Students blog

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

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  • Blog author Nia is standing in front of a large backdrop with the logos of HBCU Battle of the Brains and the NFL.

    Black and Brilliant: Thriving in STEM at an HBCU

    Nia LaCour

    Pursuing computer science at an Historically Black College or University (HBCU) is a tapestry woven with challenges, triumph, and countless insights, many that come with being a first-generation Black woman in a field where diversity is often a rarity. Here are just a few that I have experienced in my time at an HBCU.

    Choosing the Path

    Choosing to major in computer science was an intentional decision, driven by a profound passion for technology and a desire to contribute to a field where more diversity is necessary, but lacking.

    Navigating Challenges and Celebrating Triumphs

    Life as a first-generation student presents itself as a long journey, characterized by a myriad of challenges and triumphs. The intricacies of deciphering complex programming problems to grappling with the stereotypes deeply rooted in the field of technology, has been challenging but also rewarding. The highs and lows of my academic journey serve as a vivid canvas, illustrating the resilience needed to navigate uncharted territories.

    Mentorship

    Mentorship is a crucial component of being successful in any field. Mentors, with their sage advice and unwavering support, have played an instrumental role in shaping not only the trajectory of my studies but also my understanding of the field. Their influence extends beyond academia, permeating into the essence of personal development.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    At the heart of my experience lies diversity within STEM at my HBCU. Being part of a community that embraces diversity and fosters inclusion has made a profound impact on both who I am as a student and who I am as a person. The unique environment of my university has not only enriched my education journey but has also become a catalyst for innovation, creativity, and a broader perspective on the possibilities within the realm of computer science.

    Resilience

    In the face of challenges, resilience emerges as a constant companion. As I continue my journey, bouncing back, learning from failures, and keeping an unwavering determination all have propelled me forward. Resilience is not just a trait; it is an enduring narrative woven intricately into the fabric of my journey.

    Inspiring the Next Generation

    Other than my passion for technology and diversity, I also have a commitment to motivate the next generation. I come from a small town in south Louisiana, where the younger generation are not aware of all of the possibilities that can be offered to them. As a first-generation student, a Black woman, and a torchbearer for diversity in STEM, the responsibility to inspire others becomes a central theme. I strive to provide a blueprint for success in the face of adversity.

    The collective journey we navigate together is a commitment to shaping a future where diversity is an undeniable part of technological innovation. As we traverse the dynamic landscape of STEM, the hope is for shared narratives to inspire and empower. As the journey continues, we strive for a reality where the pioneers of today pave the way for those of tomorrow.

    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 set of nursing flashcards displayed by a stethoscope and alcohol wipe packets.

    Top 3 Tips for Taking the Next Generation NCLEX

    Arianna Olivier

    Back in 2017, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) conducted a study called the Nursing Knowledge survey. The results of this survey gave valuable insights with the evolving changes happening in nursing education and practice, and ensured that the nurses on the floors are well-prepared to provide safe and effective care. The NCSBN developed an upgraded version of the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) now called the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN), which went into effect in April 2023. Here are the 3 top things to keep in mind when taking the NGN.

    1. Protect Your Patients' Lives!

    The NCLEX is an exam used to analyze one main thing at its core: how safe of a nurse are you? Patient safety is a priority in nursing practice, and the NGN underscores this by presenting scenarios that focus on safe and effective care. Test-takers will need to demonstrate that they can use the knowledge learned from nursing school, convert it into critical thinking and apply that to the answer. The exam aims to ensure that new nurses are well-prepared to provide care that minimizes risks and maximizes positive outcomes.

    2. You Need to Use Your Critical Thinking.

    This is not the same as high school exams. The NGN places a significant emphasis on clinical judgment, going beyond the traditional knowledge-based questions. When analyzing the clinical judgment is the ability to make informed decisions based on critical thinking and real-world scenarios. This means that test-takers will encounter questions that present complex patient situations, requiring them to analyze data, prioritize interventions, and make sound clinical decisions. This shift reflects the need for nurses to be competent and confident decision-makers in dynamic healthcare environments.

