back to school episodes
[Photos via Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Zoey 101/YouTube, Full House/YouTube, Boy Meets World]

It’s finally time to say goodbye to summer and grab your backpacks in preparation for the first day of school.  Going back to school can be a drag for many people. It means lots of homework, studying and dealing with social pressures in any grade. Bullies, bad roommates and unrequited crushes are part of the school experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun. 

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That’s why we’ve picked out 10 episodes from our favorite throwback shows that depict the good and the bad parts of heading back to school. They’ll either make you more excited to go return or make you glad to be watching someone else deal with the bullshit besides yourself. Before you have to set your alarms and cram in some last-minute reading, treat yourself to a little TV binge-watch session. 



1. Full House – “Back To School Blues” 

This season 3 episode shows D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) struggling to fit into middle school while Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) thrives being the only Tanner left at her school. D.J. is seen trying on makeup and new clothes to avoid being bullied. In the end, with the help of her family, she learns that school isn’t that bad. Use this episode as a reminder that going back to school isn’t the end of the world.  

2. Zoey 101  – “Back To PCA” 

The season 2 premiere shows Zoey (Jamie Lynn Spears) and Nicole (Alexa Nikolas) meeting their new roommate Lola (Victoria Justice) for the first time. They think she’s super weird until they learn she’s just an actress and was pretending to be strange. This episode also portrays Zoey’s major adjustment to PCA life in comparison to when she first arrived. Living in a dorm isn’t always easy, but you have to try to make it work without your mom’s cooking or your own bathroom. 

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3. Gilmore Girls“The Lorelais’ First Day At Chilton” 

Rory (Alexis Bledel) starts her first day at Chilton Prep on a bad start—Lorelai (Lauren Graham) accidentally sleeps in late and wears an embarrassing outfit. Even though she had everything planned, her mom ended up ruining her first impression. While Rory was upset, it goes to show that sometimes you just have a bad day and eventually it’ll end. 

4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – “Welcome To The Hellmouth” 

During the pilot episode, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) learns that even though she wants to fly under the radar on her first day at a new school, duty calls. She has to fight demons and vampires with the help of her new friends. Therefore, homework has to wait. Try convincing your teacher that “vampire slaying” is a good reason not to finish your first big project and see what happens.

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5. Unfabulous – “The Toot” 

In this third-season episode, Addie (Emma Roberts) heads to eighth grade feeling pretty confident. This all comes crashing down when she farts during her presentation, and she feels like her life is over. It quickly became old news when someone else was caught picking their nose, reminding Addie that sometimes it just takes time to get through a bad situation. 

6. Boy Meets World – “Back 2 School” 

Cory (Ben Savage) and Shawn (Rider Strong) cannot wait for their first day of high school after eagerly waiting all summer, but, of course, it doesn’t go as planned. They deal with bullies, detention and Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), which definitely makes for a rocky start. Odds are, your first day back won’t be this level of bad. 

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7. Sabrina The Teenage Witch – “Every Witch Way But Loose” 

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) heads to college for the first time, and her aunts Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick) are totally worried. She tries to get over her love for Harvey (Nate Richert) and deal with some problematic roommates by being a normal student. But witches can never be normal, she soon learns. 

8. Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide – ”First Day And Lockers”

Ned, Moze and Cookie want to start the year off with new friends and new looks, but they find out they’re pretty comfortable in their old habits. They also learn that lockers are a lot more than places to put your books. Honestly, any episode of this show is a good way to get you excited to go back to school and maybe pick up a useful tip or two. 

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9. Freaks And Geeks – “Carded And Discarded” 

This episode shows Sam (John Francis Daley), Neal (Samm Levine) and Bill (Martin Starr) making a new friend, Maureen (Kayla Ewell), and show her why being a geek is better than being popular. Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and the freaks also attempt to buy fake IDs, which is pretty entertaining to watch them go through. The episode is full of picturesque high school moments that might actually have you excited for this fall’s shenanigans. 

10. My So-Called Life – ”Pilot” 

Angela Chase (Claire Danes) decides that for sophomore year, she’s being more rebellious. She dyes her hair red and makes an edgier friend. However, the punk lifestyle becomes problematic when she gets into some issues with the police and is mortified in front of her crush (Jared Leto). This episode probably won’t make you feel better about going back to school, but it might make you want to dye your hair before the first day.