• Don’t Sleep on Sleep

    by Maeve Murdock

    A graphic featuring with a dark blue background with small yellow stars, with a round yellow face with closed eyes and the letters Zzzz, indicating sleep.

    Some of the best things happen at night: late night talks with your roommates, warm cookies coming out of the oven, dance parties, social events, etc. It seems like there's always a reason to stay out and about, bright-eyed and experiencing whatever it is that's happening in the moment. Sometimes we stay up late for less exciting things too — whether it's slowly typing away at that essay that's due tomorrow, cramming for an exam, or finishing up something for work. No matter what incentive or obligation you're staying awake for, I'm here to tell you that this is your sign to PRIORITIZE your sleep!

    How Much?

    The age-old question: how much sleep do I really need? Can I get by on 5 or 6 hours if I just drink coffee? Well, yes. But the data has made it clear that the tendency to rely on caffeine and energy drinks in replacement of a good night’s sleep is not sustainable. With all the fun things in life in addition to our various commitments, it can be difficult to set aside the proper amount of time for sleep, especially when we can mask exhaustion with caffeine so easily. Caffeine, however, does not grant us the dozens of health benefits that sleep does. Mere attentiveness only scrapes the surface of sleep benefits. Some advantages to sufficient sleep include: a stronger immune system, regulation of your metabolism, lower risk for diabetes and heart disease, lower stress levels, heightened mood throughout the day, memory processing, reduction of brain fog and an increase in neural clarity, higher productivity, and much more. 

    Think Of the Time You Waste Instead of Sleeping

    It’s easy to snuggle into bed and stay awake for hours scrolling on our phones. As the minutes tick away, we sometimes don’t realize the comparative advantage we give up each and every night to others with time spent in the black hole of social media. Think of the extent to which you could truly apply yourself in all aspects of life with just a little bit more energy. If you weren’t dragging through the day looking forward to that midday nap, where would you see yourself? What could you be using that time for? 

    Sleep Affects Your Immune System

    Additionally, sleep deprivation makes us significantly more susceptible to falling ill. Why do you think college kids are constantly coughing and sniffling? I attend Notre Dame, and I’m confident we had 3-4 flu seasons at school this past year. I managed to remain mostly healthy throughout the year – until the very end. After one week at home after spring semester, I went to the doctor suspecting I might have pink eye. My eyes were a little swollen, and I felt exhausted and unlike myself. My doctor immediately insisted on testing me for mono, and 15 minutes later, I received results that I was positive for mono. 

    The pure fatigue I endured with mono completely changed my perspective on sleep. While I can’t say that sleep deprivation towards the end of spring semester is directly correlated to my diagnosis, I do think I would’ve had a much milder case if I had prioritized sleep in the weeks prior. For two weeks after my diagnosis, I slept whenever I felt drowsy, which was very frequently. For someone who loves to keep busy and take on everything, this seemingly never-ending treatment of “rest” was horrible. All I wanted to do was go spend time with my friends, play tennis, and get out and about – but I legitimately would begin to feel exhausted after 20 minutes of activity. It took a while, but I fully recovered. Now, I’ve converted my schedule to prioritizing sleep – both to recover and to change my old habits for the future.

    So, all this is to say – SLEEP! If you get between 7-8 hours per night as a young adult, your body will be well-equipped to protect you from illnesses and keep you performing at your best–not to mention you’ll have much more endogenous energy. Fun Fact: March 17th is World Sleep Day. But no matter what day it is, don’t sleep on sleep!

    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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  • Celebrate the First Day of Spring!

    by Ana Cooper

    A graphic with a muted background photo of a butterfly on a flower with the blog title superimposed “How to Celebrate The First Day of Spring on Campus”.

    This year the first day of spring falls on March 20th, 2023. This is right in the middle of my spring semester so I will have to be intentional about celebrating spring this year. There are a bunch of things that all of us as college students can do to celebrate the new season of spring on campus.

    Spring Cleaning

    Spring is about renewal, starting fresh. I like to start this season by really cleaning out my desk, drawers, closet, and under my bed. Not only do I get rid of things, but I deep clean the area to make sure not too much dust and dirt are building up. This is also a good time to put away your dark winter clothes and keep some lighter layers on hand. Having just a few key pieces and plenty of neutrals is sure to give you a spring capsule wardrobe that looks fun and colorful in any combination.

    Get Your Greens

    It is proven that green is a calming color and that plants increase levels of happiness. Whether it’s a flower, some succulents, or herbs, go get some plants to spruce up your living space. They help make fresh oxygen for us to breathe which helps us perform optimally.

    Put Color in Your Life

    Color is so fun and can brighten up your mood when you look at it. Paint your room a different color or just an accent wall. If you are in a dorm, then paint new colorful art. I like to get a huge canvas, plash some fun pastels on it, and then write a nice quote that speaks to me. This is also a fun time to put in more seasonal décor.


    The weather is more temperate, the flowers are blooming, the colors are bright, there are many reasons to smile. The more positivity you start showing to others, the more positivity you will receive. It also exercises your facial muscles and keeps you looking youthful. Improve your mood and those around you. Mother Teresa often said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Smiles are free! Shine them to others.

    Try New Things and Start New Habits

    Spring is like a second chance at any New Year’s resolutions you set. Review your goals - what haven’t you done so well on? What is a priority for right now? Make your goals specific and get started with one new habit at a time. Make a game plan by writing out how you want to achieve these goals every day, week, and month. Before you know it, it will almost be summer, and you will have these habits in the bag.

    I love spring with all the flowers, fun weather, and pretty colors. I often make fun memories with my friends at this time of year even if it is in the thick of exams. Take time to literally stop and smell the roses this spring and celebrate this gorgeous season and what it may have in store for 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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  • Cures for the College Insomniac

    by Madeline Beavis

    A view of the sun setting over a lake.

    It’s no secret that "sleep" is not always a part of a college student’s vocabulary – understandably since worrying about upcoming exams and deadlines would make anyone anxious! As someone who has suffered from bouts of insomnia since childhood and spending a year with a roommate, it became obvious I was not the only one tossing and turning. Even after long days of studying I can struggle to shut my mind off when it’s time to go to bed. If you’re like me, here are some tips that may help you naturally fall asleep faster and feel refreshed for all your classes and activities!

    1. Put away the screens.

    Night after night I’ve fallen victim to my phone, spending what felt like 5 minutes scrolling through notifications when suddenly, an hour had gone by! I learned the hard way that the blue light from technology interferes with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it more difficult to fall asleep as well as wake up the next morning. If you want to fall asleep faster, put away the computer and turn off TikTok at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to go to bed.

    2. With the screens away, pull out a book... a paper book.

    If you love to read, this is the tip for you! Reading a few pages of a book can help make your eyes and brain tired, which will help you fall asleep faster. Just make sure there aren’t any major cliffhangers that will keep you hooked so you can’t put it down!

    3. Listen to white noise or soft music.

    Dorms can get loud, so creating a buffer between you and the background noise can be really helpful. There are a lot of apps or websites offering free white noise or soothing music to block out unwanted sound.

    4. Exercise, exercise, exercise.

    After sitting at a desk all day studying or completing assignments, I sometimes feel like my body needs to move and stretch to release pent-up energy. If it feels like your mind is tired but your body isn’t, try incorporating at least 30-60 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. Even something as simple as a walk around your campus can help reduce your energy before bed.

    5. Drink a cup of chamomile tea.

    I've found that chamomile tea has an almost magical calming effect! Not only can it help you to relax, but it also has numerous health benefits, aids in digestion, and has a soothing aroma.

    Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is very important for alertness, memorization, boosting your immune system, improving your mood, and maintaining good mental and physical health. Do yourself a favor and try a few of these ideas to improve your sleep and your overall health!

    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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  • ChatGPT’s Impact on College Learning

    by Alivia Clay

    A screenshot of the ChatGPT screen in which the blog author supplied the prompt for this blog.

    ChatGPT is a revolutionary language model developed by OpenAI that can generate human-like text. This model has the capability to complete a given prompt by providing a coherent and fluent response. The model has been trained on a massive amount of text data, making it capable of understanding and responding to a wide range of topics and questions. One of the most significant impacts of ChatGPT is on the field of education, particularly in the realm of college-level learning. With the increasing use of technology in education, ChatGPT can be used as a powerful tool to enhance the learning experience of students.

    Study Assistance

    One way that ChatGPT can be used in college is as an educational assistant. The model can be used to generate answers to students' questions, providing them with quick and accurate information. This can be especially useful for students who are struggling to understand a particular concept or topic.

    Writing Assistance

    Another way that ChatGPT can be used in college is as a writing assistant. The model can be used to generate high-quality written content, such as essays or research papers. This can be especially helpful for students who are struggling with writing or for those who need to produce a large amount of written work in a short amount of time.

    Productivity Assistance

    The application of ChatGPT isn't only limited to education; ChatGPT can also be used in various industries such as journalism, customer service and more. The model can be used to generate news articles, customer service scripts, and even software code. This can significantly increase productivity and speed up the process of completing tasks, making it a valuable tool for businesses.

    In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn and work. Its ability to generate human-like text makes it an invaluable tool for students, educators, and professionals alike. And the exciting part of this blog is, it was written by ChatGPT. This showcases the capabilities of the model and its potential to be used in various fields. With the continued development and advancements in natural language processing, the possibilities of ChatGPT are endless.

    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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  • Sleepmask Down – Grades Up! How to Manage Sleep in College

    by Taylor Perline

    A graphic with a yellow moon and stars, a sleepmask, and the letters Zzzzzz.

    We’ve all been there. It’s been a long day. You’re tired from long classes, after school activities, or even a night out with friends. All you want is to curl up in bed and get some much-needed sleep. You try to relax in bed and slip into a sweet dream... but you can’t. At 12AM, you’re tossing and turning. At 1AM, you're staring at a wall. Before you know it, it’s early morning and you wake up feeling even more sluggish than before you went to bed.

    Managing sleep health isn’t easy. As a diagnosed insomniac, I know that more than anyone. However, I also know that there are plenty of tips that can help us students finally get some shuteye!

    Try Out Some Sleep-Aiding Tools

    New and improved sleep focused technology is constantly being created. A staple for many sleep-deprived students is the usage of a weighted blanket or a weighted stuffed animal. Studies have shown that having a weighted object on your body can have a calming effect which can then help you feel relaxed enough to catch some “Z” s! There are also products that are infused with lavender, which is a scent that has a natural relaxing effect on the body. Trying out a lavender scented lotion or pillow spray can quickly lull you into sleep!

    Relax With Some Warm Lighting

    A soft warm and yellowish glow may sometimes help you fall asleep better than complete darkness! If your room doesn’t have warm lighting already, installing some “fairy lights” with a warm glow is an option.

    Change Your Phone Settings!

    The phrase, “Well, maybe you’d sleep better if you got off your phone!” has been overused by parents, teachers, and others for the longest time. While it is important to not be attached to your phone all night, there are settings within your phone that can help your sleep health! You can silence your notifications and most phones have sleep or night related settings. These settings can be applied so that during certain hours of the night, your phone’s display will increase its color warmness so that it’s easier on your eyes. I recommend giving this a shot!

    Take Time to Unwind Nightly

    There are so many ways to relax before going to sleep, and a set routine can remind your body that it is time to close your eyes and count some sheep. Something as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face before bed can be beneficial. A deep breathing or beginner yoga routine can also relax your mind as well as your body!

    Sleep health isn't something to take lightly. Healthy sleep patterns can play a huge effect on your mood as well as your academic performance. Try out a few tips and see if they help you get a good night’s rest!

    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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  • Exploring Careers in Information Technology

    by Sarah Jacques

    Blog author Sarah is holding a computer motherboard. The text beside her says, “Exploring Careers in Information Technology’ by Sarah L. Jacques.

    It is a common misconception that a rewarding career in the field of Information Technology is not available to candidates with little to no experience. The ‘giants’ of the technology industry: cybersecurity and cryptography, for example, are fields that can be obtained by building experience in different ways than we might think. For college students seeking to break into a cyber career, knowing some foundational positions is a great way to open the door to a bright future in Information Technology. The following jobs are worth researching for any fanatical novice:

    Internal Auditor

    It is no secret that benefiting enterprises is one asset to having a career in IT. By verifying systems within businesses and companies, an Internal Auditor (also known as IA) assesses financial documents for accuracy and efficiency of internal staff, making recommendations for improvement. They determine the organization's financial risk and make suggestions for reducing it. If you would like a business-related segue into technology, Internal Auditing may be for you!

    IT Help Desk

    This position is customer service-oriented and analytical, also referred to as End User Specialists/Service Desk Technicians. From troubleshooting to assembly, this position will educate you on diagnostic procedures and errors. These specialists encounter hardware and software challenges. There are certifications available as well, to help affirm your skills. If you enjoy helping others and solving problems, an IT Help Desk position is worth checking out. Just remember the golden rule: first, ensure everything is on!

