Students blog

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

Explore posts in other areas.

PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

  • A computer generated graphic with 2 people sitting at a table. They are talking, indicated by the speech bubbles by each one.

    The Benefits of Counseling for College Students

    Saige O’Rourke

    College life can be stressful. We as students are thrown into independence with sometimes minimal guidance while also juggling work and heavy course loads. I have been attending therapy since I was in early elementary school, and I will never fail to recommend someone to begin seeing someone. There is a large stigma against going to therapy, specifically that your problems aren’t big enough or there must be something wrong with you. Despite what some may say, going to therapy during college can be extremely beneficial and allows you to grow not only as a student, but also as a person.

    Unbiased Listener

    Going to therapy gives you someone to talk to without a bias on the situation. The adult world can be difficult to navigate, and there are going to be instances when you doubt yourself or your decisions. Many students seek advice from their friends or parents, and they are met with subjective opinions rather than advice. Your counselor, on the other hand, is there to listen and supply advice (if wanted), but they are also unbiased towards your life. This creates a pure feedback system that you can use moving forward.

    Manage Mental Health

    Alongside unbiased conversations, counselors supply an outlet to relieve stress and anxiety. All college students can agree that these times are some of the most stressful ones we will ever experience. Depression and anxiety have been quite common in our generation as of recently. Counselors are licensed professionals meant to help navigate and combat these troubling waters; many students are under the impression that they are alone or overreacting to their situation prior to visiting a counselor. Having an outlet outside of your household helps relieve the weights on many shoulders while it also supplies other information into daily activities to avoid stress.

    Feel your Feelings

    Everyone’s therapy experiences will be different, which is a good thing. I go to therapy to talk to someone about my week and get things off my chest that I may not feel comfortable sharing with family or friends. Therapy has enhanced my communication skills as well as my problem-solving skills. I’ve learned panic is normal, but not necessary, and it is okay to feel your feelings because they are valid!

    No one is broken for wanting to seek out help from a counselor. I will forever be grateful that I made the decision to begin talking to someone at an early age, and it is never too late to start. Just because we are thrown into independence does not mean we have to do it alone!

    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 3 photos with outdoor vistas: a waterfall, a mountain top view, and a ski slope.

    Get Outside on Earth Day and Every Day!

    Saige O’Rourke

    Going to the University of Tennessee, I am constantly reminded of how beautiful my campus is and why it’s called “Rocky Top,” but we all tend to forget the natural beauty of the world. As college students, we are subject to submerging our heads into our laptops to meet deadlines and study for important tests; however, college students agree to set the electronics down and go outside for Earth Day every year. With many opportunities at my disposal, I tend to go outside very often. There are 3 places that have made it to the top of my list, but every day outside reminds me why this act is important.

    Ozone Falls in Rockwood, Tennessee

    Last year for Earth Day, my roommate & I visited Ozone Falls in Rockwood, Tennessee. This destination has a large waterfall accompanied by a large swimming hole at the bottom. When we arrived, we were expecting a long hike, but to our surprise this gem was easily accessible. The sight itself was breathtaking, but the freezing water of the swimming hole continued that feeling.

    Yonah Mountain, Georgia

    In the fall, I traveled down to the Georgia area and hiked Yonah Mountain with a friend. The hike itself was taxing, but the view at the top was so rewarding. It reminded me that the hard things don’t come easy, and there are so many hidden gems that people are unaware of because of the demanding work it takes.

    Pagosa Springs, Colorado

    More recently, I made my way across the country to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. My family & I visited the Wolf Creek Ski Resort which happened to be a hidden snow gem with some of the most snow in the state. We were all able to enjoy awesome powder every day, and I was able to fall without worrying about breaking my arm.

    I have not stopped thinking about these three spots since I visited them, and I will probably be a returning customer. I found myself present in the moment without digging into my phone, and I was able to fully enjoy the views in front of me. Most importantly, these areas have influenced me to explore and find similar places.

    Our Earth is beautiful, and we forget that way too often as we distract ourselves with electronics. There are many separate places to visit in every state and escape from the stressful world we live in. This is your sign to start going outside every day, not just Earth 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 screenshot of the Dynamic Study Modules resources showing what it looks like when the student is Sure and Correct in their answer.

    Dynamic Study Modules: A MyLab feature many take for granted

    Saige O’Rourke

    Many students, including myself, only open up MyLab to complete their homework and cross it off the list. Studying is different for everyone, but we may use textbooks, internet, or flashcards to prepare for a test over the content. Pearson’s MyLab has recently released a new feature called Dynamic Study Modules that incorporates textbooks, concepts, and study tactics similar to flashcards; unfortunately, not a lot of students are aware of what this is or how beneficial it can be!

