13 Ways To Celebrate Back To School Time, Even If You're Not Actually Going Back to School

My favorite seasons, in no particular order, are The Week Leading Up To Halloween, My Birthday Month, The Day That My Parents Pick Me Up From The Airport For Christmas, Friendsgiving, and — of course — Back-To-School Time. And yes, I still find ways to celebrate going back to school ever year, despite the fact that I haven't actually been in a classroom in... uh... quite some time. Why? Because it's one of the most exciting times of the year. And even though I'm admittedly somewhat of a nerd, there is no way I am the only human with this opinion. So here — let's celebrate together.

It's not just that back-to-school time coincides with the beginning of autumn, though getting to wear a sweater outside is going to feel like a privilege after this muggy-ass summer. It's that pervading sense of newness that never seems to go away, even as an adult — and yes, even as an adult who is very happy to not actually be in school anymore. Back-to-school time represents the chance to start over, and who doesn't like being able to wipe the slate clean and have another go at it? Whatever "it" might happen to be for you... well, that's what back-to-school time is for.

So even if you hated school and never, ever want to go back (or possible would like to forget it ever happened in the first place), you can still partake in these opportunities for makeovers, healthy lunches, and learning. I'm not going to say that we can all be lifelong learners, because that would be corny, but... we can all be lifelong learners.

OK, I'm sorry! That's enough! On with the celebration!

1. Get A Library Card

It's so easy! And so free! And you have access to so many enriching books! You would be amazed how weirdly empowering and grownup it feels to order books from the library!

2. Sign Up For An Online Class

Coursera, which compiles free online courses offered by colleges and universities from across the world, is a great place to start. Right now I'm taking Human Sexuality and a creative writing course. My dudes, it is so fun.

3. Invest In Some Educational Apps

You can study for the GRE with the Magoosh free vocabulary flashcards; you can learn 15+ new languages with Duolingo (including Irish and Turkish); you can re-learn math with Khan Academy; heck, you can even teach yourself how to read music with Udemy. Whatever you want to do, there really is an app for that.

4. Host A Clothing Swap

New school year = new clothes. New clothes = $$$, which I never have. But arranging a clothing swap with an extended group of pals circumvents the whole "needing money" thing. Throw a glass of wine or two into the mix and it gets weird, but in a good way. You might walk with some sequins. Which is ideal, honestly.

5. Take Advantage Of End-Of-Summer Sales

It's the mo-o-o-ost wonderful ti-i-i-me of the ye-e-e-a-a-a-a-ar. No, not that time (although that one's pretty good, too). This time means that there are many glorious things to be had for a fraction of their previous costs. Yes, please.

6. Give Yourself A Makeover

That seventh grade dream of showing up on the first day of school looking like a brand new person never dies. So go ahead. Dye your hair blue. Get a tattoo. Pick up an article of clothing you don't think you can pull off but want to try anyway. Pierce your ears. The sky is the proverbial limit. Now is the time for reinvention. Set yourself free.

7. Create An In-Home Workspace

Because even if you love your job, you are more than your nine-to-five. Designated workspace leads to endless side projects. Plus, I just have a weird obsession with well-decorated desks.

8. Start Journaling

And use it as an excuse to buy some school supplies. It also helps with depression and anxiety, so "priorities" or whatever.

9. Be Your Own Parent

And by that, I mean pack yourself healthy lunches for work. Stop eating out of the vending machine or waiting 30 minutes in line at the burrito place down the block every day (although there's definitely a time and a place for Burrito Day). Here are a bunch of healthy lunch ideas. Also, check out parenting magazines. I'm serious — they're actually very helpful for tips on feeding yourself.

10. Begin A New Book Series

And if it's a YA book series, or one that involves magic or a fantasy world or vampires or witches or time travel, I will not judge. If you forgot what a book is, here are some of the best books of 2016 thus far.

11. Take Advantage Of Your Weekends

Come September, I immediately began valuing that Friday night through Sunday evening window a whole lot more. There is no shame in being a Weekend Warrior.

OK, there is a little shame, but as long as you don't try to force me to come kayaking with you, it should be fine.

12. Join A Club

Book club, craft circle, running group — something that gets you out of the house, out of your routine, and into a new social group. Make new friends, just like you always used to do on the first day of school.

13. Commit To Learning A New Skill

Learn to code! Learn to cook! Learn to play the violin! Or maybe something easier, like the ukulele! Whatever it is, really commit to it — make it a point to do more than dabble in it, then set it aside. Obviously you can feel free to dabble in whatever you like and set it aside whenever you like, but sometimes, it's worth really sticking with something. You never know when that new skill will come in handy.

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