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 notebook, coffee mug, and iPad with a list of 2024 resolutions arranged on a table.

    Happy February – How are your New Year’s Resolutions Going?

    Madeline Beavis

    Is it February already? I’ve always found it super fun to set some New Year's resolutions for myself in January... but they can be so difficult to maintain once the month is up! And I’m not alone; about 50% of people will give up on their resolutions by the end of January, so, now that it’s February, how are you doing with your resolutions? Whether you’ve restarted a couple of times or have been going strong since the ball drop, here are some tips to get your momentum back and keep your resolutions going all year long!

    1) Reflect on your progress so far.

    Take some time to reflect on how close you are to reaching your goal or how many goals you’ve accomplished already! Take pride in the progress you’ve made so far. This can be a great motivator to continue working hard for the rest of the year!

    2) Set new goals.

    Setting new goals can also be a great way to inspire yourself. If you achieved your goal in January, think of a new challenge. If you did not reach your goal, that’s okay! You can always reevaluate your resolution throughout the year to accommodate your current lifestyle and availability.

    3) Reward yourself!

    It is so important to be kind to yourself and reward your achievements. Maybe you get to go to your favorite restaurant, order your favorite drink at Starbucks, or buy those jeans you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Whether your reward is big or small, make it something meaningful to you that will help you stay on track.

    4) Get a friend or family member involved.

    It’s always so much more fun to accomplish a goal with someone else! Get someone close to you to join you in your resolution, so you can hold each other accountable and track your progress together. If you’re super competitive, get a whole group involved and see who can stick to the resolution the longest!

    5) Make your resolutions fun!

    The best advice I can give is to make your resolution something you will enjoy doing. Maybe you want to get more exercise in 2024, but you dread going to the gym. Instead, choose a place nearby to explore, grab your headphones, and go for a walk or run outdoors! Or maybe you want to maintain a better diet, but raw veggies aren’t your thing. Look up some recipes for healthier versions of your favorite dishes. There are so many ways to make your resolutions more fun!

    Overall, resolutions can be hard to keep. But give yourself some grace and try one of these tips if you are feeling down on yourself this new year. You might be surprised by how much of a difference a small change can make!

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

     

  • A group of 10 college friends taking a selfie inside a college gym.

    A Productive Lifestyle for College Students

    Will Jansen

    The challenge of being a productive college student is that, for the first time in the traditional student's life, he or she has so much freedom in how time is spent, a sharp contrast from high school. It can be intimidating, but it should really be viewed as a terrific opportunity. Interests, hobbies, class times and majors influence the exact responsibilities each student has, but students should apply themselves in specific ways to make the most of their time.

    Here are 6 areas to prioritize to achieve a productive lifestyle.

    1. Studying

    This is both most obvious and vital, hence it is placed first on the list. Most professors in three credit hour courses recommend a minimum nine hours of study per week—If a student takes 15 credit hours, that’s a recommended 135 hours of study weekly, excluding class time! Realistically, some classes, especially core courses and prerequisites, demand maybe two hours, while a major course could demand 12. Every student is different; just make certain you review regularly and stay on top of the busy work for easy points.

    2. Physical Fitness

    An active, healthy body makes for a strong mind. Lift weights and run long distances if you prefer, but that isn’t at all necessary—just keep moving to stay fresh. For me, I play basketball with my friends two or three times a week at the campus rec center, push some weights around or hit a treadmill two more times. Choose whatever you prefer; keep a strong body and have some fun while doing it.

    3. Campus Involvement

    Staying tied in on campus is a great way to get the most out of your college experience. There is plenty of overlap here with other points, but getting an on-campus job and being involved with clubs can help a student immensely. Most schools have student organizations centered around each major or college and are great ways to get involved. However, get out of your comfort zone and try other areas: student government, intramurals, and more.

    4. Nutrition/Meal prep

    This one can be tricky, especially for those living on campus with no kitchen. As I said in point 2, a healthy, strong body makes for a strong mind, so work on yourself in every aspect. Nearly every eating location on campus is required to offer low calorie or vegetarian meal options, so take advantage. Eat at regular intervals; eat with constraint. Take care of yourself to perform at your best.

    5. Outside Work/Side Projects

    This one encompasses both short- and long-term development. Some students may need to work full time jobs to help fund college. For a traditional student, part-time on-campus employment opportunities may need a little digging but should be very easy to find. Any good part-time college position will be flexible with your classes. Have new experiences, get some cash to have fun with your friends, and maybe save some away if you can. At the same time, look at career development—work on those LinkedIn profiles, reach out to established professionals in fields you’re interested in. Work on your own projects that excite you: research a topic you often think about, coach a youth sport you love, read a book, or, maybe, even write one. There is no limit to the applicable options here, work hard on whatever piques your interest.

