Students blog

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

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PreK-12Higher EducationProfessional

  • A white desk with 2 spiral notebooks, an open laptop, and a pencil holder.

    Get a Jump on Your Semester!

    Carla Thigpen

    Going back to campus after winter break can be an adjustment but it’s important to think of how you will stay organized throughout the semester. There will be new challenges and it is important to go in organized and prepared to eliminate as much stress as possible.

    Get Organized with a Plan

    At the beginning of a new semester, I love to use my Google or Outlook calendar and add the days and times of all my classes. I like to do this not only to know when my classes are but when adding other events, work etc. it is easier to visualize everything rather than keep track in your head. I also like to try and write a plan for my day and what I want to accomplish. This helps me stay on task and, besides, who doesn't love crossing off finished tasks from a list? Remember, if you don’t get everything done it's okay! I just use lists as a guide and reminder of what needs to be done. If you are a visual learner like me using these two tools can really help you stay on track and visualize your schedule to keep you organized.

    Try New Things

    Sometimes stress during a semester is inevitable, with a new schedule, academics and just adjusting in general, so knowing what helps you de-stress will ensure you are taking care of yourself. Every person is different so what works for someone else might not work for you. It took me a while to figure out what helps me when I’m stressed, and I realized it depends on what my mood is. Sometimes when I need a break I want to be surrounded by my friends and other times I just want to be by myself, go on a walk, or read a book. Self-care and de-stressing come in a lot of different forms so it’s important to identify what helps you.

    Don’t Procrastinate

    This may be the hardest part of being a college student. I feel like everyone has procrastinated at one point during their time in college. Sometimes it’s hard to balance a bunch of classes, clubs, and social life. Procrastination can cause stress because leaving all of your class work until the last minute can cause work to be turned in late, or not done correctly. Now, there are some people who thrive under pressure and save work until the last minute, but I feel like for most people that is not the case. You can try to reduce procrastination by setting a window of time for yourself when you are only going to do homework and see how much you can get done. Or try choosing a specific day to work on assignments from each class so your focus stays on one subject at a time.

    Know Yourself

    Organization can be tricky to figure out for yourself, but once you do it will make your life so much easier! What works for someone else might not work for you. You know yourself best and it's important to remember that. If you try something and it doesn’t work, switch it up and try a new organizational tactic. Staying organized will only help you and your mental health to have an enjoyable 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! 

     

  • 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! 

     

  • A green stuffed dinosaur outside on a picnic table.

    Your Childhood Stuffed Animals DO Have a Place with You at College!

    Taylor Perline

    Do you remember your childhood stuffed animal? Do you recall that special item that you may have carried close to your heart until the fabric and stitches started to fall apart? I certainly do! Mine was a stuffed bear named affectionately after the holiday he was given to me on! As we grow up, college students may think that they’ve outgrown their cuddly companions, but it has become more and more apparent that these toys have benefits for college students too!

    College Anxiety

    First off, let's talk about anxiety. We all know college life can be overwhelming at times, and that's where our fluffy friends step in. Consider weighted stuffed animals! The pressure they provide can make students feel comfortable and calm. Some are even made with beads that can be microwaved and heated to give a warm and comforting feeling.

    Cuddles for a Cause

    But that's not all. Some companies sell stuffed animals for a cause! A love for plushies can actually make a positive impact on the world. Multiple organizations donate a portion of their proceeds from stuffed animal sales to help animals in need. Oftentimes zoos will have this kind of product available or other websites that allow you to “adopt” an animal. Support animals by cuddling them!

    Dorm Decor

    Stuffed animals can also add a touch of fun to our college lives. They can brighten up our dorm rooms, add a splash of color to study spaces, provide a little reminder of home, and make a boring day a little bit brighter. Plus, they make for the perfect social media buddies and props for cute photos! Not to mention that they can also be collected. I’m sure many have seen how intensely some people collect certain brands of stuffed animals, and it can honestly be a lot of fun! Especially if the stuffed animals come in “blind boxes!”

