Students blog

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

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  • An overhead view of a group of eleven college students sitting around two tables.

    How to Get Involved on Campus and Keep the Perfect Balance

    Alex Santoro

    As a college student, we are often stuck inside our own bubbles within our colleges and universities. There is a constant routine of going to class, studying, doing daily activities, and repeating the same things over and over. As time goes on, having the same routine can get tiring; college is a time to try new things.

    Change Up Your Routine

    One way to change your routine up is to become more involved on your campus. Campus involvement is something that can provide many professional, social, and fun opportunities. There are so many kinds of organizations on our campuses, and there is a chance that you can even create your own! Some kinds of organizations that would be great to be involved in are academic and social organizations, Greek life, or even organizations like student government. Most campuses provide a very diverse number of organizations that you can join.

    Schedule Time for Involvement

    As a college student attending classes and being involved, I have had issues with keeping the perfect balance between my academic, social, and work lifestyles. One thing that I did to perfect the balance between everything was to create a planner and schedule out my weeks ahead of time. When you take time to create a schedule and put information into a planner, it can tremendously improve the balance of everything that you are juggling.

    Start Each Semester by Noting All Due Dates

    When you are in multiple different classes, it can be hard to keep up with certain deadlines. At the beginning of each semester, I put all the due dates for all assignments, quizzes, and exams into my planner. This gives me the big picture when I look at my planner every week and see the things that I must complete for my classes. Another helpful tip is to color code your classes when you write down all the deadlines so that when you look at your planner every day, you can quickly see which class is which. You can also add a color for your organization meetings and events.

    Overall, campus involvement is something that every college student should try out. It is important to branch out and put yourself out there to experience the wonders of what colleges can have to offer. It is also very important to keep a good balance between all the things to ensure that you can be successful and work hard towards the end goal, which is obtaining a degree and graduating.

    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! 

  • Blog author Maggie Parker took this photo of a colorful sunset in Syracuse, New York.

    A Triple Major’s Guide to Not Freaking Out

    Maggie Parker

    College students all have a lot of responsibilities to tackle. Some are involved with sports at varying levels, some are part of clubs, some have a job, and some (like me), made the crazy decision to do all three of those and more. I’m a student at Syracuse University with a triple major, a member of two club sports teams, a member of a sorority, and hold two jobs. I’m busy to say the least. In addition to all my commitments, I know how important it is to take care of my mental health. Over the past couple of years, I’ve accumulated a number of helpful strategies to help manage a balance of work and fun while also taking care of myself. Here are my top 5 tips:

    Make A Schedule

    Some prefer digital calendars, some prefer the classic pen and paper, but either way creating or updating a calendar with your daily schedule is the best way to stay organized when you have a lot on your plate. I personally use Google calendar and color code my schedule based on if the commitment is for school, work, or an extracurricular activity. This lets me see my whole week ahead clearly, and I can access my schedule on my laptop or my phone when I’m on the go.

    Plan Time for Yourself

    Related to my first tip, scheduling time for self-care into your calendar can be incredibly helpful if you find yourself struggling. I personally try to go to the gym 4-5 days a week, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, because I know that moving my body is super important for my mental wellbeing. I put my gym times into my schedule at the beginning of the week, so I don’t have to worry about trying to fit it in on a day-by-day basis.

    Prioritize Sleep

    Believe me, I understand that making time for a full 8 hours of sleep isn’t always possible. However, trying to make an effort to get the right amount of sleep for you is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Not only will getting enough sleep make you feel better, but it can also help you perform better in academic pursuits. To maximize sleep, try reading a book or journaling instead of looking at your phone right before bed.

    Prioritize Assignments Appropriately

    While I’ll never fully recommend skipping one commitment to finish something for another, it can be helpful to prioritize things like assignments based on how the grade is weighted or how lenient the professor is on late work. For example, when I’m having an unbearably busy week, I know I can let an assignment for a certain class slide because I know the professor accepts late work. For another class, however, my professor is super strict, so I always make sure to get my assignments for that class in on time. Check out this blog with more time management strategies like this.

    Have Fun!

