Nostalgia

By: Kate Devine Twitter: @katiedevinee Instagram: @katedevinee

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so- Merry Christmas everybody! The holiday season is rapidly approaching and it is my favorite time of year. To all the critics, you can save the “Grrr, capitalism!” and “Boohoo, consumerism has ruined the holiday season yet again.” talk for another day, because I am not listening!

I absorb the Thanksgiving and Christmas season like a heavy-duty sponge. 

Call me Buddy the Elf, because everything about the holiday season brings me so much joy. Whether it be music, scents, or endless family gatherings, Christmastime holds a special place in my heart.

However…

I have found that whenever I think back on the 18 Christmas seasons I’ve experienced so far, no matter how sweet the memory, I always end up sad.

So, what’s up with that, nostalgia?

Here’s an analogy for you; nostalgia is to memories as the Grinch is to Christmas. The concept of nostalgia always frustrated me, because what is said to make hearts warm and reminiscent, has always made me unhappy. When I would look back fondly at my childhood memories I would be reminded of how much simpler and happier times were. So consequently, I’d begin to feel shitty in the present day.

I thought I was the only one who felt a tinge of sadness when bringing up past memories until I listened to my favorite poet, Olivia Gatwood, say to her listeners that she felt the same way that I did. Wow, I can’t believe I’m as deep as my favorite poet.  I should move to the Big Apple and respond to emails in coffee shops now.

After the mini ego boost this gave me, I started to think about the concept of nostalgia even more. I eventually discovered that it’s not fair to my memories if I am sad every time I think about them. I realized that I should not view nostalgia as something that should be hated, but rather something that should be embraced.

Nostalgia should be celebrated. It is a way for us to remember how rich our lives were. The people we had in our lives and the memories we shared are so special; they deserve to be remembered with affection.

Why is it that nostalgia finds its way back to us in the prime time of the holiday season? Let’s dig deeper into why Christmastime brings up such fond memories. When you think of your favorite memory, I suspect the best part of it comes down to the fact that you shared it with someone you love.

So, what do you do to remedy this? Don’t be a Scrooge; spend time and make time for the people you care about. Make more of these treasured memories every year.

Instead of being sad that our lives aren’t the same as they once were, we should be grateful that we had these memories. The cliché quote holds true, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

So what’s the moral of my spiel about nostalgia (and its baggage- the holiday season)?

Jingle those bells and deck those halls, because these moments shared are some that we will treasure for a lifetime.

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Yale University Offers Full Video Courses For Free Online

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#BringBackBadLuckBrian2019

It’s no secret that I find the price of college nowadays to be completely absurd (hot take- I know) but up to this point I have only been able to criticize, complain, and condemn the system. As fun as it is to do so- it doesn’t help anybody.

So I started doing some digging about opportunities available online and I stumbled upon one university that is absolutely doing it right; Yale (sorry Harvard nerds).

https://oyc.yale.edu

Yale has started a program that offers (as far as I can tell) 40 university classes for free. I  think there is something special about learning in a classroom face to face but as far as the internet goes; this is as good as it gets.

I talked about dropping Geology the other day but I didn’t mention I’ve picked up PSYC 110:

For free.

I know I’m a nerd (who takes a class in their free time?) but if you’re ever bored and want to check out a course that interests you without the pressure of grades or classmate ridicule- I’d recommend checking it out.

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The Outsiders

By: Nicole Bates Instagram: @nicolebates_

One of my favorite books (and movies), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, describes high school in a delightfully witty and honest way. When I first read the book, I thought the main character Greg’s categorization of the groups in high school was extremely limiting. But now?

I see there is quite a bit of truth in his descriptions. 

Greg is a bit of an outsider and throughout the whole narrative he is extremely self-deprecating. He shares that he has “[mastered] the languages and customs of [his high school’s] various sovereign states” and from his perspective, “you belong to one nation.” However, he has devised a way to get “citizenship with everyone…just [to] be on low key good terms with everyone.”

In this short post, I can’t do Greg Gaines’ elaborate description of his high school’s social system justice so you are going to have to read the book to learn for yourself. But the gist of his message is that every high school has its basic groups. Most typical high schools have the popular kids, the nerds, the theater kids, the band kids, the stoners and the jocks. Obviously, as with everything, there is some degree of crossover between all the groups. But in high school- associating with one group is sometimes the only way to get by.

Hopefully by now we have all learned that these “social groups” are futile and they don’t really define a person’s identity. However, as a society, we never really stop putting people in boxes.

As the saying goes; high school never ends*.

