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

  • Two college women are standing outside with the Golden Gate Bridge behind them.

    Three Things I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman

    Laura Avellaneda

    Now that I have graduated, I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on my college experience. I’ve realized that there are three things I wish I knew as a freshman that would’ve made my college experience much easier!

    1. Don’t be afraid to take risks

    College can be an intimidating place, especially as a freshman going to a big school! Don’t be afraid to take risks or try new things because of what other people might think; this is the perfect environment to do it in. This could mean joining a new club, trying a new sport, taking a difficult class, going to a social event, and more. For all you know, it could lead to you meeting your best friends or finding a new hobby! This is an awesome opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you like and don’t like.

    2. Everything will work out in the end

    Although it won’t always seem like it, most of the time everything always works out in the end! As a freshman, it can be so stressful and overwhelming when you don’t get the class you want or you aren’t able to become roommates with your friends. But what if it leads to you taking a different class that you love or you becoming best friends with your roommates that you’ve never met? It’s easy to get stuck on something when one bad thing happens, but living with the mindset that everything happens for a reason and that it will all work out can be super helpful. Stress is inevitable but understanding this can make college a little less stressful!

    3. Reach for help when you need it

    Everyone will experience highs and lows in college, especially in their freshman year. Sometimes, it might seem like you’re having a lot of lows, but when this happens it’s important to reach out for help so you can feel less lonely. This could mean reaching out to friends and family and letting them know you’re struggling, going to therapy on campus, or asking for help in classes. College is already hard enough, but having a close circle of people you can rely on when you need it can significantly improve your experience!

    If you’re just getting started in your college career, take my advice to ease your way into this experience. Be prepared to take risks, keep an open mind, and seek support when you inevitably face challenges.

    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! 

  • A group of college students playing indoor hockey in a campus gym.

    Maintaining Your Health During Freshman Year

    Cooper Grahek

    College is an exciting time for many young adults. For most, it’s their first time away from home and they have an opportunity to explore the world on their own. However, with this newfound freedom comes a lot of stress. This stress is something that I had a hard time handling properly. It took a toll not only on my mental health, but my physical health as well.

    During my freshman year I found myself locked in my room and doing homework all the time. I struggled to allow myself to do anything besides homework and felt a level of stress when I did. I never went to the gym, wasn’t staying active, and most importantly I wasn’t eating the best. I would often catch myself getting stuck in a “buffet mentality” at the dining hall and constantly never felt full. This led to me eating pizza and drinking soda with nearly every meal.

    Coming into college I was a little underweight for my height, and all I wanted was to put on some muscle. Instead, I put on fat, and quite a bit of it. Although eating was my main issue, never going to the gym didn’t help. By the time Christmas break came around I could tell I had put on some pounds, and not in the way I wanted. I knew I had to make a change. Instead of letting stress control my life, I used it to fuel my motivation to find interests that helped me escape, whether it was going to the gym or doing some other physical activity.

    Don’t let the stress of college control your life like it controlled mine. Physical health is one of the most important things that lead to a long life. You also need to watch what you put in your body as fatty and unhealthy foods can lead to you feeling worse about yourself and increase the stress you already feel.

    There is more to college than just the school portion. Remember that and always try to take care of your body both physically and mentally.

    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 graphic with geometrical shapes and the blog title ‘Four Ways to Increase Productivity and Organization for College Students’.

    Four Ways to Increase Productivity and Organization for College Students

    Bella Emanuel

    During the first few weeks of my freshman year at Miami University, I was overwhelmed with how I would balance my schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and new friendships. Creating a balanced schedule at college can often be tricky. I quickly adapted to life here at Miami and implemented four strategies that helped me stay productive and organized: using a planner, making my bed every morning, creating a master syllabus, and prioritizing my mental and physical health.

    Planning Each Week

    At the beginning of each school year, I buy a new planner to start fresh. When the semester begins, I plan my week each Sunday evening. This allows me to plan out what assignments I will complete each day of the week. This helps me avoid procrastination and allows me to get my assignments done early. I also include group meetings, social events, or any other work that needs to be accomplished that week. Using a planner each week allows me to balance all my work and activities in an organized fashion.

    Making My Bed

    Each morning, the first thing that I do is make my bed. I started doing this after reading Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven. It helps me start my day both productively and in an organized manner. Making my bed makes me feel put together and ready to take on the day. Completing a task right when I wake up allows me to check a task off my list and makes me feel accomplished.