    College involves a lot of academic and extracurricular commitments, but there are also so many opportunities to be a young adult and have fun. Whether you want to have a night in with your friends, go out to dinner, or go to a sporting event, take advantage of this time of your life, and take a break from the struggles of academia. Having fun with friends is one of the highlights of the college experience, so try to make time for it when possible.

    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! 

  • Three female college students stand outside on their campus with their backpacks. They are wearing facemasks.

    Ten Ways to Make the Most of Your Day

    Emma Karant

    Online classes seem to make life easier for some students, but for others, such as myself, online classes have drastically changed the set schedules that we once had. Having a schedule, including being on campus and attending class in person, gives many of us a feeling of stability and productivity. So how do we produce this feeling in our lives when a lot of our classes are still online?

    1. Wake up early

    If you wake up early, you can give yourself enough time to have a productive day and fit in everything you need to do from work, school, and being with friends and family!

    2. Start the day by making your bed

    When I start my day by making my bed, it makes me get up and move in the morning and stay up. Additionally, I am not as tempted to get back in bed throughout the day and take a nap or do nothing. This gives me more time to get things done throughout the day and be productive, especially when classes are online, and we don’t have to leave our rooms.

    3. Stay off your phone for as long as possible in the morning

    I know, out of habit, I normally check my phone as soon as I wake up. But, when I do this, it leaves me feeling stressed because I see all the things I need to do. Instead, aim to stay off your phone until you are ready for your day!

    4. Create a daily schedule

    Especially when we do not have a full schedule of in person classes, it helps to make a schedule for yourself that would be like one you had pre-COVID. The most important thing about this is to be consistent because it will help you ease back into the adjustment of having an in-person class schedule. Check out this blog with tips to help students stay organized.

    5. Make a to-do list

    I like to write down a weekly list for myself at the beginning of every week, so I know what I must do each day. This helps me not forget anything important and it feels good to check things off a list!

    6. Go to work out classes

    Working out helps you to feel good, but it can sometimes be hard to find time in your day to work out if you do not have a set schedule. I have found that going to work out classes, whether it is with your school or a company, helps you create a schedule for yourself. If you find a class you like, you can go every week to help yourself get into a pattern!

    7. Have self-care time

    Although it is important to be productive, to make the most out of your day you must remember to take time for yourself. Whether this is going on a walk, journaling, doing something you enjoy, or resting, it will help you feel motivated to work hard later!

    8. Don’t overwork yourself all in one day

    When I procrastinate, I get incredibly stressed. Even if I finish everything on time, when I am done, I never feel productive because of how stressed I was. To try and avoid this, break up your work throughout the week. If you do a little bit of work every day, it will make you feel more productive and less stressed! Check out this blog for more tips for time management.

    9. Try a new healthy food

    Eating healthy food can help you feel more energized and ready to go for your day! Without this, you will not have enough energy to continue your motivation throughout the remainder of the day. Check out these blogs by college students with tips on nutrition and meal prepping tips.

    10. Make time in your day for your social life

    Although getting work done and being productive is important, a part of productivity is being with people you love.

    There are many ways to make the most of your day. While it is up to you how you choose to organize your time, these are just a few examples of great ways to ensure that you make the most of each day. For more tips on how to succeed in online classes, visit this blog.

    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 monitor displaying a student’s schedule and a laptop displaying class documents.

    Three Tips for Balancing the Summer Semester

    Daniela Gomez Lopez

    With the summer semester right around the corner, some college students are looking forward to taking additional courses. And while it can be a great opportunity to get ahead in classes, students also need to understand the importance of taking a break to avoid burnout. Here are 3 tips you can incorporate into your semester to make sure you can focus on your academics, internships, extracurriculars and social life. 

    Organize your time

    Assignment due dates and test dates can be impossible to keep track of mentally, so write them down on a planner or virtual calendar. In my opinion, Google Calendar is the best way to organize your weeks since you have the availability to access your schedule everywhere there is internet. While you are making your schedule, remember to fit in your personal plans. Whether you are interning, doing extracurriculars, or working, your calendar should display all the events you can’t miss. 

