Author Archives: Samantha Liebensohn

Waking Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed

As a college student I constant find myself waking up irritated, distressed, and exhausted. No matter early I go to bed or how many naps I take, it’s like I can never catch up on my sleep to feel fully rested. I am consistently being told, “wow someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” which is quite annoying if you ask me and only further adds to my bad mood. This lead to me to questioning if this statement had any factual evidence behind it. It made me ask myself, “can someone actually wake up on the wrong side of the bed?”

"Dang it."

What leads someone to wake up on the wrong side of the bed?
It turns out that though you may not physically be waking up on the wrong side of the bed, you possibly could metaphorically. There is a halfway point between waking up from your sleep and being totally ready for the day. This is called sleep inertia and it includes a period of time of slight lethargy and drowsiness. Within this time period it is usually customized whether the mood experienced in this state will continue throughout the day or wear off. According to Peter J. Bentley, the author of Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day, whether you are going to have a bad day or night is determined by your very own mindset. It has been shown that when we think our day will be bad, it most likely will. It is due to these findings that I have come to the conclusion that your mindset for the day determines if you have woken up on the wrong side of the bed or not. This is an example of causation equals correlation. Waking up not looking forward to the day and being in a bad mood can lead to a bad day; however, having a bad day can help further your bad mood.

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Does a negative mindset effect the outcomes of our day?
Since our mindset has a large effect on our moods, it made me question whether it also effects our success. According to a study done at Ohio State University, our bad moods effect our work performance. When employees started off the day in a pleasurable mood, their opinions and experiences were more positive. Where in contrast, when employees started their day of badly, everything that followed had a negative side to it as well. In conclusion, we should put our best foot forward to be positive and optimistic that way we can find more success throughout our day.

After researching this topic, I found myself surprised that we don’t actually wake up on the wrong side of the bed. It shocked me to discover that our mindsets are what determines how our days will proceed and effect our actions throughout the day. I strongly encourage you all to consider this when you’re feeling particularly irritated or down.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12531174

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/morning-mood_n_2273001.html

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-05/science-really-bad-day

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404151353.htm

 

Rando Is The Way To Go

Rando is the way to go. This has been my motto since arriving at college. Now, get you mind out of the gutter because this is relating to roommates. My freshmen year roommate is my best friend, and not the whole “omg we are totally bff’s” but actually my lifetime best friend. I honestly chose to go random roommate because I was afraid if I chose someone from Facebook and didn’t like them I would know I had no one else to blame but myself. This slightly immature and juvenile thought process brought me my best friend. While pondering this over it leads me to question how many successful random roommate assignments there are. This lead me to my question: “Why don’t a lot of people go random roommate?”

 

What are common misperceptions about random roommates?

If you haven’t seen the movie The Roommate, then I’m assuming you went into the college roommate selection process with much ease. However, if you did then I’m assuming you had a very common misconception about random roommates. They are not going to watch you sleep, or become your stalker, or kill your ex-boyfriend (spoiler alert!) In contrast, you also can’t expect them to be your best friend. In a Huffington Post article this is one of the top 5 biggest misconceptions about your future roommate. Having this expectation can lead to a huge let down when in reality the situation isn’t even that bad. This could be due to causation and correlation but also have to do with a third party variable. Having an open mind can lead to a successful roommate experience, but the environment which could be the third party variable could also effect the situation. From personal experience I believe you must go into it with an open mind. Don’t have your heart set on the fact that they’ll be your best friend for life but also don’t have your mind convinced they’re going to be a crazy psycho.

 

Why do problems occur between roommates?

Unfortunately, our generation is very involved in social media. We post every single thought and action of our lives. However, we must be careful not to cross the line when it comes to posting about other people. Recently there was huge viral case at our very own Penn State University. It was all over social media and onward state even covered it. Posting about roommates is bound to create some tension and problems. However, we should not let this fear keep us from venturing out and going random roommate.

 

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What are the benefits of having a random roommate?

