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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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    7 smart final exam tips to help you get the top grade you deserve

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    There are only a couple of weeks left until the semester ends and there seems to be nothing between you and your break…but then there are final exams. Final exams are the last thing by which your professor will grade you, as well as likely count as an important percentage of your grade.

    But there is no reason to feel overstressed! While it’s important to give final exam testing the importance it deserves, it is also important to not overwhelm yourself. Tackle final exam studying efficiently with a clear mind and strategy. Here are 7 simple, smart tips to consider integrating within your studying routine to help you earn that top grade you deserve!

    1 – Study with the right attitude.

    While studying might not always be as fun as watching your favorite TV show or spending time with friends, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or can’t be meaningful to your learning. To make the best and most of your studying time, it is important that you change the way you view final exams and how you prepare. Instead of looking at final exams and studying as frustrating, change your attitude from “ugh, I don’t like this!” to “I’ve got this!” and “learning and studying for this exam will help lead me closer toward getting my degree and dream job.”

    Approach studying with a clear mind and open attitude. Seek to make the best of your time and energy spent studying by actively trying to understand your text and notes. Work through questions instead of just skimming through your materials and reading the answers. A good attitude can make a really good, powerful difference.

    2 – Be honest where you stand in the course.

    Honesty is vital not only in relationships and for your well-being, but also in your education. It’s important to be aware and honest with yourself about where you stand in understanding your college courses. Are you struggling with just one section of a course, or most of it? What can be done to help?

    Be honest – if you need help, reach out to your professor, be part of study groups with your classmates, find tutor sessions. By being honest with yourself and your professor about where you stand (and what you understand) in class, you’ll be more successful in class. 

    3 – Explain what you’re studying to another person.

    When you teach what you’re studying to someone else, you get to practice what you’re learning and you can figure out how well you understand the material. Putting it in your own words can reinforce your comprehension. If you can explain clearly what you’re learning to another person, you’re on the right path!

    4 – Try to recreate the exam testing setting as much as possible.

    If you get test anxiety or are simply nervous about your upcoming exam, try taking a practice exam (or a couple), recreating your exam setting as much as possible. While taking the practice exam, sit in a desk, dressed for the exam, and without study resources…just you, your pencil, and paper. Exposure to the setting that you’re nervous about can lessen your fear and increase your confidence for when the testing time does arrive.

    5 – Have everything ready the night before the exam.

    Your ID, calculator, pencil, paper, the clothes you’re going to wear: have them ready the night before. Seeing everything neatly ready can give you a sense of control as well as prevent you from forgetting about packing or not being able to find the materials you need at the last minute.

    6 – Alternate where you study.

    Make sure that not only is your mind fresh, but so is the environment in which you study! Always studying in the same place can be exhausting and, well, simply uninspiring. Alternate where you choose to study so your study spot stays fresh and inspiring. Try studying at a quiet spot in your library by a window, your room, or making a picnic and studying outside. It’s important to be in an environment that stimulates you as well as one that allows you to focus. Stay away from unnecessary noises or distractions like your phone or television. So goodbye dark dorm, and hello sunny cool study spot!

    7 – Take care of your health.

    Even when you’re really busy and caught up with studying and other responsibilities, it is important that you keep taking care of your health – both mental and physical. Make them the priority they truly are. While fulfilling your responsibilities as best as you can, also take some time for yourself and your health. Regular exercise can serve as a great stress outlet and improve your memory and energy level. A balanced diet that includes healthy snacks such as almonds, fresh fruits, and vegetables can do the same.

    Take study breaks to do things that you enjoy, inspire you, and help you unload stress. Watch shows that make you laugh or funny cat videos on YouTube (you will not regret it). And simply, get plenty of sleep – not just the night before the exam, but regularly. With good health can come equally rewarding success!

    Studying for final exams may feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. With a smart strategy, including incorporating good studying practices, maintaining a good attitude, and taking proper care of yourself, final exam success can truly be accomplished.

    Now go, keep learning, and get that A you deserve!


