I’m in way deep in making my senior thesis exhibition work right now. The show opens in less than 48 hours and I still haven’t completely finished any pieces yet. There’s a lot going on, and the last roughly week for me has been canceling all other commitments I can in order to finish producing work.
It’s been stressful. But I wanted to take a moment to thank some people and some larger entities as a whole for what the last four years have been for me. Know that there’s only so much time to write to a few people by name, but for all of you, my friends, who make up these institutions that are meaningful to me: know that these things are only meaningful to me because it is made up by people. An institution, a community, a body of people is the sum of its parts and the culmination of countless interactions with so many lovely souls. Know that each and everyone one of you are so important to me.
First, most obviously, and most importantly, I would like to thank my parents. For supporting me in these last four years and making all of this possible, I want to say thank you. For encouraging me to go to college in the first place, thank you. For always being happy to see me, excited about my work, and always being there when I really needed you, thank you. For driving down to Richmond and helping me move and helping me through turbulent times, thank you. I love you and appreciate everything you’ve made possible deeply.
Also thank you to my oldest friend Will Sullivan. For living with me for four years straight and enduring the pains of what it means to adopt to someone else’s style of living (which was usually just forbearance with dirty dishes). For helping to make apartments homes and dealing with bills for three years and making grocery trips times of laughter and discussion, for endless art and life talks, for encouraging me to work hard and inspiring me with your absolutely determined ethic, thank you. You’re the best roommate I could ever ask for.
Thank you to Rachel- for reminding me in more ways than one that there is life after school, for bearing with my struggles and calming me down, for always providing a warm hug and delicious food and conversation that takes my mind away from frivolous anxieties. For working with me on art, for caring for me when I was sick, for being steady and encouraging and loving and altogether lovely- thank you, and I love you. This last year of school would not have been possible, or remotely as sweet without you.
Thank you to my friends in the photo department. All things told, we have experienced a rather unique thing, and we did it together. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each one of you immensely, learning about your lives and how it shapes and informs your work. School was many times better having such an amazing group of people to get to know, to be challenged by, and to challenge to make outstanding work. I thank you all for your critique, for opening yourselves up for us in classes, for doing what you do passionately, and for being my friends for three years. I look forward to many years of friendship to come, and can’t wait to see what you all do.
Thank you to Remnant church, my friends there and the pastors and everyone else that can come together to preach to one another the gospel of Jesus Christ. For preaching diligently from the scriptures each Sunday, for hard conversations and joyous times together, for everyone who has opened their homes and their hearts, for everyone that has cared for me and built me up in the truth of the gospel, thank you. There is no higher calling, and it is a grace to me from above to have such a passionate church body around me.
Thank you to VCU:
- VCUarts, for being such an amazing and talented and diverse art school. For a few grants here and there that have helped me along in some amazing experiences.
- VCU Rec Sports, for being a steady and developmentally productive place to work for two years. For helping me to grow my talents as a professional photographer and a member of a staff of creative professionals within an insitution. It has been a deeply gratifying place to work.
- The Photo + Film program. I could write a paragraph about every professor I’ve had, but it’s suffice to say that this department was the reason I came here and the experience did not disappoint. Every professor I’ve had in my time here has been invested in their work and the development of their students, and it has been a remarkable three years here.
- VCU OAP; although it is a part of Rec Sports, it deserves a mention as being a group of some of the most fun loving and lovely people I’ve met at VCU. The passion for the outdoors and for sharing experiences and laughs have been wonderful to partake in.
- UNIV program, for three years of classes and TA-ing helping me be a better writer and thinker.
- The school of business- even three classes out of a whim have been a gratifying experience, and has stretched my thinking and shaped my work a ton!
- Shafer and Grace & Laurel place dining: it is hard to believe that I subsisted on this primarily as a freshman, but dangit I suppose it kept me alive.
Thank you to Quickness RVA and my coworkers, my friends who make it happen. This job is more than a job in some ways, but it has also helped foster a love for biking, a love for this city, and has been a blast every second. I reflected the other day and realized that I have never truly not wanted to go into work, and (almost… almost) every shift has left me with a clearer head and a better disposition than when I started. To get such a thing out of a job is truly a blessing.
Thank you to Candela for an informative and fun internship this past semester. Gordon and Ashby, thank you for your wisdom, your thoughts, your reflections, your expertise, your professionalism.
Thank you to Elaine O’Dell and Church Hill Studio for photography work and all manner of advice and mentorship on rides back and forth to DC.
Thank you to Lamplighter, Alchemy, Harrison Street Cafe, Crossroads, Union Market, Rostov’s, and any other coffee shop I’ve blown into while here. Heck, I’ll even include the Starbuck’s in Cabell.
Thank you to Balance, Lucky’s, ReCycles, Bunnyhop, Bike Walk RVA, Ram Bikes, Rag and Bones, Richmond Bicycle Studio, and everyone (and all the shops/mechanics) who makes Richmond such a bike friendly place.
Thank you to 7-Eleven- I’ve consumed more food and alcohol from your six locations within blocks of VCU than I care to try to count, but you’re always there and you’re always open.
Back to work for now. I love you all, and I can’t wait to graduate in a week!