1. Even though it meant the end of beach days and sleeping in, school was the definitive start of something. Time in the “real world” has a way of running together, defined by weekends that go by too fast, holidays that are too few, and nights with too little hours of sleep. In a way, the start of school always felt oddly more legitimate than simply crossing days off of the calendar.
2. It was so much easier to justify buying a completely new wardrobe. Of course you need seven new pairs of jeans and a vast array of sweaters — you’re going back to school. When you go on a shopping spree as an adult, in addition to the financial horror of entirely using your own funds, you know the clothes you buy are going to be seen by the same set of fashion-immune coworkers you’ve encountered on a daily basis throughout the summer.
3. Lunch was actually enjoyable. Except for college when you procrastinated on a paper until two hours before it was due, you never experienced any guilt about shoving some food in your face in the middle of the day. Lunch was a magnificent time to unwind, relax, and eat sandwiches. As a working adult, lunch becomes an optional, guilt-inducing dare: If I stop to feed myself, I may not finish this project… I have so many emails I haven’t answered yet! Maybe I’ll just stay at my desk. Dinner’s just six hours away!
4. A new package of pens or a crisp spiral bound notebook had the power to give you more joy than any other item in your adult life ever has. I remember a time when I’d lose my shit over a fresh package of ballpoint pens from Office Depot. Now, I rely on naps and tea to keep me from turning into Patrick Bateman.
5. It was so much easier to convince yourself you’d soon be meeting tons of dreamy new love interests. I remember actually thinking to myself, “I could have a class with my future husband this year!!!!!” As an adult, the best you can hope for is a chance to holla at some cutie in Starbucks or be offered a seat next to someone on the train that isn’t too creepy. Everyone at your office is either undateable, married, or in some complicated relationship that will take years to implode before you can swoop in reap the benefit (and you don’t plan on staying at the company that long, anyway).
6. At the start of each school year, you had this adorably optimistic way of convincing yourself that this would be your year. New beginnings! New classes! New friends! In the real world, you’re just paying all these annoying bills, and you don’t to meet anyone (no new friends). The things you often look forward to most are the Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family or finding five bucks on the ground.
7. Your grades may not have always been what you expected, but at least you felt like someone was taking the time to measure your efforts when you were in school. At a lot of jobs, it’s sometimes hard to determine when you’re kicking ass and when you’re royally fucking everything up. You might be informed that you’re “meeting” or “exceeding” expectations — whatever the hell that means. A clearly-defined letter grade would seriously be welcome sometimes.
8. At school, no one based your work ethic or potential for success by the outfit or shoes your chose to wear. Even they did, you didn’t care because there was no dress code banning sweatpants or oversized hoodies. At most jobs, you have to adhere to some kind of dress code or at least keep up with all your dressed-for-success coworkers at the expense of your arches.
9. When you’d procrastinate on homework, papers, or group projects at school, it was strangely thrilling and satisfying. In your post-scholastic existence, there’s nothing that thrilling about waiting until the last minute to get out of bed or holding off until the due date to pay an enormous bill that’s going to leave you bankrupt until the next payday. Instead of a rebel, you mostly feel like lazy, shitty adult.
10. Skipping an 8AM class had so many fewer consequences than missing an 8AM meeting.