Author Archives: Amira A. Oloufa

How to Get More Sleep at College


Ever since starting college, I always feel exhausted. Which is a common theme among college students. Basically college students are in a constant state of sleep deprivation. I began to wonder if exhaustion is just a simple fact of college or if there are things to do to prevent this. Getting enough sleep affects mental health and grades. Students who are sleep deprived can also gain weight, sometimes caused by midnight snacking. Due to sleep being so important, students should try and make more room for it. Students lose so much sleep mostly due to procrastination, as I know from first hand. The common theme among students is they either get no sleep or sleep too much. Either way, students are essentially getting nothing done. You have a midterm tomorrow, what do you do? You stay up all night studying and become more stressed, losing sleep, and when it’s time for the test you’re not at your best. Students who cram for tests, tend to get lower test scores. Is procrastination the only reason for less sleep? What would happen if students didn’t procrastinate? Would they get more sleep?

In my own experience first hand, procrastination is not the only reason for my lack of sleep, it’s a number of things. I live with six other roommates and it takes until about 2:00am for everyone to settle down. This leaves me with an automatic 5-6 hours of sleep a night, if I’m lucky. I also have a very chaotic sleep schedule. On weekends I try and sleep until 3:00pm. Which is also bad for me. According to Kelchi Lynn Lucier, getting the same amount of sleep each night is the best thing for your body. It is a good idea to make a sleep schedule that fits everyday of the week and sticking to it. Which can be very hard for those who have an 8am everyday. Who wants to wake up at 7:00-7:30am everyday, especially on the weekends?

Beautiful woman lying and sleep on the snowy bed

I love naps. Naps have to be the best part of my day. But I began to wonder if naps were actually good or bad for me. I started to believe naps were bad for me, especially because my naps usually last for 3 hours. For these 3 hours, I could be doing homework or going to the gym. Basically just doing anything productive. But naps can actually help catch up on sleep. Naps help me get through the day. But sometimes my long naps affect my bedtime. Power naps can actually be very beneficial though, without affecting the rest of your day too much. Power naps prevent the groggy, lazy side effect that are mostly associated with long naps.

Some things to avoid before bed is things like caffeine (obviously). Although this is obvious many college students live on energy drinks. This disrupts sleep immensely, even if students sleep after drinking caffeine, the person has a disturbed sleep and doesn’t get a full night’s rest. Also avoid watching television or going on your phone right before bed. I am guilty of this. My nightly routine includes going through all my social medias before bed. But the lights in electronics, like your cell phone, your laptop, and your TV delays the sleep hormone, melatonin, preventing sleep. Thirty minutes before bed, tuck away your phone, close your laptop, and turn off your TV and you will have a great nights rest.

The body needs eight hours of sleep a night. If it does not receive the proper amount of sleep, not only will grades and ability to process information be impaired. But health risks come into play as well. Like high blood pressure, a blow to the immune system, more susceptible to the flu or a getting (often explaining the freshman plague), weight gain, etc. All health systems are put at risk when the body does not get enough sleep. This study done by Ink Niche shows that only an astonishing 17% of college students gets 8 hours of sleep a night.

amount of sleep per week

amount of sleep per week


time students go to bed

time students go to bed

amount of naps college students take

amount of naps college students take

Sleep is not like homework, you can’t catch up on it on in one night. All nighters can disturb your sleep all week. If you pull an all nighter to get that project you’ve put off for a month, you ruin your sleep schedule for a whole week. You can’t catch up on sleep, it is just better to get your work done early, and stick to a sleep schedule. Your grades greatly depend on your sleep. The best thing is to get a good eight hours of sleep a night, while sticking to the same sleep schedule each night. Students who sleep better at night perform better in their classes, tests, and quizzes. I am going to start by not using my phone or my laptop before bed and sticking to the same sleep schedule, since it has been all over the place lately.

sources: college lifeeveryday healthstudent healthquoraquora 2gizmodohuffingtonpost

Why Are Clowns So Scary?

I am sure you have heard the recent chaos around clown sightings around the United States. Teens all around the country have been posting videos either in their cars or walking through the woods, to find a random clown that inevitably starts to chase them. Whether these videos are actually real or staged to get retweets is up to the person. But some of these clowns have turned violent. Mississippi has even banned clown costumes until the end of halloween because the recent scare. Children in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and New Jersey are being stabbed by these clowns. Schools have been closed due to some clown threats. And one boy 16 year old boy was murdered by a man in a clown costume. These clown stories kept getting more and more traction giving more attention to these scary clown threats. But why clowns? What makes someone with a painted smile so scary?