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    Don't Be Afraid to Seize New Opportunities While in College

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    College can be a period of learning through trial and error, but these lessons can only be acquired through experience. There can certainly be growth and learning from experiencing regret over what we didn’t do. You’ll gain much greater and richer learning from actually being part of experiences than avoiding important experiences due to fear. Let’s wave goodbye to fear, and say hello to amazing opportunities! Here are several that every college student could benefit from and shouldn’t be afraid to seize while at college.

    Take elective classes unrelated to your major.

    Have you ever wanted to take a course not related to your major, but were worried it might reflect badly with your transfer school of choice? Say you’re an English major and wanted to take a carpentry class.

    Many schools actually encourage students to take classes outside of their area of study to expand their knowledge. Just make sure that the course fits somewhere within your credit (or transfer credit) requirements. Taking electives allows you to learn about yourself and you might discover something new you’re passionate about. You may also gain a better understanding of how you feel about your current major.

    Also, it could be helpful to take an elective that is complementary to your major, such as taking photography and communication courses if you’re a film major! The courses can strengthen important areas of knowledge and skills and show that you are interested in branching out of your main area of study.

    Don’t be afraid of starting your own student club or organization.

    Ever searched for a club or organization for a particular interest but there wasn’t one at your college campus? Well, what about starting your own?

    It might seem daunting, but if it’s something you’re passionate about then it is definitely worth pursuing. My college has an anime club, a club uncommon at most colleges and universities, but because students were driven to make a club about anime, they made it happen. Plus, starting your own student club or organization can show that you had the initiative and necessary leadership skills to start your own campus organization.

    Take part in college events.

    While not every college event will suit your interests or be related to your field, it is important to consider being part of your college’s events – including college job fairs and student club events. Embrace the amazing experiences they can open up, including potential professional networking.


    Freelancing can be just as valid and rewarding as other work opportunities. Whether doing freelance writing, marketing, tutoring, or something else related to your field, it allows you to practice and develop valuable skills. It can also keep you active in your field, learn, and get real work exposure and experience.

    Network and meet new people.

    It’s important to be open to meeting new people and establishing new professional and personal relationships in this new chapter of your life. Not only because there’s nothing wrong with expanding your friend list but because some of these college students will be your classmates, share a similar career path as you, or in some other way be part of your college journey. These people will see you grow, will likely relate to you and your experiences, and can offer constructive advice.

    Be open to meeting new people by attending and making the most of your college’s events, joining clubs you’re interested in (or starting one?) and seizing other college opportunities that head your way.

    Your college experience should be just that…your experience. Don’t let doubts, fears, inner or outside pressures define what your college experience can be. Don’t be afraid to seize potential learning opportunities that may come your way. Wave goodbye to fear, and make the most of your college career!


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    Protecting the Environment: Eco-Friendly Changes Every College Student Can Make

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    Living in a fast-paced world in which we are often in a rush, striving to be eco-friendly appears to require extra effort when in reality it does not! Here are small (and smart) changes you can make in your regular routine that can help protect the environment while also helping to lower your bills – something any college student loves! 

    Turn off the tap

    Conserve water and don’t leave the water faucet running! It is not a rare sight to see a water faucet left running at a public restroom, or while people are shaving or brushing their teeth. Saving water and being conscious of your water usage in general can mean lowering water bills as well as helping conserve clean water, an invaluable resource we all depend on to live.

    Rely on reusables

    Switch from plastic to reusable containers and bottles. Whether it be to pack your lunch or other things you are carrying with you on campus, you can limit waste by using reusable containers. This change can also apply to disposable plastic water bottles and coffee cups in favor of reusable ones. Some coffee shops even offer discounts to customers who use reusable coffee cups!

    It takes more than 450 years for most types of plastic to degrade, some even 1000 years. By switching to reusables you can do your part to help reduce this form of pollution and also save by not having to purchase disposable plastic bags or bottles. If you happen to find yourself using disposable plastics like water bottles, at least deposit them in your nearest recycling bin to be recycled.