    Managed Service Provider (MSP)

    Similar to the aforementioned End User Support Specialist, a managed service provider will evaluate your data handling procedures, software, connectivity, and systems. Your managed IT provider may develop a strategic roadmap for IT services that can improve your security, disaster response, platform speeds, and productivity in conjunction with your internal leaders and IT staff. Your requirements will determine the software, services, and platforms they are able to provide. For a blend of experience to the field, a job as a managed service provider would be befitting.

    Software Developer

    With a definite rapid growth, software development is rewarding for its overall positive job outlook. Even though many successful businesses may require software developers to have a college degree before hiring them, software developers can still succeed without one.

    Qualifications to be a software developer are provided in a four-year college, as well as certifications and training in boot camps and courses. Python, SQL, and JavaScript are most likely to be needed for this job. For those who aspire to indulge in programming and web development, this job is recommended.

    All in all, any career in Information Technology is worth the hard work it takes to be obtained. While none of the above jobs are a cinch, they can easily answer an aspiring expert’s question, “where do I begin?” To succeed, diligence and research are key, and it impedes on any student to gain as much experience as possible–so volunteer, ask questions, take courses, earn certifications. Your qualifications will develop in tandem with your degree. If persistent, you will find yourself at the cutting edge of the next generation!

    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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  • Dissecting Pearson’s Practice Anatomy Lab 4.0

    by Micah Elpers

    Three-dimensional model of head and neck muscles with labels in Practice Anatomy Lab 4.0

    Every student knows how hard it is to study for lab exams. You spend hours in lab making observations, doing experiments, collecting data, dissecting specimens, etc. just to leave and hope that you took enough photos and wrote down enough information to be useful later. These pictures are often blurry, and you can’t go back and look at your work to take better ones which makes it feel impossible to study for exams! This frustration is what makes Pearson’s PAL (Practice Anatomy Lab) 4.0 the perfect study tool for students! PAL 4.0 is a program composed of 3D models, diagrams, real life cadaver photos, flashcards, and so much more. It is designed to help students get the same experience online that they did in the lab. Now you don’t have to scour the internet looking for “sheep heart dissection” photos!

    PAL Learning Program 

    PAL 4.0 is designed to help students with challenging anatomical concepts. The program consists of all the body systems and provides students with various options for learning. These options include anatomical models, a manipulatable 3D model, cadaver photos, histology, and flashcards. All these different styles appeal to different learners! Some students may be wary of the cadaver photos so they can use the anatomical model instead. Some students are visual learners, and some are not. I love all the different formats; I always struggle trying to find diagrams that teach me what I want to know. PAL 4.0 allows me to study in ways I haven’t been able to before!

    Mastering 3D simulation

    In the PAL 4.0 mastering 3D simulation, you can interact with an anatomical model. The model can be manipulated and viewed from any angle. With the muscular system model, the muscles included in the group you’re studying are highlighted on the figure. If you click on a muscle, a textbox will appear and tell you the name, give you the pronunciation, allow you to hide the muscle, or isolate it. The isolation feature separates the muscle from the body and gives you a 3D image perspective of every angle of that muscle. This feature is incredibly useful because it demonstrates how the muscle looks on its own and how it fits with the body.

    See the real thing

    I always struggled in classes that didn’t have hands-on applications, like theoretical math, biology at a cellular level, etc. I always learn better when I can see what something looks like in real life. While seeing a cadaver can be shocking at first, being able to identify things you’re learning about, in real pictures, can change how you see them. A drawing of a deltoid muscle doesn’t show the detail that a picture of the real muscle can portray. The PAL 4.0 cadaver photos allow you to see the intricate details of the human muscular system. This has helped me with exams because I remember where those muscles are in my own body. 

    Who doesn’t like flashcards?

    I haven’t met a college student who doesn’t use flashcards for at least one of their classes; they are an easy way to learn definitions and simple topics. In anatomy, flashcards can be hard to use. How can I make flashcards for something I have to identify? Pearson’s PAL 4.0 provides students with excellent flashcards for every body system and specific region. Once you select a deck, you can choose to study them all or just some of the structures. PAL 4.0 then creates the personalized deck just for you. You’re then presented with an image of the structure you want to study; the other side of the flashcard has the definition. You can zoom in and out of the picture and pan it to get the full idea of the image. There is also an option to quiz yourself. A multiple-choice question will appear and ask you to identify the structure you saw. This amazing feature prepares you for any anatomy diagram a professor might throw at you.

    Between the flashcards, the cadaver images, and the 3D simulation, PAL 4.0 really has students’ success in mind. School can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you don’t have the materials you need to succeed. Thankfully, Pearson consistently equips students with resources to minimize the stress of college.

    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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  • Wacky Asian Snackies!

    by Kylan Cheung

    A screenshot of the three snacks described in the blog: Garlic Shrimp Chips, Pocky Sticks, and Hello Panda snacks.

    When you think of essential items for students to bring to college, what do you think of? Most of the time, items like beds, notebooks, laptops, and water bottles come to mind. But one overlooked necessity for everyone are snacks. See, snacks are amazing because they not only taste great, are inexpensive, and can be the occasional meal substitute (don't quote me!), but they're also shareable with friends! Yet, I was pretty surprised when the snacks I brought from home – the same ones I loved growing up – were unfamiliar to my friends. They were seen as strange and exotic, and my friends were hesitant to give them a try.

    Here are three of my favorite snacks. Hopefully after reading this, you will be encouraged to try them out and make these Asian staples a staple on your desk!

    Hello Panda

    The first snack, “Hello Panda”, is one introduced to many kids! This tasty, bite-sized snack comes in multiple flavors: strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. As you open the small-sized package, you’ll see that each cracker has one of the 32 sport Panda Prints – making it the perfect snack to pack in the lunchbox or have as a late-night snack!


    The second, “Pocky”, is an interesting snack to say the least. Though they do have classic flavors, such as chocolate, strawberry, hazelnut (my favorite!), they also experiment with other unconventional flavors, such as fish roe, picnic, and others. Perhaps the most compelling reason why you should try Pocky – aside from how tasty it is – is the slogan: “Pocky; Share Happiness!”

    Garlic Shrimp Chips

    But if you had to only try one snack, Calbee’s “Garlic Shrimp Chips” is the one. Though the sound of “shrimp chips” may put off some individuals, the strong flavor of garlic enhances the addictiveness of these chips. Believe me when I tell you – once you open this bag and eat one, you’ll never be able to put it down!

    These snacks are special to my childhood and let me bring a little bit of ‘home’ with me at school. I am glad I can share them with my friends, even though they may make faces at first and hesitate to try them. Once they do – we can enjoy them together!

    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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  • The Power of Perspective

    by Jake Buganski

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

    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! 

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  • Fitting Travel into Your Semester

    by Katie Priest

    Marina Bay in Singapore with blue sky in the background and a boat traveling across the water.

    Exciting travel opportunities can be available to college students through conferences, competitions, class trips, or leisure travel. Traveling during the semester can seem impossible without getting behind in assignments, class meetings, and projects. As a college student who averages one trip a semester here are some of my best tips to plan a trip and stay on top of your classwork.

    Plan Out All of Your Assignments

    Go through all of your assigned work for your course at least two weeks before your trip. This should include any work due before, during, and after your trip. Once you have a list of assignments due you can now complete any assignments that are due ahead of time and start on any large projects.

    Meet With Your Professors

    I have always found that communicating with your professors about a trip beforehand (at least two weeks) helps balance out coursework. In my experience, an office hour meeting about your upcoming trip can lead to due dates being moved back and some in-class assignments waived. Professors are also more willing to work with you before due dates and your trip rather than after. Additionally, in these meetings, you want to alert your professors to any absences that may occur over the course of your trip. I also recommend giving yourself a buffer of the day before and after your trip to prepare and recuperate.

    Build Relationships with Classmates

    As all college students know at the beginning of the semester the professor will recommend that you gather your classmates' contact information. Foster a relationship with these classmates and they will often share any lecture notes from the days that you miss. I recommend telling your classmates in advance and having two contacts per class in case someone has to miss class. This is a lifesaver.

    These are my three best tips for traveling as a college student. I’ve followed all of these steps throughout my college career, and I have never hit any snags. I hope these tips help you out too! Enjoy your trip!

    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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  • Dealing with College Stress

    by Abigail Crawford

    A group of college students wearing masks and costumes attending an outdoor Halloween event.

    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! 

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  • Your Grades Don’t Define You

    by Rachel Stennett

    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.

    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! 

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  • Finding Your Favorite Spot on Campus

    by Nicole Fatovic

    A view of Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus.

    When I was looking at what university to call my home for the next four years, I looked at all the “normal” things: academics, student life, involvement, school spirit, and a pretty campus. What I did not consider was something that I did not even realize I needed – a beautiful outdoor area where I could spend countless hours. Here’s why this area is so crucial to my college experience and why I encourage other students to find their favorite spot on campus.

    A student’s favorite spot on campus could be anything from a preferred place to study to a place to go to decompress. I wanted a place that would bring a sense of tranquility after a long day. As an out-of-state student, I was also searching for a small piece of home on campus. With these things in mind, I took walks around my campus during my free time trying to find the best spot. Eventually, I started to spend more time at a small lake on my campus called Lake Alice. This spot has so much to offer including picnic tables that make great study spots, spectacular sunsets, trails to walk around, and many spots to throw up a hammock. I find myself going there whenever I have some free time to relax, or if I want to do some light studying. This spot also helps ground me when I begin to feel trapped inside lecture halls and libraries.

    I encourage you to find a spot as I have done by following a few simple steps:

    Make a List of What is Most Important to You

    I was able to find my perfect spot by knowing what I enjoy doing in my free time. Aside from studying, I always make time in my day to get a workout in. This lake is conveniently located in between where I live and the campus gym, making this an easy destination to knock two tasks down in one trip. I also know that I enjoy spending time outdoors, so it only makes sense that my favorite spot on campus is outside.

    Walk Around

    Even as a second-year student, I still feel like there are parts of my campus that I have not fully explored. Go on a small walk, maybe bring some friends along, and see all that your beautiful campus has to offer.

    Craft a Schedule

    Let’s face it, we are all busy college students who don’t always have free time. I’m not free to spend every day at this lake, and that is okay. I try my best to find at least one time each week I can go to this spot. When I get too busy and cannot find time to go, it is alright because it ends up being even more enjoyable when I do find the time to go there.

    Having a place on campus that I look forward to going to keeps me motivated throughout the semester. Make a point to explore and discover a spot on your own campus that you’ll come to love as much as I love Lake Alice!

    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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  • Imposters Among Us!

    by Raya Fitch

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

    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! 

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  • Unwrapping the college diet: Recognizing students’ common nutritional deficiencies

    by Rachel Stennett

    The college student author’s desk with a laptop showing MyDietAnalysis on screen

    Starting college is exciting -- and frightening. Between planning my move to school, worrying if I’ll become friends with my roommates, and researching what classes I should take, I never considered what my daily, mundane life as a college student might look like. Once I settled in and all the excitement and nervousness died down, a new feeling quickly replaced them- hunger. I suddenly realized I was truly on my own for everything now, including meals.

    As a dietetics student, I felt like I had an advantage. I knew I needed to eat fruits and vegetables often, fiber and protein would help keep me full for long periods of time, and I should limit fast food. But when classes picked up steam and new responsibilities piled up, these sensible doctrines were replaced by: what foods will take the quickest route from the plate to my stomach for the cheapest amount?

    Last fall was the first time I realized that my diet may not be ideal for my health. My human nutrition professor assigned a diet and nutrition analysis. Using a nutrition tracker, we were expected to analyze our diet for one day and describe any nutritional deficiencies we had. After completing this assignment, I realized my daily diet had deficiencies in B12, Zinc, Vitamin D, and Calcium.

    It turns out that many college-aged students are also deficient in these micronutrients without realizing it. We tend to focus on macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins, and fats - along with calories, sugar, and salt intake. So it’s easy to overlook micronutrient deficiencies. However, continuing imbalances in micronutrients can also adversely affect your health.

    Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 binds naturally to animal proteins. Some foods, such as plant milks and cereals, can also be artificially fortified to include B12. Through the digestive process, B12 is released from the food’s proteins and repackaged to be absorbed by the small intestine. Once absorbed, B12 is used by the body to help form red blood cells, DNA, brain cells, and nerve cells. It is recommended that college-aged adults consume at least 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily. This is equivalent to a small portion of salmon or two cups of yogurt.

    People with a B12 deficiency often show signs of fatigue, weakness, or confusion. Deficiencies are most common for people who avoid animal products, such as vegetarians and vegans, and for those who eat a limited diet – but fortification can help prevent them.


    Another micronutrient commonly found in meat, fish, and poultry is zinc. It can also be obtained from non-animal sources, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains. However, zinc from these sources is not as easily absorbed by the body. Nutrition professionals say these sources have a lower bioavailability of zinc.