    3. Reflecting Real-World Scenarios:

    The NGN draws from real-world nursing scenarios to create questions that mirror the challenges nurses face daily. This means that candidates won't just be tested on theoretical knowledge; they will need to apply their critical thinking into practical situations. The goal is to prepare nurses who can seamlessly transition from the classroom to the clinical setting, ready to address the complexities of modern healthcare. They will be implementing this on the new exam with a new question type called a Case Scenario. They will present to you a single case that can have 2-8 questions based on the case scenario.

    If you are a nursing student or a future nursing student, do not freak out. Becoming more aware of what will be on the Next Generation NCLEX will ease your anxiety and give you an understanding of what is to be expected for this exam. By understanding these 3 key aspects of the Next Generation exam, you can prepare yourself to be a nurse that can safely execute tasks and assignments. However, you will truly know how to be a good nurse once you are working on the floor.

    Keep studying!

    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 Anna is pictured next to a page showing a marketing report.

    How I Chose My College Major: Marketing

    Anna Garner

    Choosing a major for college can be overwhelming, especially with all the options out there. Lucky for me I was able to figure out what I wanted to major in while still in high school. My name is Anna Garner, and I am going to share the story about how a teacher from my high school helped me find my love for my major.

    How It All Started

    I was a junior in high school when I decided I wanted to major in marketing. I had taken lots of different elective classes because I was not sure what I wanted to do for a career. I took animal science, nursing, and marketing classes for three years trying to figure out which path was right for me. Did I want to be a vet, a nurse, or a businesswoman?

    One Special Teacher

    So how did I decide? I found myself always excited to go to my marketing classes. I liked the way I got to be creative and show a different side of me. It seemed to be something that came easily to me. My marketing teacher Mrs. Miller also played a big part in my decision. She was a great teacher who came up with projects that challenged me in a good way and sparked my interest in learning more.

    Join the Club

    She had a career in marketing before teaching and was able to share her experience with me. She also served as the advisor to a school club called Distributive Education clubs of America (DECA) that I joined my junior year. This club was business focused, and we would practice real world situations and come up with business plans for fake companies. Each year we would compete in a competition with other schools to show off our business skills. This club gave me experience I needed to peacefully choose my major.

    Explore the Possibilities

    Whether you are still in high school or already starting your college career, utilizing your resources is the best advice I could give someone trying to figure out what they want their major to be. Take advantage of any electives offered and look at them like a trial run. Get involved with different clubs to see if any of them spark your interest. Network with people who are in the career you are considering to see if their experience can help you decide. I know those things helped me and I am sure they can help others too!

    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 vet tech holds a grey and white kitten wrapped in a towel.

    Embracing Your Journey: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Your Future

    Taylor Perline

    It takes a great deal of courage to finally take that step, make that phone call, or walk out that door. Many college students are studying in order to have successful careers once they graduate. Some may know exactly which direction they want to take, while others may only know a broader view of what they want their lives to look like. Regardless, it can be exceedingly difficult finding motivation to take risks and put ourselves into the situations we need to be in to turn our dreams into reality.

    Few Opportunities

    As a second-year undergraduate student that aspires to someday be accepted into vet school and obtain a degree in veterinary medicine, I know these emotions firsthand. Finding experience within my field was no easy feat. It seemed like no matter how many emails I sent or how many phone calls I made; nobody was looking for any assistance from a college student. In truth, I felt horribly behind my peers, who told of growing up on farms or having extensive animal experience since they were young. It made me begin to lose motivation and feel like I was never going to catch up.

    Everyone’s Path is Different

    It is essential to realize that everyone is on a unique path, and that progress happens at different paces. For me, that was this most recent summer. After what seemed like an endless number of back-and-forth calls, texts, and emails, I found myself gaining new experiences in my field that I never before dreamed of. For others, this may look like a new internship or shadowing opportunity. For me, I was able to begin working as a veterinary assistant at a local clinic, working as a volunteer/intern with farm animals, and shadowing a veterinarian that worked with horses. In these past months, I have learned more than I have in my entire life about my chosen field, and this has done nothing but encourage me to keep going and fight for what I believe in.

    Don’t Let Your Attitude Define Your Magnitude

    I would have never been able to gain this experience if I hadn’t been able to step out of the comfortable life that I was used to. Feeling anxious and behind in my career held me back but realizing that instead of viewing my lack of experience as a hinderance, I could embrace the learning process and approach each new experience with curiosity and enthusiasm.