    6. Rest and Recovery

    Getting to all of those above can feel like a lot to tackle. But what’s just as important as any of those is personal time. College is meant to be enjoyable. Work hard, live hard. Go watch your school play any and all sports, go out with friends on a Friday night. You’ve earned 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! 

     

  • Blog author Tommy is wearing a blue t-shirt and holding up a small dry erase board, on which he has written out his weekly goals.

    Use Goals and Rewards to Achieve Academic Success

    Tommy Sewczwicz

    At the beginning of every semester most students are very motivated to achieve their academic goals – whether that be to achieve straight A's or just passing all their classes. We get to start fresh at the beginning of the semester with the belief that this will be our best semester. Typically, the first couple weeks go by smoothly but when tests start coming up and work piles up, things can go downhill. We may start settling and not working as hard as we did at the start of the semester, losing the vision of our goals. Here are a few tips I use to help me stay motivated throughout the semester.

    Write Out Big Goals

    The first thing I do at the beginning of the semester is write down my big goals for the semester on my whiteboard. Some of the goals I may include are:

    • more A’s than B’s
    • no C’s or worse
    • complete all homework assignments on time

    …or whatever else I may be trying to focus on. By writing these goals on my white board I see them every day and remind myself of what I am trying to accomplish. If I have fallen behind in one of the goals, I have set for myself I know I have to lock in more. Whereas if I am on pace to meet my goal, I know that what I am doing is working and to keep doing what I am doing.

    Write Out Smaller Goals Through the Week

    Next, I also have smaller goals written down. These can be daily or weekly goals that help you reach your big main goals. I will also write these down on my whiteboard so that I can see what I have to do and get the satisfaction of crossing it off my list. An example of some of the smaller goals I may set for myself are:

    • go to all my classes
    • complete my upcoming homework assignments
    • study for an hour

    Breaking down my main big goals into smaller goals makes it seem easier and motivates me to do my work because I know that it will directly affect my big goals.

    Reward Yourself Whenever You Accomplish Something

    One of the great ways to stay motivated is by giving yourself something to look forward to. It can be something as small and simple like you get the rest of the day to just relax and do what you want or something bigger like buying new clothes or going on a little trip. Last semester I tried this and ended up completing my goals because I wanted a couple of new sweatshirts. For each goal I completed, I allowed myself to buy a sweatshirt. It was the first time I was engaged and motivated through a whole academic semester. Giving yourself something to work for keeps you engaged with your schoolwork, and you’ll learn a lot more.

    Remember the Big Picture

    Whenever I am dreading to do an assignment, I will look at the big picture and examine the path that leads me to where I want to be. All the little assignments, projects, and tests matter and are just little steps leading me to my goals. This visualization helps keep me motivated because I want to accomplish my larger goals and I will get my work done to insure the best future for myself.

    A certain amount of self-management is needed to achieve academic success. Whether it be long term and short-term goal setting, establishing rewards for yourself, or examining the big picture, figure out what motivates you to complete your work and implement it early in the semester before you get off track.

    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 full stadium at an Iowa State football game.

    Navigating the Emotions and Challenges of Your College “Limbo” Years

    Lauren Blair

    Navigating through your college sophomore and junior years towards being a college senior is an underplayed challenge. The new responsibilities and freedoms for freshmen are highlighted and discussed frequently. However, a shadow falls over many college sophomores and juniors as they enter the "limbo" years. They don’t need the support that many freshmen seek yet they also don’t have the spotlight of graduating and entering a full-time position in a few months that the seniors acquire.

    Reality Sets In

    The “limbo” years can feature feelings of burnout and questioning as students feel stuck in a repetitive cycle of attending classes, studying, and taking exams. Many of my peers agree that these years are full of love/hate relationships. They describe going from one day loving their major and studies to the very next day finding themselves questioning everything about their future. The excitement of college has worn off. These students are facing many internal battles to find the right path for their success while managing to have a good time along the way, despite the difficulty of their classes increasing. Some might feel stuck working their way through generic courses, still searching for their passion while having yet to experience the joy of practicing real work in their major field.

    Change Your Mindset

    One way that helps me stay motivated despite the repetitive nature of the “limbo” years is to change my perspective. I struggle to find passion for required courses I have to take outside my major, but I take a step back and evaluate ways I can adjust my performance and attitude towards these classes. A basic course such as English seems taxing and time-consuming to an engineering student, however I recognize that this course may be more helpful for things outside my degree such as scholarship or application essays.