    Creating a Master Syllabus

    During the first week of each semester I create a master syllabus that includes all my assignments for each class for the whole semester. I go through each syllabus and pull out the assignment names, dates, and times that each assignment is due. Next, I enter them into a spreadsheet and color-code them by class. The final step is to order the data by the due date. This allows me to recognize what assignments are due each week and allows me to write them down in my planner. This is a way to keep track of all of my assignments and see which weeks have a heavier course load. Having all my assignments in one place creates good habits of turning work in on time and increases my productivity.

  • A tri-fold display board with information on joining the Finance Society.

    How to Find Your Place in College: Attend the Organization Fair

    Hiren Gugnani

    If you're reading this, then congratulations! You are an accomplished student accepted into college, or maybe you are currently an underclassman. Either way, this is a big step towards your future, and it was all your accomplishments thus far that led you to this point. Now that you made it to college, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed with the amount of people and excitement going on. There is one event in the beginning of the semester that can help lead you in the right direction to find your place in the daunting environment you're now a part of—and that is your campus’s organization fair.

    Take it all in

    Whether or not your school holds it as an in-person event, it will likely be an overwhelming experience. I remember a large tent, with tables managed by crowds of overenthusiastic students standing idly by their tri-fold boards. Our event was divided by a multitude of categories: Cultural organizations, Sports, Community Service, Greek Life, Major-specific, you name it! I found success in clubs relating to my heritage as a minority student, as well as business centered clubs as a devoted Finance student. Think about your interests beforehand, and glance over the map or list of clubs to ensure you get time to see anything you were curious about.

    Remember to be yourself

    It can be hard to learn more about all the clubs and activities your school has to offer when it's presented all at once. In an effort to try and get the most out of the event, I took pictures of the tabling for those student organizations that I was even somewhat interested in. This allowed me to look on their websites or email them if I have any questions. If something even remotely interests you, attend their first meeting and see what it’s all about! The key is to not feel obligated to commit to anything if you find that it isn’t for you. These extracurriculars should be your escape from the pressures of classes; something to look forward to during the week.

    Become familiar with leadership

    Once you find yourself acquainted with a club that sparks your interest, look into leadership opportunities within the executive board. While this feels too early for internal board positions, such as the President and Vice President roles, there can often be representative spots available for freshmen specifically. Those are yours to take! Having a leadership position allows you to cement yourself to the organization. Instead of being a general member, you will have some sort of control that makes an impact with the added responsibility. Then comes the opportunity to showcase your leadership on your resume, pointing out to recruiters that you are strengthening your soft skills, while working on something you are passionate about.

    Make your commitments

    At the end of the day, there will be many choices to where you can spend your time when not attending classes and studying in college. Taking on these extracurricular activities gives you a way to hold yourself accountable and make an impact that will last longer than your four years in undergraduate education. Decide what is best for you, and not for others. You will likely meet lifelong friends by engaging in mutual interests, so be on the lookout for those who want to get to know you. Once your find your home base, your college campus will go from an enormous, daunting place to a comfortable array of opportunities.

    Pearson Students, when’s your school's activities fair? Will you be in attendance?

    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 black-and-white map of the United States with a dotted line connecting Atlanta, Georgia and Berkeley, California.

    2,604 Miles Away: Tips to help freshmen cope with homesickness

    Megan Cistulli

    I attend college in California – over 2,604 miles from my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. I love home and family, and the transition across the country was not easy. Homesickness was a challenge that became conquerable once I began to implement the remedies below.

    Bring the Smells of Home with You

    My mother always burned a special candle in our kitchen: Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. The first thing I did when traveling to California was make sure a Bath and Body Works was within driving distance. I always make sure to have a candle on hand. If candles are not allowed, try bringing the smells of home with you through cleaning products. Use Pine-Sol Cleaner if you miss the sweet aroma of pine from your backyard. Use the same laundry detergent as your mom. Whatever smells remind you of home – whether they be hairspray, moth balls, or dad’s cologne – keep them close and incorporate them into your new life – it’s essentially a carry-on bag home edition.