Many colleges encourage their students to go random roommate. This list  involves Syracuse University, Amherst University, and even Stanford University. There must be a reason colleges of this high caliber recommend this tactic. Heading into college is your time to meet new people and experience new things. According to this source one of the greatest parts about having a random roommate is the unpredictability. You have absolutely no idea what they like, how they act, or even where they’re from. It is an extremely unique chance for you to dive into brand new interests and cultures. Learning where they come from, how they act, and what they like can introduce things to you that you never would have experienced before. A study done at Dartmouth College shows how  roommates’ influence on one another can lead them to making positive choices regarding extracurriculars and grades. The study found that by roommates influencing each other to make positive academic and social decisions the roommates had more experiences and positive outcomes of situations. This could causation/correlation because by roommates being supportive and encouraging, it could lead the the success of outcomes; however, it could also be due to a third party variable such as mental state of roommates. For example, if one of the roommates is very depressed it does not matter how supportive the other roommate is, the depressed roommate might not want to participate in anything. In contrast, if the roommate is extremely outgoing and positive they may set themselves up for success and not need the support from their roommate.

 

In conclusion, going random roommate is the way to go. It exposes you to new cultures, mannerisms, and opportunities.It has been shown to positively enhance one’s life and quite possibly lead to successful outcomes of situations. So if you know anyone contemplating on whether they should find their roommate on Facebook or go random, I strongly encourage you to pass along these findings and let them decide for their themselves.

 

Sources:

https://ink.niche.com/roommate-dilemma-random-roommates-vs-living-friends/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/25/college-roommate-misconceptions_n_3654251.html?

http://onwardstate.com/2016/09/28/overheard-on-twitter-penn-state-freshman-goes-viral-after-hanging-up-roommates-sub-tweets-in-their-dorm/

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/praise-of-the-rando-freshman-roommate.html

http://www.uh.edu/~adkugler/Sacerdote.pdf

 

 

 

College Romance

Going into college I was single and ready to mingle. I was thrown into a brand new environment with fresh, different faces and exhilarating new opportunities. But most importantly, I had absolutely no ties back home. Except for my dog and I guess my family too. Anyways, I would constantly ask myself: “Why would anyone want to go into college still in a relationship from high school?” It was this thought that prompted me to write this blog post. I thought to myself what are the stats behind the success of high school relationships throughout college?

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Does long distance work?

We have all heard the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder”, but does it really? Statistically speaking there are 32.5% reported cases of long distance relationships in college. This statistic makes it seem as though long distance relationships are very common; however, we must also consider the success rate of these relationships. On average, 40% of long distance relationships do not last. For these 40%, if it’s not meant to be it takes about 4.5 months for the relationship to end. This means almost half of long distance relationships end, so unfortunately the odds are not in your favor.

 

How does a relationship effect your college performance?

While researching this topic, I became interested in how being in a relationship effects a student’s academic performance. According to a study more students are probable to skip class if they are in a romantic relationship. This is supposedly due to the fact that they would skip class in place of being able to see their significant other. This could or could not be an example of correlation and causation. This is could be causation because though you could be skipping class to see your significant other; however, your absences could be due to a lack of time devoted to homework. If you are in a relationship you could be spending time going on dates which leads to you skipping class to make up the time and work on your missed assignments. In this situation, the missed assignments would be the third variable.

 

Should you stay with your significant other going into college?

Going into college can be scary. You most likely will know absolutely no one, be in an unfamiliar place, and very far away from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to cling onto things and people that are accustomed to you. However, should this justify you staying with your significant other entering college? I was able to find a quiz on the trust worthy site of Cosmopolitan; however, I believe you should trust your intuition. My mom has always told me to “trust your gut” no matter how big or small the situation is. John Coates conducted a research study at Cambridge University, testing this common saying which resulted in positive feedback. It turns out that trusting our gut has been proven to be highly effective in successful outcomes.

So in terms of staying in your high school relationship, the choice is completely up to you. Look at the stats, consider the effects, and most importantly, trust your gut!

 

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/long-distance-relationship-statistics/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284205790_Love_and_Other_Grades_A_Study_of_the_Effects_of_Romantic_Relationship_Status_on_the_Academic_Performance_of_University_Students

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a55333/should-you-break-up-with-him-quiz/

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/gut-feelings-help-make-more-successful-financial-traders

 

 

Music To My Ears

For as long as I can remember, music has always been my coping mechanism during stressful times. It is the only thing that I know I can rely to automatically turn my mood around. There is a song for every occasion and every mood, so it never fails to brighten my day. I was intrigued to find out if this was all just in my head or if there was scientific proof behind my beliefs. Does music actually have the ability to make you happy or is it really just all in our heads?

