Although it took me a few years, I can finally say that I actually miss being in school. Let me clarify this. I don’t say this because I hated school; I actually always really enjoyed school, and I was good at it. But by the end of my time in high school, college, and grad school, I was very ready to be done, and I was surprised to see some fellow graduates declare via social media a few months later that they missed it like crazy.
Lately, however, I’ve been really missing school, mostly because of the built-in community it creates. It seems like it was so much easier to make like-minded friends there than it is in the “real world.” Also, in the uncertainty of life post-school, I sometimes find myself longing for the days of a semester schedule, with definite beginnings and endings and grades to mark your progress along the way.
But that was then, and this is now. So today I wanted to list all the things that are wonderful about NOT being in school to remind myself of the pros on days when all I can see are the cons. Here are a few reasons why not being in school is awesome:
1. NO HOMEWORK
I really can’t emphasize this enough. Homework isn’t great as it is, but when you’re a perfectionistic procrastinator, as Anna described, it means that there’s always something hanging over your head, causing stress and misery. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I missed because I was worried about getting homework done and was trying to be responsible. Or, if I procrastinated on homework to do something else, I never found myself fully enjoying it because I knew I still had homework to do later. Not having homework still feels miraculous.
2. Being able to read whatever I want
This may seem like the same thing as #1, but for someone who loves reading as much as I do, it deserves its own place. All during college, I never felt like I could read for pleasure guilt-free because I always, always, always had something else that I should have been reading instead. Mind you, I’m really glad that I had to read most of the things I read in school, especially because I probably never would have read some of them otherwise. But sometimes you just want to read Anne of Green Gables for the fourth time, amiright?
3. Exploring other facets in life besides school
For a normal person, school doesn’t get in the way of exploring other interests and facets of who you are. For someone like me who made school her identity, it did (and again, I never felt like I had time to get into other things because there was always school to be done). While I still had a lot of experiences in the context of school for which I’m grateful (band, choir, sports, and theater among them), I’m enjoying the opportunity I have now to tap into other things, like cooking, baking, blogging, hiking and (shockingly) crafting. Heck, I even like that I now have time to watch new TV shows without worrying that I should be writing a paper instead.
4. Having more diverse friendships
While it’s not as easy to make friends now with similar interests as it was in school, I’m grateful for the greater diversity in ages and interests among my friends now. I’m gaining wisdom from being friends with other adults who are further along in life than I am. I’m also being stretched in good ways from having friends who aren’t nerds just like me.
5. Realizing that life is about more than achievement
When you’re a performance-based perfectionist, it can be so easy to measure how you’re doing by your productivity. School feeds directly into this with deadlines and grades. But real life, outside of some work contexts, is much less defined. This can be extremely frustrating, but it’s so good for me. I’m still learning, but I’m growing in not defining who I am by what I do.