Fall officially started this week. By now, most students in the Larchmont area have already packed their school supplies, picked up their backpacks, and returned to school, sparking a complicated combination of emotions for students, parents, and teachers alike.
For many students, this fall marks a distinct return to normalcy likely unseen since before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020. While the pandemic is certainly not over, schools across Los Angeles have lifted mask mandates for students and are conducting fully in-person classes. Chase Cheng, a junior at Loyola high school, spoke of his excitement for the return of certain school activities this year.
“It’s nice to go to dances and attend events that were previously canceled due to the pandemic,” said Cheng. “We can have a somewhat normal high school experience.”
Despite the somewhat unique circumstances of the new school year, for most teenagers and children going back to school brings normal feelings of dread, excitement, or anxiety. The experience is inevitably a mixed bag, with some students anxiously awaiting return to school and others much preferring summer vacation. But whatever people’s feelings about this fall are, there are undoubtedly still things to be excited about. Students like Maya Jen, a junior at Marlborough School, are looking forward to the upcoming school year.
“Even though I’m stressed about my classes, I am still really happy to be back in the classroom and see my friends,” said Jen. “I am excited to see what this year will bring.”
As for me, this year feels different. My relationship with going back to school has shifted throughout my life. When I was younger, I used to be the kid who, on the last day of school before summer, would proclaim how absolutely devastated I was to leave. School was a place for me to hang out with my friends for seven hours a day, with the occasional distraction of academics. Rather than a period of freedom, summer represented the dawn of spending days alone with my family, bored out of my mind and desperately searching for fun activities to fill my weeks. I eagerly awaited cooler, crisper fall air, the emergence of school supply ads between my cartoons, and my eventual return to school.
Now that I am in my junior year in high school my perception has flipped. The foreboding prospect of college applications and the stress of the school year has made summer a safe haven in my mind, a temporary and necessary break from the difficulties of being a student.
Coming back to school this September, while I was still filled with excitement to see my friends, I dreaded my classes and the seemingly endless school year that stretched out in front of me. When talking to other students my age, coming back to school is usually associated with similar stress and anxiety over schoolwork and the future.
When I think about both these perspectives, I feel like it highlights the need for a moderate point of view. I think it is extremely important to find a balance between completely dreading the return to school and looking forward to nothing more than it. I confident there’s a way to interact with school in a way that is healthy and works for individual people and their needs. Finding that comfortable space where school is important and fun, but not all-consuming is consequential. It’s hard, but I am looking forward to hopefully finding this balance and am excited for the school year ahead!
My name is Abby Byrne and I am a junior in high school at Marlborough School. I am currently an editor for my school newspaper and have always loved writing, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to write for the Buzz! I have lived and gone to school in the Larchmont area my whole life and am so happy to be able to celebrate and write about the community that has been so important to me.