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Explore the latest trends, tips, and experiences in college life in this blog written by fellow students.

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    Academic Research: Not Just for STEM!

    Andrew Bierbower

    When it comes to research opportunities, most people envision a laboratory filled with high-tech equipment, hazardous chemicals, and lots of scientists wearing lab coats working on experiments in biology, chemistry, and physics. This can be intimidating to those who do not have a strong background in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). However, there are many non-STEM opportunities available that can be equally rewarding and arguably even more impactful.

    Research in the Social Sciences

    A major area of non-STEM research is the social sciences. This includes fields like psychology, sociology, and political science, just to name a few. Social science research aims to understand things like human behavior, social structures, and societal issues. As an example, a sociologist may study the effects of social media on mental health or how income inequality may impact crime rates. This type of research helps provide important insights into human behavior and can help inform active, effective, and wide-reaching policy decisions at local, state, and federal levels.

    Medical Research

    Medical research is another important area of non-STEM research that is often overlooked. While medical research often involves STEM fields like biology and chemistry, it also includes non-STEM fields such as epidemiology, public health, and even bioethics. Medical research aims to understand and treat human diseases, while improving healthcare systems and policies. This could include studying the effectiveness of different types of healthcare interventions, healthcare communication to different socio-economic groups, and even understanding the ethical implications of introducing new medical technologies.

    Collaborative Research

    Most importantly, many research opportunities are looking to combine STEM and non-STEM fields into interdisciplinary research. This type of research enables inputs from multiple fields, facilitating new, conceptual solutions that may never have been created solely due to the lack of looking at the problem from a new perspective. For example, an economist may ask a sociologist for help in analyzing healthcare spending habits in underprivileged communities before recommending policies providing subsidies for specific healthcare services. This type of collaboration between disciplines helps create more impactful and significant changes than a singular approach to solving problems.


    Opportunities to get yourself involved in this type of research are wide-ranging; the National Science Foundation runs a program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) in which universities across the US receive federal funding to pursue different disciplines of research. Ethics, Social, Behavioral, and Economic sciences are just a few of the disciplines that are funded by this program. Applying to these programs requires completing an application, writing letters of intent, and most require letters of recommendations from a professor or manager.

    Reach Out to Your Professor

    However, if you miss those deadlines or don’t have the time to complete the applications, you can also reach out directly to professors and working labs at your university or other universities you would be willing to travel to. This approach requires a bit more leg work, as you need to find out background information on the research the professor is doing and seeing if it aligns with what you are interested in. However, it can be much more rewarding in the end when compared to blanket applying to programs as mentioned earlier.

    Regardless of how you choose to pursue research, do not feel like you are limited because you are a non-STEM major. Significant contributions are made every day by people from all backgrounds, including historians, humanists, sociologists, artists, and more. You never know how your perspective can change the lives of those around you!

    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 young female college student sits at a desk in her room working on a laptop computer. There is also a desktop monitor and tablet open on her desk. There are various posters on the wall in front of her, including one for Harry Styles.

    Stress: What It Is and How to Handle It

    Andrew Bierbower

    Stress is not inherently a bad thing. Stress can be a good motivator and can help you be productive. No one lives a completely stress-free life. The important thing to recognize is when your stress begins to take over everyday tasks and becomes counter-productive. If your stress begins to impinge on your ability to complete daily tasks or if it becomes debilitating, it’s well past the point of you having to talk to someone. Here are four things students can do to manage stress.

    Evaluate The Semester

    First, understand that semesters are variable and can range from overwhelming to easy. It is not forever, even though it may seem that way, and you will get through it. Lowering your expectations for school and concentrating more on improving your life balance to improve your stress will work wonders for your mental well-being.

    If you are working while also enrolled in school, try to see if you can reduce your work hours for your busiest school weeks or around big projects. Go over your semester with your boss and see if you can work around difficult weeks. Perhaps you can drop a shift here or there or take a few fewer hours and make up for it later. Trying to balance too many things at once is one of the leading causes of stress and the simplest solution is almost always the best: do less!

    Have a Game Plan

    Maximizing your available time is another key tip in reducing the stress you feel when your plate is full. Getting a scheduler and planning out your week, hour by hour or day by day can help you feel more in control of your life. You can see what you must complete and can more easily schedule more downtime. That could mean you take a half-hour/hour each day to go for a walk or run, read, hang out with friends, go to the gym, watch tv, or just zone out. Make sure you are actively scheduling your time!

    Use Your Resources

    One of the hardest things to do when you are feeling overwhelmed is to reach out for help. This means going to your professor's office hours when you don't understand a concept in class. This means heading over to your wellness center and talking to a counselor about your stress. This means participating in campus activities or club events. This means seeking out workshops dedicated to making you a better student. Utilize the resources on your campus that are there to make your life easier!

    Study for Mastery

    Lastly, studying more efficiently can reduce the amount of time it feels like you’re spending on tasks. Don't spend 4 hours studying what could be learned in 20 min. One of the worst ways that you can study is simply by re-reading the material. Instead, try writing out your notes again or writing them in a different format; even better yet, explain your notes to a friend! Mastery of a subject comes when you can explain it to someone else. For math or science-heavy subjects, the only way to study is by practicing questions repeatedly, so get extra questions from your professor or online.

    Putting these tips into practice can be much harder than just reading about them. It is important to take small, incremental steps and make sure you aren’t overwhelming yourself all at once.

    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!