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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Harvard chapter.

Whenever I get a fresh set of nails, people usually take notice and compliment them. And this is usually followed by a question, usually hushed. How do you do anything with those things? *whispered* How do you go to the bathroom?  

And like I always say, my nails don’t get in the way of that many things. And for activities inhibited by having long acrylics, you just learn how to adapt. So, if you’ve been afraid to get a pair of acrylics for yourself, here are my tips and tricks on how to handle them. 

1. ATM Machines 

Okay, so you know the ATMs that ask you to quickly insert and remove your card? I HATE those. Especially if it’s cold outside, or you’re in a hurry. My friend suggested carrying around tweezers in your purse. That way, you can get a good grip on your card and quickly go about your transactions. 

2. Going to the bathroom 

I find this one comical because people don’t claw at themselves when cleaning up, right? So I just don’t see how this would be an issue. 

3. Typing 

If you’re a college student, listen up. There are two approaches here. Some people just adjust to typing with the palms of their fingertips on the keyboards, hands flat out. I find this way to be uncomfortable, so I was never a fan. I got a keyboard skin, which absorbs the shock as I stab at my computer keys. I don’t have to change my usual typing method, and this makes my essay writing much more efficient. 

4. Writing 

This one is not hard, come on. Just switch up your grip on your pencil.

5. Putting in contacts 

So I actually find it easier, not harder to put on my contacts with long nails. I normally have difficulty putting in my contacts, and it takes me many tries since I’m an infrequent user of 1-day contacts. With my nails, I get my contacts situated, and since my nails are in the way, I really only have one option of how to go at my eyeballs. Making the process so much quicker for me. 

6. Working Out

Once again, staying active in the gym is only a matter of learning to adjust your normal grips. When I lift dumbbells, I just learn to shift the way I hold them to account for the space that my nails take up. When you’re dropping weights on the ground, just be cognizant to not snag your nails in the process. 

7. Lab work

I was worried about this, considering that we used acetone to clean up our work stations in the organic chemistry lab. However, you should be wearing gloves when handling all chemicals anyway. And since my gloves never had any rips, I never had an issue with the acetone getting in contact with my grippers. 

8. Scratching yourself

Interestingly enough, I find acrylic nails to be safer than my actual nails when I need to scratch myself. If your nail tech does your nails well, the edges should be filed and rounded, removing sharp and dangerous edges, even with a killer coffin shape. 

9. Dropping coins 

Okay, so this one is… tricky. Dropping coins or anything small on a flat surface can make you feel like an idiot in public. My tip? Pull out a card to give you some leverage on the coin, and then snatch it up to regain your dignity. If all else fails… swallow your pride and ask someone around you for help. 

Getting fabulous nails isn’t going to severely inhibit your life (unless you’re like a surgeon or something….). But long story short, if you’re on the fence about trying them, I say go for it, at least once. 


Akosua. Junior at Harvard studying History and Science with a secondary in Sociology. Follow me on Instagram: @akos_frema
I am a senior at Harvard College studying Applied Mathematics with a specialization in Economics, and I am planning on getting a language citation in Spanish. I am currently a co-president and campus correspondent of Harvard's chapter of Her Campus! I am also a committee chair of a student organization that works with University Health Services called HealthPALs (Peer Advisors and Liaisons). Additionally, I am a member and co-director of service in OAASIS (Organization of Asian American Sisters in Service). Apart from that, I spend a lot of my time as a Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellow at the Harvard Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. I am also the co-founder of a project at the Office of Diversity of Inclusion at Harvard. I am super passionate about math, health, and higher education! In my free time I love to work out, experiment with makeup and fashion, visit museums, and try new foods!