Students blog

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

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  • 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! 

     

  • The words ‘The Importance of College Mentorship’ appear over a collage of pictures of a laptop, people wearing hard hats, and two students talking.

    The Importance of College Mentorship

    Tristan Deveyra

    When I first came to college, there were so many new and amazing opportunities that were plopped right in front of me. It was incredible to see all the new career paths, adventures, and professional opportunities I could enjoy. Not to mention all the social events and fun that could be had just a 5-minute walk away on a Thursday night. These opportunities were both exciting and extremely overwhelming. So many directions opened that I felt like I was looking everywhere all at once. Then, once I met my mentors, I realized that college mentors can provide you with incredibly valuable guidance that you may not find elsewhere. The realization of the importance of mentors to me forever changed my life. My mentors have helped me socially, professionally, financially, the list goes on!

    My Mentors

  • Three college women posing in front of a white brick wall.

    Tips for Transfer Students

    Emilie Conners

    Just a few months after beginning my freshman year of college, I made the decision to transfer schools. Some people transfer early on and others, much later. Regardless of when you do, it can be overwhelming. I know the feeling of relief that comes with finally deciding to transfer, however, I also know the nervous more-like-bees than butterflies feeling in your stomach that you also get when you finally get to that new campus. Here are some tips that I learned from my transfer experience as well as some things that I wish someone would have told me when I transferred. Also, if you are still considering whether or not to transfer, these tips might also help you make that decision (coming from someone who went back and forth for months before deciding).

    Go to the Events

    I know the feeling that may give you, I also dreaded being the new transfer student at campus events – but I promise it’s worth it. It’s so much better to try and know what clubs or groups are a fit (or not a fit for you) rather than wait until senior to realize there’s a group you should have joined much earlier on. Going to these campus/club events will help you meet more people and make connections on campus – the sooner you do this, the sooner you get adjusted to your new environment.

    Reach Out to Acquaintances

    It does really help to know a few students who are already adjusted to campus as you transfer. When I transferred schools, I realized while scrolling on Instagram one day that a girl I worked with at a restaurant while I was in high school went to the school I was transferring to. I hesitated but eventually decided to reach out to her via DM to see if she wanted to get lunch sometime. The very next semester, her and her twin sister became my roommates and my best friends. We still live together today, and I can’t imagine my college experience without them. So, take the shot and reach out even if you feel nervous!

    Don’t Pass Up Opportunities

    Many of the groups I’ve joined and positions I’ve held while at my transfer school are the result of me applying for positions or going to events that I almost didn’t do. Looking back now, I’m so extremely grateful that I decided to take on these opportunities because they’ve contributed so heavily to my experience. Check your school email, talk to your professors and see what ways you can get involved – you will not regret it.

    Transferring can be overwhelming but it’s so worth it in the end. Be sure to put yourself out there and take on opportunities, you never know where they might lead you to. If you’re still considering whether or not to transfer schools, I’d advise you to picture yourself at your current school in the following semester – are you happy? Has anything from your current circumstances changed? (Different roommates, new major, etc.) If not, and if you’re struggling to find reasons to stay, transferring is not a bad idea. Everyone’s college experience is different and no one’s is perfect. Always remember to do what is going to be best for 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 white desk with 2 spiral notebooks, an open laptop, and a pencil holder.

    Get a Jump on Your Semester!

    Carla Thigpen

    Going back to campus after winter break can be an adjustment but it’s important to think of how you will stay organized throughout the semester. There will be new challenges and it is important to go in organized and prepared to eliminate as much stress as possible.

    Get Organized with a Plan

    At the beginning of a new semester, I love to use my Google or Outlook calendar and add the days and times of all my classes. I like to do this not only to know when my classes are but when adding other events, work etc. it is easier to visualize everything rather than keep track in your head. I also like to try and write a plan for my day and what I want to accomplish. This helps me stay on task and, besides, who doesn't love crossing off finished tasks from a list? Remember, if you don’t get everything done it's okay! I just use lists as a guide and reminder of what needs to be done. If you are a visual learner like me using these two tools can really help you stay on track and visualize your schedule to keep you organized.

    Try New Things

    Sometimes stress during a semester is inevitable, with a new schedule, academics and just adjusting in general, so knowing what helps you de-stress will ensure you are taking care of yourself. Every person is different so what works for someone else might not work for you. It took me a while to figure out what helps me when I’m stressed, and I realized it depends on what my mood is. Sometimes when I need a break I want to be surrounded by my friends and other times I just want to be by myself, go on a walk, or read a book. Self-care and de-stressing come in a lot of different forms so it’s important to identify what helps you.

