School? Cool!

Is it completely ridiculous that after completing 18 years of schooling, I still get a little bit excited when a new school year rolls around? It’s hard to break the habit of buying piles of beautiful yellow pencils, a new Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and decorating a locker with photos of Johnny Depp. But just because I’m no longer shuffling around campus trying to find ‘Pluralistic Roots of American Feminist Literature’ doesn’t mean I can’t join in the fun of going back to school!

A few ways to join in the new school year fun, even if these days you’re more ‘Director of Marketing’ than ‘Directed Study’!

* Get a head-to-toe new, first-day outfit
Do you remember the emotional minefield that was shopping for the perfect first-day outfit? Something trendy and flattering, but it couldn’t look like you were trying to hard and you didn’t want to get it at Target because you knew everyone else would be buying their new outfits there? And then trying said outfit on in front of your BFF and critiquing it? And laying it out on your bed the night before the first day of school?

These days we probably never buy an entirely new outfit. But wouldn’t it be fun to consult the September issues and – using your best thrifting and sales rack skills – assemble a killer ensemble? The sort of look that would leave Matt Lueck breathless in Algebra class?

* Find a new bag

In fifth grade, that meant a new Jansport, but now? You should get something that looks good in your lecture hall…and also at The Met for quarter taps on Thursdays. How fantastic is this bag from Duluth Pack? Preppy without getting too Gossip Girl on you, with plenty of room for your hardcover copy of Pride and Prejudice.

* Stock up on fantastic new office supplies


Sharpie Mini Marker
$1.25, World Map Notebook, $11, Blah File Folders $10, staple-free stapler $9, Keep Calm and Carry On Journal $9, Penguin Paper Clips $8, Erasers – Delete Eraser $4 Is my Virgo showing if I tell you that few things excite me more than an empty notebook, full of possibilities? I love cracking the spine, flipping through those flawless pages and jotting away with a big fat ink pen. Don’t you want to refill your desk with novelty paper clips, clever file folders and one of those multi-colored pens, ala fourth grade? I know I do!

* Learn something new
Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean you should let your brain turn to rice pudding. Listen to some en-smartening songs, enroll in a continuing education class or log onto any of these gajillion free online course offered by real universities. Universities like MIT and Tufts! Or you can test the smarts you already have with games like Free Rice.

* Catch up with old friends

I know you’re on facebook. And I know you stalk Jessie Jacobson’s wedding and vacation photos without actually talking to her. (No? Just me? Awkward.) What if you actually dropped a note to those 75 facebook friends that you never see or contact? Wouldn’t it be nice to actually hear what they’re up to? And at least then maybe you’ll understand all those status update references to ‘tea bagging.’

* Decorate a door
When you were in high school, it was the inside of your locker. When you were in college, it was the door to your dorm room. But now? You can’t quite give yourself over to decorating your apartment in that manner of cut out magazine photos and overexposed photos of you and your bestie at a kegger. But what if the inside of your closet door was completely devoted ripped out magazine pages, inspirational quotes and one of those roller-coaster photos of you and your BFF? Bonus points if you can do this with pages from a Sassy magazine.

* Say thank you to a teacher
You probably already know this, but teachers are overworked, underpaid and totally sick of these damn kids who text in class (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a teacher). I like to believe that I get paid in karma (in addition to my $2 salary) and some of that karmic payment comes in the form of thanks from former students. It can be as simple as an email saying “Your support really meant a lot to me. I can’t believe I’m majoring in Biology!” That stuff makes all the hard work worth it.

Are you heading back to school soon? Are you excited? If you’re out of school, do you miss it?



I'm not headed back to school, but my almost-5-year-old is. (2nd year of preschool.) And I am SO looking forward to it!


so true, i do get a thrill when it's time for school to start again, even though i'm long out of school and i don't have kids. but you are on your own with stalking jessie jacobson.


You know what i really muss about university? studying! Just dedicating hours and days and weeks to really getting your head round a given topic! Love it.

Your suggestions all sound fun as well, especially the inside of the wardrobe one!


I teach also. High school. And the kids started back on Monday. I totally go a couple of new outfits for work. AND I totally color coordinated my classes. 1st period is ALL red, 3rd period is ALL orange, 4th period is ALL yellow, and 5th period is ALL green. I have copy paper for important documents in those colors, folders for the students in those colors, index cards, file folders, etc.

Uh, can you tell I'm a Virgo, too?

And btw, are you my secret long lost twin sister??


I only left university this June and I am already missing it. (Not only because the "real life" is starting now.)
The questions were: Will I find my classrooms on the first day? Will there be people I already know in my courses? And how will I decorate my calendar this year?

I get all "awwww" by the look of the pencils and notebook the shops are flooded right now. School was fun! And now there are so many more (colour) choices of EVERYTHING then when I was starting school! For the colour explosion in my bag alone, school would be fun!


I'm out of school, I've finished Uni this june.
I'm still kind of hangover with it, but actually I llllllooooooooved shopping for pencils and notebooks… maybe I'll pick up your suggestion and shop (my closet) for outfits.
And learn something new, but this I always do, can I nerd out completely and say "Learning is fun!"?
Yeah, I thought so!


I just finished college and really wanted to buy school supplies this year! I took my brother school shopping but it wasn't the same. He buys the plain stuff and does not care about post it's and sharpie colors.


on top of a very full life, i'm still in school doing what i should've done 10 yrs ago in retrospect. the new school year always means a new binder, pens, pencils, paper, and makeup!


I was so sad about not going back to school this fall (for the first time in 18 years!! since I just graduated from college) that my mom bought me a new notebook and pencils to make me feel better. Aww.


Ugh, I have had to take a leave of absence from school for this year and maybe next >:I So I didn't get to buy any school supplies this time around. Boo! Out of school you forget how mentally stimulating it is. To find arguments for your thesis and use your critical thinking skills… It keeps your brain on the move.

But yes, I also LOVE LOVE LOVE all the back to school sales that have been going on everywhere! I get all giddy and want to buy everything đŸ™‚ The colors, the patterns, – they really do have WAY nicer things than they did when I was a kid.

erin louise

I love the decorate a door idea! I have a shoe closet (I'm a lucky girl) that needs some pretty-ing up, and I'm definitely going to do something like this!

I'm starting a new job next week, too, so it's kind of like the first day of school for me. I'm currently working on choosing my first day of school (work) outfit and it's kind of fun!


This is hysterical. I'm an unemployed high school teacher reading this while I sub in an elementary classroom (somehow fun and torture all at once).

I've been stockpiling classroom supplies since before I graduated from college. And I love office supplies.


I love this! How inspiring of you.

(Although maybe to be honest I'm probably most inspired to go buy a new bag – that one is pretty perfect!)

Maybe I should try something a little more cerebral or worthwhile. Yep.


Awesome post, Sarah! I would especially love to do the new outfit/handbag/office supplies thing. And I should catch up with old friends. Thanks for the great ideas!


I love this post!

I'm starting a new university course (and moving abroad) in less than 2 weeks from now.

I have already bought a new filofax and some other stationary, now I just need a new outfit! đŸ™‚


I invited my first grade teacher to my upcoming wedding. Something about the way she encouraged and supported me never left my mind, and we've mailed each other birthday cards every year for 20 years. I was ecstatic when I found out she was coming to see me get married! She is going to get her own special shout-out from me at the reception. Teachers rock, no doubt.


I loooove back to school stationary and totally know how happy it makes me when I open fresh new books or try out marvellous pens đŸ™‚ I got myself a very-expensive moleskin diary last month and i love it!


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