I recently wrapped up a book chronicling my two years finishing my bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Those two years shaped my life in an incredible number of ways, and I felt an intense desire to get the photos out of the sticky-page albums and properly scrapped. While the book isn't as huge as I expected, it's big enough that I can only share a sample of the pages here. I picked some of my favorite layouts as an example of how the book turned out.
I'll start with one of the first layouts, which comes after my opening page (my acceptance letter). I was thrilled to find the perfect place for one of several U of I bumper stickers I've accumulated over the years. The journaling is about the years I spent loving the U of I as a kid and how my dream finally came true when I was accepted and became a student. (At the bottom of the right-hand page is my student ID card.)
I also did lead-in layouts to both academic years. Here's an example:
A big part of my years at U of I was where I lived -- Illini Tower, a certified private housing building near the Quad. I included layouts documenting each of the suites I lived in, and here is the first one I lived in, fall semester of my junior year:
One long-standing U of I tradition is Dad's Day weekend in the fall and Mom's Day weekend in the spring. Dad's weekend revolves around football, while Mom's weekend features a flower show and some other, more "girly" events. Illini Tower held a special brunch for each weekend.
Of course, we made friends with several of our neighbors and floor mates, so I had to do a layout dedicated to them.
Oh, and let's not forget my 21st birthday, at the start of my senior year. One of my favorite memories from that birthday was going to TGI Friday's with our neighbors and being given the entire arch of balloons from the front entryway to take home. It was a good thing my neighbor, Brian, drove us there in his SUV!
One of my favorite U of I memories (and layouts) is having season tickets for Fighting Illini basketball both years. Here's my layout for junior year's season:
Another hugely influential part of my time at U of I was the time I spent attending and singing in the choir at St. John's Catholic Chapel, the U of I's Newman Center. My faith grew by leaps and bounds there; it's where I realized that I was going to pursue my faith for the rest of my life by my own longing rather than at my parents' urging. With the 4:30 Sunday choir, I sang contemporary music that spoke to my soul and spirit, songs that bring back a rush of feelings and memories when I hear them at the contemporary young-adult Mass I attend with my husband now.
Of course, some of the best college memories come from having family visit, and this layout has pictures from a weekend when my mom brought my grandma and my cousin, who was in a stroller at that point. (My aunt might have been there, too, but she wasn't in any of the pictures. She must have been the one behind the camera!)
This next layout is another of my favorites, although the event itself didn't thrill me much at the time. Illini Tower held a casino night for residents one weekend, and although I'm not a big gambler and never have been, I went along for the ride. I was stumped at first as far as how to decorate the page, but just in the nick of time I remembered a mat pack of travel-themed paper I had packed away in a cabinet of my scrapping room. I hit the jackpot (ha, ha) with some casino-themed paper that worked perfectly.
No U of I book (of mine, at least) would be complete without a layout dedicated to the Quad. It was part of my daily life during the week; there weren't many days during my time at U of I that I didn't cross that grassy courtyard with the criss-crossing sidewalks. And I had classes in many of the buildings surrounding it.
Finally, I did several graduation layouts, including the graduation Mass during which I sang with the choir for the final time; my all-campus commencement at Assembly Hall; my College of Communications ceremony at one of the smaller auditoriums on the Quad; and a layout using some cool U of I paper I found at local scrapbooking store The Paper Boutique. I closed out the book with my congratulations-on-your-graduation letter from the U of I, but I didn't include it because it's nothing too visually exciting - just a 12x12 page with a letter. I love how it brings the book full circle after opening with my acceptance letter, though.
My final Mass singing with the 4:30 choir.
All-campus commencement at the Assembly Hall --
the moment I'd been waiting for!
My College of Communications ceremony
at Foellinger Auditorium
on the south end of the Quad.
The final graduation layout wrapping up everything --
cards, graduation announcement in its cool, U of I case,
my tassle and a picture of me with my cake.
I'm already well into my next project -- a scrapbook marking my almost 13 years at The State Journal-Register. My goal is to finish it before I work my last shift on Aug. 24.