This year marks the fourth year that I will be working with Cal Poly sororities, and it feels like I’ve photographed them my whole life, and also feels like I just had the brilliant idea for Fall Photo Off only yesterday. In the last four years, I’ve taken thousandsssss of photos of these gals, watching lifelong friendships being made and celebrated, lives literally being changed, people given roles & responsibilities that will give them experience and confidence to do amazing things. Over the last four years, I’ve learned why I love supporting Cal Poly’s sororities, what I love about working with them- and there’s a lot a lot of reasons.
So, this is part numero uno.
Let’ start by talking about me, of courseee.
The biggest reason my college career was so amazing was because I had THE BEST of friends. I didn’t find them in a sorority, but in French class & on the cheer team & right in my very own dorm room. That feeling of belonging I had with my friend group was the foundation of my confidence, which allowed me to thrive being whoever I wanted to be- an academic, a dancer, single, hard-working, non-drinking, overall pretty awesome. I had wiggle room to try new things, or to NOT try new things, because I knew who my friends were (and are), and I never felt alone, judged, or bored (WHICH IS HUGE!).
The second reason my college career kicked so much ass was because I WORKED MY ASS OFF. I didn’t realize until recently that all the jobs I held in college had a piece in giving me the experience to run my own business right out of school- without learning professional communication skills, systematic record keeping & client management for other people, I would’ve been years behind in trying to figure out how to do all that for myself.
Now, let me tell you something about these girls.
They work their asses off. They are managing hundreds of their peers, event planning and organizing, negotiating with vendors, building a community out of thin air. They are gaining experience that will LITERALLY put them years ahead professionally, they are learning how to manage different personalities, rules & regulations, public speaking, how to contribute to a community, and how to represent themselves as a united whole as well as represent themselves properly as an individual.
It’s not easy. (Not to mention they're doing it all in heels & in incredibly specific shades of blue.)
But you know what makes it easier? Friends. (See how this is all tying together?) I have photographed two girls meeting for the first time at Bid Night, who years later tell me they’ve been best friends ever since. I have photographed tons of actual sisters who get to be in the same sorority, go to the same events and functions and now have memories that will give them something in common for life. I have watched girls blossom from no-clue-who-I-am-or-what-I’m-doing, to confident young women who have a place they belong, and people to rely on. Having the opportunity to meet the greatest friends of your life, to strengthen the relationships you already have, that isn’t something that is just like oh, take it or leave it. It’s literally life changing. I’d be nothing without my friends and I LOVE supporting these sororities that promote new friendships in a time of our lives when we need good friends the most.
If I could wish anything on anyone, it would be amazing friends & experience-based confidence. When it boils down to it, those two things made my life into the fulfilling ride it has been. And these sororities are dolling out friends & confidence like it’s their job, because literally, it is.
I could go on, but we will save that for the next post :)
Love you gals <3
In the meantime, I’m getting ready to photograph thousands of them this weekend for Fall Photo Off and I am PUMPED. Get ready for some more amazing photos!