Transferring is Haaaard

Let me paint you a word picture. Remember fall/winter of your senior year of high school? Ah, memories. Memories mainly of the grueling, painful, next-level difficult college application process. Perhaps you did not vehemently hate applying to college, and perhaps even did not irrationally procrastinate doing so whenever possible, but if that is the case then you and I are not the same.

Despite this immense struggle, I persevered and applied and got into colleges and accepted one with great joy and relief and thought that was over and done with.

But then I got to college, promptly helped myself to a heavier and more all-encompassing workload than the one I had in high school, and thought, Hey. You know what would be fun? Doing my least favorite thing I’ve ever had to do again, while also having a barely feasible amount of work.

Thus I started up that glorious process again, while living it up in the second semester of my freshman year of college! It was an utter blast, and I definitely didn’t stay at the library until closing three nights per week or anything.

In all seriousness, there is no human emotion on this Earth quite like logging into the Common App website as a college student. I have never experienced full-body disgust like I did at the moment I was forced to enter the abyss of the College Board website and once more pay $15 to send each AP score to each school on my list. (What on this great green earth could those fifteen dollars possibly go to? They don’t even have to print anything! Just inform four post-secondary institutions of the grade I received on a U.S. History exam I took three years ago, please!)

I am already way more excited about Emerson than I was about my last school (air of mystery here so as not to start any drama), which makes that terrible period of my human existence worth it. However. Things did not suddenly become easy, which was a disappointment because I hope constantly that life will abruptly transform into a 24/7 walk in the park.

Being an Emerson student is pretty great so far, but being a transfer student can be hard. It is often like being a freshman, but with none of the youthful glow and optimism. All the knowledge you built up about your last college is suddenly totally useless. (I haven’t needed to keep up a mental ranking of preferred shower stalls in the second-floor communal bathroom of my dorm building in five months, and yet here I am today, constantly aware that the one closest to the window is by far the best in terms of amount of space and adaptability of water temperature.)

But this breadth of knowledge is not the worst thing that does not transfer, because if you start attending Emerson YOUR GPA DOES NOT TRANSFER. This is truly the worst thing I can possibly imagine. Not only does it feel like all the work I did last year has disappeared before my very eyes, but I have much less time and fewer data points now. In other words, a required class I didn’t want to take in the first place suddenly matters a whole lot.

If there is one thing in the entire world that rivals the loss of my existing GPA for unpleasantness, it is having to make friends once again. As a process, it is so hard and weird! But here I am in a new city, at a new school, and apparently socializing is expected, or something. This is especially difficult because it is very tempting to lay on the floor and use Snapchat and Instagram to watch the lives of my friends from my last college and/or my friends from home as they happily begin their second year at the same school. With friends they’ve already made. What a luxury!

But even with all of those mildly depressing negatives, I still really recommend transferring if you feel unsatisfied. Because we all pay wayyyy too much money to get anything other than the best four years of all time.

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Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety

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Last August, I was terrified to start college.

On another hand, I was also excited to get to campus. Soon, I’d be taking classes in the areas of study that most interested me. My roommates and I had already become well-acquainted through the power of Facebook, which ensured I would not be entering my college years alone.

Still, I had lived in the same comfortable, yet boring, town for the majority of my life. Though my most valuable friendships were not made until high school, I had gone to class alongside the same students for years. My school wouldn’t be too far from home but I recognized that college would still bring tremendous change to my life. And, unfortunately, change can be scary.

Continue reading “Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety”

Working ‘Till College Do Us Part

When May is coming, all college students can think of is the potential for adventure, fun and sleep during their summer months. No more homework or projects or whatnots.

Well, at least until your internship starts, you get hired at your summer job, and finding the time to split between your friends at home, from school, and all that family you missed out on during the school year. Suddenly, you’re sick of your own summer. When’s the right time to quit?

For each person this question differs. Obviously the money aspect plays a big role and everyone’s fiscal responsibilities vary according to need, want and current stature. So this question is very personal for many. If you need to keep working or work hours on end during the week, quitting your job early may not be the write solution for you. However, as long as friends and family, a good book or show to binge online surrounds you, you’ll get a little break until the academic calendar offers a little solace.

