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  • Mallory Garber

How to Make a Class Time Capsule |NotForgotten

Updated: Mar 14

I don’t want my school memories to be lost, I want to remember who I am in this exact moment -I know am never going to be this version of ME again. Read this blog to learn about the power of Class Time Capsules.


You know the saying “time goes by fast when you’re having fun?” Well, I do, too well I might add. Being very well half way through my junior year of college I can’t help but think, “where did all the time go?”. To me, it is a very bitter sweet thought. As we near the finish line, reality sets in - we are leaving, and never coming back. I wish it would all slow down and I’m trying to make sure every moment is savored so I never forget this time.

We all share various educational milestones — phases of our lives that we hold in our private memory banks. Each stage was our everything for a few years of our lives, but each stage abruptly came to an end as we journeyed to the next level, leaving us only with our memories, slowly receding.

  1. Elementary School: Ok, I know if you are reading this you probably don’t remember much about elementary school, but it is the first phase of our lives where we actually started to act like normal humans. It was the beginning of our educational trek, paving the long road ahead. If there is one thing I remember thinking at 11 years old is how much longer I thought I had to go and how much longer it would take. It’s ironic looking back now feeling as though no time has passed.

  2. Middle School: If you were like me, middle school was not necessarily a time you want to remember, but it was a right of passage. We were bound to face the trials of puberty and inevitable awkward mannerisms at some point and for most of us, that took place in the hallways of middle school. Middle school is the speed bump we zoom past to enter uncharted territory.

  3. High School: High school is the uncharted territory. High school is the place you start deciding who you want to be. It is the last sector of our lives that we are not expected to be entirely independent.

  4. College: It all comes full circle doesn’t it? College is the final step in our educational evolution, shaping us into the people we choose to be. It’s an ending that begins the rest of our lives.


So what do time capsules have to do with all of this? As I said before, it all comes full circle. As time goes on it’s easy to forget the milestones and phases of our lives and the key lessons we have learned with them. Its the fourth time now I have passed such a milestone and each time I wish that I had done something to preserve my memories a little better. I don’t think we give the past enough credit. It is always relevant, no matter how old we get.

I wonder if I had a digital year book of my class at elementary school whether history would show the same quiet girl I remember. Would I recognize the person I believed I was going to become when I grew up? Would my message to Future Me that Middle School Me captured chime with my reality today, and would I gain any insight beyond my memories as an adult woman on the young woman I was in high school?

Sadly my memories have receded now to the point I cant completely trust them, and I will never really know. But today this doesn’t have to be the inevitable fate of these memories.



Back in my glory days of high school, I was in student government. During my time as vice president, the rest of the committee and I were constantly trying to figure our ways for the senior class to have the most memorable year possible. Now, looking back, I wish I had known about virtual time capsules.

When it comes to trying to a class capturing “Its Year” it can get tricky. That is why school organizations often try to get creative in making class memorabilia. Yes the idea of reunions and year books sound cheesy, but sometimes being cliché is necessary in life.

If there is anything I have learned, whether it be high school students or college students, students in general are lazy. That is why when you present them with a task outside of school work, you must make sure it is a task so simple and convenient they cannot refuse. Virtual time capsules happen to be that task. It is too valuable of an opportunity and too easy to pass up.

Creating a Class Time Capsule consist only a few simple steps. Here’s a snapshot of how this works …

  1. Start with a showcase video — capture the class spirit and highlights. Produce it end-to-end by the students themselves or hire a professional videographer. The entire school community could be involved — teachers, admin, caretakers, parents.

  2. Then fill the capsule with other videos, key photos and important documents to complete the picture of the year. Show off your school and its achievements in all their glory — the football teams winning touchdown, the class presidents speech, the prom, even the casual moments of kids goofing around. Art, theatre, events, awards, plays, sports …anything you like. The content can be put together throughout the year similarly to how a year book works, and the activity can even be complemented with the burial of a physical time capsule.