    Today, I am so grateful to myself for taking that step. I hope to encourage others that they have the ability to pursue whatever they wish to in life. It means taking on new challenges, networking with those in your field, and waking up every morning with the ambition to learn. Anything is 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! 

     

  • Blog author Tahmina with a composition notebook filled with engineering notes.

    How I Found My Major: Computer Science

    Tahmina Tisha

    There are pivotal moments in life that have the power to shape our destinies. For me, one such moment came unexpectedly, altering the course of my life in ways I could have never imagined. It was a mistake, a seemingly small misstep, but its consequences were profound.

    The event took place during my final year of high school. The air was filled with anticipation as students hurriedly signed up for the academies that would define their educational paths for the next four years. Marketing had always intrigued me, and I felt confident that it was the right fit. My friends were also opting for this academy, reinforcing my belief in its suitability for me. Little did I know that fate had something else in store.

    When the results were finally posted, my heart sank as I discovered that a mix-up had occurred. Instead of being placed in the marketing academy, I found myself enrolled in the engineering academy. Confusion and frustration consumed me, and I immediately contacted the office to rectify the mistake. However, to my dismay, I was informed that the error could not be reversed, and I would have to wait until the next quarter to request a transfer.

    In that moment, I felt a whirlwind of emotions—anger, disappointment, and a sense of helplessness. The path I had envisioned for myself had been unexpectedly altered, and I was left adrift in uncharted territory. The first day of class arrived, and I stepped into the engineering academy with a mix of trepidation and resignation. Little did I know that this seemingly catastrophic event would become the catalyst for a transformative journey.

    The overwhelming nature of my engineering courses initially filled me with doubt. The upper-level math classes and the daunting task of learning how to code and work with those already proficient in these technical skills felt like insurmountable challenges. However, amidst the uncertainty, I discovered a resilience and determination within myself that I hadn't known existed.

    One project stands out in my memory, forever etching itself in the story of my life. We were tasked with building a bridge using only chopsticks, tape, wood glue, and a stapler. The limitations of the materials and the complexity of the project tested my problem-solving abilities and pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone. While our bridge may not have been the most durable or impressive, it served a greater purpose.

    During the bridge-building project, I formed an unexpected bond with a fellow student who would become my engineering partner for the next four years. Together, we weathered the challenges, celebrated the victories, and supported each other through the rigorous curriculum. This partnership not only solidified my understanding of the importance of teamwork but also helped me realize that engineering held untapped potential within me.

  • A group of eight nursing students standing in 2 rows. They are all wearing blue scrubs.

    Five Things to Know About Nursing School

    Arianna Olivier

    I am a nursing student at Miami Dade College. After completing my Associate’s degree in nursing, I am on track to earn my Bachelor of Science degree next year. Here are 5 things I wish I’d known before starting nursing school. I hope these will help future nursing students begin this journey with realistic expectations.

    Nursing school is not THAT hard.

    Nursing school is whatever you make it to be. If you occupy every hour of your day, and do not take time to recover and rest yourself, you will feel that school is hard and that you have no life. If you take the time out of your schedule to do something that you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, watching one episode of your current show, or going to the gym, you will feel so much better and have the mindset to focus on your academics. Learn from now on to take the time to prioritize some personal time out of your day, whether its 1 hour a day to read or 2 hours a day to be at the gym, so that you do not solely live, breathe, and sleep nursing school.

    This is a marathon, not a race.

    You will notice very quickly that some classmates are going to have a competitive mindset. For some reason (that is unknown to me), you are going to see students comparing grades and study methods with a passive aggressive mechanism in their tone. You may even be one of these students, with an urge to prove that you are smart enough to be in the program. The reality is you are ALL meant to be in the program. You are ALL smart enough. Nursing school is not a race, and it shouldn’t be treated as one.

    Find a group of friends and never let them go.