    Don’t Procrastinate

    This may be the hardest part of being a college student. I feel like everyone has procrastinated at one point during their time in college. Sometimes it’s hard to balance a bunch of classes, clubs, and social life. Procrastination can cause stress because leaving all of your class work until the last minute can cause work to be turned in late, or not done correctly. Now, there are some people who thrive under pressure and save work until the last minute, but I feel like for most people that is not the case. You can try to reduce procrastination by setting a window of time for yourself when you are only going to do homework and see how much you can get done. Or try choosing a specific day to work on assignments from each class so your focus stays on one subject at a time.

    Know Yourself

    Organization can be tricky to figure out for yourself, but once you do it will make your life so much easier! What works for someone else might not work for you. You know yourself best and it's important to remember that. If you try something and it doesn’t work, switch it up and try a new organizational tactic. Staying organized will only help you and your mental health to have an enjoyable 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 photo collage of the author in various student organization events.

    Navigating the College Experience: Finding Connection and Growth

    Tahmina Tisha

    Starting college can be both exciting and overwhelming. As a freshman, you find yourself in a new location, surrounded by new people, and immersed in a completely different environment. The transition to university life can be challenging, especially when it comes to navigating financial responsibilities, time management, and understanding the people surrounding you, all independently. Suddenly, we are expected to be adults, figuring out our way through this uncharted territory.

    My college journey began during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the shift to online learning posed its own set of obstacles. While it helped me pass my classes, it hindered the opportunity to make genuine connections with fellow students. Zoom University became a barrier to the vibrant college experience I had envisioned.

    However, after a whole year, I finally got a taste of the college experience I had longed for. Stepping onto campus, I was uncertain where to start. In elementary and high school, I had a consistent group of friends, but now I found myself surrounded by new faces from diverse backgrounds. One valuable lesson I learned early on was the importance of joining clubs and organizations. They became the gateway to finding like-minded individuals and forming meaningful connections. These groups provided me with a platform to network and expand my horizons. Organizations such as Touch-n-Go, Latino Pilot Association, Theta Phi Alpha, and Pearson played pivotal roles in shaping the person I am today.

    Touch-N-Go, a branch of my school’s student government association, provided me with an avenue to pursue my passion for community service while connecting me with like-minded peers who shared the same drive to make a difference. Within this organization, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the craziest, funniest, and most interesting individuals. Each person's story served as a valuable life lesson, reminding me that whatever challenges I faced, I was not alone. The sense of camaraderie and shared experiences within Touch-N-Go fostered a supportive environment where we could uplift and inspire one another. Being part of this organization taught me the power of unity and the profound impact we can have when we come together with a common purpose.

    I have gained so much from two additional student organizations as well. Joining the Latino Pilot Association not only allowed me to celebrate different diverse heritage but also connected me with mentors who guided me through my academic journey. And Theta Phi Alpha, a sorority dedicated to empowering women, provided me with a sisterhood that became my support system for everything. It offered opportunities for personal and professional growth, fostering leadership skills and lifelong friendships.

    Working at both Pearson and the Print Shop (campus job) since freshman year provided me with invaluable real-world work experience. These opportunities allowed me to develop essential skills, while also networking with mentors, students, and influential individuals. Through these connections, I gained enrichment and a stronger sense of belonging within my field of interest. These workplaces became more than just jobs; they became second homes that shaped me personally and professionally.

    To every freshman navigating the daunting world of college, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and explore the multitude of clubs and organizations available to you. Embrace the diversity and unique perspectives that your fellow students bring. Find your tribe, your support system, and your platform for growth. Remember, college is not just about textbooks and exams; it's about the connections you make, the experiences you have, and the person you become. Embrace the journey, seize opportunities, and let the college experience mold you into the best version of yourself.

    While the beginning of college may seem overwhelming, joining clubs and organizations can be the key to finding connection, personal growth, and a sense of belonging. Embrace the diverse community that surrounds you, and let it enrich your college experience. Step out of your comfort zone, take risks, and allow yourself to be transformed. Your college years will become the foundation of a lifelong journey filled with knowledge, friendships, and personal achievements.

    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 10 college women outside in front of some green trees and brush.

    Advice for Spring Recruitment Week

    Peyton Maria

    As soon as winter break comes to a close, some college students will be traveling back to campus in order to join a Greek life organization. Whether you’re a freshman girl who has been waiting for rush week all semester, or a junior guy looking to rush to meet a good group of friends, the entire rush process can be a stressful one.

    To calm some nerves, I have compiled some advice about the process from my friends at colleges all across the US. I hope you find it helpful as you go through this stressful, but genuinely fun and rewarding experience!

    Xavier Kretsinger-Walters - James Madison University
    “Sounds obvious, but be yourself. Chances are, if you change up your personality just to fit in or get a bid, you'll end up in an organization that you won't feel connected to. Find a Greek organization with similar personalities where you see yourself making good connections and friendships.”