    Once absorbed, zinc is used to help create DNA, new cells, build proteins, heal wounds, and support immunity as well as many other bodily processes. The recommended daily intake for college-aged adults is between 8 – 11 milligrams. (This is equivalent to four servings of breakfast cereal.)

    People with a zinc deficiency often show signs of decreased sense of taste or smell, loss of appetite, lowered immunity, and slower wound healing. Vegetarians, vegans, and alcoholics are most at risk for zinc deficiencies.

    Vitamin D and Calcium

    Vitamin D and calcium work together to promote bone and tooth health. People with vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are likely to experience bone weakening, muscle cramps, and poor appetite, among other challenges. In addition to assisting with the absorption of calcium, vitamin D also helps immune responses. Calcium also assists in bodily processes such as blood clotting, muscle contracts, heart rate regulation, and nerve functions.

    The sun is the most abundant source of vitamin D. However, for students who live in a less sunny state, or spend their days locked away in a campus library, vitamin D can also be derived from fatty fish, fortified orange juice, mushrooms, and egg yolks. People with darker skin tones are also susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies. Higher concentrations of melanin, the substance that promotes skin pigmentation, absorbs some solar UV radiation that would otherwise be used to produce vitamin D. The recommended daily intake for college-aged adults is 15 micrograms per day. This is equivalent to 1 cup of white mushrooms.

    Calcium can be found in a variety of sources such as dairy products (and many of their vegan alternatives), leafy greens, beans, and nuts. It is recommended that college-aged adults consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. This is equivalent to 4 cups of fortified soy milk.

    Explore more deeply

    Not every college-aged student is deficient in these nutrients. Some may have different deficiencies, while others may have none. Only a doctor or certified medical professional can reliably diagnosis a nutritional deficiency. Nonetheless, hopefully this list will give you a better understanding of nutrients that might be missing from your diet, and how diet tracking can help make these discoveries.

    Want to learn more about diet tracking? Check out MyDietAnalysis, a powerful tool that helps students log their diet and activity choices and provides detailed nutrition and activity reports to help you practice nutrition analysis.  

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  • Career Fair Prep: Start with your Resume

    by Geeta Chandaluri

    A screenshot of a video call featuring college students from various universities.

    Many colleges and universities host career fairs during the Spring semester. These fairs offer fantastic networking opportunities for students, however preparing for these events can also be stressful. During the event you’ll typically have 5 to 10 minutes to talk with a recruiter or a company to make an impression. It is very useful to have copies of your resume handy. Once the conversation with the recruiter is complete it is a common practice to give them a copy of your resume so that they can remember you.

    Your resume is essentially a marketing document where you are positioning yourself in the best way for the job you want. A resume should also be dynamically changing. It could be a steep learning curve to build one from scratch, but as you get in the habit of updating your resume frequently it becomes a healthy good habit. Here are a few pointers to help you understand more about resume building and formatting, and better position you into taking a stab at creating your first draft.

    1. Use A Good Template

    No matter how strong your background and experience are, good formatting will make your resume more eye catching to recruiters. If you are not Word document savvy, simply look up resume templates online and download a template that is the most applicable for you. Sometimes your school career center might also have these templates so make sure to look there as well!

    2. Grammar

    It is very important to have consistent grammar throughout your resume. You want to be as detail oriented as possible on this paper because it is the only medium for a recruiter to know you. A grammatically correct resume will allow you to stand out among peers who might be competing for the same role. Some great methods are keeping the same verb tense, ending every sentence with a period, and making your sentences clear and concise.

    3. Design

    Some standard resume features are a full single page of content including your name, education, address, contact, work experience, and achievements. You can adjust the resume content depending on what you need to say. You also can add a pop of color, use funky fonts, or even add a great picture of yourself in your resume to convey character. HOWEVER, be mindful on how the recruiter might read into this! Some fields might prefer a “conservative” resume style where content and achievements are the focus. Recruiters in fields like marketing and graphic design might appreciate more creative designs because the resume will demonstrate your skill in creating visually appealing products. Just make sure you understand who your audience is and tailor your resume accordingly.

    4. Final Drafts

    The resume in a job application is one of the main and crucial components that allows a recruiter or a hiring manager to get to know you and quickly assess whether there is a good fit between you and the potential employer. It is always a good idea to run your resume by your friend or family member to proofread and identify any last-minute errors. If you happen to find yourself stuck, recognize that you have various options and resources to use. The simple yet not so obvious one is your university career services.

    5. Evolution

    Your resume should be ever evolving. This doesn’t mean just adding your experiences as you progress in your career, but also modifying it from time to time and removing anything that becomes irrelevant. You might take up various career paths so when you are updating your resume for a new position, you probably do not have to list everything you did since high school. Strive to get into the practice of updating your resume after the end of each semester.

    Using these tips will help you to be ready to jump on opportunities as they come and to feel prepared for them. Preparing for career fairs to apply for internships or jobs can be intimidating for some students, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you don’t have a lot to put on your resume, having a high-quality resume is a game changer.

    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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  • Pasta in a Pinch

    by Alivia Clay

    A dish of the prepared pasta recipe featured in this blog alongside a side dish of vegetables and bread.

    Cooking in college presents a variety of challenges. Personally, I struggle the most with finding meals that are cost-effective, fresh, and easy to prepare. Another issue that I have identified with many recipes is that they will call for a super-specific ingredient and then only use a small portion, causing the remainder to sit in the fridge forgotten. Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Vodka Pasta recipe has been my go-to meal in college and has allowed me to solve many of these issues while providing a delicious meal that reminds me of home.

    Super Simple Recipe

    The recipe only requires 10 ingredients, many of which I find myself already having on hand: olive oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, tomato paste, heavy cream, vodka, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, pasta noodles, and parmesan cheese.

    You begin by combining ¼ cup olive oil, half of a diced yellow onion, and 2 garlic cloves in a large saucepan. Once the onions are soft add in ¼ cup tomato paste until it appears darker in color. Then add ½ a cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of vodka allowing it to simmer until evaporated. Add in as much or as little red pepper flakes as you desire as well as salt and pepper.

    Cook the pasta separately. I prefer rigatoni but trying out a new shell is always a fun way to mix it up! When the pasta is done save ¼ cup of pasta water before draining and add it to the saucepan. Add the pasta into the sauce and stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. It’s that easy!

    Pricing And Meal Planning Tips

    All ten of the ingredients total $13.50 or at least that’s what it cost me the last time I made the meal. I am generally able to make one batch of this recipe last me 5 whole meals, equaling $2.70 per meal. This surely isn’t the most nutritious meal but it's fresh and reminds me of the food my mom once cooked for me.

    It is easy to prepare only requiring a saucepan, cutting board, knife, strainer, pot, and perhaps some containers for leftovers. While it’s certainly not required, I generally pair the pasta with a form of protein and a vegetable to further balance the meal. Both chicken and Italian sausage are a great addition. To add some greens to the dish I generally prepare either broccoli or brussels sprouts which I season with the same ingredients required for the pasta recipe, including a splash of olive oil, parmesan, and garlic. On occasion, I also add spinach to the sauce which provides a great source of nutrients while not taking away from the decadent sauce.

    However, perhaps my favorite part of this meal is its ability to bring people together. Not only has this become a staple in my college home but in my friends’ kitchens as well. After trying my pasta my friends made numerous requests for the recipe so they could prepare it themselves. This perhaps is the best compliment when cooking a meal. In a sea of instant mac n’ cheese and ramen, being able to show my friends how to cook food that reminds us all of home has been the biggest pleasure of all.

    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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  • Finding Balance through Self-Love and Internal Healing

    by DaViane Lowe

    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.

    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! 

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  • Daily Dose of Self Care

    by Malina Gavris

    A white saucer and coffee mug filled with creamy coffee featuring a heart-shaped design in the cream.

    As winter stretches on and classes pile on the homework, it can be easy to fall back into bad habits and to lose focus. Especially nearing mid-term exam season, it's important to remember to take care of yourself and to surround yourself with positive vibes.

    During my freshman year, I took a wellbeing class offered by my university which taught me so much about self-care. One of the most important lessons I learned was to set time each day to do something special for yourself. Whether it be a yoga sesh, a splurge on your favorite DoorDash order, or a picnic date with friends – plan on doing something good for you. Because, well, you deserve it!

    Therapeutic Lifestyle Change

    According to the American Psychology Institute, a plethora of mental health conditions including anxiety and depression can be treated or ameliorated with “therapeutic lifestyle changes”. These changes can be made by focusing more on exercise, nutrition, relationships, recreation, relaxation, and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, spending time in nature, and service to others. Pairing this information with what I learned in my class, I decided to put this advice into practice over the course of a school week. Here are the results:

    Take My Time

    On Monday, I don’t have any in-person classes, so I usually spend the day at home. It gives me time to knock out most of my homework for the week and that helps me to stress less about missing due dates. Given the time I saved by not commuting to campus, I decided to make a healthy dinner for myself and for my family. I made pan roasted salmon and root vegetables which is super easy if you’re like me and can’t cook!

    Get Some Sun and Fresh Air

    On Tuesday, I headed over to my favorite cafe on campus to get acai bowls with two of my friends. Since it was a nice day, we walked around campus instead of staying inside. It was a great opportunity to get some Vitamin D and to relax.

    Still Make Time for Care During Busy Days

    By Wednesday, I’m already waiting for it to be Friday. Since it’s my busiest day of the week as well, I settled for doing a 15 min yoga routine that I found on YouTube. It was easy and effective, and a great way to fix my posture after sitting in class all day.

    Work With the Weather

    It was raining on Thursday which meant it was the perfect day for a movie night! My sister and I rented Bullet Train to watch and found a bag of leftover Halloween candy – eating all of the Reese’s was definitely worth it.

    Shopping Therapy

    Finally, after a full week of school and work, Friday came along. I had evening plans, but my morning was wide open, so I chose to head to my local gym then to go on a Target and Trader Joe’s run. I did end up buying more snacks than needed and a pretty pricey face mask, but I felt great anyways. After all, a little splurge once in a while is good for the soul.

    Overall, I thought my week-long experiment of adding a self-care activity everyday was super fun and beneficial. I planned accordingly to make sure everything would be doable, and I felt good about being good to myself. I wholeheartedly recommend modifying this plan to fit your own interests and schedule, as a daily dose of TLC sure goes a long way!

    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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  • The Travelling World of Little Einsteins – College Student Edition

    by Alice Li

    A young college student visiting an historical area featuring stone statues. She is looking over a stone railing.

    "We're going on a trip on our favorite rocket ship, soaring through the sky." - Little Einsteins

    Many college students today remember the animated series, Little Einsteins. In each episode, four children travel to different parts of the world in their personal rocket ship. College is a time when many students get their first taste of freedom, including traveling with friends for the first time without a chaperone. However, we cannot simply just up and go whenever and wherever we want. For starters, many of us do not have the resources or planning expertise that the Little Einsteins had. And, we most certainly don't have our own rocket to conveniently go places!

    But a little creativity and planning can make student travel more manageable. Here are four tips based on some of my experiences in travelling as a broke college student.

    1. Factor in transportation costs

    When it comes to travelling, two of the most important things to figure out upon determining a location are (1) how to get there and get around and (2) where to stay. Transportation adds up, especially if you plan to drive. You often need to not only pay for gas (think about the rising gas prices!) but also parking.

    Even if you plan to use public transportation, it is just as important to consider location as there are limitations to the time schedule for when bus or rail lines are running. For example, when I went to England, because the bus lines were not running at the time I needed to head out, I ended up walking around two miles just to get to the rail station while carrying all my luggage and carry-ons. Not fun, I tell you, but quite an experience anyway. Overall, if the distance between your housing and chosen visiting destinations are close, you can get to places faster and easier, thus maximizing the time you’ll have to explore.

    2. Consider where to stay and how to get around

    Book housing at least a few months in advance for cost savings. (Yay, price discrimination!) Airbnbs are great for medium-sized parties (3-10 people) and can help save money if your party is willing to cook at least a few meals, as dining out can be costly.

    Look into the safety of the area you are staying in and visiting, as well. Do your research ahead of time as to how to access public transportation and whether you need a certain app to ride the bus/train/etc.

    3. Plan ahead for places to go explore AND eat

    New place. I get it. You want to explore. But you’ll get exhausted if you have TOO much planned on your daily itinerary. Have no more than 3 activities/locations planned, depending on the length of each activity. You’re honestly better off giving yourself more time in one place than less. Also, having less planned allows you flexibility in your schedule. You may discover a place you didn’t really know about when you researched but are interested in, so leaving some room in your schedule gives you the opportunity to explore. Having some dining options in mind ahead of time can prevent frustration when you’re tired and hungry and not sure where to eat.

