By Aaryana Sethi

I’ve been reading quite a bit over the last few weeks, and have come across some new favorites. If you’re like me, and are always looking for new reading material despite a bookshelf full of books to maybe-at-some-point-possibly-but-likely-never read, then read (haha) on!

3. The MyHB Assignment Center And/Or Your Planner of Choice

I, for one, find being able to properly visualize the teetering tower of work due at 11:59 pm or 8:30 am quite calming. I think it’s so very important to know everything I need to accomplish that day right in the morning, so I can properly plan out my day in excruciating detail (five minute increments work best for me, but if you’re just starting out, three, or even one, might work better for you). Disclaimer: if you’re going to follow my excellent advice, side effects may include being 30-45 minutes behind schedule as soon as you open your planner/assignment center tab, because of your shock at the sheer amount of work due!! 

In all seriousness, I know the beginning of school (or any part of this year, really), can be super stressful, but we got this! This method is by no means perfect for everyone, but has definitely worked well to keep me motivated and productive for the past few months: bullet journaling. I started to journal last semester of junior year, and started off with really simple to do lists for each day of each week, but my spreads have become increasingly complex and artsy (quarantine skill, anyone?). While I started out just needing a place for my to-dos other than my about-to-explode brain, I now cannot live without my bullet journal! Definitely give bullet journaling a try if you think you’d benefit from a place to organize all your work (or just want the satisfaction of turning a “bullet” into an “x” for each of your to-dos). Final plug: you can customize your journal to be the perfect planner for YOU, so no more trying to cram every piece of homework onto a pre-printed planner’s itsy bitsy square for the day!!

2. The News!!! 

With the election coming up, and new information about corona, as well as health and safety during these Unprecedented Times (I just had to), coming out pretty much all the time, the new News widget (if you have an iPhone and don’t have an aesthetic new iOS 14 home screen, what are you really doing with your life?) on my phone is eager to feed me new articles every minute of every day. Side note: if you got through that sentence without having to reread, congrats: you have more brains than the rest of the world combined times three and a half. Obviously, since we have no essays to write, no tests to study for, and no labs to write reports on (and for my fellow seniors: no applications to fill out:)), we have endless time on our hands to raise our stress levels by reading about the increasingly disastrous state of the world. That being said, I really do think reading the news is a great way to destress and fall fast asleep at night–and not lay awake thinking about what might happen in the next seven (or two and a half) hours which could make 2020 even more 2020-like!

1. The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf

I feel like I should include at least one real recommendation so the time you spent reading all that nonsense wasn’t for ~naught~ (other than quality entertainment, obviously). The Mark on the Wall is a short story about…you guessed it, the(!) mark(!!) on(!!!) the wall! The piece is written in a stream of consciousness style from the mind of a young English woman sitting in her living room staring at a peculiar mark on the wall ahead of her. I think the beauty of Woolf’s writing rests in what the woman’s flow of thoughts describes: obviously, the piece is about the mark (no spoilers on what the mark is, I promise) on her wall, but of course it’s not really. We go through anything and everything from furniture styles, suburban-villa-residing tennis balls, to Whitaker’s Table of Precedency (don’t ask me how anyone ever remembered which Archbishop came first). What most made me love this story, though, is her use of the word “asunder.” It seems to me that every time I read that word, the context and meaning is different, and Google/a dictionary is no use at all (apparently “asunder” is an archaic literary term meaning “to divide,” but Woolf, Austen, and every other 19th/20th century author ever beg to differ.) 

I hope you enjoyed this list of recommendations and are positively scurrying to add three (or at least one) titles to your “To Read” list. And, of course, if you know the real meaning of the word “asunder,” please, please, please let me know via the speediest form of communication available to you at this time!