    Pull back on purchases

    Make the most of the things you have. You might desire the newest gadgets and new trendy clothes, but do you really need all of it? There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, but try to be conscious of your shopping habits. Make sure that you aren’t buying things that you don’t need or things that can be easily shared with your roommates. Get the best use of the things you already have. Don’t throw it away when it still has potential. Use it as much as you can and get creative!

    Think global, act local

    Stay informed. Join an environmental club at your campus or start one! Look into local organizations or follow national and international environmental organizations. It’s important to be informed about current issues and ways that you can help with conservation.

    It’s cool to carpool

    Drive less! Carpool, walk, and use bicycles more. Opting to carpool with your classmates, ride your bicycle or walk to college are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint, plus have fun in the process!

    Reduce paper waste

    Try buying digital textbooks and consider printing double-sided when you do use paper. Use digital calendars on your electronic devices to keep your assignments and schedule easily organized. These changes will not only save you money, but also lower your paper needs and conserve more paper.

    Switch off, unplug, save

    Unplug chargers and turn off lights that aren’t being used. Many electronic appliances continually consume electricity simply by being plugged in. Make sure to turn off the lights, air conditioner and television when you aren’t in the room.  Take advantage of natural light when you can. These actions will lower your electrical consumption, which will lower your bill!

    In the words of astronomer Carl Sagan, as inhabitants of Earth it is our responsibility “to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” By striving to make small but efficient changes in your routine, you can lower your environmental impact, lower your bills, and incorporate more eco-friendly practices in your life! Earth is our home, so it’s important to protect it, respect it, and celebrate it with our everyday actions and thoughts.

    Pearson Students: How do you support sustainability on your college campus? Share by commenting below!

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    Planning a Memorable Vacation While On a Budget: It Is Possible

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    It’s summer vacation and it seems like everyone is going somewhere for a fun travel adventure. Then there’s you, with a limited budget and so many places you want to see and experiences you want to be a part of. You may think you can’t have a memorable vacation but you can.

    Whether you are limited based on a budget or your current location, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your vacation time and create a fun and memorable one! Adventure exists where you allow yourself to find it, so here are some tips to help you plan a fantastic summer vacation!

    Identify your goals.

    What exactly do you want to get out of your vacation time? It might seem like an easy question to answer, but it’s not always obvious what exactly we want to do with our time and get out of the experience. You may want to use your vacation time to gain job experience, develop a skill, take a class, or simply try new experiences and spend more time with friends or family. Consider what is important to you, your goals, and what you hope to fulfill from your vacation time to make the most of it. Based on knowing that, you can then plan accordingly.

    Think local.

    Who says fun must cost a lot?! Local events are often taken for granted but they are a great option for those on a budget. Most local events are often free and available to everyone, and can include local cultural and food festivals, outdoor movie showings, and fun benefits for charities. There are so many fun and interesting events available to be a part of, it’s just a matter of finding them!

    Or consider exploring local museums or other local venues you’ve never visited. It is often tempting to only want to do the fun things that you know about and already love, but it is also cool to explore new places you’ve never gone to before – including trying out that art museum or restaurant you’ve always seen but never visited. Who knows? You might discover a new great eatery, a new organization to join, or simply a new place to explore. Checking out local art museums, theater shows, and trying new restaurants has enabled me to meet great people and appreciate art forms and cuisines that I didn’t know about before.

    Do your research.

    To make the most out of your vacation experience it is important to first research as early as possible before formulating a solid plan. Figure out and consider potential places you’d like to go, costs, things to see, do, and recommendations to better enhance your experience (including learning basic phrases in a foreign language should a different language be spoken in the place you’d like to visit).

    To save money, you can additionally consider staying in a town near your target (potentially expensive) destination and do a short commute for a cheaper price. Also check often for airplane and hotel prices, as prices fluctuate a lot based on demand and how soon you book based on the expected trip date.

    Just go!

