The emotional rollercoaster of going back to school

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Summer is over.


Those three words can have wreak psychological havoc on even the most balanced and well-adjusted kid.


Why is that? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Some are obvious, others less so. Most kids have enjoyed a few months of freedom – hours and hours to play, socialize with their besties, be creative, be outside, explore and learn on their chosen terms. The return to school reminds them of uptight classrooms, uncomfortable desks, rigid rules and stressful tests. Ugh.

Who wants that? It’s the way many adults feel every Sunday as Monday looms. Here are some of the many things you’ll feel about going back to school this year. Starting with…a feeling of:


It’s about to happen. Any day now. And you have no control over it. Like jumping in to bed as fast as you can because the monster under the bed might get you. As each day gets closer and closer, you realize that your beautiful, amazing, wonderful, perfect summer is…ending. Fast. And your soul is suddenly consumed by a sense of utter dread. This is when kids realize that life isn’t all about fun and games. It’s basically a reality check. The very first one, and it happens year after year.



Math problems on the board. English grammar. Mean teachers. Mean girls. Bullies. Gossip. Competition. Embarrassment in gym class.

Sounds like a big bunch of no thanks. Summer was full of spirit and adventure, warm, long days and friendship. Swimming. Arts and crafts. Archery. Camp. Fun stuff. And now it’s back to the drudgery of WORK. Homework. A schedule you don’t want. Just remember that you’re not alone. All your friends are going through the same feeling. The same dread. The depression. They’ll be at school with you, too and that’s not so bad. Plus there’s probably someone pretty cute there that you haven’t even met yet. And that’s always something to look forward to…

Doing boring grown up stuff


Books. Notebooks. School supplies. Back-to-school clothes shopping. Your parents are trying to make sure you’re prepared but your mind is still at the pool, at the beach, at the picnic. Adding insult to injury, you have to WAKE UP EARLY EVERY DAY now. Nooooooo. The absolute worst. Why do they do this to you? Hey, at least you can start to learn some cool stuff this year and maybe show off your new clothes.

What if it’s weird this year?


A lot can change over the summer. The uncool kid can suddenly become the super popular athlete. You might decide to try playing the guitar and discover you’re awesome at it. You might have a teacher who, for some reason, gives you a hard time. It’s a big ole toss up. That much uncertainty after a summer of freedom and joy can be downright unnerving.

How will you adjust?


**You just will.** You’ll find your people. You’ll learn new things. You’ll work harder than you did last year. You’ll make that teacher like you. Because that’s what school is about. It tests your endurance, it makes your stronger. And that sort of weirdness is, well, good.


The hours are insane. Study after study shows that kids need more sleep in their youth than they’re allowed to get. But our society marches on and the kids just have to deal with it. Your sleepiness is natural. If you get caught drooling on the desk in art class, it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of a flawed society so take some comfort in that. Guaranteed you’re not the only one. The one thing you can do: go to bed early. It might seem boring but you’ll feel a lot better when that alarm goes off in the pitch dark the next morning.

Painfully nostalgic


You can pack an entire lifetime into one summer. The people you met. The things you did. Where you went. All those Instagrams, all those Snapchats, staying up all night, laughing until you cried. It’s the best of times. How will you let it go? Can’t you freeze time? Unfortunately, no, you can’t. What you can do is bond super hard with the friends you have, with the friendships you already strengthened and face the future together. Friends are everything. Isn’t it great you have them?

Glimmers of hope and motivation

You remember, suddenly, that you can’t wait to see so and so. You can’t wait for the excitement of a school dance. For lacrosse tryouts. For band. For after school activities. To be the leader you’ve been practicing becoming. You have a clean slate. It’s a whole new year. You can become an entirely different person if you want to. So do it. The world is your oyster. Make the most of it.


Back-to-school jitters are actually so…much…fun. You can’t sleep the night before the first day. You have your clothes laid out, your back pack packed. You’re ready. But your mind won’t quit. What will homeroom be like this year? Will I get the teacher everyone says is so great? Will that boy or girl notice me this year? I’m taller/thinner/stronger/smarter than I was last year. I’m shining. Will anyone see it? And your friends, the ones you’ve been hanging out with all summer, they’ll be there to support you every step of the way, just as you will for them. This might not be so bad after all.



You’re actually pretty stoked that school is starting actually. As annoying as it is to get up so early, do homework and take annoying tests, there are so many other great things about school that you can’t wait to get into again. So have a fantastic year. It’s totally up to you to make this your best one yet.

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