    All in all, those little stuffed toys can have a much bigger impact than what you man think! Give it a shot and give a stuffed animal a hug!

    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 featuring a graduation cap, a rolled diploma, and a whit diploma cover labeled Certificate of Graduation.

    From College to the Whole Wide World

    Malina Gavris

    As a college senior, I am at a very important yet strange part of my life. Still a student, I have the luxury of worrying about small things such as making sure I'm prepared for the pop quizzes my accounting professor likes to surprise us with, or deciding what restaurant my friends want to eat at after a library study sesh. But as an upperclassman, I also know that my college years are coming to an end, and I can't help but think about my future ALL of the time. What job will I have? Where will I work? Am I brave enough to move to a big city? Don't even get me started on thinking about grad school. As my graduation day inches closer, here’s how I am addressing the transition from college life to the real world, and tips I've learned on how to have not just a successful college career but a functional plan for your future!

    Meet with Advisors

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is to schedule advising appointments with your respective advisors and counselors, and to schedule them ahead of time. During my freshman year, I had a plethora of questions about my schedule, extracurriculars, and how to format my resume. I thought my questions were trivial and the answers could be found somewhere on my university’s web pages. I spent weeks going on wild goose chases, looking for the information that I needed to no avail. Fully frustrated, I finally decided to schedule an appointment with my advisor, only to find that she was booked for the next three weeks! However, when I finally met with her, all my worries were ameliorated. I received such helpful advice and from that day on, I’ve never shied away from meeting with what my school calls my “success team”, whether it be to choose my electives for next semester or just to discuss my professional goals.

    Don’t be afraid to ask your advisors for help whenever you need it! They are there for you to make sure that you succeed and can provide you with specialized advice that family and friends might be unable to.

    Get Organized

    Something else that I’ve learned over the past few years is that staying organized matters! I went from being the person who rarely took notes, to someone who sets reminders on my phone the moment I am notified of a plan or an assignment. I’ve never missed a deadline since my second semester of freshman year, and the habit of staying organized will help you not only with school but with your future jobs. With a corporate banking internship under my belt, I’ve definitely learned that your managers expect you to be punctual and to handle multiple tasks at a time, so it was a great way for me to put my organizational skills to the test.

    Manage Your Stress

    Lastly, when it comes to transitioning to your future career and thinking about long-term plans for your life, the most important thing that I’ve learned is to not stress! As long as you lead a balanced life with a strong work ethic and make the most of the opportunities presented to you, you are on the right track to succeed. Never feel bad if you don’t get a position or a job! Even the most prepared candidates might not be the right fit, and that rejection might actually lead you to find a better position more suited to your skillset and personality. Of course, you should have a plan for your life post-graduation but remember to be flexible because you don’t know what life will offer you and how your interests will evolve or change!

    In conclusion, while ending your undergraduate education seems like a big close to an important chapter of your life, it is really the beginning of your future. I’ve learned to make the most out of life as a college student and to not be afraid to dream big. Through trial and error, I’ve learned how to manage my scholarly and professional life in order to kickstart my career, and I hope that my tips will help you kickstart your own professional and personal journey so that you can bring your best to any situation!

    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 dock on a lake with the sunset on the horizon. The clouds look pink in the evening light.

    Movement for Your Mind

    Ava Ambrose

    As a college student, I have a lot on my plate. From homework, to clubs, to maintaining relationships, it’s a lot. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed at times. Whether it is an upcoming exam, or a task I have to complete for an extracurricular, I can get stressed out pretty easily. That is why I find it important to set aside at least 15 minutes each day to be active. This does not always mean going to do a workout at the gym. On especially busy days, I take a short walk around my neighborhood and just allow myself to decompress.

