• College Students Can Try Yoga to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

    by Aathira Balu

    A woman sitting at the top of stairs, back to the camera, legs crossed and arms overhead in a yoga pose.

    Stress and anxiety are something everyone has to deal with at some point, whether it be social matters, academics, change, or just everyday life. Stress tends to run especially high with students balancing class, work, clubs, friends, family, and more. Finding a way to cope and minimize stress is imperative for a healthy life. I have found the best way for me to cope is through the practice of yoga.

    Why Start Yoga?

    Yoga is a practice of both the physical and mental minds and is a great way to integrate a healthful approach to your day-to-day routines. Yoga not only has great health benefits, but can also help reduce stress and anxiety. The practice of yoga can even help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It also helps with increasing one’s flexibility, strength, and breathing capacity. Even though yoga is considered very safe, if you have any ongoing health conditions (such as arthritis, balancing issues, etc.), make sure to consult a doctor before beginning.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when getting started!

    On-line vs. In-Person

    There are many different types of yoga courses and classes that you can attend either online or in person and both have their benefits. For example, online practices can be low cost or free, plus they can be available on-demand for whatever fits into your schedule. In-person classes offer more personalized interaction with the teacher and may lead you through a more structured work out.

    Whether you select online, in-person, or a combination of both types of classes, plan out your week and find times that you know will be best for you to take a break and relax with some yoga. As a beginner, try and aim for 30-45 minutes as a full practice. As you get more advanced, 30 minutes can eventually become 90 minutes.

    Equipment

    Along with creating your own practice schedule, there are certain equipment/materials that people use when practicing, including things like yoga mats, blocks, straps, yoga wheels, etc. If you are a beginner, you can use what you have around your house such as the carpet instead of a mat, pillows to substitute as blocks, and a belt or long strap of some kind to serve as a yoga strap.

    When creating your own yoga workout, practice moves and positions that are most comfortable for you. Explore more simple starting poses to help you become more comfortable with the positioning, like child’s pose, bridge pose, plank pose, tree pose, etc. Modify them depending on your comfort, skill level, and/or any health conditions you may have.

    Benefits of Yoga

    The world of yoga is an amazing one that includes meditation, vibration, and devotion and is something that everyone should try out. Just as with learning any new skill, beginning a yoga practice requires a lot of patience. Start slow and be willing to learn and try new things; it takes time to become comfortable with this way of life. Good luck on all of your yoga journeys and always remember to stay calm and work hard.  

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  • Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet

    by Logan Collins

    A collection of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

    When becoming independent and going off to college you are faced with a lot of choices, especially ones involving nutrition. Nutritional choices include things like calorie intake and the type of foods and nutrients you are putting into your body. These decisions can have a big impact on things like the amount of energy we have or our mood. Recently I made the decision to transition to a plant-based diet. Here’s my experience with changing my diet and effects it has had on my everyday life. 

    Uncovering the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

    Last semester, I took a class called Plant-Based Living. By the middle of the semester, the class had fully convinced me to transition my diet to plant based. The key motivator that made me want to make this change was how plant-based diets can help improve mental health disorders and stress.

    During my studies, I learned that the majority animal products contain arachidonic acid, which can cause general inflammation in the brain. There is a direct link to inflammation in the brain and chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters causing depression and anxiety.

    Plants and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which can repair damage and decrease inflammation in brain cells, while also restoring balance to neurotransmitters. Phytochemicals are known as a natural antidepressant that increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. 

    Making the Change

    After all the research I had done I decided to change my diet to see if I noticed a difference. The transition to vegetarian hasn’t been very hard since there are a lot of plants you can get protein from to replace meat. For example, I have been eating more tofu, chickpeas, and seitan. Plus, the protein you get from plants is better for you than the protein made by animals. After just a month of eating a vegetarian diet I felt improvement in my energy level and my overall mood. 

