Will you remember what you did a year, five years, twenty years after the fact. Will you remember the names of the people in those shots you took? And, where was it and when?
Do me a favor, or rather, do yourself a favor. If you’ve never kept a journal before, consider starting this spring break, and in any other traveling you do. Why? Because it’s great to remember just what you did, what you saw, who you met, how you felt. And there it is, saved. You’ve got it down on paper.
Here’s a recommendation. Don’t take a laptop or tablet with you to record your days – or nights. Write it by hand. For whatever the reason, hand written memories have better sticking power. You are very “present” with the writing – no distractions. You don’t want a video camera either. The last time I did, I was at the edge of the sand and forgot about the incoming wave. The wave won and the camera, though repaired, never worked as well again. Hopefully you won’t lose what you’re writing in your journal. And you can take it anywhere – on the beach, in a bar, hiking by a lake, shopping for groceries.
From my perspective what’s most important is the act of writing itself. You can say anything you want – that’s part of the point. The other part is that it lets you see - and you’ll probably surprise yourself - just what you can accomplish. A basic dictum for writers is that “Writers write!” The way you improve, whether you consider yourself a writer or not, is by practice, preferably daily. Doesn’t have to be long; just do it.
So when you’re on spring break, use the opportunity to get in some writing practice. Record the experience in your journal, what was beautiful, what made you sit up and listen, what blew you away, what was funny, or sad, what surprised you, especially about yourself?
When you record it, you can recall it – and how I wish I’d taken the time to write down personal memories from earlier in life. Today only the highlights stand out, not those smaller, everyday details that give so much vivid color to an event or situation and the people in it.
Don’t hold back on the writing. And don’t edit yourself, please. Just keep it raw. That gives it vitality. Do that, and you’ll find you’ve brought renewed energy back to your college work. Writing will be easier, and flow better.
Trust me, the effort pays off. It always does..