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  • A library with the view looking up from the ground floor to the second level featuring multiple floor-to-ceiling shelves of books.

    Explore Endless Possibilities Through the World of Science Fiction

    Ashish Bijumon

    Science Fiction has influenced our society in so many ways. People across the world line up at the theatres to watch the newest Star Wars film or the next Avengers movie. These films, based on books and comics, allow us to experience a world of endless possibilities. They enable us to imagine a world where superheroes live among us, where dinosaurs are resurrected for an amusement park, or an interstellar conflict is happening in a galaxy far away. January 2nd is Science Fiction Day, a day where the world celebrates the creative minds of so many authors, illustrators, and filmmakers for bringing life to these other worlds.

    What should I read?

    If you’re new to the science fiction genre, it can be difficult to find the right story with so many titles out there. You want to find a story with character development, beautiful settings, and a rich lore. Books such as “Dune” by Frank Herbert or “Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle offer the perfect starting point into science fiction. Many of these science fiction books have their own shows or movies associated with them. Large stories such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” have numerous shows, comics, and movies to help better understand the complex world. These franchises are so large and complex, it takes a great load of time to fully invest yourself into their stories. The authors spent countless years building these worlds for our imagination and the big screens.

    Why should I read Sci-Fi?

    Some people believe science fiction, or fiction in general, is a waste of time or that it doesn’t offer the same value as nonfiction books. However, these accusations are false. Science fiction enhances our vocabulary, expands our creativity, and it stimulates our imagination. These authors came up with complex ideas and worlds, and when we read them, we must imagine them. We place ourselves in their worlds and experience what the characters feel, we see what they see. It allows us to think of scenarios such as if cars were able to fly, or if a nuclear bomb had been dropped. Reading is knowledge, different genres offer different perspectives on reality.

    Celebrating Science and Technology

    Sci-fi authors often weave in science and technology themes into their stories, sparking interest in these areas for readers of all ages. A broad spectrum of STEM topics can be found in sci-fi works – biology, chemistry, earth sciences, robotics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration to name just a few. Many scientists acknowledge that their academic interests were influenced by science fiction writing.

    Influence on Pop Culture

    Science fiction shapes our society in so many ways, it gives us a chance to break away from our reality. Without the work of George Lucas on “Star Wars” or Frank Herbert on “Dune,” we would not have the blockbuster movies and TV shows we have today. Without Stan Lee and the countless other Marvel writers, we wouldn’t have the “X-Men,” “Avengers,” or “Spider-Man.” Viewers get lost in the settings that are presented.

    When Science Fiction Day rolls around, take time to think of everyone who has contributed to the genre and celebrate them. The authors write a beautiful story from beginning to end that captivates us and make us want more. These characters, worlds, and stories have endless possibilities. Anything is possible in science-fiction.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A fireworks display.

    How to Make (and Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Taylor King

    It’s finally here! We’ve made it another 365 days around the sun, so you know what time it is…It’s time to make your New Year’s Resolution!! If you feel stuck in a rut or intimidated, don’t fret. Follow these steps to set an achievable goal to work towards over the next twelve months.

    1. Start by reflecting on this year.

    Reminisce on the high and lows, the triumphs, and the challenges. Take a look over your personal journal entries that you’ve written over the year. Recognizing all of what you’ve experienced during the last year can help you home in on where and how you want to improve.

    2. Think about just one goal and the several ways you can achieve it.

    Try to avoid taking on more than you can handle. You never know what circumstances or curveballs the new year can throw at you, so commit to just one resolution. However, you should be thinking about multiple ways in which you can accomplish it. For instance, if your resolution is to prioritize physical fitness, recognize that it doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym all the time. You could do at-home workouts, do yoga beside your bed in the morning, go on hikes with friends, incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, or reduce the number of sugary drinks you consume. You have more freedom than you think when it comes to setting resolutions, so don’t make it monotonous – try to have fun with it!

