According to Webster's dictionary, nostalgia means "a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to some past period or irrecoverable condition". When asked about college, many graduates reminisce with a sense of nostalgia. The funny things about looking back is sometimes the smallest, most simple memories scream into the abyss of the so-called "college memories" folder in my mind. We should take pictures of such moments, perhaps as a way to feel big in the wide world by the vastness of our own memories. Not just for social media but to be able to nurture nostalgia one day. If I had captured snapshots of nostalgic moments in college, then they would have evoked memories such as the following: 1. A Friday on Campus As if looking back at a series of sepia prints, I see a tornado of backpacks among brick walls, printed-out lecture notes appearing as the latest fashion staple, and roaring group circles. Walking to my last class of the day on a late Friday afternoon, the sun dances on my skin as the Friday feeling builds inside of me like an inflating balloon about to burst. The first warm day of the semester graces the campus and one thing's on everyone's mind: spring is here. You can see it in the way people skip down the sidewalks. You can hear it in the way people talk. You can smell a freshness in the air that dusts away the brutal complaints cried out the past few months of coldness. You can feel it in the palpable oneness of the students. Music blares out the speakers of fraternities. Rowdy guys in t-shirts and shorts are either sipping beers or throwing a ball around. It seems their weekend has already started. Well, actually it started as soon as 9am when I heard the speakers chanting the lyrics, "my girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the tiiime", before entering the library. I think that little bit could be their motto. Beep beep. "Happy Friday!" a bunch of girls packed into a compact car shout out the window. Only one more class, I tell myself, although every cell in my body refuses to sit in the gray computer lab and work on a statistics assignment for a whole hour. After turning my assignment in and bolting out the door, my soul dances, floating above each "have a good weekend" exchanged around me, feeling lighter knowing the weekend has finally arrived. 2. A Beloved Study Spot A quiet place to study on a Monday serves as a nice retreat from the beer-littered lawns and people raving about their bumpin' weekend or whatever the college kids say. People raving about their "man that's sick dude"-weekend. People talking about getting trashed and having to walk their overly drunk roommate back to the dorm. Based on personal experience, it's not the best background noise for studying kinetic energy. Sinking into a cozy cafe chair, I can dig into my science textbook uninterrupted. Sometimes the background chatter comes from wannabe philosophers. "Why is this important?". What a great diversion from earlier discussions. Of course, I can tune it out and focus on my work. As usual, I savor my safe haven of note-taking and productive energy thanks to the sea of students studying around me. 3. A Fun Club Activity After class, I find my roommate sitting atop the steps of the tiny front porch while jotting some notes down. "What are you studying?" I ask her. "Oh just organizing my French notes." "That's funny," I reply, "I was actually going to ask you if you wanted to come to the French club party tonight." She squeals, "Oooh!!! I would love to! Let me get ready." Cue the French music. We go inside along with the sound of pre-party entertainment playing from her iPhone, and she announces that she has the perfect shirt, a striped shirt with the word Ibiza, known for its European nightclubs. Then, we walk about 10 minutes through campus to the small party where we enjoy some finger foods and a glass of wine while chatting and taking turns choosing the music. "Did you know she's a good dancer?" my roommate puts me on the spot while twirling her wine. Laughing, I awkwardly shake my hips a few seconds to the beat of the foreign song and mention that we both do swing dancing together. The variety of college activities facilitated the process of connecting with people. Making connections was so much easier. I took this luxury for granted. Looking back is like steeping a green tea as memories diffuse out of our brains, spreading like tea aroma. After a few minutes, there's a warm cup of happiness. If steeped too long, there's a bitter after-taste. Time frames can be recalled by music, smells, pictures, and even the power of your own mind. According to Scientific American, a healthy dose of nostalgia provides an increase in self esteem, sense of purpose, optimism, and ability to cope with obstacles. However, there's no reason to fixate on the past, neglecting to see that the present could be equally cherished. What are you nostalgic about?
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