    Extra tip: avoid Friday classes if possible, so you won’t have to turn down every fun summertime activity. If you have the availability to choose online classes, try them out; they provide a lot more flexibility.

    Set your summer goals 

    Whether school, travel, or socially related, write down what you want to accomplish this summer. After you have written down realistic goals, go through and prioritize them. It’s important to rearrange and plan out your priorities. Note that even though a social life and school are essential, so is your mental health, which might mean saying no to plans sometimes.

    Take advantage of the weather

    Studying doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up in a library or your room. Take advantage of the weather and find new parks or coffee shops to explore. You’ll be taking advantage of that nice summer weather while also being productive. Since I love coffee, I always lean towards exploring new coffee shops. I also make it a habit to invite my friends if they ever need to get work done. When I do these “study dates,” I feel the most productive and inspired to keep trying out new places. 

    Summer classes offer a great opportunity to earn additional credits and can be successfully balanced with other summer activities with a little planning and goal setting. What will you accomplish this summer?

    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 young female college student sits at a desk working on a tablet.

    Seven Must-Have Apps for College Students

    Erica Yap

    How many times have you heard that your mobile devices are a distraction? While the answer may be a lot, there are surprisingly several apps available to optimize your learning, maintain your focus, and help you manage your time better. As a student who is often on the go, I want to share my favorite mobile apps that have helped turn my mobile devices into my best study buddies over the course of my four years in college.

    1. Pearson+: Whenever I am riding the bus to and from campus, a very productive use of my time is to scroll through flashcards offline on the Pearson+ app. Even if it is just a few minutes of study time here and there, it really adds up! Many other features to the Pearson+ app include access to textbooks, an audio player, advanced note taking, practice questions, and tutoring discounts!

    2. Mondly: I always wanted to study at least one semester abroad, so I use Mondly to learn languages. It’s fun, easy to use and it includes just the right amount of gamification without distracting me from actually learning. Conversation practice feels like talking to a friend, so I never have to worry I won’t be good enough in real-life situations.

    3. Flora: Have you ever wanted a virtual plant? The Flora app uses gamified technology to give you that extra incentive to focus. The longer you spend working on your assignments or completing your studying, the more time your virtual seed must grow! When you choose to browse a different website or hop onto social media, then your virtual plant dies.

    4. Notability: A powerful, yet simple note-taking app that allows you to make PDF annotations. On this app, I find it helpful to download class PowerPoints beforehand and take notes directly on the slides while my professor teaches the material. I also use this app to sign documents and highlight my notes as I study outside of class.

  • A young female college student with long blonde hair is sitting at student desk, looking at a laptop screen and taking notes.

    Find a Way to Balance School and Life Now to Avoid Regrets Later On

    Courtney Lally

    As a college student taking many difficult classes, being a part of different organizations, and wanting to have time for a social life, it becomes difficult to find a balance. I often found myself spending too much time locked in my room doing homework and studying, therefore missing out on time spent doing the things I love. I don't want anyone to make the same mistakes I made and have senior year come wishing you would've spent more time doing those fun things. Don't worry, though, you can learn from me – here is how I made adjustments to create a healthy balance between school and life.

    Mindset Makes Everything

    I grew up with two very strong, independent parents and two brothers. My brothers pushed me to be more of a tomboy instead of a girly girl, and I often was judged for it throughout my elementary and middle school days. People would say mean things and I was grasping for something that could make me special, because clearly it was not my appearance, the sports I played, or my voice. I discovered that when I put more time and energy into school, did the homework, and studied a sufficient amount, I easily earned A’s. With this, I was the valedictorian of my 8th grade class, and I went into high school having the same mindset – get all A’s to prove you are worthy. I did exactly that in high school and felt very confident about myself due to my performance in school.

    I assumed that the way I had operated up until my senior year of high school would be perfectly fine to replicate in college, but boy was I wrong.

