Childhood nostalgia in quarantine

Sydney Bellon, Columnist

I think we can all agree that these are unusual and alarming times; it feels like time has stopped moving, all at once. As all of us are making new arrangements, deciding whether we are going home or staying in Walla Walla, we are getting used to the emptiness. No matter where you are, there seems to be a common thread of reaching back to the past for some familiarity. The nostalgia from our childhood days promotes a simple optimism as we try to block the pandemic out, but also perpetuates the feeling that things are not the same as they once were on campus. Nostalgia is the glue between these conflicting emotions. We are all hoping that not everything changes as we wait this out, but there are some things that can’t remain in the past. 

For those of us who have gone home, it is hard not to notice the looming remnants of our high school selves trying to settle back into existence. We are trapped in our houses with our families, who we may or may not like to spend this much time with. This makes it that much more inevitable that some of us will sink back into our high school ways, purely because of the environment. Another side effect of being home is a much larger lack of motivation. We are more susceptible to lapse in productivity than normal due to this feeling of being on an extended vacation. It can be hard to focus even at Whitman, but associating home with school makes it more difficult to engage in work like we did in a school environment. 

Regardless of where you are during these odd online days, I’m sure most of us have engaged in activities related to our childhoods. This is a completely odd shift for college students because some of our independence has been taken away, but not in the traditional way. Under the rule of this virus, we have been forced into the familiar feeling of being taken care of. Going back to that feeling makes it much easier to watch old Disney movies at home while your mom makes you a sandwich, just like the good old days. This pandemic has provided us with a lot of ups and downs, some being that we are deprived of seeing friends, going to classes and adulting as much as we are used to. However, we are now allowed to indulge in more time spent with families and luxurious days full of Disney, Pixar and Nickelodeon, which serve as typical reminders of the past. 

Our childhood nostalgia is now less restricted due to the environments we are in and the fact that we are all seeking comfort while in isolation. This lack of motivation combined with nostalgia is similar to experiences of college students going home on any break. This feeling will be more difficult to try to snap out of during this extended time at home since we are all trying to remain optimistic about our futures, but the feeling of watching “Brother Bear” like when you were a kid helps to maintain that optimism.