    How To Use DSM

    Dynamic Study Modules (DSMs) are a feature that provides you a set of questions that you can answer with a variation of “I’m sure,” “I don’t know,” or “I think so.” Depending on how you answer, a dark green, light green, or red circle will appear above the question as you continue. To complete the module, you must obtain a dark green circle above each question to show mastery of the topic. Once completed, you can review the information as much as you need or receive your grade if it’s an assignment.

    Efficient Use of Time

    Many students use flashcards to study for a test, but they waste a lot of valuable time creating these cards. Flashcards are mainly used for repetitions and memorization, but DSMs supply both while also being interactive and conceptual. Instead of memorizing the answers for each flashcard or question, the program builds your critical thinking and conceptual skills of the topics within the textbook. This program saves students hours of preparation, and it is also a better alternative for studying & creating new habits.

    Even though this is a fresh feature added to Pearson, it has already been beneficial to many students like me. Students may not be aware of this opportunity unless they do the searching themselves throughout the platform, so it is often overlooked. It might be good practice as a professor to ensure that students are aware of everything they are offered with the program. This is your sign to take the 5 minutes, explore your resources, and take advantage of the study tools provided to you! Dynamic Study Modules are changing the study game right in front of our eyes, and it is included with the purchase of the platform!

    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 forest green background and 3 images depicting grocery shopping: a basket, grocery bag, and a storefront.

    Grocery Savings Tips for College Students

    Saige O’Rourke

    Coming into college, I did not know how to properly grocery shop. I didn’t understand the concept of creating a list, never shopping hungry, and seeking out store brand items. That said, I wasted a lot of money in my first couple months of college on grocery items. Through my experience, I have finally developed 4 tips of how to save money while in the grocery store.

    Don’t Shop Hungry

    Starting out with a difficult one, you need to avoid shopping while hungry. When you’re hungry, you convince yourself you need everything on the shelves. Your creative food juices are flowing as you tell yourself, “Maybe I could make this,” then the item sits in your cabinet until the end date. You do not need the yellow cake mix, and you are not going to make it sometime this week. Instead, eat a snack or entire meal before you enter the store so that you aren’t shopping for your cravings instead of your needs.

    Make a List

    You need to make a list before you enter the store. If you don’t have an idea of what you need, you’ll most likely walk aimlessly down each aisle wondering what you can fill your fridge with. Instead, making a list allows you to be the student on a mission. You know exactly what you need and why, and you know you don’t need the Twizzler pack that someone left behind because you didn’t add it to your list.

    Buy the Store Brand

    Although there is a stigma against them, you should consider buying store brand items. We are all aware of the idea that the store brand isn’t as good as the name brand, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, I have found myself preferring these brands over others for different items. As an avid cheese lover, I will always choose the Great Value brand shredded parmesan cheese instead of the others. Buying the store brand can save you at least a dollar or two, which if you consider this for half of your list then you’re saving $10-$20.

    Download the Store App

    Lastly, download the store app and sign up for rewards. This tip can go for a lot of different stores or areas outside of the grocery section as well; signing up for your favorite gas station rewards could save you 3 cents off the gallon, which we all know is extremely valuable. Many stores have rewards programs that we avoid because of the promotional emails we receive, but you can unsubscribe to those and still save money. There are many deals provided to customers solely because they created an account. The store apps also supply a map of the location you are in, so you can look up the item & aisle instead of wasting time searching.

    My bank account has been subject to the abuse of a grocery store too many times, and I’m sure yours feels the same way. Take these tips and use them in your next grocery store run! See what kind of difference you’re able to make over the next couple of months!

    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 collage of 3 graphics representing time: a clock, a calendar, and a checkmark.

    Time Management Tips That Have Saved Me in College

    Saige O’Rourke

    College is a stressful time with a ton of opportunities at your disposal. So far in college, I have experienced the “do nothing” era and the “do everything” era. With that, these are time management tips I have learned along the way that have absolutely saved me in college.

    Plan It Out

    The biggest thing I had to learn was to write everything down in my planner and to use google calendar. I use my paper planner for my school assignments and tests, and I make sure to do this at the beginning of the semester to avoid any confusion. Anything that you can find on the syllabus that has a due date should go in this planner! I use google calendar for my personal and professional day to day plans; this gives me a visual of what my day looks like based on the hour. There is a clear difference between the use in both, but this allows me to see what I need to complete scholastically and what commitments I may have for my personal & work life.

    Make A To-Do list

    Alongside using planners, creating a to-do list is necessary! I create a list of what I absolutely need to complete for school that day, and sometimes another list of what I would like to get ahead on. The lists allow me to get a quick grasp of what I have in front of me and what kind of freedom I have in the day. Creating to-do lists also gives you extra satisfaction when you cross your items off.

