July 11, 2013 WHEN YOU’RE FREAKING OUT ABOUT NEXT YEAR IN SCHOOL Today’s advice question comes from Ayesha, who writes: A few weeks before I left school for summer vacation, my gym teacher said that we were going to mix classes with the boys for fun. I really didn’t like that idea because I like boys and girls separated. My mom emailed the teacher asking if I could be dismissed from her class, and boy, was that a mistake. I got my report card emailed to me a while back, and the teacher wrote that I needed to get rid of my shyness and stay focused. Another thing that bothers me is that there are other girls who are amazing at sports, and my teacher puts me with them, even though I’m horrible. I have a long summer ahead of me but don’t know what to do with these nightmares of facing gym again in September. I’m desperate for advice! My Advice: Hi Ayesha! I can tell you’re kind of freaking out about this gym thing, and I TOTALLY feel your pain! For me, playing sports in gym class is more awkward than trying on training bras while my mom stands outside the dressing room asking, “How’s the bra fitting, honey? Need a different size?” That’s SUPER embarrassing, but I far prefer THAT kind of training to the kind you do to get good at any sport. So the first thing I want you to know is that you are not alone! Dorks and non-dorks around the world DREAD gym class, with or without boys! The super uncomfortable changing-in-the-locker-room thing, the being-picked-last-for-teams thing, the pressure to NOT score a point (or goal or run or whatever) for the wrong team… Forget about having nightmares ABOUT gym…gym itself can be a nightmare! Now that we’ve gotten clear on that, let me tell you: it’s possible to know that gym can be super lame but NOT completely spaz about it. I know, because I have spent almost nine years (since kindergarten) perfecting this art!! My first piece of advice: Remember there are A TON of other kids like you and me. You know that I-want-to-hurl feeling you get when you think about playing sports with boys, and girls that are better than you? I GUARANTEE more than 75% of your class feels the same way…even the cool kids. They’re just too cool to show it! Even if someone’s super awesome at sports, they’re probably thinking about someone else who’s better than them. That’s what competitive stuff make us do…COMPETE with each other!! So when you start feeling embarrassed, shy, or nervous, look at everyone else and imagine they’re thinking the same thing. That will make them seem a whole lot less intimidating! My second piece of advice: Remember that laughter is your friend!! If I cried every time I was super awkward in gym I would probably be COMPLETELY dehydrated. (That would be a lot of tears, because our bodies are 60% water…I’m WAY better at learning useless information than doing sports!!) Instead, I try to laugh whenever I do something dumb (which is pretty much all the time in gym). I mean, I know I look pretty ridiculous, but I ALSO know that I’ll probably joke about it with Chloe and Zoey after school. So I figure, why not just joke about it RIGHT THEN instead of feeling all down on myself? My final piece of advice: Don’t let tomorrow’s gym class ruin today’s beach day! Think about it: if you freak out about next year all summer, will it REALLY help you when school starts again? I know you can’t control your dreams, but you’re having nightmares about that stuff because you’re thinking about it. Try to think about all the cool things you’re going to do this summer instead! And maybe you can even practice sports with friends some time so you feel more confident when school starts. Or, if you’re like me and you’d rather dig a 200-foot-deep hole with a spork than play sports when you don’t have to, talk to your friends and ask them to help you chill about it. The summer is WAY too short to miss it with thoughts about school!! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Ayesha?