    Keep Active

    Your mind needs breaks in order to perform at its best. Remaining active is a guaranteed way to keep your mood up while dealing with all of the struggles of schoolwork. Walks are especially great because they are so low commitment. As soon as I’ve made the decision to take a walk, I’ve technically already begun! All you have to do is step out your front door and the rest is whatever you make it! I love walking around my neighborhood because I never know who I may run into.

    Get Fresh Air

    It is also really important for your health to get fresh air, so you’re really doing a lot for your health by just taking a walk! I find it really peaceful to walk down to the lake that is behind my apartment complex; however, you don’t need a lake in order to enjoy nature! There are so many things to appreciate, and it can bring you joy to even just look at what’s going on in the sky. My favorite is when I see cool clouds or really pretty sunsets. And just like that, all of my stress is off my mind and I’m in a great mood.

    Other Stress Relievers

    There are many different things you can do for your health, both physical and mental. Physical activity has incredible benefits for your heart, body, and mind. It has been proven that physical movement reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. You can incorporate extra movement throughout your day. This could be taking your dog for a walk, choosing to take the stairs over the elevator, or even biking instead of driving. These may seem like small steps, but they can have significant impacts on your wellbeing.

    I find that being active is a very effective form of mindfulness. It brings peace to my day as it allows me to be with my thoughts. It is so important to remain active and give yourself breaks from all of the hard work you do!

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

  • Two young Indian women looking at each other and smiling. They are wearing traditional Indian saris.

    Crossroads Between Heritage and Homework

    Suhani Chopra

    I vividly remember my first time failing an assignment.

    This wasn’t failing by my high standards, either – this was the proper, below-a-C-minus, failing grade. Flashback to 7th grade Algebra, more than 7 years ago at this point. Our teacher was handing back our first quiz of the year, on some supposedly easy topics. I wasn’t feeling too worried about it, and when I got my paper back, I flipped it over, expecting an A. Instead, a 65% in red ink stared back at me.

    I remember my face heated up as I shoved the paper into my bag as quickly as I could. I remember barely being able to hold it together for the rest of the day, that dreaded number swirling around in my head. And I remember getting home, jumping into my bed and sobbing, unable to stop the tears rolling down my face.

    Eventually I calmed down, and I was able to get started on the rest of the homework I had to do. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t erase that day from my mind - because looking back, that was the moment I realized how much of my self-worth I put into my academics.

    In an Indian household like the one I grew up in, the expectation of doing well in school cannot be overstated. Good grades are not “good”, they are simply standard. My parents definitely instilled the importance of academic performance into me but tried to teach me to balance out my happiness and interests with that as well. Unfortunately, my own expectations became higher than theirs, and getting anything less than a 90% on an assignment in high school would cause me to go into a blind panic. I would stress all day about even the easiest homework assignments. And tests? Tests were the bane of my existence; I would limit myself to 3 hours of sleep sometimes just so that I could spend all night studying (even if I already knew the material). I got the grades I wanted, but most times it was at the cost of my mental health.

    Then came college:

    The fast-paced learning style, the difficult curriculum, and sometimes, the less-than-ideal professors. I knew that I would have to work to keep up with everything, but I could feel myself starting to drown in my stress and overthinking already – and it was only the third week of school. Something had to change, otherwise at this rate making it through the school year was going to be almost impossible.

    A large part of my college experience, aside from meeting new people, gaining independence, and finding what I wanted to major in, was learning to be more lenient with myself academically. As a byproduct of my culture’s views on grades, I had almost ingrained this idea in me that school comes before everything else in my life. It was only after coming to college and physically seeing that my mentality in high school wasn’t going to help me succeed here, that I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was pushing myself too hard. It wasn’t an overnight process by a long shot. But it was the start of trying to “un-learn” the mentality that my grades defined my self-worth, and if I didn’t do well, then that reflected on me as a person. People had told me in the past that, “your grades are not who you are”. But it didn’t hit me until I experienced that in practice.

