Right now, school is out for the summer. In a couple short months, students will be packing up their shiny new pens and e-readers to return for a fresh start back on campus. It's an exciting time for those who get to go back, but for those of us who are not going back to school in the fall, the emotional reality check is starting to set in. We don't get to stroll in to our 11 a.m. class in sweatpants. We don't get to eat crap food at the dining hall with our favorite classmates. And you know what? That can feel a little sad.
Realizing you won't be going back to school sucks a whole lot. School was fun. There was a ton of pressure, but there was also a palpable level of freedom. You don't need to act like an adult... yet. You don't need to make any life-changing decisions... yet. You don't need to pay for insurance... yet. All of that seriousness was down the road. Life was all about studying, partying, and bonding with people you planned on knowing forever. But now you're in the real world, and you have to face the scary reality of getting a job, paying all the bills, and acting like a responsible grownup. Since it's such a frightening ordeal, here are the stages of realizing you won't be going back to school — because you are not alone.
1. Denial that anything will be different
"Just because I won't be in class doesn't mean we can't all get together on Thirsty Thursdays and go all out, right? Right?"
Wrong. You'll get busy. Your friends will get busy, and hangovers will be way harder to shake.
2. Just... panic
Once you accept the fact that your whole life is about to change, the big Qs that don't yet have As pop into your head. Will you nail that job interview? Will you have enough money to move out on your own? Will you have to settle for a part-time internship in your chosen field until something opens up?
3. A strong urge to stress eat
That panic will lead to lots of sweet and salty cravings that you know will make all the pain go away. Ice cream? Check. Cheese? Check. Pizza that you can devour on your own in one sitting? Check.
4. Full-blown existential crisis
As you lay there, completely bloated and scared for the future, your mind begins to shift into a food coma/nervous breakdown, and you might question things like the value of time, and what any of us are even doing here on this giant orb they call "Earth."
5. Lists on lists on lists
Once you've awoken from your existential food haze, you snap back into reality, and become the driven human you were throughout college. Sure, it's the real world — so what? You can handle this. You just need to get organized. Time to make some to-do lists and start checking some boxes.
Now that you know how to proceed, you begin to reflect. You think of all the college hotties you didn't make out with, all the nights you went to bed too early, all the exams you could've aced, and BOOM — you're seriously bummed out again.
7. Nostalgia to the extreme
But no, there were so many good times worth cherishing. The day you met the girl in your same major whom you shared notes with all four years. That time your roommates made you a cake because they knew you needed something sweet to celebrate the final exam's butt you kicked. And what about that guy you had a fling with who turned into a serious boyfriend? Ah, college was the best.
8. Curiosity paired with excitement
You didn't know what you were getting into when you started college, and you had an amazing time. What will happen next? That question still looms above your head, but it's not as scary as it once was. Now, you are open to a new beginning. You're ready for a new chapter. And you're looking forward to finding out what's in store for you.
Image: Warner Brothers; Giphy (8)