Growing up, I remember clowns at birthday parties, blowing balloons for the kids, making jokes, and just having a good time with everyone. But what has happened since then? When we were younger we saw clowns with painted smiles and inviting faces. Even one of the most famous chain restaurants, McDonald’s uses a clown as their face. A happy Ronald McDonald can often be found in their restaurants and their commercials. But Hollywood has changed the images of clowns from friendly jokesters into menacing killers.  In the United States, around 12% of adults have Coulrophobia, a fear of clowns. Cases of Coulrophobia increased from the move ‘IT’ a movie about a murderous clown. People fear clowns because their face is covered so they cover their true identity making it easy for them to do whatever that want. Their emotion also stays the same, which is scary to people. People fear what they do not know, and the fact that clowns have either painted faces or masks concealing their identity scares people. Cases also increased of this fear from the Joker in Batman. The Joker represents a crazy, murderous clown that plays the antagonist in the Batman movies. Halloween also gives arises to people’s fear of clowns. Scary clowns are a seen all throughout halloween stores, and around haunted houses

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But this past September, scary clowns have been taken to a new level. Clowns try to lure kids and passing by teens into the woods. There have been videos of clowns at the side of the road chasing passing cars. The internet blew up with videos of clowns in the woods and at the side of the road. Even here, at Penn State, we know all too well about the clown sightings. When a clown was reportedly seen and a mob of 500 students started chasing a creepy clown that was supposedly seen according to social media. Students running all through campus tried to find the clown and take it down. The cops had to try and keep control of the students. Police officials say there was no actual clown.


Most of these clowns roaming the streets are meant as a joke but the small amount of clowns that pose a threat have people all over the place afraid to see a clown. Due to the wide number of people who suffer from fear of clowns it didn’t take much for these creepy clown sighting to blow up and tract so much heat. Hopefully as Halloween nears its end, so will these clown sightings.



sources: coulrophobia, ny post, nbc, fox

Is Your Favorite Healthy Snack Actually Bad For You?


We all have that one go to healthy snack that we eat when we feel a change from junk. Sometimes our “healthy” snack we eat daily because its so good and we think its healthy. But what if your favorite healthy options aren’t so good for you after all? People ae constantly fooled into thinking their eating healthy because of words like “low fat”, “fat free”, “low calories”. But just because it is low in something does not mean it is not making up for it somewhere else.  In today’s world, especially in college, it is so hard to find a healthy meal without spending a ton of money. In the commons, junk food is readily available. I know first hand, when I feel like being healthy, a get a wheat bread sandwich. But actually, that is worse. If wheat bread isn’t a 100% wheat, which it rarely is, then it contains enriched flour which is bad for you. Not the mention the turkey you might use for your sandwich. Turkey can be highly processed resulting in high levels of sodium and nitrate.


Want to grab the fat free yogurt? Better not, just because it is fat free doesn’t account for the high levels in sugar. That yogurt parfait also looks pretty good? Of course it does because it has almost as much calories as a dessert would, with high levels of sugar and calories. Reading nutrition labels is key when trying to find a healthy alternative. It is often hard not to be enticed by the strategically placed words but companies to try and sucker their consumers into thinking their getting a healthier option whilst charing them more. Eating a salad? I love salads, but I also love dressing, which is high in fat and calories. So what can I do? Light salad dressing sounds like a good idea? Actually not, light salad dressing is also bad for you, might as well stick with oil and vinegar. Another food that is seemingly healthy is trail mix, when in fact it had high levels in sodium and calories with all the added salt and chocolate chips. Granola is also not as good for you as people think. Granola has lots of sugar and calories. A bowl of granola can start at 500 calories at best or more. To see more foods that are actually unhealthy healthy foods go here.

