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Putting college in focus

| Friday, September 2, 2016

Over the past three years here as an Observer photographer, I’ve probably taken at least 10,000 shots for news and sports events. Working here has given me the privilege to visit unique campus locations and get a glimpse of the unseen life at Notre Dame. I feel more connected to this place than most students, and I’m looking forward to work this year.

But this year, I’m going into my job with diffidence. Every day of my senior year is a constant reminder of the impending doom of graduation, and with each shot I take, I become more aware of how seldom I’ve taken photos from the other side of the lens.

I’m afraid of looking back five years from now and not being able to remember college. The only artifacts will be vintage Observer issues, but the photos I take on duty aren’t really my experiences. The photos that define the social side are the photos we see on social media: grainy, blurry images of you and your friends after a night out, that show exactly who was there and what was done. Not the subject-less, over-edited scenery shots on my Instagram.

This sentiment over photos has had me thinking about my time here. Did I really do the most I could have as a college student? I’m not in a lot of photos because I don’t do a lot outside of work and studying. I don’t do a lot because I haven’t met a lot of people. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across some good people through my dorm and the mutually experienced pains of accounting, but deep, developed relationships have been relatively sparse; there’s no one else to blame but me. I’m at a weird point in my life where I have about seven months or so to try and absorb as much from my friends, most of whom I’ll likely never hear from again after mid-May.

I hardly remember anything I did in high school, and I’m afraid that it may be the same for college, except for a few sports moments.

So with all of this anxiety, I had to develop a challenge of sorts. Now that I have a clearer sense of my post-graduate life, I want to devote more time this year to doing more and to have proof. I want to make sure I value the friends I do have more and do more with them. It’ll be a year of self-discovery. Will I ever overcome my fear of SYRs? Will I learn to not be so uptight with social gatherings? Can I be capable of having fun? I partly dread finding out, but the year is long enough for the answers. I’ll just have to make my shots count.


Contact Michael Yu at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Michael Yu

Michael Yu is the Associate Photo Editor at The Observer. He is currently a senior studying Accounting and Entrepreneurship.

Contact Michael