Students blog

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

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  • A collage of 3 graphics representing time: a clock, a calendar, and a checkmark.

    Time Management Tips That Have Saved Me in College

    Saige O’Rourke

    College is a stressful time with a ton of opportunities at your disposal. So far in college, I have experienced the “do nothing” era and the “do everything” era. With that, these are time management tips I have learned along the way that have absolutely saved me in college.

    Plan It Out

    The biggest thing I had to learn was to write everything down in my planner and to use google calendar. I use my paper planner for my school assignments and tests, and I make sure to do this at the beginning of the semester to avoid any confusion. Anything that you can find on the syllabus that has a due date should go in this planner! I use google calendar for my personal and professional day to day plans; this gives me a visual of what my day looks like based on the hour. There is a clear difference between the use in both, but this allows me to see what I need to complete scholastically and what commitments I may have for my personal & work life.

    Make A To-Do list

    Alongside using planners, creating a to-do list is necessary! I create a list of what I absolutely need to complete for school that day, and sometimes another list of what I would like to get ahead on. The lists allow me to get a quick grasp of what I have in front of me and what kind of freedom I have in the day. Creating to-do lists also gives you extra satisfaction when you cross your items off.

    Set Boundaries

    The last thing I had to learn about time management was to learn to say ‘no’. There are going to be a lot of times that “FOMO” will get the best of you. If there is a lot on your plate for the day, either work super hard or realize you cannot handle another commitment for the day. There’s always another time for fun; be real with yourself and realize what you can juggle!

    There is always room for improvement with 24 hours in a day. My biggest recommendation is to begin using Google Calendar religiously; understand what assignments you must complete and where your free time lies after other commitments. Try to stay consistent and create habits in your routine; this will allow you to find a lot of loopholes in what you can get accomplished and how fast. Time management isn’t easy but try to implement these tips into your daily life and see if you notice a change!

    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 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 view of an area of academic buildings on the Washington State University campus crowded with students walking to class.

    Time: The Most Valuable Constant

    Bryson Sleeper

    Time. It’s always moving, but also never kept close track of. Yet, it’s one of the most complained about and concerning metrics known to mankind. In today’s day and age everyone seems to “need just a few more minutes”.

    As college students we are constantly in conversation regarding the mountain of work we must cram into the day or the busy schedule we have this week. With so many distractions in a young person’s college life it is almost impossible to be able to do everything. I’m here to tell you if there is a will, there’s a way. With the right tools and mindset on how to go about your week you should have no problem doing those extra things like joining that club, going out with your friends, or my personal favorite taking those random days off just to relax and have your “me time” that you so desperately need.

    Set Realistic Goals

    To succeed with time management, you need to start with being realistic with yourself. Analyze and look at your school schedule, possible work hours, and social life along with any other activities your involved in. Ask yourself how much time each of these take out of your week. Be very honest with yourself and rank these by priority. Then add about 2 hours to that original estimate to make up for distractions, travel time, and maybe just brain breaks in between a longer work session.

    Assess Sleep Schedule and Routine

    Take a look at your sleep schedule. Is it consistent? Are you a morning person? How much sleep can you function on consistently? After these questions are answered, make a routine schedule. What this means is to create a small routine that you can start off committing to. This should be attainable but something that’s going to improve your daily productivity.

    For example, I wake up 3 hours before my first class. I use the first hour to shower, get ready, and eat something to fuel my day. The next 2 hours I walk to the library and go through all my emails and start on homework. This has been a life changing adjustment and has increased my mental and physical health as well as my GPA. Having this time 5 out of the 7 days of the week has helped me to get ahead on my classes and work schedule. I feel much more accomplished as I have granted myself private work time to get ahead on school assignments and important email correspondence. This leaves my free time in the afternoon to assess my next day’s work and feel like I’m prepared for tomorrow versus feel like I’m procrastinating and pushing work off.

    Improve As You Go

    Once you commit and dedicate yourself to a more improved routine, I think most lives can be changed for the better. Over the past two years in college, I have noticed my peers in their struggling sleep schedules and sporadic morning routines in a rush to get to places on time.

    I have simply transferred this small list of tips and tricks from my busy high school schedule over to my college lifestyle and it has helped tremendously. I have decreased my stress levels for larger class activities meanwhile increasing my much-needed social free time with these few simple rules I’ve set for myself.

