Students blog

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

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  • The shadows of 4 people cast on a red wooden wall.

    Little Ways to Boost Yourself When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

    Taylor Perline

    As college students, we often find ourselves striving for perfection and consistently pushing ourselves to the limit in order to achieve our goals. It can sometimes look like constant studying, turning our backs to our social lives, and sleepless night after sleepless night. And then, even after all of that hard work, we are still left with feelings of inadequacy. Many, including myself, have struggled with these feelings since we were children. It is so important that we students learn how to take pride in our accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem to us at the time. During my time in college, I’ve learned small ways to be prouder of my efforts.

    Stop Setting Unrealistic Expectations

    I’ve realized that one of the main reasons that we may feel like our accomplishments are not enough is because we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Slowly, I learned that I could break down my long-term goals into smaller ones. In my personal journey, I am working towards being accepted into vet school. This is a huge goal and can sometimes seem overwhelming. By breaking this down into smaller goals (example: gaining experience by working under a trained veterinarian), I can make my goals more achievable in the present day and feel much more accomplished when I am able to achieve them.

    Practice Self-Compassion

    The next important thing I learned to practice was having self-compassion. While everyone may have 24 hours in each day, every hour comes with different circumstances depending on the responsibilities you have. Taking a step back and realizing that we are all on our own paths that are going to have twists, turns, and bumps along the way makes for a much happier pursuit of our dreams. Replace those self-criticizing negative thoughts with positive words of affirmations! The hard work that you’re putting in IS enough! Some students may even find that written words of affirmation help them. This could look like a gratitude journal, in which students can design and decorate a journal full of their accomplishments!

    Surround Yourself with Support

    The last set of advice I have for students is to find a support system that will help you through these negative feelings. This can be in the form of friends, family, or a significant other. You can seek out communities or clubs that are full of individuals that understand your situation. These support systems will be there for you if you need someone to lean on about your struggles or even if you just need a laugh after some negative thoughts. I am so grateful for my support system, as I know they will fill my self-doubts with positivity.

    Feeling like you aren’t enough is never easy, but there are ways to help lighten your mental load. Remembering to set attainable goals, speak positively to yourself, and surround yourself with support will launch you toward your dreams. Remember, you are enough!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A computer graphic with the words ‘coping with growth’ over the image of a person meditating.

    Coping with Growth

    Molly McKenna

    How to cope with growth? The process looks different for every individual. Along with being a student ambassador for the University of Miami, I have had the privilege of being involved in various campus extracurriculars, one of which has had a lasting impact on my college experience – COPE, which stands for Counseling Outreach Peer Educators. COPE is a dedicated group of students who serve as the bridge between the student body and the university’s counseling center. Over my college career, I have become even more involved in COPE and currently hold the position of Public Relations Chair on its executive board. In this role, I am responsible for fostering the growth and professional development of our members. This journey has reinforced my belief in the vital link between mental health and personal growth.

    Mental health is a critical aspect of our overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked. In the hustle and bustle of college life, we frequently neglect our mental health while focusing on academics, extracurricular activities, and our social lives. The consequences of this neglect affect not only academic performance but also the overall quality of life.

    But how does mental health tie into personal growth, especially in a university setting? The answer lies in the fact that personal growth is made of not only the gain of knowledge but also the development of mental resilience, emotional intelligence, and coping mechanisms. As students, we are constantly exposed to new experiences, challenges, and uncertainties, all of which contribute to our growth both physically and mentally.

    Within the University of Miami, COPE is a source of compassion, understanding, and support in an academic world that can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is a testament to our institution's commitment to the well-being of its students. COPE's peer educators are not just students; we are empathetic listeners, mentors, and friends who actively work to destigmatize mental health discussions. We host tablings, facilitate presentations and collaborations, and provide a safe space for students to express their concerns and seek guidance. COPE empowers individuals to prioritize their mental health, develop essential coping skills, and cultivate emotional resilience. As a result, COPE contributes not only to the mental well-being of our campus community but also to our collective growth, creating a culture where personal development and self-care are celebrated and prioritized.

