Today’s blog is very special because it’s all about my assistant’s cap and gown session! Ruth wanted some photos to commemorate her college graduation from Montana State University Billings! We had her shoot a few days before her commencement ceremony, but I’m going to turn this blog over to her…
Hi everybody! I had so much fun at my shoot with Ashley. For today’s blog, I want to share with you a little bit about each of the locations I chose at the university rather than just telling you about the shoot itself. I started college at the age of 16 and after a crazy ride full of changed majors, memories, school trips, tough semesters, surgeries, time off, and so much knowledge, seven years later I walked across that commencement stage. In seven years, some of these locations really stole a piece of my heart.
We started out at Peaks to Plains Park. I have so many amazing memories here! Every time there was a big school-wide event, it was probably held at Peaks to Plains. This corner of campus is supposed to reflect the entire state of Montana, the eastern half is flat while the western half is more hilly to represent the mountains. There’s a little “river” that flows into a “lake” and a cute little bridge. It’s a pretty good reflection of an entire state in a tiny space (relatively).
Throughout the majority of my college career, I worked on campus, and some of my favorite work memories happened here as well. When I was an orientation leader, instead of a regular campus tour, we had a scavenger hunt. My team won every time (the game was rigged, but I was also just such a good leader), and right before we headed into the library and won, I got to show my students Peaks to Plains. I really grew to love this place during my time at MSUB.
Oh also, I may not be 16 anymore, but I still love Twilight.
After Peaks to Plains, we went to McMullen Hall. The guy this building was named after was pretty racist, so right now this building doesn’t technically have a name, but that’s okay because I always just called it the clock tower building. This is the first building I stepped inside on campus, and it’s where I met some amazing women who have mentored me and helped shape me into who I am today.
There are no classrooms in this building anymore, but I’ve spent more hours here than in almost every other building on campus. I started working in the registrar’s office when I was 18 years old. Even when I was an orientation leader, on the student senate, and probably too sick to keep doing all of that, I stayed in the registrar’s office. I had a major surgery and had to take a break from school, but when I came back, I told the people in this building before I told my professors and friends. I’m even still there through this summer! That office has come to feel like home to me, not because of the building or the job, but because of the people I have met there. The people I get to work with are a dream team, and the students I get to help have changed my life.
Lastly, we went to a room called the Swamp. The Swamp is basically the student lounge in the music building (the only building I spent more time in than the clock tower). I really live, laughed, loved my life in this room.
I met my first music friends here, many of which are still important people in my life today. I labored over homework, compositions, bass clef, and felt love, heartbreak, happiness, anger, joy, sadness, and exhaustion more deeply within these walls than anywhere else. I practiced here more than the practice rooms, and slept here some weeks more than my bed. I’ve seen this room at 4 am before going to bed, and I’ve seen it at 4 am after waking up. So many board games were played here. So many tears were cried. So many laughs were had.
The wall colors and furniture may have changed over the years, but the memories of how I felt never will.
I played strings growing up, but the program at MSUB and the songs my classmates and I sang in the Swamp (both for assignments and for fun) made me fall in love with singing in a way I never imagined I could.
My first year as a music major, I had locker A. I basically kept my life in that locker, but I could barely reach half my locker and climbed into B a lot to grab my things. I ended up breaking the board out of B, and now B and C are combined for use with larger instruments. These lockers will be gone next year, so I knew I needed to get photos with them! Overall, this portion of the shoot was much less conventional than the rest, but it was my favorite part!
Working with Ashley, I get to meet a lot of high schoolers. My wish for all of you is that whether your journey looks like you expected or not, you get to make deep connections with people and places that change your life.
Also, my album is on it’s way here! I’m super excited to get it and let all my friends and family write inside the covers! Check out Ashley’s favorite spreads from the album:
If you loved this blog you will also love:
How to Prepare Your Senior for Their Senior Session
Billings, MT Senior Session with Kylie F
Summery Billings, MT Senior Session with Ryleigh J
© 2022 ASHLEY WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY