Caitlin Gallagher
August 29, 2017 4:10 pm
Walt Disney Pictures

A new school year feels like the perfect time to reinvent yourself. But what’s so wrong with who you already are? Sure, you should take advantage of coming into school fresh out of summer to break bad habits like being disorganized or procrastinating, but improving your study skills doesn’t mean you need to change your identity. And you should never feel the need to reinvent yourself when heading back to school.

Tons of movies about high school and college have people transforming to the oohs and aahs of their fellow classmates. Yet, while you should always feel like you can try out a new hairstyle or eyeshadow, back-to-school season doesn’t have to equate to changing up your style or appearance. Even deeper than that, going back to school doesn’t have to equate to changing up how people see you. Because even if you didn’t have the greatest school year the year before, denying who you really are won’t help matters.

So if you’ve been torn about reinventing yourself for the new school year, here are some reasons why you totally don’t need to. And yes, we’ve most definitely included some wisdom from Elle Woods in here.

You have enough stress going on in your life.

Although there are many exciting elements to heading back to school, there are a lot of stressors involved with new subjects to study and schedules to balance. Why add on anything else to worry about, like trying to pretend you’re different from who you are? Ideally, life should be less complicated when you’re just doing what comes naturally to you, and if that’s the case for you, then don’t put more pressure on yourself by adding a new persona to your already growing pile of school work.

It’s unrealistic.

Let’s be real: Updating yourself on a purely superficial level probably won’t have a real lasting effect on who you truly are. Even if you go further by doing some digging and attempting to change some core parts of yourself, you probably won’t be able to dedicate the time and energy it would take to make any significant changes to your lifestyle. Even changing a few habits during a school year is difficult, so changing who you are? It doesn’t seem like a good way to spend your time. How about practicing some self-love instead?

You don’t want to be a Sandy.

Although Grease is a beloved movie-musical, we should all be able to recognize that insanely problematic ending where Sandy embarks on an extreme makeover to win over Danny. Yes, we still adore Grease, but wouldn’t it be 100 percent better if Sandy stayed true to who she was? So, please, don’t be a Sandy because being yourself is cooler than any black leather outfit and worth more than Danny Zuko’s love.

School isn’t about changing who you are…

Although our social lives are a super integral part of school, so is education. Don’t let societal pressures dominate your time at school because there are so many other things to care about, even if it doesn’t feel that way a lot of the time.

…it’s about finding what you love to do.

So what are those other things to care about? Beyond classes, there are extracurricular activities galore available to you. If you’re upset with how school has been going for you, rather than alter your identity, alter what activities you participate in. Don’t be afraid to try out things you’ve never done before. Along with making different friends and getting some new experiences under your belt, you’re almost guaranteed to be distracted from thinking only about how people perceive you. Instead, you’ll be busy finding out who you really are and what you really want to do.

After all, the best thing is just to believe in yourself.

Who are we to argue with Elle Woods? She says in Legally Blonde that having faith in yourself is the most important thing,, and we’re with this Harvard Law School grad. Rather than fixate on a personality or style remodel, focus on the one and only phenomenal you. That’s a life lesson to keep in mind any time of year — not just at back-to-school time.

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