Saved messages

Turn email exchanges from your college student into lasting memories

By Randy Knipp
Scrapbook idea

When my daughter went away to college, we started emailing each other. I wanted her to enjoy her time, so I tried to keep our exchanges light. We had lots of great discussions about life, and I loved being reminded of my own college days. After her first year, I went back and printed out the best emails and made a scrapbook—a kind of diary—chronicling her first year at school.

If you’d like to try the same thing, here are a few do’s and don’ts I figured out along the way.

Do:

  • Add variety. A great way to highlight a few favorite back-and-forths is by printing them in a larger size. It’s fun to zero in on particular passages or quotes by formatting them in a more decorative font.
  • Colorize. Fun and colorful scrapbook papers (perhaps in school colors) can make great backgrounds if you remember to keep the messages front and center.
  • Doodle. A few drawings and doodles around the words can add a fun vibe.

Don't:

  • Overdecorate. Adding too many embellishments when you’re putting together a book of emails will take away from the exchange that you cherish. The more your entries look like regular emails, the better the book will be.
  • Get too personal. Make sure what you put together is appropriate for others to see. That way, she can show off what you created and not be embarrassed to have it out on her desk or shelf.

Bonus points:

  • In addition to email, IMs and Facebook and Twitter posts make great memories, too. Take screenshots of some of your favorite conversations and posts, and print them out to add to your scrapbook.
  • Throughout the scrapbook, add photos, stickers and other college-themed embellishments.
  • Keep mementos and notes from your visits to the campus and add those to the book.
  • Don’t forget to chronicle her fun at home on those laundry weekends and holiday breaks.
Randy Knipp is an innovation manager at Hallmark, husband to an amazing woman, goofy father of three and a love-struck grandpa. He loves growing vegetables, hanging out on the deck with his family and playing golf with good friends.


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