Author Archives: Imaani Allen

How our digital devices are doing more harm than good

5171518129_c0726de339_zHumans were designed to talk to one another. Imagine you’re on the bus or subway and what is the one thing that you see everyone doing. Looking down at their cell phones , Why is this now the new normal? Our generation is more attached to our devices than anything else.

A study done by found that the average home has about three or more devices. This includes laptops, tablets, televison,  video game systems and so on.

Even our professor said that cellphones are having a negative effect on the way that we learn. This is  becoming more common as technology continues to advance. Students are always looking at their phones instead of paying attention in class. Then they wonder why they are not getting very great scores on their tests. Even during study/homework  time students are spending way too much time on Facebook and YouTube.

Our social skills seem to get worse as well. Now at the dinner table more families are paying attention to their mobile device. Instead of talking to one another.

Accroding to, this is bad because the blue light that some devices emit make the brain think that its time to stay up.  So just watching You Tube  or scrolling through Instagram for quick second can turn into hours. The lack of sleep can also lead to poor concentration  in school which is a really big problem . If your brain is not fully rested it will not be able to retain any information. Many people complain about not getting a good night well here is a good reason why. Sleep researchers have found a correlation between goiing to bed with a device and poor sleep paterns.

So how can we fix this problem?

Well there are few steps that you can take, first limit the amount of time you are on your device, and yes I know we as college students do the majority of our work online. This takes a lot of discipline. Think about why you came to college in the first place. The main goal is hopefully to learn. Also remember that you are paying thousands of dollars per class so it would be wise to actually pay attention.

While you’re our out with your family instead of always trying to get the perfect photo live in the moment. If you are with a groups if friends, make an agreement to it look at your phone no more than three times. Instead actually talk to one another. Ask about each other’s day. Plus, if you really think about it starting at your phone while someone is talking to you is very rude.

When it comes to sleep according to you should turn off all electronic devices prior to going to bed. Like two hours or more. Instead pick up a really boring book (like a chemistry book).

This will take some time. Don’t try to do all this at once. Take baby steps before doing any drastic changes.

Sometimes we need to take a break from the virtual world and  take a moment to pay attention to things that are happening right in front of us.


Why are college student’s not graduating on time?

8726823600_46f28ec28d_zIt’s no secret that college students are taking more than four years to complete their bachelor’s degree. A study done by Complete College America less than fifty percent of colleeg students finish their degree in four years.

What’s causing young people to take so long to complete their bachelor’s degree. The cost of college continues to rise so wouldn’t it make sense for students to actually start and finish in reasonable time. Well it’s not that simple every student has their own story and reasons. So for this blog we are going to break down student into group A, B, C and D.

Group A students might be forced to pay their own education. The parents may not being able to contribute financially and with tuition increasing every year some students might have to work two or even three jobs just to keep up with expenses . Let’s say that we have a do an observational test where a student (y variable) has a full time job and is a full time student (x variable) at the same time. This means  more work means less time to do homework and study.  The end result low performance in academically. There is a correlation between an increase in the number of hours worked and poor academic performance.

Group B students may decide to switch their major by the end of junior year which will require even more time in school. Then there are other students that double or triple majoring. So that becomes double the amount of credits that need to be completed by the end of senior year.

According to the Hechinger report the  recommended amount of credits that a student  should take each semster is 15 in order to graduate on time. Taking less than 15 credits means that students are more likely to graduate within six or seven years.

Group C student may decide to transfer to another university. Then the problem arises when only three quarters of their credits are accepted. This means that some have to retake a class again in order to satisfy a specific requirement for a major. This also means that students will have to take an extra semester or two in order to complete all of the credits required for their major.  Another correlation lack of accepted credits means more time in school.

Accroding to the Hechinger report, government officials are doing  experiments to see if offering more aid will encourage students to complete their bachelor’s degree within four years. It’s rolling out in a few states across America.