    Examining the Results

    Going vegetarian has helped push me outside of my comfort zone in terms of cooking and meal prep. Using social apps like TikTok has been a great resource for me to find quick and easy vegetarian recipes to try. One of my new favorite dishes is “ratatouille.” This is made completely from vegetables like eggplant, peppers, tomato, and squash. If you’ve seen the movie by the same name, the reaction the food critic has when tasting the dish is spot-on!

    Overall, my plant-based diet has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my physical and mental health. They aren’t wrong when they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” so make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables! 

     

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  • Tips for a Successful Mentoring Experience

    by Brooklynn Gross

    Student holding and showing Alumni Mentor Program Handbook

    In the movies, every hero has a mentor who helps them achieve their goals: Dumbledore shares his wisdom and advice with Harry Potter, and Yoda trains Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi. Mentors are also important in real life because they can provide guidance and support during a student’s journey.

    Last semester I participated in my university’s alumni mentor program and communicated with a professional in my future career pathway. I hope to work in the field of education, so my college paired me with the director of instruction from a local school district. After participating in this program, I believe all college students should work with a mentor in order to make professional connections, explore careers, and develop work skills.

    If you’re struggling to find a mentor, think about professors, upperclassmen, or people at your workplace who may be willing to mentor you. You could also reach out to your university’s career center for information about connecting with alumni. Finding a mentor is the first step, but it isn’t the last—you will need to create a positive relationship with your mentor in order to build trust and spark meaningful conversations. Here are my top five tips for a successful mentoring experience.

    1. Be professional

    Mentors donate their time to work with you; show your appreciation by being on time for meetings and dressing appropriately. Put your phone away and give your full attention to the person in front of you. Practicing professionalism with your mentor will help you develop this skill for your future career.

    2. Get to know each other

    Learn about your mentor’s story and share your own. You may choose to discuss some of the following questions:

    • What challenges have you overcome?
    • Who has encouraged you throughout your journey?
    • Why did you feel inspired to choose this career path?

    Discussing these questions can help you form a connection with your mentor and learn things you didn’t know about them. Hearing about your mentor’s journey may give you information for your own career path.

    3. Set an agenda for each meeting

    My school’s mentoring program provided a handbook with suggested topics for mentors and students to discuss. At our first meeting, my mentor and I looked through the handbook and chose a topic for each session. Setting an agenda for each meeting helped us focus on subjects that were most relevant to me. Our discussions centered on themes like student teaching, job applications, relationships with colleagues, and graduate school. Choosing these topics ahead of time gave me the chance to prepare for each meeting and write down my questions.

    4. Visit your mentor’s workplace

    All of my mentoring sessions were virtual due to COVID-19, but I would encourage you to visit your mentor’s workplace once the pandemic is over. Shadowing your mentor would give you the opportunity to meet their coworkers and connect with other professionals in the same field. It would also help you experience the work environment and decide if your mentor’s career would be a good fit for you.

    5. Ask for feedback

    My mentor reviewed my résumé and asked me interview questions, and he shared some tips that I can use when I apply for jobs in the future. I now feel more confident about my résumé and my interviewing skills. You could also ask your mentor to give you feedback on your LinkedIn profile.

    These five tips will help you get the most out of your mentoring experience. Don’t forget to send a handwritten thank-you card. When you put time and effort into this relationship, you can develop a lasting connection that will be fulfilling for both you and your mentor.  

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  • Set Goals to Create Daily Motivation

    by Jesus Hernandez

    Shadow of a person, excercise objects spread out on the concrete floor

    If you are lacking daily motivation, writing down your goals can be a game changer as this will be a constant reminder of what you are striving for. The three main goals I believe everyone must have written down and be constantly focused on are your career, health, and leisure goals. These three types of goals have worked well for me because they help me feel balanced in life and help me stay self-motivated every day. 

    Breaking it down

    Career goals are goals you hope to achieve in a certain profession such as working for your dream company, becoming a doctor, a professional athlete, or perhaps a musician. These are considered long-term goals; many may get discouraged because it seems like it will be years before the goal is achieved. A great way to stay motivated is to set smaller goals to reach the ultimate goal. An example of a small goal for a student can be getting an A on exam in one of their major courses. Breaking down long-term goals into smaller achievable goals will help you sustain your drive to reach that final career goal. 

