Students blog

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

Explore posts in other areas.

PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

  • A computer graphic of an Asian family sitting around a table and eating dumplings. There is a red background with Chinese lanterns.

    A Sneak Peek into Lunar New Year

    Alice Li

    Coming from a family of Chinese immigrants, Lunar New Year has always been one of the most prominent holidays my family celebrated. As a child, all I really knew about the holiday was that I would meet up with relatives, eat good food, and receive a bunch of red envelopes—a very shallow interpretation I must admit.

    As I grew older, I learned there is so much more to the holiday that illustrates how sophisticated the Chinese culture is. It also heightened my appreciation for my heritage and sparked my desire to visit China to see firsthand how they celebrate.

    And now I want to share my learnings about the different aspects to celebrating this holiday:

    The History

    There are many different stories about how this holiday came to be. The version I know centers around the monster "Nian", which translates to “year” in Chinese. Allegedly, Nian was a beast that came down to eat humans with the coming of each new year. To scare it away, citizens would use what it feared most: the color red and loud noises. This is why many Chinese communities would set off firecrackers for Lunar New Year and why you would often see the color red all over the place.

    The Food

    Many families would eat "auspicious" foods for the holidays that often has a phrase and play-on word tied to it. For instance, 年年有餘 (nian nian you yu) is a Chinese saying that basically means to have abundance and surplus each year. Fish is often served on Lunar New Year because the work 餘 sounds the same as the word 魚, which means fish. Interestingly enough, this is one of the dishes my family would have on the table, but not eat until a later day because finishing it is a sign of eating away your surplus too soon and is thus seen as unlucky.

    Some other common foods include:

    1. Dumplings because it is shaped like a coin bag
    2. Noodles symbolizing longevity and thus should not be cut
    3. Nian gao representing prosperity as a play-on word to "tall" so reaching new heights each year

    The Celebrations

    Lunar New Year is traditionally a 15-day festival where many Chinese people would get an entire week off work to celebrate. There are many different traditions people may partake in.

    One of the most renowned is red envelopes. During this holiday, many adults would give red envelopes with money inside to children or as long as an individual is unmarried. It symbolizes a blessing for safety and peace.

    When meeting others during this celebration, it is polite to greet others with various auspicious sayings. In fact, most people would greet with more than one phrase which is why it is important to know multiple which may include:

    1. 新年快樂 (xin nian kuai le) - happy new year
    2. 恭喜發財 (gong xi fa cai) - may you be blessed with prosperity
    3. 身體健康 (shen ti jian kang) - may you be blessed with health
    4. 年年有餘 (nian nian you yu) - may you be blessed with abundance each year

    This is merely a fragment of the traditions associated with the holiday and how my family has celebration Lunar New Year. Traditions vary depending on what region of China or even Asia individuals are from. In 2024, Lunar New Year starts Saturday, February 10th. Explore the traditions and celebrations local to you this year and learn more about this international holiday.

    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 a football game at Michigan State. The marching band is on the field.

    Finding Your Niche

    CJ Schumacher

    College is a stressful time for many freshmen as establishing a new group of friends can be a difficult thing to achieve. Expression and discovery are two things that every college student will look at when arriving at school. These things can be very hard to come by and it can be difficult to even start to think about how to put yourself out there. Here are four ideas to help you find your niche in this new environment.

    Have Some Variety

    Build some variety into your course schedule. This will encourage you to meet many types of people throughout all your classes and can lead to different types of connections.

    Join Some Clubs

    Club involvement is crucial to getting connected to a new school. At Michigan State, we have something called Sparticipation in both the fall and spring semesters. This is a giant club fair for all the clubs on campus. Your school most likely has something similar. Attend the event and talk to the people representing different groups. You can also see if they have an information QR code or a signup list to sign up for emails from that club! In connection with this, look at any school-related social media accounts and posts to discover clubs you are interested in. Reach out to them through their direct messages or see if there is an information link in their account.

    Speak to Your Advisor

    Have discussions with your advisor. Advisors can often open your mind to your options and give you advice on good clubs and organizations to join to make the most of your college experience. Getting to know your advisors can improve your college experience and enhance job opportunities for the future.

    Be Yourself

    My final tip is something that may appear to be basic but be yourself. While going around campus just be true to yourself and be open to new opportunities. Just do what makes you happy and positive experiences will come your way.

    There will definitely be challenging times during college, but many very fulfilling times as well. Try everything you can, have a good time and enjoy some of the best years of your life.

    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! 

  • Nutritional food dishs of chicken on rice with avocado

    What’s on My Plate: Recipes for the Everyday College Student

    Rachel Stennett

    Picking out all the shortcomings in our diet is the easy part- figuring out how to make up for these shortcomings is a lot harder. “I should be eating more veggies, but I don’t have the time to prepare them; I should be drinking more water, but the taste is so boring compared to juice; I would cook more, but I don’t know what to make” are all common excuses students make when it comes to dining in college. Now that we have covered some of the nutritional deficiencies in college students and the most common micronutrient sources- how do we actually implement these foods into our diet? 

