Students blog

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

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  • A young woman holding a computer screen with a message from Rutgers stating ‘Application Received’.

    Five Tips for Your Graduate School Application

    Madeline Beavis

    Education is for life! After their undergraduate years, many college students want to earn a master or doctorate degree and graduate school applications can be extremely competitive, stressful, and overwhelming! Here are 5 tips from my experience applying to graduate school to help support you during your application!

    1) Identify someone for a letter of recommendation EARLY!

    Letters of recommendation are crucial for your application! Most programs will suggest you ask a professor, faculty member at your school, or supervisor who can speak to your academic, professional, and personal qualities (while family members may have many wonderful things to say about you, I recommend asking someone who is more impartial and can speak to your abilities). It is important to identify your recommender as early as possible so that you can thoroughly discuss a timeline with that person and get your application submitted on time!

    2) Update your resume.

    Some applications will require a resume (it can also be optional), but you should make sure your resume is up-to-date and relevant to your career goals! Remember that a professional resume is typically one page written in reverse chronological order. I often like to attach a cover page as well to provide more insight about my qualifications. Be sure to include employment positions, awards, or special projects you’ve completed during your undergraduate years... but your time babysitting in high school may not be as relevant anymore!

    3) Tackling the Personal Statement.

    Almost all applications will ask for a personal statement or a response to a few essay questions. Write what you want to say, not what you think your graduate program wants to hear. Authenticity is key! Tell your personal story and how that led you to choose your specific graduate program. Be creative, avoid cliches, and as I always like to remind myself, there is only one of me and I have a unique story to tell... and so do you!

    4) Oh no, there’s an interview!

    Don’t panic! While interviews can be nerve-wracking, this is an opportunity for a graduate program to learn more about who you are as a real person rather than just what they can see on paper. Prepare some responses to general interview questions, have that “tell me about yourself” response ready, and most importantly, take a deep breathe! Many graduate schools will want to know how you plan to contribute to their program, what your future ambitions are, if you have any research interests, etc. so don’t be afraid to brag about yourself!

    5) Proof, proof, proof.

    You’ve finished your application having spent hours filling out your personal information and responding to essay questions... don’t forget to proofread! After all that time and energy, be sure to double-check that the information you provided is correct, there are no typos, and you have completed each section in its entirety. I recommend reviewing your application after a good night's sleep with fresh eyes to ensure you catch any mistakes!

    While graduate applications can be stressful, any anxieties are completely normal, and I hope these tips help to relieve some of those nerves! Good luck with your application!

    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! 

     

  • The supplies needed for the craft described in this blog, including construction paper and pencils on a student desk.

    A Timeless Gift for Mother’s Day

    Madeline Beavis

    There is nothing quite like a mother’s love! Mother’s Day is a time to thank all motherly figures for the unconditional love and support they show every day. Flowers are a very popular gift option, but what if there was a way that they could last forever? Ever since I was young, handmade gifts have been common in my family and are, especially for mothers, worth more than anything that can be bought in a store. Let me show you how I make paper flower bouquet of lavender that any mother is sure to cherish forever!

    You will need:

    • Paper in your mom’s favorite color! A shade of green will also be useful!
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Tape
    • Toothpick

    Follow the steps below and use the picture at the top of the blog to help you if needed!

    • Step 1: Cut a 9 cm by 28 cm piece of green paper to make the stem of the lavender. I recommend green for a realistic outcome but be as creative as you like!
    • Step 2: Take your toothpick and starting at the tip of the corner of the paper, tightly wrap the paper around the toothpick. Continue rolling until all the paper is rolled up. You can remove the toothpick as you are rolling or leave it inside your stem for extra support. Tape the corner to hold it in place.
    • Step 3: Set aside the stem to start creating the lavender. Pick your choice of color for your lavender and cut an 8 cm by 28 cm piece of paper.
    • Step 4: Fold the paper in half like a hotdog and crease the edge.
    • Step 5: Hold your paper horizontally so that the folded side is facing you (the opening of your hotdog is away from you) and cut thin strips vertically along the crease. Do not cut all the way through! Leave about a ½ cm border at the top of the paper. At the end, it should look like a very long comb!
    • Step 6: Once you are finished, open your paper like you are reading a book and flip it over. Tape the long, uncut edges together. This is why we left a border in step 3! At this point, our lavender will look like a series of small arches.
    • Step 7: Take your stem from step 1-2 and starting at the end of your lavender, wind it around the tip of the stem so the arches are on the outside. You may need a small piece of tape to hold the lavender in place as you wind it.
    • Step 8: Continue to twist the lavender around the stem, moving slightly further down with each rotation. The small arches should expand a little bit to create a lavender shape.
    • Step 9: When you reach the end of your lavender, tape the end to hold it in place. Cut the end of your stem if it is too long and you’re all done!

