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Perspectives: The Back-to-School Season

Welcome to the first post in a new series called “Perspectives.”

As an agency, our process centers around affective empathy, where we try to better understand the lives of our brand’s customers, but more so, uncover the shared values between the two entities. And through that process, we need to gain perspective.

So, in the spirit of bringing our process to life in a unique way, each week, we’ll present you with a relevant topic and share a series of perspectives from five employees with varying backgrounds.

Our first topic? The back-to-school season.

Eric Sutton, Digital Creative Director: I know a new school year is about a month away when the boxes start to arrive. Dozens of them land on the porch as the year’s curriculum is meticulously pieced together. The dining room gradually transforms into a classroom. And late Summer parent-teacher conferences begin on the couch. I confer with my son’s amazing teacher who is also my amazing wife. We homeschool. It may be untraditional in some ways. But just like the start of any other school year it is time to marvel at the people our kids are growing into.

Jinn Liu, Junior Copywriter: For me, back-to-school means the end of an era. Having just graduated from college, I’m currently floating in this purgatory between what used to be carefree dependence and this weird impending thing called adulthood. But back in the day, I loved the back-to-school season because it felt like I was standing on the edge of the cliff “anything can happen.” Every new school year was a new opportunity to reinvent myself. Now that I’m grown, it’s kind of weird to change who you are every year. But just because there’s no need, doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.

Dana Wantman, Senior Partner/Director of Brand Management: I’m a creature of habit and I LOVE routine, so I very much look forward to the day when back-to-school rolls around. It means everyone gets back in line — up at certain time, after school activities, planned family dinners, fall baseball… no more summer free for all. It also means work heats up — clients are back in the office, vacations and long weekends come to an end. The actual start of school also means back-to-school shopping ends and holiday shopping season starts. For many of our clients, that’s a critical time of year, which makes it all the more exciting for us. There’s a renewed energy that comes with the back-to-school, at home and at work, although for very different reasons.

Amy Nagy, Director of PR & Social Influence: For me, back-to-school means back-to-demands. Being a working mom, every moment needs to include some sort of multitask. During summer, there’s less pressure for homework, special wardrobe requests for tomorrow’s school celebration, school meetings (that always coincide with work meetings) or worrying about bedtime. As soon as September comes, that all changes. Now, when I go out to buy my lunch at work, I grab an extra fruit cup for tomorrow’s school snack. As I do battle over bedtime, I hunker in the corner of the room with my computer doing the work that didn’t get done because I had to sneak out early to make after-school-care pick up. And my early morning runs are full of brainstorming ideas for the day so that I can hit the ground the moment I get in in the morning — albeit a bit late (from morning drop off). It’s exhausting, and demanding, but if I’m honest, it makes me better. By October, I’ll be firing on all cylinders. But for September, you may need to cut me a bit of slack.

Jodi Riseberg, Broadcast Media Buyer: To say that I have mixed emotions about heading back-to-school is an understatement. Oh how I love the long, hot days of summer — kids staying out late, sleeping in, lots of powdered donuts (and I’m talking about the little white powdered ones in the bag) and endless burritos. A good part of the summer my kids are at overnight camp. They are having the time of their life, and I don’t know how, but I somehow find the strength to fill my time. Catching up on Netflix is priority one. Next, I purge the kid’s closets — donating all their favorite old stained t-shirts to charity (I mean, how many t-shirts does one child need anyway?). I love spending time with my dog — he asks for nothing and there is no attitude and no eye rolling. Sitting down to a lovely dinner of Cheerios with my husband is fantastic (does Corona go with Cheerios?). However, the start of school means a new beginning, a fresh start, crisp fall weather and endless possibilities. Yes, some structure, some order. Oh, how I seriously crave that. Let’s start on the right foot — family meeting maybe? Homework? Reading? Chores? Fall sports? But, oh no, the dreaded question they ask me every night, “what’s for dinner?” Really, must they eat dinner every single night? Maybe burritos just a little longer or maybe take-out pizza, but I will insist on veggie pizza. In October, the crockpot will be going and the steamed broccoli a plenty. And for the record, I will not be posting the obligatory back-to-school photos on Facebook, even though, in my humble opinion, my kids are by far the cutest. Good luck, everyone, deep breaths, it’s going to fine, we can do this.

What’s your perspective? Tell us in the comments below.