However, if you do not fall under that category, there are many variables you need to take into account.

Are you happy at your job?

This is a question that has many parts. Are your coworkers nice; are your bosses understanding; are you paid well enough for your task? If your answers to these questions are astounding yeses, then you may be happy to keep working. Considering how rare that is, enjoy it while it lasts. But if you’re counting down every hour from the moment you get in, your bosses haven’t listened or respected your requests, the pay isn’t worth the treatment and work you’ve completed, then maybe you shouldn’t stay there all summer. How many times have you been able to see the friends and family from home since starting work? Have you actually taken time to relax before the academic grind begins? Did you go on an adventure of sorts? Don’t loose your summer to a job.

Leave time to relax, to craft, to see friends, to explore, to do anything your young collegiate heart desires. You’ll be working when you’re back in school. If you can afford it and need it, take some time for yourself.

How much time you need is up to you. If you hate your job, need some more money, but don’t want to loose your time at home to this paid task, why not quit a little before. A week, depending on how many things you want to do. Two weeks if you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. If you need that much time for the amount of events you want to complete this summer, do it. Take a month if at all possible.

Just remember to try and follow protocol. It’s never a bad thing to have another work reference or experience on your resume for the future. So try to at least give two weeks notice, more so if possible. Bring it up when you have their full attention. Tell them how grateful you were for this opportunity, even if you hated every second of it and are imagining the fanfare when you walk out. Explain that you need to start focusing on getting back to school, means it had nothing to do with them or your feelings towards them. And give an exact date of when your last day will be. Then, there will be no confusion of when to start the trumpeters.

Navigating Your College Career Goals

I’m someone who likes to have everything figured out. I like to know that what I’m doing is ultimately helping me accomplish one of my long term goals, or at least moving me toward something – like a degree. Every class we take at school, every paper we write is moving us toward that little piece of paper that employers love to see.

Lately it seems that everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and exactly how they’re going to do it. Lately, I feel as if I’m heading in the exact opposite direction. I write articles, blog posts, poetry, and anything that interests me really. But this past month, I had been questioning the lifestyle and career choices I’ve been making. I let a couple of political arguments on Facebook with family members change how I felt about being a writer. I wanted to put my skills to good use and switch majors and make a bunch of rushed decisions in order to do something I thought was more noble, or useful. I’ve spent the last month throwing myself into things that could’ve permanently locked me into something I didn’t want to do.

Most of us go through phases, when it comes to the big question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 7-year-old me might have said a singing space-bus driver. 15-year-old me might’ve said a lawyer or paralegal. Now, at 19-years-old, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I did figure something out. It’s okay to not have your life plan mapped out! And I figured something else out too! Writing is a skill that every employer likes to see on a resume. Words have power, regardless of profession.

I didn’t reach this conclusion alone, however. I reached out to many trusted friends, family, and even coworkers, having active discussions on what the options were when it came to my career and my major and all of them pretty much said the same thing. If you ultimately don’t know what you want to do – a degree is still a degree, and most employers will still value it even if it doesn’t exactly match the job description. They were right. A degree in X, Y, Z doesn’t bind you to a career in X, Y, or Z. Chances are, most of the alphabet is still up for grabs, as long as you have the necessary skills and experience to land it.  

Do not do what I almost did and make rash decisions to make up for the lack of direction. Do things you enjoy now – make connections with people who share the pleasure of doing those things. Do not build the roof of your house before building the foundation. Direction will come when everything settles. We may not know now where we’ll be in five years, but look around and you can see where you are now. Work hard, love harder and take life one step at a time.

Un Aventure En France

When I landed in the Marseille airport, I had no earthly idea what would be in store for me throughout my first three weeks of travel in the beautiful and mysterious south of France. There was so much I had yet to learn. I didn’t know that there are €1 and €2 coins that replace small bills, nor could I have anticipated still finding them in my purse weeks after returning to The States. I also didn’t know just how challenging it would be to assimilate into French culture.