When going grocery shopping, read the nutrition labels, they are key. They let you know which foods are actually healthy and what foods are disguised as being healthy. People get fooled everyday while grocery shopping, looking for the cheapest and “healthiest option”. Truth is, if its healthy, it won’t be the cheapest. Healthy options tend to run for more money due to the fact that there are more wholesome ingredients that get put into these products. If you’re having trouble shopping healthy, here’s some tips to help you. Shopping healthy can be hard due to how much we have been tricked our whole lives but food companies trying to make more money. It is better to stay on the safe side and not trust the initial “fat free”, and to actually check the nutrition label. Our eyes see fat free and immediately think we should pick it up, but retrain your body and mind into smart and healthy shopping.


sources: shapeparentsforbeswebmd

The Power of Music

I hate being in a sad mood, but just like everyone else, I get sad sometimes. But the best way I get out of a sad mood is to listen to music. Although music can get me out a sad mood, a song could also break me down and put me deep in my feelings. When I’m happy, I love uplifting music that reflects my mood. When I’m with friends, music is our number one go to. There is nothing better than driving at night with friends blasting music, with the windows down, singing along for the whole world to hear our amazing voices. Not even to mention how I can’t even workout without my workout playlist on Spotify. But what is it about music that has such a big impact on so many people’s lives?

Music and the creation of musical instruments has been around since ancient times. Music was used to attract the opposite sex. This created a strong association to music and deep feelings in our genes. In infants, music is one of the first things to develop, coming way before walking and talking.


Music lets people express themselves and their emotions. Music is understood all around the world. There are very few cultural universals, like dance, art, family, etc. Lack of music in someone’s life can cause despair and also lead to depression with other contributing factors. Listening to music releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that makes people happy. When we listen to music, almost the whole brain gets used, this makes music a good tool for studying or other needs for productiveness. Since music can also be used to distract, it is used to lessen pain. Music also reduces stress, and can help protect us from disease. Researchers believe that music calms people, bringing down our blood pressure, lessening stress. Also, scientists recommend that when working out, listen to music to raise endurance, and make people go harder.

If you want to see 20 positive effects of music go here

Music is used heavily in our day to day lives. Music plays in our heads throughout the day, music plays in restaurants, plays in commercials and television shows. Movie producers also use music to enhance their movie. The brain is constantly being reminded of music, making music apart of the general lifestyle. It is almost impossible to avoid music, but why with all the benefits of music, why would anyone want to avoid it? One reason someone would want to avoid music is if they have amusia, a rare musical condition where the person is unable to recognize musical notes. This can be caused by a brain injury or can be inherited. Luckily only 4% of humans have this condition.

Music is very powerful and influence in many people’s lives everyday. I am constantly listening to music, whether it’s walking to class, winding down, hanging out with friends, working out, or working on this blog. I love music and how it can be key to some many other things in life.


Benefits of Doodling

In class, in between note taking, I love to draw on the side of my paper. Although, I cannot draw to save my life, doodling during class has always been a habit of mine. If I look through my notebooks over the years, they are filled with random drawings flooding the page.

I used to think that I was distracting myself very badly during class, constantly doodling. I thought it was bad but I couldn’t help the need to draw on my notes. I usually never draw except in class, which made me think I was just using this as a way to distract myself.

When in fact, drawing in class can actually be very beneficial. Drawing calms the brain and allows the creative juices to flow. Doodling actually helps the brain pick up more information and learn it better. When a person doodles during note taking they are unconsciously making connections in their brain that helps them retain the information better.


People that doodle are also found to remember and retain 29% more than those who didn’t. To some, 29% may not seem like a lot, but that can be a difference from a C to an A. Because science is filled with intricate concepts, it is suggested that doodling, especially in a science class, helps a deep understanding. But, a person that is doodling aimlessly, who isn’t listening to a word being said, obviously isn’t going to retain anything. To be a successful and productive doodler, listening must come hand in hand with doodling. When someone successfully doodles, it also helps from distractions. Instead of checking your phone, you’re too busy doodling and listening to what is being said. Doodling while listening to something also makes the subject fun for the person. They aren’t just sitting in a 3 hour lecture where the professor is going on and on, they are engaged in what is being said. Drawing also helps to generate creativity, and allow the brain to open up and think of a whole world of possibilities, this is also why great ideas also spring from doodling.


Doodling is the brain’s way to stay in the present. It helps connect ideas to visuals, helping people remember better, and attain the information. Even in the work place, doodling is not looked upon well, when it has great effects, and people who doodle in the work place tend to like work more. Doodling is nothing to feel guilty about, in fact, it is something that everyone should be doing, given the numerous benefits.

