End of summer nostalgia is creeping in. Nostalgia for the summer fun that was and could have been, but also for what this time of year used to mean. You can hardly go to a big box store without running into wide-eyed college freshman and their parents buying dorm room necessities and cases of ramen.
The onset of September used to be full of excitement, dread, or a mixture of the two. Post-academia, it can serve as a somewhat maudlin reminder that life is really just more of the same, no matter the season. Here are some of our favorite things about back-to-school time, and how we can still get excited about them as grown-ups.
Fashion obviously tops our list. When you're little, you practically get a whole new wardrobe every school year. It can be hard to let that impulse go as you get older. In high school or college it was time to stock up on sweaters, cords and a new coat. And if you were lucky your parents paid for it! We didn't appreciate what we had!
Admit it, it's still a little bit of a rush to get the fall J. Crew catalog. It's not like we gave up fall shopping when we got our diplomas. It's a time of year to look forward to the change in weather and snuggling up in cozy sweaters. We still get obsessed with collegiate staples like plaids, tweed and some boots and brogues. (So we dress like the cast of Gossip Girl in September, sue us.)
Especially in college, back-to-school time meant embracing new subjects and diving into the study of something exciting. Sure, you complained about the cost of new books every year, but it was still fun to have the nice neat stack of them on your desk. As an English major, it was always a portend of new authors to be discovered and time periods to become immersed in.
Why not pick up a new book or two for old time's sake? Check out a new author, or even choose a subject to "study" this fall as the weather drives you indoors. Try reading some poetry or non-fiction if that's not usually your thing. Or decide to learn about something that's always interested you — Italian cooking, Tudor history, or the reign of Marie Antoinette.
If you'd gotten annoyed with your best friend last year, you had a whole summer to get over it. You missed faces you never thought you'd miss. Who knew what new friends you'd be making? Sometimes it was even fun to see your teachers again. Your locker or dorm room was neat as a pin. You could get that GPA up, or achieve a new personal best on the sports field. A fresh new start was at your fingertips.
Why not take the opportunity to get that feeling of newness back? Join a book club or set up a regular happy hour with some pals to break the monotony. Do some fall cleaning, organize your wardrobe and workspace, set a few new goals for the season. We can all use an excuse to recharge and revitalize our lives, let this autumn be yours.
Image via J.Crew Fall 2012 Lookbook