Imagine it. No Kindles. No iPad. No computers. No DVD players. No X box. No cell phone. No hair straightener. No electricity…just kidding, although that’s something my kids always assume didn’t exist. But seriously, if you were a teen girl in the 1980’s here are 15 back to school hacks that would no longer fly today but worked perfectly well as a teen in the 1980’s.

1. You stocked up on Aquanet and hair gel. It was very important on the first day of school to perfect the perfect “poof” bangs. The hair gel helped crimp your perm and made it nice and crunchy.

2. You had multiple pairs or jellies and you needed several pairs of these because they could really stink if you wore them over and over.

3. You set out your fluorescent dayglo top and bubble skirt the day before the first day of school so that everything was perfect. You made a mental note to wear and peg your acid washed jeans on the second day of school.

4. You made sure that your Swatch watch bands coordinated with your outfits.

5. The night before, you made your own lunch: peanut butter and jelly with an apple. Since there were no microwaves at school and not even at home until the later 80’s, lunch was pretty limited. You put ice cubes in your thermos with the chocolate milk even though you knew it would stink a few days later.

6. You stocked up on pee chee folders.

7. You packed your Sweet Valley High books so that you had something to read during reading time.

8. You did laundry the night before and made sure you had enough leg warmers for the week. You wanted to get that “Flash dance look.”

9. You used your allowance to buy the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack (on tape, of course) and made copies to give out to all your friends on the first day of school.

10. You bought a new purse to put your keys because you had your own set since you were seven.

11. You filled the tires of your bike up since that’s how you were getting to school. No one arrived at the school by car unless one possessed a broken body part.

12. Before school started, you made sure your parents bought all your favorite cereals: Pacman, Ghost Busters, Captain Crunch and Cookie Crisp. Even though they cut your mouth all up, It was worth it because they tasted so delicious!

13. If you wore makeup, you made sure to buy your mascara in blue.

14. You stayed up late the night before the first day of school to make friendship bracelets for all your friends.

15. You set your alarm extra early so that you could get in a good 20 minutes of playing Atari.

Erica Sutherland

E. Sutherland resides in California with her husband and two children. Along with working full-time and being a mom (which is her favorite job!) she also writes in her spare time. Every essay is inspired by her children.