    College is a time of exploration, discovery, and learning to be independent. We are faced with diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas, which can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's during these moments of uncertainty that our mental health plays a pivotal role. Learning how to cope with stress, manage our emotions, and seek support when needed are invaluable skills that contribute to our growth as individuals.

    As we continue to develop and discover what the future may hold, it's essential to prioritize our mental health. The skills we acquire to cope with growth and change will serve us well beyond our college years. Whether it's preparing for a career, pursuing further education, or simply facing life's uncertainties, a strong foundation in mental well-being will be our greatest asset.

    In the midst of these challenges, I've embraced a personal motto: "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." This motto has been my guiding light throughout my college journey. It's a reminder that true growth often occurs outside our comfort zones. When we step into the unknown, face our fears, and tackle the unfamiliar, we are actively shaping our future selves. With that, as I reflect on my summer internship in a new city, I realize that "being comfortable with being uncomfortable" was the catalyst for my growth. It's a mindset that has propelled me forward, encouraging me to take risks, explore the unknown, and seize opportunities for personal and professional development.

    This phrase has become more than just words; it's a way of life. It's a reminder that, to truly grow and evolve, we must embrace discomfort as a sign of progress and a path to becoming the best version of ourselves. My summer internship in a new environment away from my hometown was a testament to the power of this principle, and I look forward to applying it in all my future endeavors, knowing that every step outside my comfort zone is a step toward personal and professional growth.

    In conclusion, "Coping with Growth" takes on a multifaceted meaning in college life. It reminds me of not only the personal development and mental health connection but also the need to navigate independence, pursue future goals, and deal with the emotions of living in new environments. By embracing the motto "Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable," we can confidently tackle the challenges that come our way and emerge from these experiences as stronger, more resilient individuals, ready to take on the world beyond our university's walls.

    As we continue to shape our future, let's remember that personal growth is a journey, and prioritizing our mental health ensures we're well-prepared for whatever lies ahead. In the face of independence, career aspirations, and change of environments, we can thrive and truly embrace the growth that comes with our experiences now as well as in the 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 person’s hand holding up a white piece of paper with the words: “Navigating Insecurities in College + Why They’re Not a Bad Thing”.

    Navigating Insecurities in College

    Molly Medin

    Insecurity doesn't have to be something you shrug off with mantras like “You are perfect just the way you are!” or “Comparison is the root of all evil.” Instead, allow moments and feelings of insecurity to teach you about yourself, and achieve goals that will improve your life and make you happier.

    In college, we tend to compare ourselves to others often. We meet so many new people and are pulling from new experiences and new interests, while trying to figure out how we want our lives to look and living in all new environments. It is completely normal to second guess our own appearances, personalities, interests, and habits in this stage of self-discovery and growing up. As a student in my third year of undergrad who has had more than my fair share of these moments, I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned.

    What Causes Insecurity?

    Understanding the root of your insecurity is key to 1) using the insecurity to teach you about yourself and 2) not blaming yourself for having it in the first place. If you are insecure because you don’t have something that you’re passionate about, like a career that would improve your life, college is the time to pursue it. If you are ashamed that you don’t have something that doesn’t align with your values, like having 3,000 Instagram followers, seeing this clearly can help you let go of the insecurity.

    Let’s go through an example.

    Say I’m walking down the street and see a woman wearing a matching blazer and pants set from a popular brand, and I am immediately insecure about what I am wearing and where my clothes are from. Firstly, I tell myself that this is not a negative feeling, but an opportunity to learn about myself further.

    What is it about that woman wearing the outfit that makes me insecure? Do I wish I had her outfit because I assume it means she is having a productive workday or because I know it’s expensive? There could be a million reasons… but I’d start by asking myself, “If I had this outfit, what do I think would change?”

