By Shanda Snyder

Picture it: you open your eyes to a crisp Monday morning greeted by rays of sunshine streaming through your window, and you can’t help but smile knowing that you don’t have a worry in the world. If only this scenario really existed.

Chances are if you’ve experienced something along these lines, you’re probably still asleep, blissfully dreaming you’re not the over-burdened college student you really are.

Real Mondays, at least for the students of the world, tend to look a little different.

More like this:

You rise from your warm bed and before your feet hit the cold, hard floor, you remember every little thing that you have to accomplish that day.

That thought alone isn’t enough and the panic swells.

That’s when you go so far as to worry over all the other things you’ll face throughout the week:

The hours you’ll spend studying for the big tests just around the corner;

The looming rent, electric and car insurance bills that must be paid;

The cringe-inducing realization that you’ll have to work a few overtime shifts just to cover your expenses;

The growing mess that’s swallowed your apartment;

The nasty little announcement from your bathroom scale that you’ve gained three pounds over the weekend;

The realization that you’ll have no time that week to continue your flirtations with the cute guy that you started talking to;

The even worse realization that those three pounds probably won’t be going away soon, as you have no time to get to the gym;

And then on top of all that, when will you manage to get any sleep?

Stress. It’s the one thing all college students have in common. There is always a deadline that has to be met, an event to be attended and countless hours to be worked. These endless tasks pile up on our “to do” lists, put pressure on us and cause our lives to resemble one gigantic struggle.

We all want our lives to have structure. We all want things to work out a certain way. And we all want to get things done right the first time.

For many, this is our idea of how life should unfold, and if we don’t succeed in getting things right, the resulting stress can overpower us.

It’s inevitable.

We want our clothes to be folded neatly, we want our diets to work accordingly, we want a specific amount of money in the bank to feel secure and we want to have an unwavering faith in our social lives and relationships.

We all have our own definition of perfection etched into our minds, and when our actual lives don’t fully conform to our expectations of what they should look like, we stress.

And we struggle to come to grips with the fact that almost everyone lives a life that’s full of mistakes and that we are all going to screw up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the cliché, “nobody is perfect.”

And I can’t tell you how many times I have to remind myself that, seriously, nobody is perfect.

“Being perfect in my own imperfections” is the new phrase I am trying to live by.

I am not going to make an “A” on every test. I am not going to have a body that looks like it was sculpted by the gods and sometimes I am going to overdraw on my bank account because I failed to remember about the many bills I’m going to have to pay.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll realize: None of us will ever reach perfection.

So maybe there’s a different track to take-one that doesn’t cause the world to collapse if we allowed ourselves to just relax, eat a freaking cupcake now and then and be at peace with the fact that we are going to screw up every now and then.

Nobody’s perfect.

And that is perfectly OK.