  3. Make sure the capsule is mapped, cataloged and copied, and get your certificate from the International Time Capsule Society, so its never lost or forgotten.

  4. Set an opening date, and “bury” your time capsule. If its digital make sure its copied and stored in preservation vaults and cared for by a professional organization. And all that remains is to wait for the reunion.

Here’s a creative, and practical way to record and save your very best years so you don’t have to rely solely on your memories.



Not to be that person constantly reminding you that we are in a pandemic…but we are in a pandemic. It has been our reality long enough that we must accept the fact that we are living in a time where every day becomes another key point in history. That being said, all of those “educational milestones” have been altered. The virtual world has taken over, causing us to adapt in ways we never thought we would have to.

Take Lily Streeby, a senior at Ottumwa High School. Lily did not want to leave her four years without a fight. After having to miss the staple memories of high school like prom and graduation due to Covid, Streeby wanted to show her graduating class there were still ways they could reflect positively. After coming up with the idea of a time capsule she explained,

“We’re kind of missing out on our last chance to make memories with the people that we’ve grown up with…So I feel like our class was kind of disadvantaged in that way. So I wanted to have something — a kind of last big thing to bring us all together, to have something to bond over later.”

The capsule is set to be opened 20 years after they graduate, well into their adulthood. They will now be able to look back during their every day lives and remember what it was like to be a high school senior in a pandemic.



Being a college student in the midst of all this has not been easy, but my friends and I have learned how to enjoy ourselves in more innovative ways than before. This has definitely been the most memorable year by far in both the worst and best ways. Now more than ever time capsules are becoming relevant, storing experiences that have never been lived before.

And its simple…once you upload everything you believe captures your year, you can choose to share it with the world on a public media platform or hold on to your precious keepsakes in private. Everything is cataloged and protected inside a library trust, allowing memories to last up hundreds of years without data rot setting in on them.

A quick Google search will show you the stats you need to prove that time capsules among students have become the latest trend. The company I work with International Time Capsule Society, recently received an email from Rutgers Universities Time Capsule Committee for 2020–2021. I didn’t even think they had those! Their student government association had approved the funding for a time capsule for their graduating class this year. What better way to hold onto the memories of college forever than a time capsule? It kind of reminds me of a yearbook, something you can flip through with nostalgia and a smile, except it lasts for however long you want it to…and it is not as easy to lose.

Some examples of what Rutgers plans on capsuling that may inspire you are:

  • Campus Newsletter

  • Artwork

  • Newspaper clippings of what’s going on around the world

  • Mini photos of our time during COVID

  • USB with videos

  • Graphic or word cloud that describes 2020–2021

  • A list of popular expressions, e.g., slang dictionary

  • Presidential Election news and stories

  • What people predict 2050 will look like (whichever year we choose)


There are so many different types of people in college. I look around and everyone seems to have their own little niche. There are the athletes, greek life, pre-med students, nursing students and so much more. Being on a campus that is so diverse in its population, it is easy to recognize how much everyone is in charge of their own experience. The one thing we all have in common though is pretty big…and that is being in school. We are all attending for the same reason, connecting us all in ways we may not really notice at first. Time capsules do not just have to be for a class as a whole. These niches can make their own time capsules if they want their club or organization to be remembered independently.



Right now, at this point in my life, I want to work in digital marketing. 10 years ago I said I wanted to be an astronaut. Life never really turns out the way we plan, but for now, I want to remember who I am in this exact moment. I know am never going to be this version of ME again. Like most college students, I believe this is the most hopeful version of myself before I graduate. I want to remember this mentality and youthfully driven motivation. Time capsules are made to remind us of who we really are.

Time capsules do not define who you are going to be, but that is kind of the whole point. It is after times like college we want to look back and remember. There is a lot of power in the action of remembering. Viewing the past allows us to see into the future more clearly. Creating a class time capsule gives students the opportunity to come together and really make something meaningful together. Personally, I have found that opportunities like that are rare and students should take advantage of it while it lasts.

Onwards,

Mallory

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