As summer winds to a close and beach trips are swapped out for exams, classes and homework, I encourage you to be excited rather than crushed! While bonfires, summer camps and long days by the pool are all incredibly fun and relaxing, there is an unmistakable thrill in mid-August when it’s time to dust off your textbooks and resume your academic pursuits with a passion. In the name of celebrating the start of the school year, here are some charming media options that are sure to fill you with school spirit.
Never Have I Ever – Available to watch on Netflix
Although it’s disguised as a silly teen comedy, Never Have I Ever is so much more. Never Have I Ever chronicles the bittersweet and hilarious adventures of Devi Vishwakumar; a spunky, often misguided teen who’s desperate to fit in, find love and most importantly, get into the college of her dreams, Princeton. Never Have I Ever is quirky, sweet and boasts a captivating love triangle (Team Ben is obviously the only way to go). Devi is a very academically driven gal and the show is full of funny yet insightful reflections on academic passions, self-worth and how important it is to pursue your dreams. This show is great to watch with friends and commiserate on the challenges of juggling academics while maintaining strong relationships.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007) – Available to watch on Disney Plus
You’ve probably seen this movie and, if you’re like me, you wept bitterly until your face looked like a tear-soaked prune. Bridge to Terabithia tells the heartwarming (and heart-wrenching) story of Jesse and Leslie; two unlikely friends who use their imaginations to fill their lives with magic, adventure and camaraderie. Although this movie always makes me bawl, it also has some sweet classroom scenes that illustrate the way teachers can infuse learning with joy and wonder, making it a great option when it seems like your professors exist only to make your life difficult.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
In my humble opinion, Walk Two Moons is one of the best coming- of-age novels out there. This book tells the story of Salamanca, a shy teen who moves to a new town while struggling to accept her mother’s death. Walk Two Moons tugs on the heart strings and offers many sentiments about friendship, grief and family. Many amusing scenes in this beautiful novel take place in the classroom, highlighting the power of storytelling, friendship and the vital role that teachers play in connecting with the younger generation.
Gifted (2017) – Available to stream on Tubi
Gifted is a profound, heartwarming tale about family, the power of intelligence and how it’s important to embrace the beauty of normalcy instead of reaching for the stars. Gifted tells the sweet tale of Mary and Frank, an academically gifted seven year-old and her uncle, as they navigate the choppy waters of how complicated it is to be a true genius. This movie always makes me laugh and cry, and it makes some insightful reflections on how unique gifts and talents can be a double-edged sword. It also highlights the powerful work of teachers and how it often only takes a single person to make you feel seen and valued.
Abbot Elementary – Available to stream on HBO Max
A teacher’s experience of pain, joy and amusing debacles lie at the heart of Abbot Elementary, a mockumentary-style comedy that is incredibly sweet and charming. Abbot Elementary chronicles the misadventures of a small elementary school staff and spotlights the chaos, poignances and challenges that teachers face in their everyday lives. Watching this show made me giggle, tear up and increased my appreciation for teachers and the hard work they contribute. Hopefully, Abbot Elementary warms your heart and gets you excited to invest in all of your amazing professors and instructors this semester.
Even if you’ll miss the warm, hazy days of summer vacation, I hope these films, books and TV shows infuse you with some academic excitement and get you pumped to revisit the classroom this fall.