Students blog

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

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PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

  • A notebook with a clear plastic top cover with a collection of paper and coin money tucked inside.

    How to Get a Quick Start to Saving

    Kaitlin Hung

    As I’m nearing the end of my undergraduate career, I’ve realized there are so many things I want to do, and it seems like they all require money. It’s incredibly hard to save money when you’re a student working minimum wage, especially when you’re experiencing “adult money” for the first time.

    When I got my first job, I spent my first paycheck almost immediately. This was money I earned for myself and wouldn’t feel bad for my parents when I used it. This mindset made it so my paychecks were wrung dry hundreds of times faster than the amount of time I spent to earn that money. The money wouldn’t last, and I’d use it on large handfuls of small daily purchases like coffee or boba. My poor money spending decisions left my pockets empty and I began to realize I would never reach my larger goals, such as going on an international trip or affording my own place, unless I figured out a way to start saving.

    Time is Money

    What I began to do to save money included changing my mindset, purchases, and “piggy bank”. Let’s say I make $15 an hour and a single drink at a cafe costs around $5, sometimes much more. I realized that buying only three drinks would translate to me working for one hour. Once I started looking at purchases in terms of my time and effort, I made less of the unnecessary “luxury” purchases.

    Buy in Bulk

    Another thing I would do is buy “in bulk”. Rather than buying one drink, I’d buy the ingredients for it and make it myself. The $20 spent on 4 cups of coffee could be stretched further on groceries that would equate to a month’s worth of coffees.

    Cut the Card and Correct with Cash

    I also noticed that my primary mode of payment was my bank card, which made it too easy to overspend. I’ve rarely carried cash since the start of the pandemic, so I began to go to my bank and take cash out of my accounts. I’d then take the cash and place it in a small notebook that I keep out of sight. It helps to get newer dollar bills that are fresh and clean. It makes me want to keep them! By doing this I prevent myself from spending the money that is locked away in my room, and I occasionally even forget about it which makes for a nice surprise later. This action helped me curb my online spending, too.

    These are small changes in my lifestyle that have resulted in a satisfying savings amount, and I look forward to seeing how much I can save up by the end of the year.

    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 latte in a white cup with a leaf design in the foam.

    Study Locations to Keep You Motivated and Productive

    Kaitlin Hung

    Even after my third year of university and I STILL struggle with finding the ideal environment/habits for studying. This past quarter seemed to be one of my best quarters, not perfect but I was able to smoothly pass my classes while balancing two jobs. I was wondering what caused this and realized there was something I did differently. I studied in different spots!

    I noticed that the reason I don’t study as well in my room is because my room is a personal space of comfort. I subconsciously associate my room with relaxation which causes me to not work as hard or lose focus easily.

    In no particular order here are the different places I studied this year and what I loved about them:

    1. University Library

    My university’s library has many tables with dividers for individual study as well as study rooms you can reserve for hours. The library is a free option with Wi-Fi that allows me to study with my friends (including the ones that lived on campus and didn’t have a car). Being surrounded by studying students motivates me to study as hard as my peers. Not to mention our school’s libraries have a designated quiet floor for those who don’t enjoy the chatter!

    2. Local Cafes

    I’m not talking about the international chains of cafes, which aren’t a bad option at all, but the smaller rustic cafes that have dimmed lights and other seating options like couches or loveseats. People here will be independently working or having a chat with their friends, the white noise here is one of my favorite sounds to listen to while working. It may be difficult for some to work in dull lighting, but I personally enjoy it, it provides what I imagine “old school academia” would be like.

    3. Botanical Garden

    This may sound a bit impractical but think of it as a productive picnic! My university has a botanical garden but if your school doesn’t, a local park would be another great option! I usually study here if I have an exam coming up; I’d bring a clipboard and print all my practice material to go over so I wouldn’t have to use any electronics. The sun shining on me and the light breeze is a nice way to get out and stay productive. Check out this blog about how plants reduce stress!

    These are the main places I visited to stay motivated, and I look forward to finding new spots to study!

    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 close-up of a student’s study area including an iPad, highlighters, and note paper with math problems.

    Discovering Your Best Learning Techniques Leads to Academic Success

    Kaitlin Hung

    Growing up, I was always surrounded by smart friends who continuously scored full marks on assignments and exams. I, on the other hand, scored average or below and constantly felt at a loss when I used the same learning and studying techniques as my peers, but didn’t score as well as them. It wasn’t until late in my high school career that I figured out how to do just as well as others by using a different learning technique.

    Out with the old….

    During one of my biology classes, I noticed that even though I was listening to everything the teacher was saying, my brain lagged like an old laptop running low on battery. By the time I processed the first topic, the teacher was already discussing content from three topics later. I felt I needed a way to have more time to process new information, so I started playing around with learning techniques.

    ….in with the new

    I’d always thought that learning all the material consecutively, or in one sitting, was the best way to learn. But this study method made me less likely to pay attention or remember the content. In exploring alternative methods, I figured out I could find YouTube videos on the topic area I was studying, and I could pause or adjust the speed, plus read the captions. This allowed me to learn the same material, but at my own pace. I would never be “behind”.

    I also learned that taking short breaks in between videos or study sessions seemed to “recharge” my learning capability. Instead of beating myself up over not remembering everything during a long study session, I would reward myself for what I could remember with a break for as long as I deemed necessary.

    Putting it all together

    I later found out that there are different learning styles, such as auditory, spatial, and linguistic, for each person. I researched more about it, took a few online tests, and decided to pick up more techniques that catered towards my specific learning style.

    Since I am not an auditory learner, it was hard for me to retain everything a teacher said in class. But I could spend more time reading the provided textbook to fill in information I missed in a lecture. If I couldn’t properly visualize a concept, I would look up videos or images to help me do so. Instead of continuing to feel like a failure for not understanding things when others around me could, I found ways that worked best for me.

    Although it was sometimes tedious, investing time in discovering how I learn and retain information helped me build confidence as a student and achieve academic success.

    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!