Group D are kids that might feel lost because they don’t really want to attend college in the first place. Their parents forced them or they just followed their peers when it came time to decide what university they were going to spend the next four years at.

Now how are we going to help Groups A-D make it to the end goal of graduation. Well there are few things that can help. One make sure students that talk to their advisors about their major and any other issues in cthat they are having are more likely to stay on track. This is especially important for first year students. Next make sure that students are actually interested in what they are studying.

It important that students get the right  support from the beginning so they won’t get left behind come graduation time.


Drink more water it’s good for you

16466809032_07bda6dfa3_zHow many of us can actually say that we drink about 64 ounces of water every day?

When I was younger I refused to drink more than a cup of water I preferred soda, lemonade, Kool-Aid anything sweet. To me water had no taste and I didn’t see the point in drinking it. The rule in my house was that at the dinner we had to drink two cups of water before getting any other beverage.

I would have to sneak soda late at night after my parents went to bed. During my preteen years I was slightly overweight and the soda was probably the one variable that contributed to my weight gain. In our Sc200 class we saw that there is a correlation between weight gain and sugary drinks.

I was drinking on average one can of soda a day. The side effects that I felt afterward included headaches and feeling very sluggish. The pediatrician said that I needed to limit the amount of sodas I drink because I was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As the years went by I actually started to enjoy drinking water. I drink on average about four to five cups of water a day.

There are so many benefits of drinking water. Well for one your body is made up of 75% of water. So it makes sense that our bodies need a certain amount of liquid in order to function properly. If we don’t give our body its daily dose of H20 then that’s when bad things start to happen. Our kidneys start to suffer the most damage because their job is to flush out all of the toxins within the body. If you are not drinking water the toxins start to build up in the kidney’s which can lead to problems later on like kidney disease.

There are so many benefits that water can have for your skin as well, it can make you look younger and clear up acne.

Did you ever notice how your body feels so tired if you are not fully hydrated? It’s your bodies way of saying its thirsty. Gatorades will not help quench your thirst. According to, Gatorade is replacing electrolytes that the body loses while working out. So yes this can be good for those that do intense workouts. But for the average American the best thing to drink if you feel dehydrated is water.

For those that are trying to lose weight water can help with that as well. It’s less likely that you will overeat.

Try to make drinking water an enjoyable experience instead of a chore. Get a nice water bottle. You customized the flavor of your water by adding sweeteners to it. There are also a lot of fruits that are 90% water like watermeloon for example.

Hers another way to tell if you are getting the right amount of water. According to WebMd, if your pee in clear or a light yellow color then that’s means you’re good when it comes to the amount of water you drank for the day. If it a dark yellow color and has a very strong odor, then that’s an indication that you need to drink more water.

But don’t overindulge on the water as with anything too much of anything can be harmful. Don’t start right away with trying to drink a gallon of water. That will not only make you sick but also constantly running to the bathroom.

Start off by making it a goal to drink at least two cups a day. Say yes to drinking water your body will thank you in the long run.

Your oral health is important

1533449874_fa35abed59_zGrowing up my mom always stressed the importance of flossing before and after a meal. Also with morning and especially before bedtime. We weren’t allowed to get into bed until she did a mouth inspection to make sure that me and my brother actually brushed our teeth.

Now many people just see teeth as a tool used to chew food so we don’t choke to death. I used to hate going to the dentist like many Americans do but it’s necessary. Every time the dentist would tell my mom “everything is good except she not flossing enough.”

I did not like flossing as a kid because my teeth were overcrowded in my mouth so it was extremely difficult to get the string to go in between each tooth.

The New York Times , reviewed a recent study by Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews they did an experiment to see if there was a correlation between not flossing and tooth decay . A null hypothesis was concluded. That there was no benifit to flossing as opposed to not flossing. This was reported all over the national media outlets. Many people jumped for joy after hearing this. However, dentists cautioned against this study arguing that there was not enough data prove this explanation.

