Summer is almost over and school will be back in session soon. What does the phrase, “back-to-school” mean to you? The answer to this question for me has changed over the years. When I was in elementary school, going back to school was exciting. It meant a new teacher, meeting new friends, new school supplies and learning new ideas. By middle school, the excitement was replaced with self-consciousness and anxiety of having to look right to the other students. The phrase changed to mean clothes shopping. Back then, clothes shopping wasn’t done in malls or department stores in our house, rather my brothers and I spent hours looking through the Sears catalog and circling clothes we wanted. By high school, the phrase “back-to-school” meant an end to summer and the freedom of being able to spend an entire day reading a book of my choice. It meant I would once again have to start doing homework and reading the books my teachers’ assigned. By the time I was driving, back-to-school meant the return of school buses getting in my way to work. And when I became a teacher, I think all the above emotions reemerged every fall. The excitement of elementary school, the anxiety of middle school, and the lack of freedom I felt in high school. As summer winds down and a new school year is about to begin, I plan to spend these last few days enjoying the time with my children, and appreciating the educational opportunities my parents and this country have provided for me.