    4. Take note of any important regulations and customs, especially if you plan to go out of country

    Did you know that chewing gum in Singapore is illegal? Singapore values keeping their city clean and thus has a lot of different fines and regulations. Check out regulations and customs in your destination ahead of time. The last thing you want is to visit another country and suddenly find yourself in trouble with the law enforcement agency.

    Travelling can be stressful and even tiring but it is also very rewarding. So, if you want to go on a trip in the near future, what better time than now to begin planning and thinking about it? Even without the Little Einsteins’ resources, college student travel is within your reach!

    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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  • Why I Chose My HBCU

    by Jalyn White

    A group of four photos of HBCU campuses: Spelman College, North Carolina A&T University, Southern University, and Norfolk State University.

    After decades of segregated education at institutions of higher learning, the very first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) was founded on February 25, 1837 by Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, creating a safe academic, intellectual, and social space for Black students. On December 1, 1865, Shaw University in North Carolina became the first HBCU in the South, initiating a cascade of HBCU charterings in the United States. These spaces of both comfort and challenge for HBCU students proved to be special, affirming students of their rightful place in society. Today, HBCUs are the #1 producers of Black physicians, lawyers, educators, politicians, engineers, and so many other professional paths by setting high-achieving standards for Black students.

    I am currently a junior Biochemistry major on the pre-med track at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Before my sophomore year of high school, I had never heard of Spelman. But after one brief conversation with my mother who encouraged me to look into it, I started researching, toured the campus, and found it to be the greatest place at which I could continue my education. Spelman has been the #1 HBCU for 16 consecutive years as the premier college for Black women, and that is what greatly contributed to my decision. The academic atmosphere is intense, but the community is full of people who love and care for Spelman students, and the sisterhood I have experienced during my matriculation is unforgettable. Let’s hear from some other HBCU students on why they chose their HBCUs.

    Jesse Uloghobui currently attends Norfolk State University in Virginia and is a sophomore Computer Science major on the cybersecurity track. His mother attended Norfolk State, and that is one of the main reasons he chose to enroll.

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  • The Gist of Germs: The Importance of Proper Handwashing

    by Ana Cooper

    Lab Notebook: Prepare for the Experiement: Wash Your Hands Lab Animation

    Washing your hands is one of the basics of hygiene that we often do without thinking. It was heavily emphasized during the pandemic and continues to be a major prevention of contamination. Handwashing is critical in healthcare careers since many personnel come into direct contact with the patient. The personnel must be trained in handwashing technique to ensure that all areas of the hand are cleaned. This makes learning the skill an important step in a person’s career. That is why Pearson has taken extraordinary measures to make an excellent handwashing simulation.

    Handwashing Education

    During the Fall of 2021, still in the height of the pandemic, I was taking Microbiology I and training to be a certified nursing assistant. Every day I learned about ten new diseases that could be on my hands at any given moment. Simultaneously, my nursing instructor would stand over my shoulder timing me while I washed my hands. The ticking of the watch made me so nervous that I was shaking all over trying to take a deep breath. I tried to remember every area of my hands and make sure I was scrubbing for just enough time.   

    Handwashing is a simple skill, but this semester it was taken to an extreme level. I was taught to first turn on the faucet with a paper towel. I then squirt antibacterial soap on my hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds. It is important to scrub the palms, back of the hands, in between the fingers, and all fingertips. Observe fingernails and make certain that there is no grime stuck under the nails, as this is a common site for bacterial growth. Ensure that all surfaces have been scrubbed with soap. Don’t forget the wrists! Rinse the hands off completely without touching the sink and do not shake hands to dry. Grab a paper towel to dry hand. Turn the faucet off with a paper towel.   

    The Cause for Cleanliness

    He emphasized over and over again how important it was to have excellent hand hygiene. The examiners who preside over my state exams would observe my handwashing technique just as meticulously. If I did not wash my hands well enough or long enough, I could not continue with the exam. I would have had to still pay for another exam, come another day, and test once again. It would go on my records that I did not pass the exam the first time and the reason would be noted too. There was a lot to lose if I did not wash my hands correctly.

    Anti-Protist Protocols

    This rigorous routine would continue in my Microbiology labs. Weeks of experimentation would go in the garbage if a slide got contaminated with my skin in the Microbiology lab. If I did not wash my hands after the experiment, I might take home fragments of whatever that bacteria, fungi, or worm was to my family. Microbiology forced me to think like a germaphobe. Clean the counter, clean the slides, clean the microscope, sterile procedures, inoculate the loop, wear gloves, don’t breathe on your specimens, and many, many, MANY more hygienic precautions would loop through my brain.

    Handwashing Never Goes Away

    That was my fall of 2021. I knew that all of this was important as I was taking my first steps to becoming a nurse on the field. In nursing school and in the hospitals for my clinical rotations, hand hygiene is still meticulous. I continue to be tested on it in my exam questions and in my skills labs. Handwashing never goes away. I have must wash my hands 100% so that there is 0% chance of anything spreading.

    Handwashing is always relevant. Repetition is key which is why it shows up at the beginning of the virtual labs. This is why Pearson devoted lots of time and technology to making a proper simulation for handwashing for each lab. Professors, clinicians, students, and designers all worked together to make this product a reality. Having this handwashing simulation on the virtual labs is crucial to maintaining excellence, accuracy, and relevance. There is a proper order to wash hands that needs to be maintained. The entire hand to be cleaned well with soap and water. Sticks for removing grime from under the fingernails are a notable task in the routine. Many other actions must be performed in the specific order to complete the whole routine. This is a skill that a person carries with them their whole life, but especially when they are in the medical field and have direct contact with patients. No matter the major, all are responsible for keeping their hands clean and decreasing the spread of diseases. Whether one is at home, in the office, at the hospital, or labs, everyone needs handwashing to be a regular hygiene habit to maintain cleanliness and health throughout society.

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  • It’s Valentine’s Day and You’re Single: Six ideas to try

    by Charlotte Fieffe

    A graphic image featuring a pink rectangle with four hearts in the upper left corner and the text, ‘Things to do on Valentine’s Day, fun solo + group ideas’

    Driving around my neighborhood recently, I noticed the painted hearts on business windows and heart-shaped wreaths on doors and realized Valentine's Day is just around the corner! Although many deem the holiday as a way for businesses to bank on the idea of "love" by selling the masses sappy chocolate shaped hearts and $2 roses that die the next day, it doesn't take away the meaning that you were thought of enough to be given any of those things. But if you're single, that might be another story. Don't worry, I have six amazing ideas that you can do on your own or with friends that will make the idea of Valentine's mean so much more than that sad lumpy teddy bear in the back of your closet that you got from that one friend.

    Pack a Picnic

    First up on the list is a park picnic! This idea is so cute and is definitely one of my favorites. Gather your friends and let everyone bring their own dish from home (or store bought, we don’t judge). Spread out a nice blanket, play music in the background, and you have an easy way to bring your friends together for a nice day out in the park.

    Create a Charcuterie Board

    Charcuterie boards are often the highlight of many gatherings! You can go with the theme of the holiday or go completely off script, it's really up to you! Everyone can bring their own charcuterie board imagination extravaganza and enjoy the night with each other.

    Take Time for Self-Care

    This can be a solo event or coordinated with a group of friends! Take some time to take care of yourself however you see fit whether that be eating out, journaling, putting on a face mask, whatever you want! Checking up on yourself physically and mentally is probably the best kind of love that you can give yourself this Valentine’s Day! You deserve it!

    Express Yourself Through Art

    Consider taking an art or pottery class. As with the self-care option, this can be done solo or with a friend. It will be nice to find local classes, and it is a fun way to get your creative juices flowing! You can take something home from the experience and learn something new! If you have not tried taking an art class or pottery class, it’s a great way to put yourself out there and to meet new people.

    Settle in for Movie Night

    Host your own movie marathon this Valentine’s Day! Grab some popcorn and some friends and host a romantic or rom-com movie night! Make everyone choose a movie to watch or make your own curated list of movies for the night. It’s a fun way to spend time with your friends and to indulge in some of that chocolate!

    Explore a Bookstore or Museum

    Find a local bookstore or museum and spend the day there. After browsing some shelves, splurging on some books, or viewing some paintings and sculptures you can dine at a restaurant and enjoy the rest of your day. I really love this idea of exploring your local area a bit more, because you never know what you can find!

    I hope this post has given you a rekindled spirit when it comes to Valentine’s Day as well as some new things to try this year. Whether you go solo or with a group of friends, have a safe and Happy Valentine’s Day!

    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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  • The Beauty of Reaching Out

    by Jonathan Wong

    A group of college students gathered between two rows of white columns. They are all wearing matching white t-shirts with a black, green, and white racing logo on the front.

    For many, starting college can be a daunting experience. Leaving the comfort of your friends and family is never easy and you will be forced to face obstacles you have never encountered. You may even struggle to create meaningful friendships. However, there is beauty in the unknown and true growth can only come from a place of discomfort.

    Manage Your Mindset

    As a first-generation college student moving from New York to California to attend the University of Southern California, I was terrified of the new life that was awaiting me. After an entire summer of existential dread, figuring out my career path, and uncertainty about my future, I came to the realization that I am in complete control of my future. The friends I make, the person I become, and the opportunities I seize are all a result of my own agency. I quickly turned my fear into genuine excitement.

    Work As If I Could Never Fail

    I wrote down a list of my goals and envisioned a different version of myself. A version of myself that could not fear, could not budge, and could not fail. I committed myself to dream big and work as if I could never fail. Each day, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone where I quickly discovered my passions for self-improvement and the human experience. The purpose of this blog is to urge students like yourself to find discomfort and find love and beauty in the people around you. I began valuing meaningful conversation and committing myself to understand and learning the experiences of others. I made amazing and inspiring friends along the way and opened doors to opportunities I could never imagine. At USC, I found a community and a home.

    Outside of academics, the friendships you create at college will last you for the rest of your life and teach you things about yourself and the world you wouldn’t learn otherwise. Do not be afraid to chase diverse and unique perspectives and truly experience everything the world has to offer. Surround yourself with inspiring people and soon enough there will be nothing keeping you from becoming incredible. I believe every conversation, every failure, and every opportunity is a learning experience and I implore all of you to open your ears and your hearts to those around 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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  • Explore Majors During Your Freshman Year

    by Ambyr Dack

    A computer laptop screen displaying the Academic Program Guide to Florida State University.

    In high school, I heard repeatedly that choosing my college major would be one of the most important decisions I’d make. However, once I got to college, I realized that decision was less urgent and final than I thought. I met people during my first semester who were in a variety of stages when it came to knowing their major – from dead set on one, to open to changing, to honestly having no idea what they wanted to do.

    When planning for first my semester schedule, I discovered that I was required to take prerequisites that had nothing to do with my major. And following that I would still have General Business prerequisites I had to take before I could get into the College of Business. That’s when I realized that freshman year would be a great time to do some investigating of other majors!

    Explore Various Resources

    Initially I learned about so many majors simply by spending time talking with other residents of my freshman dorm! In addition, I found it helpful to find out what resources my campus offered. Most campuses have a Center for Career Success or Student Success. While I came into college pretty sure I wanted to be a Human Resource Management major I felt doubtful in making such a big decision. The Center for Career Success offered skills tests that helped identify my strengths and in what type of majors I could leverage those strengths. Additionally, in the list of recommended majors it gave me, Human Resources was one of them! I do not think a test is the only thing you should base your decision on; however, it gave me so much reassurance that my skills aligned with what is necessary for a role in Human Resources. Many colleges even offer courses for academic credit that help you take practical steps to choosing your major. If your campus offers resources, use them!! 

    Keep an Open Mind

    When it comes to choosing your major: start simple, know it’s okay if you change it, be open to learning about other majors, and get experience. Starting simple is the key! What do you enjoy? Were there certain subjects in high school you loved? Did you have a part time job in high school that taught you skills you can use? Consider developing a personal mission statement and think about what values and beliefs are important to you. How might you incorporate these into your major? Put yourself in the mindset that you know it’s okay to change your major. You can be open to learning more about other majors. This mindset takes pressure off your shoulders of feeling like you have to stick with the major that you came into college with just because you chose it on your college applications.

    Seek Ways to Gain Experience

    Lastly, and probably the most important is to actively seek ways to get experience in your field as soon as possible! Join organizations on your campus and look for internship and volunteer opportunities. This gives you a realistic idea of what you could be doing in these types of roles. You will see the ins and outs and all the application of what you will be learning in your classes. This not only lets you see if you like something but also helps you find a more specialized role that you want! For example, I had the opportunity to have an internship with Pearson as a Human Resource Business Partner Intern last summer where I helped run an internship program. I did not know that was part of a Human Resource role and I absolutely fell in love with it! I hope one day I will have the opportunity to run an internship program as part of my full-time job!

    College life is new and exciting for freshmen, but also can be really overwhelming and stressful. Choosing your major is an important aspect of college; however, remind yourself to take a step back and breathe. It is going to be okay!