    On my first day of orientation, we were told by the speaker that “you do not get through nursing school alone.” I can testify that this is true. Nursing school is an immense adjustment to your academic and social life. It can become overwhelming to figure out your method of studying, balancing out your assignments and tests with the realities that come with being a human being. Contrary to what was in statement #2, you may feel sometimes that you are not smart enough. You will contemplate on leaving the program, or quitting your job and then wondering how you will be able to pay for your classes. Nursing school is a rollercoaster of emotions. Having a study group or a simple group of friends is going to be the anchor between you and nursing school. Find yourself a group of genuine people, with your same goals, and never let them go.

    Your life does not have to stop because you are a nursing student.

    This goes hand and hand with statement #1, but it is more about the mindset that you carry while you are in school. Your life should not stop because you are a nursing student. During orientation, they may jokingly say things like “say goodbye to your friends and families” or “you are ours for the next 2 or 4 years.” That is not true. Carrying on this type of mindset is going to be detrimental to your mental health. You HAVE to dedicate parts of your days, a whole day or even a weekend to recover so that you can be successful in nursing school. Doing this even gives you something to look forward to so that during the week you can tell yourself to push harder because you will have this one day to do what you want to do.

    Of course, it is important for you to spend lots of hours studying and focusing on your classes and preparing for upcoming exams. Nevertheless, it will never hurt for you to spend some time to spend a weekend in Disney, enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, or go ice skating with your friends (even if it means taking your flashcards with you). These moments are essential to reducing the risk of burnout and keeping your battery high for those extra-long study sessions.

    Memorization will only go so far.

  • A collage of 3 photos: upper left is a group of 7 women – 6 are wearing sailor hats; lower left is the blog author with a football bowl trophy, and on the right is the University of South Alabama football stadium.

    Career Connections: Sports Management

    Amiaya Ross

    While growing up, I was always involved in sports in various aspects. Whether I was playing on the field, supporting my siblings, or watching games on television, sports was a part of nearly everything I did. This happened quickly from a young age. At the time it didn’t occur to me that sports could be an area where I’d find my future career.

    First There Was Football

    My favorite sport to watch has always been football. Football has always been a big thing in my family, from Friday night lights to NFL Sundays. I have always enjoyed the lively and social atmosphere on game days. This led me to wanting to pursue a football game day staff position at my local university during my senior year of high school. I enjoyed every minute of my experience there.

    Campus Job

    As soon as I started college, I reached out to acquire a similar position and was hired by my university’s athletic department as an Event Services and Facilities Operations Student Assistant. In my role, I get to work and connect with so many staff members across the various different athletic departments, as well as external visitors who use our facilities on campus.

    Taking It to the Next Level

    This past semester, I recently started a position as a football equipment manager. This has been one of my favorite positions, since in this role I get to be more involved with what happens on the field and not just the stadium. Although both of my roles include many long and busy days and nights, I believe that getting involved in the sports industry has been one of the best experiences so far.

    Over the last three years, I have gained and developed numerous skills, such as communication and time management, that have been beneficial outside of work. I have had the best experience working in the sports industry so far, which is why I have decided to pursue a career within the industry after graduation. My goal is to someday work in event operations at a professional sports stadium or arena.

    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 few college students standing in front of a wedge-shaped building in a European city.

    Embracing the Journey: Navigating the Maze of Choosing a College Major

    Catherine Asberger

    When I started college in 2021, I was very self-conscious about the direction my life was heading in. While other freshmen had grand plans about what they wanted to major in, I had no clue about what major would be best for me. I talked to so many of my classmates and was amazed at the career paths I heard. Pre-nursing, computer science, engineering – their confident declarations only highlighted my own indecisiveness. How did they come to these conclusions at the ripe age of 18, and how could I find a major that sparked the same passion within me?

    Assess the Journey

    At the start of this journey, not knowing my major made me feel inadequate and lost. I knew that a major I was happy with was not going to fall into my lap, I was going to have to work for it. So, the first step was narrowing down my options. I scrutinized the curriculum of the majors I was interested in, considering which classes might pose challenges and whether I was willing to invest the effort required to overcome them. Additionally, I assessed the job prospects available in each field post-graduation. These self-reflection exercises helped me streamline my choices, bringing me one step closer to a decision.

