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Roads Taken & Not Taken - Christina Freeman '05

When I began my college search seven years ago I was an up-and-coming journalist, looking exclusively for schools with Peace and Justice Studies programs. Only four schools fit my application standards: Tufts University, Guilford College, Goucher College, and Haverford). I was accepted to all schools, except Tufts, my top choice. According to Tufts my application never arrived. Apparently my high school guidance counselor lost it underneath the stack of University of Delaware applications – how dare I try to leave the state! Tufts broke the news to me in a rejection e-mail, which felt like an added slap in the face, as if to say I wasn’t even worth the piece of paper needed for the rejection letter. According to the statistics it is much harder to get into Haverford than Tufts, so I was taken by surprise when I opened Haverford’s thick, beautiful, recycled paper acceptance envelope – was that the honor code booklet that made the envelope so fat?

Despite my initial determination to enlighten myself --and in turn the world – via Haverford’s Peace and Conflict Studies program and the Bi-Co News, I soon found the “critical thinking” I had hoped to apply on the outside world, being turned inwards. I questioned my own motivations and the sustainability of a life rooted in trying to convert others to my own way of thinking. (That and my freshmen writing teacher’s criticism made me cry in front of the other students, each tear dissolving my hope of a future at The New York Times).

Eventually I picked myself up and found solace in my three new favorite scents: developer, stop bath, and fixer. These sacred photographic perfumes would linger on my clothes as I returned to my dorm, serving as reminders of the aesthetic battles won and lost each evening in the darkroom. And while I never stopped caring about social change I found a way to feed my spirit, creating an internal joy that could then be passed on to others.

One of the things I am most proud of from my time at Haverford is the Norris Square Neighborhood Photography Project, sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. Through a year-long-project I was able to share my love of photography with the youth of the Norris Square Neighborhood Project in North Philadelphia. Their finished work was then displayed both in Norris Square and at Haverford, ultimately connecting the two communities and celebrating youth expression through photography.

Maybe I should thank the guidance counselor who lost my application and the English professor who made me cry, because I am now living the fulfilling yet -challenging life - of a Fine Art photographer in New York.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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