    Optional: Want to include some extra details? Add some leaves!

    • Step 1: Cut a 5 cm by 7 cm piece of green paper.
    • Step 2: Leaving about a ½ cm border, like in step 5, cut out a row of long, thin triangles.
    • Step 3: With the ends of your triangles pointing up, roll the leaves around the bottom of the lavender where the bloom ends. You do not need to move down the stem, keep your rotations horizontal. Tape the ends to hold in place. Cut off any extra leaves if you do not want as many!
    • Step 4: Bend the leaves with your fingers to curl them.

    Repeat the above steps to create a full bouquet of lavender! Happy Mother’s Day!

    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 images side-by-side. On the left, blog author Maddy stands in her high school cap and gown. On the right, Maddy stands by a huge red ‘R’ at Rutgers University.

    Calculating My Way to Education: Why I decided to be a teacher

    Madeline Beavis

    In 2008, a small, wide-eyed child would enter her first Kindergarten classroom. She would fall in love with the sights, the smells, the people, and the atmosphere. Her teachers would inspire her to be just like them when she grew up. Over the years, she would learn about the joys of reading, writing, and mathematics and anxiously wait for each school year to start again. Each teacher would plant a seed in this child’s pre-elementary school mind that would grow for the rest of her school career.

    That child was me.

    Evolving Why

    Deciding that I wanted to be a teacher was easy. I watched other kids bounce back and forth between a doctor or an astronaut or a lawyer, but my career choice has remained unchanged. However, the reason for my choice has evolved. At first, I thought teachers were just people who knew more than everyone else and had all the answers. As an adolescent, I wanted to be “smart” and share my knowledge with others. As I entered adulthood, I began to understand that, while teachers are incredibly intelligent, they are just regular people who want to make a difference. Not to mention, they are intelligent in a way that is far more valuable than what can be taught in textbooks. Teachers must have immense emotional, social, and situational intellect in order to work effectively with students. Now that I’m in college, I strive to be as well-rounded of a teacher as those I've been lucky enough to learn from when I was in grade school.

    Evolving Who

    Overall, I knew, one day, I would end up at the front of a classroom. Determining what age-group and subject I wanted to teach was not defined so early. As I moved through each grade, I always ended the year saying I wanted to teach the grade I had just finished instead of the previous grade. That came to a screeching halt when I reached high school. I enjoyed the challenge of high school subjects and liked the material that I was learning more than I ever had before. I then knew that I wanted to teach high school... but I still hadn’t picked a subject.

    Evolving What

    I loved reading while in elementary school. You could always find me somewhere flicking the pages of a book like I just couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter. Throughout middle school, I thought I had my mind made up that I would major in English in college. Easy. Done. But not quite, because when I got to high school, I fell in love with my math courses. It probably helped that I had some incredible teachers for Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus, but there was something addicting about finding that one right answer to a problem. I still enjoy reading and writing and loved my English courses too, but I knew that I didn’t have the same passion for it as mathematics.

    So, career? Teaching. Age group? High school. Subject? Math. I felt like I had all my questions answered and I was excited for the future.

    There are times where I doubt my abilities or wonder if I am good enough to be an educator, especially in a subject as difficult as math, but then I remember the unwavering confidence that my teachers had in this one child. If they believe I can do it, then so should I.

    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 laptop with Pearson+ flashcards open on the screen alongside a red mug with the Rutgers University logo.

    Pearson+ Flashcards = Studying Made Easy!

    Madeline Beavis

    Did you know Vector Space Axiom #5 states that for all x included in a vector field V, 1•x = x? Well, I didn’t either prior to using Pearson+ Flashcards. That is just one axiom out of eight that I had to memorize for my Linear Algebra Class. For me, memorization is hard. It takes me a lot of time, energy, and concentration to memorize even just a short list of definitions. I find that making flashcards is a great way to practice and make sure I’m ready for my next exam, and where better to turn to than Pearson+!

    Efficient Active Learning

    With Pearson+ flashcards, I can engage in active recall. Active recall is essential for long-term retention, and flashcards make for efficient, targeted learning for busy college students! There are numerous ways to practice with these digital flashcards including selecting from multiple-choice options, typing in an answer, or the traditional “flip” to view the answer. The options vary each time you practice a set to guarantee you master your vocabulary! You can even have some fun and play a matching game!

