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Your back-to-school survival checklist

 
The first day of school was always my favorite. Why? Because everything seemed possible. Fresh notebooks, an organized binder and a spankin'-new locker were all I needed to know this year would be amazing. Headed to homeroom, I was ready to be the new and improved me.
 
So how long did my "best year ever" optimism last? Oh, until about fifth period. Well, maybe it was more like three weeks before I realized that, unless Phoebe Wall died from inhaling too many laser printer fumes, my chances of being editor of our school newspaper were exactly zip.
 
So what stopped me from poking my eyes out with my newly sharpened number-two pencil for the next 180 days? My own personal "how to survive school this year" checklist. It went a little something like this...
 
One killer closet item. Feel free to judge my priorities, but you do start every morning by getting dressed. And having that one pair of perfect jeans or amazing boots makes all the difference on days when you just want to crawl back into bed and throw the covers over your head. So toss on your killer closet item, and let adorable, happy you take on whatever comes your way.
 
A secret boyfriend. He can be the most gorgeous guy in school. That senior whose locker you pass on the way to lunch. It really doesn't matter, because he's your secret boyfriend--and no one will ever know. Secret BFs give you something to look forward to every day. So mentally say hi to him in the hallway. Daydream about your first date during math class. And when you tire of him? Guiltlessly move on. No muss, no fuss.
 
One drama-free friend. You know how some girls wake up and decide to be mad at you for no reason? Yeah, that ain't her. When life on the high school seas gets rough, she's your port of sanity.
 
A personal challenge. Whether it's running an extra lap in gym or keeping your desk organized, challenge yourself to do one specific thing every day. OK, I admit my thing was more like never wearing the same outfit twice (layering, accessories, highly borderline print mixing...it can be done, people!). But if you prefer loftier goals like "start things before the night before they're due," well, go you. The point is, at some moment every day, you are doing something just for yourself.
 
A change of plan. You know your classes, you now your sports, you know your extracurrics. Yawn. It's easy to feel like the school year is a painfully slow, lather-rinse-repeat march to June. Mix it up by walking to school a different way, chatting up the girl who sits behind you in homeroom or volunteering to lead the class project. By the end of the year, who knows? You just might be the new and improved you. And you just might have the Best. Year. Ever.
 
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BY KAREN THE EDITOR ON 7/8/2011 7:00:00 AM

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