    For me personally, I know that being productive makes me happy and helps me be confident, which is aligned with my values. If I figure out that I am jealous of this woman’s outfit because of her perceived productivity, I can take from this encounter that I feel as if I’m an unproductive person. If I’m honest with myself and I know I am usually very productive and am consistent with work projects and studying, I can remind myself of all my past accomplishments and routines I’ve worked so hard to make and keep. Or, if I know I’ve been procrastinating and not reaching my potential, I can use this experience as a signal that procrastinating is actively making me unhappy.

    If I identify that I’m jealous that her outfit is expensive and I wish I had lots of extra money to spend on fancy outfits, then I can further investigate that. Does showing off make me happy? Why do I feel the need for other people to know I have lots of money? If I feel this way because I want to be like other people who have more money than me, then I can ask myself if wanting to be like other people is something I want and value. For me, that is an easy no and it would be much easier for me to let go of that insecurity, knowing that I do not want to do anything to be like other people, therefore, buying that outfit wouldn’t make me happy.

    So, What Does This All Mean?

    At the end of these possible ways to think about this situation, the answer is not buying the fancy outfit. I am not criticizing the solution of seeing the woman’s outfit, feeling bad about yourself, and then buying her outfit, because it is a solution, just not one that teaches you something about yourself. This rational method of dissecting insecure feelings has been life changing for me and has allowed me to overcome so many self-doubting thoughts.

    College is a chaotic but extremely flexible time in your life, as you are deciding what career you want to pursue, what sleep schedule works best for you, how to navigate relationships, what foods will make you feel the best, how to balance having a social life, and more. The fact that you don’t have your life planned out or know how it’s going to unfold is scary and means big decisions ahead, but it also means that the possibilities are literally endless. It’s time to figure out what will make you happy so you can do that.

    I’m going to leave you with a list of values to ponder, and a few quotes that have helped me so much in my college experience so far.

    List of values

    Quotes:

    “The uncomfortableness comes from the space between knowing what you need to do and doing it.”

    “What would you regret more: doing or not doing?”

    “Time will pass anyways.”

    “I am grateful for challenge because it gives me the ability to improve. If I was stuck, no matter where I was, I wouldn’t be happy.”

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A computer generated graphic on a pink and white background with the words: ‘Fun Ways to Destress; When College Becomes a Bit Too Stressful’.

    Take a Break to Get a Handle on Stress

    Melanie Perez

    As a STEM major, I find it hard to find time to relax, especially during midterm and finals season. Sometimes it feels like too much, and I question why I chose such stressful classes. In the end, I always pat myself on the back for being able to get through the tough times, but there are a couple of actions I use to reduce stress and ensure that I don't drive myself into a wall when things get complicated.

    1. Escaping with Video Games

    I use video games as a means to escape reality. Sitting in front of my PC after a long day submitting assignments keeps me sane. I choose to play calm games that get me ready for bed, ones that won't add any unnecessary stress to the pile that I already have. Here are a few of my favorites:

    • Unpacking: It is a chill game where you play a character that is going through different stages of her life, each represented by the new apartment she moves into. You spend time unpacking her boxes and organizing her belongings, and in doing that, you unpack her story as well.
    • Tiny Glade: It has yet to be released (upcoming in 2024), but in this cozy game all you do is spend time making a castle of your own. There is no money limit, no combat, just a freeform-building game where you can let your imagination run wild.
    • Stardew Valley: Although well known, I still have to give it credit for being such a fun game where you get to explore and uncover new secrets hidden in Pelican Town. You become a farmer after escaping a horrible work life, and your mission is to save your farm after your grandfather passes away. You can spend your time fishing, fighting monsters, or simply just farming. You get to decide your story, and it's a nice way to relax at the end of the day.
    • Secret Cat Forest: If you're not a fan of being on your computer or gaming console, this cute game about cats is on mobile. You feed cute little kitties in a forest by fishing food, and they return the favor by bringing you little presents!

