Posts Tagged sleep



After endless papers, countless pages written and read, I finished freshman year. Exhausted, sleep deprived, eager and most importantly proud of what I have achieved during my first year of college, I turned in my last paper, went through the odyssey of moving out and began my journey home. The stress of finals made home appear like a an oasis in the middle of the desert. After being away for six months and after being under the most intense academic pressure I had ever experienced, home was a necessary stop for I needed to “recharge” my batteries, and as many of my professors suggested, reflect on the successes and downfalls of the year that had just ended. I thank them for their advice for I was considering taking summer courses but after some thought, I realized that that would not have been the best idea since I was mentally exhausted from six months of intense academic expectations.

College tires you out, as high school has done to those who are seniors now. You can only write so many papers and read so many books until you stop enjoying what you are doing and begin to see it as a burden and a hassle. I experienced this at one point during spring term where, when it was sunny and really nice outside, I found myself in the library doing readings for my comparative politics class. Had it been earlier in the term (and less sunny outside) I would not have been complaining about the work that I had to do. After talking to some of my friends about this issue, we came to the conclusion that at the end of the day, we are still kids (although we are older than 18) and that there is a need for us to have fun and put aside the academic pressure that piles on us. Also, we arrived at the conclusion that we need to match our determination to succeed with an approach that assures that we are healthy psychologically. If our minds are tired or stressed, we will not perform our best and thus, a bit of fun from time to time is necessary.

I know that some of us fall under the category of those hard workers that are always looking for something to do. There is nothing wrong with that since it is that work ethic that has gotten you to the position in which you are right now. But remember that you are not a machine (a fact that I tend to forget a lot of times) and that you need rest and time to relax. It is a proven fact that you learn more and are able to assimilate more material when you are not under stress and thus, there is a need for study breaks.

And so, my message in this short blog is that those who are seniors (and now high school graduates), enjoy your summer after what I am sure has been a stressful year. For those who are rising seniors, enjoy your summer as well because you are going to need to be well rested for what will be a really intense year, full of applications and essays. Have a great summer guys!

If Time is Money, I’m SO Broke

jenny-85Time just seems to run away from me. There are never enough hours in a day to do the things I want to do. Can’t take a nap. Can’t go to the movies. Can’t go read a book for leisure because I’ll definitely end up reading it instead of the books I need for class. And then I can’t do the things that I need to do. Like study for that exam that’s coming up. Finish my homework. Can’t finish the insane amount of reading I have for my writing class. Time-management? Not my forte. It’s harder than I thought it’d be.

You’d think that you would have more time in college. Classes don’t start till nine or ten. Some classes don’t meet every day. You probably thought, “YES! Freedom!” Nope. Not at all. Between classes, lunch lines, laundry, coursework, clubs and sleep, me-time is cut down severely.

One thing I do is keep a planner. In this age, phones seem to have this application too, so no excuses. I first list the things that are due. For example, papers for writing class or problem sets for my science courses. Then I split them up into parts I can take on day by day. Do these things by Tuesday and then move on to the next part on Wednesday. Don’t take on everything on one day. Trust me. Papers don’t turn out too well when you’re writing while sleep-deprived.

Once things pile up, they can start to affect your grades. So, you may have to drop something, whether it be reading manga, watching Glee or gelling your hair Super-Saiyan style. Yes, all of these things are very important. But grades are more so. I, for one, realized that Korean dramas took up A LOT of my time. I would wait for them to air and then check if anyone put in subtitles. Then I would procrastinate too often to watch the shows. I understand how hard it is to quit cold turkey. But you gotta do what you gotta do!

You don’t come to college to socialize or play, so if it really comes down to it, you can be a hermit in your room for a few days and study or catch-up with classes. Your friends will understand. The disappearing act is only for a while. If they don’t, they might have a few attachment issues. (Ahaha.)

College Choice and Homesickness

jenny-85Everyone congratulates you when you get accepted somewhere. Yay! Great! You got in! Whoo-hoo! But no one tells you that now…you must CHOOSE. It might not be hard for some. I mean, community college…or Harvard. Or maybe you had a college you were already set on. Great.

For me, I was only concerned with UC Davis and Amherst College. At first, I thought “UC Davis all the way!” It was convenient, close to home. My cousins went there. Mom and Dad wanted me nearby. And to someone who loved family above all else, Davis was going to be my choice. All my friends from elementary school and middle school were going to be there. I had it all planned out. It was going to be great!

One night, I thought about it. Did I really want to be in a big school and be just another number? Did I want to go somewhere and explore a bit? Be more independent? Those thoughts landed me in Amherst College. When I told my dad I wanted to go to Amherst, Dad didn’t talk to me for the whole evening. He just went on about his business, lost in thought. He almost walked into the door and then looked around to see if anyone was watching. I saw, but didn’t say anything, just chuckled to myself. I felt as if I needed to grow up, and then come back as a capable, independent person so I could take care of my family. He was not going to sway me from my decision.

