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opinion   |   column

It's OK to be nostalgic



It's weird for me to think about graduating. I always knew I was going to graduate, and for a long time, I was excited for it. I wanted to graduate. For my career, I had to do more schooling, and I was and am so excited to learn more about my field. 

But at the same time, I'm already feeling nostalgic. I look at freshmen going into classes and feel unbelievably jealous they still get to experience college and growing up. I walk by my old professors and wish I was still sitting in their classes, learning new exciting things for the first time.  

I have always been a sentimental person. I cried during my high school graduation and when I moved to college, and I'm probably going to cry next week. However, I don't think this is a bad thing.  

Going to IU has been one of the best decisions of my life. While I was here, I learned more about myself than I ever expected. I discovered what I wanted to study and became confident enough to believe I could do it. I learned how to be a better friend and how to handle a break up.   

Moreover, I learned how to be myself and take opportunities, and I think that's why I am so nostalgic about graduating this weekend.  

This weekend, I will have shut a door on one stage of my life and that's scary.  It's scary for me not to know what's going to happen in a year.  And at times like this, it's normal to be nostalgic.

Nostalgia is a normal emotion, and in small doses, it can have a positive affect on our lives.  

The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the Nostalgia Group defined nostalgia as a complex emotion, which assigns a positive emotion to a past memory.  It can be triggered by smells, sounds or loneliness.  

Nostalgia often involves a mixtures of emotions including happiness, loss and longing

And while I and other graduating seniors may be nostalgic now, this can have a positive affect on our lives. 

There have been multiple research papers about how nostalgia affects our mood. Professor Constantine Sedikides of the University of Southampton found nostalgia can lead to a positive effect on mood and increase self-esteem and social connectedness.  

Another study found nostalgia can counteract loneliness because it increases the idea of social support.  

With all of this research, I feel more justified than ever to be nostalgic about graduating.  

I have had a great four years at IU. They have made me into the person I am and introduced me to some of my best friends. 

And I know in four months when I am missing IU, Bloomington and all of my friends, I still have my memories.   

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