    2. Spending time with loved ones

    Although finding time can be difficult, it is always important to fit your friends and family into your schedule. I promise it's okay to step outside of school life even during stressful events. Laughing and having fun will make you feel much better, so here are some fun ways you could hang out with your friends…

    • Picnic: Find a park near you and buy a couple of snacks. Enjoy the scenery and talk to your friends about anything! Bonus points if you bring your pets and let them play with each other.
    • Painting: It doesn't matter if you're not an artist, painting is a great way to explore your creativity, and use your brain in a way that won't stress you out. It is also relatively inexpensive, especially if you use dollar-store items. The quality doesn't matter if you're with people you love.
    • Coffee shop/bookstore: If you're like me, I love just browsing through books, but never really purchasing anything. I usually end up in the coffee shop inside the store, sitting and talking with my friends after we exhausted our energy by looking at every book in the store.
    • Sleepover/get-together: Another inexpensive activity is just to hang out in each other’s houses, go on walks and maybe catch a Netflix movie on the couch. Getting away from your room might help you escape from the pressures of school, even if it's just for a couple of hours.

    The bottom line is that whether you find a way to take a break on your own or with family or friends, doing so will help you keep your stress level under control. Do not worry and enjoy every second of your 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! 

     

  • Blog author Mia is standing against a blue sky with white cloud background, holding a coffee-to-go cup. She has her eyes closed and is smiling.

    How I Overcame Academic Anxiety

    Mia Gutierrez

    I found my junior year of college to be my most difficult year yet. The workload was very challenging, and I had to let go of numerous extracurricular commitments and social events. It was hard to leave roles that I was passionate about and sacrifice time with family and friends. I realized midway through my Fall semester that I was taking multiple tests every three weeks or so and had a never-ending course load.

    Unfortunately, it got to the point in the semester where I had four tests in one week and studied for hours on end. This brought me a substantial amount of stress and anxiety. It wasn’t until I took my Operations Management test, I realized that I had academic anxiety. I couldn’t focus properly and even though I studied enough, I panicked and felt like I was going to fail.

    However, I was able to overcome the anxiety that I experienced during my junior year and was able to excel in both my Spring semester finals and course grades overall. I attribute being able to overcome this hurdle in my college career to several different areas of my life: faith, fitness, mental health breaks, and connection with family and close friends.

    My faith is what primarily helped me through this mental block. I felt that reading my Bible, doing devotionals, praying, and having others at church pray for me as well really made an impact. I truly wouldn’t have gotten through that year without relying primarily on my faith.

    In addition, focusing on fitness and implementing mental health breaks when working on schoolwork aided me greatly in overcoming this obstacle. I love to work out, it’s a great stress reliever and very refreshing. I made time to lift weights and run every day. This allowed me to start off my school days on a positive note and helped me to have a confident mindset. In order to prevent burnout during my schoolwork days, I downloaded a timer app on my laptop and scheduled mental health breaks between study and homework sessions. I was able to clear my mind and not get overwhelmed from working on coursework for too long.

    Something I value most is spending time with my family and close friends. I truly wouldn’t have persevered this last year without them. Having people to talk to and be completely honest with was integral to overcoming academic anxiety. Who you have in your corner is important and essential in both the joyful and challenging parts of life. You need people who can cheer you on and be a shoulder to cry on.

    As someone who has dealt with mental health issues ever since high school, I know it’s important for students to know they’re not alone. There are so many stressors that can be overwhelming and worrisome in a college student’s life. You’re not crazy about crying over a test or panicking about numerous deadlines at once. Also, you won’t be stuck forever feeling this way. You can and will overcome academic anxiety. You can and will graduate with the degree you’ve been working towards. In the moment, I know it is easy to want to give up and believe that you won’t get through college. I encourage you to implement some of the strategies I’ve given above or reach out to a family member or friend for help. You’ve got this!

    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 word ‘Imposter’ in red old-style digital-looking letters against a white background.