Later that night, he gave me his awkward one-armed hug, and said, “You can do whatever you want. It’s your choice.” Translation of awkward daddy talk: I approve.

It’s hard being away from home. Food. FOOD! I’m sorry, but even professional chefs have nothing on my mom’s home cooking. I miss my friends. I mean, these are kids I shared candy with in 3rd grade. Sometimes, I see professors and their little children running about, and I immediately think of my little nine year old brother, and how I’d give anything to hug him right then and there. And then I pretend something flew in my eye when my friends ask why I’m crying.

To all of you considering going to school far away, there’s Facebook (Yes, I know, it’s a procrastinator magnet.). There’s video chat, email, phones. There’s something called mail. I know that they’re poor substitutes for the real thing, but I’m dealing with it too. Homesickness gets better with time. Trust me, once the work settles in, WHOO, you won’t have time to SLEEP! You’ll be fine.

Soon as exams are over, I’m flying home. And then run into the kitchen and demand that Mom make me a bowl of pho.

Snowboarding is like College!

jesse-85There’s this huge snowstorm going on in Boston right now and it reminded me of snowboarding for the first time in Denver. If you want to see how it went and how snowboarding is like college, check out this video!

Back From My Internship!

jesse-85School has started! I’m definitely excited for this new semester and ready for another fresh start. I am definitely grateful for such an amazing winter break that has helped me learn so much.

Whenever you’re on break, it’s very important to rest, relax and be with friends and family. This is one of my favorite parts about breaks from school- you get time to catch up on sleep and also time to catch up with the ones you love. Another thing I really enjoy about breaks is that you have a chance to take part in something that you may not have the time to while school is in session.

While I was on winter break, I was lucky enough to take part in an internship in Denver, Colorado at a network of public charter schools whose student body was 90% Latino and 94% Free/Reduced Lunch. I enjoyed my time at the internship very much because I was able to connect with the students and show them that I too come from a similar background and that I was able to make it to college. I learned a lot from the students and I also learned a lot about the administrative aspects of the schools I was working with which definitely helped me understand what it takes to keep a school running smoothly.

Overall, my experience at West Denver Prep was amazing! It was time very well spent. I encourage you to find ways to make the best of your breaks too. Breaks are a time for rest and also a time for growth! Make the most of your time. Find something to get involved in! Make an impact!

If you want to see how the first week of my time in Denver went, check out this video! There will be more videos to come so be ready!

Restful and Productive

leah-85Winter break! It felt so good to be home. I really missed my family. I didn’t know how much I missed them but apparently it was a lot since every second I wanted to spend time with them.

For winter break I did what I always wanted to do: sleep! After working hard for so long, it’s good to take a break as long as it is restful and productive.

During break, I also had the wonderful opportunity to shadow a Swarthmore graduate at her job. I shadowed a doctor in an emergency room and it was amazing. I had access to things many people do not usually see. One thing I should say about networking is that it is important to be observant, to be enthusiastic, and to jump in whenever possible. People want to help you succeed in life, but you need to show them that you are responsible and can contribute in a positive way. My host was very kind to me and gave me such encouraging words. She told me to do it my way. And my way means giving it my all and making sure that I have no regrets.

I’ll post something up soon! Good luck with school and applications seniors!


jeremy-85Hey CSO Blog Family:

Happy Holidays! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  I hope this holiday season brought you peace, love and joy. I hope everyone got some amazing Christmas gifts! As a first year college student, this was a wonderful time of reflection for me.  Going home was EVERYTHING during the Thanksgiving break.

I realized how much I had missed my family and being at home.  But then, after a few days, I wanted to get back to my new life on campus.  I needed my independence back in a major way.  So, going home was bittersweet for me and my mom.  We both noticed the growth and the newfound independence.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy.  I know my mom still calls the shots, but I was just a little irritated by having to be accountable again when I had been on my own for the past three months.  I’m just saying.

So, we both had to assess this new ‘me’ and come to terms with the reality of college and its consequences. Sometimes going home again is the hardest thing to do…

As I ended my semester and headed home, again, for the Holiday break, I thought about my message to you guys for the New Year and came up with five things I know I need to do better going forward and I’m hoping you’ll hold ‘me’ to them.  I need your help in 2011 to be the best man I can be and a successful student as well.