Most people think that skipping on night of brushing or flossing won’t do much harm but it can especially if this becomes a habit. Now as college students after a long day its very tempting to go to bed without brushing your teeth.

Here are some of the nasty things that could happen if you fail to take proper care of your oral health.

There is a correlation between poor dental care and the overall health of your body. Did you know that not properly taking care of your teeth can actually contribute to cardiovascular disease? According to the bacteria from your gums can flow into your blood stream which can then cause clogged arteries which can then lead to a stroke.

As young people we think that tooth loss only happens to older people. Well that’s far from the truth what you do today can impact if you will have teeth tomorrow. After every meal you should be flossing because food particles can get stuck on your teeth. Also that white build up around the teeth as described by the Huffington Post is plaque. If left on the tooth too long it can cause cavities. Which is a whole in the tooth. They will either have to get filled if caught in time or a cap is placed on the tooth if too much damage has already been done.

Make sure to clean every part of your mouth including the tongue. Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what that white stuff is on your tongue? When is the last time you actually washed your tongue? According to Mayo clinic , it’s a combination of bacteria and other particles that collect over time on the tongue. Its caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. To solve this problem a simple scrub with a tooth brush should do the trick. Just not too hard because it can cause the tongue to get irritated.

Some people only brush their teeth for a minute or a minute and a half. That not enough because you need to brush each tooth to remove all food particles. The recommend amoutn of time for teeth brushing is two minutes.

Make sure you are using toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride helps protect out teeth.  Limit the amount of candy and other sugary foods that you consume on a daily basis. Remember this equation proper oral care= healthy body.

Stop stressing out my friend’s

6273248505_43d0b56424_oStress is something that is unfortunately another part of growing up. As a kid we didn’t have to worry about anything. The only thing we had to focus on was playtime, nap time and snack time. As a young adult I really do miss the good old days and long to be a kid again.

Stressful is the word I think most undergraduate students would use to describe college. We as college students have the right to be stressed with work, homework, internships, activities and maintaining a high GPA all at the same time can be a lot of pressure for one person to handle.

According to the American Psychologist Association , stress is characterized into three categories acute stress, episodic stress and chronic.

Acute stress (minor) is the kind of stress you get when you have ten papers and two projects all due in the same week. This is short term stress that is not as harmful and can actually be a great motivator for people to get things done. Everyone will have some form of acute stress in their lifetime.

Next is episodic stress (mild) you always feel like you are running from point A to point B. Or feel like there is not enough time to do anything. This is common for those that are too overcommitted.

The last more serious kind of stress is called chronic stress (extreme) this is more than just feeling too overwhelmed. This condition can go on for years. A person may feel like their situation will never get any better. It can be caused by current living situation, bullying, work and other stressful environments.

This semester I was extremely stressed out. I thought it would be smart idea to take on 19 credits that along with trying to get adjusted to University Park and getting involved with six student organizations at the same time

It started to really affect my mood. I went to the doctor because I  was having  major headaches and not eating properly. The doctor did some tests and everything came back normal. They said my symptoms were most likely due to stress. So I talked to my advisor and dropped a few credits and reduced the amount of activities I was a part of. After a few days I started to feel like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Take my advice don’t get too stressed out. Also look into what might be causing that stress.

There are also some symptoms to look out for if you feel stressed out stomach aches, headaches, lost or gain in appetite and lack of sleep.

This is what happens to your brain according to The Huffington Post, cortisol, a hormone that the body produces during stressful events is released but too much this can wreak havoc on the body.

I think as young people we need to learn how to deal with stress now before we leave college.  Because after we graduate and enter the real word there will be a lot more things to stress about.

Chronic stress in adulthood can lead to some deadly diseases like  heart disease, high blood pressure and so on. That’s why it’s imperative to find ways to destress before irreversible damage is done to your body.

Here are a few ways de-stress. Get a journal and just wirte about how you feel. Write down all of your thoughts the good the bad and the ugly. This will to let out all of the emotions in a healthy way.

