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),


Image: @nouriflayhan