    Daily practice

    Setting goals to maintain good health has helped me become more accountable each day because health-related goals usually require daily practice. While you can certainly have long-term health goals, this area is very compatible with setting smaller achievable goals. One small goal that I have set for myself during this pandemic is to get at least 10,000 steps a day. I have my long-term health goals as well, however setting this small goal for myself has kept me self-motivated in times where I might otherwise have been inactive due to the closure of gyms. 

    Get out of your comfort zone

    Leisure goals can be short-term or long-term and vary from person to person depending on their interests. This is a type of goal that can allow you to get out of your comfort zone. Some examples can be traveling to different countries, taking road trips, visiting all the beaches in your area, or trying a new adventure like skydiving. Leisure goals are important for your mental health because it is a time to reward yourself and destress from the demands of school or work.

    Setting career, health, and leisure goals has allowed me to stay self-motivated. I encourage you to take time to think about your goals and write them out. Investing the time to set both short-term and long-term goals will change your mindset and you will constantly want to keep improving to reach those goals. 

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  • Planning the Perfect Schedule

    by Sydnie Ho

    A college student desk with laptop, notebook, planner, and an iced coffee.

    Have you registered for your classes next semester yet? If you are lucky, you will get all the classes you planned for. Other times, things might not go as planned. Here are some tips on how to plan the perfect schedule you might not have thought of before!

    Select class times that set you up for success

    People think that since they were able to wake up at 6am for high school, college will be the same. Let me tell you, it’s not! For some reason, waking up early in college is so much harder, so if you are genuinely not a morning person, do not register for 7am classes! Even if it is only 2x a week, you will regret it. Take into consideration when a good start time for your day is and build your schedule off of that.

    Plan for lunch breaks

    I like to register for classes that are back-to-back because I like getting all my classes out of the way, but I often forget about lunch! When this happens, I start losing focus and get hangry during classes. If this sounds like you, be sure to plan accordingly.

    Have backup classes

    Of course, we all hope to get our perfect schedule, but that does not always happen. There are 70k students at my school, so classes are bound to fill up fast! Sometimes you won’t get the section you want. Depending on your school, you might have a waitlist or be able to periodically check to see if someone dropped the class. Make sure you know the process and continually checking for updates. If you can’t get the class, have a backup plan for a class you can substitute in.

    Vary subjects and/or level of difficulty

    You don’t want to load all your challenging major classes in one semester. Mix it up with some of the hard classes and some of your easier classes or electives. If you are adding a minor or certificate, try to mix in some of those classes. You will be thankful to have some variance in what you are studying each week.

    Set an alarm for registration

    Make sure you set 1 or 2 or even 3 alarms before your registration time! One time I was out grocery shopping when my registration time came, and I had to do it from my phone. That caused me so much unnecessary stress. Make sure you are prepared to click that enroll button the second it’s time. You know everyone is doing the same so get ready!

    By keeping these things in mind, registration can be made easier and less stressful. Research your classes, plan well ahead of time, and have a backup plan. If you do not get all of your first-choice classes, know it will be okay. Sometimes the unexpected can be better than what you had planned! Good luck!

     

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  • Setting SMART Goals

    by Brionika Johnson

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    As an active college junior majoring in Business Administration, I have to balance between my academics and extracurricular activities. I realize that it is not easy, but setting SMART goals helps me to stay organized. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Click the link below to watch my vlog on Setting SMART Goals:

     

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  • The truth about federal student loans

    by Vivianna Loza

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    Everyone always says that the last option you should take when paying for school is getting a loan. Of course, this discourse is only strengthened by the horror stories of people paying their loans off for years due to interest, and of families having to pay off their loved one’s debt after they die. However, while it is something to consider seriously – as it is a long-term legal commitment – taking on a student loan doesn’t have to be scary. Educating yourself on the differences, expectations, and protections for different types of loans will help you make smart decisions.

