Letters from the editors:
There are moments in life that radically change our perception of the world around us. When COVID-19 hit, I thought it would only last a moment. “Perhaps this will be a month-long period that I will casually tell my grandchildren about,” I innocently pondered. However, this was not the case.
Many of us suffered losses because of the pandemic. Consequently, we were faced with new realities and a panoply of challenges to overcome. Questions such as, “How will we ever return to normal life?” were conjured in our minds. Personally, I even wondered if there would ever be a new normal.
Now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, our APU community has returned to
campus life. Students are playing basketball on the courts at DRC, Cougar Walk is once again
the prime hangout spot and chapel services are back in person. This return to college life
naturally lends itself to reminiscence: slow rumination upon how things once were; yet, our
current circumstances are far different than the way things used to be. How will we live
into this Newfound Nostalgia? Will we remain stuck in our old ways? Or, will we perceive
this season as an anvil for forging new memories and opportunities for growth?
From the time we’re children, nostalgia is often one of the first intense feelings we experience. Unlike sadness or anger, it isn’t easily identifiable. It nearly always comes as a blindside and fills us with an undeniably overwhelming cacophony of emotions. Whether these emotions manifest as a feeling of warm sunshine flowing from our hearts to our fingertips or slap us with a sense of stomach-dropping dread depends on the memory nostalgia teleports us back to—but regardless of the source, the feeling inevitably throws us precipitously into the past.
My situation at APU is a unique one, as I assume all of ours are. I graduated last spring with my BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen alongside my closest friends (well, virtually, at least). Though, as my peers ventured into adulthood, I was one of few that returned to campus to finish my BA in Journalism. Before I knew it, I was returning to APU—catapulted back to a chapter of my life I assumed had closed after I was forced to leave campus in March of 2019.
That brings me to this question: how am I to live in the present when constantly feeling like I’ve stepped back into my past? When walking onto APU grounds I can’t help but sense that I’ve taken a time machine to a past life—a simple stroll down Cougar Walk leaves me falling rapidly down a rabbit-hole, reminiscing on days when my interactions were with my best friends, not masked strangers.
Sometimes this uncanny sense of reflection gives me a case of the warm and fuzzies and other times my day is deflated by unwanted memories. Either way, this newfound nostalgia is something I’ve never quite
experienced—a sensation that stems from APU feeling like something of my past that I’m
expected to embrace as my present, despite how different it looks and feels.
So, to my upperclassmen experiencing this peculiar nostalgic phenomenon, or to my
underclassmen exploring campus with fresh eyes, we hope this issue of ZU Magazine
makes you feel the complex emotions you’ve experienced this semester are valid,
heard, and understood. We are all treading unprecedented waters, which often
comes with feelings of isolation, confusion, or stress. Here’s our reminder that you’re
not alone, your voice matters, and we’re proud of everything you’re doing despite the sporadic state of our world. We hope you enjoy the read.