Students blog

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

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  • A green stuffed dinosaur outside on a picnic table.

    Your Childhood Stuffed Animals DO Have a Place with You at College!

    Taylor Perline

    Do you remember your childhood stuffed animal? Do you recall that special item that you may have carried close to your heart until the fabric and stitches started to fall apart? I certainly do! Mine was a stuffed bear named affectionately after the holiday he was given to me on! As we grow up, college students may think that they’ve outgrown their cuddly companions, but it has become more and more apparent that these toys have benefits for college students too!

    College Anxiety

    First off, let's talk about anxiety. We all know college life can be overwhelming at times, and that's where our fluffy friends step in. Consider weighted stuffed animals! The pressure they provide can make students feel comfortable and calm. Some are even made with beads that can be microwaved and heated to give a warm and comforting feeling.

    Cuddles for a Cause

    But that's not all. Some companies sell stuffed animals for a cause! A love for plushies can actually make a positive impact on the world. Multiple organizations donate a portion of their proceeds from stuffed animal sales to help animals in need. Oftentimes zoos will have this kind of product available or other websites that allow you to “adopt” an animal. Support animals by cuddling them!

    Dorm Decor

    Stuffed animals can also add a touch of fun to our college lives. They can brighten up our dorm rooms, add a splash of color to study spaces, provide a little reminder of home, and make a boring day a little bit brighter. Plus, they make for the perfect social media buddies and props for cute photos! Not to mention that they can also be collected. I’m sure many have seen how intensely some people collect certain brands of stuffed animals, and it can honestly be a lot of fun! Especially if the stuffed animals come in “blind boxes!”

    All in all, those little stuffed toys can have a much bigger impact than what you man think! Give it a shot and give a stuffed animal a hug!

    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 collection of about 9 acrylic art pieces featuring items found in nature such as leaves and flowers.

    Support Local Businesses on Small Business Saturday!

    Rachel Stennett

    Thanksgiving is the season of spending time with family, and big savings within stores. We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but not many people know about Small Business Saturday. This holiday takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is celebrated to bring recognition to small and local businesses. While there’s no wrong in wanting to scour the stores in search of a good deal, it is important to appreciate the small businesses and local shops within our communities. These vendors often get overshadowed by bigger corporations in the frenzy of holiday shopping.

    Why is it important to support small businesses?

    Whether or not you realize it, small businesses have a huge impact on our local and global communities. Starting at home, supporting a small business helps to bolster the local economies and support underrepresented groups within your area. Many of these businesses are started by locals with a passion and a small budget to achieve their dreams. Additionally, some businesses are started by all-female teams, LGBTQIA+ persons, and people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Buying from these sellers is a great way to directly support them as opposed to buying from collections curated by mass retailers.

    In a global context, buying from small and local businesses helps to greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Products sold within larger corporations and franchises are often produced in bulk within factories and/or go through multiple stages of transportation to reach the shelves. This process takes a huge toll on the environment due to loss of habitat, carbon emissions, and resource depletion. Buying from local and small businesses greatly reduces this impact, since the products are usually produced on a smaller scale and take less transportation to reach the consumer. As another bonus, these smaller production scales often result in better quality and longer-lasting products than what you would find from mass retailers.

    Where to find small businesses.

    Now that you know the reasons why you should support small businesses, where can you find them? Here is a list of some ways to find small businesses any time but especially on Small Business Saturday:

    1. Search on social media or Google – You would be surprised what a quick search online could bring back. Yelp and pages curated towards finding local spots are a great place to start! A lot of college towns and cities are also rich with a local business culture.
    2. Attend local markets and art festivals – Many small businesses do not have the budget to have a stand-alone shop. Thus, business owners turn to community events to sell. This is also a great way to get to meet and make a connection with the owners.
    3. Browse on Etsy – If you're still having trouble finding small businesses within your area after the first two steps, Etsy is a great place to find small shops internationally. While this is not the most ideal option to support small businesses, Etsy has a better filter for small businesses than other popular online shopping sites.

    Supporting small businesses on a budget.

    Since many small businesses cater towards handmade art, food, and clothing items, prices at these shops can have a vast range. Unfortunately, this also means that some shops might have items priced outside of a reasonable budget for a college student. As a college student in love with local artwork myself, there have been so many times where I have had to walk away from a purchase because I couldn't afford it. However, even if you are on a budget, there are still ways to support small businesses on this holiday! Following small businesses on social media and attending craft fairs are a great way to show your support, without having to worry about your bank account. Even talking about your favorite shops that you’ve seen or plan to buy from one day to your friends and family is a great way to help promote these businesses.

    Whether it’s in-person or online, directly, or indirectly, hopefully this article will give you some ideas on how to support the small businesses within your community on this holiday! Happy shopping!

    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.

    Appetizer

    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.

    Dessert

    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 photo collage featuring the text: Finance Hacks: College Edition, and 5 photos highlighting locations mentioned in the blog including campus events and dining locations on campus.