My name is Amira, and I am addicted to Netflix


Hello, my name is Amira and I am a Netflix Addict. I have had a subscription to Netflix ever since I can remember but  I do remember a time  before streaming online was possible. When my parents used to get a new movie from Netflix to watch by mail. But the game changed forever when Netflix started offering people the option of signing up for membership in order to  stream movies and TV shows that could be viewed as many times as you’d like.


I cannot even begin to explain the challenge that I face during the school year in trying to avoid  starting a new show on Netflix because I understand all too well how invested I get in the tv series offered by Netflix. I have the stamina to spend my entire day binge watching a television show. If it weren’t for all the Twitter memes that I see on a daily basis, I would have thought that I was alone in this addiction, but in fact, many people feel the same way.

I started to google around to see why streaming TV shows is the new guilty pleasure.

Netflix has come out and said that they know that usually a series’ pilot do not get the audience hooked right away, that it takes a couple of episodes, and that they also know the exact episode that gets their audiences hooked.

At the end of the day, what’s the best way to unwind? Netflix of course, or Hulu, or the plenty of online TV steaming websites. The first hook these television shows have is cliff hangers. A cliffhanger is ending an episode in suspense, TV producers often use to keep the audience coming back because. Cliffhangers releases stress, this puts of the release of melatonin, a hormone that the body releases to put the body to sleep. The stress that comes with cliffhangers also creates a fight or flight response. These factors make the body feel energized and have people ready to watch the next episode.

Image result for to watch one episode or go to sleep

Netflix is growing so quickly because they know that their subscribers get hooked to these shows and Netflix takes advantage. Netflix also started to make their own shows that do very well because most of the people that watch get addicted. They have learned a mechanism to reel their audiences in. Two of the most popular television shows in 2016 are Netflix series, Stranger Things and Narcos. Along with other Netflix shows like Orange is the New Black and Fuller House, Netflix is doing very well profiting on other’s addictions. Luckily (for Netflix) this is completely ethical. Over the past five years the streaming industry including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc., has skyrocketed off, profiting in the billions. Who knows where this industry will be in another five years.

The Idea of Science

Hello, my name is Amira Oloufa. I am from the Poconos in Pennsylvania and I was born in San Francisco, California. I am still unaware as to why my parents moved me all the way to the east coast when I could probably be enjoying In ‘N Out right about now. I am a freshman and currently enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Up until sophomore year of high school, I wanted to enter the medical field. I was always fascinated with medicine and knew I wanted to be a surgeon. To me, being a surgeon had to me the most rewarding job possible. I loved the complex thought process that a surgeon goes through to figure out how to save a life. I did not care about all the schooling involved to be a surgeon, or all the work needed to be put into eventually becoming a surgeon. All I knew is I wanted to save lives.


Then, it all changed when I took biology in high school and decided medicine is not for me. Junior year, I got to take my favorite class of all time, Everyday Law. This class is what made me want to be a lawyer. I love the intricacies that are involved in law. There is a lot that has to go into law and so many ways to interpret different laws and finding loop holes to argue a case. Although there are a lot of years that go into becoming a lawyer, I am perfectly fine with it. I still have the goal of becoming a lawyer but I am just stuck in between which undergraduate degree I would like to attain would. Currently I am juggling the idea of becoming either an English or Business major.

Courtroom e

I have always loved the idea of science. But understanding science does not come easy to me. I hate writing lab reports but I love experimenting. I like being shown science and examples instead of just explaining the concept of a scientific idea to me. I have a high appreciation for what science has done for us and how it explains the world around us. I wish I was better at science because of how fascinating it is. I have taken multiple science classes in high school, including, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Physics. In Biology, I enjoyed doing experiments and looking at different things under a microscope but hated the post lab reports that came with the experiments. For Chemistry, I loved mixing different substances together to see how they each reacted but when it came to my lab reports I struggled immensely. And with Physics, I cannot even explain my hatred towards that class. I hope to never have to take another Physics course again. Anatomy and Physiology is the only science class that I have taken so far that has come easy to me, a class where I barely had to study for. Even the lab reports were relatively easy for me to write, with barely any time or effort put into it.


I am excited to take this course because I get to learn the ideas of science around me but in examples. I like the idea of studying the science of everyday life. I have always been interested in the basic sciences around me. This course should be very interesting to me and I cannot wait to dive into new topics and ideas.