Hang out with the people that make you happy. Spend a time with those that bring out the best in you. Laughter is natures best medicine. Plus, it will take your mind off of whatever is botehring news.

Exercise more, according to  being active releases a feel good hormone called endorphins. Not only will it put you in a good mood but it will keep your body in shape as well.

These are just a few idea on ways to relieve stress. There are literally hundreds of other recommendation so there something out there for everyone to try. So don’t be afraid to try a few and see which one works for you.

Let your nails grow

As a child our parents constantly told us not to put our fingers in our mouths. They said that for a reason. I used to bite my nails when I was in middle school. I don’t exactly remember how I developed this habit. I would do it while watching television and doing my homework .I never did it out in public that’s for sure. It was always something done in private. My mom was very anti-nail biting, the shear site of bitten fingernails disgusted her.

So to stop this nasty habit she would check my nails every Friday to see if they were growing out. If they were nice then I would get a treat. If they looked like they have been chewed on then I wouldn’t be allowed to have any teats for the following week. That worked for a while, I allowed my nails to grow to a moderate length. Then a few months later the habit returned my mom was not happy. I went to multiple doctors to see if there was something that could be done about this. The pediatrician just said that I would grow out of this with time.

I felt ashamed so I always hid my nails in public. My friends would have nail painting sleepovers. I always made up an excuse as to why I couldn’t go. This made me feel very alone I didn’t understand why no one else had this problem.

Later on I discovered that there are thousands of people struggling with nail biting. According to WebMD doctors have a few explanations on why some people chew on their nails. The main one is due to stress from work, school, home and so on.

It’s no surprise that a lot of people bite their nails because of stress. When we get strssed out we turn to things like food, toys or in this case our fingers for comfort. This can 14272700382_35bc1ef5ff_zbe a serious problem though. Our nails and fingers are covered with harmful bacteria. So constantly putting dirty fingers in our mouths allows nasty germs to enter our immune systems and cause us to get sick.  Also it someone bites down too deep into the nail the skin could break open which can lead to an infection.

Thankfully I no longer bite my nails I stopped back in high school. It wasn’t easy it took a lot of trial and error but it worked out in the end. If you’re looking to kick the habit take baby steps first don’t try to do it all at once. Keep yourself busy throughout the day. Put tape on your fingers so you won’t be tempted to chew on your nails. If you feel embarrassed about that then try buying some no-bite liquid nail polish.  It goes on like clear polish and you apply it twice a day. It has an awful taste that’s point, so your brain will learn that nails are not food. There are other tips out there on ways to kick the habit. The truth is that the road will not be easy but in the end it will all be worth it.

Read more its good for you


Now I know that reading is not everyone’s favorite thing to do. The amount of assigned material that college students have to read during the semester sometimes makes me not want to look at another book every again. During the school year I don’t really have a lot of time to read just for fun.

In elementary school I disliked reading with a passion. I had hard time sounding out words. My mom would make us do a book report every week during the summertime. It wasn’t until middle school when I was looking around the library that I stumbled upon the young adult section. Books became my new obsession.

Studies have shown that reading more can beneficial for everyone young and old. Here are some of the benefits.

Better writing skills

In this digital age mostly people rely on technology to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Sometimes the computoe does pick up all the mistakes in our papers so its good to know how to spell words properly and avoid grammatical errors .  An article from Life Hack, found that reading books by various authors allows you to see the different types of writing styles out there. Look at how each sentence is written out. By looking at this over and over again it will start to reflect in your own writing. You will be a pro when it comes to sentence and paragraph structure. This is very important for the real world. To be able to write clearly and effectively . Who knows it might inspire you to write a novel one day.

Improved memory.

As we get older our memory starts to take a nose dive. Even I have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast the previous morning. A good book forces you to use all of your, brian power to remember certain events within a story like the main characters, the plot, setting, climax and conclusion.