    Private Loans vs. Federal Loans

    Before you get a student loan, it’s important to learn the difference between federal and private loans. A federal loan is a loan offered by the government while a private loan is offered by private organizations – usually banks, credit unions, and state organizations. Federal loans offer benefits such as multiple types of repayment plans and fixed interest rates for undergraduate students and graduate students. Private loans do not always offer fixed interest and are often more expensive.

    Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized

    I was terrified when I realized that I was going to have to get a loan to pay to attend graduate school. I was lucky enough to have a full scholarship for my undergraduate degree and received enough grants to cover my other expenses. So, when I received an offer for an unsubsidized federal student loan through my school, I was apprehensive but happy. Then I started doing research.

    I was shocked to find out that only undergraduate students are offered subsidized federal loans, loans that don’t accrue interest while the student is in school. With an unsubsidized federal loan, the interest accrues even while students are in school. But I discovered that the interest rate for this loan was low and that I could pay off that monthly interest while enrolled. That way it does not get added to the original amount loaned out.

    Understand All Options and Expectations

    Before accepting your first federal student loan, everyone must complete entrance loan counseling to help you understand exactly what the loan entails, the type of payment plans offered, and much more. It was relief to learn that I would get loan counseling.  This really set my mind at ease and made me feel secure when accepting the loan.

    Everyone’s experience when contemplating getting a loan is different. Some people are lucky enough to have sufficient resources to afford school without a loan, while for others it is their only option. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it is a tool to help you on your journey. Do your research beforehand and remember to always consider a federal loan before a private loan. You can learn more from the Federal Student Aid website.

     

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  • Pearson Students Recipe of the Month: Dracula Dentures

    by Camryn McCrary

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    Just in time for some fun spooky season baking, this month’s featured recipe is for Halloween cookies! Click below to check out my vlog where I show how to make these fun and easy cookie treats!

     

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  • How to nail your interview: SMILE

    by Megan Cistulli

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    Interviews are tough, but if you SMILE, you can nail them every time and get the job. Sure, your resume may be perfect, but the face-to-face interview can make or break whether or not the position is yours. Read on to learn about an acronym I created for the word SMILE to consistently thrive in interviews. It is as easy as smiling.

    S- speak slowly

    If you speak too fast, you come across as nervous, out of your element, and in a rush to leave. Slow down to improve enunciation, pronunciation, tone, and cadence. Equally important, a slower interview is more natural and conversational. Consequently, you create a more relaxed and comfortable environment for the employer interviewing you, and you become a person they would enjoy having on their team because of the natural dynamic you have established.

    M- memorize material

    You do not want to come across as robotic or too rehearsed, but you do need to know what you are talking about without constantly referencing your resume or notes. For example, when the interviewer asks about a past job you had, be able to talk about the details of your role and more importantly how that role would contribute to your success in the position you are interviewing for.

    I- inspire your listeners

    In an interview, you have to step out of your comfort zone and make the person having a conversation with you feel excited and energetic. Imagine how many conversations a single interviewer is required to listen to. The answer: a lot. You need to give the person sitting across from you a reason to hire you. What will you do for the company? Why are you special? How will you make a difference at this company when other candidates have the exact same credentials as you? Speak with some gusto and wow your audience.

    L- listen carefully

    One factor some people tend to leave out of their interview arsenal is listening carefully to what the interviewer says and the questions they ask. Do not glaze over tricky questions just to stick to a script that adheres to your resume. Remember, employers have seen your resume and that is why you got the interview. Interviewers want you to listen carefully to what they are saying then critically think about an answer that not only incorporates past experience, but also has a fresh perspective on the problem or task at hand.

    E- explain your answers

    This is not a time to be shy and hold back all of your brilliance which earned you an opportunity to interview. When you give an answer, explain it in a way that the employer can understand your experience. You must create a narrative.

