Today I went ahead and handed out a copy of my University thesis to the professor who mentored me while writing it. And I recalled why I recently spend more than 100€ to print multiple copies.
It’s not about the work being outstanding or just being proud, I think one of the main reasons is that before, I only had a digital copy of it. And such a digital copy even when you put it on the internet, can easily get lost, especially when you forget about it. Give your data a few generations of hardware replacements and for sure a lot of it will be gone. Mainly because you no longer need it. I guess the same could happen to my work there, which, at the end of the day, is a milestone in my life.
To prevent that, I decided to get a printed copy which main purpose is actually not to be read ever again, but to be found 20 years from now, when organising the basement of my house and think back to those crazy times when I studied.
The copy for my professor is just there to have him remembering about this quirky student and maybe something he can show other students as an example on how to not write a thesis. And that’s usually easier when you have it sitting around on a bookshelf than buried in 25 layers of “stuff” folders on your desktop.
In other words, make sure that you print the stuff you are really happy or proud about. Make it physical and spend some money on it. I might even spend some money on printing this blog in some form. And when it’s just to have another thing on the bookshelf.
To me life is successful when you can tell a load of funny, interesting or just nice stories about it. And that’s usually easier when you have something physical to show. No backup, not even online archiving can replace those horrible old boxes of trash that people keep in their basements when it comes to telling a story about old times.
So go ahead and make your online milestones physical, it’s a long term investment but it’s worth it.