Many little things added up to produce that low hanging cloud of confusion that followed me around in the beginning: there was no ginger ale in any of the bars or restaurants, nor was there any brewed iced tea (the closest thing, to my disappointment, was peach Lipton in a can). In the little apartment that I stayed in with my host, the toilet and the shower were in separate rooms. Shop keepers expect a prompt bonjour upon entry, and it’s considered rude if you neglect to say so. Upon departing, you kindly wish each other bon journée. 99% of the time when colloquial phrases are forgotten or misused, the French will not fail to remind you. One common misconception in America is that bonjour means hello, even though it actually translates to “good day.” There were countless times that I forgot that small fact and stupidly said bonjour past 5 o’clock–at which point I was answered with a cheeky “bon soir!”and a twinkle of the eye.

Still, not all surprises were uncomfortable. To my endless amusement, the French actually do say “ooh la la” — in varying dialects ranging anywhere from Parisian to Marseillais. Most afternoons they sit for an aperitif, an afternoon nip of alcohol. In Aix-en-Provence where I stayed, this was usually rosé or champagne, accompanied by some bread or crackers and olives. Being so close to Italy, the olives are sublime. The ice cream, too, always gelato, is absolutely magnificent. Sadly, this prevents me from enjoying it in America to the extent that I used to. There were marvelous Provençal flavors like violet, amarena (a delicious blend of cherry jam and creamy, milk ice cream), and of course lavande, the smell of which seems to permeate the entire countryside.

Something I will sorely miss is the ease of communication the French have with strangers. People sitting close to each other in restaurants speak freely–even in the street, it is common to strike up conversation with passers by. Despite my unsophisticated French, I rarely felt nervous to ask questions of people I didn’t know. Not everyone was nice, but a majority were more than happy to speak with a foreigner. Some would even compliment us on our good French, even if there were a few grammatical mistakes mixed in.

If I close my eyes and transport myself back to Aix-en-Provence, I can still smell the roses as I walk down the streets of the La Vieille Ville, the ancient part of town that looked like it hadn’t changed in 400 years. I can hear the sounds of the little city: the mossy fountains bubbling with a steady stream of water, the pitted patter of French puppy paws on their promenade, the slow, mellow ring of the cathedral bell.

 

How to Keep in Touch with College Friends Over Break

The bonds you create when you share a bathroom with someone or many someones are powerful. You become so close with people so quickly that being ripped away from them at the beginning of summer break can feel like having a piece of your soul missing. Though it’s never the same, there are a lot of fun ways to keep in touch with all of your college friends over this long, hot dry spell.

Netflix and Skype

I don’t know about you, but for me one of the worst things about going home is that I have no one to binge watch with. I start watching shows with about 5 different people and then suddenly it all comes crashing to a halt when break starts. It’s too tragic to keep watching the show without each other, so you just wait until next semester when you’ve already forgotten all the characters. Well, there’s another way! You and your friends can make Skype dates to watch your shows together. This way you can experience the drama together rather than waiting to recap the show four months later. Or if Skyping while you watch the show is too inconvenient you can Skype afterwards, or text and/or Snapchat during.

Go on a Trip

If you have the means and the opportunity, a great way to ease the separation anxiety is to take a trip to visit each other. One great thing about going to college is you get to meet so many people from diverse backgrounds. What better way to get to know your friends better than going to see them in their hometown, or having them come visit you. You can even plan a grand tour with some of your friends and take a road trip to each person’s hometown. Now all your friends will know how good that local restaurant you’ve been talking about really is. Or if you don’t live far from each other or don’t want your college friends to collide with your hometown friends you could go on a road trip together. The summer is a great time for a weekend-long beach getaway!

Snapchat

Snapchat is a game changer when it comes to communicating long distance because it’s as convenient as texting and you still get to see each others’ faces. It can be really hard to communicate effectively without facial expressions, and Snapchat gives you the opportunity. Sometimes I just can’t convey how hard I’m judging my roommate with words! It can also be a fun game to see how long you can keep your fire going when you’re not around each other all the time.