    Here’s an example. I played basketball at the collegiate level then stopped playing after I transferred to another school. If a potential employer asked about this, I’d want to give a thorough answer incorporating not only why I stopped playing, but what I gained from the experience. “As a collegiate player I had invaluable experiences like waking up at 5 a.m. for weight training, immediately heading to classes, then back to a second practice. The experience not only sharpened my mental and physical toughness but directly contributed to my outstanding work ethic, time management skills, and ability to work on a team productively and successfully. However, as my career goals began to take shape, I made the decision to transfer to a more rigorous and academic-focused school. I plan to earn a B.A. in political science focused in the public law sector and minor in Italian before attending law school.”

    Remembering the SMILE acronym gives you a new perspective on the interview process and your interview arsenal. When you practice for an upcoming interview, take note of how fast you are talking, how natural you sound speaking about your past experiences, and how in depth you can elaborate on your ideas. One last thing to top of your interview, make sure you don’t forget to smile!

     

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  • Lessons from a college senior: Advice for freshmen about the road ahead

    by Grace Millsap

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    Everyone has heard the old platitude that college is the time to ‘find yourself’. However, three years ago, I started school at Louisiana State University thinking I’d already had it all figured out. Now that I’m in my senior year at LSU, I realize what I think I had known the whole time: you never really figure yourself out because you are constantly growing, changing, and evolving into the person you want to be. That being said, I’ve gained a lot of clarity over the years. While I can’t imagine what it’s like to start college in the midst of a pandemic, I can impart some wisdom I’ve gained and offer advice to freshmen for the road ahead.

    Take This Time to Find Yourself

    Firstly, you should really listen to that old cliché and take this time to find yourself. This statement is broad and not easily applied, but there are numerous ways you can go about this. Take time to figure out what makes you tick. Take classes that you find interesting, not because it helps you get your degree but because you want to learn something new. Some of my favorite classes at LSU have been the ones that don’t have much to do with my major but push me to think deeper and discuss new topics and ideas with classmates and friends. Take advantage of events and activities your university offers to freshmen; I met some of my best friends this way. It may look different this year, but that brings me to my next point.

    Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

    You should intentionally go out of your comfort zone. The best way to learn about yourself and what makes you tick is to constantly open yourself to new opportunities for growth. If an idea excites you and scares you, roll with it. You’d be surprised how much happier and fulfilled you will feel when you take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. Join clubs. Get involved with your professors and classmates. You can even take a dance class. (I did this a few times, and let me tell you, as an entirely unrhythmic dancer with disproportionally long legs, it is one the most terrifying and exhilarating things I’ve done in college). The point is not that you do any one particular thing but that you try to go beyond what you already know.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

    Broadening your scope of experience can be scary. I know it was for me. My next piece of advice is a big one: don’t be afraid to fail. Throughout my life, I’ve always been a perfectionist. So much so, that I’ve been tempted to not try certain things on numerous occasions in order to maintain my sense of self. But that’s no way to live. The times I’ve failed have taught me more about myself and what I want out of life than the times I was succeeding at everything I was doing.

    Go with Your Gut

    The single best piece of advice I can give you is to go with your gut. In other words, trust yourself. What I’ve learned in college is that you should only ever make decisions for yourself and not for other people. Be kind and compassionate but do what’s right for you. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is right for you because you know yourself best. Now is your time to figure out what you want to do with your life, but do so at your own pace.

    Best of Luck

    Remember, there’s a season for everything; don’t beat yourself up if things don’t look like how you want them to in the present moment. Just keep pushing yourself. You CAN do it. You have made it through everything else in your life up until this point, and you will make it through this too. I wish you all the best of luck.

     

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  • Using smart power in the workplace

    by McKinley Falkowski

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    Leaders are inevitably faced with crisis. Events arrive and derail years of progress made by an organization. As a result, leaders must develop a leadership style that prepares an organization for unexpected circumstances. In international affairs, a strategy called Smart Power exists for this reason. With modifications, this strategy could be deployed in the workplace. When using Smart Power, leaders should focus their efforts on identifying key talents of their staff, understanding threats to productivity, and implementing strategic communication.

