Karen Fratti
Updated Aug 31, 2017 @ 6:15 pm
Elle Woods first day of law school outfit.
Credit: MGM

Even when you aren’t in school anymore, the end of summer still feels like back-to-school season. But just because you’re not heading off to homeroom or trying out a dining hall for the first time doesn’t mean that there aren’t some back-to-school things you can still do to live your best life.

There’s something in the air around people heading back to class this time of year — anticipation, excitement, and yes, maybe a little dread about who to take to the homecoming dance later this fall. And even if it caused us tons of anxiety back in the day, as grownups, we kind of miss it.

Actually, we’re a little jealous of everyone going back-to-school.

Even the homework sounds nice, at least for a little bit. On Planet Adult, things get to be so routine. If you want any kind of excitement in your life, you have to create it yourself. Kids and even adults who go to school are sort of lucky for this built-in game changer. Going back to school is about more than just learning things. It’s the possibility of new friends, crushes, and a really good excuse for a fresh start. Why should we deny ourselves the pleasure of all this?

Here are some back-to-school things you should do even if you’re not a student.

1You gotta freshen up that wardrobe.

Yes, even education is all about shopping in America, but so be it! Nothing says back-to-school like pair of fresh kicks or a brand new bag to haul your textbooks in. Treat yourself to that statement piece you’ve been eyeing in the name of a first day of school outfit, or totally switch up your look. And then revel in the fact that you no longer have to convince your parents that the name brand is totally necessary.

2Stock up on supplies.

Is there anything better than fresh pens, notebooks, and different sized Post-Its you might never use? No, there is not. Take advantage of all the sales on pencils, paper, and other school supplies this time of year. This is also a really good time to clean out your desk and reorganize things with all your new stuff, just like you fixed up your locker in middle school. You’ll surely find an adult way to use all of those Sharpie markers in all the colors.

3Try a new routine.

It was always a shock to the system to have to start waking up for school after doing a whole lot of nothing all summer, but kicking yourself into gear always ended up being a good thing. You don’t have a complicated class schedule to figure out anymore, but try switching things up anyway, like getting to the gym earlier than usual or finding a new regular lunch spot. Anything to disrupt your normal routine and establish a new one mentally opens you up to starting a fresh season in other parts of your life (and who doesn’t need that at least once a year?).

4Make a new friend.

The new school year always meant new people to scope out, which gets harder to do when you’re older. If you can handle it, try to finally make plans with that woman at work who’s always said you two should hang out and you actually mean it when you say, “For sure!” Ask that person you’re secretly crushing on for drinks. Or just invite all your old friends over to hang out because you’re never all in one place anymore.

5Get a haircut.

Nothing says back to school like a fresh color or some new bangs.

6Write your own syllabus.

Don’t actually do that. Looking at a syllabus is always stressful. But September is the perfect month to sign up for a Spanish class or some other activity you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t gotten around to yet. Make a list of books to read or get a new sketchbook and pledge to fill it up. Whatever it is that gets you psyched, get on it. Enjoy being able to have all the back-to-school fun without actually having to go back to school, because now that we think of it, it was sort of a drag sometimes.