What Does Back to School Mean To You?

Back to School

’Tis the season (no, not that one – despite what store displays might have you believe, we’re not quite there yet) of back to school.

This particular season comes in several different flavors: sweet, bittersweet, and, occasionally, sour. For some, the three simple words promise shiny new supplies and friendly reunions. For others, streets packed with school buses only spell anxiety and frustration. For many, it’s a season of multitasking on overdrive, pausing only to wonder where our summers went.

Regardless of where we fall on the back-to-school blues spectrum, however, we all share one thing: sometimes it seems like only yesterday that we were getting ready for our own first days of kindergarten, meticulously laying out the outfits we’d enter high school with, organizing our binders, praying to pass our finals, and walking across the stage with our diplomas. So we asked people from all over the Lehigh Valley,

“What does back to school mean to you?”

Meetings upon meetings upon meetings. Occasionally I get to teach.

Robert
Bethlehem
College Professor

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Liz
Nazareth
Mother of 2

I think about having the right clothes, who my teachers will be, and the ever-present drama.

Christine
Bethlehem
7th Grade


The Jersey Shore in September is wonderful. The crowds thin out and September becomes my favorite month.

Jill
Coopersburg
Mother of 3

I’m nervous because I have to start a new school.

Mia
Easton
5th Grade

It means more cleanliness, spending less on groceries, and reclaiming my house. But it also means one more year closer to sending my kids off to college and realizing that I don’t have little babies anymore. It devastates me, but it makes me happy knowing I’m sending responsible adults into the world.

Aimee
Wilson Borough
Chef and Mother of 2


Equal parts dread, anxiety, hope, and excitement.

Anthony
Bethlehem
College Professor and Father

School buses and an infuriating number of railroad crossings when you’re in a hurry.

Amanda
Easton
Mother

The smell of new pencils. Mmm.

Samantha
Quakertown
High School Senior


I get to see all my friends again.

Timothy
Bethlehem
5th Grade

I remember seeing back to school posters and sales and it started to slowly ruin my summer. It was a buzzkill.

Britt
Bethlehem
Yoga Teacher

I’m just waiting for fall to start. I love seeing all the leaves change.

Ryan
Bethlehem
College Junior


Back to school means that I get to go back to my second home. It means that I will be back with the friends and staff who have supported and helped me grow for the past 3 years.

Jess
Kutztown
College Senior

Noooooooo!

Laureen
East Stroudsburg
8th Grade Teacher

It means it’s time for lunch box love notes.

Vera
Bethlehem
Mother


Back to school means the literal act of preparing yourself mentally, financially, and physically to take on the stress of the public school system.

Dylan
Bethlehem Township
College Junior

I think everybody needs longer breaks and less pressure when it comes to learning, however, it is a relief when school starts again because my children and I do much better on a schedule.

Lynn
Salisbury Township
College Professor and Mother of 4

I don’t need to answer to the school bell anymore – having time to enjoy leisurely lunches with other retirees is terrific!

Rosemary
Bethlehem
Retired Teacher’s Assistant


To me, it means going back home. Summer has just become a long vacation to me, and school is my real life. All my friends are there, my work is there, and my social life is there.

Sara
Reading
College Senior

Summer means sleeping in and school means up at dawn.

Alyssa
Easton
Photographer and Mother of 2

I’m excited for the first day because I get to see my friends, but the rest of the year is stressful.

Lena
Easton
8th Grade


I get to stop hearing ‘I’m bored’ every hour on the hour.

Brittany
Hanover Township
Mother of 3

There is a special kind of anxiety that everyone feels when they realize the first day of classes is less than a week away. I just show up because I like the feeling of writing on the first page of a new spiral notebook.

Bryanna
Bethlehem
College Junior

Back to school is a time of hearing the kids complain that their summer vacation is over, but as a physician, I go ‘back to school’ every day. I’m always learning something new. The day you stop learning is the day you’re either God or you’re dead.

Brent
Moore Township
Physician and Father of 2


It means returning to the grind. Returning to a place where everyone has an intellectual goal and a place where some of your closest friends come back to after having amazing summers, ready to share their experiences and ready to fall back into that college life routine we all complain about but ultimately love while it lasts.

Priscilla
Bethlehem
College Senior

For me, it’s depressing. It feels like summer is over and the carefree spirit of warm summer nights is gone. But the truth is that we prepare for another year of school, the kids get excited, and before we know it, it’s Christmas. Then we count down to summer again. So, for me, it’s bittersweet.

TajLynne
Wilson Borough
Nursing Student

I don’t want to think about it.

Sean
Allentown
High School Junior


I get a little excited because I get to go shopping for school supplies and I get to see my friends all the time. But, I don’t like getting up early.

Katie
Macungie
5th Grade

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