After the whole paycheck thing, I would say the best part about transitioning from academia to the working world is discovering how glorious the weekend is after a long week of work. I no longer have to be jealous of 90% of the people in DC who look like they have fun on weekends.
Instead of planning Saturdays and Sundays around a memo writing schedule, how much reading I had for the week, a journal assignment, or even worse- studying for the bar, I get to go to karaoke for my roommate's birthday, do Restaurant Week lunch with my favorite ladies, hang out with Alex, get a Wii, watch football, and sleep in. Granted, I could do many of these things before, but now I do not have to feel guilty about it.
I think it was good that I went straight from college to law school. I never fully understood what I was missing, and it would be hard to have it any other way.