Students blog

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

Explore posts in other areas.

PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

  • Two college-aged men stand arm-in-arm on a ski slope on a sunny day. They are dressed in skiing attire.

    3 Tips to Having Good Conversations

    Johnny Condit

    How many times do we get stuck in this situation when meeting someone for the first time?

    “Hi, my name is Johnny, how are you?”

    Then that person responds, “Hey, I’m Blake, I’m doing well, how are you?”

    …and then you respond, “I am doing well.”

    Then the most awkward, deafening silence fills the air as neither person has no idea what to say or think. Does this happen to you? This happened to me all the time and I have learned ways not to just take control of the conversation but to make it an enjoyable one. Here are 3 tips that can make any new encounter with a stranger easier.

    1. Take charge of a conversation

    People are dying to talk to people but are too timid because of the fear of awkward exchanges. Do not let that happen to you. Initiate conversation and you will be surprised at how many pleasant exchanges you have with other people. There always needs to be one driver – be that driver!

    2. Dig deeper into responses

    When you ask someone how their day is going and they respond with a typical answer like “it was good”, ask them “why was it good?” or “what did you do today to make it good?”. Make the other person answer an open-ended question so more conversation can develop. They might say, “I went on a jog today or I read a book”. From there, you open the opportunity to have something in common. You can respond with numerous options such as: “Oh, I love running, did you run cross country in high school”, “do you jog often?”, “what book are you reading?” or “what type of books do you like to read?”. You can do these types of questions with any response given to you. This type of question does two things: first, it increases the chances of commonality found, and two, it gives off an impression to the person that you are friendly and genuine.

    3. Ask a lot of “why” and “what” questions

    This builds from tip 2 and it may take time to develop but learn how to ask “why” and “what” questions. “Why do you like running?”, “what about running do you like or dislike the most?”, “what would you rather do than run?” These are questions that my 4 and 6-year-old nieces and nephews have, and it works! Just like a toddler, you need to have curiosity when speaking with someone new. These responses again make the conversation so much better, and you are not going to be stuck with one-word responses like “yes” or “no”. Again, these questions can be implemented with any topic that is brought up.

    I hope these 3 tips help! It does not matter whether you are extroverted or introverted; you can take charge of a conversation and make it a good one! Impress people on your conversation skills, it will make you more likable, approachable and make you stand out!

    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! 

  • Two young men smiling and sitting behind a table with a Pearson tablecloth and prizes.

    What’s in a Name?

    Johnny Condit

    Do you ever met someone for the first time, introduce yourself, and then totally forget their name? You see them again 5 minutes later and have no idea how to address them. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many people have trouble remembering names when meeting someone for the first time. However, through my college career, I have learned more and more how important it is to learn and remember someone’s name. We all have one, right? So, we might as well use them.

    Addressing someone by their name is a sign of respect that will grab people’s attention. It shows that you are an active listener that is genuinely engaged when in a conversation. So often we are worried about what we will say or how we look that when someone introduces themselves to you, their name goes totally over your head. To keep that from happening, here are 3 tips that I use to remember people’s names the first time I meet them.

    1. Remember that you are not the most important person in the room - Most people are too worried about how they look or what they are going to say when meeting new people. They do not even register what even comes out of your mouth when speaking. Well, if that’s the case, don’t worry about what you’re going to say and become aware of what people are trying to tell you. Once you stop worrying about yourself, you are able to become more of an active listener.
    2. Repeat their name - When you first meet someone, the first thing you do is exchange names. When the opposite person says for an example, “Hello, my name is Jerry, nice to meet you!” you should respond, “Hey Jerry, its nice to meet you too!”. Hearing the name twice, from him and yourself, will make your brain realize that the name is something important to remember.
    3. Look for name tags – When someone is wearing a name tag, it is not for style. Become more aware when someone has a name tag. You can even address them by their name before they introduce themselves. That will make you stand out from others and leave a lasting impression on someone.

    Being able to remember someone’s name is an amazing quality and it makes people feel special. Take value in people’s names and watch your network and friendships grow!

    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! 

