Life & Style

Dealing with nostalgic feelings throughout college

I’m not sure whether it was the few days of glorious spring weather we had last week, or the fact that it recently hit me that I am in fact halfway through my freshman year at UW-Madison, but lately the thoughts that have been dancing around in my mind as I daydream in class have been making me extremely nostalgic.

A year ago I was in an anxious stupor. Having not heard back from more than half of the schools I applied for, I was constantly haunted by the unknown certainty that my future held for me. But despite all this, I knew that as a second semester senior, things were going to change soon. The milestone of graduating high school and finally being independent was excitedly creeping up. Each month that passed by I reminded myself to take mental snapshots of my daily life. Eating lunch with friends in our favorite, secluded hallway, the liberating feeling as we blasted tunes driving away from school on a Friday afternoon, being greeted by my dog when I came home, and the late night talks my mother and I had over a cup of tea after a long day. But it wasn’t until recently that the tucked away memories were pulled off a dusty shelf in the back of my mind.

I currently sit hidden away in stacks of old art books in my favorite study spot on campus, and though I could not be happier with my new beginning here at UW-Madison, flashes of all the mental snapshots I took a year ago can’t seem to escape me. I look in my closet and see the shirt I wore to Lollapalooza and immediately I can feel the hot, summer sun bearing down on my tanned shoulders as I squeezed my friends hands and danced throughout the streets of Chicago to our favorite artists. It was our last hurrah together before we all went our separate ways. When I tie the laces on my beat up sneakers, I think about that boat ride my brothers and I took one weekend in Michigan; we talked about the future the whole time, but I wish I had focused more on that fact that we were all still together under one roof, all of us still kids.

Lately I’ve decided that the comforting feeling of reminiscing and the nostalgic daydreams have brought many smiles to my face, but have also been quite distracting. It is always joyous to think about the moments in life that brought you sheer happiness, reminding you of how blessed and lucky you are to have those moments make up the journey of your life so far. But it is also important that the time you spend is equally spent on those daydreams and living in the current moments you’re living now. It is okay to miss how things used to be - something that was so well embedded in your daily life is bound to leave you feeling nostalgic when things change - but it is also okay to move forward.The beauty of life is in the endless possibilities for more to happen, more memories to plant in a pair of shorts, a song or perfume, and more nostalgia for the moments you are living in now to be had and reminisced later along in life.


If you are finding yourself feeling nostalgic lately, remember that it is absolutely okay to let yourself have those moments of remembrance. But, ultimately, it is necessary to pull yourself out of the dusty shelves of your mind and live in the now. 

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