    Ever been on the road and driven by a city or beach that you’ve been curious about, but never been there? Go there! It can be something as simple as planning a short weekend trip to that city or spending a day in a beach town that’s 2 hours from where you live and have always been curious about. Little exploration trips can turn into fun little vacations!

    Enjoy – be in the moment.

    To make the most of your vacation time it is also important to have the right mentality, and that includes making sure to be in the moment, enjoying your time. Turn off your phone, relax, take care of yourself (including your mental and physical health). Just do what you need to do so you can be in the moment, enjoying and making the most of it.

    Simply spend time with your family and friends.

    Sometimes simply spending time with your loved ones can be everything you need and what can make any vacation time truly memorable. Whether planning a fun weekend beach trip with friends, hosting a movie marathon featuring some of your favorite movies, going outdoors and planning on having a picnic and camping with family, a fun and memorable vacation can be simply doing the things you love with the people you love.

    Creating a fun, memorable vacation doesn’t necessarily have to mean going somewhere far away and spending a lot of money. It is about how you chose to spend your time and the meaning you put in it. Adventure can truly exist wherever you open yourself to find it, whether it be in a foreign country in a different continent, within a fun road trip, a trip to Disney World, or even in your own backyard.

    Where will your next vacation adventure take you?

    Pearson Students: What are some tips you have to help create and have a memorable vacation while on a budget?

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    Get Ready for an Inspirational Summer

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    When we think of summer productivity, much emphasis is given to the “what” to do to make the most of your summer – including internships, summer jobs, and traveling – but it’s also important to consider the “how” – how to emphasize the importance of taking action and doing something meaningful with your precious summer time. Here are my tips to have an inspirational summer.

    Take care of your physical and mental health.

    Although an important factor in making sure to make the most of your time is to be active in doing things that you care about. But it’s also important to take care of your health, which is the foundation of your well-being and should also be a priority when planning your summer time. Eat well, get plenty of exercise, take a break from the computer, and do things create physical, mental, and social well-being. Although the summertime can be used to be active in internships and other activities, make sure to leave some time to relax and take care of yourself – this will not only help you prepare for when school starts in the fall, but also to make the most of your summer activities.

    Consider your goals.

    Think about your future career and educational aspirations: what do you want to do? What is important to you (including values, activities, and aspirations)? What will help you get there? Once you’ve considered that, think about the activities that can help you get there. Maybe an internship will allow you to gain the necessary experience for your career. Or taking a summer class can help you get a certification. Or simply, maybe you opt to not do any educational or career activities, but instead choose to dedicate more time to improve your creative portfolio. It’s about considering your unique goals and what exactly you need to do to reach them.

    Have a positive attitude.

    Although often dismissed, simply having a good attitude can go a long way. Having a positive attitude can open your mind and help you see things more clearly. Every morning when you wake up, think of at least 5 things you’re glad to have in your life or that you’re proud of yourself. Maybe you passed an exam you’ve studied hard for or you’re proud of your family or how you treat others. It’s about finding the good in your life. Although sometimes taken for granted, having a good attitude can help you keep healthier relationships, get more job opportunities, and simply feel great about yourself. Having an open mind can help you explore ideas that you hadn’t thought of before which can benefit you and your future career.

    Do what inspires you this summer.

    Inspiration is the key to motivation, and can also serve as an outlet for stress. While we don’t always have the time to do recreational things, try to accommodate them according to your schedule. Find things that you’re passionate about – maybe partaking in photography or playing a sport. It’s about doing something that keeps that spark of inspiration within you.

    While taking actual action is important to make the most of your summertime, it’s also important to consider the “how”, and how your actions will have an impact on your life, well-being, and future. So now get set, and go have an awesome summer!

    How will you make an impact this summer? Share when you retweet this blog!

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    Life Lessons From My Siamese Cat

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    Cats may not speak, but they sure can teach us a lot about life and how to make most of it! I want to  celebrate our feline friends by noting the wisdom that they possess and what we can learn from them. Here are a few things I’ve learned from our cat friends, particularly from my own cat, Izzy, who is pretending not to recognize me as I’m typing this.