    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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  • Things to Consider Before Changing your Major

    by Rachel Calcote

    A computer laptop screen displaying the 2022-2023 Academic Catalog of the University of Alabama.

    College can be way different than we ever imagined. You come in with a plan thinking you know what you want to do, then halfway through the semester you start second guessing yourself. Is it just nerves, hard classes, or do you really want to change your major? Have you found your passion? Even if all you know is that you hate your current major, here are a few tips for helping you find a new major, figure out if you actually want to change your major, or just want to explore different classes at your university.

    Do Some Research

    Check out the university catalog and see what other majors your school has to offer. Maybe there’s a program that sounds interesting that you want to try. Talk to some of your peers and faculty that are part of that program. If it’s not too late, maybe sign up for one class to try out the program before you switch degrees. Taking one class before changing your major can save you a lot of hassle if you decide you don’t enjoy that program. It could also help you realize that your current program is the right program for you. Or maybe your current school doesn’t have the program that you think is right for you. Are you willing to transfer schools?

    Take A Career Quiz

    It might sound cliché but taking a skills test can help point you in a new direction when considering careers. Additionally, look at jobs you might want in the future. Your major should help you gain knowledge in experience in whatever field you want to be in. Sometimes it’s easier to start by identifying the job you want and then working backwards to achieve it. Talk to people that currently have that job. Connect with recruiters. Ask people what qualities they look for when hiring and what majors they look for. Depending on the job, your major may matter less than the skills you acquire.

    Take A Look at Your Finances

    Can you afford to take the extra time it may take to graduate? If not, explore some additional scholarships or financial aid packages or consider finishing your current degree and coming back to school later when you’re financially able to. Some companies pay their employees to obtain certain degrees, so maybe that’s an option for you. Consider multiple paths to achieving your goals. Who knows, you may not even need to go back to school. You may need to learn a few skills on your own and then market yourself appropriately. Everyone’s path looks different, so consider what you want yours to look like.

    Meet With Your Advisor

    Talk to your current advisor and your potential advisor. Ask questions about program length, classes, grade requirements, scholarships, job opportunities, and anything else before making the switch. Advisors are incredibly knowledgeable and are there to help. They can also help you decide if changing your major is right for you. It’s a hard choice and can be intimidating, but there’s no need to be afraid to make that change.

    Whether or not you decide to change majors, make a point to meet with your campus career center. They will help guide you towards jobs that fit your goals. They are there to help you market yourself so that you can land your dream job. At the end of the day, it never hurts to diversify your learning and have fun while doing so.

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

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  • The Evolution of Negro History Week to Black History Month

    by Myaya Morton

    A digitally produced graphic with the text ‘Black History Month’ above several raised hands of varying skin tones against a black background.

    Black History Month is a designated month-long U.S. holiday held every February since 1976. It serves as a time to recognize the contributions and achievements made by African Americans throughout U.S. History. During the month there are hosts of events such as student plays, television specials and marches commemorating trailblazers. Many know about the month but don’t understand the history behind Black History month.

    It begins with Carter G. Woodson, who was an American historian, author, and professor of history, earning a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912. In 1926, Woodson established and celebrated Negro History Week. Rumors say Woodson chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Fredrick Douglass, two pivotal men in Black History. Woodson wanted the week to demonstrate what Negro students learned throughout the school year. A theme was set each year for the celebration and Woodson, along with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American History – ASALH), provided study materials.

    In the 1940’s, the Black community slowly began to expand the study and celebration of Black History in public and curriculum. Within the schools, teachers would hide the books but replace United States History lessons with the Black History books. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s that there was a more aggressive stance. Due to the racist climate of America at the time, many young African Americans on college campuses became more conscious and resilient against the oppression.

    Finally, in 1976, fifty years after Woodson’s first efforts to celebrate, the ASALH officially expanded the annual event to Black History Month. Since then, every United States President has recognized February as Black History Month. They have even issued proclamations endorsing the annual theme.

    The theme for 2023 is Black Resistance considering the recent acts of racial terrorism, ongoing oppression, and police violence. This year try to learn more about Black History aside from the Civil Rights Activists and Slave abolitionists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. For more details and information about this year's celebration, you can visit ASALH.org.

    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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  • Balance in D1 Sports

    by Tatum Settelmyer

    A group of college women basketball players in black uniforms crowded around a coach speaking into a microphone.

    On October 18th my whole life changed – aside from turning 20 years old the day before. I already had a lot going on in my collegiate life. I was in the Honors College, a candidate for Beta Alpha Psi, applying for internships, and working as Pearson Campus Ambassador. I was also vice president of the club tennis team and an intramural basketball champion. With all that, I also carved out time to hang out with friends.

    Then I spontaneously decided to try out for my school’s Women’s D1 Basketball team, and I made the team! Little did I know what kind of challenge that was going to be, not only competing at this high level after taking a year off of basketball, but also how to balance this new endeavor with everything else going on in my life.

    First thoughts were all excitement about making the team, until I became super overwhelmed. Basketball alone was stressful enough with trying to play catch-up while everyone else had already been practicing together for months. It took me a while to even think about how it was affecting the rest of my life, especially my classes. It is way too easy to forget about everything besides the D1 sport you play.

    With this new addition to my life, sacrifices had to be made. No more intramurals, no more club tennis, less time with friends, and a change on schedule for internships. But, looking from a larger perspective, I’ve still made many memories and friends that I can keep forever who are very supportive. I’ve had to substitute virtual learning for a few in-person classes that conflicted with practices, but thankfully with technology I can watch lectures online for the most part. Classes have definitely been the hardest part to keep up with but, I was able to make friends in classes and the Honors College who help keep me accountable during this very busy time. The most important thing is to create and maintain a consistent schedule and to truly focus on the “student” part of the athlete, too.

    It is easy to get carried away with trying to do more than you can handle. My parents always warned me about doing too much because it can take a toll physically and mentally. You always have to be aware of what you are feeling and realize that you can’t please everyone in everything. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and do something to relax and give yourself a break. Odds are you are way ahead of the game already and can definitely afford a few hours to yourself or with your friends.

    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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  • How to Stay Mindful as a College Student

    by Rachel Schachter

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

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

    Practice Meditation

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

    Try Yoga

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

    Spend Time Outside

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

    Find A Hobby

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

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

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

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  • How to Manage School and Work

    by Sadaf Nasiri

    A black and white graphic of a set of scales beneath the text ‘School and Work’.

    Having a hard time managing school and work? Don't know how you will get through another semester having to balance the two different activities? Here are some tips and advice from a full-time college student and a full-time worker. Though everyone's experiences differ, and everyone's schedules are unique, these tips can help you be able to manage both and work simultaneously, plus have some time for yourself in between!

    Make a Schedule that Works for You

    Don’t overwork yourself during the school year as that can often lead to a burnout (which is the worst!). Create a schedule that allows you to balance both school and work, plus make enough time for things like homework, eating, and some free time to enjoy yourself!

    Learn How to Advocate for Yourself

    You don’t have to pick up that extra shift just because your boss asked you to. It’s ok to say ‘no’. Make sure you speak up and be honest with those around you to avoid work piling up and getting stressed out.

    Build in Rewards

    Finished a big project or finished a long stressful shift? Make sure to treat yourself and reward yourself once in a while in order to motivate yourself to keep pushing. These motivations and rewards can be anything that you like or desire (candy, a shopping spree, etc.).

    Use Your Support System

    Everyone copes with stress differently. A support system is important to build you up when you’re feeling less motivated or to help out if you’re in a jam. You may even have multiple support systems – classmates, work peers, and family or friends. Turn to your support system whenever you feel like you need it. And return the favor by supporting others when you can!

    Fight Perfectionism

    Lastly, just know that life isn’t perfect, and you are still amazing regardless of what grades you get or how much you work! Not everyone can get all A’s while working during school. Not everyone can work full-time while being in school. Life isn’t perfect and you can strive to meet goals but know that not achieving them doesn’t make you a failure. You are still worthy of everything you’ve achieved and accomplished so far.

    You won’t always be able to get the perfect balance between both, but these tips can help you be able to meet the goals you want and achieve more while balancing school and 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! 

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  • Being Gay on Campus: Build support through campus connections

    by Ienne Zielinski

    A rainbow themed painting with the word ‘PRIDE!’ in various colors.

    Coming to the University of Utah from a smaller high school with a less diverse student population was a shocking experience. There were not many people out as gay or LGBTQ+ at my high school and being gay felt very isolating. At the University of Utah, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only peers but also faculty who are out and proud. Gay students face unique hurdles when acclimating to college life. Here is how I’ve navigated this process.

    Finding Support Networks

    First, it is very important to have support on campus not only through individual connections but also organizations. The LGBT Resource Center is one such organization on my campus. They organize Pride Week events as well as other functions throughout the school year. This makes it feel less lonely. From the Center’s website: “The LGBT Resource Center empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) students to grow as leaders and learners by supporting students in navigating university systems, exploring their identities, finding community, and developing as leaders with a social justice lens.“

    Another group I have personally found a home with is the campus chapter of oSTEM (out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). oSTEM (www.ostem.org/) is a professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community with over 100 student chapters at colleges across the country. As oSTEM states on its website, their “mission is to create a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community that brings LGBTQ+ students and allies in STEM fields together.”

    Facing Challenges

    Even with strong support networks in place, being out as LGBTQ+ comes with a lot of challenges. There are those in the community who still hold prejudices against us, and it affects us all on a day-to-day basis. There have been times when I have been promoting groups like oSTEM, and I have received mean glances, comments, and have even been outright laughed at. This has been difficult on my mental health and sometimes leads the campus I love to feel like a hostile environment. I believe, however, that we all are responsible to talk about these difficult moments. We need to discuss what needs to change in order to see change.

    I am so incredibly lucky to have so many supportive organizations on campus. I hope through this blog I can convey how important these resources are and to encourage other students to seek support networks on their own campuses. It’s important to start a conversation about how these critical issues impact the overall success of students in this community.

    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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  • Finding the Beauty Wherever You Are

    by Emilie Conners

    A mountain meadow with the Smoky Mountains in the distance. Two young women, with their backs to the viewer, are jumping up in the air.

    I have had the privilege of growing up and living in two very special places thus far in my life. I spent the first half of my life living 10 minutes from the beach in South Florida and the other half living 10 minutes from the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Living in two completely different places with contrasting environments has really helped shape my perspective and teach me about the value of finding the beauty wherever you are. Here are some of my favorite places to go in South Florida and East Tennessee, the different aspects I appreciate about both places, and what each has to offer.

    South Florida

    I grew up in Delray Beach in South Florida, near Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, and spent a lot of time at the beach. Delray Beach has a long street right near the ocean called “Atlantic Avenue”; this avenue has tons of restaurants, boutiques, and fun surf shops to look at. One of my favorite restaurants here is “Boston’s on the Beach.” It is right across from the ocean and offers some really yummy seafood along with some non-seafood options. Atlantic Avenue tends to be loud and bustling with people at night, but peaceful and relaxing during the day.

    Another one of my favorite places to go to in South Florida if you are looking for a nice beach that won’t be too crowded is: Gulfstream Beach. What I love most about Gulfstream Beach is that it’s not as crowded as some of the beaches directly by the avenue. It’s in a really beautiful part of town, plus the parking is free. If you happen to go to Gulfstream Beach, you should check out “Nomad Surf Shop” which is close by. They have great beach gear and beautiful surfboards to look at!

    East Tennessee

    East Tennessee is a lot different from South Florida. Obviously, there are no beaches but there are beautiful mountains and lots of wildlife to enjoy. My favorite part of living in East Tennessee is being so close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and visiting this park is definitely a must if you are in town. There are lots of hikes to go on where you can see waterfalls and sometimes even spot a black bear on the way! However, if hiking isn’t your thing, you can always just drive along the loop throughout the park where there are incredible views and lots of deer, horses, and other animals to see.

    Another great place to visit is the Foothills Parkway. This parkway is a long road that winds through the Smoky Mountains with incredible views and plenty of places to stop and overlook the scenery. My best tip is to go before sundown so you can watch the sun set over the mountains. If you are not a huge nature fan, check out Market Square in Knoxville, where you’ll find lots of good restaurants and cool small businesses to check out.

    East Tennessee has a lot to offer and so does South Florida. I have learned that every place has something to admire and enjoy if you are just patient enough to look for it and find it. If you ever get the chance, I greatly encourage you to visit South Florida and East Tennessee.

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  • Explore Endless Possibilities Through the World of Science Fiction

    by Ashish Bijumon

    A library with the view looking up from the ground floor to the second level featuring multiple floor-to-ceiling shelves of books.

    Science Fiction has influenced our society in so many ways. People across the world line up at the theatres to watch the newest Star Wars film or the next Avengers movie. These films, based on books and comics, allow us to experience a world of endless possibilities. They enable us to imagine a world where superheroes live among us, where dinosaurs are resurrected for an amusement park, or an interstellar conflict is happening in a galaxy far away. January 2nd is Science Fiction Day, a day where the world celebrates the creative minds of so many authors, illustrators, and filmmakers for bringing life to these other worlds.

