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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 male and female college student sitting in front of a large red Christmas ornament

    A Holiday Season Bucket List

    Taylor Guynup

    As the song goes, ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’! It’s also one of the best seasons to spend time with friends and family. December is here, you’re done (or nearly done) with school and you have some free time. Even amid a global pandemic, there are still ways to get in the spirit. Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas season things to do with my friends and family.

    Looking at Christmas Lights

    Driving or walking through neighborhoods to look at the lights is one of my favorite things to do. Some cities or universities will also have a Christmas celebration. Search online for neighborhoods or city spots near you to see where the best lights are!

    Hot Chocolate and Movie Night

    During the holiday season it’s chilly out at night and my favorite thing to do is snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket, make some hot cocoa, and turn on a classic Christmas movie. My two favorite holiday movies are Elf and White Christmas. You can even make a mini hot chocolate bar where people can make their own hot chocolate creation.

    Ice Skating

    I’ll admit I am not the most graceful ice skater out there, but I always have a lot of fun! Many ice rinks have Covid guidelines in place so they can safely offer open sessions to the public during this season. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

    Decorating a Holiday Treat

    Cookies, brownies, gingerbread houses, oh my! There are so many holiday treats that can be made and decorated. I love this tradition because somehow icing always ends up on my face rather than the cookie. It’s a fun time that your taste buds can enjoy afterwards.

    Putting Up Decorations

    One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was decorate the Christmas tree with my parents. I loved looking at all the ornaments and hearing the stories behind them. Although I’ve graduated now, in the past, my college roommates and I also decorated our house and it was a night full of laughs and smiles. This will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit.

    Serving in a Soup Kitchen

    The holiday season is a time to be thankful for everything we have however, there are those who are less fortunate than us. There are a lot of soup kitchens or other service locations that need volunteers and it is a great way to give back to your community while still spending time with your friends and family.

    Taking Christmas Card Pictures

    Before I graduated, this was a super fun thing to do with my roommates! My friends and I got silly Christmas sweaters and took pictures on campus. We just printed pictures out at CVS and signed the back to send to our friends and family.

    Make a Homemade Gift or Card

    A gift from the heart is the most precious gift. My mom and I used to hand make Christmas cards with stamps and it was so much fun. I got some quality time with my mom and all of our relatives loved the unique cards. Find ideas and inspiration for homemade gifts and cards on Pinterest.

    Elf on the Shelf

    This is a silly and fun holiday tradition. It’s always interesting finding what our elf was doing the next morning. People may think it is just for kids, but it can also be a fun thing to do with roommates or family as we get older. Seeing who can come up with the funniest idea will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

    Jam Out to Some Tunes

    Whether you have a long plane ride or a lot of holiday shopping to do, Christmas music will make your day much merrier. Christmas time can get a little stressful but blasting music can put anyone in a better mood.

    This time of year can be jam-packed with things to do and sometimes people can forget to have fun. Having things that you enjoy and love is the true reason for the season. I hope these ideas help you with doing fun things and that you have a Merry Christmas!

    Pearson Students: What is part of your Christmas Bucket List? Share by commenting below!

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    A Letter from a Sentimental College Senior

    Taylor Guynup

    Four years have gone by so fast. As I look back on those years, I remember all of the smiles, laughter, and tears I have gone through, the lessons I have learned, and the memories I have made. Being a senior is bittersweet; I have the rest of my life ahead of me, but I am closing a chapter of my life that I have cherished so much.

    Make those memories

    I find myself trying to squeeze in all of my “lasts” and doing everything possible to make this the best year of college yet. As I look back though, I realize that I can’t force memories to be made, because some of the best memories happen in the most spontaneous ways possible. Like the one time I was at the library until 4 a.m. and found one of my best friends through it. Or the time I was exhausted, but still said ‘yes’ to a night that will forever be my favorite. Even the football game that I stayed at through three overtimes. All of these moments were authentic and happened because I said ‘yes’ to experiencing life. 

    Live your life

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to say ‘no’ sometimes, and to stay in and have those nights to yourself. Studying always comes first. But if you have a drop quiz, take that drop and live your life. College is about way more than studying your life away. It is about finding yourself and growing into the person that you want to be. It is about finding that passion for your future career and finding people that will push you through that class you are struggling with. Your grades matter a lot, but at the end of those four years you don’t want your only memory to be you studying and stressing. 

    Find joy in the little things

    If you are in a hard major, studying is a part of the major. But you can find a way to make friends and memories through that, and study breaks are always fun. Growing up my dad always had so many stories of his life in college and my mom is still best friends with her college roommates. My parents gave me three rules when I got dropped off at college: don’t get arrested, don’t get a belly button piercing, and don’t spend every night in the library. I can confidently say that I have abided by all three. 

    I lived my college life saying ‘yes’ while knowing that as long as I tried my best in school, I would be proud of myself. So, what is the bottom line of this whole sentimental story? Make those memories. Live your life. Find joy in the little things. Be happy and know that you are growing into a beautiful person who has a whole life ahead of them. And remember to always live in the present. 


    A Sentimental Senior 


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    Finding Your Home: Connect to your campus through student organizations

    Taylor Guynup

    College is a brand new, exciting adventure. Finally experiencing freedom and taking the next step towards your future can be both thrilling and frightening. For me, the terrifying part never hit me until I was trying to find an organization to join. I knew that joining a student organization would help me connect to my new campus, but there were so many, with so many different objectives, cultures, and people. I ended up getting caught up in the prestige of an organization and I was miserable for my entire freshman year, because I didn’t feel at home. After joining my current organization, I have never once doubted my decision. I have found my best friends and I love being involved. If I could go back and give my freshman year self some advice on picking an organization, here is what I would say. 