    I tried to let myself be more okay with getting a B on an assignment if I knew I tried my best. I started prioritizing my work more and making sure I gave more attention to the things that were worth more points, instead of getting overly stressed about everything. Most of all, I attempted to get out of my own head. I started making new friends, exploring clubs, going to social events around campus – trying to make my life about more than just studying for the next test. I started really enjoying life, instead of just living it.

    I’m definitely still working on it today. Old habits die hard, and when I have a lot on my plate academically, I feel myself falling back into my “panic mode” that I had throughout high school. I’m doing my best to remind myself, though, that even if I’m not doing perfect, I am doing my best with my classes, and that is enough. I am enough for myself, at the end of the day. And at the crossroads of heritage and homework, I managed to carve out a third path – that of happiness.

    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 of three people sitting on the floor around a low table and playing a board game.

    Outside the Box Ways to Relax

    Jordan Little

    In school, it is easy to get bogged down by continuous deadlines, assignments, and everyday stressors. Whether you chronically overwork or constantly procrastinate, school can stress you out if you're not conscious of your mental state. Even though taking walks, reading books, and meditating are great stress relievers, those practices and habits don't come naturally to everyone. If you're looking for some "outside the box" ways to relax, here are my two favorite ways to de-stress that are a bit less common.

    Board Games

    If you’re a more social person, I love relaxing by playing board games. Whether they’re collaborative or competitive, board games are a great way to schedule fun, non-academic, and inexpensive activities with your friends and peers. Board games are easy to find and only require a onetime purchase if you don’t already own a particular game. If you’re not looking for physical copies of games, you can also find many games for cheap/free online to play on-the-go or online. At Georgia State University, we are lucky enough to have a tabletop gaming club that can help facilitate these weekly games, but it’s super easy to meet up with friends on your own time to do so. Having a game night with my friends every other week has been a great way for me to stop worrying about what’s been stressing me out that week. I can shift my focus onto the objective of the game at hand while getting to catch up and laugh with my friends.

    Jigsaw Puzzles

    For more introverted people, the activity I’ve taken up most this school year to relax is doing jigsaw puzzles. With a range of difficulties and themes, it’s easy to decide on a puzzle that specifically fits what you want. Personally, I like to listen to a good album, catch up on a show, or relax in silence while focusing on the puzzle. Not only are puzzles a great mental workout, but they help you take a break from being on social media, staring at a screen, or stressing over an assignment. The best part is that your hard work helps create a beautiful finished puzzled that you can glue together and use for decoration or gift giving.

    If you don’t know how to de-stress and relax, you can get overwhelmed in the blink of an eye. It’s great to work hard, but it is also necessary to spend time relaxing and having fun, so your brain can keep working hard without burning itself out. While I really enjoy playing board games and doing puzzles to de-stress, I encourage you to see what activity work best for you. It’s important to know what helps you relax and to set aside time to de-stress.

    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 wearing masks and costumes attending an outdoor Halloween event.

    Dealing with College Stress

    Abigail Crawford

    Stress is a part of everyday life in college, whether it be from living on your own for the first time or trying to figure out these seemingly impossible college classes. Certain classes within your chosen major can make you rethink your decision, but with the right healthy habits in and outside of the classroom, it can make excelling in these classes all that much easier.

    Correlation Of Various College Major and Stress Levels

    I interviewed upperclassmen college students on my campus, all with varying majors, to see what they do to help with everyday college stress and what advice they would like to give future freshmen. I interviewed several upperclassmen with majors such as Biomedical Science, General Business, Kinesiology, and my own Animal Science. Overall, the majors that centered around teaching, kinesiology, and general business had a lower stress environment; while the majors centered around science or math, like animal science and biomedical science had a very high stress environment. No matter the specific major, stress can hit at any moment, and it can be pretty jarring.

    Spending Time with Those That Make You Happy

    There are many different ways to help deal with this or help prevent too much stress in the future. My friend majoring in kinesiology enjoys spending time outside playing sports with his friends. He also enjoys spending time with their family at church or meditating with friends.