    3. Write down your New Year’s resolution.

    Once you’ve decided on your goal, make it concrete! It is scientifically proven that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down, so write your resolution in a journal or use your creativity by making a vision board. Whatever your choice, make sure you put it in a place where you can see it every day so you can be reminded of your commitment and receive the motivation you need to take action and follow through with your resolution.

    4. Check in with yourself regularly.

    If you write down your resolution and look at it every day, it should be pretty hard to forget about it, but things happen! Put daily or weekly reminders in your phone to ensure you remain accountable to what you committed. At the end of each month, self-reflect and record your progress to see if you’re already fulfilling your ambitions or are on track to meet your goal by year’s end. If you need to make any adjustments to what you’re doing, feel free to put those into place at this point.

    Feeling more prepared now? Good – because you’ve got this in the bag!! Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A red mug of hot chocolate set on top of a gray knit blanket. The hot chocolate is topped with two marshmallows with snowmen faces.

    Snow Much Fun: Winter Activities on Campus!

    Taylor Perline

    December 21st is the first day of winter! Winter brings about so many changes to college and campus living. Fuzzy sweaters, holiday seasons, and gathering around a cozy fire are often staples of this time of year. For college students, however, winter can represent a decrease in mood alongside the decrease in temperature. Luckily, the winter season brings about plenty of “cool” opportunities for campus fun!

    Enjoy a Snow Day!

    Many college campuses will begin to be covered with blankets of snow throughout this season. This is a perfect opportunity to bundle up and head outside with friends. It is common to see snowmen and other snow figures throughout campus. Don’t be afraid to join in sledding or skiing if that is on campus! If the snow is good enough for it, a snowball fight is a fantastic way for friends and unfamiliar faces to bond.

    Have a Winter Party!

    Whether your college does or does not receive snow, a winter party is a wonderful way to bring friends together! If applicable, a holiday party full of presents, music, and other holiday traditions can easily put any scrooge into the spirit of the season. For just a winter themed party, engaging in a potluck style dinner is almost always a must! This can be through a “charcuterie night” (where friends each bring a board of delicious goods) or something as simple as having friends all bring a fun cookie to snack on! This night can end with something simple like a movie or something more intense like an indoor snowball fight (with paper or fake snowballs)!

    Try Something New Indoors!

    During the winter, many take time to wind down and relax. Maybe give that new game a chance. Or take up a hobby like yoga, crochet, or reading! Especially if a student is on their winter break, this is the perfect time to curl up under a cozy blanket and take some time for a new experience.

    Get That Hot Chocolate!

    When one thinks of winter, oftentimes the first thought that comes to mind is delicious hot chocolate. Luckily, it is accessible to nearly all college age students! Many dorms either have a microwave in each room or at least one somewhere in the dorm’s kitchen area. Spice things up with some whipped cream, marshmallows, or other fun toppings! Oftentimes, students can also find hot chocolate around campus! Whether it be seasonal at the campus café, or a local off-campus coffee shop!

    Winter is an amazing opportunity for students to come together, and I hope that everyone will have “snow” much fun!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A graphic created by the blog author. The words Happy Kwanzaa appear in thick block letters across the top and the Kinara with the Kwanzaa candles is underneath. At first day of Kwanzaa appears on either side of the Kinara – Dec 26, 2022.

    The Observation of Kwanzaa

    Myaya Morton

    In the 1960's, Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman at California State University created the holiday of Kwanzaa to bring the Black community together. He borrowed many aspects from other harvest celebrations to produce a week-long holiday. Kwanzaa, the name means “first fruits” in Swahili.

    Each day of Kwanzaa respects one of the seven principles – Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). All seven of these principles collectively are referred to as the Nguzo Saba which derive from the African values of building and reinforcing community. On each night of Kwanzaa, the family gathers and one child lights a single candle in the candle holder or Kinara while discussing the principle of that day.

    The symbols of the holiday are very important as well. Mazao are the crops which include fruits, nuts and vegetables which symbolizes the work done to celebrate and feast for the holiday. The mkeka or place mat comes directly from Africa being made from straw or cloth. It symbolizes history, culture and tradition and serves as a figurative foundation for the lives of those who celebrate. The Vibunzi is a stalk of corn that represents fertility. It brings good luck for reproduction of children and future hopes into the household.