Send Letters

There’s no question that social media has eased the pain of separation exponentially by making communication so much more convenient, but sometimes it’s worth it to return to the classics. Becoming pen pals with your college buddies can be a fun way to feel like you have an intimate connection with a person when they’re thousands of miles away. You can send each other postcards from your travels or just from your hometown. You could even send each other momentos like a flower from your backyard. I’m always up for the opportunity to pretend I’m from the 1800’s.

Try out a few of these tips, and by the time school rolls around, it will be like no time has passed at all. Your friendships will start right back up where they left off with minimal recovery time!

On Being Late

In Costa Rica, when someone says, “I’ll be there in five minutes,” five minutes can be anything from 10 to 15 (to even an hour), depending on the context. When I was living back home, I knew that in most situations, being five minutes late somewhere was not a big deal. Dance classes would start roughly at 5:05 p.m., not 5’o clock; coffee with a friend around 4:30 p.m., not the planned 4:00 p.m.; your mom saying you are leaving at 9:00 a.m., but you know it’s really 9:15.

When I moved to the States for college, I was surprised at how much importance is given to every minute in this country. I now understand why the expression “time is money”exists. Being late is considered rude and selfish by social norm. Lateness in the United States means being a couple of minutes behind scheduled time. Lateness in Costa Rica (and I could argue Latin America) means being over a half hour late or more. There is a different perception of time and a different rhythm of life in the countries. In Spain, people have dinner at 10 or 11 p.m. and in the United States it is normally around 6 or 7 p.m.

Time is a societal, cultural construct. But, even so it has consequences in our lives. When I started college, I experienced complete culture shock. I was moving at my own time and my own inner clock was still working according to the norms I learned back home. I never saw a problem in entering a class five minutes late, until I realized I was being offensive to my professor and fellow students without meaning to. I have realized the importance of time in interpersonal relationships, and I am working at being punctual. I have to push myself (because it’s a challenge) to be on time, and ‘on time’ by North-American standards. But, those couple of minutes that make the difference always seem to be rushing past me: encapsulated in small situations that only make me realize how ironic (and comedic) life can be.

1. Mornings—they are just crowded with possibilities for lateness, even more when you aren’t a morning person. Every morning is full of wonders:

The snooze button on your phone is a big ally to tardiness, and you know it, but you still want five more minutes in bed (because they tend to be very long five minutes.)

An even better trick is when you set up the alarm, but mistake the AM for the PM settings. Do not fear, your alarm will go off 12 hours after you actually needed it.

Once, and if, you make it out of bed you will already be haunted by the ghost of tardiness. Proceed to get showered and dressed. But, you have to change shirts five different times because it’s that kind of day and nothing feels okay on you. Or, it could be a bad hair day. Regardless, either one will require attention and the extra minutes that are your enemies.

Just when you lock the door behind you, you will realize you left the keys, phone or wallet behind. Sometimes even the full backpack. Now, go find them and run!

2. The Trek—once you are late, getting to wherever you are going will be a trek. And, your anxiety about being on time but knowing that time has been lost will make it even harder. But, it’s okay because you can always find something to blame it on: 

The T, because you know the green line sucks. And public transportation is a disaster and out of your hands.

The traffic, because your teacher or boss can’t really know for a fact whether that accident or construction was actually happening.

The weather, especially during the winter. It’s always the snow’s fault. Always!

3. Arriving—that is the moment between the trek and the moment where you actually arrive. When you sit down in class or meet with a friend or check in at work. Those final little seconds are always key.

But, Murphy’s Law is always playing with you. The elevators will always be too crowded. This is especially the case in a school like Emerson, where the ratio of people to elevators is messed up. When you open the door to a building, and you have two minutes left to be almost on time, but there is a line for the elevator, you are doomed. 

Or you will run into someone that talks a lo, and you really don’t want to be rude and you have to go, but they insist for a quick little chat.

Or it will take forever to find a good parking space.

Or you will need to run to the bathroom because you can’t hold it and there is no other option.

These are some of the ironies in my daily life that sometimes hold me back from being on time. I like to look at them in retrospective and laugh, although I now understand cultural norms of time. I am trying to improve my punctuality, but no one is perfect and it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself.