    What should I read?

    If you’re new to the science fiction genre, it can be difficult to find the right story with so many titles out there. You want to find a story with character development, beautiful settings, and a rich lore. Books such as “Dune” by Frank Herbert or “Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle offer the perfect starting point into science fiction. Many of these science fiction books have their own shows or movies associated with them. Large stories such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” have numerous shows, comics, and movies to help better understand the complex world. These franchises are so large and complex, it takes a great load of time to fully invest yourself into their stories. The authors spent countless years building these worlds for our imagination and the big screens.

    Why should I read Sci-Fi?

    Some people believe science fiction, or fiction in general, is a waste of time or that it doesn’t offer the same value as nonfiction books. However, these accusations are false. Science fiction enhances our vocabulary, expands our creativity, and it stimulates our imagination. These authors came up with complex ideas and worlds, and when we read them, we must imagine them. We place ourselves in their worlds and experience what the characters feel, we see what they see. It allows us to think of scenarios such as if cars were able to fly, or if a nuclear bomb had been dropped. Reading is knowledge, different genres offer different perspectives on reality.

    Celebrating Science and Technology

    Sci-fi authors often weave in science and technology themes into their stories, sparking interest in these areas for readers of all ages. A broad spectrum of STEM topics can be found in sci-fi works – biology, chemistry, earth sciences, robotics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration to name just a few. Many scientists acknowledge that their academic interests were influenced by science fiction writing.

    Influence on Pop Culture

    Science fiction shapes our society in so many ways, it gives us a chance to break away from our reality. Without the work of George Lucas on “Star Wars” or Frank Herbert on “Dune,” we would not have the blockbuster movies and TV shows we have today. Without Stan Lee and the countless other Marvel writers, we wouldn’t have the “X-Men,” “Avengers,” or “Spider-Man.” Viewers get lost in the settings that are presented.

    When Science Fiction Day rolls around, take time to think of everyone who has contributed to the genre and celebrate them. The authors write a beautiful story from beginning to end that captivates us and make us want more. These characters, worlds, and stories have endless possibilities. Anything is possible in science-fiction.

    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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  • How to Make (and Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions

    by Taylor King

    A fireworks display.

    It’s finally here! We’ve made it another 365 days around the sun, so you know what time it is…It’s time to make your New Year’s Resolution!! If you feel stuck in a rut or intimidated, don’t fret. Follow these steps to set an achievable goal to work towards over the next twelve months.

    1. Start by reflecting on this year.

    Reminisce on the high and lows, the triumphs, and the challenges. Take a look over your personal journal entries that you’ve written over the year. Recognizing all of what you’ve experienced during the last year can help you home in on where and how you want to improve.

    2. Think about just one goal and the several ways you can achieve it.

    Try to avoid taking on more than you can handle. You never know what circumstances or curveballs the new year can throw at you, so commit to just one resolution. However, you should be thinking about multiple ways in which you can accomplish it. For instance, if your resolution is to prioritize physical fitness, recognize that it doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym all the time. You could do at-home workouts, do yoga beside your bed in the morning, go on hikes with friends, incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, or reduce the number of sugary drinks you consume. You have more freedom than you think when it comes to setting resolutions, so don’t make it monotonous – try to have fun with it!

    3. Write down your New Year’s resolution.

    Once you’ve decided on your goal, make it concrete! It is scientifically proven that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down, so write your resolution in a journal or use your creativity by making a vision board. Whatever your choice, make sure you put it in a place where you can see it every day so you can be reminded of your commitment and receive the motivation you need to take action and follow through with your resolution.

    4. Check in with yourself regularly.

    If you write down your resolution and look at it every day, it should be pretty hard to forget about it, but things happen! Put daily or weekly reminders in your phone to ensure you remain accountable to what you committed. At the end of each month, self-reflect and record your progress to see if you’re already fulfilling your ambitions or are on track to meet your goal by year’s end. If you need to make any adjustments to what you’re doing, feel free to put those into place at this point.

    Feeling more prepared now? Good – because you’ve got this in the bag!! Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

    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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  • Snow Much Fun: Winter Activities on Campus!

    by Taylor Perline

    A red mug of hot chocolate set on top of a gray knit blanket. The hot chocolate is topped with two marshmallows with snowmen faces.

    December 21st is the first day of winter! Winter brings about so many changes to college and campus living. Fuzzy sweaters, holiday seasons, and gathering around a cozy fire are often staples of this time of year. For college students, however, winter can represent a decrease in mood alongside the decrease in temperature. Luckily, the winter season brings about plenty of “cool” opportunities for campus fun!

    Enjoy a Snow Day!

    Many college campuses will begin to be covered with blankets of snow throughout this season. This is a perfect opportunity to bundle up and head outside with friends. It is common to see snowmen and other snow figures throughout campus. Don’t be afraid to join in sledding or skiing if that is on campus! If the snow is good enough for it, a snowball fight is a fantastic way for friends and unfamiliar faces to bond.

    Have a Winter Party!

    Whether your college does or does not receive snow, a winter party is a wonderful way to bring friends together! If applicable, a holiday party full of presents, music, and other holiday traditions can easily put any scrooge into the spirit of the season. For just a winter themed party, engaging in a potluck style dinner is almost always a must! This can be through a “charcuterie night” (where friends each bring a board of delicious goods) or something as simple as having friends all bring a fun cookie to snack on! This night can end with something simple like a movie or something more intense like an indoor snowball fight (with paper or fake snowballs)!

    Try Something New Indoors!

    During the winter, many take time to wind down and relax. Maybe give that new game a chance. Or take up a hobby like yoga, crochet, or reading! Especially if a student is on their winter break, this is the perfect time to curl up under a cozy blanket and take some time for a new experience.

    Get That Hot Chocolate!

    When one thinks of winter, oftentimes the first thought that comes to mind is delicious hot chocolate. Luckily, it is accessible to nearly all college age students! Many dorms either have a microwave in each room or at least one somewhere in the dorm’s kitchen area. Spice things up with some whipped cream, marshmallows, or other fun toppings! Oftentimes, students can also find hot chocolate around campus! Whether it be seasonal at the campus café, or a local off-campus coffee shop!

    Winter is an amazing opportunity for students to come together, and I hope that everyone will have “snow” much fun!

    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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  • The Observation of Kwanzaa

    by Myaya Morton

    A graphic created by the blog author. The words Happy Kwanzaa appear in thick block letters across the top and the Kinara with the Kwanzaa candles is underneath. At first day of Kwanzaa appears on either side of the Kinara – Dec 26, 2022.

    In the 1960's, Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman at California State University created the holiday of Kwanzaa to bring the Black community together. He borrowed many aspects from other harvest celebrations to produce a week-long holiday. Kwanzaa, the name means “first fruits” in Swahili.

    Each day of Kwanzaa respects one of the seven principles – Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). All seven of these principles collectively are referred to as the Nguzo Saba which derive from the African values of building and reinforcing community. On each night of Kwanzaa, the family gathers and one child lights a single candle in the candle holder or Kinara while discussing the principle of that day.

    The symbols of the holiday are very important as well. Mazao are the crops which include fruits, nuts and vegetables which symbolizes the work done to celebrate and feast for the holiday. The mkeka or place mat comes directly from Africa being made from straw or cloth. It symbolizes history, culture and tradition and serves as a figurative foundation for the lives of those who celebrate. The Vibunzi is a stalk of corn that represents fertility. It brings good luck for reproduction of children and future hopes into the household.

    The Mishumaa Saba are the seven candles comprised of three red, three green and one black candle while the candle holder is called the Kinara. These seven candles are placed in a very specific order. The candles symbolically are the sun’s power and are there to provide light. The Unity Cup from which each member drinks is called the Kikombe Cha Umoja. Lastly, Zawadi are the gifts which are given on the seventh day of Kwanzaa. The purpose of the gifts is to encourage the use of the seven principles and are exchanged between family members.

    Many households celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa simultaneously since one is religious and one is strictly secular. This year, Kwanzaa will be celebrated from Monday, December 26, 2022 to Sunday, January 1, 2023.

    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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  • Managing Stress and Anxiety during Exam Season

    by Maggie Parker

    A view from the beach with the sun about to rise so that the sky has just a little pink and blue.

    During midterm and finals seasons, every student feels at least a little bit of stress due to looming projects, essays, and exams. However, stress is never helpful when it comes to performing your best on important assessments. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, but we could all use some additional inspiration on how to keep calm during these stressful times. Here are the best ways to reduce stress while coping with exam season, and how to still make time for yourself even when you’re super busy.

    Plan Ahead

    I know, I know, pretty unhelpful for my number one tip for keeping calm during exam season to be something that requires forethought. But seriously, the best way to help yourself out for exam season is to stay on top of things from the second classes start. I like to map out all my assignments and exams in a big spreadsheet with all the due dates, so I know exactly what work I have to do each week and what weeks are going to need a little extra focus. This way, I don’t suddenly realize I have a ton of work to do the same week I have an exam, so I’m able to instead plan ahead and get assignments done ahead of when they’re due.

    Plan Out Breaks

    When you’re studying, it can be really easy to either forget to take breaks and get burnt out or take too many breaks, leading to unproductivity. By planning out specific times you’re going to take breaks and sticking to them, you’re able to get work done while still managing your time and stress to maximize productivity and minimize burnout. Additionally, when you schedule breaks, make sure you stick to the amount of time you allotted for yourself, as it’s all too easy to get sucked into the black hole of social media and suddenly realize your 15-minute break turned into an hour!

    Make Time for Friends and Family

    Even though your mind might be wholly focused on schoolwork, it’s important to maintain interpersonal connections even when you’re stressed. Friends and family can be a great shoulder to lean on when you need help or someone to talk to, so keep in contact with them regularly even when you’re overwhelmed with studying or assignments. This not only assures them that you’re doing ok during a stressful time, but also allows you to recognize that school isn’t everything, and that people will still love you regardless of your performance in a class.

    Physical Activity

    Exercise is proven to release endorphins, which are often referred to as “feel-good chemicals”. Endorphins are also proven to reduce stress, so getting active during midterms and finals season can be a great way to get outside and have fun while also improving your mood and stress levels. Something as simple as going for a walk with friends, or a hike, can have incredible effects on your mood and productivity, and also allows you to physically get away from your work for a little while.

    Following these steps should aid you during those stressful seasons in the semester. You can succeed and you do have tools to help you. Though everyone manages stress differently, I have found that across the board these tips help the majority of people, myself including, during stressful times.

    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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  • Tis the Season for a Holiday Gift Guide

    by Jayla Pope

    A computer generated graphic featuring a large red border with a holiday clip art in each corner, and a smaller green square within, that say ‘Holiday Gift Guide’ in white letters.

    December is a beautiful time of year when many of us celebrate occasions with gift giving. Not everyone has fun with buying gifts for others or has trouble picking them out. To help ease the stress of picking gifts, consider these tips.

    Not Too Much Green

    When it comes to gifting, it is important to decide how much you are budgeting. The budget sets the parameters for your spending without breaking the bank. An example of this would be a maximum of $20 on each gift or setting a $100 spending limit. A tip for spending is to utilize cash. When you use credit/debit cards, it can be hard to control your spending. With cash, what you see is what you have. Be on the lookout for advertisements and coupons during this season of giving as well. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both popular times of the year for shopping, but throughout the holiday season, many stores run sales and discounts. Lastly, if you do decide to use your card for shopping purchases look for cash back bonuses or discounts to aid you in the costs.

    Make Your List and Check It Twice

    After you have set a budget on your gifting, it is time to create a list of those gift recipients. Gifting should always come from the heart and should never feel like an obligation. It is common to buy gifts for family and friends. However, other people to consider could be coworkers, teachers, or even your pet…they deserve treats too! Around the holidays pay special attention to what those around you speak about. If you heard your dad talking about a new gadget or your mom eyeing a specific book, take note. The best gifts are the most thoughtful ones. Paying attention to the wants of those around you gives you a great advantage in gift giving. If you’re unsure of the specific color or size of an item, be broadly inquisitive. When inquiring about gifts, try to make it seem as though you are buying it for yourself or a friend and need an opinion on which item to choose. Consider asking for a friend or family member’s assistance if you don’t want to make it obvious who the gift is intended for.

    Wrap It Up

    Now that you have all that you need to find a great gift, it's time to wrap it up, pun intended! Although gifts are thoughtful alone, using gift wrapping techniques help elevate them to another level. Gift wrapping also creates an element of surprise, before the recipient can open the gift, the first thing they see is the wrapping. If you're not the best at gift wrapping, fear not as there are plenty of alternatives. Bows, gift bags, ribbons, and tissue paper are all ways to decorate your gift. As it relates to gift bags, encourage the recipient to reuse them as it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

    Gift giving can be stressful but using these tips are sure to help mitigate gift giving misery. Remember to find your reason for the season and to spread that joy with others. Sometimes that alone is the best gift you give.