  • blog image alt text

    Effect vs. Affect: Choose to live with intention and positivity

    Johnny Condit

    What’s the effect you have on people? How do you affect others in your life? Is it a positive or negative effect? Can the way you affect people determine if you become successful? Let’s evaluate.

    In middle school, trying to learn the difference between effect and affect seemed like trying to solve a quadratic formula in calculus. You are taught to remember that affect is a verb and effect is a noun, like the mnemonic device RAVEN. But the more you investigate each word, the more differences you find. Each word has a very different effect on the people you meet.

  • blog image alt text

    Get ready for internship success

    Johnny Condit

    Do you think you are ready for an internship? Having real world experience in a specific career is the best way to find out what you love and what you want to do for the rest of your life. An internship can present endless opportunities that help you grow and prepare you for your future. You can learn a lot about yourself, like are you a “9-5-sit-at-a-desk” worker or an “on-the-move, meetings, on-your-feet” kind of person? Experiencing both kinds of jobs for four months will let you know what you desire to do. 

    Everyone wants to do well in their internship and make a good impression. If you’re lucky enough to still have an internship opportunity this summer, here are three great ways to help you succeed: be teachable, be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and have a great work ethic.


    Over the past summer, I was lucky enough to have an internship the sales department of a health insurance brokerage. Being my first internship, I had no idea what to expect and was incredibly nervous to start. But once I started, all my nervousness and doubts left me as I started to become accommodated to a brand-new work environment. The most important thing I did this summer was to learn from other people and be vulnerable. I knew I was not the most informed with the industry I was working in, but being able to ask questions and learn from professionals around me was a privilege. I learned more about sales in the past four months from the people I worked with than I had in my entire life. The desire to learn and grow in the workplace is an important trait to have.

    Step Out of Your Box

    A popular line that I love is, “you can never grow being comfortable”. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a necessity when getting a new job. You shouldn’t avoid situations that will challenge you in prosperous businesses. There were many things that I had to do this summer that I was nervous to do, like cold call prospects for my company and present data in front of clients. But after completing these actions, I am so thankful I did them because I was able to grow and learn from the experience. Never feel intimidated of being uncomfortable.

    Work Hard

    Lastly, use your internship as an opportunity to grow and strengthen a great work ethic. Any job will teach you all the things you need to know to be successful in that job. But what they won’t teach you is how to work hard, be proactive and take initiative. These are the traits that people look for when hiring and should be incorporated into your daily work life. You will impress your boss exponentially more by being proactive than by just doing things that you are told.

    So whether you are getting ready for your third internship or your first, be coachable, be comfortable being uncomfortable, and take initiative during your job. These three things will help you grow to your full potential in any industry that you want to pursue. Make the best out of your internship and build connections with coworkers that can last forever!


  • blog image alt text

    Are you failing at failure?

    Johnny Condit

    I learned a quote back in high school that says, “a setback is only a setup for a comeback.” There are many aspects of failing and people fail all the time. From not getting your dream job to flunking an exam you studied diligently for to being cut from the baseball team – failure comes in several different ways and every single one has one thing in common. What may that be? No, it’s not the feeling of disappointment or the sense to give up. The big common factor each one has is the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you are not learning and gaining knowledge from your experience of failing, then I can confidently say that you are failing at failure.

    Examining the past

    What better way to improve and grow as a person than by looking at what things you did wrong in your past. No other person can live your experiences so when you happen to fail, take that as an opportunity to learn and improve on things that no one else gets the chance to. Then you’ll have an advantage that no one else has. The biggest difference between average and successful people is how they handle failure and how they benefit from it in the future.

    Handling failure

    Here are three tips to manage and cope with failure:

    1 – The most important thing to do is to not give up! Every time you are knocked down, get back on your feet and keep going. It is very challenging and difficult to overcome failure, but that is part of the process that makes you better.

    2 – Change your mindset from viewing failure as a bad thing to viewing it as a good thing. When you fail, you should think “Great! Just more opportunities to learn and better myself!” That alone will help you overcome any situation.

    3 – Failure can benefit you as a person if you use the experience as motivation. No one likes the feeling of being defeated, so let that give you the drive to never feel that way again.

    I hope after reading this, you can examine your past mistakes and ask yourself, “Am I failing at failure?”