The joy of nostalgia

Published by Megan John, Date: October 15, 2022
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“iNostalgia,” Boost Peer Coaching’s newest program on exploring the benefits of nostalgia, took place on Oct. 5 in the Smith Student Center. Attendees listened to a short presentation about the psychology behind nostalgia, took a Kahoot quiz about kids’ TV theme songs and watched clips they may remember from their childhoods. 

Stickers, candy and snacks were provided to add to the theme of childhood memories. 

Leah Meszaros, a senior majoring in neuroscience, created the program as part of her work with Boost. This is her fourth year as a Boost peer educator. She was “super excited” about the high turnout for an event from a “newer organization.” 

“It was a larger audience than Boost typically gets for some programs,” Meszaros said. “We were worried about a lower attendance, so we really pushed [an advertisement] a few hours before, and it either worked out really well or everybody was already coming, so it didn’t matter. It was something that must have attracted the general body of Slippery Rock.” 

Meszaros pointed out nostalgic media’s popularity for people of all ages. 

“We kind of wanted to capitalize on that … and obviously, it hit its mark,” she said. 

Meszaros spoke about using TV as self-care, which she wasn’t conscious of until she joined Boost. She wanted to incorporate her neuroscience major as well, and the addition of nostalgia tied everything together. 

When Boost peer educators create their programs, they use academic articles for most of their information. They also have access to data from CARE referrals, which are used “to see what’s missing and what’s needed from the student body,” according to Meszaros. 

Not all programs look like Meszaros’ – some expand on past programs or spread their message through social media – and she stated that the format depends on the presenter’s personality and ideas. 

“I kept thinking of a kid’s birthday party,” Meszaros said. “That’s why the tables were set up the way they were, with the snacks and the stickers in the middle as a centerpiece.”

The overall goal was to teach and engage students. From the CARE referrals, Meszaros realized that “our student body sometimes needs permission to be stressed.” 

“Being a college student in general is stressful,” Meszaros said. “They’re always asking you questions about where you’re going or where you came from, and you never really get time to be present. 

“Events on campus are rewarding … to sit in the room and take a break for however long [the event lasts]. I think that’s super important. And it’s not that hard to do with Slippery Rock’s community.” 

Every Boost event ends with an optional review from attendees, and Leah described hers as “glowing.” 

“I believe every single person who filled out a survey said that they would be interested in coming to a Boost program again,” Meszaros said. “That was absolutely exciting, that something I created would make them feel that way. We hope to see those familiar faces in future programs.” 

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