Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Say ‘Cheese!’ Like You Mean It

You don’t want to mess it up. And it’s not hard to mess it up. It only takes an instant, so you have to be on your toes, prepared and focused. If you blink or look away or let your mind wander, faltering for less than a half second, you will be caught, frozen in time, your face plastered in the yearbook for decades to come with a contorted smile or closed eyes.

You may think that I’m overreacting. You may believe that this picture is nothing more than an appeasement for your mother who, despite living over 300 miles away, has managed to remind you over 300 times that Senior Portrait Taking is just around the corner and Senior Portraits will be great mementos and fun to share with your friends and Senior Portraits will be sent with the family Christmas cards to all of your relatives so you had better make an appointment to get them done and maybe you might think about wearing that sweater that Grandma gave you for your birthday and it might be a good idea to get a haircut before you go because you should look your best and she loves you and misses you and can’t wait to see you on Thanksgiving.

And so you made the appointment (as you had little choice), marked your calendar and haven’t thought about it since. Squeezed into your schedule between midterm exams and term papers, a photo shoot is simply not a top priority.

But it’s more than just a picture. It could very well be the most important photo of your life. This time, it’s not about cutting out personal trading card images to swap with friends and the boy you have a crush on in social studies class.

It’s not about the laundry lists of Never Forget the Time’s and Always Remember When’s that are scrawled across the back of wallet prints and autographed in bubbly high school handwriting.

This time, it’s about your college yearbook.

You might have convinced yourself that in the end, your friends and classmates will remember what you really looked like and how much fun you were in college.

But, 20 years from now, forgotten yearbooks will be pulled from dusty shelves across the states, as your classmates, who you have not seen or spoken to in the last couple decades, decide to share their Georgetown memories with their children.

The next generation will peek at the graduating class of 2005, and immediately all youthful eyes will, without fail, pinpoint you, petrified in mid-sneeze, trapped in the frame and cornered by your grinning classmates.

Chuckles will echo down the halls, laughter will reverberate off the walls. They will invite their friends over, eager to exhibit the Deformation of ’05.

Fingerprints will smudge your face and choice words will be scribbled beside your name. You won’t be there to defend yourself, to explain that you hadn’t been ready for the flash.

Maybe something as trivial as adolescent mockery doesn’t bother you. You are fairly certain that your success in life won’t be hampered by an unflattering yearbook picture and you are hardly concerned with preteen judgment.

But consider other viable scenarios. Ten years from now, you find yourself losing sleep, hair and sanity over a pending business deal that could make or break your fledgling company.

As fate would have it, you discover that the guy on the other end of the transaction is also a Georgetown graduate. You are certain that this connection will seal the deal, but then he decides to skim through his college yearbook to see if he recognizes you and suddenly, the deal is called off. Now, maybe most people aren’t so superficial. But, maybe he isn’t most people.

And what if five years pass, and you finally decide to call that girl who sat in front of you in Economics class. During school, you never had much of a chance to hang out with her, as she was always surrounded by a team of rather intimidating mini-skirted body guards.

But something pulls you toward the phone and a friendly conversation ensues. You invite her out, curiosity leads her to the yearbook, and the date is cancelled. Maybe she really will be helping her grandmother wash her cats. But maybe your paranoia is justifiable.

I don’t mean to scare you, and this is certainly not an attempt to deter you from sitting for the portrait, as I am not particularly interested in receiving hoards of angry e-mails written by hoards of angry mothers. I only hope to remind the senior class that this event may hold more gravity than first assumed.

So don’t be nervous. But don’t mess up.

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