    Stay On Schedule with Your Studies

    My friend majoring in biomedical science likes to help prevent future stress by paying special attention to her study schedule. In addition to in-class time, she schedules at least 2 hours of study time for each class each week, sometimes more. She says this keeps her up-to-date on all the new information making her more confident in her knowledge on the subject which makes her calmer and less stressed in the long run.

    Enjoy and Perfect Your Talents

    My friend majoring in general business has a different type of stress management technique; he loves to play the drums and perfect his skill with new songs. He also loves to hang out with his friends or play video games. Being around people you love like a close friend or family member is a wonderful way to destress. Just talking about how you feel and what you are worried over helps relieve pressure and can bring a clearer mindset to get back to work.

    Get Outside

    My personal way to help relieve prevalent stress in my major is to spend time outside. Taking a walk; being in fresh air, walking around watching nature, is very therapeutic and can also help you see different ways to solve problems. Another way that I have found to help is to take a break and focus on yourself. Making a meal, doing some skincare, or taking a shower are great ways to take your mind out of what you are stressed over and put it in a more relaxed state. You will feel more refreshed and will have a clean slate to start again.

    It is safe to say it is easy for students new to living on their own to be drawn to the poorer choices in stress management on a whim because they weren’t expecting some resistance in their studies. Making good habits early and plans for when a certain class or just life is getting too hard is how you can build lifelong habits that are amazing for your health both physically and mentally. I hope you can find a stress management system that works for you and that you try some of the ideas to help these stressful school years.

    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 woman holding her arms overhead and standing in a clearing surrounded by farm crops. She is wearing a yellow top, blue jeans, and a cream-colored scarf.

    Finding Balance through Self-Love and Internal Healing

    DaViane Lowe

    As a first-generation college student, I struggled to balance my personal well-being, social interaction, and academic life. I was not prepared to handle the stress to perform academically, to feel accepted while also dealing with racial disparities, and dealing with financial concerns to pay for school while also taking on jobs to meet other financial obligations. It became a never-ending cycle to achieve a sense of balance between being a proactive full-time student while also working full-time to provide for myself.

    On the plus side, I acquired relevant work experience, developed self-sufficiency and transferrable life skills. However, due to the fear of failure, limited free time, loneliness, and high levels of stress, this resulted in severe social anxiety. I was always exhausted from trying to perfect myself intellectually and monetarily and had entirely disregarded my self-confidence, mental health, and spiritual needs. I realized that prioritizing healthy habits that brought me joy and peace was the only way I could begin accepting and loving myself.

    Peace Within

    To get more in-tune with my body and my own power, each week I practice releasing endorphins in the gym, followed by a great long stretch. Once a week, I put aside time to prepare meals so that I may always eat for my muscles, stomach, and brain. To lift my spirits, I make sure to listen to powerfully uplifting speakers like Pastor Mike McClure Jr., Judge Lynn Toler, and Robert T. Kiyosaki. The Big Brother Big Sister youth program is where I socially volunteer to utilize my creativity and inspire the future generation. Lastly, I joined the newly established dance team at my university that’s filled with excitement and community. I learned to not worry about things that I could not control, and to accept the things that make me who I am. I had to learn to love me.

    Owning My Power

    It took a tremendous amount of will and perseverance to adopt a new lifestyle. In the past I kept reminding myself, with a connotation of defeat, that I must carry out said obligations. This mindset made daily tasks feel like an immortal chore. Instead, I know that I am rewarding myself and that I have been given the freedom to carry out different tasks throughout the day. Giving myself permission to constantly practice my best self has a more positive connotation. I have been granted the opportunity to check items off my daily to-do list, and I am fortunate to do so. I stand up straighter and am satisfied to embrace the person I've been suppressing. Today my soul is completely nurtured.

    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!