I have a piece of advice for Hillsdale College freshmen: Take lots of photos. You’re going to want to remember these next four years.
In high school I started a personal project on my Instagram account called “this week in pictures.” Every seven days I would go through all the photos I’d taken that week and pick 10 of my favorites. I’d post photos of myself, my family, places I’d visited, people I’d met, and any landmark moments I’d experienced. I chose photos with great memories behind them, times when I’d felt the happiest, and shots that best captured my stage in life.
During this time I was finishing high school classes, going to prom, experiencing lots of “lasts” with classmates, and spending my final weeks in New York City before moving to rural Michigan for college. I was going through a big transition in my life and there was lots I wanted to remember. Individually posting everything would have been excessive, but I had so much I wanted to share. Weekly photo albums of 10 photos gave me a chance to document the important moments.
Over time, I can see how much I’ve changed. I’ve cut my hair and dyed it purple, lost touch with some high school friends, made new college friends, and continue to form new relationships with people. I’m grateful to have a digital outline of progression.
It wasn’t until I started my project that I really began to like Instagram. My Instagram felt inorganic, forced, curated, and planned, but through the project, I had the flexibility to include more photos. I added higher quality photos that were less meaningful and lower quality photos with great memories attached. I included landscapes, churches, architecture, and anything else I wanted to remember.
I did not originally begin this project to have a photo album to look back on — I simply wanted to share more pictures. Now, it’s the best time capsule. I can scroll through my photos, remembering what life was like at those very moments. In my senior year, with hundreds of experiences to look back on, I’m glad I have the photos to jog my memory.
Lily McHale is a senior studying Political Economy.