    Implementing Smart Power

    While applying Smart Power as a leadership strategy for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a leader must have a clear understanding of the soft and hard power of a leader. Soft power is the ability to influence and engage others through communication, and hard power is where a directive is clear. Smart Power is a combination of both strategies. Business leaders must be prepared for unexpected circumstances. The leadership style of Smart Power could help organizations navigate complicated situations and develop employee skillsets in the process.

    Developing a Collaboration Culture

    One must be aware of the organizational mission and staff skills when using this strategy. Leaders should seek to transform the shortcomings of their employees with the proper resources and allow them to grow as individuals.

    In addition to this, leaders must be able to grapple with threats in both the short and long term. One such strategy is to develop a framework that cultivates input directly from those in the field, allowing those in leadership to take quick and decisive action prior to a major problem leading to crisis. Leaders must construct a culture of collaboration among employees. This allows leaders to address problems before they consume the organization.

    Today’s leaders are often faced with unpredictable and unrueing circumstances which can derail an organization. They must develop a leadership style that adequately addresses this nature. By developing a Smart Power mindset, leaders will be well equipped to better their organization, and thrive in times of challenge.

     

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  • When the world knocks you down: Waking up with a purpose

    by Chris Simmons

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    Sometimes it can be hard to understand why certain things in life happen. It sometimes seems that just as your life starts getting good, the world comes to knock you down. What do I mean? I was at a point in my life where everything was going right. Classes were going well, I had a great part-time job, and an internship lined up for the summer. But just as sudden as it all came, a storm came into my life and wreaked havoc. While playing basketball with friends I was going up for a layup and felt an unusual feeling in the back of my foot when I came down. The storm came and it brought pain. That’s how I felt when I found out I tore my Achilles tendon.

    At the Doctors

    The doctor came back after looking at the x-rays and said there was a partial tear in my Achilles. I was shocked, but still remained optimistic because at least it was not fully torn. So now I’m wondering what’s next? Her advice caught me off guard. The doctor said I needed to get an MRI then come back to get a cast put over my foot and see if I need surgery. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At that point, I had no choice but to do what the doctor said. I was too emotionally hurt to say anything, so when she put the boot on, I walked out without saying a word.

    Man…..the pain was starting to run deep. When I got home, I went outside on the back porch and just sat there for 5 hours listening to music. I needed to clear my mind from all this mental stress.

    Wise Words

    While I was sitting outside, my dad came out to check on me. He asked if I was doing alright and my frustrations started coming out one by one. I expressed how hard it was to deal with this type of physical and emotional pain when I felt like I had so much going for me. How it now felt like my desires had been pushed back because of my circumstances.

    My dad looked at me and said “Son, you can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because of what happened to you. Life is going to keep going regardless. You have to keep your head up and know that your pain is going to bring you progress.” As frustrating as it sounded, I knew my dad was right. When he was finished talking to me I decided to lift my head up. At that moment, I realized what time it was.

    It was time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself and use this pain to push me to greatness. I knew lying in bed all day wasn’t going to help my situation. I started waking at 4am because I wanted to push myself to rise above my injury. I lived by the verse Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” I decided to start waking up with a purpose.

     
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  • How to Avoid Burnout

    by Christy Zheng

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    It’s the second half of the semester. Mid-term season just ended and for many of us with a shortened semester, finals are right around the corner. With extracurriculars, job hunting, studying for interviews, and actually interviewing, it’s tough to avoid feelings of burnout. However, you need to remember that you’ve got this! A few more weeks and you’ll be on break so keep pushing! Check out PCA Christy’s vlog to learn about things she’s doing to avoid burnout.

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  • You are what you eat: Student-approved tips to healthy eating

    by Alana Castle

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    Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that students face when transitioning to college is that of eating healthy.

    We are tasked with adjusting to rigorous academic coursework, making new friends, holding part-time jobs, and joining student organizations – alongside everything else that comes with growing up (like doing our own laundry and making sure that we get out of bed before 11:00 AM). It is understandable that, in the midst of all of this, making healthy choices often drifts from our list of priorities.

