Students blog

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

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    The importance of sustainability

    Ashley Dittman

    Sustainability is a word we often hear, but don’t often understand the extent of the meaning. It encompasses how natural systems work, continue to be diverse, and yield everything required for the environment to remain in balance now and in the future. 

    There are three core pillars of sustainability: economic development, social development, and environmental protection. Economic development refers to giving people what they wish for without negotiating the quality of life and reducing the financial weight of doing what is right. Social development is about the mindfulness and legal protection of human health from pollution and toxic activities of businesses and organizations, as well as upholding access to basic natural resources without compromising the quality of life. Environmental protection focuses on how ecosystems should be both studied and protected, and how technology can help ensure a greener future. (2019, Mason)

    It’s important for everyone to understand the role they can play in achieving sustainability.

    Pearson’s Role

    In 2015, Pearson Education released their 2020 Sustainability Plan to focus on integrating social and environmental issues into every aspect of their business. Their plan consists of three focus areas: to increase the number of learners reached, to enhance the future of learning, and to be a trusted partner. The ambition behind the plan is the “need for everyone to be a lifelong learner…by enabling better learning and helping to remove barriers to education, we empower learners to be their best selves, and, in turn, build a better life for themselves and those around them.” 

    The three pillars of Pearson’s plan correspond to the three pillars of sustainability. The first pillar, Reach More Learners, strives to improve accessibility and affordability of services and products as well as collaboration to reach unwarranted learners. This corresponds with social development and upholding access to basic resources, like education.

    The second pillar, Shape the Future of Learning, focuses on promoting education for sustainable development, enhancing skills that foster employability and all-encompassing economic growth, and engagement in research, dialogue, and collective action to solve global issues. This falls under economic development by giving the people what they want and reducing the financial weight of doing what is right.

    The last pillar, Be a Trusted Partner, aims to protect the natural environment, build a sustainable supply chain, and to respect and support customers, communities, and people. This coincides with environmental protection. Pearson is making efforts to reduce their environmental impact and to support initiatives for sustainable forests. They are committed to doing business with partners who respect the environment and human rights. 

    Your Role

    Sustainability is the key to a better future. Humans rely on natural resources for business, activities, and survival. Ignoring sustainability can lead to the exhaustion of natural resources.

    Sustainability is important to study even if you aren’t an environmental science major. Business majors need to learn about sustainability because it aids in attractiveness to customers and fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility. Agriculture, nutrition, and public health students need to focus on sustainability in order to learn how to feed a growing population nutritious and quality food. Education majors spread the knowledge of sustainability to the next generation so they can lead change. Every major has a connection to sustainability. 

    It’s also important to know if the businesses you support incorporate sustainability in their business model, like Pearson does with its 2020 Sustainability Plan. If you don’t agree with a company’s stance or lack of action, you have the power to end your support. You may think your individual power as a consumer is small, but groups of consumers can make a huge difference. It is our duty to make the world a better place.


    2019, Mason M, “What is sustainability and why is it important?”. Retrieved from:

    2016, Pearson Education Sustainability Narrative:


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    Tips and Tricks for College Freshmen

    Ashley Dittman

    Three years ago, I was starting my freshman year at Purdue University. I was so excited and nervous to begin my college career. In May 2020, I will end my college career. As I look back on my time at Purdue, I think about the things I wish I was told as a college freshman. Here’s my list of tips and tricks for students beginning their freshman year. 

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    Take advantage of a helping hand

    Ashley Dittman

    College can be both fun and exciting, though a lot of times it can be hard and stressful. The college experience is an amazing time filled with tons of new learning experiences that can become quite overwhelming. The workload, difficulty of classes, and time commitments can bring out the worst in all of us. If there is one thing that I have learned through my three years at Purdue University, it is to take advantage of the help offered to you. This applies to several different aspects including academics and professional development.

    Help in School

    Purdue University is a STEM university and is known to have difficult classes, the kind that cause you to have stress even just thinking about it. I know I have had my fair share of them. Even though I did have these difficult classes, I managed to power through and get desired results just by taking the time to ask for help. Purdue, like many universities, offers different types of academic help. Office hours, supplemental instruction, specific subject help rooms, and tutoring are all at the tips of your fingers if you just reach out and grab it. More often than not when a student is overwhelmed, struggling to understand the material, or having a hard time finding motivation to push through a class, they give up. Students tend to give up way before they think about asking for help. Don’t let that be you!

    Help in Life

    There are more benefits to asking for help than just improved academics. Consider attending professors’ office hours and participating in group help sessions to build relationships with your professors and teaching assistants. The next time you need a letter of recommendation, you know who can help. Working with your professor or TA outside of class can also help reduce stress. Gaining understanding of a new concept can alleviate stress and improve confidence. Going to group help sessions can help you meet people you never would have met before. You find common ground in something that brings you together and creates a bond. You get better grades and new friends.

    Your university and your professors are taking the time to offer helpful resources to you. They are doing that because they want you to succeed! There is no reason to be ashamed to ask for help; in the end it will help you pass that hard class or learn how to cope with stress which is only going to benefit you! Don’t let yourself fall into a bad habit of giving up. It is never too late to ask for help. Don’t let stress and hard classes get the best of you. Take the time to go and ask for help. Rake in the advantages and feel that stress go away!

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    More Than My Disability

    Ashley Dittman

    When I was 15 years old, I began having frequent and horrible headaches. By the time I was 16 I was diagnosed with chronic migraines. When people think of disabilities, migraines are not usually what come to mind or even thought of as a disability. However, migraines are the 6thmost debilitating illness in the world.* A migraine headache is defined as an extremely incapacitating collection of neurological symptoms that usually includes a severe throbbing recurring pain on one side of the head*, but most people just think it is a really bad headache. In school, it has always been hard to find people that understand what I am going through and that are accommodating. In high school, they did not believe that migraines were a good enough excuse to miss the amount of school I missed. Now in college, I am registered as a student with a disability that has special accommodations, but still some professors are not willing to understand.

    Learning from hardships

    Although there is a lot of frustration and hardship with my disability, I am thankful for what it has taught me. Missing class is never fun, and missing class because you are at home in bed with all the lights off, a pillow over your head, and in excruciating pain is even worse. The hardships I encounter only push me to be a better student. I miss a lot of class, but because of this I know I have to work hard to not get behind.

    Partnering with professors

    Most students don’t attempt to make relationships with their professors, but in order to stay up to date on everything, I must. These relationships are beneficial not only with my accommodations, but looking toward the future, like when I need letters of recommendations. I want to show my professors I am more than my disability.

    Maintaining good time management

    I probably would procrastinate more if I didn’t have migraines, but with them I have to use good time management skills because I never know when one will strike. I use the free help resources that many students don’t take advantage of; it has been beneficial in helping me understand what I have missed. Even if you don’t have a disability, establishing good relationships with professors and maintaining good time management are helpful in succeeding in the long run. You never know when something could come up and you would already be prepared because you are ahead or you can easily contact your professor. There are so many times when I have wished that I didn’t have this disability, but now that I reflect on it, some good things that have happened because of it.

    Looking for the silver lining

    If you have a disability or know someone with a disability, I know that it can be frustrating that people don’t understand. Don’t let that stop you. Power through and stop to think about the silver lining in your disability. Whatever you do, don’t be ashamed of it. You’re not alone and you’re not the only one going through this. Talk to people to help them understand. Show others that you are hardworking. Don’t let your disability define you. You can do anything. If you don’t have a disability, try to understand those that do and what they go through. Don’t belittle them or ask why they are never in class, but instead celebrate the little victories with them. They are not their disabilities.