    Finance Hacks: College Students’ Edition

    Lexie Harris

    From tuition and housing to food and entertainment, college is expensive! It seems like everywhere you look is somewhere you have to spend money. To help with expenses, many full-time college students have jobs, which can make it difficult to manage your schedule and maintain academic success. Sometimes you may feel like you’re putting too much time toward one, and not enough time on the other. No matter your situation, we could all benefit from some cost-saving tips. Here are three tips to help save money while in college!

    Attend Events on Campus

    At the beginning of each semester, a lot of colleges hold free on-campus events! These types of events aim to help new freshmen become more comfortable in a new environment. It helps the new students meet other people, get to know the campus, and learn about on-campus groups (i.e. sororities/fraternities and clubs). These events are not only for new students but are often open to returning students. While these events are a great way to get involved with your campus community, there are often free giveaways and swag items up for grabs. From t-shirts to bags to notepads to mechanical pencils, there is a lot of free stuff being given away. As the semester goes on, keep a lookout for more free events on campus. Get involved with on campus events and enjoy the freebies which can help you save money, too!

    Take advantage of the Meal Plan

    Many colleges require students who live on-campus to select a meal plan. Even if you live off-campus, you can take advantage of this! Especially if you are required to pay for it, you might as well use it! This saves you from having to spend extra money on groceries and having to go out to eat. Most colleges also have multiple meal plan options for students to pick from. Starting out it may be difficult to know what meal plan will work best for you, but you will quickly learn how to maximize your plan and can always adjust the next semester. This way you save money and eat the food you want to eat, whether it be on campus restaurants, in the cafeteria, or at home.

    Borrow or Rent Textbooks

    In my experience, many teachers use presentations to teach instead of closely following the textbook. That being said, this doesn’t mean textbooks are useless and never required. There are professors who still rely heavily on their textbooks, and even if the professor doesn’t really use the textbook, it can be a great resource for studying and learning more about a topic. The one drawback to physical textbooks, however, is that they are pretty expensive. Instead of buying all new textbooks, try renting them or using a digital eTextbook format. I have found that eTextbooks are available for less than half what the textbooks cost and have other great features such as audiobooks, study tools, and video for on-the-go learning.

    From tuition and housing to food and entertainment, college is expensive! It may seem like everywhere you look is somewhere you have to spend money. By using these three tips, you can save some money and still get the full college experience!

    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 of a map featuring a school surrounded by neighborhoods with silly-sounding names.

    Survival Guide to Off-Campus Living

    A’Georre Williams

    Are you a college student preparing to live off-campus? From managing finances to creating a conducive living environment, this guide offers valuable insights to help you thrive off-campus. Discover tips on budgeting, finding the right housing, handling utilities, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, building a supportive community, and much more. Here are 20 essential things you should know to navigate this new chapter successfully.

    1. Budgeting

    Create a budget to manage your finances effectively and cover your expenses. Consider making an Excel sheet to track your monthly spending and identify areas where you can make changes.

    2. Rent and utilities

    Understand the terms of your lease, including rent, utilities, and any additional costs.

    3. Location

    Consider proximity to your college campus, public transportation, and amenities like grocery stores and libraries.

    4. Commute

    Plan your transportation method and factor in commuting time to campus, plus potential associated costs.

    5. Roommates

    Choose your roommates carefully and establish clear expectations regarding responsibilities, bills, and shared spaces.

    6. Furniture and essentials

    If you decide not to live with your school’s partner apartments, determine what furniture and essential items you need and budget accordingly.

    7. Safety

    Research the neighborhood's safety and take necessary precautions to secure your living space.

    8. Renter's insurance

    Consider getting renter's insurance to protect your belongings in case of theft, damage, or accidents.

    9. Maintenance and repairs

    Know your responsibilities for maintenance and repairs and communicate promptly with your landlord.

    10. Understanding FOMO

    Knowing that you won’t be on campus anymore, consider that you won’t be in close proximity to campus events.

    11. Grocery shopping

    Plan your meals and shop smartly to stay within your budget for the month.

    12. Cooking

    If you don’t have a meal plan, consider developing basic cooking skills to save money and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

    13. Cleaning

    Establish a cleaning schedule with your roommates to keep your living space tidy and comfortable.

    14. Laundry

    Find out if there are laundry facilities in your building or nearby and learn how to use them.

    15. Personal safety

    Take precautions when coming home late at night and keep emergency numbers handy.

    16. Socializing

    Engage with your neighbors and join community events to make the most of your off-campus experience.

    17. Time management

    Balance your academic commitments, social life, and household responsibilities effectively.

    18. Read Your School’s Scholarship Contract

    Certain schools require that you live on campus to maintain your scholarship, reviewing it would benefit your decision, as well.

    19. Parking

    Ask if you have to pay for parking, if a certain number of spots are included in the lease, or if you can purchase a reserved spot, if you plan to take your car to campus.

    20. Understanding the Cost

    Sometimes living off campus can be way more expensive. Understand if you can truly afford the cost and ensure that you have a good-work life balance. Take into account that payment plans may not be as lenient as those offered by your school.

    Remember, living off-campus can be a valuable learning experience. Stay organized, be proactive, and embrace the independence that comes with it. With this knowledge in hand, you'll be well-prepared to embrace the independence and responsibilities that come with living off-campus.

