Students blog

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

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  • A computer graphic with the words ‘coping with growth’ over the image of a person meditating.

    Coping with Growth

    Molly McKenna

    How to cope with growth? The process looks different for every individual. Along with being a student ambassador for the University of Miami, I have had the privilege of being involved in various campus extracurriculars, one of which has had a lasting impact on my college experience – COPE, which stands for Counseling Outreach Peer Educators. COPE is a dedicated group of students who serve as the bridge between the student body and the university’s counseling center. Over my college career, I have become even more involved in COPE and currently hold the position of Public Relations Chair on its executive board. In this role, I am responsible for fostering the growth and professional development of our members. This journey has reinforced my belief in the vital link between mental health and personal growth.

    Mental health is a critical aspect of our overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked. In the hustle and bustle of college life, we frequently neglect our mental health while focusing on academics, extracurricular activities, and our social lives. The consequences of this neglect affect not only academic performance but also the overall quality of life.

    But how does mental health tie into personal growth, especially in a university setting? The answer lies in the fact that personal growth is made of not only the gain of knowledge but also the development of mental resilience, emotional intelligence, and coping mechanisms. As students, we are constantly exposed to new experiences, challenges, and uncertainties, all of which contribute to our growth both physically and mentally.

    Within the University of Miami, COPE is a source of compassion, understanding, and support in an academic world that can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is a testament to our institution's commitment to the well-being of its students. COPE's peer educators are not just students; we are empathetic listeners, mentors, and friends who actively work to destigmatize mental health discussions. We host tablings, facilitate presentations and collaborations, and provide a safe space for students to express their concerns and seek guidance. COPE empowers individuals to prioritize their mental health, develop essential coping skills, and cultivate emotional resilience. As a result, COPE contributes not only to the mental well-being of our campus community but also to our collective growth, creating a culture where personal development and self-care are celebrated and prioritized.

    College is a time of exploration, discovery, and learning to be independent. We are faced with diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas, which can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's during these moments of uncertainty that our mental health plays a pivotal role. Learning how to cope with stress, manage our emotions, and seek support when needed are invaluable skills that contribute to our growth as individuals.

    As we continue to develop and discover what the future may hold, it's essential to prioritize our mental health. The skills we acquire to cope with growth and change will serve us well beyond our college years. Whether it's preparing for a career, pursuing further education, or simply facing life's uncertainties, a strong foundation in mental well-being will be our greatest asset.

    In the midst of these challenges, I've embraced a personal motto: "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." This motto has been my guiding light throughout my college journey. It's a reminder that true growth often occurs outside our comfort zones. When we step into the unknown, face our fears, and tackle the unfamiliar, we are actively shaping our future selves. With that, as I reflect on my summer internship in a new city, I realize that "being comfortable with being uncomfortable" was the catalyst for my growth. It's a mindset that has propelled me forward, encouraging me to take risks, explore the unknown, and seize opportunities for personal and professional development.

    This phrase has become more than just words; it's a way of life. It's a reminder that, to truly grow and evolve, we must embrace discomfort as a sign of progress and a path to becoming the best version of ourselves. My summer internship in a new environment away from my hometown was a testament to the power of this principle, and I look forward to applying it in all my future endeavors, knowing that every step outside my comfort zone is a step toward personal and professional growth.

    In conclusion, "Coping with Growth" takes on a multifaceted meaning in college life. It reminds me of not only the personal development and mental health connection but also the need to navigate independence, pursue future goals, and deal with the emotions of living in new environments. By embracing the motto "Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable," we can confidently tackle the challenges that come our way and emerge from these experiences as stronger, more resilient individuals, ready to take on the world beyond our university's walls.

    As we continue to shape our future, let's remember that personal growth is a journey, and prioritizing our mental health ensures we're well-prepared for whatever lies ahead. In the face of independence, career aspirations, and change of environments, we can thrive and truly embrace the growth that comes with our experiences now as well as in the future.

    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 graphic featuring a person wearing an AR headset alongside lines resembling computer circuits.

    The Evolving World of Technology

    Molly McKenna

    Never did I think as a ten-year-old that my twenty-year-old self would have the opportunity to work as a software engineer developing new and upcoming technologies in alternate realms… but here I am! Technology is a fast-growing world and continues to push boundaries day by day, and the rise of artificial intelligence and the metaverse have only added to that growth. As a software developer on the University of Miami’s Information Technology XR Garage Innovate Team, my eyes have been opened to the developments of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) toolsets. Utilizing various software for development, the Magic Leap headsets and Microsoft’s HoloLens allow the team’s innovations to become reality!

    Grasping the Metaverse

    Whether it’s the latest phone, the newest headset, an advanced television setup, or progressive discoveries in the metaverse, technological advancements are expanding every day. The need to keep up with changes is inevitable. Times are different than a century ago – even a decade ago! It seems impossible to walk out of your house without your cellphone attached to your hip. How will someone contact me? How will I know what time it is? How will I know what’s next on my agenda? Technology is the control center for the world we are living in today.

