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Don't be a stress mess! Chill, chica! How to handle any end-o'-year pickle while staying cool as a cucumber.

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From fighting with the sibs to strugglin' to keep up in school, stress is almost unavoidable. But around this time of gear, as finals, playoffs and other major events (hello, prom!) loom in the not-so-distant future, the pressure just piles on. How can you escape this inevitable stress storm unscathed? Here's our advice for keeping calm and carrging on--no matter how sticky the sitch.

You're so far behind in Spanish, it's driving you muy loco. If you don't do something quick, you might not even pass the class.

SMART SOLUTION: Bring your worries to your teacher's attention, stat. Tell her why you're having such a tough time, and ask what you can do to catch up. Maybe she'll offer some extra-credit work or an hour of her time after school to help ya finally figure out those conjugations. Finding a personal tutor is a good move, too. Whatever you do, don't struggle in silence, senorita.

You took a boatload of honors and AP courses this semester and, as a result, your GPA fell from a 4.0 to a 3.3. Now it's time to break the news to your parents.

SMART SOLUTION: Instead of confronting the 'rents with nothing but negative news, put a positive spin on it. You may not have a 4.0, but you did pick up some valuable skills this year--like putting together an amazing PowerPoint presentation and writing a killer research paper. Then explain that though your grades may not be stellar this semester, you now know how much you can handle academically. Above all, express that you're trying your best and understand the importance of good grades. They'll be impressed with your achievements--and the mature 'tude you're taking toward learning as much as you can.

Two nights before finals, you're sideswiped by awful news. As in, your BF dumps you or your parents tell you they're separating.

SMART SOLUTION: It's all about getting your head back in the game ASAR You may be totally hurt and completely shocked, but it's key to keep plugging away so your grades don't suffer, too. Know that you didn't do anything to cause any of this pain, so don't beat yourself up. Soak in a bubble bath, indulge in a couple of Oreos and try to regain your mental strength. You'll inevitably have to deal with more sadness later on, but for now, look at studying as a welcome distraction. After all, your life may be chaotic, but acing your finals is something you can control.

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Evergone else in your class is counting the sees 'til the final bell, but you're anxious about school ending and the fact that it means you're one year closer to college.

SMART SOLUTION: Change is scary, we're not gonna lie. But the reality is a lot of us waste time worrying about things that are never as bad as we imagine. Next year is probably going to be just as great as this one. Actually, it'll be better. And with all of the added pres- sure that comes along with applying to college comes even more excitement about all of the amazing things that are in store for you. So stop fretting about what's ahead. Instead, tell yourself the best is yet to come. Life may be an unknown adventure, but know you've got the skills to handle whatever comes your way.

You were all set to head to lacrosse camp this summer ... 'til your parents "surprised" you with six weeks at a sleepaway science program.

SMART SOLUTION: Sit your parents down and (calmly) tell them why you think it's better for you in the long run to work on your stick-handling skills rather than to spend all summer researching sustain- able energy. And hear them out, too. They just want what's best for you, and there is a teensy chance they actually know what they're talking about. Can't come to terms? Try negotiating: Seek out a similar--but shorter--program at a local community college that'll give you a chance to also attend lax camp. That way, you can please every- body. Most of all, yourself!

Prom's comin' up in a week, but your crush hasn't asked you yet.

SMART SOLUTION: No sweat--ask him yourself! Park yourself by his locker and when he comes by say, "So, hey, I've got a cool idea. Why don't we go to prom together?" Stay cool and casual with a big smile on your face--no doubt he'll be into your chill vibe (and totally flattered, too), and hopefully you've got yourself a date. And should he be so foolish as to say no for any reason? No harm, no foul. Just go with a gang of your girls and have a blast.

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You always choke at the worst moments--like standing at the free throw line, prepping to play your solo or getting up to give your oral history report.

SMART SOLUTION: When you're feeling the heat, the best thing to do is take three deep breaths--inhale slowly to a count of five, then exhale slowly to a count of five. Then, smile. It'll relax your face and mask any anxiety you may be feeling. Finally, sag to yourself, "Here's my best," and just do your thing. Remember, the more you prepare for life's big moments, the better you'll be able to handle 'em with ease, so practice, practice, practice. Eventually, you'll be perfect under pressure.

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Author:Mulcahy, Lisa
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:905
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