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Perspective: Getting sentimental over nostalgia


Lucy Atkinson was a student in Northern Illinois University's Journalism 401 class, Editorial & Opinion Writing, in Spring 2024. We'll bring you more Perspectives from the class in the coming days.

When I was little, I kept a stack of folded papers in my room. Each paper had the name of someone I loved, from “Leafy” the green caterpillar to my elementary school teachers and distant relatives.


I was terrified of forgetting the things I loved, and I believed physical reminders in my hand would save their memory in my head.


Now as a sophomore student at NIU, I’ve discovered college is a uniquely nostalgic time. Especially when we’re first beginning this new chapter of life, we reel in sweet and sour memories of high school and childhood, and we crave the feeling of home. We lose friends each semester with the next wave of graduates and then gain some new ones.


I don’t think there’s such thing as being too sentimental; nostalgia is evidence of a lucky life. But I’m trying to teach myself not to grieve change.


We can try to keep every person we’ve loved -- our friends, family and our happy acquaintances -- pocketed away in our minds. Even if we don’t think of them constantly or keep in touch forever -- sometimes they’ll pop up in thought randomly and brighten life for a moment. Just because they’ve washed away doesn’t mean they weren’t beautiful, like hearts drawn in sand.


I’m Lucy Atkinson, and that’s my Perspective.