    Writing Letters

    The best, and most underestimated, form of communication is through writing letters. Not only have I experienced the distance aspect of venturing far from home, but the time change presents a challenge as well. When I want to check in with my mom or dad at 9pm, they are fast asleep because it is midnight on the East coast. The way I cope with the time changes is to draft letters to my parents. Any time I want to share something with them, I write it down. At the end of every two weeks, I send them the letter I have been working on. Sure, we FaceTime and call, but the letter acts as a safety net and catches all the missed thoughts or moments I want to share with them.

    Explore Your New Environment

    The quickest and most efficient way to sooth homesickness is to explore the new area around you. Think of all of the energy and experiences just waiting for you outside your dorm doors. Make it a goal to try something new three times a month – a new restaurant, lookout point, shopping center, park, or ice cream parlor. The best way to cure the feeling of being a stranger in a new place is to begin to establish routes in your new home. Make connections to new locations and memories which in turn will lead to new sentimental affiliations.

    Unfortunately, homesickness is not your typical seasonal flu. It takes more than a shot to alleviate the feelings of separation and physical distance. Fear not, the remedies listed above are fool-proof and have helped to sooth homesickness from 2,604 miles away.

    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 image alt text

    Advice for new students or transfer students

    Alex Mendoza

    Starting a new semester at a new school can be overwhelming for both incoming freshmen and transfer students. New systems and new academic expectations can be tricky to navigate. Click the link below to watch my vlog with great advice to help you get off to a great start of the semester!


  • blog image alt text

    6 tips to help you survive freshman year

    Cobe Fatovic

    So, you are going to be a freshman in college? I was too, about one year ago. My freshmen year was far from perfect, but what fun would it have been if it was? I am going to share with you 6 things I wish I knew going into my freshman year so you can have the best first year experience possible.

    1 – Make your dorm feel like an actual home

    Dorm life is something that a lot of people worry about and is a trademark of your freshmen year. You will be living here for the next year, so make it your own. Something as simple as putting a rug on the ground so you don’t see the tile floor can make all the difference. Also, bring things that remind you of home. It may be hard to admit, but you will miss your family.

    2 – Get involved right away!

    Join a club, go to all the Welcome Week events, apply for a leadership position, just do something! In college, you will be surrounded by more kids your age than ever before, but it can still be very lonely, especially if you don’t know anyone. Whether you find virtual, hybrid, or smaller in-person events, joining a club can make all the difference because it can make a huge campus feel a whole lot smaller.

    3 – Take yourself out of your comfort zone

    Making friends can be difficult. But you have to remember, everyone wants to make friends! Go sit with someone in the dining hall or introduce yourself to who you are sitting next to in class, who knows where it’ll go! If you try talking to someone and they don’t seem interested, don’t be discouraged. It may take a few people before you meet your best friend, but if you don’t keep trying, you will never get anywhere.

    4 – Build in time to relax and take care of yourself

    While it is important to study before tests, make sure you plan time in your schedule to do something that relaxes you. Whether it is playing Xbox or reading a book, make time for yourself, too. This will help you manage stress and prevent it from interfering with your student success.

    5 – Consider rushing!

    To rush or not to rush, that is the question. The first week I was at school, the main topic of conversation was everyone asking, “Are you going to rush a fraternity or sorority?” I went into college not expecting to rush at all, but I ended up rushing because some of the friends I made in the first week were. I joined Beta Theta Pi at the University of Florida, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Even if you find it is not for you, there is a good chance you will make some friends during the rush process.

    6 – Be open minded

    If you go into college with a closed mind, your life will probably be pretty tough. I went through more changes my freshmen year than the rest of my life combined. If you don’t love your major, change it. If you have an interest in something weird, take a class on it! There are so many opportunities to try new things and meet new people in college, you have to take advantage of everything you can.

    Now, a lot of that is easier said than done. You will probably get to campus and be so overwhelmed by everything that is going on, and that is okay, so is everyone else. Just take a deep breath, take it day by day, and go make memories. Good luck with your first year, stay positive!


  • blog image alt text

    Off to College: Preparing for Your First Year

    Kristi Yamashita

    Twelve years of school have finally passed and you’ve finished an endless amount of assignments, reports, and presentations.  After writing what may have been some of the most important essays of your life, you finally did it! You got accepted to college and you’re about to begin some of the best years of your life.  Going to college for the first time can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking milestone in your life. There are a lot of new things to adjust to such as being able to pick your own class schedule, making new friends, and maybe even living hundreds of miles away from home.  Here are some tips on how to prepare for your upcoming adventure.