    It’s okay to just have fun sometimes!  

    Sure, life is about working hard, trying to be productive and managing responsibilities, but it’s also important to have fun. Izzy strongly lives by this rule. While you can’t always break away from your responsibilities, try to work some fun free time for yourself into to your schedule. While my cat prefers to play with small soft soccer balls during her playtime, find something that entertains you.

    It’s important to get enough sleep

    This is an important area that is imperative to our health and cats seem to recognize easily. Some cats are so concerned about their health that they even sleep 14 hours daily! Though being in college and working can be demanding and time consuming, it is important to make sure to get enough sleep. A healthy body and mind are the foundation of your well-being and performing well in every part of your life. Try to make sure to get a good night’s sleep so that it’ll be YOU waking up first before your cat!

    Never give up on what you want

    Cats seem to understand the importance of persistence and never giving up on what you want. Many times Izzy has tried to eat my food and I’ve taken it away, yet nevertheless she persists! It is a simple lesson: never give up on what you’re passionate about and keep fighting for what you want! Due to her persistence and unwillingness to give up, my cat Izzy has managed to eat some of my food from time to time.

    Address everything with a strategy

    Whether it be a job interview or school exam, it’s important to first consider your goals, then plan the steps you need to take to reach your ultimate goal. In the case of my cat, her clever strategy involves grabbing my food when I’m distracted!

    Always stay true to yourself

    Izzy doesn’t care about what other cats are doing or what we humans may think about her – she is simply Izzy. And that’s something that a lot of us could learn from: our individuality is unique and amazing! Whether it be career-wise or in your personal life, it is important to stay true to yourself and to do what you love.

    A cat is much more than a purring furry bundle on your couch! Embrace the knowledge your cat has to offer – whether it be to be get more sleep, or be more persistent towards your life goals – we can learn a thing or two from our feline friends

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    College Regret: What I Wish I Knew

    Doralicia Giacoman-Soto

    College is a period of trials and lessons, and this becomes evident by the college experiences that have shaped me and the things that I have learned. While I’ve had a few small college regrets, such as maybe not attending one specific college event or trying other smaller extracurricular experiences, the biggest college regret that I have is not taking that one English class I truly wanted.

    My first semester of college I took an English II level course and since I wasn’t well informed I ended up taking a general English II course, when I could have taken a specific English course that was specifically suited for my major in Mass Communication. This lack of knowledge from my part came from a combination of not doing enough research about what courses I exactly needed to take for my major and also considering a non-academic adviser’s suggestion over what I personally thought.

    Although I don’t regret what I learned from my English course or my teacher, because I truly learned a lot from my teacher (turns out he actually studied at the same school and majored in a similar degree to what I’ll be applying to), I do regret not being a more informed student and considering exploring more class options so I would have taken a more solid decision reflective of my specific educational path.

    So, this part goes out to any college freshmen or students still in college: it is never too late to learn more about your specific major. Do you know what specific courses you need for your major, especially if you’ll be transferring to another school? What about college clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities related to your major? If you know what school(s) you’ll be applying to, check their requirements and recommendations for transfer so you can incorporate them in your decision making when selecting which classes to take so you can increase your chances of getting accepted, make sure more course credits get transferred if you get accepted, and simply to ease your transfer.

    It is never too early to plan what courses you’d like to take so you can make a more informed decision and incorporate a good selection of classes. Talk to academic counselors, admissions at the school(s) you’ll be applying to and to other students who studied your major for recommendations, but also consider what’s best for your unique career interests and educational path: what do YOU want? What specific programs of study and schools have your attention, and what will help you get there?

    Although having some college regrets, both big and small, are often a part of the college experience that most college students deal with, we can reduce the extent and quantity of them by being more informed about what exactly we want to get out from our time in college. Don’t let fear or not being informed enough define what you think you can do and how you choose to act. Consider your goals, become informed about what specific classes are required and recommended for your major, and take that class that you want!