    The Mishumaa Saba are the seven candles comprised of three red, three green and one black candle while the candle holder is called the Kinara. These seven candles are placed in a very specific order. The candles symbolically are the sun’s power and are there to provide light. The Unity Cup from which each member drinks is called the Kikombe Cha Umoja. Lastly, Zawadi are the gifts which are given on the seventh day of Kwanzaa. The purpose of the gifts is to encourage the use of the seven principles and are exchanged between family members.

    Many households celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa simultaneously since one is religious and one is strictly secular. This year, Kwanzaa will be celebrated from Monday, December 26, 2022 to Sunday, January 1, 2023.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A view from the beach with the sun about to rise so that the sky has just a little pink and blue.

    Managing Stress and Anxiety during Exam Season

    Maggie Parker

    During midterm and finals seasons, every student feels at least a little bit of stress due to looming projects, essays, and exams. However, stress is never helpful when it comes to performing your best on important assessments. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, but we could all use some additional inspiration on how to keep calm during these stressful times. Here are the best ways to reduce stress while coping with exam season, and how to still make time for yourself even when you’re super busy.

    Plan Ahead

    I know, I know, pretty unhelpful for my number one tip for keeping calm during exam season to be something that requires forethought. But seriously, the best way to help yourself out for exam season is to stay on top of things from the second classes start. I like to map out all my assignments and exams in a big spreadsheet with all the due dates, so I know exactly what work I have to do each week and what weeks are going to need a little extra focus. This way, I don’t suddenly realize I have a ton of work to do the same week I have an exam, so I’m able to instead plan ahead and get assignments done ahead of when they’re due.

    Plan Out Breaks

    When you’re studying, it can be really easy to either forget to take breaks and get burnt out or take too many breaks, leading to unproductivity. By planning out specific times you’re going to take breaks and sticking to them, you’re able to get work done while still managing your time and stress to maximize productivity and minimize burnout. Additionally, when you schedule breaks, make sure you stick to the amount of time you allotted for yourself, as it’s all too easy to get sucked into the black hole of social media and suddenly realize your 15-minute break turned into an hour!

    Make Time for Friends and Family

    Even though your mind might be wholly focused on schoolwork, it’s important to maintain interpersonal connections even when you’re stressed. Friends and family can be a great shoulder to lean on when you need help or someone to talk to, so keep in contact with them regularly even when you’re overwhelmed with studying or assignments. This not only assures them that you’re doing ok during a stressful time, but also allows you to recognize that school isn’t everything, and that people will still love you regardless of your performance in a class.

    Physical Activity

    Exercise is proven to release endorphins, which are often referred to as “feel-good chemicals”. Endorphins are also proven to reduce stress, so getting active during midterms and finals season can be a great way to get outside and have fun while also improving your mood and stress levels. Something as simple as going for a walk with friends, or a hike, can have incredible effects on your mood and productivity, and also allows you to physically get away from your work for a little while.

    Following these steps should aid you during those stressful seasons in the semester. You can succeed and you do have tools to help you. Though everyone manages stress differently, I have found that across the board these tips help the majority of people, myself including, during stressful times.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A computer generated graphic featuring a large red border with a holiday clip art in each corner, and a smaller green square within, that say ‘Holiday Gift Guide’ in white letters.

    Tis the Season for a Holiday Gift Guide

    Jayla Pope

    December is a beautiful time of year when many of us celebrate occasions with gift giving. Not everyone has fun with buying gifts for others or has trouble picking them out. To help ease the stress of picking gifts, consider these tips.

    Not Too Much Green

    When it comes to gifting, it is important to decide how much you are budgeting. The budget sets the parameters for your spending without breaking the bank. An example of this would be a maximum of $20 on each gift or setting a $100 spending limit. A tip for spending is to utilize cash. When you use credit/debit cards, it can be hard to control your spending. With cash, what you see is what you have. Be on the lookout for advertisements and coupons during this season of giving as well. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both popular times of the year for shopping, but throughout the holiday season, many stores run sales and discounts. Lastly, if you do decide to use your card for shopping purchases look for cash back bonuses or discounts to aid you in the costs.