    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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  • Gift Giving on a College Student Budget

    by Rachel Calcote

    A wreath made of red and silver globe ornaments is hung on a white door.

    The holidays are fast approaching and sometimes that can be stressful. Sure, there are the lights, cold weather, and the festive atmosphere, but the money you spend around the holidays - horror inducing. This can be especially stressful when you’re strapped for cash but want to do something nice for your friends and family. Here are a few tips for gift giving on a college budget.

    Tip #1: Create A Budget

    This seems fairly basic, but it is often overlooked. Assess your personal financial situation and see how much money, if any, you are able to feasibly set aside for gifts this season. There are some important things to factor into your holiday budget. Travel costs is a big one: Are you going home for the holidays? Are you going on a trip? How are you getting there? Who’s paying for it? Are you paying for all of it, just part, or for multiple people? Other important factors to think about are dining out expenses, living costs, groceries, and anything else you normally spend money on each month.

    Tip #2: Make A List of People

    Make a list of people you want to give something to this holiday. Once you have a number you can compare that to your budget and decide if you can afford to buy each person something or if you need to think about baking or making something for some or all of the people. This is also an important time to decide if you’re going to spend the same amount on everyone or if you’re going to spend more on your mom than on your neighbor. It’s ok to spend different amounts on people as long as you can afford to and that each gift is heartfelt. It’s often more about how much thought and time went into the gift than how much the gift costs that matters.

    Tip #3: Picking Out Gifts

    This is the fun part! Don’t look at picking out each gift as daunting. It should be fun and festive! Maybe you’re making everyone their favorite cookies or decorating each cookie specifically for them. Maybe you’re thinking about your practical friend and want to buy them something useful or your trendy friend that loves having the latest cool accessory. Whatever you’re doing or buying make sure it reminds you of the person and stays within your budget! Look for sales at stores you frequent and go on days that you know an item you want to get will be on sale. Look for coupons online before you go, and take only the amount of money you can spend on that gift (+ a little extra for tax). These actions will help you stay within your budget and maybe even save you a few bucks along the way.

    These are just some helpful ideas to help you get through gift giving this holiday season. College budgets can be especially tight and need a little extra thought. Really tap into the joy that gift giving brings your loved ones and you. Having a positive attitude will help you pick gifts and stick to your budget.

    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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  • Spread Awareness About Mental Health

    by Natalie Farran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • College Students: Develop Healthy Exercise Habits Now for Increased Longevity

    by Dominic Sequeira

    Three college students are playing ultimate frisbee on a football field.

    College students are in a unique position to build healthy exercise habits during their collegiate years. We’ve all heard about the benefits of exercising: a healthier body, a better chance at living a longer life, and so many more benefits that one could list off. However, do we truly understand what exactly we are getting by exercising?

    Increased Self-Esteem

    For starters, by exercising one tends to feel much better about themselves overall. Many times, for me personally either going to the gym or to practice has just overall lifted my mood up. Exercising can be a form to release stress. At the same time, exercising allows you to have time to yourself and forget about any other responsibilities for a while.

    Decreased Risk for Injury

    Regular exercise can greatly decrease your chances of being injured. For example, when someone starts to go to the gym and lift weights, they are automatically strengthening their muscles and bone structures. This not only leads to better longevity in those muscles and bones, but also helps you build a strong foundation. Whether you are playing sports or even in partaking in everyday activities, you have a reduced chance of developing an injury of any kind. It is important to take care of your body by properly lifting so that you build in these fundamentals from the very beginning.

    Develop Good Habits Now

    College is a perfect time to work on developing the habit of getting regular exercise. Most students have access to a wide variety of gyms, weight rooms, classes, and recreational spaces through their schools. Building time for regular workouts into your everyday schedule will help solidify excellent exercise habits that you can carry with you through your whole life.

    Maintaining your overall health is extremely important. If you start taking care of your body at a young age by exercising and having a routine that you stick by, you are setting yourself up to have a much better sense of longevity the older you get.

    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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  • Combating the Winter Blues

    by Stella Seth

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

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

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

    Keep Up with Hobbies

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

    Address Lower Sun Exposure

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

    Nature Therapy

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

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

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

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  • Camping is Good for the Soul

    by Maeve Murdock

    A campsite with three tents in the foreground, with rising hills and the sunset in the background.

    Camping is good for the soul. No matter how much you hate dirt, bugs, non-perishable food, or sleeping on the ground, camping for a few days out in nature can do wonders for your mental health and perspective on life.

    In August of 2021, a group of 10 friends and I landed in the midst of towering mountains in St. Elias-Wrangell National Preserve. St. Elias-Wrangell is our largest national park, containing 13 million acres, and is found in south-central Alaska. So remote, we were flown in from Tok, Alaska on a 3-person plane in 4 separate rounds. The trip and transportation were organized through Xavier Expeditions, an initiative at Xavier University to introduce students to the beauty and peacefulness of nature. 

    Camp Set Up

    Dropped in the remote wilderness, surrounded by a mountain range, the only sounds we could hear were the rush of the river and the soft wind. We kept our food in bear barrels, large metal barrels that conceal the scent of food, in an effort to keep the bears from venturing into our camp. Any time we cooked, all the food was required to be eaten–otherwise the bears would be attracted to our camp. At night, we traipsed into the thick of the trees to sling the bags of food over the branches above, keeping them out of the bears’ reach. As you can tell, many precautions were necessary for our safety. 

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  • Disclosing Disability on Campus: Risks and Rewards of Accommodations in College

    by Yvette Pegues

    Two tall library bookshelves with an empty electric wheelchair in the aisle between the shelves.

    To borrow and expand on a bit from science fiction writer Jane Espenson: if we can't embrace disability inclusion in campus life, then what is the point? You don't create new future leaders with the same limits as the old ones.

    Disability, by nature, is diverse. Just as many others born into a state of being or find themselves adapting at the turn of life, disabled individuals are often on the brunt end of acceptance. Considering that a disability can be visible or invisible, it may not be intentional, but the fact remains - inclusion and representation matter.

    The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 19% of on-campus undergraduates had a disability (2015-2016). Of that number, only 30% completed their studies, and the remaining dropped out, citing a lack of resources.

    There Are Inherent Risks to Lack of Representation

    Incomplete studies are just the beginning of the lack of disability inclusion. Generally, when the qualms of inclusion are discussed, they are framed in a manner that does not extend beyond wheelchair accommodation and other minimal approaches. While this allows students with some selective disabilities to participate in class with their peers, it still symbolizes just how different their campus experience may be.

    Visible and invisible disability inclusion is more than preparing students to be a mere oversight in a sea of workplace conformity. It should focus on how students can rise despite the disability they are experiencing.

    Disability Inclusion Is the Key to Impact Among College Campuses

    When a person's natural state of being, regardless of what it may be, is nurtured, it allows them to fully blossom into the best versions of themselves. Investing in the social, athletic, and cultural inclusion of disabled individuals on college campuses is a step in that direction.

    Reportedly, the number of students with a disability who participated in campus activities such as clubs and other on-campus events is significantly lower than their non-disabled peers.

    When a student has a disability, inclusion can be more difficult to achieve. Students with disabilities are less likely to disclose, attend, or graduate from college campuses with architectural and attitudinal barriers that are bottlenecking diverse workplace pipeline, talent, and innovation.

    However, imagine the confidence rooted in encouraging participation by showing the uniqueness and adaptability of disability possible, accommodated, and celebrated. Disability inclusion is the catalyst that colleges need to increase the graduation rate amongst disabled undergraduate students and move the needle in an upward direction on the percentage of disabled individuals in the workplace.

    Reworking the framework of diversity inclusion looks like addressing the inclusion gaps on college campuses by encouraging representation throughout the many factors of higher learning, ranging from the classroom to the campus yard. The risks associated with overlooking the importance of diversity inclusion go hand in hand with the rewards of changing the narrative and taking a step forward in eliminating the challenges.

    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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  • Overcoming the Pressure to Overachieve

    by Emilie Conners

    An open laptop on a bed. The screen is opened to a college webpage.

    The pressure to overachieve has definitely increased as social media has become more prominent for our generation. As students, it can sometimes feel like everyone is meeting their goals sooner than you and getting a ‘yes’ to everything they have tried for. However, it is incredibly important to remember that everyone’s path to success looks different and is on a different timeline.

    You Only See the Best

    As college students during this time, it can sometimes feel like everyone is getting their dream internship that turns into their dream job right off the bat. However, that’s just not the truth. This new sense of pressure to overachieve seems to be rooted from the fact that every achievement is posted on social media without the ‘no’s’ included. Seeing the highlights of somebody’s life without the lows can make it seem like everyone has it all together except you.

    Trust the Process

    This is why it is completely vital to try to not compare yourself to what your friends, coworkers, or roommates are doing and succeeding at in college. Trusting your own process and trying your best is all that you can do. A key thing to remember is that you are not on any kind of time crunch or perfect journey to success. There are going to be ups and downs no matter what and oftentimes doors close so that a better one can open for you.

    My best advice to handle the pressure to overachieve is to reflect on your own accomplishments, work towards your own goals and understand that your road to success won’t always be smooth and straight. And no matter how it may appear online, no one else’s will be either.

    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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  • Finding Your Cultural Identity at a PWI

    by Sally Lee

    A collection of 4 images of events with the blog author’s sorority.

    Growing up, I always struggled with my cultural identity since I lived in a predominantly white area. Most of my peers and friends did not look like me, and most knew little to nothing about the country I was born in, South Korea. Therefore, I went through a very long phase of cultural rejection. I refused to speak the language and never wanted to take any Asian food to school. I tried my best to fit in with my peers.

    Accepting My Culture

    It wasn’t until seventh grade that I became more open-minded and susceptible to learning about my Korean culture. Food was always a part of my life, but now I craved Korean food more often than I did before and would ask my mom to cook certain dishes. I incorporated more of the culture such as music, tv shows, etc. into my life. This was a turning point in my journey of embracing my Asian American culture. Time passed and my culture became a bigger part of my life, but there was still more I could learn, and I felt like there were communities out there to help.

    Progress Stalled

    My progress was stalled when I decided to attend college at a predominantly white institution (PWI). I was hoping to go to a college with a bigger Asian American community. However, this could not be further from the truth. In the days leading up to leaving for college I started to worry that I would lose all the progress I’d made so far or hit a dead end since there was no difference from the environment I grew up in my whole life.

    A Search for a Cultural Community

    As soon as I got to campus, I was obviously comfortable with the environment since I was used to being around people who don’t look like me. But I wanted to challenge myself and continue my journey of finding my cultural identity. I decided to immerse myself in the different cultural communities on campus. The community that allowed me to finally feel a strong sense of belonging was my Asian-interest sorority, alpha Kappa Delta Phi. (This group uses four Greek letters in its name and chooses not to capitalize the first letter.) Being at a PWI, this sorority provides a home away from home and is a tight-knit group of young women that are pursuing a college degree and finding themselves. One of the pillars of this sorority is Asian Awareness which has played a huge role in helping me to truly find my cultural identity and embrace my Asian American culture. I have never been able to share so many experiences with so many other Asian American women. Being able to relate to so many other people was the best feeling in the world.

    How Can I Make This Better for The Next Generation?

    In addition, I have been able to engage in many dialogues with my sisters and talk about what cultural identity means to us and how we want our kids to be more in touch with their culture. Despite my worries, I have felt the most pride in my culture and am the most in touch with my culture during my time here in college because of this community that I found.

    I urge you to share your stories, traditions, and ways that have made an impact on you and find a community that will help you embrace your culture. There is so much to learn about where you come from and what makes you, you. It’s never too late to start embracing your culture and striving to learn more about your identity.

    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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  • LinkedIn: Creating your account, building your profile, and everything in between

    by Hiren Gugnani

    A screenshot of blog author Hiren’s LinkedIn profile page.

    If you haven’t created your LinkedIn account, it certainly is not too late to do so! Not many realize that LinkedIn is purely beneficial to your career, and online persona; it’s a great resource to contact recruiters, alumni, and countless other people you’ve come across professionally. Whether you’re creating your LinkedIn for the first time or updating your profile, here are a few tips to best utilize this platform to your advantage!

    First Impressions

    First and foremost, make a few simple updates your profile by adding a profile picture, headline, and bio. Although a professional headshot is ideal, any professional-looking photo or even a picture taken of you against a neutral background taken with your cell phone camera should suffice. If you have an iPhone, simply place the camera app in “Portrait Mode” to achieve a clear and focused DIY headshot! Add a headline with your current job/degree prowess, and there’s a solid start right there!

