As the saying goes, college makes up some of the best four years of your life—at the very least, they make up some of your most memorable years of your life. You've immortalized those memories by taking an endless number of photos (your Facebook albums say it all), collecting t-shirts from every event on campus, and hoarding basically every notable trinket you could get your hands on. You probably don't want to display the random plastic cups you picked up at orientation and the various pens that were given out over the years... but there is a way to change those college collections into possessions you can use to decorate your new apartment or home. Here are some creative and innovative ways to reminisce on those crazy four years—and without putting a dent in your wallet!
1. T-shirt blanket
Let’s face it—after four years of on-campus events and free t-shirt snagging, you have enough shirts to supply the incoming freshman class. After graduation, there are a lot of outfits you can no longer get away with wearing, one of them being your collection of college tees. Luckily, you can turn them into a cozy blanket with just a click of a button. There are a variety of websites such as Project Repat, Campus Quilt Company, and Too Cool T-shirt Quilts that can transform your shirts into a throw blanket for your living room or bedroom. This allows more room in your closet for your work attire, while making good use out of old college tees!
2. Photo album
From your first Halloween as a freshman (that costume…yikes) to your graduation day, it is important to capture every moment from the beginning to the end. One simple and crafty possibility for preservation is to compile your photographs together in a physical album. Kaitlyn Sullivan, a graduate from Salve Regina, says, “I like to put my college scrapbook on my coffee table so friends and family can look through it when they stop by.” All you need is a bit of time, some of your favorite college snapshots, stickers, and colorful paper and you have a book you can look through (that feels more meaningful than scrolling through your Instagram feed).
3. Phone cases, mugs & more
Today, you can put your favorite quote or picture on practically anything you want thanks to websites like CafePress. Additionally, stores like Walmart allow you to create a collage or pick one simple photograph to place on your mug or travel mug, so you can look back on your college memories every day. Melanie Edson, a recent graduate from Saint Joseph's College in Maine, loves the personalized product idea for both herself and gifts for her recently graduated friends. “I used Walmart’s website to create a collage mug for my friend from school and she loved it so much I decided to make one for myself too!” she says. So if you are out of ideas for a graduation present, personalized gifts combined with college memories are always a great idea.
Showcase your college photos by making a calendar! You can use sites such as Shutterfly to easily create calendars—just pick a theme and arrange pictures and captions for each month! Hang the finished product up in any room of your home, and use it to mark special occasions or reminders all while reminiscing on your college days. With the pictures you have from all four years, you can continue to make a new calendar every year!
5. Cork board
Still have a pile of old wine corks from those college-era pre-games and celebrations? Yes, you can put them to good use! Arrange them to create a cork board to hang up your college pictures and other keepsakes! Form your board in any shape you choose and you have a one-of-a-kind DIY memento.
6. Canvas art
Canvas wall art will spruce up any home, especially if you personalize it with your favorite college memories. Plus, they're an upgrade from the paper posters and taped-on photos you used in your dorm room! Feature pictures from school or design your own with paint, glitter, or cutouts!
Don’t be afraid to get creative when preserving your college memories. From scrapbooks and t-shirt quilts to picture mugs and phone cases, it’s easier than ever to spice up your apartment with all the things you've been holding on to from college. Use these ideas for gifts that friends are sure to cherish, or for yourself! So dig out those ratty t-shirts that survived orientation and senior week, and turn them into a college masterpiece you’ll appreciate for a lifetime!