    While I experimented in the kitchen growing up, most of my meals were not as appetizing as the ones I idolized on cooking shows. During my time in college, I have had more time to refine my cooking skills and build a modest collection of go-to recipes. Here are a few of my favorite recipes and quick meals that can help add back missing micronutrients to the everyday college student’s diet.

  • A graphic with a muted background photo of a butterfly on a flower with the blog title superimposed “How to Celebrate The First Day of Spring on Campus”.

    Celebrate the First Day of Spring!

    Ana Cooper

    This year the first day of spring falls on March 20th, 2023. This is right in the middle of my spring semester so I will have to be intentional about celebrating spring this year. There are a bunch of things that all of us as college students can do to celebrate the new season of spring on campus.

    Spring Cleaning

    Spring is about renewal, starting fresh. I like to start this season by really cleaning out my desk, drawers, closet, and under my bed. Not only do I get rid of things, but I deep clean the area to make sure not too much dust and dirt are building up. This is also a good time to put away your dark winter clothes and keep some lighter layers on hand. Having just a few key pieces and plenty of neutrals is sure to give you a spring capsule wardrobe that looks fun and colorful in any combination.

    Get Your Greens

    It is proven that green is a calming color and that plants increase levels of happiness. Whether it’s a flower, some succulents, or herbs, go get some plants to spruce up your living space. They help make fresh oxygen for us to breathe which helps us perform optimally.

    Put Color in Your Life

    Color is so fun and can brighten up your mood when you look at it. Paint your room a different color or just an accent wall. If you are in a dorm, then paint new colorful art. I like to get a huge canvas, plash some fun pastels on it, and then write a nice quote that speaks to me. This is also a fun time to put in more seasonal décor.

    SMILE

    The weather is more temperate, the flowers are blooming, the colors are bright, there are many reasons to smile. The more positivity you start showing to others, the more positivity you will receive. It also exercises your facial muscles and keeps you looking youthful. Improve your mood and those around you. Mother Teresa often said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Smiles are free! Shine them to others.

    Try New Things and Start New Habits

    Spring is like a second chance at any New Year’s resolutions you set. Review your goals - what haven’t you done so well on? What is a priority for right now? Make your goals specific and get started with one new habit at a time. Make a game plan by writing out how you want to achieve these goals every day, week, and month. Before you know it, it will almost be summer, and you will have these habits in the bag.

    I love spring with all the flowers, fun weather, and pretty colors. I often make fun memories with my friends at this time of year even if it is in the thick of exams. Take time to literally stop and smell the roses this spring and celebrate this gorgeous season and what it may have in store 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 view of Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus.

    Finding Your Favorite Spot on Campus

    Nicole Fatovic

    When I was looking at what university to call my home for the next four years, I looked at all the “normal” things: academics, student life, involvement, school spirit, and a pretty campus. What I did not consider was something that I did not even realize I needed – a beautiful outdoor area where I could spend countless hours. Here’s why this area is so crucial to my college experience and why I encourage other students to find their favorite spot on campus.

    A student’s favorite spot on campus could be anything from a preferred place to study to a place to go to decompress. I wanted a place that would bring a sense of tranquility after a long day. As an out-of-state student, I was also searching for a small piece of home on campus. With these things in mind, I took walks around my campus during my free time trying to find the best spot. Eventually, I started to spend more time at a small lake on my campus called Lake Alice. This spot has so much to offer including picnic tables that make great study spots, spectacular sunsets, trails to walk around, and many spots to throw up a hammock. I find myself going there whenever I have some free time to relax, or if I want to do some light studying. This spot also helps ground me when I begin to feel trapped inside lecture halls and libraries.

    I encourage you to find a spot as I have done by following a few simple steps:

    Make a List of What is Most Important to You

    I was able to find my perfect spot by knowing what I enjoy doing in my free time. Aside from studying, I always make time in my day to get a workout in. This lake is conveniently located in between where I live and the campus gym, making this an easy destination to knock two tasks down in one trip. I also know that I enjoy spending time outdoors, so it only makes sense that my favorite spot on campus is outside.

    Walk Around

    Even as a second-year student, I still feel like there are parts of my campus that I have not fully explored. Go on a small walk, maybe bring some friends along, and see all that your beautiful campus has to offer.

    Craft a Schedule

    Let’s face it, we are all busy college students who don’t always have free time. I’m not free to spend every day at this lake, and that is okay. I try my best to find at least one time each week I can go to this spot. When I get too busy and cannot find time to go, it is alright because it ends up being even more enjoyable when I do find the time to go there.

