Posted on March 12, 2015 by Nina Zhu
For some, the idea of the unknown and the endless possibilities in the future is exhilarating. For others, the future only indicates more chances to make mistakes. Amy’s unclear future is frustrating to her. She doesn’t know what final career path her life will take. She’s spent hours working on classes in the engineering building to create medical devices and solve complex math derivatives, never quite sure if any of it will pay off in the end. But with the constant talk of ten-year college reunions as we near graduation, Amy can’t avoid her discomfort with her unclear future any longer.
At times, it feels as though the fate of her future is in everybody else’s hands but hers. Recruiters will determine if she’s qualified for a job, school administration will determine if she’ll be successful in graduate school. She can only put her best foot forward, but she will never get the honest opinions or get into the minds of those directly influencing her future. She will never know what they truly want from her.
The anxiety of being completely unclear as to what her life will look like after she obtains her master’s degree used to chew away at her. Amy knows that she wants to become a professor after her schooling but is also cognizant about the intense competition required to be successful in such a career. She truly doesn’t know if she will reach her goal after all is said and done.
Yet, as she’s watched her peers take on their first jobs, she’s found more peace with her uncertain future. She understands that she can only control so much. So, instead of focusing her energy obsessing over that which she cannot control, she’s chosen to focus on the positive aspects in her life. She has supportive friends and family and she’s gained an immense amount of knowledge these past four years. Amy is surrounded by love and laughter and for now, those are the only things she truly has control over.
Photography and Text by Nina Zhu, Copyright 2015
About The Author: Nina Zhu is a senior bioengineering major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.
Posted on February 23, 2015 byAlexis Borden
Nicola and I were randomly matched together as roommates freshman year. We knew nothing of each other. I didn’t know her favorite color, her favorite song, her favorite food, her dreams, her aspirations, her fears… and she of me. Here we are four years later and I know more about her than I think she know about herself. I came to Penn not knowing anybody and I would have never thought 4 years later that I would have a new sister, a best friend, a confidant, a lifelong friend. She is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. She showed me that I can overcome any challenges that may be thrown at me during my lifetime, and believed in me when it seemed no one else would. She inspires me with her unrelenting faith and indominable spirit in any situation. We have seen each other at our highest highs and our lowest lows.
These photos represent the joys we have had together and also the sorrow and sadness we have carried each other through. At times just her presence saved me from abandoning my dreams. Never in my life would I have imagined that one person in such a short time could have such a lasting impact on me. It was an easy choice to pick Nicola, because she has been my constant companion, and a daily inspiration to me for the past four years. She has one of the kindest souls I ever had the privilege to meet. The best gifts she has given me did not come in packages wrapped in red ribbon: she gave me the ability to believe in myself, and taught me by example how important it is to put others first. Sometimes people who are in your life only briefly leave a more lasting impression on you than those who have been with you forever. Because of her, I grow where I am planted, and am blooming into something truly spectacular. I am, without question, a better friend, teammate, sister, and overall, a better person because of her. This project is a tribute to the one and only, Nicola Gale Barnes.
Photography and Text by Alexis Borden, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Alexis Borden is a senior Biology and pre-med major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.