Carry On: Making It Through This Year

A (teensie bit late) school survival guide from two Risen kids to you.


Art And Text by Charis Hulong


Welcome lovely risen-heroes, to a new school-year; a fresh start for some, and a continuation of sorts for others. I anticipate some woke twitter rants, lots of fall colors, and maybe even a few political eye rolls. Of course, there is much to be anxious about, but there can also be  excitement. This is our year. Below are some tiny ways to compensate for the stress inducing hours of school and sleepless nights that we all know too well.

1) Start your year off strong with some sense of organization. I tend to get really stressed out about all the random things needed for the world of academia. To combat this, buy some cute mini sticky notes and those labels we all see at Target, but never think to purchase. They will make your life considerably easier. I always treat myself to a fresh planner, with lots of lines and space for all the tasks of the day, and for keeping test dates and homework deadlines straight, and with that extra room for much needed doodles, quotes, and notes. Cute paper clips and tri-fold folders are the key to organized assignments and handouts.

2)  Reach for the stars, whether that be academically, artistically, or athletically. This summer, I became obsessed with astrology and my place in the zodiac system. For stress relief, find your version of a tarot card reading, and unwind. Even if you don’t buy into the accuracy of all this “mumbo jumbo,” it can be fun to do collaborative readings with friends. I find that feeling a deck of cards can be very grounding when things get hectic. Even a smooth rock can serve as an anchor to your happy place. (⇽This is a real technique therapists use in meditation!) Other people take solace in painting, knitting, etc. Whatever it is, find something calming to do with your hands. I highly recommend some quiet meditation as healthy mental preparation for tomorrow instead of stressing and playing out future events or dwelling on the past. Mental, physical, and emotional health should not be compromised, even in that fevered pursuit of academic/athletic excellence. Which reminds me...

3) With the seasons changing comes chilliness, snow, and the longing for warmth. Light a beachy candle to remind yourself of calmer days, or find one that makes you feel more comfortable about fall. Brr. Crack open a bath bomb, and watch it fizzle into warm, steamy waters. The myriad of colors and its distinct aroma is sure to soothe your work-weary bones. Bring in a book, magazine, or if haven’t a moment to spare, break out your flash cards. Who says you can't be comfortable while studying for that physics final? Emerge from your bath-break a rejuvenated, baby-skinned, individual with the determination to persevere through the bitter winter and still bloom in the spring.

4) To combat big due dates or test days, create something that is comforting to you when you're feeling exceptionally low. I crack open a can of Arizona Green Tea and trace the leaves on the outside. In terms of specific test preparation, sleep is so much more important than you think. Your brain needs a break in between the studying and the actual exam to recharge it’s neutrons. All-nighters are not your friend. Study as you go, and rest up. You might remember more than you think, as long as you aren’t testing with a sleep-deprived brain.

  • Keeping a calendar (remember that planner I mentioned earlier?) will help you avoid last-minute cram-sessions. Come up with different symbols, or color-code, to indicate the importance and nature of various tasks you jot down for yourself. These are both good ways to keep priorities in line day-to-day and week-to-week. There’s always gonna be another project down the road so telling yourself you’re just going to put off your workout routine, skip a meal, or skimp on sleep to catch up, is unsustainable, unfair to your body, and generally a bad set of habits to indulge.

  • Additionally, Amelia and I have compiled a playlist fit for any heroine (here’s lookin’ at you, kid) for when you need to wake your brain up, keep on hustling, and get stuff done. Listen to it on the go, armed with determination, confidence, and good snacks. Here’s to a year fit for conquering! You got this in the bag.

With love,