Srilekha Cherukuvada is the founder of Plannr Consulting, a free service that students can use for academic and lifestyle planning.
How did you start getting involved in activism?
I started about one or two years ago — I was getting involved in journalism. That wasn’t really activism stuff though, that was just campus news articles. But then, I realized I could use my words to make an impact on the world around me. The first organization I joined was Root Policy. I was with them for 1–2 months. I realized I was more interested in social activism rather than political activism, so I switched over to Lune [Magazine]. I’m currently a magazine copy editor there. That’s when I got into organizations like Changemakerz, Girls STEAM Magazine and my school’s Days For Girls chapter. Finally, I ended up creating my own activist organization with Plannr Consulting.
What services does Plannr offer?
Plannr is still very new — a lot of it is still being discussed, but as of right now, there are going to be three main consulting services where students can talk to specific people on our team. The first is college admissions, so you can plan all of that out. Also test prep with SAT/ACT/international tests. The third is lifestyle planning — destressing, relaxing, getting out of your mind. It’s free to use. You would just book through the services tab on our website.
How did you go from idea to execution?
I was actually playing with this idea of creating a mental health organization for a couple months, I just never took action. One day I just decided to stop waiting around. I just decided to create the website and recruit people and to just do it. If you wait around for something to happen, it might never happen, so it’s important to take initiative.
So, getting the motivation was the hardest part.
Have you experienced any difficulties as a youth activist?
I think the biggest thing is not adults looking down upon me, but other people in my own age group — I’ve almost felt this peer pressure. Some people have discouraged me from creating this organization. Others don’t even know about my activism work because I tend to not tell people at school about it. Many have criticized what and why I’m doing it all for. But you can’t let those people take away from what you’re doing.
What advice would you have for other young people who are interested in getting involved in activism but don’t know how to go about it?
First of all, don’t let other people get you down. Do what you want to do. Getting involved is actually really easy. There are so many organizations. And if you don’t find one, create your own. Take action- initiative. It’s not a hard process. You can do it if you put your mind and your effort into it.
How do you balance your activism, school and everything else you’re involved in?
That’s always been a big part of my life — making sure that I’m planned and organized in my life. Google calendar. Yoga — occasionally. Meditation helps me. I use the pomodoro technique so I take a lot of breaks in my homework. I always space out everything that I do so I have time to binge watch some TV series and do homework and write for all these organizations.
What inspires you to keep going in your activism?
The main thing that inspires my activism is when I see something bad happening in the world. It could be a person dying because they didn’t have health insurance because it was too expensive, or another forest fire. Simply seeing or hearing about that keeps me going, because words can make an impact. That motivates me because I want to be part of the change, not a bystander in all the things that are going on.
Don’t forget to follow Meet the Activist on Medium and Instagram (@meettheactivist). You can also follow Srilekha at (@srileeka) and Plannr Consulting at (@plannrconsulting)