Fast Times at Real Life High

I began my Tuesday with an email from a friend (who is still in school) asking if the end of summer feels the same when you’re no longer a student. The short answer, of course, is yes and no.

No because come Tuesday-post-Labor Day, those who work go back to the same office they left on Friday. No because there’s no declaration that this is the semester of All A’s, or that you’ll make a new friend or maybe, a boyfriend. No because the tote you’ve been schlepping your laptop in all season hasn’t been replaced with some shiny new backpack. No because Pink Pearl erasers don’t really need to be refreshed for the sake of September 2.

It does, however, feel bittersweet; there’s the “yes” part to my younger friend’s question. The end of summer is always sad. But it also comes partnered with a sense of excitement: a fresh start, a new outlook, a chance do something really great.

Fashion Week helps that mentality — having shows on the imminent horizon is a reminder that in just a few days we will all get hit with new ideas and inspiration and things to talk about and places to be. Even if you don’t work in the industry of clothes or live in a city that hosts the sartorial equivalent of Back to School, social media allows everyone to dive right in to a portal of creativity that sets off a chain reaction for the next few months.

What will I wear?

What will I think?

And the very existential: who will I be?

The end of August “after you’ve been working all summer” (as my friend kindly reminded) is a much more seamless transition than being jolted from lazy Wednesdays into pop quizzes. Most guys you know aren’t going to “suddenly get hot”; your adult lunch table will probably not — assuming you just run to the corner deli or hit up Panera — “have drama.”

I think you never stop missing June, September will always feel new, and eventually you learn to be happy that leaves turn brown and crunchy.

Image shot by Ellen von Unwerth for Vs. Magazine

  • I feel like I’m so far from the time of “going back to school” that I actually forgot that returning to school was a thing. Much unlike the end of summer 2010, when I probably should have been institutionalized. I could not be happier this summer is over. For the first time since the 2nd weekend of May I have 0 things planned for this weekend. wHo WaNTs To HAng Out?!

    • me me me me me! I do! Come up to Montreal where I can *legally* head to a bar with you because the drinking age is 18 wool woop.

      • forreal, my friend and I were talking about a trip up there the other day! What will you buy with the money saved from not needing a fake ID? Those darn things were expensive.Happy first day!

  • DGM

    This is so on point. I always lose sleep over the change of the seasons but am eventually happy Fall is here!

  • Today was my first day of college! I had a class in the morning and will be leaving for another class in about 15 minutes. This is a new chapter and I so excited an eager to learn again, especially since senior year was quite easy towards the end. I want to do well in school but I also need to get better at living in the moment. Letting go a bit more, accepting the invitation to the party, not just residing in the safety of a few close friends.

    Even though school doesn’t last forever, there will always be ways to challenge ourselves and bring about change, as Amelia so accurately and poignantly stated above.

    Here’s to new and good things for all MR Folk in the coming months! X

    • Amelia Diamond

      i am so jealous that today is your first day of college. HAVE SO MUCH FUN. DO NOT FALL ASLEEP IN CLASS.

      • if you do fall asleep, just know it will be the most expensive nap you’ll ever take. how luxurious is that?

  • Quinn Halman

    This was an unbelievable read. Really, the only constant thing in life is change and everything about this (see piece above) relates back to change. Going into senior year I can obviously relate and when you see your thoughts, that you didn’t know you had, written out; it’s a wonderful thing. Thank you, Ms. Diamond.
    PS: Is this friend cute?
    PPS: I liked the usage of “schlepping”

  • I start my LAST year of college tomorrow. I want to take it real slow this time because I’m just as clueless about my life this time next year as I am about where my missing socks are.
    September is always a bit assuring for me knowing that I have somewhere to be for the next few months. But alas, Amelia’s post is a bit assuring too.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Liz Warners

    I feel the same way. Even though I am two years past college, I can never escape the ‘back to school’ feel (it does not help that half of my friends are teachers). The idea that young minds are going to go get molded and potentially change the world forever is so exciting. Our future leaders are in our midst!

    While I am sitting at the same desk that I’ve sat at for the last 6 months, I feel refreshed. I am excited about what I can do to change the world, and to pursue some crazy ideas that I come up with one day. And hopefully work with some of these new and fresh minds that are going to their first day of school today.

    September is always fresh and exciting even though we are leaving summer behind, and you portrayed that idea perfectly.

  • Tara Jayne

    I don’t care that I’m 27 and back to school is not at all relevant. I still went back to school shopping- online. This sweater will be waiting for me when I get home from work tonight bc September is an excuse -piled on top of all the other excuses- for shopping.

    That sweater will make 9-5 bagged lunches more bearable for at least two weeks.

    • Amelia Diamond

      oops i back2school shopped 2

  • andrea raymer

    This is my first fall not going back to school and it feels weird. I have been going through a phase of trying to find activities to join or something to satisfy my feeling of needing something new.

    Anyone know of any soccer teams I can join?

    • Amelia Diamond

      i seriously bet if you googled your city and intramural soccer you’d find a billiion!!

  • I can’t wait to see who I’ll be after back-to-school stops involving going back to school…I’ve been in class for two weeks now and with a Major change (to fashion product development) and Minor change (to journalism), I get to sew and investigate all of the things. September will always be an exciting time; it brings perceptible change, and I think it’s hard to not be positive about that prospect. Happy fall, y’all.

  • Sofia Thraka

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while, but it’s the first time I relate so much to a story that I actually sign in to comment. Every September I have the exact same thought, about students at school vs people who work. I am somewhere in between(last year at university) but still I feel I can understand the difference and it’s just that you put it so beautifully. Ah I am so emotional right now because it’s such a transitional period of time, finishing university and figuring out what to do next. Great read!

    • Sofia! Join us in the comments section more often! Also, have a great last year of college. I’m sure it’s a little stressful as you are closer to the “real world” than you ever have been before, but believe in your education and hard work and good shit will come your way (or, at the very least, you’ll be well-equipped to fight for the good shit.)

      • Sofia Thraka

        Hi Emma,
        thank you for all the kind words. I will definitely comment more often, I just needed to start somewhere 🙂

        • Yay! Welcome welcome welcome and can’t wait to disqus some more in the future. X

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hi Sofia,

      Love having a new commenter, as you can see it’s a friendly bunch. Enjoy your last year at university — it’s easy to get a little caught up in the “what’s next” anxiety, but I assure you EVERYTHING works out so you might as well be in the moment while in your final year. Just try to not get arrested! But if you do that might work out too! (Still, try not to.)

      Have the best year, take advantage of everything, if you can avoid it don’t rush into a job just because you’re anxious about not having one (if it’s your dream job, go for it) and like, dance a ton.


      • Sofia Thraka

        Thank you so much for the advice Amelia, I’m going to party tonight!

  • Helen Bichsel

    Its my senior year of high school and moments ago I chopped off all of my hair and dyed it black #ifeelnew yolooooooo

    • olive


    • Amelia Diamond

      PIC PLZ

  • Hudson Berry

    Well said.

  • I never stop missing June. You are totally right.

  • Rebecca Nevarez

    When you graduate, don’t have a job, and live in Arizona, every day is summer.

  • Cinamaron

    I am 26 and out of school and every fall it seems like SOMETHING should be going on. I still get a bit of that back to school feeling, even though nothing is changing. I miss that ‘new school year’ mentality, though. You get a sense that this is the year for you, you can change everything! I would always tell myself that THIS year I would really study and work hard. Of course that never happened, but the feeling of possibility was refreshing.