5 Back to School Poems to Bring You Comfort

The journey through higher education is a transformative one, marked by academic challenges, personal growth, and a spectrum of emotions. As back-to-school season dawns upon us, it’s natural to experience a mix of excitement, anxiety, and anticipation. In this whirlwind of emotions, poetry can serve as a comforting and insightful companion, offering solace and wisdom as you embark on this new chapter. These five back-to-school poems will envelop you in a warm embrace and help guide you through the next semester, and beyond. 


“To the New Student” by Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux’s poem “To the New Student” extends a gentle hand to those stepping into the world of higher education. It acknowledges the fear of the unknown while encouraging courage and curiosity: “When you see the college / from the distance of your neighborhood / it is a mountain: / imposing, mysterious.” The poem reassures you that even as you ascend this academic mountain, you are not alone, and the summit holds promise and adventure.


“The Journey” by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s timeless poem “The Journey” invites you to reflect on your individual path and purpose. As you navigate the labyrinth of college life, remember that the choices you make shape your destiny. Oliver writes, “One day you finally knew / what you had to do, and began.” The poem’s resonance lies in its affirmation that your journey is unique, and each step is a part of your personal evolution.


“For the Student Struggling with the Conflict Between His Aesthetic Beliefs and His Education” by David Lehman

David Lehman’s witty poem offers a humorous take on the struggle between artistic ideals and academic norms. As you grapple with reconciling your creative spirit with the demands of your studies, this poem provides a chuckle and a reminder that it’s okay to question and challenge: “You like Keats; I like ‘To His Coy Mistress.’ / You love Shelley; I think Swift is best.”


“The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s “The Invitation” extends an open invitation to the reader to embrace all facets of your college experience. This poem encourages you to fully engage with your studies, relationships, and self-discovery. With lines like, “I want to know if you can be alone with yourself / and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments,” Dreamer reminds us that every experience, even the challenging ones, contributes to your growth.


“There Is No Frigate Like a Book” by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson’s enchanting poem, “There Is No Frigate Like a Book”, celebrates the power of literature and knowledge to transport and comfort the mind. As you delve into your studies, remember the magic that books hold. Like a frigate, or ship, Dickinson writes”This traverse may the poorest take / Without oppress of toll.” The poem underscores the idea that books are vessels of exploration and solace.


Stepping back into the university halls is a thrilling yet apprehensive experience. Poetry offers a different perspective, a unique source of comfort, and a gentle reminder that you are not alone in your journey. As you navigate your academic odyssey, let these poems be a source of inspiration, insight, and solace, reminding you that you have the strength and resilience to overcome challenges and make the most of this transformative phase in your life.