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  • Learning Through Intergenerational Connections

    by Miyu Nakajima

    Blog author Miyu Nakajima is wearing one of her vintage dresses, a long pink dress with short, puffed sleeves and belted at the waist. She is also wearing black Converse sneakers and has a black cross-body purse. She is standing on concrete steps and is looking back towards something behind her.

    "​The sooner growing older is stripped of reflexive dread, the better equipped we are to benefit from the countless ways in which it can enrich us."​ –Ashton Applewhite

    My vintage dress collection is still minimal, but I’m proud of it, nonetheless. After finding my first one at the thrift shop, I still remember twirling around with glee way too many times in a 1950s Candi Jones pink floral dress. I just love how these dresses are meant for dancing, to make you sway side by side so that you can feel the fabric swish past. And I know that the previous owners of these pieces must’ve felt the same way. I love knowing that. I love knowing that somewhere, in another timeline, they too, also felt dolled up in these dresses. It’s a shared experience.

    In A Way, It Is Time Travel

    That’s why I love listening to older people talk about their past, nodding along as they describe their first heartbreak, their first time holding a baby, their wedding, and more. I know that I’ll get to that chapter of life one day and experience those same feelings, but for now, I just get to listen and, in a way, time travel.

    To Be Truly Wise Is to Learn from Other’s Mistakes Before They Become Yours

    As graduation approaches, I can feel the impending pressure to ensure I’m “adulting” and securing my future. However, I’ve learned that the best way to deal with this graduation anxiety is to talk with older people, particularly seniors who have so much wisdom. I encourage college students to connect with elders and be inspired to make an impact in the world that the seniors entrusted us with. You can find seniors to talk to at senior retirement centers, volunteer opportunities, and maybe even through family friends.

    The more I talk with seniors, the more I realize the importance of stepping away from the screen, enjoying the small moments (like dancing in a beautiful dress), and having an abundant mindset ready to tackle new experiences and learn from mistakes. Yet, despite all of this wisdom, our society perpetuates ageism. So many seniors have fought through obstacles like misogyny, financial crisis, and more, which inspires me to keep pushing through, despite it all. I hope that through intergenerational connections, I can learn not to be anxious about my future and continue to be a lifelong scholar who strives to turn the world into a comfortable place for our senior citizens, all the while swishing around in hand-me-down vintage dresses.

    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! 

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  • Avoid the Trap of Comparing Yourself to Others on Social Media

    by Chris Simmons

    Blog author Chris Simmons is standing 3rd from the left in a row of seven male college students standing arm-in-arm.

    Dear Instagram,

    I am so frustrated with you right now. I would have never thought that you would be one of the leading causes to so many mental health problems for my generation. I remember when I first downloaded you in 7th grade. I used to spend 8 hours a day using your app. I used to feel like I had to post pictures every day to seek attention from others. I used to feel anxious about my life because I thought I wasn’t doing enough compared to what someone else was doing. Then as I got older, I realized that your app has been feeding people like me misconceptions about who they are and what their value is in life. This has led to a major identity crisis in this generation.

    Now that Instagram has made it possible to see pictures of what others are doing, it makes people feel like they aren’t doing enough with their life because they may not be posting the stacks of money in their hand, or the nice house and cars in their driveway. This has caused people to measure their level of success by comparing what they have to what someone else has.

    That’s one thing I started to notice about going onto Instagram nowadays. People are constantly showing off everything they possess to prove that their life is worth something: a house with double doors, a swimming pool, and three cars in the driveway. Many social media users have come to think that the person with all those material things is the standard of what being successful looks like, which is a misconception. Success is about how far YOU have come in your journey to get to where you want to be NOT by anyone else’s journey! Everybody starts from different places so don’t expect your path to be like someone else’s path.

    Instagram is also where people can develop misconceptions about the standard of beauty. The study covered in this USA Today article included teen social media users in the U.S. and the U.K. It found that “over 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling “unattractive” traced that feeling back to the platform.” It frustrates me when I hear people talk down about themselves because they don’t have the certain look as some other person they might see on there. I hear a lot of people say things like; I wish I had blonde hair like them, I wish I was as skinny as them, I wish I had their skin tone. It’s because when they’re looking at someone else’s page with the 1 million or 2 million followers and reading comments on their picture that have the heart eyes emoji, they are thinking to themselves, ‘this must be what I need to look like in order to be labeled as beautiful’. But I’m here to tell you that beauty is not defined by another person on Instagram. Beauty is defined by the way YOU see yourself. It’s about embracing who God created you to be and having the confidence to go out in the world and step toward your purpose!

    For those of you who are using Instagram, do not let other people on the app try and talk you out of being who you are. You are unique and talented in your own way, and you do not have to spend all your energy trying to prove that to anyone. The only person that can verify you is you!

    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! 

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