    The immediate results in health, grades, and quality of work from this routine change will motivate you to continue this challenge. This realization is my new superpower in my intense college experience that I have learned to love and hope that those of you reading this will attempt to implement in the near 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 computer generated graphic with a red background and three symbols: a plate of food, a to-do list, and a dumbbell.

    Three Ways to Have a More Productive Day

    Saige O’Rourke

    As a college student fresh on your own, it’s difficult to learn how to get things done without the structure that high school provided. Since we are all on different class schedules and learning different things, not everything works the same for each student. With the culture shock that college comes with, here are three things I have learned that work for me to be productive throughout my days at the University of Tennessee.

    Start With Breakfast

    I always start my school days with a good breakfast that I can look forward to. I try to keep this item consistent to limit the stress of “what am I going to eat?” This item becomes something I get excited about when I wake up in the morning and provides me with motivation to get out of bed. Usually, I’ll make waffles or drink a protein shake; these are quick items that keep me moving and take little amounts of time to make.

    Tackle Your To-Do List After Class

    I have morning classes, so usually when I have a chance to sit down after class, I plan the rest of my day. In my plan, I will create two different lists detailing what must be completed and what I would like to complete. I do this after class because there isn’t anything I can finish during class that needs to be done throughout the day, so to avoid added stress I wait to create a list. This relieves a lot of my anxiety throughout the day as I cross off things, and it promotes productivity as I know exactly what I need to carry out.

    Get Some Exercise

    Either at the middle or end of my day, I will work out. Working out is so beneficial for your brain and your body. It is a good chance to step away from your computer and the overloading information to spend time with yourself. Any kind of workout is beneficial, but I personally hit the gym for about an hour. Working out makes me extremely productive because I completed work for school and for myself.

    Productivity isn’t based on how much you get done, but how accomplished you feel. You can complete 10 different assignments, but still feel like you didn’t do anything. Making lists, taking breaks, and rewarding yourself with a satisfying meal can help produce these feelings of productivity. Use these actions or brainstorm your own ideas of what you can start to incorporate in your routine. Waking up is an accomplishment, especially in college! Always make an excuse to celebrate!

    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 large group of college students surround large letters UAB.

    Finding Your College Work-Life Balance: Where to draw the line

    Rinn Mitchell

    As a college student, it is nearly impossible to juggle your majors and minors, organizations you’re involved in, stay connected to your family back home, any jobs you may have, and time for yourself. Arguably, these four years may be some of the busiest of your entire life. But it can also be the most fun, enjoyable, and memory filled time of your life, if you balance it correctly. So, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest concerns college students have impacting their college experience is how to manage their work-life balance. Here are three tips curated from current college students that can help you achieve that balance.

    Say It with Me: Google Calendar Is Your Best Friend

    Keeping yourself organized is not only helpful for the obvious reasons, but it can help you visualize where you’re spending your time. Whether it’s Google Calendar, Outlook’s calendar, or anywhere in between, having a calendar you can keep up with quickly and easily can be the biggest game changer to organizing your schedule.

    Even further is creating a calendar that you can color code. By color coding between work, class, organization, and social responsibilities, you can physically see where you are delegating most of your time. For me, I try to balance my weeks so that each of those groupings are about equal, including time I set aside for homework and studying. Seeing your time priorities to these different groups delegated by color can help you begin the process of better balancing your time.

    Find Organizations and Classes You Love

    It’s fair to say everyone’s goal in life is to make their job feel like anything but. Start exploring in college – from taking a variety of classes, joining organizations, and everywhere in between. You have more freedom than ever before in the classes that you take, organizations you’re involved in, and what you spend your days doing. Though that can be a dangerous line to tow, it’s an amazing opportunity to test out different things and find your “fit.” It allows you to get involved with jobs and organizations that are fun for you, and to do it with your friends so that “work” can feel more fun. In turn, this can help bridge the gap between work and stress, and social and fun opportunities.

    Set Firm Boundaries

    As many tips as I can give you, there is nothing that will ruin your work-life balance faster than if you don’t have firm boundaries. College is filled with so many opportunities, and people who want to hang out with you or get involved in this club or that organization or take that class. I encourage you to make the most out of your 4-year experience, and pack it with as many memories as possible. That being said, if you do not set firm boundaries for yourself, or firmly set aside time for yourself or what is most important to you, there is no “fixing” your work life balance. Even a schedule packed with the most fun activities and things that excite you will become mundane if you don’t protect your own priorities and reserve your own boundaries.