    Next, add a bio in the ‘About’ section on your profile. This does not need to be any longer than 100-200 words, but it is nice to provide an introduction into yourself. Think about it as a condensed cover letter. Make sure there is a space for additional contact as well, such as your email address. You want your profile to look good and to make the lasting impression that is easily transferable to a contact at any point in the future.

    Experiences & Activity

    All jobs, internships, and volunteer activities can be listed here on your profile! While it is beneficial when you list associations and institutions with their own respective LinkedIn pages, any experiences that have made an impact on you that can be spoken about has its place on your page. An easy way to update this section is to copy and paste bullets from your resume or supporting documents into the description text box. It is also possible to rephrase a summary of the experience in paragraph format. If choosing the second option, make sure to keep it brief!

    Education is also important to list in your profile. Any degrees or programs completed or in progress should be listed here. Your alumni network is vast, and this shows potential connections that you both have the institution in common, which helps to instill talking points.

    Make Connections!

    When meeting someone in class, a networking event, a coffee chat, or any other occasion involving a potential life connection, you may as well add them as a connection on LinkedIn! There is an option to leave a note when connecting if you would like to say thank you for their time, or simply remind them when/where you interacted. For any number of connections up to 499, the exact number is publicly listed on your profile. Once the threshold of 500 connections is made, then it is shown as “500+”. For that reason, it is not necessary to spend time connecting with numerous individuals. Once you get connected with your high school or college class, there will be hundreds already established within your network. Once connected, one’s profile is a “1st” connection when you are signed in.

    It is also doable to reach out to secondary connections! When someone is one degree of separation from your profile on LinkedIn, they show up for you (and vice versa) as “2nd”, and any more degrees of separation away is “3+”. In this case, a 2nd connection can be made into a 1st connection when your mutual puts you two together, or by personally reaching out to the 2nd connection due to a dedicated interest.

    Is LinkedIn Premium Worth the Cost?

    Premium has a heavy cost to it, and thankfully this can be accessed via a free trial for each account. There are a few bonuses that come with this subscription, and from personal experience utilizing the free trial, I find it can be quite helpful when actively searching for a job or internship, but not necessarily year-round.

    There is a yellow badge that appears next to your name on your profile to notify others of your premium access. Those with Premium can see who specifically is viewing their profile and receive metrics based on viewers. Up to five “InMail” credits are given, which allow for direct messaging to recruiters! This can be especially helpful when applying for sought after roles to place yourself above the standard application process.

    All in all, I would say it is definitely worth taking advantage of the free trial when it will be useful for you to do so. From there, it is up to you to figure out when to continue having LinkedIn premium. Just make sure to turn off auto-renewal when you begin your trial!

    LinkedIn is the top networking and job searching site. It’s free set up make it easy to make connections and get noticed by potential future employers. Try these tips and you’ll get your LinkedIn profile in top shape in no 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! 

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  • My Hardest Goodbye

    by Gina Condit

    A Miami University campus building with colorful red and white flowers in front.

    Choosing a college when you’re in high school seems like the hardest decision in the moment. I remember being torn between the University of Cincinnati and Miami University. Both were close to home, and I had family at both colleges. Tours and months later, Miami University blew me away and my decision became easy; I knew it was where I wanted to spend my college years. Now as I approach graduation, two features stand out that helped make Miami University my college home.

    Campus Beauty

    My favorite thing about Miami University is the environment and the beauty of the campus. I look forward to walking to class because of the activities that are always happening, the unique brick buildings, and the flowers all around campus. Miami maintains the same brick design from building to building, creating a cohesive college campus look. And the inside of the buildings is even prettier. I spend the majority of my time at The Farmer School of Business where piano is playing and students are studying. I also love the trails and walkways throughout the campus and am making it a habit to explore them every week before I can’t anymore. I only have one short month left here at Miami University; I don’t know how time has flown by.

    Lasting Community

    From the forever friends I’ve made, the professors who’ve taught me lessons professionally and personally, and the memories I’ll never forget, Miami University will always be a home in my heart. My friends became family to me, and I couldn’t imagine going through college without them. The professors on this campus truly care about their students more than just how well they do in their classes. The professors are more like mentors at Miami who you can ask for advice, guidance, and real-life experience. I’ll carry the memories and their words of wisdom with me for the rest of my life.

    My advice to anyone looking at colleges and going through the application process is to tour every campus, go outside your comfort zone, and listen to the people on those campuses about their experience. College is only 4 years, and it goes by fast. The choice seems hard, but you can never make the wrong decision in the long run. The decisions you make will bring you friends, mentors, and memories like Miami University did for me. College is an exciting time in life, and I am blessed to have had the experience I had, making it my hardest goodbye.

    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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  • Five Tips to Help You De-Stress!

    by Synia Malbrough

    A building the the Tennesee State University campus. It is pink-hued with white trim.

    Managing day-to-day college life can be a tough time, from managing time commitments, striving to stay organized, maintaining relationships, and even meeting that 11:59 pm deadline. Constantly trapped in your mind with so many thoughts, you just want that one moment of relaxation. Here are five tips/ways to de-stress: 


    Meditation is scientifically proven to help decrease stress and promote an overall wellbeing. If you are a beginner, starting out is very simple; you can look up “guided meditation” videos and/or audios to help move you through the tranquil process. Most videos or audios range from five to fifteen minutes. Choose what fits into the time you have available.

    Take Breaks

    Another way is just to take a break. Even though this seems like a cliche, it seriously helps you clear your mind off your task. Stress can take over not just our mental, but our physical health as well. Just by taking a few minutes away for yourself, you can do certain things that you enjoy such as: listening to music, taking a bubble bath, doing a facemask, or even calling up a friend. These few alone-time minutes can seriously help you and your mental health.

    Get Moving

    Move around and keep your body active to de-stress! While exercising, your body releases positive hormones called endorphins, which means that it’ll help you feel less stressed. There are many ways of exercising, whichever one you choose to partake in, your stress levels will slowly but surely decrease. Take a walk around your campus, enroll in a dance class, or go to your local gym for an hour or two. 

    Unplug From Your Devices

    Another tip is “unplugging”. This is one I personally struggle with sometimes. To “unplug” is to move away or turn off the electronic device that’s distracting you from the task at hand. Since Gen-Z grew up with this type of technology, it’s a little difficult to take it out of our lives even just for a couple of minutes. We’re so used to looking at the blue light, waiting for a notification from our favorite person or influencer. Simply putting your phone in the “do not disturb” feature or silencing it will help you not worry about it as much.


    Lastly, step away from a stress-filled situation to spend a few minutes journaling. Writing your thoughts down can help increase positive thinking and even help you better understand yourself. If you not sure where to start, search online for many different interesting prompts to help you on your journaling journey. 

    Overall, stress is something all college students experience and strive to manage. I hope these de-stress tips helped you out!

    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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  • An Out-of-State Student’s Guide to Handling Homesickness

    by Casey Murphy

    A landscape photo of a college campus in silhouette in front of a sunset sky with white clouds.

    When I was in high school, I had a romanticized vision of moving away from home for college. New scenery, new friends, finally escaping my hometown. When I found the University of Vermont, it was a match made in heaven. I fell in love with the campus, the mountains, and counted down the days until move-in day. The reality did not hit me until my parents drove away from my freshman dorm, leaving me 6 hours away from home. It all came crashing in on me. I was alone.

    I tried to suppress my homesickness by keeping busy and pushing the thoughts of home away for many weeks. Yet, that made those emotions hit harder when they bubbled to the surface. The newest chapter of my life was starting, and while I was excited, I had to navigate those emotions and fears that came from moving away for the first time.

    A lot of responsibility and expectations fall on your shoulders in college. It can be hard to keep a handle on the emotions that come with moving far away. Here’s some advice that I wish I had known earlier that helped me deal with my homesickness!

    Don’t compare your difficulties

    While it is hard, try not to compare your college transition to others. Your emotions are valid and unique to you. Some people have no problem adjusting, but that does not mean you cannot struggle a little! Most college kids are 17 or 18 when they move out. We are still kids, even though we often have adult responsibilities. It’s natural to be nervous, but you are as capable as the next person to have a successful college career.

    Identify your fears

    Take a moment and identify the cause of your emotions. What am I scared of? What do I specifically miss? Who do I miss? All these questions are essential to organizing your thoughts and making a plan to work through them. Once you identify the root of your emotions, things become a lot clearer, and a solution seems more doable.

    Make new connections

    Try and get yourself out there! Many colleges offer lots of activities the first week on campus, so get involved! Talk to other people, explore club fairs, take in the school spirit. Get out of the dorms and make some acquaintances! With each week that goes by, set small goals to introduce yourself to neighbors in your building, talk to someone in line at the dining hall, or strike up a conversation with older students. These connections are vital in establishing a new friend group and family away from home.

    Bring a little bit of home along

    Make your room a safe and comfortable environment. Dorm rooms seem plain and boring when you first arrive, but this gives you a unique opportunity to put your personal touch on a blank canvas. Put up pictures, trinkets, or other things you brought from home. This can bring a sense of comfort after a long day. Bring a little of home to your new college home!

    There are so many changes that happen when you go away to college. Sometimes they hit you immediately, sometimes they hit you later. Your expectations can affect how you perceive this difficult transition that looks different for everyone. Though it is hard, hopefully these four tips can help you get through this homesickness.

    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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  • Jumpstarting Your Creativity in College

    by Zoe Pitts

    A college student sits at a student desk writing in a notebook. There are various student office supplies on the desk. The student is wearing noise-canceling headphones.

    As exciting as college may be, it’s no secret that some classes are notorious for pushing students past their creative limits. In my freshman year, I remember staying up until the single-digit hours, crouched over my desk in a fetal position, lit only by a dim Target light, wracking my brain for ideas that were due 45 minutes ago. Even after switching to a less artistic major, I still found myself wondering where all those bright ideas from my fresh-out-of-high school brain had gone.

    The truth is, sometimes high school doesn’t prepare us to exercise the creative freedoms and ideas that college expects, so we find ourselves under our Target lights stressed, bewildered, and idea-less. Luckily, over the past few semesters I’ve learned a few tips to jumpstarting those creative juices.

    1. Ignore everything you’ve been told and get on your phone.

    We all know that our main distractions come in the form of dinging notifications and seemingly an endless supply of flashy pictures, but the reality is, there is also a plethora of creative ideas behind our screens. Most of my best project ideas came from things I found looking through my phone. The trick is to know where to look so you don’t end up losing hours mindlessly scrolling. Pinterest and Brainsparker have fantastic visual prompts and the option to make curated boards specific to your project. Unstuck and Simplemind have word-based cues that combat creative blocks. Unconventional places work just as well: Look through Letterboxd or Goodreads to see what people are saying about media related to your topic. Even TikTok is occasionally helpful, if you have enough shame to heed those “you’ve been scrolling for too long!” ads. 

    2. Take your work outside. Honestly.

    I used to find “just go outside!” to be a cop-out when it comes to mental health and brain refreshers, but truth be told, leaving my dim, dark room from time-to-time is exactly what the brain doctor ordered. And I am not anti-dim, dark room – it’s just that sometimes you forget what the sky looks like and what air smells like outside of this space! You may not have a creative epiphany looking at trees, but simply getting distracted by a change of scenery will help you to think outside the box. You don’t literally have to touch grass, but you can at least look at it from a distance. 

    3. Make a list of topics you actually care about.

    Even though it might seem easier to pick a random, seemingly easy topic to write, read, draw etc. about, in the long run you will thank yourself for researching one of your genuine interests. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been grateful to me-from-the-past for picking an assignment topic that aligned with my interests and saved myself the pain of digging through library archives, hunting for an obscure source for something about which I didn’t care. Creative ideas follow naturally when you’re working on something you're enthusiastic about.

    4. When in doubt, put a twist on it.

    This is like the infamous improv rule: “yes, and”. Look into some completed work that is like your project and make it personal; even if the project isn’t necessarily aligned with your career goals, you can make it work for you. For instance, if you’re an accounting major writing a history paper on vintage movies, you know there are a ton of published research on old Hollywood but, consider looking into how film royalties have transformed over the years. Or if you’re a psychology major who also likes linguistics, you know there’s an abundance of studies on the brain, but what about how different languages affect behavior? Don’t be afraid to get specific– the more specific you are in your topic, the more time you save trying to cover multiple bases, the more confident you will be in your subject (especially if you also follow Tip #3!) – the list goes on. 

    5. Remember that you are not your grade.

    Believe it or not, straining yourself to perfect every tiny detail in your assignment will do the exact opposite for helping your creativity. Getting caught up over small things is kind of like tunnel vision – you miss the bigger picture and potentially creative ideas that truly would have made the project yours. If you are really concerned, I advise keeping extra credit in mind, but remember that the best creativity comes from treating yourself like a friend. Trying to force a revolutionary idea out of an overworked, overstressed mind is like trying to make cold brew out of a single coffee bean. Cut yourself some slack and be proud of what you have gotten done. As endearing as the Canvas confetti is, real life celebrations are even better.

    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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