The Bridge

Everyday I walk across the bridge connecting the main campus and the Peabody campus. Most of the time I think of what will be discussed in the class I am going to, or some random event that is approaching, but I am always thinking of something. When I pass someone I know, I try to acknowledge them with a look or a nod, and usually think much to deeply about what it means when someone does not acknowledge me back. I realized that this connection between the two campus’ was a microcosm for the integration of Peabody college into Vanderbilt. Consequently, I thought of my integration into my new school in the seventh grade and how much it affected me. This made me wonder how the acquisition of the Peabody campus affected Vanderbilt. In trying to describe the effect of joining a new school, I will use Pamuk’s style of integrating photos in the text to help demonstrate the feelings associated with an event.

When I was in the seventh grade, I began at a new school. I had apprehensions about making new friends, and the increase in workload. I would be taking classes with girls for the first time, and did not know what to expect. My old school lacked any discipline, and most of the time was spent chastising misbehaving students. Would it be the same at my new school? All of these relatively trivial questions would soon be answered. I did not know it yet, but in reality this switch would raise more important questions and would become a formidable moment of my adolescence.

In 1979 Vanderbilt obtained Peabody college. Did they know how much it would affect the University? Did they ever think that it would one day become the best education school in the country? All of these questions would eventually be answered, but the most important aspect of the change was how much it shifted the university. The Peabody campus really made its mark when the Freshman Commons was built and when Peabody College became the best education school in the country. These events helped shape the reputation of the university on both a national and international level. In 1979 no one could have known just how much the merging of the two campuses would affect the school. Just as the acquisition of the campus shaped the school in unexpected ways, my change in schools shaped me in unexpected ways.

Before I switched schools, I was truly naïve. I know that twelve year-olds are supposed to be a little naïve, but the switch open my eyes to how people really act. Looking back on it, I find this moment in my life to be of the utmost importance, and treasure everyday of this transformation for its significance in shaping who I have become. It is this feeling which the use of a photo helps portray.

Pamuk uses photos to help show the emotions attached to a memory. He talks about Istanbul in a romantic way, and uses both beautiful description and actual imagery to describe this feeling he has for the city. A great example is when he lists samples of columns from Istanbul newspapers. On page 144 he displays an image of people walking in the rain with umbrellas.  While there is no description by Pamuk of this exact scene, his feelings for the city are well represented by this photo. He loves the dreariness that to him, defines Istanbul, and this picture displays that emotion perfectly. It demonstrates the dullness and darkness of the street life, but also the odd charm of the people. The reflections in the water are almost artistic and the feeling of moving onward even in the weather shows the perseverance of the citizens.

Just as that photo allowed Pamuk to demonstrate his feelings for the city, the photo I have chosen is my attempt at showing the feeling I have when I think about my switch of schools. It was a lonely time, for many reasons. It took a few weeks for me to make friends and I distinctly remember looking at the clock every five minutes waiting for the weekend to come. The limited people on the bridge, as well as the overbearing look of the sides of the bridge, portray the sometimes lonesome transition in a difficult situation. The arching design and green surroundings bring color and hope to the photo. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as it were. These positive attributes should evoke a contrast in feelings. It represents both the negative emotions of the switch, as well as the positive changes that shaped who I would become. While it may not be the best photo to show the emotions that went along with my transition, it does get across some of the feelings, and the fact that it is a bridge between to eras speaks for itself metaphorically.

We all can interpret any photograph in any way we want. But how we interpret it depends on our experiences. Our past defines how we perceive things, and while this photo may mean something completely different to everyone who sees it, including meaning nothing, it is special to me. Not because it is a great artistic photo, but because of what it reminds me of. That is something that photography is great at, the ability remind people of something that they had forgotten. You can tell people about an event, and remind them of a different time, but getting to that memory on your own by looking at a picture is something special, and whatever memories you come up, are usually important ones, because those are the ones that you want to be reminded of. 

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