    This change of perspective helps me maintain a positive outlook and an attitude focused on making the best of the situation I am in. I realize I cannot change that I must take courses I may not enjoy but I can change how I approach them. Staying more open-minded allows me to draw something from the course even if it as simple as how to talk to professors or how to study for non-problem-solving courses.

    Set Small Goals

    Another tactic I use is to set small goals so I can visualize my own progression and growth despite feeling stuck in a loop. Setting a different attainable goal each month or between each holiday is an easy way to build in self-progression. For example, after winter break last semester, I set one goal to work towards and after Valentine’s Day I reflected to see how successful I was. I then set a new goal and reflected on that one during Spring Break. Following this schedule, I could see myself growing professionally, academically, and personally as I improved different areas of my life.

    Some examples of goals I have set are to reach out to professional contacts I haven’t reached out to in a while, finalizing an internship position for the summer, cooking more meals in my apartment, or attending a weekly yoga class. These goals cover a wide range of my life and are simply set to help provide myself with a way to track progression and find purpose amid the academic cloud many sophomores and juniors feel trapped under.

    The challenges that sophomores and juniors face may not be highlighted as strongly as those of freshmen and seniors, but maybe they should be. There are many more tactics to fight through this feeling of being stuck in quicksand, but the main key is to pull yourself out of the situation and view it from a more overarching perspective. Set goals for yourself to keep your personal values the focus of your daily work.

    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 close-up of someone’s hand drawing in a sketchbook.

    Stretch Your Brain by Keeping a Sketchbook

    David Marquez

    A sketchbook allows you to create a visual and textual imprint of your thoughts. Image-making is an inherent fascination of the human mind. Through sketching, you can wholly render and express your thoughts. Like a journal, a sketchbook is a key to your consciousness; keeping one on your person always allows you to communicate emotion.

    You don’t have to be an artist; a sketchbook can simultaneously be notes and images of your environment. You could be jotting down notes in class or drawing while waiting outside.

    Sketchbooks offer consistent mental exercise. The dynamic between the visual and textual speaks to how we comprehend information. It relaxes us; it empowers us to take what we see, hear, and feel, and communicate it through ourselves. Keeping a sketchbook allows you to connect with yourself and your environment.

    Like Journaling with a Twist!

    Sketching is commonly associated with an artist or a designer; however, you don’t need to be one to do it! Having a sketchbook gives you a visual diary of your life. We are connected to a visible environment: I love to sit outside and sketch my surroundings; however, I also use my sketchbook as a facet of internal comprehension. Whether through words or putting pen to paper and expressing myself on the page, I write and draw my feelings and frustrations.

    You don’t have to be a master at drawing to sketch; you don’t even have to make art: sketching is about getting an idea, feeling, or emotion onto paper. When you journal or write, you describe your life in words; however, in a sketchbook, you can use form, line, or even color to lay out your thinking.

    Like a journal, a sketchbook can be a private diary, but it can also be a place to take notes and observe (you can even write in it like a journal). There are no bounds to your imagination!

    Doodle All the Time!

    Doodling keeps your brain relaxed and communitive. We have so many distractions: lights, sounds, etc. When you sketch, your hand glides across the paper's surface. You're not thinking about the final product; you ease back, and your thoughts start to clear. The agitated atmosphere within your head drifts away.

    It’s easy to find yourself bored in class. It happens to me quite frequently. The notes seem to fade away and you find yourself drifting into the background. However, in front of you, that notebook or homework sheet, you have a piece of paper. What can bring you back out of your mind can be doodling across the borders of your paper. Surprisingly, this focuses you back into the world and your environment. By giving your mind time to relax, you actively retain knowledge presented by the professor.

    So, when you find yourself drifting away into the realm of boredom, try doodling in your sketchbook or on your paper. You can even sketch and take notes, which is my favorite thing to do in lecture classes!

    Our mind is a significant part of us. Stretch your brain and give it some time to breathe. We’re a visual culture: by creating images, we can communicate our thoughts, feelings, and emotions into the perceivable world.

    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 man smiling and wearing sunglasses with expansive view of an historic town behind him.

    The Power of Perspective

    Jake Buganski

    When it comes to making big decisions, it can be easy to get caught up in the things we want to happen, rather than considering what we want to avoid. As I have progressed through my college career, I have started to notice how this common trap can lead me and others to miss out on valuable opportunities or to make poor choices. But what if there was a way to make better decisions by focusing on what we don’t want to have happen? Psychologists have proven that when an individual makes decisions based on what they most want to avoid happening, they are much more motivated to act in a proper manner than when making decisions based on what they want to have happen. This is using the power of perspective.

