Back to school nostalgia

Is it bad that towards the end of July I scroll through Facebook green-eyed with envy as my teacher friends head off into a 6 week holiday and then feel a little bit of glee when back to school approaches? With my sister as a teacher and many good friends in the profession I know it’s a well deserved break and they cram in the hours during term time, but I can’t seem to help it. Maybe it’s the memories of those glorious long breaks left open to playing outdoors and without the pressure of coursework or exams clouding over me that I remember?

All of these thoughts randomly came to mind in the stationary aisle at Wilko. I was looking at colouring pencils after a friend gave me this beautiful colouring book for my birthday and inevitably passed the pencil cases. From there the back to school nostalgia began…

Picking your new pencil case was probably the highlight of the back to school shopping trip. Carefully choosing which camp you were going to join (zip up or hard case), adding some colourful and unnecessary gel pens (glitter and even scented) into the basket and having the joy of filling your new case with your new stationery when you got home. I indulged in a bit of nostalgic shopping and found a few I’d choose this year…


Alphabet bags/ Kate Spade/ Emma Bridgewater/ Happy Jackson

The next important buy was the back pack and making sure you’d picked up on the latest trend. I most remember the soft toy phase, I had Kermit the frog (!!) for a while, in which I could only fit my pencil case. Then there was the purple Quiksilver one-shouldered bag which felt like the coolest bag I’d ever owned. The rest of my belongings would be put into a carrier bag of whatever shop was the place to go (Jane Norman seemed to go on for years!).

The only piece of my school uniform which I was interested in was the shoes and choosing the right pair felt vital to friendship success. I’m sure I had many painful trips with my mum to shoe shops trying to choose something I liked, probably pleading for the most expensive or impractical pair in the shop. Kickers had a real moment, pricey at the time I didn’t manage to get any of those but ended up with a pair of Pods. A pair so impractical that I remember falling over in them so many times! Possibly a clear sign of one of those trips where my mum just gave in.

On the topic of shoes, does anyone remember the white socks over tights phase or was that just a Midlands thing?

The first week back to school was probably the highlight of the year. Reunited with all the friends you didn’t see over the summer and full of fresh enthusiasm. I still seem to associate September with that renewed feeling of energy!

I liked getting fresh new exercise books. Possibly because of the newness feeling, definitely because some teachers let you cover them with either your latest heartthrob (there was certainly a Peter Andre and Leonardo Dicaprio edition) or the best sticky plastic you could find in Staples.

I was somewhere on the outskirts of the popular kids at school, a little too shy and into my study to make the final cut. When I went to uni it always felt like everyone became a bit more equal and open to a mix of friendships, probably a better reflection of life outside eduction.

Back to school at uni days were a bit different (I wrote about a brief post about university nostalgia). But they mainly centred on being back on campus and living somewhere where you knew or recognised everyone, Freshers fortnight, and feeling flush after seeing the student loan in the bank account.

Oh the nostalgia for those back to school days! What are your main memories of that September feeling? Is it a different experience outside the UK?


  1. September 11, 2015 / 11:10 pm

    Great post and lots of it rings true to me, I well remember the excitement the year my mum bought me a pair of Kickers for my school shoes! And Jane Norman bags, I had a collection of those for ages. The thing that’s definitely stuck with me is a love for crazy funky coloured pens, I’d write in purple all the time if I could!!!

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      September 14, 2015 / 8:44 am

      You lucky thing, my 14 year old self would have been very jealous of those Kickers! Ha it’s purple is definitely more fun than black, blue or the dreaded red! I’m currently reliving my love for felt tips with the colouring book 🙂