    Self-Paced Learning

    Everyone learns at a different pace – no need to fear timers or alarm bells! I love that I can take my time with each flashcard and think about my answer before checking if I’m correct. Since flashcards allow for instant feedback, I can focus on the material I find most challenging and review it until I reach a point of mastery, creating a more personalized learning experience. And don’t worry, you can always add, delete, or edit your flashcards with exact about of information as you see fit!

    Portability

    The best feature of all is that no matter where I go, I can take my flashcards with me! Rather than having to carry around different sets for all my classes, everything is now in one place and just a click away. Whether I’m sitting on the bus on my way to class or looking for a way to pass the time between classes, I can conveniently access my flashcards on my computer, tablet, or phone.

    Check out this helpful video on Pearson+ flashcards and make your studying easier by taking your flashcards to the next level with Pearson+!

    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 notebook, coffee mug, and iPad with a list of 2024 resolutions arranged on a table.

    Happy February – How are your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

    Madeline Beavis

    Is it February already? I’ve always found it super fun to set some New Year's resolutions for myself in January... but they can be so difficult to maintain once the month is up! And I’m not alone; about 50% of people will give up on their resolutions by the end of January, so, now that it’s February, how are you doing with your resolutions? Whether you’ve restarted a couple of times or have been going strong since the ball drop, here are some tips to get your momentum back and keep your resolutions going all year long!

    1) Reflect on your progress so far.

    Take some time to reflect on how close you are to reaching your goal or how many goals you’ve accomplished already! Take pride in the progress you’ve made so far. This can be a great motivator to continue working hard for the rest of the year!

    2) Set new goals.

    Setting new goals can also be a great way to inspire yourself. If you achieved your goal in January, think of a new challenge. If you did not reach your goal, that’s okay! You can always reevaluate your resolution throughout the year to accommodate your current lifestyle and availability.

    3) Reward yourself!

    It is so important to be kind to yourself and reward your achievements. Maybe you get to go to your favorite restaurant, order your favorite drink at Starbucks, or buy those jeans you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Whether your reward is big or small, make it something meaningful to you that will help you stay on track.

    4) Get a friend or family member involved.

    It’s always so much more fun to accomplish a goal with someone else! Get someone close to you to join you in your resolution, so you can hold each other accountable and track your progress together. If you’re super competitive, get a whole group involved and see who can stick to the resolution the longest!

    5) Make your resolutions fun!

    The best advice I can give is to make your resolution something you will enjoy doing. Maybe you want to get more exercise in 2024, but you dread going to the gym. Instead, choose a place nearby to explore, grab your headphones, and go for a walk or run outdoors! Or maybe you want to maintain a better diet, but raw veggies aren’t your thing. Look up some recipes for healthier versions of your favorite dishes. There are so many ways to make your resolutions more fun!

    Overall, resolutions can be hard to keep. But give yourself some grace and try one of these tips if you are feeling down on yourself this new year. You might be surprised by how much of a difference a small change can make!

    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 female student lies outside in the grass, propped up on her elbows and reading a book.

    Re-discover Reading for Fun with this Summer Reading List

    Madeline Beavis

    Students do so much academic reading for their classes that the joy of a good book is often forgotten! After reading hundreds of textbook pages during my first year in college, I’m sad to say that I, like many of my friends, lost my connection to one of my favorite pastimes: pleasure reading. Reading is a fantastic way to reduce stress, explore an author’s creative world, and exercise the mind without even realizing it! So, let’s reignite a passion for reading with 5 book recommendations from a variety of genres... happy reading!

    Who doesn’t love a twist on a good fairy tale? Check out Cinder by Marie Lu.

    Jump into a world where humans and androids attempt to coexist, a plague ravages the Earth, and those with special gifts live on the moon. Cinder, a well-known mechanic from New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth, spends her days trying to escape her stepmother and stepsisters who can be awfully wicked. In a whirlwind of ballgowns, royalty, and secrets, Cinder becomes the center of a cosmic war, and she may just be the key to saving humanity. Follow Cinder’s story in The Lunar Chronicles series, preceding Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, where she must distinguish friend from foe in order to find her happily ever after.

    Are you a science fiction enthusiast? Pick up The Martian by Andy Weir.

    If you think Mother Nature is merciless on Earth, try living on Mars. When botanist-astronaut Mark Watney is accidentally left behind on his crew's Hermes mission, it appears he may be the first person to walk on the Red Planet as well as die there. Over 128 million miles from home, running low on food and water, and lacking a way to communicate with Earth, Watney must use all his astronomical knowledge in order to survive. Can he overcome the planetary elements, or will he stay lost in space forever?

