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

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  • A group of college women standing in front of a Happy Galentine’s banner. Each is holding a bouquet of flowers.

    The Ultimate College Galentine’s Celebration

    Peyton Maria

    Being single in college can be hard, but Valentine’s is especially challenging. Fortunately, many years ago, the girls took back the holiday and rebranded it as Galentine’s Day: a day to celebrate all your best girlfriends. As a fellow single girl, here are some of my top tips for an amazing Galentine’s celebration for college girls and their best friends.

    The Attire

    Pinterest is the breeding ground for the perfect Galentine’s celebration, and the perfect place to find your Galentine's event outfit. Some of my top recommendations are a fun sundress, a cute white and pink cardigan with jeans, or any heart print top with a cute skirt. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with some red or pink!

    The Food

    If you choose to host your Galentine’s event, there are four main foods that every Galentine’s celebration needs. The first big one is an extravagant charcuterie board. Charcuterie is the definition of girl dinner, and when celebrating Galentine's Day, it is a necessity. The key things to include on the board are fancy cheeses, crackers, dips (such as hummus or spinach dip), chocolate covered almonds, veggies, deli meats, and dried fruit. One of my favorite places to get stuff for charcuterie is Trader Joes. They are stock full of cheap and delicious charcuterie items that won’t break your bank.

    The next food you absolutely need for your Galentine’s event is drinks. My top picks are anything that would be red or pink, such as Shirley Temples, pink lemonade, etc. Also, anything sparkly, such as Martinelli’s or Bubbly water.

    Third, you need a main dish. My top choice for this is pizza. It’s easy and loved by many, but also can be dressed up to be fancy. Also, this can be turned into an activity! Making homemade pizza is fun, engaging, and a way for everyone to get their own personalization in toppings.

    Fourth and finally, a sweet treat is necessary for the perfect Galentine’s celebration. The obvious choices are heart shaped cakes or chocolate covered strawberries, but other great options are fondue or cookies. My most recent obsession is Oreo truffles, which if covered in some heart sprinkles could be deemed as festive. No matter what sweet treat you decide, it is a vital piece that could make or break your Galentine's Day food spread.

    The Activities/Location

    Location and activities are huge when it comes to planning your dream Galentine’s celebration.

    Some fun activities you can have at your party are painting tote bags/wine glasses, cooking your main courses together, making friendship bracelets, or planning fun games such as We’re Not Really Strangers.

    Location wise, you really cannot go wrong, and your biggest deciding factor should be the weather. My favorite is a picnic, which is such an aesthetic way to celebrate if the weather allows. Some other options are your own home/apartment or a restaurant/brunch place, if you don’t feel like hosting.

    Regardless of what activity you choose, spending time with your girls will be the best part of your Galentine’s Day. Take back what Valentine’s Day means, grab your best girlfriends, and celebrate sisterhood and singleness as we should every 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! 

     

  • A man and a woman walking on a city sidewalk in Austin, Texas.

    4 Top Spring Break Destinations

    Peyton Maria

    Spring break is arguably one of the most sacred weeks in the spring semester in the eyes of college students. No matter how many exams you have afterwards, spring break is a week meant to fully relax and have fun with friends. As a freshman, I made the mistake of returning to my hometown for spring break and spent countless hours scrolling through beach posts and BeReals taken in big cities. So, to help others avoid this problem, I have curated a list of the top choices for spring break, as well as activities you don’t want to miss for each location!

    Florida

    A classic choice for spring break for many is a trip down to the beaches of Florida. If you go to school in the south like I do, this is a hot spot for spring breakers. However, there are many options when it comes to Florida for spring break. Daytona, for example, is a beach where you will find many college students partying from schools across the nation. There is also Main Street pier, which allows for fun and shopping in the midst of sand volleyball games and swimming in the ocean. However, if you’re looking for more of a “Pinterest worthy” Florida break, I would suggest Seaside. A beach where you are destined to find lots of families, but one where you can walk through the cutest beach towns in addition to reading a book on the sand. And if tourism is your key interest, you can never go wrong with Orlando or Miami.

    Nashville

    Home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, you will never be bored on your spring break trip to Nashville. With themed Air BnBs and music bars lining Broadway Street, you can spend a full week exploring through the town, listening to upcoming artists and walking through museums. Make sure you take a trip to the Grand Ole Opry and the Gaylord, the top tourist attractions, but don’t miss out on even the smallest music halls that line downtown Nashville. You never know when the next Taylor Swift will be performing in one of those.

