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Smells Like Teen Nostalgia || Features

Nineteen years ago this month, the first episode of "Hey Arnold!" aired. Twenty-four years ago, Nirvana's groundbreaking album "Nevermind" was released. The culture, the music, the shows, and the figures of the 90s are all so relatable to people our age. Young 20-somethings love to reminisce on this time period so much that they often forget that they came right after all of the magic happened.

"I don't have any nostalgia for the 90s," Dave DePaola, a junior music industry major, commented about the trending obsession with this particular time period. "A lot of us were only five or six years old in 1999, and we didn't really live through it the way we feel like we did. Although, there is still a lot about that era that has rubbed off on us,” he explained.

DePaola continued, “The reason a lot of people choose the 90s to reminisce about is because it feels like it was just yesterday, even though it was 20 years ago.  It's almost as if there is a psychological gap between the 90s and every decade before. Just think about how long ago the 80s feel compared to the 90s."

We almost choose to associate our childhood with the 90s because it was such an awesome time to be a part of. Ryan Tetro, an adjunct political science professor and a direct product of the nineties, has a lot to say about being a kid during that time, "The 90s remind me of a time where life was simple and predictable and yet constantly changing and growing ever-more complicated.”

Children of the 90s were the last “street light” generation; kids played outside all day until the street lights came on, and yet these children were also beneficiaries of the dot-com bubble and the incredible technological advances of the computer, the internet, and cable television, according to Tetro.

“People love reminiscing about the 90s because who wouldn’t want to ‘Get Jiggy With It’ while wearing a ‘No Fear’ t-shirt and orange shorts with pump sneakers and a wrist full of slap bracelets, while listening to Nirvana on a Walkman and watching Bo Jackson play two sports at the same time as trading Pogs with your friends, all with a mouth full of Pop Rocks and Big League Chew? The 90s were the bomb," Tetro added.

A person’s childhood is something that most people of any age hold very near and dear. This is especially true for us young 20-somethings because a lot of us are realizing that we aren't kids anymore. Our love and nostalgia for the 90s comes from a strong desire to be a kid again. "College is fun, but nothing could replace the times when I could just go home after school, drop my backpack, and pick up a football and play with my friends," reminisced Joey Affatato, a junior music industry major.

It always seems like the 90s were a simpler time in general. It was all about funny shows and grunge music. Living life one day at a time. Now, as we all get older we still want to hold on to our past somehow; whether it be through a two hour block of 90s shows on TeenNick, throwing in your copy of Nevermind in a CD player or just looking through some old pictures. It's not necessarily yearning and dwelling on the past, but revisiting good feelings in hopes of having them again in the near future.

We were the last generation to watch cartoons on the major TV networks on Saturday mornings – Buggs Bunny, The Smurfs, Garfield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. Our parents encouraged us to play outside all day (in other words, told us to get out of the house) but we had Super Nintendo and Game Boy waiting for us when we got home. We climbed trees, hopped fences, rode our bikes all over town and organized pick up stickball games that always seemed to end in a fight. But we also got bit by rattlesnakes on The Oregon Trail and sat patiently while dialing up AOL 2.0. We read books in the backseat on long car rides but also knew every word to the theme songs for Saved by the Bell and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

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