People like these categories because it imposes order. I mean think about how many times you’ve talked with your friends about which Hogwarts house everyone would be in or what character from The Office you would be. People like to associate things with each other, even if they don’t exactly fit, because putting a title to something helps us think about things more clearly.

I personally don’t think that there is anything wrong with putting people in groups. Obviously when people take it too far and begin to discriminate against someone because of their “social group” then problems can arise, but the beauty of a group is it brings people together who have common interests.

All the “band kids” love playing music, and the “nerds” love to learn, the “jocks” love sports and the “theater kids” love to put on a show. I think it can be a wonderful thing to find a group of people who value the same thing as you do.

However, society’s desire to put people in groups becomes difficult when you are someone who doesn’t really feel they belong in any one group. Then you become a part of a bigger, less unified group of “misfits” or the “outsiders.”

In high school, where people rely so heavily on groups, being a “misfit” or an “outsider” can be really hard. I’d say that’s what Greg Gaines represents; he’s what some may call a “floater.” He’s friendly with everyone, but he doesn’t have a core group of friends to turn to. That’s cool most of the time but what about when it comes to prom or graduation?

Who do you celebrate these big things with?

I’d say in high school that I was a bit of a “floater.” I had solid friends that I stuck with but I liked to float around to different groups of people to keep things interesting. And I loved all the people I hung out with.

But I did sometimes experience that feeling of being an “outsider” because you saw the people with their “friend groups” who they did everything with and I never felt that sense of belonging in a group.

As I have grown surer of myself, I have begun to take this “floating” in stride. I know the kinds of people I want to be around and I know I might not find all those people in one place. I have accepted that it is ok to not have one “friend group” which is all inclusive of everyone I spend my time with. I’ve discovered it’s actually extremely normal to have different friends for different things.

I definitely still feel like a bit of an outsider, but I have learned how to hold my own better when I walk into a room when I feel like I don’t belong. Often times if you walk into a room where you feel you don’t belong, there are other people feeling the exact same way. There is a comfort in knowing that others can relate to your experience feeling like an outsider. In a way, this is a “group” to associate with: the outsiders.

The people who feel they never fit into those narrow categories in high school can form a more powerful category of their own. 

Isolating yourself from other people because you feel like you don’t “belong” is never going to help you feel more comfortable. And it may sound cliché but there is always somewhere in which everyone belongs- no one is truly an “outsider.” It’s all about your mindset, you just have to push yourself to keep searching for the people who make you feel like you belong.

And if you let yourself be open to others- that sense of belonging will find its way to you.

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Editor’s Note:

*- Obligatory

NNNN Episode #22 with Taeko Gupta

Awesome conversation with Taeko about:

-UMass Amherst Voices

-Comedy in today’s world

-Importance of History

-Armchair Activism

-Pros/Cons of irony

and more.

Hope everyone enjoys (and shares with at least 2 friends):

https://anchor.fm/s/9f00fb0/podcast/rss

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P.S- Make sure to check out Taeko’s blog at https://tgupta820.wixsite.com/taekogupta

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween

By: Jake Sockett Twitter: @SockettJake Instagram: @jake.sockett

The day is almost upon us. You can smell it in the air, see it in the leaves, and boy can you see it on my face. We wait around all year for this day. It’s what drives us to get through the first half of a fall semester and tides us over to Christmas. For some people, this day means more than the birth of their first-born child.

November 1st.

The day all these fucking Halloween zealots return to their god-forsaken caves and have to stop talking about “#spookyszn!!!”

I like Halloween. I like an excuse to dress in costumes and do accents and generally act in a way that is contradictory to my normal life. What I don’t like are the people who blow up my Twitter with skeleton gifs and horror makeup tutorials as soon as it drops below 65 degrees.

Maybe I just don’t get it. For me, the fun in Halloween is found in coming up with the costume, wearing the costume, going to a party of some kind, and I imagine when it is legal for one to do so, there is fun found in distancing oneself from sobriety as well (I would never do such heinous things). These things exist in October, but they are not the entirety of the month for me. There’s the NBA coming back, there’s a long weekend, and there’s birthdays for some loved ones.

On the other hand, those cretins allow their entire personage to be consumed by the #spookyszn. Where does the fun come from for them? I refuse to believe an entire month could be spent thinking of costumes, even during years like this one where someone dedicated to their craft could conceivably do 6 different costumes. I can only assume these fanatics sit at home all day listening to the monster mash (which is now stuck in my head, fucking bullshit).

I don’t know- call me a cynic. Maybe I don’t get into Halloween as much since my dog was put down on Halloween two years ago or maybe I’m just an asshole (if you’ve been paying any attention, it’s the latter).

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Editor’s Note:

Sorry about the dog Jake…let’s get spooky everyone!