Although I mock being late, I only do it because I appreciate seeing the differences in social contexts in relation with time. While being late is rude—and I have come to understand that—I also think that time should not be taken so seriously. Always judging according to the right context and, most importantly, knowing that taking life with some humor will make you a happier person.

iCloudy with a Chance of Losing Your Documents

No documents to show.

No, no, no, no, no.

I was always told to back up my documents, but I felt like my computer was invincible. My documents are on the cloud. I don’t need to back them up. I don’t need a hard drive. I won’t lose anything.

I was wrong. I was so wrong.

It all started when I got the familiar menacing message on my phone. Storage almost full. Usually I start by deleting my photos because most of them either don’t matter or are uploaded to my laptop. I used to have Apple’s Pages app on my phone, but had since deleted it. Because of this, I thought it would be okay to delete all of the data on my phone connected with Pages. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Pressing that simple button deleted all of my documents in a split second and there was no turning back.images (8)

My dad always yells at me for not reading messages that pop up on my devices before I click. I could almost hear his voice in my head as I stared at my blank documents folder in Pages. “You should have read it and this wouldn’t have happened.”

Take this as a lesson from an unfortunate soul who learned it the hard way: back up your documents. I was slightly lucky, because most of my important documents were my writing and a lot of those are online or in my notes, so I actually didn’t lose as much as I could have. Either way, I’m saving everything on my computer from now on and I may use Dropbox or even buy a hard drive.

Technology has its pros and cons. On one hand, it’s very helpful. I couldn’t imagine life without Google to search which actor was in the movie I was watching, or FaceTime to call my brother back in New York. On the other hand, it has so much power and can delete all of your documents and completely ruin your life.

If losing your documents has unfortunately happened to you, or even if it hasn’t yet, here are some ways to deal with it.

Get an External Hard Drive

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Hard drives can be pretty expensive, but they’re usually worth it. I usually see people get them if they have larger files such as videos and graphics they need to save, but they work for documents as well. Since I’m a writing major, I never thought it was worth it for me to get a hard drive, but after this incident, I might consider getting one.

Use Other Websites

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Sites such as Google Docs, Dropbox, or even iCloud are helpful as long as they’re not the only thing you’re using. Make sure not to make the mistake I did and use a site like this in addition to saving everything on your computer. These sites are good as a back up, but they are not trustworthy enough to be your only source.

Save Everything Twice

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I was always too lazy to save things multiple times, which is why I kept everything on iCloud. It was easier to have everything on it and then be able to access it across all of my devices then have to worry about where the most recent version of the document was saved and how I would be able to access it. I have already started to save everything to multiple folders on my computer as well as keep all of my files in iCloud. I’m not taking any chances from here on out.

There are probably more measures that can be taken to make sure your files are never eaten by the unforgiving iCloud monsters, but these are the easiest ways that I can think of and should keep your documents safe in most cases. Overall, you can never be too careful because technology sometimes fails and there’s nothing worse than sitting on the receiving end of a message that says, No documents to show.

Looking Back on Childhood Friends and Memories

There are hundreds of relationships that one will have during their lifetime. There is the childhood friend, the high school group, the best friend, the boyfriend and the family friends. Of course, there are plenty more, and each will have different and unique experiences and memories. There will be a ton of laughter, smiles, and secrets, but also tears, fights, and second guessing. It happens with everyone, slowly, but surely, and at different times of everyone’s life. Within each relationship that you had, have and will have, there are lessons that you learn. The lessons, in turn, will be established in future friendships that you will make.

When I was little, like many, I had a childhood best friend. We did so much together, which was less of our choosing and more because our moms were close friends. Either way, we wanted to have “play dates” and play imaginary games. Personally, I believe that having a childhood best friend is important. It could be a person, imaginary friend, or a loved pet. With any of these types, we learn to play, love, interact and learn from others. I can confidently say that my childhood best friend began to teach me all of these characteristics and everyday human capabilities that would later turn into major building blocks for other friendships.

There is always a specific memory that you can tag to a person. With this friend (you know who you are), we used to play on the wooden swing in her backyard. It was the type of the swing that had a plank of wood connected to rope, you know, the ones that swung really high with just one push. We used to take turns playing on that swing for hours, screaming and smiling all at once as we quickly got higher and higher off of the ground and closer to the shining sun. This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid, plainly because it was just so simple but so fun.