 

It turns out that studies have shown that listening to music can help escalate your mood and reduce your stress levels. A study conducted at Mcgill University revealed the strong connection between listening to music and an increase in good moods. It tested the participants’ psychological  responses and their mood levels in reaction to the type of music they were listening to. The participants had shown that when they listened to the music of their desire their mood levels had intensified, whereas when they listened to the more relaxed already picked for them music their mood levels were stagnant. However, in class we learned that correlation does not always equal causation. There is not a clearly identified mechanism; however, there are many instances in science where a mechanism is found later. So in this situation whether this correlation is due to causation is up to debate. Despite this theory, this study has proven how listening to upbeat music leads to a positive increase in one’s mood. The studied exemplified how participants had positive psychological responses to upbeat music therefore resulting in a positive mood.

 

Another interesting discovery I encountered while researching this topic was that it’s not just music that effects our mood but also our mindset. When listeners are actively participating in listening to upbeat music and channeling positive thoughts, we see much better results than those just causally listening to music in the background. Timothy Wall talks about the benefits of being in the proper mindset while listening to upbeat music in his article on the University of

musictomyears

Missouri’s News Bureau. He mentions studies done by Ferguson where participants were instructed to either focus on trying to improve their moods or to not put effort into improving their attitudes. The participants who did not diligently try to change their mood saw significantly less improvement than those who were trying to change their attitude. It is due to these findings that scientists strongly believe that if one has an open and positive mind, listening to music can elicit positive attitudes from people.

 

After reading these sources, I have come to the conclusion that yes, music has the potential and ability to elevates one’s mood levels. Through having a positive and open mind, being conscious of your attitude, and listening to your own version of “happy music” music has an extremely helpful effect on moods. So if you’re ever feeling down, plug in those earphones and let the music do its magic.

 

Sources:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/asset?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0007487.PDF

http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2013/0514-trying-to-be-happier-works-when-listening-to-upbeat-music-according-to-mu-research/

 

 

Is your lucky sweater actually lucky?

Fashion is essential to achieving success. At least that’s what I’ve always believed; however, I do want to be in the fashion industry for my profession, so I may be a little biased. It was because of this that I was prompted to research whether what you wear affects the outcomes of a situation and/or a person’s mood. Does fashion truly have an impactful voice in how you feel and does it impact our daily lives?

 

How does what we wear impact us on an emotional level?

A study  was done at the University of Hertfordshire by Karen Pine in which she examined what women chose to wear and related it to how they felt. The result of this study concluded that when a woman was in a good mood, she would put extra effort into her appearance and was more concerned with how she looked. In contrast, when a woman was sad or upset she did not try as hard and had less interest in her appearance. It was also found that if you were the latter case and put on a nice outfit, it was shown to change the woman’s mood to a more blissful and pleased state. This study proved that what you wear truly does reflect your emotions. However, regarding the question of how what you wear effects your emotions, this is a reversal of my original question. Though there is some correlation between the two, the question of what factor causes the other is still up in the air.

 

How does fashion impact our daily lives?

One of my motto’s throughout life has been “Dress for Success”. Now I’m not saying if you “bum” it every now and then and wear some sweatpants to class you are a lazy or unmotivated person. I simply believe that if you dress good, you feel good, so you perform good. Fashion is a way of self-expression of not only style but also social groups and economic classes. According to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner,  by wearing high end fashion brands such as Chanel, Prada, and Gucci, you are exerting your wealth in society. Fashion is also a huge contender in how we are seen by our peers. By looking put together and well-polished, we appear more sophisticated and serene. In dissimilarity, when one looks very frazzled and messy they may be seen as shambolic and disorganized. All of this judgement is based off what you wear and how you wear it.

 

Why should you dress for the occasion?

There is a time and place for every piece of clothing. The most important place to really step up your game is at work/interviews. In a study it was shown that when employees, specifically men, dressed up in expensive and wealthy brand suits they were more successful in their endeavors. Confidence is key to success and by looking respectable your performance is enhanced.

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Why this matters?

After researching this topic, I have come to the conclusion that fashion truly does alter how a human feels and how they are perceived. Fashion has the potential to lead us to success emotionally and socially. So next time you’re getting ready and look in the mirror, ask yourself “What does this say about me?”

 

Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308062537.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2012/04/03/what-your-clothes-say-about-you/#70db0818413d

http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayrecord&uid=2014-38364-001

 

 

 

 

Stress? No thanks!