    Cruise

    Although a cruise may seem like a pricier option for spring break, it actually can end up saving you money in the long run. With this all-inclusive experience, you can spend all the required money prior to the trip and focus on relaxing instead of keeping a budget during your week of fun. The greatest thing about cruises are all the different ports you can visit. Your days can be spent exploring Mayan ruins, dogsledding in Alaska, or zip lining through the forests of Honduras. While on the ship, there are so many activities to choose from, such as lounging by the pool, sports activities, trivia, and more. Some ships even have laser tag, go karts, and rock walls. Cruising is by far one of the most relaxing while adventurous choices for your spring break plans.

    Disneyland/Disneyworld

    The most magical place on earth isn’t just for kids! Although it may seem like a different choice, going to Disney for spring break can be one of the most child-like fun weeks you’ve had in a while. Spend your days riding rides, meeting characters, and walking through the magical parks. Maybe even start reviewing the foods offered at the park for future writing material. End your days with parades, firework shows, churros, and the reminder that sometimes being a kid again with your best friends is the best way you could spend spring break.

    Overall, you cannot go wrong with what you choose for your spring break destination. Set a budget, have a Powerpoint night, and start planning now for a relaxing and fun week with some of your best college friends. Even a day trip to a local city will create memories that will last long beyond your college years.

    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 group of 10 college women outside in front of some green trees and brush.

    Advice for Spring Recruitment Week

    Peyton Maria

    As soon as winter break comes to a close, some college students will be traveling back to campus in order to join a Greek life organization. Whether you’re a freshman girl who has been waiting for rush week all semester, or a junior guy looking to rush to meet a good group of friends, the entire rush process can be a stressful one.

    To calm some nerves, I have compiled some advice about the process from my friends at colleges all across the US. I hope you find it helpful as you go through this stressful, but genuinely fun and rewarding experience!

    Xavier Kretsinger-Walters - James Madison University
    “Sounds obvious, but be yourself. Chances are, if you change up your personality just to fit in or get a bid, you'll end up in an organization that you won't feel connected to. Find a Greek organization with similar personalities where you see yourself making good connections and friendships.”

    Alivia Clay - Texas Christian University
    “I would say to follow your gut. I felt most at home at a sorority that wasn't considered a top house and because of everyone else's opinions I ended up choosing the "better sorority" that hasn't been a great fit. Sometimes the houses that are the least popular have the most fun and where you'll find the most friends. Just follow your heart <3 Good luck!”

    AJ Vazquez - Indiana University Indianapolis
    “I would say to go with the group of people that you best fit with and that you feel you can be yourself. A Greek organization is meant to better young men and women and it’s key to find an organization that feels like a home away from home. I also encourage those interested in Greek life to rush all chapters they can and not focus on the number of members or anything they’ve heard but to judge based on their personal experience and perspective.”

    Student - University of Florida
    “Just be yourself and don’t be scared to answer any questions! They just want to get to know you for who you are!”

    Cassidy Chinn - University of Georgia
    “Always be authentic to who you are! The rush process can be hyped up and super stressful, but you really do find where you are meant to be. Greek life is great, and you really do get out what you put into it!”

    Jasmine Ferrante - University of Maine
    “I would say to always be yourself and not change who you are! You will end up in the right chapter for you and thrive in the chapter.”

    Victoria Kaplan - UC Berkeley
    “Rush week can be incredibly exhausting, so make sure you take time for yourself to properly recharge and be the best version of yourself. While you may think you absolutely need to be in a certain house, at the end of the day the people you click with make the best friends!

    Michelle Qi - Florida State University
    “Be open minded because you will be happy where you end up and you WILL find your perfect family! It can feel overwhelming at times but stay strong and know that there is always a house for you!!”

    Jen Fiengo - Coastal Carolina University
    “I personally went through spring recruitment. If you don’t walk into the room and feel comfortable, that sorority is not for you. You need to go somewhere that feels like home, and you will know it when you feel it.”

    To sum all that up, the whole point of the process is to find your home and a group of people you want to spend college with. Good luck, trust the process, don’t stress, and you will find your people in the end!

    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 selfie with seven college students outside in front of holiday lights. They are dressed for cold weather in coats and knit hats.

    Five Holiday Hacks for College Students

    Peyton Maria

    Navigating the holiday season as a college student can feel weird. Suddenly your gifts are all dorm room essentials. Every family member wants to know in depth details about your last semester and judge you for your major or sorority choices. Not to mention that you spent everything you made that semester on books for spring, and you realized you didn't even buy gifts for your parents yet.

    With this crazy season just a week after finals, here are five holiday hacks for college students:

    Tip #1: Shop Black Friday Deals

    The term “broke college student” never feels more real than when it comes to buying gifts for Christmas. The easiest way to avoid spending your student loans on gifts for your family is to shop early, and shop sales. There are also sales throughout the fall semester that are important to take advantage of. Also, the sooner you know what you’re going to buy, the more you can spread out your spending.

