5 Things NOT To Stress About For Back-To-School

08/19/2013 04:43 pm ET
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With summer winding down, it's totally natural to have the back-to-school jitters. After being out of school for three months, heading back to the classroom can make anyone feel a little uneasy. The good news? We're here to tell you that some things just are worth stressing about. Read on for 5 things you can cross off your "worry" list before heading back to school.

1. Having a "back-to-school body."

You already know that striving for a "bikini body" can be a dangerous idea, but so is aiming for a "back-to-school body." After not seeing most of your classmates for the entire summer, you might feel pressure to arrive to class on the first day of school looking different, but this is an unhealthy idea. Instead of worrying about numbers on a scale, if you need a first-day-of-school boost of confidence, try wearing your favorite pair of jeans or break-in those new Converses. Confidence doesn't come from a scale, so don't get hung up on how you look. Focus on how you feel.

2. Joining every single club/activity/sport.
When school starts up, your first instinct may be to join everything, whether it's trying out for the volleyball team, auditioning for the Drama Club's fall production or leading your Student Senate. While it's great to want to be involved in all that your school has to offer, it's important to remember that quality is better than quantity. Joining everything under the sun doesn't necessarily increase your chances of getting into your dream school, but most importantly, if you over-commit to too many activities, you won't be able to truly enjoy yourself. It's better to pick three activities that you love and can invest your time in as opposed to juggling six. You'll feel happier (and less stressed) that you did.

3. Having all of your college applications completed.
If you're entering your senior year, the pressure of applying to college can feel completely overwhelming at times. It doesn't always help that there is that one classmate who already has all their college applications signed, sealed and delivered, but you shouldn't compare your application journey to someone else's. While you definitely shouldn't wait until the night before to send your applications (stressful, much?), know that you still have time. From teacher recommendations or finishing those dreaded essays, set yourself a realistic timeline of deadlines and as long as you're able to meet them, you'll get everything done in time. Deep breaths, everyone.

4. Getting perfect grades.
While getting good grades is no doubt important, it's unrealistic to expect perfection -- especially if you're working with a packed course-load. As you take more challenging classes in high school, it's totally normal if you find yourself struggling a little. Instead of of beating yourself up because you flubbed that pre-calc quiz, try and cut yourself a little slack. If you're having trouble understanding the material, schedule a meeting with your teacher so you can figure out where you're falling behind or ask that math whiz who sits in the front row if they would tutor you during lunch once a week. The trick is to speak up early if you find yourself struggling -- and not be embarrassed if you are.

5. Not having a "life-changing" summer.
So maybe you didn't go on an amazing service trip to South America and maybe your crush on the pool lifeguard didn't exactly develop into the summer love story you dreamed about gushing to your friends during lunch on the first day of school -- and that's okay. It can be difficult to listen to your friends tell about their summer adventures while you were scooping ice cream, but just because you didn't have something "magical" happen to you, doesn't mean your summer wasn't worthwhile. Maybe what made your summer great was the little things, like reading that one book that made you look at life a little differently, or volunteering at your local animal shelter. While those things may not seem "big" to you, those meaningful experiences will still stick with you the whole school year.

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