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This Letter Won’t Be Graded

Did you miss us? Yeah, we didn’t either. But if you’ve been wondering how the heck we manage to do it all, look no further for your answer. In this week’s letter, we talk about what it is like to be a full-time student while also running a business. 

Elise: To my Better-GPA-Half,

I’m putting off my quantum mechanics homework and a group presentation to write this. Chica is my absolutely favorite excuse to not do school work, and then, quantum mechanics is my favorite excuse to put off taking care of Chica accounting. It’s nice to have so many different tasks to take care of. People say that starting a business takes over your entire life. They say that you wake up early, work until late, and dream about your startup. We are students with jobs, and this makes us a bit of a contradiction. We were told that we would need to drop out of school, and maybe they’re right. Maybe Chica would be bigger by now if we weren’t in school.

Of course, I love the idea of Chica growing faster than it is. I want more people to be able to feel relief during their periods, and Chica being bigger will mean being able to talk to more and more people about their periods. Doesn’t that sound like fun? And yet, what can I say, we’ve always been intellectuals. Completing our degrees is very important to us, and we’ve decided that it’s ok to grow Chica slower while we’re still in school. Some days I hate that feeling, and I know you do too. We’ve spent hours discussing our ideas that we can act on when we just have the inventory. I swear it’s coming soon (fingers crossed)!

I can’t ignore that being students is really a blessing for us. It allowed us to enter the Big Idea, from which we earned our first seed money and hope to enter again. We are surrounded by peers who can provide feedback and help with photo shoots. Our professors provide support and economic insight, and some even offer to invest. Midterms and papers pop up, but we’re hardworking and driven. You truly blow me away with the amount that you achieve in school, and while I cannot wait for your graduation, it’s because I can’t wait to cheer for all that you accomplished in four years.

Best of luck finding time to write me back!

Love, Elise

Cassidy: To My Loving Litterateur,

At least our procrastination is consistent. I’m fairly confident I bombed a quiz last week because instead of paying attention in lecture, I was getting all sorts of excited about learning how to inject a block of code into our website so it would display customer testimonials. Now we have a testimonial slideshow that still looks like butt on mobile, and I have to figure out how to convince my professor that I do, in fact, remember the notation for a sampling distribution.

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me what it’s like juggling school while running a business. The most concise answer I can give is that I am always tired, always on the verge of tears (the happy kind, the stressed kind, you name it), and always distracted by the distinct feeling that I will never get enough done. There’s no question that this business has taken over my entire life. I eat sleep breathe Chica. I can’t remember the last time I had a dream that wasn’t in some way Chica themed, and all the little overlapping colored blocks in our executive Google Calendar haunt me even during my waking hours.

I often feel like we are trapped between a “success” binary. One school of thought tells us that we need to pursue degrees and become professionals in our field, while the other vehemently advocates for eschewing the for-profit-con-job that is higher education and creating our own success. Either way, we’re going to be disappointing someone. But I can’t help but feel that we just won the opportunity lottery. What privilege we have, that we can both get a degree AND own a company. Many people don’t have access to either, let alone both. We might not be able to reach our goal of paying off our student loans before we graduate, but we’re a damn sight closer to that goal than we would be without Chica.

So, you are right. Being a student entrepreneur is a mixed blessing. But I am proud of our progress, even though it has been comparatively slow. And I am proud of you. Who else has a cofounder that dropped out of high school expressly for the purpose of going to college two years early? Does she also have a radio show? No? I didn’t think so. I wouldn’t trade these bragging rights for anything in the world.

Cheers to doing our homework (at some point),

Cass

Image: @nouriflayhan

Poria

Fungus & Root

Scierotium Poriae Cocos / Fu Ling / 茯苓 Scierotium Pararadicis Poriae Cocos / Fu Shen / 茯神

Poria calms the heart and soothes nerves, helping with anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, Poria drains dampness, an excess of moisture that the body collects in the wrong places and makes us feel heavy and fatigued (hello moodiness).

Chinese Salvia

Root

Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae / Dan Shen / 丹參

Salvia root nourishes the blood and heart, and calms the spirit. Salvia works with Schisandra and Zizyphus in Chica Chill to help relieve insomnia.

Rehmannia

Root

Radix Rehmanniae Preparata / Sheng Di Huang / 熟地黄

Rehmannia root is your Yin nourisher, supporting calm and cold in your system. With its additional ability to help cool blood, increase fluids, and clear heart fire; Rehmannia is a star herb for soothing and preventing heat flashes.

Polygala / Thin-Leaf Milkwort

Root

Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae / Yuan Zhi / 元志

Polygala root nourishes the Heart, and helps soothe nerves and restlessness.

Schisandra / Chinese Magnolia

Berry

Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis / Wu Wei Zi / 五味子

Schisandra berry is famous for featuring all five flavors of Traditional Chinese Medicine: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, hot. This means that Schisandra is completely energetically balanced, promoting overall health and vitality. Schisandra helps relieve night sweats, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Schisandra is also rich in antioxidants that are thought to protect from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. 

Platycodon / Balloon Flower

Root

Radix Platycodi / Jie Geng / 桔梗

Platycodon root is a neutral balancing herb, meaning it is not especially Yin or Yang. Platycodon is nourishing for the lungs, which in TCM, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Scrophularia / Figwort

Root

Radix Scrophulariae / Xuan Shen / 玄參

Scrophularia root nourishes Yin, drains fire, and cools the blood. Scrophularia is particularly soothing for irritability.

Ophiopogon / Dwarf Lilyturf

Tuber

Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici / Mai Men Dong / 麦门冬

Ophiopogon tuber works with Asparagus to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.

Stemona

Root

Radix Stemonae / Bai Bu / 百部

Stemona root is a balancing herb in the Chica Chill formula. Stemona is nourishing for the lungs, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Licorice

Root

Radix Glycyrrhizae / Gan Cao / 甘草

Licorice acts as a unifier, balancing the formula and amplifying the properties of the other herbs.

Zizyphus / Sour Jujube

Seed

Semen Zizyphi Spinosae / Suan Zao Ren / 酸枣仁

Zizyphus seed nourishes the heart and calms the spirit. Zizyphus helps relieve insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

Ginseng

Root

Radix Ginseng / Ren Shen / 人参

Ginseng root, one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known for its ability to strengthen Qi and support life vitality. Ginseng nourishes the Heart and calms the spirit, helping reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Acorus / Grassleaf Sweetflag

Rhizome

Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii / Shi Chang Pu / 石菖蒲

Acorus helps relieve internal heat and is a favorite herb for reducing frequent insomnia.

Eucommia / Chinese Rubber Tree

Bark

Cortex Eucommiae Ulmoidis / Du Zhong / 杜仲

Eucommia bark balances the Chica Chill formula by offering Yang properties. Eucommia is also nourishing for the heart, and has been featured in research in Western medicine for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Angelica / Dong Quai

Root

Radix Angelicae Sinensis / Dong Quai / 当归

Angelica root is sometimes described as the “female ginseng,” due to its fame for supporting a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Angelica root strengthens blood and energizes circulation. In Chica Chill, Angelica root balances the herbal formula with its Yang properties.

Biota / Arborvitae

Seed

Semen Platycladi / Bai Zi Ren / 柏子仁

Biota seed benefits memory and promotes restful sleep by nourishing the heart and calming the spirit.

Chinese Asparagus

Tuber

Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis / Tian Men Dong / 天门冬

Asparagus root works with Ophiopogon to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.