21 things you remember about going back to school

The beginning of September brings many things. The transition from summer to autumn (“the nights are drawing in”), knitwear replacing sun dresses and playsuits in Topshop and Christmas decorations hitting the shelves (I really hate this). But most important of all, September is back to school time; the halcyon fun-filled days of the summer holidays now a distant memory. Here are 21 of my back to school memories ( complete with obligatory embarrassing school pics).


  1. The night-before anxiety. Not being able to sleep due to a combination of you “getting on the wrong shift” (thanks Mum) thanks to all the summer lie-ins, late nights, nerves and excitement.
  2. A new pencil case (Disney, Groovy Chick and Hello Kitty were always winners).
  3. The sun shining smugly and radiantly on the first day back to school now that you’re stuck in a classroom all day, it having poured it down for the entirety of August.
  4. New stationery: number one was a selection of smelly gel pens (bonus points if they were glittery too), one of those Tippex rollerball things because the liquid type was on the school’s “banned” list and a jumbo pencil that was impossible to write with.
  5. “No you can’t. It’s a school night!”
  6. The stress of buying new school shoes. Mum: “Why can’t you get some sensible shoes from Clarks?” Instead, you insist on Kickers, Rockports if you’re a bit chavvy or Dr. Martens if that’s more your scene (kid). Ironically in my twenties I love Clarks shoes – so comfortable.
  7. Gloriously free evenings replaced with homework. Ugh.
  8. The first day crackdown on school uniform: short skirts that are more than 6cm above the knee, ties that showed fewer than four stripes and any kind of badges on your blazer that dared to show your personality were all punishable by death. Or maybe detention. This was before the teachers gave up after a couple of weeks, of course.
  9. Psyching up your stomach to prepare it for school lunches again. Turkey Twizzlers, Smiley Faces and baked beans in the pre-Jamie Oliver days.
  10. The “motivational” first assembly that was more like being told you all had an incurable disease and had only months to live.
  11. The bus. The seat hierarchy and terrifying Year 11’s on the back row.
  12. Forgetting how to write with a pen after not doing so all summer, resulting in handwriting that looks like a five-year old's (mine still does now).
  13. “The bell is a sign for me and not for you.”
  14. Finding out to your disappointment you have the mean teacher with a real body odour problem, Mr Sweatman (Sweetman).
  15. Finding out that Mr. Sweatman is actually lovely and a great teacher so you’re wracked with guilt for the rest of the year because you joined in the brutal taking the piss out of him and even did a few impressions of him yourself. The guilt is at its worst when you get an A*.
  16. The new timetable: Double Maths followed by PE on a Tuesday morning. FML.
  17. The awkward, new boy-girl seating plan that endsup with you sitting next to Kyle, the acne-ridden pervert of the year who couldn’t keep his hands (or bad breath) to himself.
  18. Finding your Mum’s sewn-in name labels on literally EVERYTHING. I'm too old for this.
  19. Deliberately not bringing in your PE kit on the first day back even though you knew full well that you would probably have Games that day and therefore get bollocked by the Head of PE.
  20. “It’s your time you’re wasting, not mine.”
  21. Your failed summer transformation into a Year 10 sex goddess (or appropriate equivalent) that all they boys will fancy. Instead you got braces and glasses. Puberty is cruel.

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