It allows you to focus on something else

Think about it you come home after a long day a work or school, things didn’t go as planned so you whole day is off. How can book help with that you ask? Well according to Real books allow you to escape your world and focus on someone else’s world. It’s like a movie minus the television screen.

Makes you fall asleep faster

Read a paperback book before going to bed, noticed I said a paperback book. Looking at a kindle or any type of device that gives off light will make trick your brain into thinking it’s still daylight outside. Which defeats the purpose of going to sleep faster. So sticking to paperback books is the best way to ensure your brain isn’t getting mixed signals. Do it before bedtime in a quiet area with a dim light.

Now there are some people that may say, but I don’t have time to read. It’s up to you to make time. Take at least ten minutes every day to read something that’s not on social media. If you don’t know what genre you like, go visit your local library . If you are interested in taking a book home all you need is a library card. Here on campus you can check out as many books as you want by simply using your student i.d. Or if you want to make it more interesting get a groups of friends together and start a book club. This will motivate everyone in the group to read so they will have something to contribute during the group discussions. Whatever you decide to do remember that reading is something that everyone can enjoy.

Handwashing vs. Hand Sanitizers

How many of us have a little hand sanitizer bottles that we carry around in our backpacks? I bet nine out of ten people would raise their hand yes. The real question are our hands getting cleaned? Is there any data that proves this theory?


Let’s talk about hand sanitizers for a minute. There are two types according alcohol based and non-alcohol based. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are filled with pretty much alcohol and their types of chemicals designed to killing most harmful bacteria. The other type of sanitizer non-alcohol is filled with other less harsh chemicals which will not get ride of the harmful bacteria. Most people use sanitizers especially if they are always on the go and do not have time to look for a restroom. This also gives a sense of security for those that feels like germs are everywhere that squirt this their hands at least ten times a day just to feel clean. I use to be one of those people that would go through bottles of hand sanitizer within a week. Just because I believed that my hands were contaminated with bacteria. Which is true. There’s good bacteria and not so good. The down side is that my hands felt very dry after using the alcohol based sanitizer. I had to keep applying lotion throughout the day to keep them moisturized.

Hand sanitizers have come under fire in recent years because some scientists found that these portable “germ killers” don’t actually kills all of the germs.

Most doctors prefer people stick to hand washing as the best way to make sure our hands are squeaky clean. Some people fail to do that properly. You should wash your hands for 30 seconds or be able to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Use warm water. I repeat use WARM WATER. When washing one’s hand’s. Sanitizer should be a last resort if there is no access to a sink with soap and water.

Growing up my mom would always emphasize the importance of good hand washing. Before we put anything in our mouths. I remember how every time we would go out to eat at a restaurant there was a two step process. Step one order the food because the menus were filthy since thousands of people use them every day. Step two go and wash our hands. Me a brother would be timed. If we came out too quickly then we would have to go back and start all over again. Now looking back this is a little silly but, she did this so we would not get a serious virus like the flu.

Keeping your hands clean is very important during the flu season. Everyone is sneezing, coughing and sniffing. It’s even worse for people that share an apartment or dorm with others. Germs can spread like wild fire so make sure you wash your hands every time before eating anything.

In the end it personally comes down to what make you feel comfortable. No one is going to make you wash your hands. Just don’t be the person that doesn’t wash their hands, that  not sanitary.

Science made me change my major

Hi everyone my name is Imaani; I am junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. I am from Philadelphia, and I am a change of campus student (Two years at Penn State Abington ).  I was  pre-med my  freshman year but after taking  a few science and math courses I realized that it was not right fit  for me. Sophomore year I joined the school newspaper and that’s when I decided that journalism was the career that I wanted to pursue . The science classes that I took in college were awful . It consisted of these three things note taking, exams and tears . The course SC200 looked different than other science courses. I saw the word controversy and that really got my attention.  Science isn’t my favorite subject  but it is still very interesting  . I particularly like learning about animals, and my favorite animal  is the alligator. They are the closest relative to the dinosaurs that’s pretty cool in my book. Alligator