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Sleep / Smoke: How to Survive (or Recover From) Crits and Finals

Freaking out? Fifteen SAIC students are here with their tips for the end-of-year push.

By Featured, SAIC

Illustration by Katie Wittenberg.

To say that students are stressed this time of year is an understatement. With Critique Week and finals, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’re on the verge of losing our minds. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) teases us with Thanksgiving break, then bombards us with work when we come back like a bunch of jerks.

But don’t worry! It’s a busy time, but everyone can have small moments of serenity and relaxation, even just for an hour at a time. I went around campus and asked students about their approaches for de-stressing and unwinding. Here’s what they had to say. 

Emerald Pitts, Film, Video, New Media  and Fibers (BFA, ‘20)
“I’ve been trying to keep myself at minimal stress level for a while now, so I usually meditate for 15 minutes in the evening and drink kava tea right before bed so that I get a good sleep.”

Kevin Stevanus, Photography (BFA, ‘18)
“Go to the gym, little bit of yoga, meditation.”

Maeve O’Briant, Art Ed/Painting (BFA, ‘20)
“Honestly, weed. Like seriously though, it helps me work so I’ve been like perpetually stoned.”

Ythan Ponio, Film, Video and New Media (BFA, ‘20)
“I take long showers.”

Isa Foti, Animation (BFA, ‘20)
“Definitely, sleeping. And avoiding all my problems.”

Teigan Lukes, Visual Communications (BA, ‘20)
“My way to cope with stress is putting together a playlist of music I find soothing and listen to that while I am studying or working. I also take a nice warm shower and drink some tea to unwind too.”

Ben Hanlon, Visual Communications (BA, ‘21)
“Go for the walks along the lakefront. Or just watching TV. Something funny, like The Office or Arrested Development.”

Rachel Allison, Painting and Drawing (BFA, ‘20)
“I like to nap or watch a happy movie. Or just listen to music.”

Kate Walton, Writing (BFA, ‘20)
“I like to go for walks. Fresh air helps.”

Jose Pena, Film, Video and New Media (BFA, ‘20)
“Taking naps, honestly.”

Dara Oramas, Designed Objects and Fibers (BFA, ‘21)
“I usually go swimming or a take a walk in the park. Also, I give myself a break between work time and watch an episode of a TV show that I like.”

Todd Barrera-Disler, Designed Objects (BFA, ‘21)
“Zoning out and listening to music for an hour or so, or burning through an album.”

Harini Nilakantan, AIADO (BFA, ‘20)
“Dance. When I can’t get to move my body freely or just use the space I sing. Anything that allows me to get lost in the music – sometimes it’s Hip-Hop, sometimes it’s Trap or Bollywood. Genres don’t matter usually.”

Diana Rosario, Painting and Drawing (BFA, ‘20)
“I look at slime videos and pretend I’m the one being squished.”

Raquel Rosen, Sculpture and Film, Video and New Media (BFA, ‘20)
“I am able to maintain my sanity by setting aside an hour or so every few days to go boxing at my gym.”

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