    Maybe you’re looking for an inspiring, true story? Educated by Tara Westover is perfect for you.

    Tara Westover’s memoir was named one of the top ten best books of the year in 2018 by the New York Times. Westover recounts her experience growing up as a daughter of Mormon survivalists. Living in the mountains of Idaho, she was almost completely isolated from modern society. She was seventeen when she first stepped into a classroom and after watching one of her brothers get into college, she knew she wanted a different life for herself. Traveling thousands of miles away from the safety of the mountain, even making it to some of the most prestigious universities, her educational journey opened her eyes to the wonders of the world around her. Take the trip with Westover as she acquires knowledge from all corners of the globe, battling superstition, lack of self-confidence, while wondering if she’s drifted just slightly too far from the mountains.

    Unsure of what the world could look like in a couple hundred years? Consider this future in Legend by Marie Lu.

    The western United States is a region of the past, rebuilt and now known as the Republic. Growing up in two very different worlds, child prodigy, June Iparis, and the government’s most wanted criminal, Day Wing, meet under extreme circumstances: the murder of June’s brother where Day is the prime suspect. June is on a mission to avenge her brother while Day is determined to help his impoverished family survive. As the chase continues, the truth begins to unfold and sends blame circulating through the Republic until it becomes clear there are a lifetime of secrets kept behind closed doors. Detangle the dystopia in The Legend Series trilogy to find out the real reason for the unpredictable partnership between rags and riches.

    Feeling like a detective? Investigate the supernatural in Gone by Michael Grant.

    Gone. Without a trace. Internet, television, social media all disappear, along with everyone 15 years and older. High school is hard enough without an entire town becoming a fishbowl. An impenetrable barrier has left the remaining teens trapped with no way to call for help. But danger lurks in the shadows. Emotions are running high, food is becoming scarce, animals are mutating, and some kids themselves are discovering they have strange abilities. Deadly abilities. The struggle for control shakes the town and battle lines are drawn. If you’re young, enjoy your stay in the fishbowl while it lasts because on your 15th birthday you will vanish as well, just like the adults. And you don’t come back. Are all the teens doomed to an early death or does safety lie beyond the barrier?

    Summer is a time when many college students are able to slow down and get some much-needed relaxation. Reading for pleasure is a great way to do just that. No matter what book you choose, take some time this summer to re-discover reading for fun and enjoyment!

    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! 

  • The blog author as a third grader with her favorite teacher and in front of her school.

    Celebrating Teacher Appreciation

    Madeline Beavis

    Kindergarten was where I first developed the idea of becoming a teacher. Other kids imagined themselves as astronauts or doctors or firefighters, but I found joy in the classroom with chalkboards and colored pencils. I’m sure my parents thought it was just a phase, but for the next 14 years I did not budge!

    I’m very grateful for the educators in my past who supported my career choice and gave me the confidence to pursue it. An extra special thank you is dedicated to all the teachers and professors around the world who remain devoted to helping and guiding their students year after year, even during the challenges of pandemic learning.

    Personally, my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Emanuelle, (pictured with me in the thumbnail image) has remained one of my biggest inspirations throughout my academic life. Walking into her classroom on the first day of school, I didn’t know how much more she would teach me beyond vocabulary and spelling. She was enthusiastic, tenderhearted, and creative, forming a relationship with each student so that they felt comfortable and safe in her classroom. For us, well, we both loved dogs! And maybe a love for man’s best friend wasn’t going to help prepare me for 4th grade or standardized testing, but my 8-year-old self was so excited to have something in common with a “grown up” that I was eager to learn from her.

    Now as a college student, I often think back to my time as her student and how she, among many of my other teachers, served as a role model for what a good educator should be. Patient, understanding, adaptable, caring, and inspiring.

    I’m sure almost every student has a special teacher in their past who motivated them to pursue their dreams and never give up. Take some time this week or any time of the year to show your appreciation for your favorite educators!

    “True teachers use themselves as bridges over which their students to cross. Then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to make bridges of their own.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

    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 view of the sun setting over a lake.

    Cures for the College Insomniac

    Madeline Beavis

    It’s no secret that "sleep" is not always a part of a college student’s vocabulary – understandably since worrying about upcoming exams and deadlines would make anyone anxious! As someone who has suffered from bouts of insomnia since childhood and spending a year with a roommate, it became obvious I was not the only one tossing and turning. Even after long days of studying I can struggle to shut my mind off when it’s time to go to bed. If you’re like me, here are some tips that may help you naturally fall asleep faster and feel refreshed for all your classes and activities!