    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 image with the blog title within the shape of an old-fashioned television with an antenna. Multiple TV show names are embedded in the tv shape.

    World Television Day: Pros and Cons of Watching TV

    Lexie Harris

    If you ever look at one of those websites that catalog annual holidays and awareness days, you’ll find that nearly every day there is something to celebrate, and I mean this literally! November 21st, for example, is World Television Day! So, in celebration, let's talk about the pros and cons of watching television.

    Overly Stereotyped

    Watching TV is occasionally stereotyped as lazy and unproductive and shows can often be described as too violent/graphic. To this point, let me ask you a question: How often are the shows you watch in English? Probably most of the time for the majority of the United States. However, television can go beyond those stereotypes if you let it. After all, television reflects the culture of its creation. If you allow yourself to go beyond the comfortable and known, you can venture into a world full of new experiences, knowledge, and skills.

    TV from Different Cultures

    Culture doesn't vary by plots of land but depends on the groups of people living there. Culture, by definition, is a group's shared practices, beliefs, and values. For this reason, it only makes sense that a society's culture becomes embedded in the television shows it creates. When watching a show/drama from South Korea, for example, the viewer gets a small glimpse of the culture in South Korea. This example holds for any television show from any country on Earth. Using South Korea as an example again, K-dramas (South Korean television shows) show what daily life might look like for someone living in South Korea. It shows what foods they might eat, what clothes they wear, what they do for fun/entertainment, what religious traditions are most standard, etc. Sometimes this might be overlooked, however, because it is all in the small details of the shows.

    Multicultural Understanding

    Again, each country's television programming will show parts of the culture unique to that country. One exception is that because these television shows are for entertainment, there is bound to be some exaggeration. On the contrary, this holds for some points in the storyline, not the setting and background information. If someone watches television from multiple countries, they will have a better general understanding of the people and cultures in those countries.

    Subtitles and Reading Comprehension

    Watching television shows in another language requires reading subtitles to understand what is happening. Subtitles demand that the viewer to be able to read through and quickly comprehend the words appearing and disappearing on screen. Rewinding to re-read can go from mildly aggravating to very frustrating. However, by watching shows with subtitles, they can tremendously increase their reading speed. This skill is helpful not only when trying to watch a show in another language but also helps with general reading skills, including reading for work, school, or enjoyment.

    While watching TV for entertainment does come with a few negative stereotypes, there are more positives to consider. Watching television shows from non-English speaking countries can introduce people to new cultures, expand a person's knowledge and experiences, and increase their reading and comprehension speed. In conclusion, to celebrate World Television Day, try watching a show from a different and new genre or a different culture/country!

    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 college dorm room with wall décor, a standing mirror, and plushie pillows on the bed.

    College Dorm to Second Home

    Jen Fiengo

    College living can be hard, especially when you move far from home. While being away from your parents may seem like an amazing idea to most of us college students, no one prepares you for how it feels to be on your own so suddenly. College dorms can be bland, boring, and even smell weird. Living somewhere that makes you unhappy or feel unsafe can drastically harm your mental and physical health as well as interfere with your studies at college. The best way to avoid this living situation is to make your college dorm feel like a second home.

    Bring Belongings from Home

    One way I made my college dorm feel like home was to bring something unique to my life from home. I own a lot of plants (it’s becoming a problem) and that is what I think of when I think of my room at home. When I moved to college in my first year, I brought none of my plants with me. I felt sad in my living space as it didn’t feel like my own. I went home and returned with a few of my plants, big and small, and filled my space with them. I instantly felt better, and my room felt more like my home. Bringing something, whether it’s big or small, into your space that is unique to your life at home can add a personal touch to your space, helping the transition from college dorm to second home.

    You Can Hang Things on The Walls

    Another thing I did when I moved to college was deciding to bring NOTHING to put on the walls. I was told no tacks, sticky stuff, or tape could go on the walls, so I brought nothing to put up as I knew it wouldn’t work out. However, that made my room look like an actual prison. Everything was boring and eggshell paint colored. I tested putting wall-safe strip hooks on the walls and peeling them off, and there was no damage! I immediately went to my local dollar store and bought posters, small mirrors, cute lanterns, and much more to hang on the walls. Once they were filled up, the walls no longer felt like a prison, but more like my space. Filling up the walls with motivational posters and cute decorations helped me make my room more like a second home.

    Keep It Clean

    Finally, the best advice I could give to any on-campus student is to keep your space clean. College is stressful, challenging, and time consuming, but so is cleaning your space if it gets too out of control. I set aside time each night to put things back where they belong, reorganize my desk space, and clear trash off of any surface it didn’t belong on. Then, once a week, I would go through and wipe down surfaces, vacuum, and wash my towels and sheets. Cleaning my room made me feel like a new person and made my space feel more livable. I would also buy wall scent plug-ins to keep my space smelling fresh if candles were prohibited. Keeping your space clean can make it feel safer and healthier while also making it feel more like home.

    College living is crazy, but it can also be fun. Be creative when decorating to make your space feel personalized. Bring something unique from home, load up your walls with motivation, and keep everything tidy, and your dorm will start feeling more like a second home.

    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!