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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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PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

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    Thank you to Pearson

    Anna Wagenhauser

    As a soon-to-be graduating senior, I’m taking time to look back at the wonderful memories I have made throughout my college experience. When I think about my academic success and work experience, being a Pearson Campus Ambassador has been one of the highlights of my professional and personal growth as a student. I remember interviewing and thinking to myself, ‘I’m an Economics major – what would a sales and marketing internship do for me?’ Now, almost 2 years later, I’m currently working full time in sales and marketing. Through this internship I have met amazing PCAs from across the country, and have worked with intelligent, caring, and dedicated sales reps. I even spent a week in Chicago demonstrating Pearson products at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) convention, where I met a life-long friend and flew by myself for the first time. I have gained immense confidence in myself and my capabilities as an employee and a person by working at Pearson.

    During my reflection, I noted three areas where I have seen the most growth because of the PCA program:

    Creative thinking

    As an artistic person, the PCA role has nurtured my creative abilities. Much of the internship includes providing creative feedback, from naming new products to critiquing product functionality and appeal. My opinion has always been valued; even when PCAs express negative feedback on products, Pearson’s team accepts it with open arms, and continuously asks how they can improve.

    I have a wonderful district manager who recognizes my love of marketing, and she gives me projects that relate to my skills and interests. It’s awesome to receive encouragement and praise for doing work that I love. On a personal level, this creative experience has given me the confidence and knowledge to work as a social media manager at a local marketing company, where I have realized that I don’t need a marketing degree to be a “marketing expert.”

    Constructive feedback

    I owe much of my professional growth to the guidance of Pearson’s Ohio sales team. My sales reps and district manager are quick to give me projects, and I’ll admit that at times I feel overwhelmed. But they know I can handle it, and are there to give me constructive feedback. For example, last month I was drafting a follow-up email to a professor. My product marketing manager and former sales rep, Alexa, asked that I show her my email draft so she could review it. Later that day, I checked my phone to see a 3-minute voicemail from Alexa, complimenting my draft and giving me constructive feedback. Not only did Alexa take time out of her schedule to train me, but she even called me the following morning to discuss what I learned.

    Finding comfort in being uncomfortable

    Over my almost 2 years of being a PCA, I have been repeatedly pushed out of my comfort zone. I have become comfortable being the youngest person in the room, the only one without a completed college degree, and the one with the least work experience. Though that sounds scary (and sometimes it has been), Pearson’s team has supported me throughout this experience to help me become the best version of myself. I’m truly thankful for the confidence, communication skills, and independence I have gained through the PCA program.

    If you are a college student and interested in learning more about the Pearson Campus Ambassador program, I encourage you to check out their website, as Pearson may be hiring on your campus!

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    Pursuing a Dream: Lessons From a Part-Time Musician

    Anna Wagenhauser

    Growing up, my parents told me “do what you love, and the money will follow.” I think they were surprised, however, when my identical twin, Chloe, and I decided to take their advice and pursue music careers. In June 2017, we formed the soft-rock band Chloe and the Steel Strings, and our lives have never been the same.

    In less than a year, we have added 3 more members to the band, recorded and released our self-titled debut album, and have performed a few hundred shows. Reflecting on the past year, I am still amazed at how far we’ve come both personally and professionally because of this band.

    There are still people who doubt Chloe and me regarding our ability to be successful with our music, and I understand why. The industry is rocky, there’s a lot of competition, and there are no guarantees of success. However, these hurdles are ones that everyone faces, no matter the career. I’ve found that many of the skills and lessons I’ve learned from the band also apply to my other goals.

    Here are 3 small pieces of advice that I’ve learned during this process for anyone who is pursuing a dream:

    Have a plan

    This is something we learned early on – you can’t record music and then drop a link online the next day, hoping that people will listen. Releasing music is all about strategy and planning – most of these plans are 3-4 months in length, when you must start planting the seed to ensure that people are anticipating your release.

    The same planning strategy goes for everything we do. When booking shows for 2018 in January, we realized that many venues had already booked out their weekend openings a few months before – in October and November of the previous year. While this information was a surprise to us, it solidified the fact that if we want to reach our long-term goals, we must have a long-term plan. Since then, we have created a 5-year plan for both the band and for our own personal goals.

    Work to pursue your goals everyday

    The difference between reaching a goal and failing to reach a goal often comes down to the simple, yet painful truth that your success is based on the amount of time you commit. I’ve heard many young people talk about their dreams and plans for 10 years down the road, but on a day-to-day basis, those people aren’t doing anything to reach their long-term goal.

    With our music, Chloe and I try to spend at least 30 minutes per day on making progress for the band. Whether that be emailing venues, planning social media posts, or practicing for shows, there are many small ways that we work every day to reach long-term success.

    Don’t compare yourself to others

    There is unavoidable competition in almost any life path, and with that comes self-doubt and comparison. Comparison can go both directions – you can compare yourself to someone who is doing better than you, or you can compare yourself to someone who is doing worse. Both modes of comparison are harmful because they move your focus from the path that you’re on, to one that someone else is on.

    We’ve realized that every artist and musician is on his or her own path, and that we’re the only people we can be. While we have learned a lot from the companionship and leadership of older, more established bands, we try to avoid comparing our success to theirs, since we’re not on the same path.

    Whether you are starting your own band or perusing a different life goal, I hope this advice from Chloe and the Steel Strings will help you in the pursuit of your own goals. Never lose sight of what is important in life- and that’s your own happiness! Pursue your dream and the money will follow – just be sure that you have a plan, you work diligently to achieve it, and you don’t let the competition ruin your motivation.

    Pearson Students: What’s your dream are you hoping to pursue? What your first step to achieving it? Share by commenting below!

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    Failure Is An Option: Learning From Mistakes On Your Way to Success

    Anna Wagenhauser

    While visiting my aunt and uncle in Florida this summer, they told me about their journey as business owners. They moved from Maryland to Florida on a whim. At the time they had little-to-no plan of what they would be doing with their lives (besides relaxing by the beach, of course). Now, almost 10 years later, they’ve avoided failure and created a successful rental property management business, with two office locations and around 20 employees.

    One evening, I asked my uncle how they became so successful, and he gave me two pieces of advice:

    Be as confident as possible in yourself and your abilities

    Sometimes you must “fake it till you make it,” but you’ll come off as a more competent and successful person because of it.  Just think: if my aunt and uncle hadn’t had the confidence to move almost 1,000 miles to an unfamiliar place, they wouldn’t have the success that they have now.

    Have the mindset that “failure isn’t an option”

    We all know that failure is a possibility when we venture out of our comfort zones. My uncle made a clear distinction between the negative connotation attached to “failing” versus being “unsuccessful.” He said that it’s OK to be unsuccessful. At that point, you cut your losses, learn from your mistakes, and try something else. But even if your idea or business doesn’t work out, you can still learn something valuable.

    It’s so easy to become discouraged or lose confidence when life doesn’t go as planned. As a student, we face the idea of failure on a regular basis in our classes, friendships, personal lives, and work environments. But whether you’re starting a business, trying to make it in the music industry, or wanting to maintain happy relationships, the key is the same: believe in yourself and your abilities, learn from your mistakes, and always move forward.