College is known for being the best four years of your life. The place where you will meet your lifelong friends, possibly even your spouse, and where you will truly become your pure self. What isn’t talked about nearly as often is the abundance amount of pressure and stress that comes along with attending a university. Almost any student at the prestigious Pennsylvania State University can vouch that it is not all fun and games. Those 3 a.m. cram sessions in the library, nearly overdosing on caffeine and 5 hour energies, and having so much work you don’t even know where to begin are constant themes throughout the four years spent at college.

I decided to look into easy and efficient ways to reduce the amount of stress that a typical student encounters. I was able to find 23 scientifically-backed ways to reduce stress right now.. A constant method of relaxation had to do with relaxing the mind and body. This varies from progressive relaxation, which targets all the muscles throughout your body, to deep breathing, which helps the brain by increasing the oxygen flow throughout your body as well as distracting your mind long enough to decrease your stress level. There are also specific scents that have been proven to lower anxiety altitudes. Lavender is the most common scent associated with aromatherapy that is proven to relieve stress. Another excellent and well known way to reduce stress is to exercise. Working out releases endorphins and endorphins are a superb way to diminish stress.

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An interesting technique that definitely is not talked about much is kissing and/or having sex. When someone is stressed their blood pressure tends to rise, however it has been shown that sex can lower one’s blood pressure resulting in a decrease of stress levels. Cortisol comes into play once again because while kissing, the brain discharges numerous chemicals including cortisol. Another method that I found surprising was that being religious can help aid you in decreasing your stress levels. In a study it was shown that people who practice their religion more intensely were less stressed as opposed to those who didn’t. Personally I think this is the case because people who are more religious have more faith in god and fate and believe that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. In other words, there is no need to stress and worry about the potential outcome of a situation because the result is out of our hands. Lastly, one of the easiest methods to implement would definitely be to just go out for a walk. This relates back to the exercise theory, but once again physical activity releases endorphins which can reduce stress. Also, going for a walk outside exposes you to a different environment which allows you to clear your mind and breath in fresh air which can reduce stress levels. Through this research I have found multiple techniques that will help me reduce my stress levels, and I encourage you all to do the same.

 

Source: http://greatist.com/happiness/23-scientifically-backed-ways-reduce-stress-right-now

 

 

No seriously, my dog is a genius.

Coco Liebensohn is an extremely smart and cute little cockapoo (half cocker spaniel and half poodle), he is eight years old, and weighs in at 52 pounds. Beginning when Coco was just 4 weeks, I was convinced he was a genius. He was able to learn tricks such as “go get your toy”, “sit”, and when asked “Do you want a treat?” he would run to his treat cabinet.

professordog

After reading The Brilliance of the Dog Mind, I learned that my love for my dog was not influencing my perception of his intelligence because other than humans, dogs are one of the most accomplished species in the world. Regarding this fact even further, there is no such thing as a dumb dog. Through cognitive games and conditioning, Cook explained that dogs are able to understand us by distinguishing each of our tones and gestures. Dogs are able to understand what we are saying and what we are asking for by watching our hand gestures, they also become so familiar with us that they can also pick up on our emotions. Scientist Natalia De Souza Alburquerque, conducted an experiment testing dogs’ abilities to analyze humans’ emotions. In this study Natalia found that canines spent longer examining facial expressions that coincided with the verbal emotion intending to be executed. Dogs also display humanistic characteristics when it comes to love. It has been proven that when dog’s see their owners or other animals that they are fond of, their brain is able to release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the same chemical that humans’ brains release when we are in love. It is due to this scientific discovery that scientists were able to conclude that canines are capable of human emotions. Another study shows that dogs also have the ability to sense when humans feel threatened.  When a human being is uncomfortable or threatened, the body’s natural reaction is to sweat. However, canines have an extremely sharp sense of smell which allows to them to be able to detect when we begin to perspire. In one particular instance, when a stranger approached a dog’s owner, the owner became a little frightened and began to sweat which tipped of her dog that she was alarmed. The dog then got protective and began to growl and scared the stranger enough that he left. It is situations like this that show how smart and in sync dogs are with not only their own emotions, but also their humans’.

Another interesting fact that I learned is that according to Simone M. Scully, dogs are the only members of the animal kingdom excluding humans and primates that can engage and interpret the meaning behind eye contact. This is another circumstance when a dog and human’s brain discharges oxytocin. This was an interesting scientific discovery because other animals such as wolves do not take eye contact in a positive light. Wolves have a sense of aggression while making eye contact with other species. Through the research I have gathered from multiple different sources, I have come to the conclusion that a dog really is the best friend you can have. Not only are they capable of understanding what we are saying, but also what we are feeling. Through scientific studies, it has been suggested that a dog truly is a genius.