    Set Boundaries

    The last thing I had to learn about time management was to learn to say ‘no’. There are going to be a lot of times that “FOMO” will get the best of you. If there is a lot on your plate for the day, either work super hard or realize you cannot handle another commitment for the day. There’s always another time for fun; be real with yourself and realize what you can juggle!

    There is always room for improvement with 24 hours in a day. My biggest recommendation is to begin using Google Calendar religiously; understand what assignments you must complete and where your free time lies after other commitments. Try to stay consistent and create habits in your routine; this will allow you to find a lot of loopholes in what you can get accomplished and how fast. Time management isn’t easy but try to implement these tips into your daily life and see if you notice a change!

    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 collage of 3 pictures featuring the blog author in VolWake club activities.

    Finding Friendship through Campus Involvement

    Saige O’Rourke

    When I first started college, I was just as nervous as the next guy. I was also excited, but worried I wouldn’t meet anyone or that I was wasting my time. I spent my first year hoping I would meet my best friends in a random class or somehow in a hallway. One day I was walking to the library, and I saw an individual wearing a “VolWake” t-shirt; now, I get to call this group of people my dearest friends because I decided to join that club.

    The beginning of my college experience was anything but amazing. I experienced heartache, roommate drama, and confusion as to what direction I was headed. I found myself so miserable that I was considering transferring. I did not put much effort into being involved on campus nor did I use the resources I had in front of me to meet new people. I decided to join VolWake on a whim, and I was gifted my favorite surfboard, so I didn’t have much of a choice.

    VolWake is the University of Tennessee’s Wakeboarding club; there are almost 100 members that are all college students who love to take part in water sports. I was insanely hesitant about joining this team. I was worried that I wouldn’t be good enough or that I wouldn’t make any friends. My first day on our boat countered my thoughts completely.

    This team has allowed me to land and learn new tricks within weeks instead of months, and I am constantly surrounded by encouragement. My confidence on the water has grown tremendously. The people who are a part of this team are nothing but welcoming and talented; I am always surrounded by belly-laughs and amazing memories.

    If you asked me exactly one year ago what my favorite part of college was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you; matter of fact, I would probably say travelling somewhere else. Now, I am surrounded by life-long friends who love the same things I do and enjoy my company. I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to spend my waking hours with, and I am extremely grateful that I have found my people.

    With all of this being said, it is so important to get involved on your campus. There are so many opportunities and people that are waiting to LOVE YOU! Exploring all options on campus, no matter how terrifying they might be, can and will open the perfect doors for you. Take the risk and meet your best friends!!!

    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 green rectangle with the text: ‘A Christmas Tradition of Cooking’ alongside two photos of dishes mentioned in the blog – a kale salad and a chocolate mint ice cream sandwich.

    My Family’s Top 3 Holiday Dishes

    Saige O’Rourke

    Christmas dinner is different in every household. Some make it a formal occasion, some may order in, some make a pizza, and some munch on snacks while watching “A Christmas Story.” In my house, my aunt Megan cooks a meal with several courses inspired by her favorite food finds throughout the year. This dinner takes weeks of brainstorming along with at least an entire day of cooking. These are my top 3 favorite dishes Megan has ever made for my family for Christmas which will hopefully inspire you for the future!


    For starters, Megan always makes tomato basil soup topped with parmesan cheese. This dish is as simple as it sounds, and it is so great that it makes a yearly appearance. I personally look forward to this soup every year, yet I don’t eat it any other time before the holidays. While making the soup from scratch, she also uses fresh basil & shreds her own cheese.


    A close second to the soup is a kale salad (pictured in the thumbnail photo). I absolutely loved this dish, and I avoid kale with a strong passion. This salad was full of cranberries, green apples, parmesan cheese, among other small ingredients. To follow the soup, this salad is a light appetizer dish that leads up to the main course without filling the family.


    The homemade mint chocolate chip gelato cookie sandwich (also pictured in the thumbnail) was recently added to the list. Megan is huge about going big or going home, so all portions of this dessert were made from scratch. She used her own chocolate from her company and created the gelato in her machine from sugar, cream, and mint. Although I wish I was exaggerating, I happily ate the left-over sandwiches for days after Christmas.

    To prepare for this meal, Megan hits the ground running after New Years. She travels around the country trying new restaurants and ingredients to get a feel for what new things she likes. Even though Megan has a large food background, that is not necessary before you make the decision to try something new in the kitchen for your family. This has become a tradition in our household, but it had to start somewhere!

    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! 


  • 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!