Yearbooks are important

On the first day of eighth grade, I walked into Clint Small’s yearbook room with excitement. I was the new kid, a sheltered private schooler entering the realm of the public education system. You could imagine my disappointment when I found out I had to switch our my first period electic with the advanced geometry class I had to take.

When high school rolled around I was happy that I could finally take yearbook. Being a freshman it helped me learn about my new school, make new friends, and learn more about my passion. We had a full-colored book with 200 and some-odd pages.

Fast forward a few years to college. I’m 19 years old, starting my first year at UT, and still in yearbook. I knew I wasn’t ready for the fast pace of the Daily Texan newspaper staff, so I stuck with what I know and applied for a photographer position for the Cactus. Since 1894, the Cactus has been the oldest pictorial publication for the university.

We dubbed ourselves as Cacti, anyone on the yearbook staff. We had the editors, photographers, and writers, making it a quaint little staff of no more than 20. With UT being a college of 50,000 students, our job of documenting the school year would be a challenge no doubt. What would make it in the book? What would be left out? How do we cover the death of a student?

Shooting sports events for the yearbook was where I got the most experience. I went to countless football, basketball, baseball, and softball games at home and away. I photographed tons of intramural sports, including rugby and the Harry-Potter-inspired Quidditch. Yes, UT has a Quidditch team. I was even lucky enough to shoot finals for gymnastics, swimming, and diving.

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When we would set up tables at campus events to sell yearbooks, students would come over to ask two frequent questions: 1.) UT has a yearbook? 2.) Is everyone’s picture in it?  To which I would respond, 1.) Yes, obviously. 2.) No, obviously. You only get your picture in the yearbook if you go and get it taken!

Yearbooks are memories. I still have mine from eighth grade, covered in highlights and notes from my 13-year-old self. There’s a heart around my middle school crush and an X through the face of my arch nemesis. Oh, to be a tween. It’s always great to look back over the years and laugh at the person you once were. Do you remember how important Picture Day was?

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And remember, don’t forget to buy your yearbook!

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