    Proactive vs Reactive

    This mindset helps you push through fear by acting as a motivating force behind you. It also allows you to be proactive, rather than reactive, to life situations. When you're focused on what you want to happen, you're often in a state of chasing after goals or trying to create situations. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, as you're constantly trying to control the outcome. On the other hand, when you focus on what you don't want to happen, you're able to see things from a more positive angle as you’re able to recognize potential problems ahead of time and take necessary steps to mitigate the chances of those negative outcomes from occurring.

    Think Like a Business Manager

    Think of yourself as a business you’re invested in or a community of people you care about. In starting a new business, you meticulously think ahead and plan for everything that you don't want to have happen, such as going bankrupt or losing customers. Thinking in this perspective motivates the company to minimize those risks as ahead of time as much as possible and keep its business afloat.

    If that seems to weird or abstract to you, think of yourself as your family and friends would. Surely you want the best outcome for yourself just as you would want the best for them. So, if someone you cared about was afraid of pursuing of a valuable opportunity, would you not encourage them to reach their fullest potential despite the fear of doing so? Thinking of yourself as a community of people you love (such as your family or friends) and wanting the best for them allows you to focus less hard on yourself and make more motivated decisions.

    Choose Your Path

    Herein lies the “aha!” moment. It's going to be hard both ways so you can actually pick your own path! You don’t have to let life have its course with you – you’re actually in control of your own destiny. Additionally, this approach can help you to avoid the pitfalls of being overly optimistic or overly pessimistic, and instead, make well-informed decisions that are right for you.

    Once you realize that either option is going to be hard no matter what, it frees up your mind to make the best choice. Psychologists have shown time and time again that people are more motivated by fear than by desire, so by mapping out your own personal worst nightmare, you’ll actually have something tangible to run away from rather than run towards.

    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 student’s spiral notebook with a red pen on top. The student’s hands are folded on the left and a laptop with a writing assignment on the screen is on the desk.

    Your Grades Don’t Define You

    Rachel Stennett

    Congratulations! You have been accepted to the best universities within your state. You know that college is going to be challenging with all the changes: moving away, making new friends, and adjusting your schedule. But after four years of balancing AP/IB/Dual Enrollment courses, a part-time job, and extracurriculars while staying at the top of your class, making it through college should not be that terrible. Right?

    Freshman year, I started college with this mindset. Although I knew that it was going to be challenging, I had so many people reassuring me that I was smart enough to do whatever I set my mind to. Then, I received my first failing grade on a homework assignment. Then, another on a discussion post. Then, on an exam. While the words of encouragement never stopped, my want to succeed in school and fear of failure grew. At some points, the stress I put on myself from trying to ace an assignment caused me to do worse on it in the end. I would be too afraid to start working, or I would stay up late and be unable to focus in class the next morning.

    Academic validation – the need or want for success within school to feel worthy – is a double-edged sword. On one hand, wanting to do well in school is normal and can be a form of motivation. On the other hand, an overwhelming desire for academic success and fear of failure can negatively affect someone’s mood and mental health; therefore, ironically, making it harder for someone to be able to achieve the goals they set for themselves. In the transition from high school to college, many students go from being the top of their class to competing against many other brilliant students from across the world.

    For anyone reading who may be currently suffering from burnout due to a fear of failure, here are some reminders that I have been using to help battle my need for academic validation:

    1. It takes time to adjust

    The content and structure of your college classes may be very different from what you are used to. It will take time to create new study habits as you adjust. Going through a period of trial and error is OK.

    2. It’s not just you; your classes ARE hard

    There are many “weed-out” classes, advanced classes that are made to test if you really enjoy your major, in college. These may be the first classes that you, and many of your classmates, will begin to see failing grades in. Do not freak out.

    3. Stop comparing yourself to others

    Just because someone else thought the exam was easy, does not mean that you should have received a higher grade. Everybody views things differently.

    4. Sometimes you need to take a break

    Whenever I push myself to study for too long or do too many things at once, I often get sick shortly after. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, do not go past your limit. Sometimes, it is better to take a break- watch a movie, go out to dinner, take a day off from studying. Your health comes first.

    5. Take time to be social

    Yes, it is important to do well in school. But college is also a time to make memories and connections with new people. Do not feel guilt for wanting to make time for your social life as well.

    6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    A lot of your friends are going through the same thing. Talking to them about your stress may help to relieve some of the pressure. Most universities also offer a limited amount of individual and group therapy sessions. Take advantage of these resources if you can.

    7. Your grades do not define your worth

    A high GPA is impressive on a graduate school application, but so are achievements outside of academics. Ten years from now, nobody will ask you if you passed or failed that physics class in sophomore year. You are more than a letter grade.

    No matter what the grades on your transcript say, you are still worthy and capable of achieving greatness!

    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!