    1. Put away the screens.

    Night after night I’ve fallen victim to my phone, spending what felt like 5 minutes scrolling through notifications when suddenly, an hour had gone by! I learned the hard way that the blue light from technology interferes with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it more difficult to fall asleep as well as wake up the next morning. If you want to fall asleep faster, put away the computer and turn off TikTok at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to go to bed.

    2. With the screens away, pull out a book... a paper book.

    If you love to read, this is the tip for you! Reading a few pages of a book can help make your eyes and brain tired, which will help you fall asleep faster. Just make sure there aren’t any major cliffhangers that will keep you hooked so you can’t put it down!

    3. Listen to white noise or soft music.

    Dorms can get loud, so creating a buffer between you and the background noise can be really helpful. There are a lot of apps or websites offering free white noise or soothing music to block out unwanted sound.

    4. Exercise, exercise, exercise.

    After sitting at a desk all day studying or completing assignments, I sometimes feel like my body needs to move and stretch to release pent-up energy. If it feels like your mind is tired but your body isn’t, try incorporating at least 30-60 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. Even something as simple as a walk around your campus can help reduce your energy before bed.

    5. Drink a cup of chamomile tea.

    I've found that chamomile tea has an almost magical calming effect! Not only can it help you to relax, but it also has numerous health benefits, aids in digestion, and has a soothing aroma.

    Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is very important for alertness, memorization, boosting your immune system, improving your mood, and maintaining good mental and physical health. Do yourself a favor and try a few of these ideas to improve your sleep and your overall health!

    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 college women pose together in their dorm room. They are standing in front of a desk in the space between their single beds.

    The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing for Your Move to Campus

    Madeline Beavis

    Moving into a college dorm can be a daunting task for any incoming freshmen. It can be difficult to determine what is necessary to bring and what can be left at home with limited space in your dorm room. Even if you’ve watched a thousand YouTube videos about the “perfect” packing suggestions, you can still end up with a list a mile long. After experiencing two semesters of dorm life, here are some of my do's and don’ts for move-in day!

    DO Bring Lots and Lots of Storage Options

    Storage is one of the biggest challenges. I recommend using the space under your bed to store extra items that don’t fit in your closet or dresser. Large plastic tubs or storage bins with drawers are a great place to put things like sweatshirts or snacks, and smaller containers are perfect for stacking on shelves. Remember, organization is key!

    DON’T Bring an Iron or Ironing Board

    When I was first packing for school, I thought ironing equipment was an essential item... but if I wasn’t ironing my clothes at home, why would I do it at school? These items take up a lot of space and you will most likely only use them once, if at all.

    DO Bring a Wide Range of Clothes

    When you’re sitting in lectures for a long time, comfort is top priority so pack some cozy outfits! Don’t forget one or two business casual options as well for any academic presentations or job interviews. It’s also good to remember that you may not have to bring everything on the first day. Depending on your school location, summer clothing could be brought home during breaks and exchanged with winter clothing or vice versa! Lastly, if you are traveling a long distance, consider what items can be purchased when you get there!

    DON’T Bring Items That Are Not Allowed

    Many schools do not allow certain items for safety reasons or because they will be provided for you. Although you may really want to bring an air conditioning unit, candles, or smaller appliances like hot plates or toasters, your Resident Assistant will require you to remove them or confiscate them completely.

    DO Bring a Desk Lamp and Surge Protector

    Lightning is not always the best in dorm rooms. Having a light on your desk is really helpful if you’re studying late at night while a roommate is sleeping. Having a surge protector helps eliminate the scarcity of outlets if you have multiple devices you need to plug in.

    DON’T Bring a Massive Laundry Bin, DO Bring a Laundry Bag

    Potentially carrying a large laundry basket up many flights of stairs is not ideal. I found that a laundry bag you can swing over your shoulder was super easy. I even brought two bags: one for dirty clothes on the way to my laundry room and one for clean clothes on the way back!

    DO Bring a Shower Caddy (And Shower Shoes!)

    You’re going to want something to carry all of your shower stuff with you to the bathroom. I recommend a mesh bag which is very easy to clean by hand or in the washing machine and hangs nicely. However, some students prefer to use a plastic caddy that they put on the floor. Don’t forget shower shoes are strongly recommended in dorm bathrooms!!

    Most importantly, DO Coordinate with Your Roommate(s)

    It’s not always possible to get in touch with your future roommate(s) but try your best to coordinate certain items. For example, you won’t need two vacuums or two TVs, and you can save a lot of money and time if you split a wish list!

    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!