    Having a place on campus that I look forward to going to keeps me motivated throughout the semester. Make a point to explore and discover a spot on your own campus that you’ll come to love as much as I love Lake Alice!

    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 college student author’s desk with a laptop showing MyDietAnalysis on screen

    Unwrapping the college diet: Recognizing students’ common nutritional deficiencies

    Rachel Stennett

    Starting college is exciting -- and frightening. Between planning my move to school, worrying if I’ll become friends with my roommates, and researching what classes I should take, I never considered what my daily, mundane life as a college student might look like. Once I settled in and all the excitement and nervousness died down, a new feeling quickly replaced them- hunger. I suddenly realized I was truly on my own for everything now, including meals.

    As a dietetics student, I felt like I had an advantage. I knew I needed to eat fruits and vegetables often, fiber and protein would help keep me full for long periods of time, and I should limit fast food. But when classes picked up steam and new responsibilities piled up, these sensible doctrines were replaced by: what foods will take the quickest route from the plate to my stomach for the cheapest amount?

    Last fall was the first time I realized that my diet may not be ideal for my health. My human nutrition professor assigned a diet and nutrition analysis. Using a nutrition tracker, we were expected to analyze our diet for one day and describe any nutritional deficiencies we had. After completing this assignment, I realized my daily diet had deficiencies in B12, Zinc, Vitamin D, and Calcium.

    It turns out that many college-aged students are also deficient in these micronutrients without realizing it. We tend to focus on macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins, and fats - along with calories, sugar, and salt intake. So it’s easy to overlook micronutrient deficiencies. However, continuing imbalances in micronutrients can also adversely affect your health.

    Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 binds naturally to animal proteins. Some foods, such as plant milks and cereals, can also be artificially fortified to include B12. Through the digestive process, B12 is released from the food’s proteins and repackaged to be absorbed by the small intestine. Once absorbed, B12 is used by the body to help form red blood cells, DNA, brain cells, and nerve cells. It is recommended that college-aged adults consume at least 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily. This is equivalent to a small portion of salmon or two cups of yogurt.

    People with a B12 deficiency often show signs of fatigue, weakness, or confusion. Deficiencies are most common for people who avoid animal products, such as vegetarians and vegans, and for those who eat a limited diet – but fortification can help prevent them.

    Zinc

    Another micronutrient commonly found in meat, fish, and poultry is zinc. It can also be obtained from non-animal sources, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains. However, zinc from these sources is not as easily absorbed by the body. Nutrition professionals say these sources have a lower bioavailability of zinc.

    Once absorbed, zinc is used to help create DNA, new cells, build proteins, heal wounds, and support immunity as well as many other bodily processes. The recommended daily intake for college-aged adults is between 8 – 11 milligrams. (This is equivalent to four servings of breakfast cereal.)

    People with a zinc deficiency often show signs of decreased sense of taste or smell, loss of appetite, lowered immunity, and slower wound healing. Vegetarians, vegans, and alcoholics are most at risk for zinc deficiencies.

    Vitamin D and Calcium

    Vitamin D and calcium work together to promote bone and tooth health. People with vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are likely to experience bone weakening, muscle cramps, and poor appetite, among other challenges. In addition to assisting with the absorption of calcium, vitamin D also helps immune responses. Calcium also assists in bodily processes such as blood clotting, muscle contracts, heart rate regulation, and nerve functions.

    The sun is the most abundant source of vitamin D. However, for students who live in a less sunny state, or spend their days locked away in a campus library, vitamin D can also be derived from fatty fish, fortified orange juice, mushrooms, and egg yolks. People with darker skin tones are also susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies. Higher concentrations of melanin, the substance that promotes skin pigmentation, absorbs some solar UV radiation that would otherwise be used to produce vitamin D. The recommended daily intake for college-aged adults is 15 micrograms per day. This is equivalent to 1 cup of white mushrooms.

    Calcium can be found in a variety of sources such as dairy products (and many of their vegan alternatives), leafy greens, beans, and nuts. It is recommended that college-aged adults consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. This is equivalent to 4 cups of fortified soy milk.

    Explore more deeply

    Not every college-aged student is deficient in these nutrients. Some may have different deficiencies, while others may have none. Only a doctor or certified medical professional can reliably diagnosis a nutritional deficiency. Nonetheless, hopefully this list will give you a better understanding of nutrients that might be missing from your diet, and how diet tracking can help make these discoveries.

    Want to learn more about diet tracking? Check out MyDietAnalysis, a powerful tool that helps students log their diet and activity choices and provides detailed nutrition and activity reports to help you practice nutrition analysis.  

  • A view from the stands of a campus football game. There is a marching band on the field.

    Falling Into the Autumn Semester – Fall Fun Activities!

