The right way to use your camera in college

September 17th, 2009

Seniors in college are old. They’re mature, they’re focused, and they’re ready for next year. Seniors have settled down, they drink beer out of bottles, heck they’re probably finished with the core curriculum.

I must not be a senior.

What made me come to this realization? In August, I moved all my belongings back to the Mistake-by-the-Lake for the fourth time since 2006. Finally, I unloaded that last bag into my house and saw a small packet of developed pictures. Since I don’t remember the last time I owned a camera, let alone developed pictures, I got really curious.

They were from freshman year.

Somewhere around mid-March in 2007, the John Carroll basketball team bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the third round – the “Sweet 16.” We played our final game in Rochester, NY, and by the time our game was done it was too late to drive home. We lost, and there were plenty of fans, athletic department members, cheerleaders, Joe Behm and JCU hoops enthusiasts left with another paid night in that hotel to reflect on what a great season we had together. What were we going to do, pray the rosary? 

Something like that.

I went with a few of the older guys to the gas stations to get plenty of, um, “Gatorades” for the whole team to enjoy. At that gas station, I saw a disposable camera. For the rest of that night I snapped some memorable moments with Streaks of all ages, none of which had anything to do in the morning if you know what I mean.

Of course, I developed the pictures and didn’t look at them until two weeks ago. That’s three and a half years of plenty of forgotten details.


If I could offer any advice on how to preserve nights like this, to anyone who likes to hang on to college sentiments, start getting some disposable cameras. Get one every 6 weeks or so, and don’t bring it out every time you go out. I’m not suggesting you be the girl who runs around with her digital camera and has strangers take pictures of her and her same four friends before and after every time they take a shot. By all means, for this project to work well, no one should be posing. You’ve seen the girl with 754 Facebook pictures and 750 of them are identical. That’s not going to conjure up memories of what awesome nights you had.

Take a picture of your buddy trying to get a free cab ride home. Take a picture of the guy with a fresh black eye right after a fight (before he cools down and still isn’t in the mood to get his picture taken). Snap some shots of the girl your buddy should definitely not have danced with, the waiting room in the police department at 3 a.m., your waitress at IHOP when she brought you your bill for $110 at 5 a.m.

Then, wait a couple of years to develop them. If you’ve had a fulfilling experience at college, I know you’ll forget a few key details.

If you remember all of them, you’re doing something wrong. Let that party-cam fill in the blanks a few years from now. Maybe then you’ll feel a little less like a senior.