Here are the Five Things You Need To Know Right Now about “That Life”!! (Code for: Freshman Survival Tips)

1. Do Not let OTHERS dictate the things YOU do and decisions YOU make in YOUR life.
2. Work on managing your money better and more wisely.
3. Sleep Does Matter! Change and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
4. Schedule your recreational activities around your studies. They are not priority ~ your classes and coursework SUPERSEDE any and all social stuff.
5. Stay focused! Stay focused! Stay focused!

Happy New Year everyone and God bless you in 2011.

New Year, New Me!

khadijah-85Hey CSO,

It’s New Year’s Day, and you know what that means- New Year’s Resolutions! Notice that revolution and resolution only differ by one letter (the most productive typo ever!). Thus, New Year’s Day is that time to revolutionize your thinking and behavior in order to accomplish your full potential! I had started wording my resolutions as “I will stop this, I will stop that,” but it is easier to keep a resolution if it’s in positive form. So I have worded all my resolutions as “I will do this” or “I will do that.” Resolutions are important to make because you are making a commitment to yourself to improve yourself, and you are telling yourself that you deserve to be the best you can be and are committed to reaching your goals. I am making resolutions to myself because like you all, I want to better myself and my life. If you are with me, you’ll think of some resolutions as well.

Now, I am enlisting CSO’s help to help me change my behavior. Research has shown that you’re more likely to keep your New Year’s resolutions if you tell people about them, so I am telling all of CSO, my friends, supporters, and everyone who reads the CSO blog my resolutions for the New Year so I can stick to them. Gulp…

I could have a very long list but here are my top 9 resolutions for the New Year:

1. I will keep up with my CSO blog. Okay, that was an easy one, but why not start with the obvious?

2. I will start an assignment the week I receive the prompt. Starting early gives me time to really think about the assignment and all its possibilities instead of just going through the motions (or losing valuable sleep with all nighters).

3. I will use office hours as a means to get to know my professors and get their input on my work. Office hours are not only for work or sucking up, they are also for getting to know scholars who are experts and leaders in their field, but who are also human and were where you are now.

4. I will work out at least 4 times a week. Research shows that regular exercise helps lessen stress and frustration, as well as keep off the dreaded “freshman fifteen” (and “sophomore 10….”) Whether it’s yoga, strength training, cardio, or just power walking, I will commit to regular exercise as part of my routine. And I’ll allow myself some time to rest – no overdoing. I am no longer an athlete (sad face) and will stop setting the treadmill at 8:45 when I know I now run an 11(.45…) min mile (true story).

5. I will meditate at least 2 times a week. Although the pace and stress of college make it seem like the last thing I need to do is sit still and do what looks like nothing, quieting my mind and focusing on mindfulness is precisely what I need. It allows me to reflect on what’s going on and just check in on myself.

6. I will plan ahead and organize myself so that I get my important tasks done and done first. I waste so much time on pointless, non-immediate, or mindless activities.

7. I will eat right. No more ramen noodles and 1200 calorie Chipotle burritos, and no more eating out of boredom or stress. Even though Cherry Garcia tastes that much more amazing at 3am…

8. I will get enough sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep makes for a cranky, lethargic Khadijah, so I’ll be in bed by midnight from now on. Ok… 1am, but no later, and 8am wakeup. Waking up and sleeping at a consistent time helps me organize my days and give my body consistency, which helps me perform better.

9. I will hold myself accountable to meeting my resolutions and goals, and I will treat myself once a month if I accomplish all my goals. It is very important to treat yourself in order to encourage and reward good behavior. I find that I do not need to punish myself for not accomplishing my goals because the stress, anxiety, and disappointment are punishment enough.

These are my resolutions, and now that I have published them to CSO, I have to keep them!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holidays and a wonderful New Year.

Your friend from CSO,



sophia-85Well, tomorrow is the day of finals for me and it is 3 in the morning. I realized that now would be the best time for me to write a little bit more about my college experience thus far.

Honestly, looking over it all. I love it. For a large percent of the time, I complain about the work, the deadlines, the studying, and the rigorous work, but now I realize that it is simply college. I knew what I was getting into and it will be worth it in the end.

I’m learning so much more than I imagined, and it’s not the same type of knowledge that I learned in high school. It’s education that I can apply to life. Sharing my opinions and actually putting them to use.

Although, I do have to admit, my sleeping pattern has taken a turn for the worse. I’m up all night and mostly stressed the whole time, but isn’t that the full college experience?

There is never a time when I have nothing to do, and I am thankful for that or else I would be writing about how bland college is.

It definitely is not. I can promise you that. I can already tell that my time here will be some of the most memorable years of my life and they’re going by so fast.

Enjoy the process of college. From applications to move-in days. Those memories are going to stay with you, like they’re staying with me.

Also, I apologize for not posting sooner….technical difficulties…. I’m going to do my best to post more frequently.

Happy studies and happy holidays!