    Make Your List and Check It Twice

    After you have set a budget on your gifting, it is time to create a list of those gift recipients. Gifting should always come from the heart and should never feel like an obligation. It is common to buy gifts for family and friends. However, other people to consider could be coworkers, teachers, or even your pet…they deserve treats too! Around the holidays pay special attention to what those around you speak about. If you heard your dad talking about a new gadget or your mom eyeing a specific book, take note. The best gifts are the most thoughtful ones. Paying attention to the wants of those around you gives you a great advantage in gift giving. If you’re unsure of the specific color or size of an item, be broadly inquisitive. When inquiring about gifts, try to make it seem as though you are buying it for yourself or a friend and need an opinion on which item to choose. Consider asking for a friend or family member’s assistance if you don’t want to make it obvious who the gift is intended for.

    Wrap It Up

    Now that you have all that you need to find a great gift, it's time to wrap it up, pun intended! Although gifts are thoughtful alone, using gift wrapping techniques help elevate them to another level. Gift wrapping also creates an element of surprise, before the recipient can open the gift, the first thing they see is the wrapping. If you're not the best at gift wrapping, fear not as there are plenty of alternatives. Bows, gift bags, ribbons, and tissue paper are all ways to decorate your gift. As it relates to gift bags, encourage the recipient to reuse them as it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

    Gift giving can be stressful but using these tips are sure to help mitigate gift giving misery. Remember to find your reason for the season and to spread that joy with others. Sometimes that alone is the best gift you give.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A wreath made of red and silver globe ornaments is hung on a white door.

    Gift Giving on a College Student Budget

    Rachel Calcote

    The holidays are fast approaching and sometimes that can be stressful. Sure, there are the lights, cold weather, and the festive atmosphere, but the money you spend around the holidays - horror inducing. This can be especially stressful when you’re strapped for cash but want to do something nice for your friends and family. Here are a few tips for gift giving on a college budget.

    Tip #1: Create A Budget

    This seems fairly basic, but it is often overlooked. Assess your personal financial situation and see how much money, if any, you are able to feasibly set aside for gifts this season. There are some important things to factor into your holiday budget. Travel costs is a big one: Are you going home for the holidays? Are you going on a trip? How are you getting there? Who’s paying for it? Are you paying for all of it, just part, or for multiple people? Other important factors to think about are dining out expenses, living costs, groceries, and anything else you normally spend money on each month.

    Tip #2: Make A List of People

    Make a list of people you want to give something to this holiday. Once you have a number you can compare that to your budget and decide if you can afford to buy each person something or if you need to think about baking or making something for some or all of the people. This is also an important time to decide if you’re going to spend the same amount on everyone or if you’re going to spend more on your mom than on your neighbor. It’s ok to spend different amounts on people as long as you can afford to and that each gift is heartfelt. It’s often more about how much thought and time went into the gift than how much the gift costs that matters.

    Tip #3: Picking Out Gifts

    This is the fun part! Don’t look at picking out each gift as daunting. It should be fun and festive! Maybe you’re making everyone their favorite cookies or decorating each cookie specifically for them. Maybe you’re thinking about your practical friend and want to buy them something useful or your trendy friend that loves having the latest cool accessory. Whatever you’re doing or buying make sure it reminds you of the person and stays within your budget! Look for sales at stores you frequent and go on days that you know an item you want to get will be on sale. Look for coupons online before you go, and take only the amount of money you can spend on that gift (+ a little extra for tax). These actions will help you stay within your budget and maybe even save you a few bucks along the way.

    These are just some helpful ideas to help you get through gift giving this holiday season. College budgets can be especially tight and need a little extra thought. Really tap into the joy that gift giving brings your loved ones and you. Having a positive attitude will help you pick gifts and stick to your budget.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!