You toss and turn the night before, and wake up for the big day with a stomach full of butterflies. It's not the new teacher or the stress of having to do homework again that bothers you the most. Instead, you -- along with a million other students -- are worried about making that first impression.
To marketers, it's one of their peak seasons for sales. For parents, it's a time of preparation. But for students across the nation, it is a day of judgement. Whether you are starting middle school, high school, college or just another school year, the first day of school can bring about mixed emotions.
First impressions are key, and the first day of the school year is a chance to make or break your position in the school hierarchy. All that preparation comes down to that one moment when you walk through the doors of your school and have all eyes on you. Back-to-school ads often create the illusion of everyone's dream first impression -- being the popular kid at school who gets all the attention walking down the halls.
According to a back-to-school survey by KidsHealth.org, one quarter of students who participated said that their biggest fear about school was their appearance. The clothing brands you wear play a role in your appearance, and advertising often portrays how a backpack from this designer store versus a school bag from that department store can spare you from being a social outcast.
Lunch break is another stressor for the first day of school. Entering a cafeteria full of new faces can be daunting, and so you search for the right group of friends just to prevent yourself from being that kid sitting alone.
Now think back to your very first day of school. At that time, it did not matter to you where your clothes were from, and your only concern was when you would be reunited with your parents again. No one at kindergarten cared about the label on your clothes, they were just as nervous as you to make that first friend. As we mature we become more conscious of others' opinions.
What do the popular kids at school and the lonely kids at lunch have in common? They both have the desire to belong.
So as someone who has suffered many first-day-of-school jitters, here are some words of advice. Do not expect your first day of school to be perfect. During the course of the year, things will fall into place. Why stress yourself out attempting to build Rome in a day when you know you have the whole school year?
A year or more from now, people will not remember you most for how you looked but rather what you did. Be yourself and focus on bettering that self. Take advantage of extra-curricular activities at your school. Join as many clubs and teams as you can. Make your own mark, rather than relying on a brand to do it for you.
And if you are still stressed out about your appearance on the first day of school, then do this. Try remembering what you or your classmates wore on the first day of school last year... Now isn't that next to impossible?