    Expanding beyond just the latest smartphone or electronic watch, the rise of the metaverse has made significant impact in new inventions. Realms including virtual, augmented, and mixed realities have been explored and used in upcoming developments in various aspects of companies. People continue to be fascinated with the idea of creating and experiencing this out-of-body innovation through an electronic headset, and luckily, I have the opportunity to work with and be immersed in this emerging world of technology.

    Hands On Experience

    As my interest in technology has grown, I have taken advantage of opportunities on my college campus to learn more. In February of 2022, I was introduced to a department known as XR Garage as a part of the University of Miami IT Innovate Team. Under the leadership of our director is a group of students who work as programmers, project managers, designers, and apprentices. The hiring process includes a one-on-one interview with our director to discuss our experience and goals for our careers. Once determined if a good fit for the team, we are then accepted and jump right into a series of tutorials, demos, and assessments for the software being used.

    I was eager for the learning process of new programs I have never used before including Unity, Magic Leap, Plastic SCM, Jira, and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. After months of completing the tutorials as an apprentice, I advanced to a position as a full stack XR engineer where I now contribute to extended reality projects. Through our team’s agile workflow, I have learned to work with other developers and creative members to brainstorm new components to projects that will allow the user to experience this metaverse through different lenses.

    Taking Advantage of Every Opportunity

    I have been fortunate enough to grow up with parents and other role models who have shown me what hard work looks like, and I have always strived to push myself to my fullest potential in all aspects of my life. When it comes to my experience as a college student, I know I am a dedicated hard worker through my academics, extracurriculars, and my goals towards my future career. I came into college telling myself to take advantage of all the opportunities available to me as a student. Through my time here at the University of Miami so far, I can proudly say I am doing just that. Whether it’s a hired position as a tour guide, an engineer in the concert halls, or a programmer on the IT Innovate Team, I always aspire to learn more and gain new perspectives. An integral part of my experiences is my collaboration with other passion-driven individuals. Working with others is such a significant part of learning because every person comes from different experiences.

    At the end of the day, technology is and always will be evolving. Communication is key and communication is supported through this new technology. Just as technology is growing, so should we. Through my experience with my university’s IT team, my passion for getting involved and enhancing my personal growth is constantly put into action.

    Say “yes” to the opportunities in front of you. You never know – our evolving world and its technological advancements just might allow you to discover something new about yourself!

    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 young female college student sits at a table studying surrounded by her notes, a laptop, and a water bottle.

    Reduce Distractions to Improve Your Study Sessions

    Molly McKenna

    Do you ever have a challenging time studying? Do you often find yourself getting distracted and losing focus? Guess what... we have all been there. Studying can be a tedious task, especially when you are not prepared. Simple changes to your routine could tremendously help with your ability to get work done in the most efficient way. Ranging from finding the perfect spot to having the perfect materials, I am here to provide you with study tips and tricks that have motivated me to complete assignments and to properly conquer my studying requirements.

    Step One: Find A Spot That Is Secluded from Noise and Distractions

    I am one to get distracted very easily, but one of the best ways for me to stay focused is to set up my workspace on a quiet floor in the library or study lounge in my living complex. Another key component to feeling prepared to work is having a spacious workspace. When my area is cluttered with extra papers and junk, I feel overwhelmed. Attempting to eliminate any unnecessary clutter from your space and allowing yourself to dissociate from others during your studying time will help conquer that common overwhelmed feeling. If surrounded by friends, I will usually not complete as much as I originally hoped to because of distractive conversations. Set small goals and allow yourself to have more breaks after achieving each goal and not become overwhelmed by the total amount of assignments and studying requirements on your plate.

    Step Two: Put Your Phone Away (Or At Least Silenced)

    Technology is a huge cause of distraction nowadays. Although it can commonly be used as a tool in work and studying assignments, staying away from social media and other extracurriculars is such an important key to staying on task. Most are probably guilty of procrastinating an assignment and when finally getting to that assignment, only wanting to scroll through their latest feed. I know I have been there! Having your electronic device next to you with messages popping up is quite a tempting interruption. To maximize the potential of your studying and staying on task, I suggest silence your phone and put it out of sight at least for a set amount of time. Start with 20 minutes and continue to increase the time interval– no phone and no distractions. After those 20 minutes, allow yourself to have a 3-minute break. This should lower the chances of wanting to grab that phone constantly and will make getting work done more efficient.

    Step Three: Be Prepared with The Necessary Materials.

    Before sitting down to get to work, I suggest looking over each task to see what materials you will need. Do you need to print papers out? Are highlighters going to be a useful tool for studying purposes? When studying, I like to have notes printed and separated by class. I always utilize highlighters to help me stay organized with material. If not on paper, I usually will have my laptop and use the tools built into the program my notes are on. Aside from studying materials, I suggest having water and a light snack next to you to prevent you from having to get up and become distracted. Being prepared will already have you feeling accomplished before even starting your assignments.

    With these tips and tricks in mind, you will be set to manage your assignment and studying goals. Simple adjustments to your work habits and methods of achieving your academic tasks will have you prepared to get to work in the most efficient environment.

    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!