Posted on March 18, 2015 by Kevin Lu
Everyone has his or her own space. It’s often bottled up deep inside of oneself where few outsiders have ever seen, much less have access to. It is in this space where our deepest emotions truly lay: happiness when we recall a distant memory, silly random thoughts, our greatest frustrations, our worst moments, and our deepest fears. This space, if opened to the world, could put oneself in an uncomfortable position. Therefore, oftentimes when people attempt to initially find or interact with this space they see it in a different way: blank.
Allowing someone into this space is truly a courageous endeavor. It requires peeling back the outer layer of nothingness and diving deep into the confines of another human. What one encounters is never predictable as you are greeted with new discoveries at every turn. Yet, with each new finding, it somehow all begins to seem familiar. A worried face or an angry tick is suddenly reminiscent of your own and what you begin to discover is that everyone is not as different as they seem.
Oftentimes when met with the journey of entering such a space, I am filled with apprehension — What if I see something that scares me? What if I don’t find what I had hoped to? Can I handle this responsibility? Once the walls come down it is a frighteningly vulnerable moment that you must close your eyes for — but then you open them. Everything that once was empty and blank is filled. The walls are colored with fears and frustrations; the floors are lined with precious memories and each turn brings both joy and sadness. It is here where you truly begin to understand a person and it is in this space, when it is no longer blank, that defines who you are.
Photography and Text by Kevin Lu, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Kevin Lu is a senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, 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.