    Taylor Perline

    The autumn semester is an exciting time for students of all walks of life. It’s a fresh start for both new and returning college students; however, it is not always a breath of fresh air. New classes, new professors, changes in schedules, and other factors can make the fall semester feel more overwhelming than exciting. Luckily, with this change in season, there is an opportunity for fun fall activities on campus!

    Check Out Your College’s Sports

    With the start of the academic season, various sports seasons also start up around campus! And students should not just limit themselves to going to a weekly football game. Football games are full of tradition and school spirit, but students can also check out their college’s soccer teams, volleyball teams, or even water polo (if their school has it of course)! Or if you’d rather be on the field, check out your school’s intramural sports schedule! Whether as a spectator or participant, getting involved with more athletic teams can build a much stronger connection between a student and their school.

    Join a New Club

    Embrace the new beginnings that the fall semester offers and try out a new club! This could be something related to a major, minor, or just another passion. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Maybe give the baking club, drawing club, or even some form of animal-based club a try. Connect with your campus student organization office to learn more about what clubs and organizations are available and how to get involved.

    Visit a Coffee Shop

    Whether it be solo or with a friend, a warm drink or a pastry on a crisp fall day can refresh even the most exhausted student. Check out a new coffee shop that you have never been to before.

    Get Ready for Spooky Season

    The faster the color of the leaves begins to change, the faster Halloween season approaches. Many college students enjoy spending time together in fun Halloween-related activities. This could be through going out in costume, staying in for a spooky movie night, or even finding a way to go out trick or treating! In college, it is also common to see students engage in partner or group costumes! Even though the season may be scary, do not be afraid to have a little fun!

    The start of the academic season can a challenging and stressful time for many. Students should remember to make time for self-care and have some fun during their 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! 

  • 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! 

  • Two college women pose together in their dorm room. They are standing in front of a desk in the space between their single beds.

    The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing for Your Move to Campus

    Madeline Beavis

    Moving into a college dorm can be a daunting task for any incoming freshmen. It can be difficult to determine what is necessary to bring and what can be left at home with limited space in your dorm room. Even if you’ve watched a thousand YouTube videos about the “perfect” packing suggestions, you can still end up with a list a mile long. After experiencing two semesters of dorm life, here are some of my do's and don’ts for move-in day!

    DO Bring Lots and Lots of Storage Options

    Storage is one of the biggest challenges. I recommend using the space under your bed to store extra items that don’t fit in your closet or dresser. Large plastic tubs or storage bins with drawers are a great place to put things like sweatshirts or snacks, and smaller containers are perfect for stacking on shelves. Remember, organization is key!

    DON’T Bring an Iron or Ironing Board

    When I was first packing for school, I thought ironing equipment was an essential item... but if I wasn’t ironing my clothes at home, why would I do it at school? These items take up a lot of space and you will most likely only use them once, if at all.

    DO Bring a Wide Range of Clothes

    When you’re sitting in lectures for a long time, comfort is top priority so pack some cozy outfits! Don’t forget one or two business casual options as well for any academic presentations or job interviews. It’s also good to remember that you may not have to bring everything on the first day. Depending on your school location, summer clothing could be brought home during breaks and exchanged with winter clothing or vice versa! Lastly, if you are traveling a long distance, consider what items can be purchased when you get there!

    DON’T Bring Items That Are Not Allowed

    Many schools do not allow certain items for safety reasons or because they will be provided for you. Although you may really want to bring an air conditioning unit, candles, or smaller appliances like hot plates or toasters, your Resident Assistant will require you to remove them or confiscate them completely.

    DO Bring a Desk Lamp and Surge Protector

    Lightning is not always the best in dorm rooms. Having a light on your desk is really helpful if you’re studying late at night while a roommate is sleeping. Having a surge protector helps eliminate the scarcity of outlets if you have multiple devices you need to plug in.

    DON’T Bring a Massive Laundry Bin, DO Bring a Laundry Bag

    Potentially carrying a large laundry basket up many flights of stairs is not ideal. I found that a laundry bag you can swing over your shoulder was super easy. I even brought two bags: one for dirty clothes on the way to my laundry room and one for clean clothes on the way back!

    DO Bring a Shower Caddy (And Shower Shoes!)

    You’re going to want something to carry all of your shower stuff with you to the bathroom. I recommend a mesh bag which is very easy to clean by hand or in the washing machine and hangs nicely. However, some students prefer to use a plastic caddy that they put on the floor. Don’t forget shower shoes are strongly recommended in dorm bathrooms!!

    Most importantly, DO Coordinate with Your Roommate(s)

    It’s not always possible to get in touch with your future roommate(s) but try your best to coordinate certain items. For example, you won’t need two vacuums or two TVs, and you can save a lot of money and time if you split a wish list!

    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!