I don’t reflect on the past very often. I’ve come to accept that life is a constantly changing event, offering new experiences every day.
As life changes, so must we.
When I started to receive the emails about commencement ceremonies and reminders to pick up graduation regalia, the last four years suddenly became surreal. Earlier this week, as I walked by my old dorm room in Barrett, The Honors College, cap and gown in hand, an unusual feeling swept over me.
Memories of the last four years came flooding back to me: all the people I’ve met and the ones I’ve left behind, the classes I aced and the ones I hated, the papers I spent hours on and the ones I practically slept my way through.
The ups and downs of being a young student, so enamored with being “new college material,” evaporated with those memories. Being so nostalgic, wrapped up in how naïve I used to be — it made me wistful.
Part of nostalgia, I realized, is wondering if the best is behind you.
Few things in this world beat being young and reckless. I’m far from being an old man, but being 22 years old, with 8 years of secondary and post-secondary education behind me, can make even a young man long for “the old days.”
In a fit of despair that lasted all of two minutes, I wondered if graduation would be the final nail in the coffin of my adolescence.
But before I could think twice, I realized that being nostalgic is more than just longing.
Nostalgia yearns for the past, but it also leaks excitement for the future.
If we think back to the beginning of college, could we have ever guessed how much we were going to learn about life in four years? I certainly couldn’t have called all the shots I took, missed and made.
That brought me to the future. Graduation may be the end of an undergraduate career, but as corny as it sounds, it is also a new beginning. We all experience that naïveté and “freshman feeling” over and over and over: finding a new job, starting graduate school, travelling to unfamiliar places or trying a hand at competitive cup stacking.
Nostalgia isn’t a bad thing.
But nostalgia is a reminder that at one time, something in our lives was new and exciting. I encourage all of you to relish in the experiences at which you’re so proficient, because eventually, you’ll look back and wonder how you got so jaded.
And then, you can begin anew — and if you’re looking for a brand new experience, I recommend wingsuit flying.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com or follow him at @MorganSukotto