Nostalgia for the good ol' (college) days

Originally Published: June 23, 2006 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 4, 2014
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Alice,

I have graduated from college with an associate's degree in 2002. I loved college a lot, especially the whole social scene. It was a great time to really learn more about yourself and others and to finally have freedom. Now I sort of feel nostalgic about my days at college, and sometimes wish I could go back to that time which I know is quite impossible. My question is this normal for people and why would people feel that way.

Dear Reader,

Ah, college life. It makes sense that you would look back on it fondly. It’s natural to feel nostalgic about significant parts of your past. Think of all the energy people spend planning and attending get-togethers like high school and college reunions. Those are notable times in many people’s lives for the very reasons you mention. You are certainly not alone with these feelings. While completely recreating your college experience (or going back in time) isn’t possible, you may be able to build some of the things you liked about college into your present life.

If you were a “traditional” student, you most likely attended college between the ages of 18-22. This time period is one of major growth, marked by increased independence and self-reliance, a firmer sense of identity, and the development of more serious relationships, among many other experiences. You specifically point out the love you had for the social scene at college, and for good reason. College is a unique opportunity to enter into a ready-made community of people with many common goals. The good news is that you can recreate many aspects of this set-up for your life post-college; it just takes a little creative thinking. Here are some ideas:

  • If you miss the intellectual stimulation, try taking a class or joining a book group.
  • To replicate aspects of the social scene, consider joining a sports team, theatre troupe, or some other group with a high level of camaraderie.
  • If you miss the energy of the college environment, check out your alma mater’s alumni groups or associations for opportunities to become involved on campus.  
  • You mentioned that you learned more about yourself during college. One way to continue this journey is by challenging yourself. Set goals, try something new, travel, but above all, get out of your comfort zone.

May you continue looking back fondly at your past, have high hopes for the future, and your feet firmly planted in the present.

Alice

October 30, 2014

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I've actually struggled with maintaining a sense of community and social connection since college, so, I really appreciate this advice. I really value my college experience, both the intellectual and...
I've actually struggled with maintaining a sense of community and social connection since college, so, I really appreciate this advice. I really value my college experience, both the intellectual and social aspects, and it was a very important time of self discovery and self acceptance for me.