    You Are Inherently Worthy No Matter What You Achieve

    I spent my first three years of college doing the exact same thing – going to class and doing homework until it was time for bed. Hanging out with friends during the week was never something that occurred to me as an option. As I approached my senior year, I found myself being very depressed due to the fact that school consumed most of my life; I began to feel drained and unfulfilled. I realized that I couldn’t keep neglecting alone time and time with friends solely to get straight A’s to “prove myself.” The funniest thing looking back is that I’m not quite sure who I was trying to prove myself to – perhaps it was me, but it definitely wasn’t anyone else because I came to realize that they actually loved me beyond my academic performance.

    Reprioritizing ME

    I decided to make a crucial change in how I operated on a daily basis in order to refrain from missing out on the fun things in life. I began treating my schoolwork and fitness as a full-time 9 am to 5 pm job. As much as I hate waking up early, doing so has allowed me to attend class, get homework done, and spend time on my personal health. Once 5 pm hits, I make dinner and dedicate the rest of the evening to hanging out with my roommates and friends. This seemingly minor, yet impactful change improved both my physical and mental health while also allowing me to maintain my academic performance.

    Consider making this type of change for yourself. I promise you; you will not look back in 5 years and remember the grade you received in an economics class – you will remember the time you enjoyed working on yourself and surrounding yourself with those that you love. Learn from my mistakes and make adjustments now so you don’t have regrets at the end of 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! 

  • Two photos side-by-side showing how the blog author uses her tablet. The left side shows her digital artwork, including a hummingbird drawing. The right side shows how she takes notes on her tablet during class.

    How I Transformed into a Totally Digital Student and Artist This Year

    Ankita Chittiprolu

    Coming out of high school, my desks, shelves, and tables in my room were filled with papers and textbooks, even after graduating. I knew I had to change my system for college. I couldn't just continue to hoard all my notes with the mental process of hoping I'll need them in the future.

    Invest In Your Future

    After extensive research, I came across the Apple iPad and Apple pencil. However, the price was a nightmare – I couldn't afford something like this after going on a spring break trip in my senior year of high school. Working a tutoring job, I saved throughout the summer. I finally bought an iPad and a second-hand Apple pencil from Amazon during Black Friday.

    All Your Materials in One Place

    I started by downloading GoodNotes, an app that specializes in writing notes. The possibilities were endless! This app held my planner, notebooks for class, lab reports, and pdf copies of articles I needed to read. I was even able to doodle and take quick notes on the app. It felt like I was writing on paper with unlimited colored pens and highlighters with an Apple pencil. I bought all my textbooks in an eBook format and accessed them through my iPad from apps such as Pearson e-text and iBooks. These apps allowed me to take notes and highlight the pages in my textbook. In the past, through rental books, these actions were constricted. I never “forgot” my books in the dorm or misplaced my papers because the digital copies were on my iPad.

    Sustainably Study

    I bought a keyboard that connected to my iPad through Bluetooth so I could type class papers or any essays, which made things even better. It transformed my lifestyle. I was no longer carrying heavy weights and my friends were envious of my easily accessible notes and e-texts. For any papers that were provided in class, I could just scan the paper and get a digital copy on my iPad to write on – an environmentally friendly way to save paper. Especially with the current conditions, a lot of assignments are done online – I no longer need to print out my assignments to work on them, I just download a copy onto my iPad and complete the assignment. It is very simple and efficient, and singlehandedly the best decision I made in my freshman year of college.

    Clean, Conscious, & Concise Creativity

    Not only did I use my iPad for my academic endeavors, but I also downloaded an app called Procreate, a digital art studio. Though the iPad doesn't mimic a paintbrush that I usually work with, it was very close! I loved drawing and painting on it, and the best part was that I wasn’t making a mess of art supplies or paint. The complexity behind this app is incredible, there are numerous features for even professional artists. There were 100s of “brushes” to choose from, various color palettes, and inspiration you can draw from. This provided a way for me to destress without bringing out my canvas, water, and paints. It was versatile and easy to use and allowed me to easily fix mistakes if needed.

    I believe that investing in an iPad was a good decision, however, there are many alternatives. I recommend researching online and then visiting technology stores near you to try out different products before deciding on investing in the one that best fits you.

    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 blog author Kara Stevens’ online calendar showing color-coded entries each day for the month of March.