    These three tips – using a calendar, exploring different classes and clubs, as well as setting personal boundaries – will go a long way in helping you find that sought-after balance and make the most of your collegiate 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 Kiahna is outside in front of a big tree. She is wearing overalls and has a backpack slung over one shoulder.

    Personal Organization is a Key Part of College Student Success

    Kiahna Seijo

    As a college student it can be difficult to stay organized, especially with the amount of classes you are taking on top of extracurricular activities and work. With everything going on, it is of the utmost importance to find a way to organize your time. There are many different ways – you just have to find the one that works best for you!

    Personally, I like to utilize Google Calendar. This virtual tool provides a calendar along with a to-do list. This is the perfect combination for me because I can view my weekly schedule and the assignments I need to complete side-by-side.

    In my weekly calendar, I add the events I have every week. This helps me be on time and prevents me from missing anything important. The calendar aspect also allows me to enter in events for the whole month, but I tend to get overwhelmed when I see everything at once. One of my main tips, if you’re like me, is to take it day-by-day. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed with the amount of work you have.

    Another tool that Google Calendar has is a to-do list. I input all the assignments I have for the week with the dates they are due. This is one of my favorite tools to use because I can check each task off my list. When I get things done it’s very rewarding to check each one off!

    I have made it a habit to check my calendar daily, and this helped me achieve all A’s in my first year of college. I found it very important to stay organized because as college students we have so much on our plates. On top of school and the three jobs I work, I am also the president of an organization at my school. Being organized and sticking to a routine has allowed me to have balance. I still have time to go to the gym every day, hang out with friends, and do things that I love!

    Whether you use a virtual tool or a traditional planner, take the time to find the organization tool that works best for you. I believe that being organized will significantly improve the trajectory of your life.

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

  • A calendar notebook and several pens.

    How to Succeed During an Overscheduled Semester

    Kayleigh Parish

    At my university, counselors emphasize the importance of “thinking fifteen”, meaning taking fifteen credit hours a semester to graduate in four years. While this doesn’t seem too difficult, as a biomedical sciences student this often means that the fifteen credits I’m taking are all STEM-based classes, which typically come with a heavy work load. This can make planning my weekly schedule overwhelming, especially since I’m also scheduling in work and events with student organizations I’m involved with on campus. Here are some tips I use when going about my semester.

    Register Wisely

    Setting yourself up for success happens at class registration. Choose classes during the time of day when you will be most active and more likely to pay attention. Whether it be morning, afternoon, or night, keeping to the part of the day that is best for you will help you to get the most out of your day. Also, give yourself enough time between classes to process your notes and assignments. This will help you understand the information given and might even decrease the total amount of study time needed.

    Be Flexible

    One of the biggest things to realize when scheduling yourself throughout the semester is that there is a difference between concrete plans and plans that can be flexible. Concrete plans are your exams and classes. They will not change no matter what. Even if one class session is cancelled or an exam moved around, for the most part the days and times won’t change. Plans you make with your friends can also be concrete. You all choose a time and an activity and because multiple people agree, it’s more likely to not be changed. Flexible plans are things that could be moved around your day if they need to be. You may not have a decision when other people or organizations plan events you wish to participate in, but you can decide to push your afternoon studying to later or earlier in the day. Being flexible is super important in college. It allows you to do what you need to do and what you want to do at the same time.

    Build Sustainable Habits

    It’s better to build daily habits in your day rather than try to adhere to a strict schedule. If you create a daily schedule, it may not work every day. Instead, make a list of what needs to be done in the day and complete each task when you can. If you know you need to study for three hours, go day-by-day and decide where studying will fit in that day. When I know I have an event at night, I try my hardest to finish everything I need to get done that day before the event. On a day with no extra events scheduled, I space my tasks out a bit more so as to not overwhelm myself. Being able to do this will help you not only succeed in classes and have fun, but it will also relieve some stress from your day.

    Finally, understand that while deadlines are important, you shouldn’t fully live by them. Give yourself enough time to study for exams or properly complete assignments but allow yourself to take breaks and have fun throughout the week as well. Taking thirty-minute coffee breaks can help you reset. Having dinner with your friends can help you destress before or after exams. Studying is important to succeeding in many classes, but you can have fun and succeed at the same time.

    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! 

  • An early sunrise over a lake featuring a dock and two small boats on the water.

    How to Become a Morning Person

    Katherine Scott

    Rise and shine! Waking up in the morning can be hard but persistently working on changing your sleeping habits can ease the morning slog. As a natural night owl, I decided that I needed to make a change to become an early bird. On this journey I learned a few lessons that I’d like to share with anyone who wants to become a morning person.

