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  • An orange rectangle with the text: ‘Thanksgiving Dishes That Bring Back the Spark’ alongside a photo of a layered dessert dish in a large glass bowl.

    Fresh Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Meal

    Saige O’Rourke

    Many families’ Thanksgiving menus feature the same thing every year: turkey, potatoes, mac & cheese, green bean casserole, and stuffing. Right? Not in my house. Every year my Aunt Megan creates a new dish or adds a twist to make something different. With such a passion for food, she does this to keep the spark and excitement alive. These are my top 3 dishes that Megan has cooked for our family which might inspire yours for the future.


    To hold off the hungry family, maple green beans in a bacon bundle were provided as an appetizer. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of green beans, but I continued to fill my plate with these bites. They acted as a perfect bite size snack that could be made any day and encouraged the entire guest list to indulge.

    Main Side

    As a main course side, white cheddar rosemary garlic mashed potatoes were created. Mashed potatoes are a staple Thanksgiving side item, but adding extras caught everyone’s eye. This dish was filling and tasty, yet it did not take away from the natural goodness of mashed potatoes. Instead, this dish enhanced the already perfect side and grew the tables' excitement for what was to come next.


    To close out the meal, Megan produced a pound cake trifle with brown butter crème anglaise topped with berries and whipped cream. Naturally, this was my favorite dish served for the entire meal, and it is pictured above. This dish was like something I had never seen before, and it was layered inside of a large bowl to spread the flavor. This dessert was airy, light, and healthy; it supplied necessary comfort to the family preparing for their food comas.

    Every year we are all excited to see what Megan plans to bring, and her thoughts are usually a surprise to all including herself. She uses her experience, the internet, and other restaurants to inspire her dishes. That said, I encourage you to try creating a new dish for your Thanksgiving dinner! Although deliciousness is preferred, it is not needed! Take the risk, experiment in the kitchen, and bring something new to your Thanksgiving table.

    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 computer graphic featuring three icons on a pink background – a school building, a location icon, and a set of keys.

    Five Things to Know Before Living Off-Campus

    Saige O’Rourke

    Living off-campus compared to on-campus housing has been an extremely unique experience. When living on-campus, you walk almost everywhere, and if it isn’t within walking distance then you question whether it is worth visiting. Living off-campus you drive EVERYWHERE, but the opportunities are ENDLESS; you now live in a completely different city on your own with so much freedom at your disposal. Here are 5 things I wish someone would have told me before living off-campus.

    Wider Radius of Exploration

    Starting out, you don’t need to go to campus for everything known to man. Although this is what you’re used to, there are other areas to visit or shop in besides the ones that are supplied for on-campus students. You are used to living on campus, and more than likely you haven’t explored what’s available in the area. Students are introduced to a sanctuary inside of a big city, so living off-campus gives you the ability to EXPLORE. I promise you there are other spots to study around town besides the library, find them!

    Roommates Don’t Have to Be Your BFF

    Finding people to live with can be stressful, but it’s important to know that you don’t need to be best friends with your roommates. At the end of the day, everyone just needs a place to lay their head at night. Although living with people you are already friends with makes the process easier, it isn’t necessary! We all have our own lives, and living with people you aren’t entirely acquainted with allows you to preserve your alone time.

    Take Advantage of Easier Parking

    Now that parking isn’t an issue, I recommend that you take your weekends to explore the city! There are beautiful places in all areas that the world offers us, and they are just a Google search away. Take the extra time you might have in your schedule and learn about where you live. You might find a new awesome spot to spend your time instead of a campus bench.

    Don’t Forget about Gas Money

    Although parking isn’t a worry anymore, gas will be. You will be driving a lot more regularly than you did when you lived on-campus. When I lived on-campus, I never used my car unless I was going home, so gas wasn’t as much of an issue. Now, gas is back to haunt my bank account. Get used to filling your tank more but enjoy the fact that you have the freedom to explore.

    Friendships Take More Effort

    This one is often overlooked, but after you don’t live on-campus anymore you need to make more of an effort with your friends. Since your friends are no longer just down the hall or a 5-minute walk across campus, plans need to be made and efforts need to be shown. These people are the most important part of college! Don’t take them for granted and make it a point to have fun.

    Living on and off campus are both vital parts of the college experience. All of it does not have to be entirely overwhelming. Make note of these tips and take a deep breath before freaking out about a new living experience! Enjoy these moments!