    Imposters Among Us!

    Raya Fitch

    Remember when we used to play Among Us in 2020 because we could not really go anywhere? Remember that feeling when you were the imposter, but you had to pretend that you belonged, and you didn't act "sus" or suspicious? Have you ever felt like you were something like the imposter in real life? I certainly have. But somehow, being the imposter in real life is a lot harder than it is in the game Among Us.

    Am I The Only One?

    Being a college student can be intimidating; it’s hard not to compare yourself to your peers. Even in my campus job as a Pearson Campus Ambassador, I am the only one on my campus in this role and that sometimes makes me feel as though I am the imposter. I feel like I am definitely going to get caught and be ejected from the spaceship and left drifting in space! Seriously though, imposter syndrome is real, and many college students experience it in one way or another in their undergrad career.

    Imposter Syndrome

    If you have ever experienced imposter syndrome, you are far from alone: one in five college students experience this, but what is it? Imposter syndrome is “the feeling of being a fraud.” The best example of this that you might have a feeling in the back of your mind that you do not deserve your success or good grades. The best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to essentially change your outlook on yourself. This is easier said than done, but it is the most important thing you can do to overcome imposter syndrome.

    Change Your Outlook

    Find ways to encourage yourself. Practice positive self-talk. You deserve your good grades and your successes! It was not due to luck! So, before you start ducking into the vents of the spaceship like in Among Us, face the rest of the space crew and realize you do belong in that difficult class, you earned that selective internship, and you have a high GPA because you put in the work.

    If nobody has told you they are proud of you today, I am! So, I invite you to: walk into that class you think is too hard with your head held high, apply for that internship you think is too selective, and do not let rejection deter you! Remember, you are on the space crew, you are NOT the imposter.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • A young woman wearing black pants and a black jacket is leaning on a very large redwood-type tree trunk as though she is hugging it.

    How to Stay Mindful as a College Student

    Rachel Schachter

    It is easy to get caught up in the ongoing cycle of schoolwork as a college student. However, it is so important to stay mindful as you take the time to make it through the school year. Mental health should always be a priority, but unfortunately many students push it aside as they fill their day with school “to-dos”. Mental health is valuable to our overall health and success, which is why we should try to take even a little bit of time out of our day to practice ways to heal our minds. Here are four simple ways to stay mindful:

    Practice Meditation

    Meditation is a great way to work on overall stress management. It allows us to take a dedicated time and focus on ourselves and find our breath. The great thing about meditation is that whether you do 30 seconds or 30 minutes of it, you can still find peace. Guided meditations, meditation music and meditation podcasts are easily found on different streaming services and can be listened to on the go! So, the next time you are on your way to a big exam, about to go interview for a new job, or need a break from homework, try a short, guided meditation and see how greatly you can benefit from it.

    Try Yoga

    Similar to meditation, yoga gives us the opportunity to focus on our breathwork and soothe our minds while allowing us to move our body while doing it! There are many, many guided yoga practices online that can be done from the comfort of your own space. Depending on the day, you may feel you want to do one that focuses on neck pain, or lower back pain. There is a yoga routine for everything! Your mind will thank you after practicing yoga, as it will give your body and mind time to focus on your own self. Yoga also helps with overall balance, which is a plus!

    Spend Time Outside

    Taking the time to be outside in nature is a complete grounding experience. Fresh air, sunlight, and the sound of birds chirping are just some of the many great benefits that the “outside world” provides us with. Doing things like creating a garden, taking a hike, picnicking at a park, or even just taking a walk through the neighborhood/around campus are all great ways to take in the beauty around us – which can promote things like reducing stress and heart rates. Our world is full of so much incredible natural beauty. We should all start enjoying it, while letting it heal us!

    Find A Hobby

    As we get older, we start finding new hobbies that interest us. This is great! We should always take time to focus on doing things that we love. Putting time and focus on something that we enjoy naturally makes us happier, raising our endorphins which lowers stress and leads to a healthy mind. Whether it is playing your favorite sport, going to the gym, reading, watching your favorite TV show or painting, we should take designated time to do them and enjoy them!

