I Wish I Could Go Back To College

…but not really. Well, maybe a little bit.

For the first time in 15 years, I don’t get a first day of school. I don’t get to go school supply shopping, I don’t get a book list, I don’t get to pick out a first day outfit, I don’t get homework, tests, articles, and I don’t get that weird mix of joy for a new school year and sadness because summer’s over. For the first time in three years, I’m not moving into a dorm, I’m not headed down Comm Ave at 8am with Starbucks in my hand…and I feel like I’m not a kid anymore.

I didn’t expect to be this melancholy over not going back to school. It’s not that I miss the 8am classes or the homework assignments or the not-so-glamorous dorm rooms. It’s not that I miss Boston or my friends there (I do; don’t get me wrong, I REALLY do; but that’s not why I’m in this strange mood), and it’s not that I don’t like being home at this time of year for the first time in three years (which, yet again, I really, REALLY do).

I just don’t think you can ever prepare for that moment when you really and truly realize, mainly because everyone else is going back and you’re not, that something that’s been a constant in your life for most of your life is no longer there. Many older people (parents, grandparents, etc.) have told me recently that they still get nostalgic for their school days around this time of the year. I’m going to be really bummed if this feeling never goes away.

I was always that kid who LOVED school shopping. I would beg and plead with my mom to go to Target and get all my school supplies, then race home to organize them all. I loved (still do love) the smell of new paper, folders, markers, and all that stuff. In college, the day my booklist was available online was like Christmas. It was the best part of new classes — seeing what I’d be studying in each class and hunting down bargains on the books (actually reading some of them — just some — was NOT, however, the best part). Oh, and the day BU put the course schedules for the next semester up? Forget about any other homework I had to do; the semester was months away, but planning that schedule was the most important thing.

But now, “Back to school” time is now nothing more than “fall” to me, and not having school as the main piece of my schedule is a big adjustment. I’ve been kicked out into the “real world” (for real this time; leaving home for college was nothing compared to this), and, even though I’m only 20, I guess I have to be an adult. I have to get used to having a full-time job (one that I don’t really want, mind you, but that’s for another time), where I’m busy all day, but my nights are free. I’m going to probably have many a solitary night at home, when my friends are busy with homework — which, weirdly enough, the more I think about it, I do sort of miss (but give me any to do, and I’d remember right away the reasons I shouldn’t miss it). I’m going to have to find a lot of good books to read to keep myself still feeling like I’m learning, and maybe a class at Buff State, too. I’m also going to have to get used to missing a different set of people like crazy, while getting a chance to be around the people I used to miss during this time of year.

It’s a lot of adjustments to throw at a girl all at once. I feel like summer was sort of my grace period, where I could just kind of pretend this all wasn’t happening. I think I’ve run out of time for that, and now I’m curious to see how I’m going to handle all these changes. I’m getting some time to slowly acclimate myself to everything, and I think it will be okay — but, as always, I’m still waiting for the breakdown.

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