1. Polaroids or disposable cameras
My roommates and I have started buying disposable cameras before we have a busy week with celebrations and events. It is so special to end up with printed pictures that we can all go through as a group and split up. Having pictures we can frame or hang on our wall for the rest of the year makes the memories feel even more permanent. Polaroid cameras and disposables are very similar — when you develop pictures from a disposable, however, you sometimes are provided with a CD so you can have digital copies as well. The CVS on the Corner is a great place to get pictures developed within walking distance from Grounds.
2. Having a personal Instagram or Snapchat story
Before we spent our summers apart, some of my friends and I created either specific Snapchat stories or Instagram pages for our travels and our experiences in new states. I spent my summer working an internship in Arkansas and created a Snapchat story for my friends who wanted to follow along. It allowed me to keep track of everything I did and share it with my friends. This has also been one of my favorite ways to keep up with my friends' adventures as they studied abroad in past semesters.
BeReal basically does the job of documenting your college experience for you. Every day, the app notifies you that you have two minutes to document what you’re doing at that very moment. You can post after the two-minute deadline. The idea behind the app is to be authentic and even if you post late, you still only have two minutes to take whatever picture you want. At any point, you can look back in your own account and see the BeReals you have posted, essentially documenting every day you used the app. The Rotunda and my roommates are really the stars of my BeReal.
Aside from photos, writing is also a great way to document your college years. Taking a minute every week or so to take note of everything that you do those past few days will allow you to remember some of the smaller moments.
5. Take notes
This is less time consuming than journaling and is much more spur of the moment. It is super easy to just break out your notes app on your phone and quickly write something that you did with a friend or some small happy moment that happened to you that day on Grounds. This is a much more informal way of keeping track of events, but it works all the same.
6. Snapchat group chats
This is an idea that I really want to try, but it does take some discipline. You and a group of friends can create a Snapchat group chat where you each send pictures or videos of anything you want throughout the year. The only catch is, you can’t open it right away. At the end of the school year, as a group, you should all open the snapchats and reminisce through your past year together. It is sure to make you laugh, cry or even just relive all the silly and documentably moments from the past year.
7. Write letters to yourself or a friend
This is a super fun idea. Writing letters to a friend can be a great way to tell a story of something that happened in your day, week or month. You may be writing the letter at a seemingly inconsequential time, but you never know when you might look back and remember that week with fondness. Writing back and forth will give you both a chance to revisit the letters at a later date. I did this my first year with my high school friends to keep each other updated on our experiences at our different colleges, and looking back at the letters we sent is so special.
8. Have PowerPoint nights with friends
PowerPoint nights are so much fun. To motivate you to reminisce over past memories — or even make sure to document new ones — you should schedule a PowerPoint night. You and a group of friends can all gather around a TV and present a handful of favorite pictures, videos and stories from your time together at the University.
One non-digital way to document your college experience would be through a scrapbook. This is something that may seem silly at the time, but in a few years it will be so nice to flip through a physical book of memories. Ticket stubs to concerts or sporting events at the University can be included along with any small notes or stories from your time with your friends. Pictures are a necessity, but there are so many other ways the scrapbook can document your years here.
10. Live photos rather than still photos
I didn’t like Live Photos at first either, but hear me out. Live Photos on iPhones and Motion Photos on Androids offer you a chance to capture a moment rather than just a picture. Live Photos capture both audio and a few seconds on either end of the picture, so it can capture the true emotion of the photographed moment. These photos can be converted into videos and used to create a video montage at a later point as well.