    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 computer generated graphic with a red background and three symbols: a plate of food, a to-do list, and a dumbbell.

    Three Ways to Have a More Productive Day

    Saige O’Rourke

    As a college student fresh on your own, it’s difficult to learn how to get things done without the structure that high school provided. Since we are all on different class schedules and learning different things, not everything works the same for each student. With the culture shock that college comes with, here are three things I have learned that work for me to be productive throughout my days at the University of Tennessee.

    Start With Breakfast

    I always start my school days with a good breakfast that I can look forward to. I try to keep this item consistent to limit the stress of “what am I going to eat?” This item becomes something I get excited about when I wake up in the morning and provides me with motivation to get out of bed. Usually, I’ll make waffles or drink a protein shake; these are quick items that keep me moving and take little amounts of time to make.

    Tackle Your To-Do List After Class

    I have morning classes, so usually when I have a chance to sit down after class, I plan the rest of my day. In my plan, I will create two different lists detailing what must be completed and what I would like to complete. I do this after class because there isn’t anything I can finish during class that needs to be done throughout the day, so to avoid added stress I wait to create a list. This relieves a lot of my anxiety throughout the day as I cross off things, and it promotes productivity as I know exactly what I need to carry out.

    Get Some Exercise

    Either at the middle or end of my day, I will work out. Working out is so beneficial for your brain and your body. It is a good chance to step away from your computer and the overloading information to spend time with yourself. Any kind of workout is beneficial, but I personally hit the gym for about an hour. Working out makes me extremely productive because I completed work for school and for myself.

    Productivity isn’t based on how much you get done, but how accomplished you feel. You can complete 10 different assignments, but still feel like you didn’t do anything. Making lists, taking breaks, and rewarding yourself with a satisfying meal can help produce these feelings of productivity. Use these actions or brainstorm your own ideas of what you can start to incorporate in your routine. Waking up is an accomplishment, especially in college! Always make an excuse to celebrate!

    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 with a blue background and 3 images related to nursing: a stethoscope, a nurse’s cap and clipboard, and a medical jacket.

    Graduation Gifts: Nurse’s Edition

    Saige O’Rourke

    With a nursing major roommate, I cannot count the number of times I have heard how expensive the profession is. Schooling in itself is a pricey commitment, but that is just the beginning. On a whim, I decided to look further into what a nursing major might enjoy receiving as a graduation gift and how much I should start to save. After talking with my roommate, I can confirm that a new stethoscope, scrubs, badge reels, pens, and a customized zip-up jacket with credentials are all much-needed wants. Although these items might seem either simple, known, or confusing to understand, there is a method to the madness of a Nursing student’s wish-list.

    New Stethoscope

    $350. That is the highest amount paid on a select website for a Littman’s Stethoscope without counting shipping and taxes. With a starting price of $100 for a necessity, I personally would not want to add that to my bank statement straight out of college. This product, however, is used daily by all nurses & nursing students. If you have ever visited a doctor’s office, it is common knowledge of how important these are in their daily practices. Naturally, this would be the perfect starter gift for a fresh out of college nurse.

    New Scrubs

    After a 12-hour shift, the last thing my roommate wants to do is laundry. Scrubs are a nurse’s uniform and working with sick patients for a long period of time daily can cause them to feel disheveled after a long day. Avoiding the inconvenience of either wearing dirty scrubs or losing sleep over a washer cycle, nurses need to fill their closet with multiple sets of scrubs.

    Badge Reels and Pens

    Hospitals are meant to be secure as lives are on the line. Scanning into rooms, departments, and time clocks are a part of the daily routine. To make this process easier, nurses attach badge reels to their identification then attach this to their scrubs; this also makes their uniform feel more personalized and complete in the autonomous field they work in. Alongside this, filling out charts is a valid part of taking care of patients. We can all attest to the annoyance of bad pens and the importance of investing in good ones. Both of these items may seem very simple, but they are very necessary in the daily activities of those in this profession.

    They Need to Dress the Part

    A customized zip-up jacket may seem unnecessary, but would you say the same about a customized lab coat for a doctor? Regardless of the brand of choice, nurses are able to wear jackets or hoodies while on the clock. Sometimes, their badges may be out of sight which makes it important to have another piece of clothing to identify who they are in a hall full of the same color.

    Whether your budget starts at $5 or extends to $400, there is always a gift a new nurse could use. Personally, I will need to start saving now to afford that customized zip-up jacket, but maybe someone else can pitch in for the stethoscope!

    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!