Unfortunately for me, I have always been scared of heights and also that feeling of dropping backwards without having control of it. Therefore, I would always have fun going up, but as soon as it hit the highest part of the swing and began to go back to the ground, I would panic. I thought that I was going to run into the wooden fence that shut my friend’s yard off from weeds and sharp bushes that lived in her neighbor’s. I would shut my eyes tight, and turtle my chin into my neck, ready for impact. But it would never happen. She would always catch the swing before it would hit the fence. I would open my eyes and find myself still intact.

As silly as this sounds, these simple playtimes at the swing helped me to begin building trust for people besides my family. The fact that I never crashed into the fence because of the true dedication of my friend (think about it, two small and young girls can’t stop a fast moving swing with someone equally as heavy on top of it that easily) helped me to open up to other people rather than hide from them.

Now, with an experience that brought me so much trust to instill in my everyday surroundings and the people within them, came others that brought me back down to earth. We all have experienced friends who talked about us behind our backs, lied to us, or smirked meanly at us when we made stupid comments. Maybe you didn’t know it, but someone did. Middle school and high school, for most of us, are the grounds for bringing down our trust levels. Especially for girls. We really are mean. I mean, guys are also pretty bad. Though, in middle school, they tend to separate themselves into two categories: loud and obnoxious or quiet and shy. Girls on the other hand, well, quiet or not, we are just plain mean. If not all of the time, then a pretty good amount of it. And half the time we don’t even intend to be.

For me, I was more quiet in middle school and stuck to a smaller group of friends. But was I a perfect friend who never talked about anyone behind their backs? Absolutely not. It’s in our nature, and at a time when everything both physically and mentally is changing for us, it helps something to feel normal. This by no means excuses bullying, however emphasizes that sad fact that we as girls do eventually thrive off of some sort of drama in order to distract ourselves from our own ongoing lives.

As I thread through thousands of unfinished journal pages covered with sloppy handwriting and unidentifiable drawings, I remember those times in my life while growing into that “awkward middle school phase.” I remember times that I was mean (like when I threw a dinner roll at my aunt to stop her from telling an embarrassing story) and then times that people were mean to me. (Remember FormSpring?) If I could relive those moments now, as a 20-year-old woman rather than a ten to 13-year-old girl, I would probably change a couple of things. One, I wouldn’t throw the dinner roll, I would most likely let my aunt continue her embarrassing story and secretly plan a less harmful revenge. Two, I would probably delete my FormSpring account and never look back at it again.

Both of these instances described above, (one being cute and nostalgic, and the other more of a laughing stock), are completely different. However, both of the relationships had in them helped me to become the person I am today. As you can tell through this article, I am a big believer of “everything happens for a reason.” But thinking back onto every relationship you have ever had (which is a lot), there is some sort of happy, sad or angry ending to it that makes you more wary or trusting about others around you. If all of the relationships that we had in our lives were happy and had positive outcomes, no fights or crying, then we would never expect anything bad of anyone. We would be naive and a serious target for anything and everything horrible and evil.

Even through intimate relationships we learn. If I acted shy and uncomfortable around my current boyfriend like I did with my first boyfriend, then our relationship would not be going very far (and would possibly already be over.) If someone had never made fun of me, then I never would have built a thicker skin (and a wildly large determination to do everything to prove them wrong.) And even as I am presented with similar relationships that I dealt with in the past, I realize that it is another chance to deal with them in a better and more responsible way than how I did before.

As awkward as our memories of the past may be, they can not be rewritten. And honestly, why would you ever want to?

Why You Need to Sleep

Who really has time to get enough sleep? Those crazy people who insist on going to bed at 10 p.m. every night? College graduates? People without kids? Rich people? Definitely not me, that’s for sure. Especially during the school semester, I’m lucky if I manage to get five hours of sleep per night, and for various of reasons, I know there are thousands that can say the same.

atlas34I’m sure we’ve all seen this type of chart on the internet before. This seems simple compared to what me and many college students I know have to do on a typical day. Let’s add in work, extra curriculars, relationships, free time to read a book or watch your favorite television show, travel time, and more and you’ve got a chart I couldn’t even make.