    Although I just mentioned four, there are hundreds of ways to stay mindful. We all deserve to have a healthy and happy mind that will be there for us throughout the course of our lives. It is so important to take care of it so that it can do so!

    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 spiral notebook with the words ‘Natalie’s Notebook’ printed on the cover. A pen is placed on top of the notebook.

    Spread Awareness About Mental Health

    Natalie Farran

    Life is filled with ups and down, and as humans we might have up and down days. We need to take care of ourselves and not let the stressful moments make us angry, sad, or unable to focus. It is okay to have off days and bad days. It is okay to wake up sad, happy, or anxious.

    Process all the feelings you have as they come up and remember to breathe through them all and let them go. Some days are just harder than others.

    Here are some actions you can take when you are having a hard time:

    1. Doing exercises such as yoga or running
    2. Journaling
    3. Taking a bath
    4. Reading a book
    5. Practicing controlled breathing
    6. Meditating in the morning or before you sleep
    7. Talking to someone you trust and sharing your feelings
    8. Being out in nature
    9. Changing your frame of mind - focus on the positive
    10. Avoiding negative people
    11. Doing a smiling exercise
    12. Listening to music
    13. Eating food that you like
    14. Cleaning or organizing your space
    15. Acknowledging your achievements and being grateful for what you have

    Your mental health is as important as your physical health, and not something to feel embarrassed about making a priority. Talking about feelings, emotions, and the patterns our brains work in is an incredibly freeing thing to allow ourselves to do. It is okay to ask for help when you need it.

    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 dark green cactus-type plant featuring pointed fronds with spikes along the edges.

    Combating the Winter Blues

    Stella Seth

    I love fall. It’s the best season for fashion, fragrance, and fun. With fall comes crisp mornings, stunning sunrises, and petrichor. Where I live in Washington State has it all: mountains, trees, and water, but it’s lacking in sunshine in the wintertime. I’m originally from the Caribbean, a place known for its hot sun and volatile weather. I’m used to sunshine, so you can imagine when I first came here and experienced winter for the first time, my mental state took a hit.

    Later, I would realize that I suffer from what is known as seasonal affected disorder, more commonly known as seasonal depression. You might recognize the signs within yourself: a persistent low mood, losing interest in the things that usually bring you joy, and an unstated sadness. I believe everyone who lives in Washington and places that receive less sunlight in the fall and winter can experience some measure of this—it’s normal. Here are some tips and tricks to hijack this uncanny state so that your fall and winter may be a bit brighter.

    Keep Up with Hobbies

    During this time, indulge a little. Be a kid and spend time doing what usually brings you joy. Set some time aside to intentionally engage with your hobbies. Even though you might not feel like it, your mood will be lifted. I personally like thrifting and dancing. Do what makes you happy, whatever that is: embroidery, playing tennis with friends, hiking, paddleboarding, etc.

    Address Lower Sun Exposure

    Since sunlight helps produce vitamin D, less sun in the winter can lead to a deficiency in that area, which can affect your mood. Consider increasing your Vitamin D levels with supplements. (Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking supplements). I have found that another helpful way to address lower sunlight exposure during winter months is to use a light therapy lamp, and it does wonders. Just having a source of light that mimics the sun in my space brightens up my mood.

    Nature Therapy

    I would also recommend you spend time outdoors. Nature therapy works, at least for me. If you can’t do that then bring the outdoors to you. Do you like plants? I love them! My space is overflowing with them, and I feel happy every time I look at them. You’re also taking care of something and that’s motivating. Pets are especially great mood boosters. If plants are not your thing, then some picked flowers work equally as well.

    Winter is not an easy time. The world is filled with depressing stories, but if you take a bit of time out of your day to do what you love and consider self-care, I promise you it won’t go to waste.

    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!