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 college woman standing in front of a white board in a conference room. She is looking down at a laptop open on the table in front of her. The words ‘Determine Your Goal’ are written on the white board.

    Planning the Next Step

    Marissa Atilano

    Imagine this, finally, the time has come. As you toss your grad cap in the air, you think back on all the memories you've made throughout your time in college: cooking with your roommates, going to tailgates, cheering on your team, and pulling off a few all-nighters to earn that A on your final project. Now, as the cap falls back into your lap, you think about what is next.

    What is next? Did you plan for the next step? How could you have found the time to worry about the future when you were worrying about the present? You're in luck, as you have found the blog that guides you in avoiding this unwanted situation. Even if you are reading this as you throw your grad cap in the air, you can set yourself up for success post-graduation by following these tips for planning the next step.

    Determine Your Goals

    The first step in every plan is to determine the end goal. You can have multiple end goals for post-graduation that focus on career, lifestyle, or personal life. To discover your goals, spend time studying yourself and gather your wants and needs for your future. Your initial goals do not have to be detailed and definitive. As you continue your journey in reaching your goals, you may find that they change or become more concrete.

    Create A Schedule

    Creating a schedule can be the most influential process in planning the next step if done properly. Allocate time on a weekly, or even daily, basis to work on reaching your goals. To make your schedule efficient and realistic, set working times and deadlines for small goals that will collectively assist you in reaching your ultimate end goal. The most important aspect of a schedule is consistency. Practicing consistency will allow you to reach goals at a quicker and more predictable pace.

    Don’t Do It Alone

    In addition, I recommend that you do this process with the help of your community and resources. Finding a mentor or taking advantage of your campus career center can assist you in planning your next step. These resources can provide guidance in making decisions, networking opportunities, and additional methodologies. Utilizing the people around you can have a large impact on reaching your goals and on the direction of them.

    In conclusion, planning your next step takes time and resources, so it is beneficial to follow a strategy when taking on this challenge. Any student or graduate can use this strategy to advance themselves in reaching their desired goals, including you. Now that you have read this blog, you can feel confident in planning the future that you have ahead of you.

    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! 

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    The proper way to email your professor (or anyone on campus)

    Marissa Atilano

    As students begin college, a new chapter of adventures, discoveries, and experiences begins. They have the ability to develop relationships with many different people, including both peers and professors. In recent times, digital communication has become more important than ever before. Here are a few items to consider when establishing a professional and respectful line of communication with someone.

    Utilize Accessible Resources

    Anyone who has stepped foot on a college campus (or logged into a virtual class) has likely heard the phrase “check the syllabus”. It is important to refer to your accessible resources before emailing a professor directly. Often, the question can be answered by reading through a rubric, asking a friend, or reaching out to a teaching assistant. If this is the case, take advantage of these alternative methods before directly contacting your professor. Like many of us, professors have busy schedules and an overwhelming amount of emails to read. By using available resources, it saves both you and your professor valuable time.

    Crafting an Email

    If using available resources does not suffice, it may be necessary to contact professors directly. Professors expect professionalism in conversations and proper email etiquette from students. In all emails, it is important to include a proper greeting such as “Good morning”, “Dear Professor/ Dr.”, or even “Hello Professor/Dr.” to create a respectful relationship with the recipient. Be sure to use the proper title and the correct spellings of their name. Next, include your full name and a reference to how they know you. This can be the class session you are in, the organization they sponsor, or the conference where you met.

    To begin the body of the email, clearly state your question or reason for contacting them. After this, explain the action you are looking for as a result of the email. Some examples include: asking for a response to your question, requesting an appointment, or expecting an adjustment on a class assignment. Finally, include an appropriate signature which contains an expression of gratitude, your name, title, and contact information. Always be sure to include a subject and verify the email address before sending.

    Building a Relationship

    Contacting professors can be nerve-wracking to a student. The dynamic and expectations greatly differ from those in high school, so it is important to remain respectful and professional when contacting anyone on campus. Writing an email can be a great way to engage with your professor outside of class. Building a relationship beyond the classroom can lead to great connections and opportunities, like research positions or internships.

    In times where face to face conversation can be limited, digital communication is a great way to continue expanding your network.


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    Tips for Students Doubting Their Major

    Marissa Atilano

    As a freshman, you had your first taste of life as a college student last semester. The semester included attending lectures, joining organizations around campus, and getting a better understanding of your major. Whether or not you have officially declared your major, you may find yourself considering another route. Perhaps political science isn’t what you expected or you miss the passion that you had for journalism. As a freshman, you may think that you should have your life all figured out, but that’s definitely not the case. As the spring semester begins, it is important to look at all your options as a student. This blog will give you three tips on what to do if you begin doubting your field of study. These tips can help reassure you that you made the right choice or allow you to have the confidence to switch majors and try something new.