    Alivia Clay - Texas Christian University
    “I would say to follow your gut. I felt most at home at a sorority that wasn't considered a top house and because of everyone else's opinions I ended up choosing the "better sorority" that hasn't been a great fit. Sometimes the houses that are the least popular have the most fun and where you'll find the most friends. Just follow your heart <3 Good luck!”

    AJ Vazquez - Indiana University Indianapolis
    “I would say to go with the group of people that you best fit with and that you feel you can be yourself. A Greek organization is meant to better young men and women and it’s key to find an organization that feels like a home away from home. I also encourage those interested in Greek life to rush all chapters they can and not focus on the number of members or anything they’ve heard but to judge based on their personal experience and perspective.”

    Student - University of Florida
    “Just be yourself and don’t be scared to answer any questions! They just want to get to know you for who you are!”

    Cassidy Chinn - University of Georgia
    “Always be authentic to who you are! The rush process can be hyped up and super stressful, but you really do find where you are meant to be. Greek life is great, and you really do get out what you put into it!”

    Jasmine Ferrante - University of Maine
    “I would say to always be yourself and not change who you are! You will end up in the right chapter for you and thrive in the chapter.”

    Victoria Kaplan - UC Berkeley
    “Rush week can be incredibly exhausting, so make sure you take time for yourself to properly recharge and be the best version of yourself. While you may think you absolutely need to be in a certain house, at the end of the day the people you click with make the best friends!

    Michelle Qi - Florida State University
    “Be open minded because you will be happy where you end up and you WILL find your perfect family! It can feel overwhelming at times but stay strong and know that there is always a house for you!!”

    Jen Fiengo - Coastal Carolina University
    “I personally went through spring recruitment. If you don’t walk into the room and feel comfortable, that sorority is not for you. You need to go somewhere that feels like home, and you will know it when you feel it.”

    To sum all that up, the whole point of the process is to find your home and a group of people you want to spend college with. Good luck, trust the process, don’t stress, and you will find your people in the end!

    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 person holding a shopping bag standing in front of a large outdoor Christmas tree with lit with white lights.

    Gift Ideas for the Season

    May Gratton

    When it comes to Christmas gifts, sometimes it is hard to find the perfect thing for your favorite people. Most of the time when we ask for ideas, we are often met with the response, “you don’t need to get me anything, don’t worry about it.” But, if you’re anything like me, you love getting gifts for others. To help ease the stress, I have made a list of a few gift recommendations, based on gifts that I have given to my family/loved ones.

    Parents

    Last year, I got my parents a digital picture frame. My siblings and I can upload pictures via an app to display on their frame. I have also gotten my parents matching hoodies from my college, Oregon State (go Beavs!) Instead of college hoodies, you could also go to somewhere like Old Navy and get them a nice sweater! If your parents are empty nesters like mine are, another great idea would be to get them some tickets to a concert or some sort of event that your parents would be interested in.

    Siblings

    I’ve always been a huge fan of gag gifts for siblings. One year, when my sister was going to University of Oregon (my school’s rival), I got her an Oregon State blanket, with the intention of my parents keeping it. On top of a gag gift, something simple like a flannel or a cute sweater for your siblings will never go wrong. I always get my brother something simple like a hat, T-shirt, hoodie, or shoes.

    Significant Others

    A great idea for your significant other is getting them a perfume/cologne that you like the scent of. Personally, even if the scent isn’t my favorite, I would still wear it if it was given to me by my significant other. Another gift idea would also be an experience that the two of you can do together, like a concert, a weekend away, or a sporting event. Or how about matching customized sweatshirts? Finally, jewelry! You can never go wrong with a simple bracelet or earrings...maybe even a ring (wink wink).

    Friends

    It’s fun to use inside jokes and/or little things that you know about your friends in selecting their gift. Last year I got all my friends basic things that everyone uses but hates paying for, like makeup wipes. I also got them Turbie Twists (super-absorbent microfiber towels) to use for their hair after a shower. Candles are something that everybody can enjoy! Just think about random things that your friend may like and find a funny, but useful gift that you could get them. For example, one of my friends loves cats and sushi, so I found a pair of cat chopsticks for her, which she uses at least once a week now!

    Happy gift giving!

    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 view of an area of academic buildings on the Washington State University campus crowded with students walking to class.

    Time: The Most Valuable Constant

    Bryson Sleeper

    Time. It’s always moving, but also never kept close track of. Yet, it’s one of the most complained about and concerning metrics known to mankind. In today’s day and age everyone seems to “need just a few more minutes”.

    As college students we are constantly in conversation regarding the mountain of work we must cram into the day or the busy schedule we have this week. With so many distractions in a young person’s college life it is almost impossible to be able to do everything. I’m here to tell you if there is a will, there’s a way. With the right tools and mindset on how to go about your week you should have no problem doing those extra things like joining that club, going out with your friends, or my personal favorite taking those random days off just to relax and have your “me time” that you so desperately need.

