I am six years old. I sit at the bar with my parents, feet dangling off of the goofy leather stool, mesmerized by the lights, the music, and the smokey haze that fills these fantastic rooms. My father's friends let me roll the bar dice, laughing and cheering me on, and as I take a sip of my kitty cocktail I decide that life is perfect in this moment.
Now I sit here at twenty, yet even the thought of the scene I just described brings a smile to my face. I went back to this same bar, and the bars like it where similar events occurred. They seem smaller, dingier, and the stink of the smoke still clings to your clothes even after they banned cigarettes a few years back.
Why do I bring up this kind of disheartening observation?
-Because it seems to me that memory reconstruction was at work here. Remember that our memory is not picture perfect, but rather a pieced together recollection of past events. Rather than passively reproduce our memories, we recall our past experiences and actively reconstruct them. I believe that when I think back to days such as these, I piece together the best of a large number of situations and produce one enchanting scene. I am certain that emotion also plays a key role, because as a young child everything was so much more exciting. I am sure that I heavily attribute this excitement to the positive feelings that overcome me when I think back on my childhood.
In the same way, I imagine that looking back on Psychology someday, my memory won't be quite the same as the experience itself. Maybe I will remember the horror of cramming for exams, but I hope that I instead remember the insight I gained into the science of psychology, and hopefully apply it to an array of situations in my life.