    Staying Organized During a Busy Semester

    Kara Stevens

    Staying organized can be a difficult task, especially when you have a lot on your plate. As a college student, we have a lot to keep track of: classes, assignments, exams, and even extracurricular activities. It is so easy to become overwhelmed. Here are three things that help me to stay organized all semester long.

    Get and Use a Planner

    Planners will be your best friend. Even if it is a digital planner, it can be so helpful to make note of everything. I use my planner daily and write down all my assignments that are due within the month just to keep track of everything. I also find that writing your to-do list in your planner and being able to cross off items is not only satisfying but also helpful in showing what you have accomplished in the day. I have found that visual aspect of using planner is what really helps me stay on track.

    Use Color

    I have found that using color with my planner is extremely helpful. Not only does it help differentiate what is what for your classes but also makes it more fun to look at. It may even make it easier and more motivating to complete assignments. Colors don’t have to be just for classes either. I have designated colors for my personal calendar and extracurricular activities as well.

    Time Management

    As a student, I know managing time can be a hard task. But, with having an organized planner and knowing what needs to get done for the day, time management is key. Optimizing downtime is what I have found most helpful. If you have a break between classes, think, “What can I get done in the next hour?” I have found it helps to block out time for assignments and activities even though it is not a set class time.

    With these three steps, staying organized can be easy. These steps have helped me survive my first in-person year. I can manage 5 classes, a job and a leadership position in my sorority. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t entirely avoidable but organizing your thoughts can help.

    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 literature book open to a passage about Geoffrey Chaucer. Next to the book there is a cup of coffee with a heart design drawn in the coffee cream.

    3 Tips to Stay Organized when College Gets Chaotic

    Rachel Calcote

    Balancing school, extracurriculars, a social life, and work can be difficult at times. As the semester picks up pace, events increase, and deadlines quickly approach. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed or get distracted from the tasks at hand. But not to worry, here are three tips that can help you get organized and avoid that mid-semester meltdown.

    Tip #1: Figure out your scheduling preferences.

    Having your schedule laid out so that you can see your availability for that day, week, or month can help when planning for extracurriculars and social events. This can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. But consider whether you prefer a virtual or hand-written planner. Do you like to have everything to be on a computer or mobile device or are you a person who likes to handwrite things out? If you like everything in one place, consider if you take notes online or with a pen and paper. Don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find the one that works best for you.

    If you decide to track things using technology, add your schedule to your calendar. One that connects to your email is super helpful for when people email links to meetings. If you decide you want to use pen and paper, decide if you want to use a monthly calendar, a planner, or a desk calendar (where you can tear off the pages after you use them).

    Tip #2: Color code your commitments.

    Using colors to connect certain topics in your mind can help focus your thoughts and immediately distinguish between items on your schedule. Pick a color for each class, a color specifically for work, and then a color for each club you’re in. Then when you are tracking your deadlines and writing out your schedule, use the same color for deadlines that you used for that specific class or for work or whatever else you have on your schedule.

    If this seems like too much to try all at once, start by separating work and school, pick one color for each, and as you become more comfortable with the color-coding, you could add more if you chose to.

    If you’re wanting to get really into it and you take notes by hand, you can get your notebook colors to match your chosen calendar color for each class.

    Tip #3: Prioritize your to-do list.

    Most people have some form of a to-do list, whether it is in their head, on a piece of paper, in their planner, or on their phone/computer. To-do lists can be super helpful when you’re trying to get your thoughts in order and writing out things you would like to finish that day or within that week. The trouble is they can become long and overwhelming really fast.

    To prevent this, pick out the top 3 things from your to-do list that must be finished first. I pick out mine based on deadlines. Whichever 3 things have the most immediate deadlines are the ones I want to knock out first. Another way to do this can be to see which 2 things are due the soonest and 1 thing that will take a long time which must be started now. You can still write out your whole list, but each day pick at least 3 things to start or partially finish. When you finish those 3, pick out another 3 you want to start on.

    As the semester progresses, utilize these three organizing tips to get a better handle on what you need to get done. This can definitely help lower your stress so you can finish strong!

    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!