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GL proudly presents: Our 2021 back-to-school ABCs (for a whole new kind of year)

To say that this will be a school year unlike any other is, um, an understatement. Everything has changed...and yet it hasn’t (masking might still be a thing for a bit longer, but caf mystery meat = forever).

And while being back might feel super weird (especially if you haven’t been in person since who knows when), this year is also the chance to take everything you learned in 2020 (think: how you want to spend your time and with whom you want to spend it) and put it into action.

There’s no doubt that learning to put yourself first and communicating your needs takes practice, patience and more than a little guts—but being honest about what makes you happy is a skill you absolutely can master.

Think back to where your journey all started, when you were a wee tot making your way to school for the very first time. The most important thing you learned that first year? Your ABCs. They were the foundation of everything.

So in the hopes of giving you a new base to build from, may we present GL’s 2021 back-to-school ABCs for a whole new kind of year. Stick them on a Post-it, write them in your journal, cut them out and put them in your locker. The singing? Well, that’s optional...

Accept that things are going to feel different...and that’s OK.

Be kind to yourself. Yeah, that’s a total cliché, but there’s no one more deserving.

Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Aced that calc quiz? A BFF mani-pedi date is most definitely in order.

Ditch the comfort zone. Choose the challenging class or finally chat up that cool new girl.

Empathy is everything. Spread positivity and those same good vibes will come right back at you.

Find your people. School doesn’t seem as daunting when you’ve got a go-to study buddy, a favorite teacher and a squad that *always* texts you right back.

Grades aren’t the be-all, end-all. Get your work done...but know there’s so much more to school (and you!) than a letter on a page.

Happiness starts with the people surrounding you, so look for besties who make you feel your best and smiliest (even on tough days).

Ignore that little voice in your head. Your insecurities don’t define you.

Just breathe. A morning meditation never hurt anybody.

Know yourself and what you need...not just to succeed, but to thrive (even if that means going against the crowd).

Less stressing about the little things = 100% your new motto.

Mental health matters. Test scores, friend drama and after-school activities come second to your own sanity.

New year, new you. There’s no better time to change up your look (a new haircut and a fresh fit never felt so good).

Own your errors. We all make mistakes, but it’s the best way to grow.

Push yourself when you need to. It’s also OK to play to win.

Queue up your fave study playlist and get down to business, says our covergirl Shay Rudolph. (Need inspo? Check it out here.)

Relax, and don’t worry so much about what others think. Truth: When you’re authentically yourself, you’re radiant.

Say hey to that cutie from chem class (finally!). You never know where it might lead.

Tackle your hardest projects first. You’ll thank yourself later.

Use your support system when you need it. Somebody’s always got your back.

Variety is vital. Yes, you can be on the swim team *and* audition for the school play.

Wear what makes you shine. That jumpsuit is calling your name.

X”press yourself all year long. Saying it again for y’all in the back: Don’t let all that soul-searching you’ve done in the past year go to waste.

Yes, sometimes the movies are right. You’re going to make so many memories.

Zero. That’s how many doubts we have that you’ll *own* every moment.

XOXO, Karen

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our August/September 2021 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.


by Karen Bokram | 8/23/2021