 

Sources: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brilliance-of-dog-mind/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-dogs-emotions-idUSKCN0VP1DH

https://www.thedodo.com/dogs-release-same-love-chemica-526164234.html

https://www.doghealth.com/how-and-why/how-dogs-sense-emotions

http://www.businessinsider.com/special-abilities-that-show-how-smart-dogs-are-2016-8/#2-dogs-want-eye-contact-with-us-2

 

 

Bugs are healthy

After two class lectures discussing how eating worm’s effects children, I decided to do a little more research on how eating other bugs and insects affect our bodies. This led to an hour full of nausea while reading articles on all the different insects people are actually willing eat.  People indulge on cockroaches, fried dung beetles, termites, and locusts, covered in chocolate, seasoned with spices, or even completely plain. To make it a bit more appetizing,I could see why people cover them and/or dip them in chocolate. However, all the money in the world could not convince me to ingest any type of insect or bug; no matter what the benefits are. Surprisingly, there are an obscene amount of health benefits that come along with eating bugs and insects.

sushi-bizarre-101

I found a list of numerous advantages here, These are some of the facts that I discovered:

  1. Bugs actually contain multiple ingredients that help fuel our bodies with good nutrients such as protein, essential vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber.
  2. Due to the availability and accessibility of bugs, they serve as an excellent option for food. The rapid growth in population encourages people to utilize bugs as an exceptional alternative to traditional food.
  3. Insects and bugs are also very accessible all over the world. Their low-maintenance nature allows them to thrive in small spaces and in Bug Farms, which require less resources and less money to maintain.
  4. Not only would eating bugs be benefitting the economy, but it would also help lower the obesity rate around the world. Due to the nutritious balance between the nutrients such as the healthy fats and protein, eating bugs would be healthier for the body then most poultry and meat, therefore dropping the obesity rate.
  5. If you’re anything like me and refuse to eat bugs in their natural form, there are other options for ingestion. You can put them into flour and use that in recipes while cooking.
  6. The most shocking fact that I found was that most of us have previously eaten bugs unknowingly. The FDA actually allows chocolate producers to include up to 60 insect parts per 100 grams. This means that majority of us have already ingested bugs and insects in some form. Which is really digusting if you ask me.

 

These are just a few of an abundant amount of gains that comes with choosing bugs and straying away from the typical snacks and meals. Throughout my research, I was constantly grossed out but also surprised that ingesting bugs and insects actually provides many health benefits. It was an even greater plus when I discovered that these health benefits could help shrink obesity rates. I was even more surprised to learn that I would be helping our environment and economy in production costs and processes. Even though I still would never consider taking part in this peculiar way of eating, I strongly encourage everyone to learn the facts and decide for themselves if they would be interested in participating in this study.

Source for list:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/10/eating-bugs-food_n_4726371.html

Source for FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/SanitationTransportation/ucm056174.htm

 

Shout Out To Chem H For Ending My Science Career

Hello, my name is Samantha Liebensohn and I am from Westchester New York. It’s not the city, it’s not farmland, it’s just typical suburbia. I am currently a sophomore here at Penn State in the College of Communications, with an intended major in Public Relations and a minor in business and international affairs.

 

The reason I am not planning on being a science major goes back all the way to the good old days of sophomore year in high school. Well actually, the not so good days if we’re being honest. I took Chemistry honors with a hopeful and open mind of the science world. But then I actually had to take the class and learn the material. I literally could not tell you one thing I learned from that class, not from a lack of studying or from not doing the work but seriously because I could not understand anything from the material. I almost felt bad for my teacher because I was constantly going SC200blog1.2in during lunch or staying after school for extra help but still to no prevail I could not digest the information. Which leads us to this blog post. I am not a science person, I do not do well in labs, or memorizing formulas. My brain just doesn’t work like that. Which is why when I heard about SC 200 a class about critical thinking, a science class for non science majors I knew it was for me. It would introduce me to important topics that I would love to be knowledgeable on and push me to think in ways that I haven’t before. I was excited to not feel dumb in a science classroom and yearned for the satisfaction of actually learning something science related.

Whether it was Andrew’s accent or the openness in the lecture hall i am confident that this class is for me. I am looking forward to what this semester will bring.