    Tip #2: Know the Answers to Common Questions

    The first time you go home, you will feel like a broken record, answering every question about school and friends over and over again. To relieve a little bit of major frustration from this, think of some of the answers ahead of time. This way, you have clear answers to all of the main questions instead of dragging on through boring conversations.

    Tip #3: Canvas Free Christmas

    As tempting as it is to spend your break stressing and planning for the next semester, make sure none of it seeps into your time on break. The whole point of winter break is to do just that: take a break! Spend time with family, sleep in, hang out with hometown friends. Whatever you do, don’t spend your entire break stressing about the semester to come.

    Tip #4: Make your Christmas List

    Since the beginning of my freshman year, I have had a running “wishlist” in my Google drive that I can share with my family members who are looking for gift ideas for me. Every time I see something I want or need that I cannot afford, I add it to my wishlist. This way, I’m being more financially smart during the school year, and Christmas gifts aren’t just random things that won’t help me survive the next semester.

    Tip #5: Do All the “Kid” Stuff

    Finally, take a little time to be a kid again. Bake cookies for Santa, make gingerbread houses, go look at Christmas lights, go ice skating, etc. Don’t let the stress of college and the upcoming semester cause you to miss out on all the things you love about the holiday season.

    All in all, Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration, not stress. With these five tips, I hope your college Christmas feels a little like you are seven years old again.

    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 screenshot of a Google Sheet listing college expenses and ‘Help Me!!” at the end of the list.

    Five Money Management Tips for College Students

    Peyton Maria

    Budgeting in college can be very hard. With the world at your fingertips, new events every day, and the convenience of fast food, saving money in college almost feels impossible. However, there is hope. With a few quick lifestyle changes, you can easily go from pinching pennies to having enough savings to survive when you graduate.

    Keep Track of Your Spending

    Some bank apps make it really easy to do this, but even if you just need an excel sheet, keeping track of the money you’re spending can be a gamechanger. When you are constantly writing down what you're spending, it causes you to be more cautious of how much you are spending monthly. Suddenly, a $7 coffee every other day doesn’t seem as tempting, and eating in allows you to spend more money in the long run-on things/experiences that will mean more to you than the late-night Canes run. Pick and choose what’s more important and keep track of what your weekend meals add up to.

    Set A STRICT Budget

    And no, this doesn’t mean transferring money out of your savings every time your monthly budget runs dry. In order to save money in college, you have to create a budget and stick to it. My rule of thumb is 40% savings, 60% checking, then dividing that up into gas, groceries, bills, wants, and needs. The important thing is sticking to what you have set at the beginning of the month and not going over it. When you go over, you are already setting yourself up for a bad month to follow. When you go under, you’re able to spend more money where you want to in the coming months.

    Be Intentional

    It is so easy to spend money when you aren’t thinking about it. Small purchases for $5 or $10 can seem like nothing, but then all of a sudden you’ve spent $100 in one weekend, and you didn’t actually enjoy most of it. It’s so important to spend intentionally, buying things only when you need or have money to. Window shopping always turns into real shopping, and “looking around” is always too tempting. It’s easier to just not go to the mall than to convince yourself not to spend the money once you’re there.

    Take advantage of FREE

    People know college kids are struggling. Whenever there’s an event on your campus with free food, take advantage! Eat at the dining hall when you have passed your allotted amount for eating out this month. The food might be less tempting than your favorite take-out place, but this is the one time in your life you will have access to free and made meals, so save that money and suffer through it! Dining hall pizza is always better than being broke.

    Give Yourself Grace

    My final tip is to give yourself grace when you don’t follow all of this perfectly. We are all struggling with finances, and money seems to never be enough, and it’s ok to have a little less in your checking account than you’d prefer. This is also a time where you can fully focus on being a student with few responsibilities. Go out with friends, make memories, and don’t be so hard on yourself when it comes to your money spending. Maybe just opt for the cheaper restaurants every so often and go thrifting for outfits you’re only going to wear once anyways. That dress is so cute for a Taylor Swift concert but won’t be in your calculus class.

    Overall, college is hard enough, and not having enough money to feel comfortable with your spending makes it even harder. Being intentional, limiting your spending, and keeping track of it will make living in college on a small budget easier. But remember that you won’t always do this exactly how you want, and that’s okay. You are doing hard things, and you should celebrate that instead of beating yourself up for spending a little too much on Celsius. Do your best and check your bank account often, and you’ll be okay.

    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!