    Apply, Apply, Apply

    While this whittled down my choices for a major, I still did not have a clear idea about what I wanted to pursue. My fear was that if I chose a major without getting involved in the subject first, I’d realize that I didn’t like it. Therefore, my next step was to experience my options firsthand. My advice is: if you’re struggling to choose a major, go out there and apply for opportunities that get you immersed into your prospective major(s)! If you can take introductory courses for the major, take them. If you can get involved in volunteer opportunities, do it.

    Develop Your Passion

    For me, because I was deciding between a marketing degree or an information systems degree, I joined my university’s honors college marketing team. Then, to learn more about a field in a similar ballpark to marketing, I did a PR externship where I got to network with a local PR professional. Outside of professional opportunities, I took lots of classes pertaining to information systems and marketing. These experiences enhanced my resume and developed my skills as a young professional, which is paramount during college. Not only that, but it also served as a compass that guided me towards a major I knew I would love. In the end, I confidently declared as a marketing major halfway through my sophomore year.

    Trust the Process

    I thought not knowing what I wanted to major in was a major burden, but I was surprised to learn that it is an immense gift. It’s so empowering to say to yourself, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I will figure it out in due time.” It is so empowering to put in the work and trust the process. Don’t shy away from the indecisiveness – lean into it and grow from it.

    Seek the Best Version of Yourself

    To any fellow students struggling with choosing a major, I implore you not to be too hard on yourselves. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and trust that the right path will reveal itself in due time. Seek guidance from academic advisors, attend career fairs, and engage in internships or volunteer work. Make connections with professionals in the fields you're considering, and don't hesitate to ask for their insights.

    Remember, college is not solely about obtaining a degree; it's about nurturing your passions, developing new skills, and evolving into the best version of yourself.

    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 Colorado State campus featuring a fountain and campus buildings with the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

    Women in Engineering: Why I Chose an Engineering Major

    Alexis Fiechtner

    My experience with biomedical engineering began in 8th grade as a 13-year-old diagnosed with a rare condition called Miserable Malalignment Syndrome. I learned that my leg bones were slowly twisting out of alignment, and would require multiple surgeries, weeks out of school, months in a wheelchair, two sets of casts, and walking boots. Without the surgery, my prognosis was joint dislocations in my hips, ankles, and especially my knees. My surgeon, Dr. Riley, used a custom-designed biomedical tool to perform my surgery. My childhood experience made me realize I wanted to help children with disabilities facing similar challenges and sparked my interest in biomedical engineering.

    Entering high school, I attended a school called STEM, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. It was here that I learned the fundamentals of what engineering actually is… a combination of technology and creativity. I had always thought of myself as creative, but not in the typical artistic type of way, but in a more problem-solving sort of way. Throughout high school I found myself drawing away from the purely theoretical mathematical equations, or the tiny molecules of chemistry that you can’t see. I focused my attention on design; specifically design that solves medical problems using the technical aspects of math and science.

    As it came time to choose a college, my choice was easier than most. I knew I had to go to a school that offered biomedical engineering as a major. Colorado State University offered the best program for me: a 5-year program ending in a double major of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering. I had found the perfect combination of my biomedical interest, with the technical skills of a fundamental form of engineering. This was ultimately the best choice I could have made because, as I am entering the job field, my mechanical engineering degree has served me well with opportunities.

    I will not say it’s been easy double majoring with two engineering degrees. It was long hours, lots of study sessions, and the difficulty of being a woman in STEM. Times are definitely changing and there were genuinely more women in my courses than I was expecting. However, standing up freshman year in Dr. B’s class and only seeing about 25 other women in a 200-person mechanical engineering lecture was shocking. Throughout my experience at CSU, I discovered the importance of speaking up for myself, joining organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and putting myself in situations where I may be the only woman in the room. Sometimes I did experience the general challenges women face in this field: I did get spoken over, my ideas were ignored, credit was taken from me when I was rightfully due. But out of that 200-person lecture class from freshman year, I graduated in May alongside only 117 other students.

    It’s not always easy being a woman in STEM, but like I said, times are changing and if it were easy, everyone would do it! There are more women pursuing their passion in a STEM field than ever before; and out of all the times that I was ignored, didn’t get credit, or spoken over, there were twice as many times when I was respected. I surrounded myself with like-minded friends – engineers – lots of whom were also women in STEM – and stuck to my passion.

    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!