Anyone who’s ever worn a poly-blend cap and gown knows that graduation is more than just a chance to grab a diploma and accept wanderlusty gifts from friends and family. It’s a moment to soak in the pride of years of academic accomplishments and to look ahead to what’s next. And if you’re finding yourself at the end of your school career, it’s also an opportunity to say to yourself, “Hey. I’m free. No. More. School.” Cue the praise hand emoji and the Champagne toast emoji and every other emoji fit for a celebration.

When post-grad life becomes the norm, though, and the days of homeroom and final exams become a distant memory, the “no more school!” refrain begins to sound more sentimental than victorious. Add in autumn’s signature chill (and Starbucks’ fall beverages, of course) and it suddenly feels like the lack of a back-to-school season is leaving a serious void in your 20-something life. With September just around the corner, we’re right there with ya, and our BTS nostalgia (dare we call it FOMO?) is at an all-time high. To show our solidarity, we’ve rounded up five reasons that this time of year pulls at our heartstrings. Keep reading for all the deets on our many feels.

1. Stocking Up on New Styles + Supplies: Whether the goal was a new pair of sneakers for gym class or a fresh batch of notebooks, who didn’t love the prospect of a good back-to-school shopping trip? While our love for new school clothes has transitioned over time to a general interest in fall fashion (statement sweaters, anyone?) and we’ve successfully converted our enthusiasm for a good spending spree at the office supply store to a passion for all things stationery, shopping — especially in August and September — is just not the same without the promise of a first day of school right around the corner. Sadly, there’s no way to replicate the excitement that comes with imagining how you’ll style a new pair of jeans for your school’s first football game, or planning how you’ll implement a new locker organization system with the nifty file folders you found on sale. And don’t even get us started on the hole that’s been left in our lives ever since we stopped getting to choose a new backpack or lunch box at the end of each summer.

2. Reconnecting With Friends: The only thing better than spending the summer months at camp, on family vacations, or simply laying low at home (admit it — everyone had that summer) was the anticipation that came with BFF reunions when all those other activities were said and done. After a June, July, and August chock full of adventures, heading back to school meant it was time to get back in touch with pals, catch up on all the summer happenings, and compare class schedules (duh). We all know that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and never was the saying more true than in the sweet, sweet transition between summer vacation and the first day of school.

3. Getting Back into a Routine: The ease and lack of structure that came with childhood summers was pretty magical, but so was the return to lunch bags packed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, predictable TV rotations, and Saturday night group dates to the movies. These days, we cherish our independence, but it sure would be nice to have a similar post-summer safety net to get swept into as grown ups, especially if it meant we could get back to spending every day with our friends and not in a cubicle.

4. Setting Short-Term Goals: Life as an adult often seems to revolve around establishing and working toward the completion of big goals: saving up for a new place, nabbing a promotion, getting in shape, cultivating healthy relationships, visiting a friend in their new home overseas. These objectives are, of course, awesome, but they’re also hard to wrap your head around. They require extensive planning, tons of time, and even more patience (not one of our greatest virtues). And while great efforts often pay off in great satisfaction, it’s a different kind of satisfaction than we earned in our school days. At the outset of a new academic year, it was time to set our sights on goals we could reach in a few weeks or months: a better GPA, a spot on the softball team, the perfect birthday slumber party. Don’t you miss the feeling of those manageable ambitions? We know we do.

5. The Feeling of Starting a Distinct New Chapter: With those longer-term goals come seemingly longer, increasingly stretched-out life phases that suddenly begin to blur together. So removed from the days of yearly milestones and regular graduation ceremonies, adulthood is one long exercise in getting up each morning and kicking butt at daily life, even though there’s no proverbial carrot to pursue. Our academic careers were more clearly compartmentalized, and we knew that finishing one chapter would allow us to easily transition to the next.

What do you miss most about going back to school? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)