    Set Realistic Goals

    To succeed with time management, you need to start with being realistic with yourself. Analyze and look at your school schedule, possible work hours, and social life along with any other activities your involved in. Ask yourself how much time each of these take out of your week. Be very honest with yourself and rank these by priority. Then add about 2 hours to that original estimate to make up for distractions, travel time, and maybe just brain breaks in between a longer work session.

    Assess Sleep Schedule and Routine

    Take a look at your sleep schedule. Is it consistent? Are you a morning person? How much sleep can you function on consistently? After these questions are answered, make a routine schedule. What this means is to create a small routine that you can start off committing to. This should be attainable but something that’s going to improve your daily productivity.

    For example, I wake up 3 hours before my first class. I use the first hour to shower, get ready, and eat something to fuel my day. The next 2 hours I walk to the library and go through all my emails and start on homework. This has been a life changing adjustment and has increased my mental and physical health as well as my GPA. Having this time 5 out of the 7 days of the week has helped me to get ahead on my classes and work schedule. I feel much more accomplished as I have granted myself private work time to get ahead on school assignments and important email correspondence. This leaves my free time in the afternoon to assess my next day’s work and feel like I’m prepared for tomorrow versus feel like I’m procrastinating and pushing work off.

    Improve As You Go

    Once you commit and dedicate yourself to a more improved routine, I think most lives can be changed for the better. Over the past two years in college, I have noticed my peers in their struggling sleep schedules and sporadic morning routines in a rush to get to places on time.

    I have simply transferred this small list of tips and tricks from my busy high school schedule over to my college lifestyle and it has helped tremendously. I have decreased my stress levels for larger class activities meanwhile increasing my much-needed social free time with these few simple rules I’ve set for myself.

    The immediate results in health, grades, and quality of work from this routine change will motivate you to continue this challenge. This realization is my new superpower in my intense college experience that I have learned to love and hope that those of you reading this will attempt to implement in the near future.

    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 scenic view of a small Italian town by the water.

    Top 10 Tips for Studying Abroad

    Emma Karant

    In the summer of 2022, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Florence, Italy! This was a very exciting experience for me, but mixed in with the excitement was a feeling of fear of the unknown. I did not feel prepared going into this new experience. Because of this, I have made a list of 10 tips everyone should know before studying abroad!

    1. Keep a journal

    This is something that I did not do, but I really wish that I did! However, my roommate kept a journal and wrote in it every day. Even if it was a little entry, it helped her remember all of the small things that happened that we sometimes forget about!

    2. Bring comfortable shoes

    Wearing comfortable shoes is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give! On most days, I was averaging 20,000 steps! Trust me, your feet will thank you!

    3. Make new friends

    Although the whole experience may be very intimidating, remember to keep an open mind! Make friends with people who you would not expect to be friends with. I didn't know anyone when I flew to Florence, however, I kept an open mind and tried to meet as many people as possible!

    4. Go to new places

    Especially in Europe, traveling to other nearby countries is fairly easy and cheap compared to being in the United States. My best advice would be to take advantage of this! Traveling to other countries on the weekend was very common, and it was really cool to be able to see different parts of Europe other than where I stayed!

    5. Have a budget

    With all of that being said, it is essential to have a budget. It is best to research the average prices for things where you are studying, and then base a budget on that, as well as how much you can afford. It can be very easy to spend too much money when you are abroad, so it is essential to do this before you leave!

    6. Always have some cash

    Lots of places in Europe are cash only, so it is helpful to have cash on you at all times just in case. I suggest getting this at your bank before you go abroad because it can be expensive to make this transfer outside of the United States!

    7. Send postcards back home

    This is a small tip that I wish I did more. Since we traveled on the weekends, I wish that I sent my family a postcard from each country or town that we visited, and then kept one for myself! This is a small way to keep your family or friends updated with your travels, and it gives you a tangible thing to have from each place that you visit!

    8. Learn a little of the native language

    It is really helpful if you try to learn at least a few words and phrases of the language that people speak in the country you will be staying in! Although many big cities such as Florence, Rome, and Paris can understand English well, it can be very helpful to try and learn the language while you are there, and it helps you understand the culture better!

    9. Do not be afraid to ask for help

    Although sometimes this may be scary, do not be afraid to ask for help from your professors or people you may meet in passing! Being in a new country can be confusing at times, and it is okay to ask people how to do something or how to get somewhere!

    10. Remember to rest!

    Although studying abroad is so much fun, remember to rest while you are there! You want to take care of yourself, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get some sleep and have downtime!

    Most importantly, remember to have fun! Studying abroad is one of the most incredible things I have ever done, and I would not change my experience for anything. Soak up the moments that you are there because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

    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!