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A snapshot from one of Lily McHale’s “this week in pic­tures” albums. Courtesy | Lily McHale

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.