowing I'll soon be there. My time will come though.

This is why I didn't walk across this May as I eagerly expected.

When I walked into my adviser’s office last winter to check my graduation status, I was confident I only needed two classes to make the next step in life. However, I was informed that I lost some credits in transferring and needed to make it up with some liberal arts.

As my blood pressure escalated and I started to drown out the voice of my adviser (which was my fifth one at this point at Towson) I realized I would be taking an extra semester of meaningless courses to get through my undergrad.

My track record with advisers has not been great at this school as just mentioned. The first one I was given was little to zero help, so I opted to change, but the second one was not up to date with the changing Mass Communication track.

I wasn't being greedy or impatient; I needed to be guided in the right direction precisely.

At this point, I asked them to refer me to a specialist in the journalism department. I guess when I said journalism; they figured I meant forensics, because when I showed up to meet my new adviser, I was in the science building.

After the mistake, again, I was told I would be sent in the right direction. This time, I decided to skip the advising and do everything on my own. Little did my advisers know, I was already doing this, I was just seeking a bit of advice from them.

Yet again, I ran into a problem. I needed to register for one of my upper levels and couldn't get in for some reason. I looked up my next new adviser and come to find out, yep, she was in advertising, not journalism, and couldn't help me out.

Finally, I was searched on my own, where I should have started, and located Dr. Baker. A great guy, he helped get me into the class I needed, confirmed my remaining status as a Towson undergrad and also gave me some great wisdom on the changing world of journalism.

Conversely, when he confirmed, he authenticated that I needed six more credits in the fall after May to get my piece of paper and handshake from Towson president, Robert Caret. Tough break.

But I guess you are dealt the cards you are given for a reason and I have taken it in stride, as good always comes from the bad in retrospect. And it has.

One bad though. Shooting more graduations, including the same one, for what seems like the ninth time, at Towson.

Much like other assignments in photojournalism, events and things repeat themselves and we as journalists much find new angles and perspectives in which to inform the reader.

An outtake, the new light design were one thing that kept catching my eye as I waited tolerantly on the floor, in the dark for the commencement to start.

Once graduation started, it reminded me of the end of sporting match. Whether or not you get a great action shot, you always want a nice jubilation or dejection shot following the match. However, during regular season, these images don't come often. But the entire game you know you still want to try and capture one.

For commencement, you watch, you shoot, you want that one student to jump and shout or make a funny face, or heaven forbid, trip. I counted three of the graduation I shot, only getting one since two names are being called at once.

I typically wait for the outside accolades from parents to make my main image. It is something that varies from family to family rather than the classic grip and grin on stage.

It's also usually brief and challenging. And the story with any graduation is finding mom and dad. Or parents finding their son or daughter, which is usually something like finding Waldo.


Blogger Unknown said...

You're almost there, man. Keep on trucking. And enjoy it while you can. Pretty soon you'll have a full-time job and very little opportunity for trips to OCMD and Japan.

And you don't give your writing enough credit. I feel like it's more polished every time I read.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 10:50:00 PM  

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