Choosing to go to Algonquin College's photography program wasn't my first choice. I had gone to Queen's for fine art, and even after a year of working full time following my graduation I had thought I wanted to go into animation. However, a variety of personal reasons resulted in my inability to get a portfolio together in time for applications. Still sure I wanted to go to college to gain additional teaching, largely in the computer media-based side of art, Algonquin's photography program caught my eye. It seemed more extensive than most other programs teaching the same material. I liked the sound of the lessons teaching graphic design, multimedia, and business practices that would further flesh out what I needed to learn for the real world. So I applied, and was accepted.
Little did I know that applying there was the smartest thing I could have done.
I'm tempted to say that Algonquin's photography program is one of the best in Ontario, and I'm not just saying that because I am a graduate. The lessons are one thing. The equipment we have access to is quite another. But above everything, the thing I will remember most about the program was the people. The teachers, the staff, the students - they were all amazing in their own ways and they made the whole experience one of the best times of my life.
"Family" would be the best word I can think of. For those of you who have never experienced a photography program of Algonquin's calibre, I'll tell you right now that it is the furthest thing from a walk in the park. Instead, try to imagine that game show, "Wipeout", or something similar, and that comes close to it. It was challenging, at times impossibly so. Spirits were broken, tears (and sometimes blood) was shed, but we pulled through because we did it together.
I can't imagine doing that again with a different group of people. As corny as it sounds, we were all there for each other, whether it was to hold someone's light at the perfectly awkward angle, or to give pointers on a program most of us only first started to use in the first year and barely remembered how to use it. We were there for each other for encouragement, and for just the right amount of hard truth when we were stuck in a rut. We were all different in our styles and preferences, yet by the end, we all knew just what to say to each other to provide the help that was needed.
As I walk away from the College, diploma in hand, I can honestly say that I am so incredibly thankful that I did that program. I want to personally thank all my profs and fellow students: you made the last two years absolutely amazing for me and I couldn't be more grateful to you. I wish you all well in future endeavours.