    Ditch the Afternoon Coffee

    Caffeine is a stimulant so drinking caffeine late in the day can create a disruptive sleep schedule. Many studies have shown that caffeine causes some people to be kept awake or to wake up periodically throughout the night. However, morning coffee is a positive; it can help boost morning energy levels and create that morning routine.

    Seek out Natural Light

    You might want to rethink the blackout curtains you currently utilize. It is important to let the natural light come in and help wake you up. Natural light plays an important role in suppressing the hormone melatonin. The less amount of melatonin you have in your system the more likely you are to feel awake and have the greater ability to seize the day.

    Workout in the Morning

    A sweat session is a great way to begin each day. Research has shown that early morning movement can help improve mood. The workout will increase endorphins and dopamine in the body; these are feel-good neurotransmitters. If you do this, you will start your day off in the best mental state. I always recommend prepping your workout stuff the night before, so you have no excuses.

    No Snooze Policy

    The key to this process is to set up a routine for yourself; setting up boundaries with the snooze button is a great step. This will force you to get out of bed immediately. The first couple early mornings I didn’t trust myself to not hit the snooze button, so I set my alarm clock across the room. This ensured that I physically got out of bed to turn it off.

    Implementing these changes can make the seemingly impossible feat of becoming a morning person seem effortless. Over the past year that I have been implementing these changes, I have been given a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

    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 featuring a person’s arm with a clock balanced in the hand.

    Procrastination: A college student’s best friend

    Jared Armstrong

    What were you doing before reading this blog? Scrolling through Instagram? Watching TikTok? Putting off your homework? All of the above? “According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anywhere from ‘80 percent to 95 percent of college students procrastinate, particularly when it comes to doing their coursework’” (National University, 2021, p. 1). Based on this percentage, nearly all college students procrastinate in some way. I am personally guilty of procrastinating and waiting until the last minute to get my assignments turned in. However, there are many different ways to overcome procrastination which will allow you to get the most out of each and every day.

    For starters, the biggest distraction is that smart phone you are either using to read this blog or have sitting right next to you. Put the phone somewhere you can no longer see it and you will immediately see an increase in your productivity. In addition, before moving your phone, set a timer for 25 minutes so that way you have a time limit for your work. Once the timer goes off, set another one for a quick five-minute break. You can now repeat this exercise for however long you plan to do your work.

    If you think I’m crazy, this technique is actually known as the Pomodoro Technique which was developed by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo when he was a college student. In essence, “the Pomodoro Technique essentially trains people to focus on tasks better by limiting the length of time they attempt to maintain that focus and ensuring restorative breaks from the effort. The method also helps them overcome their tendencies to procrastinate or multitask, both of which are known to impair productivity” (Sheldon and Wigmore, 2022, p. 1). If you want to get rid of your procrastination habits, the Pomodoro Technique is a great place to start.

    Furthermore, there are other simple methods for you to prevent procrastination. Rather than numbing your brain with TikTok’s or social media, go outside, take a walk, get some exercise. Everything I just mentioned is widely known to improve your mood and limit your distractions. These activities will also make your mind more refreshed and ready to work. Make sure you take time every day to just take a breath and relax so that way you can see an immediate increase in your productivity.

    If you struggle with procrastination, you are not alone. I have heard this phrase a lot during my college career, and it really does hold true: “The problem college students face is not a lack of time, rather it is having too much time on their hands.” Instead of wasting valuable time, make a daily schedule for yourself that includes everything you want and need to accomplish based on the time you have. Put your phone away, start doing the Pomodoro Technique and set aside time for relaxation and things that will boost your overall well-being.

    So now what? Are you going to sit on your phone some more or are you going to get the most out of your day so you can have more time for fun? To procrastinate or not to procrastinate, that is the question.

    Works Cited

    National University. (2021, July 6). Helping Students Overcome Procrastination. National University. Retrieved February 23, 2023, from https://www.nu.edu/blog/helping-students-overcome-procrastination/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20American%20Psychological,of%20every%20five%20students%20in

    Sheldon, R., & Wigmore, I. (2022, September 15). What is Pomodoro Technique Time Management? WhatIs.com. Retrieved February 23, 2023, from https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/pomodoro-technique#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20Pomodoro%20Technique,broken%20by%20five%2Dminute%20breaks

    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!