    Don’t judge a book by its cover  

    Organizations are going to put their best foot forward when recruiting new members. It may seem like the perfect organization for you, but it may not be. The opposite might also be true. Before judging an organization right off the bat, do your research and talk to the members to see if you think you belong there. 

    Try everything 

    There are going to be multiple organizations available for you to join. If you find your home on your first try, that’s great! If you don’t, keep looking. Most campuses have organizations that fit into a variety of categories – academic, social, service, cultural, spiritual, etc. Try to look at organizations from more than one category; there might be a less-well-known one that could be the perfect fit for you. 

    Consider your goals 

    I am a pre-med major so I wanted to join an organization that gave me opportunities to boost my resume and also allowed me to be surrounded by other common-minded people. Therefore, that is what I looked for in an organization. There are going to be different organizations that have different purposes and events. To filter out organizations, look for ones with shared values and that hold events that you would be interested in. 

    Look at the people in the organization 

    If you are standing in an interest meeting or an event and you look around, really think about if those are the type of people you want to be with. These are going to be the peers that you go to events with and may even become your best friends. The people also represent what the organization is going to be to you. Another thing, don’t join an organization just because your best friend is in it. I only knew a few people when I first joined my organization, but I liked all of the people I met and that’s one of the reasons I knew it would be my home. 

    Make a pros and cons list 

    If you are stuck between a couple of organizations, make a pros and cons list. This can make you see what you value about an organization and can make you rethink some decisions.  Evaluate the time you have available for extracurricular activities, too. With good time management, many students can successfully participate in more than one organization.

    Everyone finds their own home

     Just because I didn’t find my home in my freshmen year organization does not mean that others didn’t.  Every person has different wants and needs and every organization has its strengths. Be respectful and maintain your friendships with those who may have found a home in another group. 

    Going through these steps is important when looking at organizations. Finding your home can make a huge difference in your college career; I know it has in mine. 


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    The commitment of a furry friend

    Taylor Guynup

    Owning an animal is a big responsibility and time commitment. The animal you choose to adopt will love you unconditionally, so you need to make sure you can do the same in return. Here are some things to think about before you adopt an animal!

    Do you have time?

    Adopting in the summer or on breaks seems like a great idea! You have so much time to spend taking care of your new friend, but when you go back to school, will you have the time to take care of your pet? Dogs require more of a time commitment than cats do. They need to be let out and played with to keep them happy and healthy. Also, just because cats don’t need to be let out to use the restroom doesn’t mean they don’t require love and attention. Before adopting, make sure you have time in your day to be able to take care of and love on your companion.

    Do you have enough money set aside?

    An animal can be expensive. When you first adopt your animal, you need to get food, bowls, leashes, beds, a crate, and maybe even medication depending on the animal. Also, do you have enough money for emergency vet visits? The first week I had my kitten I had to rush her to the vet because she got sick, which was a $150 expense that I was not expecting. You also need to be sure your apartment building or house allows pets and whether they have a pet rent or deposit. Saving up money is a good way to make sure you can meet the needs of your pet. Adopting an animal from an animal shelter is a good way to save money on a pet, but also those are the animals that need a home the most.

    Are you willing to give a life-long home?

    When you adopt an animal, they will love you unconditionally. When you adopt an animal, they deserve a lifelong home. So, before you adopt, think about the next phases in your life and where you will end up. Will you be able to take your pet with you? It is so heartbreaking for a pet to be ripped away from their home and family. When adopting you need to remember that they are a lifelong friend.

    Getting Prepared!

    Now that you have gone through the most important things to think of before you adopt, how do you prepare your home and heart for your new life long friend?

    • Research breeds and shelters – You need to have an idea of what you’re looking for and where you plan to adopt. Does the shelter offer shots? How much is the adoption fee? Do they have the animal you’re looking for? You should always go meet your pet that you plan to adopt. When I first met my cat, I felt that instant connection with her and knew that she was coming home with me.
    • Prepare your home, buy the goods, and get excited!! – Before you adopt, you should make sure that you have all of the things you will need to take care of your pet and make them feel at home. Decide where in the house they will be allowed, where their food will be, and where they will be sleeping.

    If you answered yes to all the questions and got prepared, then congratulations! You are now ready to accept a new friend into your home and heart! And remember – adopt don’t shop!


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    Putting Stress to the Test

    Taylor Guynup

    Stress is the one thing every student has had to deal with in one way or another. Whether it be an increase in your heart beat before a test or the uncontrollable sweating before a first date, stress can be a drag in productivity and overall happiness. However, stress can be controlled and handled.

    The most important way to handle stress is to identify the source. Locating where your stress is coming from can help because then you can try to minimize it. While there are things in life that you can’t always control, there are ways to help with controlling and minimizing stress.

    After identifying where your stress is coming from, you can use these tips and tricks to find an outlet and relieve the stress that is building up in your life.

    Find a hobby.

    This sounds so cliché, but this is the best way to have time to do something that you love to do. Whether it be running, watching movies, or just being with friends, it’s good to spend some time away from school or the source of your stress.

    Take mini breaks when studying.

    Trust me, we have all been on that nine-hour long grind when studying before a test, but breaks are important. Breathe, walk around, socialize and get back to work. When you hit hour ten, you’ll be grateful you got the brain break.

    Plan out your week.

    To avoid those long nights at the library, plan out your study schedule a week in advance. This not only helps with your sleep schedule, but also gives you time to make sure you learn your class material and have time to do other things besides study.

    Take a deep breath.

    Stopping and taking a deep breath is one of the best ways for a quick fix to stress. Controlling your breathing slows your heart rate to control the physical symptoms of stress and also helps clear your mind.

    Implementing these tricks into your daily life can help minimize the stress that you feel on a day-to-day basis. Decreasing stress can help you improve your performance in school and also live a happier life.