Last semester I was busier than I had ever been, working 30 hours a week, running a coed fraternity on campus and trying to get through school while attempting to have a social life. I found that I was too busy and skimping on things that I really didn’t want to skimp on, such as sleep.

How Sleep Deprivation Effects You

Sleeping is so important for your body to recharge.  Despite that the ideal amount of sleep seems to be disputed everywhere on the internet, my doctor told me I need at least eight hours every night at 21-years-old. When I was a teenager, she said to get more than that, about 8.5 to 9.5 hours a night.

According to the Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep deprivation causes serious problems in many of your bodily functions. It can make you irritable for no reason, unmotivated, anxious or even cause symptoms of depression. It can affect your performance by interfering with your concentration, coordination, ability to pay attention and stay focused, while making you constantly tired, restless and forgetful. Sleep deprivation can even affect your safety by reducing your vigilance, increasing your reaction times and making you more likely to make bad decisions.

Medically speaking, sleep deprivation has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity and diabetes, the Academy of Sleep Medicine added. In fact, the link between lack of sleep and weight gain is very well-studied. The Guardian also reported on a study that showed constant lack of sleep disrupts hundreds of genes throughout your body that work to keep you healthy.

The Huffington Post sheds some light on the additional problems that teens face at a higher risk than adults that include mental health issues, behavioral and learning issues and substance abuse. Each missed hour of sleep raises a teens chance of feeling sad, hopeless and depressed.

How to Tell if You are Sleep Deprived

Right now, you may feel perfectly healthy. Many of the major health problems won’t show up until later down the road, and the less serious issues you could often just shrug off. According to Health Magazine, if you feel any of these, you probably need a few extra Zs every night:

  • You’re always hungry and/or craving especially fatty, sugary foods.
  • You’re gaining weight and you’re not sure why.
  • You’ve suddenly decided to become impulsive.
  • You have no memory.
  • You always look to someone else to make a decision because your indecisiveness is too much.
  • You’re clumsier than usual.
  • You’re as emotional as Cho Chang when she kisses Harry in Order of the Phoenix.
  • You’re sick more often than you’re not.
  • You’ve never needed glasses, but everything is suddenly blurry.
  • You’re skin isn’t looking too hot.
  • You can’t drive without the fear of falling asleep.

What You Should Do About It

Get more sleep! Obviously, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even I, while suddenly realizing my lack of sleep may be the reason why I’m such a klutz or having sweet cravings, know how hard this is. I keep telling myself once I graduate, I’ll get some sleep. Even though I’m going into my last semester, six months seems a long way off to look forward to full nights of sleep. So, here are a few tips from The Huffington Post on getting in a couple extra hours:

  • Eating too much or too little before bed can disrupt your sleep. Caffeine and alcohol can also keep you up or wake you up later on.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, you need to train your body when it’s bed time. Don’t spend any time in your bed except to sleep, and do the same things every night before going to sleep. It also helps to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Don’t nap during the day unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to, don’t nap for any longer than 90 minutes, which will take you through one REM cycle.
  • Limit screen time and other screen-related distractions before and in bed. Try not to watch too much television or surf the web right before your bed. Give your mind some time to wind down. Also, many (like me) sleep with their phones next to them to use as alarms or just because you can’t bear to be parted with it. I’m not judging, nor am I telling you to stop, because I couldn’t, but just let it sit there next to your pillow. Don’t check it during the night, don’t even think about it until it forces you to get up the next morning.
  • When you’re stressed or worried, your mind is going a hundred miles a minute while you’re body is trying to fall asleep. Problems can’t always be dealt with right away, so trying putting it to the back of your mind when you get into bed.
  • Getting yourself and your life more organized can also help you get more sleep. Learning to manage your time could open up some time during your day and possibly enable you to go to bed earlier.

There are lots of sleep studies and remedies out there, and you have to decide what works best for you and your schedule.  The important thing is that you can honestly say you get enough sleep more nights than you don’t.