     Thankfully, I have learned a few things about eating healthy while on a budget and when crunched for time throughout my two years as a college student.

    Taking Control

    For many of us, our first year of college is the first time in our lives that we truly have control over what, when, and even where we eat. Because of this, it is easy to lose structure and regularity in meal schedules. Oftentimes, we settle for eating whatever is the easiest and quickest or for skipping meals entirely.

    Take time early on to figure out what mealtime is going to look like for you. Will you have a meal plan and be eating at dining halls? Will you be reliant on your dorm room’s microwave and minifridge? Will you be doing your own grocery shopping and cooking in your own kitchen?

    Once you have an answer to the questions above, it is much easier to explore your options and learn how to prioritize your health during mealtime.

     Conquering the Dorm Room and the Dining Hall

     Tip #1: Learn to buffet ‘better’

    Let’s be real. The endless buffets offered by most campus dining halls seem like a dream come true for most college students. When you swipe in, try to gravitate towards the healthy options that are offered. Try out vegetarian and vegan dishes, load up on fruits and vegetables, and enjoy ice cream and cookies in moderation.

    Tip #2: Drink more water

    It may seem obvious that drinking water is good for your health, but many of us are not drinking as much as we should be. Fill up on water rather than sugary sodas or juices whenever you sit down for a meal in the dining hall. Carrying a reusable bottle with you at all times as it is good for you AND good for the environment. It’s a win-win!

    Tip #3: Dining hall ‘take-out’

    If you are able to, I recommend taking reusable containers with you to the dining hall. Fill up your containers with salads, cooked vegetables, or even rice and pasta dishes to store in your minifridge to have meals ready to go right in your dorm room. Convenient and frugal! You can also grab some fruits to go to snack on throughout the day instead of stopping by the nearest vending machine for a Snickers.

    Tackling the Off-Campus Kitchen

    Tip #1: Limit how often you eat out

    Although it is tempting to eat out when you are rushing from class to class or holed away in the library, it is important to limit how often you indulge fast food. Not only are these foods less nutritious, they are more expensive than homemade options in the long run.

    Tip #2: Conscious grocery shopping

    When it comes to grocery shopping, I recommend visiting stores like Aldi that source delivered-daily produce, fresh meats and fish, and carry an extensive line of organics, gluten-free and vegan foods for affordable prices. Grab your reusable shopping bags and choose to buy foods that will nourish you (and that you know you will not let go to waste in the back of your fridge or cupboard).

    Tip #3: Meal prep

    Eating meals at home does not have to be inconvenient when you are willing to give meal prepping a try. Find a day that works for you each week, perhaps Sunday, that you can set aside time to prepare various meals to store in your fridge and heat up. I recommend making several servings of overnight oats for a quick and easy breakfast that you can take on the go. Brown rice, lentil pastas, chicken or tofu, and various vegetables are great to cook and have as lunches throughout the week.

    Figuring out how to eat healthy in college is no easy task, but it is possible. Whether it is in your dining hall, dorm room, or kitchen, I hope that you keep the tips and tricks that I have learned throughout my time as a student in mind.

    Prioritize eating healthy now. Your mind and body will thank you later!

     
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  • House hunting 101 for college students

    by Sidney Li

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    College dorms are great but most students eventually want to move off-campus. Moving into your own place with your friends, strangers, or even by yourself can seem daunting. From finding places to estimating a budget, house hunting is relentlessly stressful. Here is a simplified how-to manual on navigating the realty industry near a college campus because – we get it – money is tight. And we are trying to get the best bang for our buck at the end of the day!

    Determine what style of living you’d prefer.

    If you are more of a social person, living with friends is preferred but if you like your personal space, maybe consider a studio. A rental house may offer more space while apartment complexes can offer more amenities like gyms and pool areas.

    What’s on your wishlist?

    Make a list of priorities that you’d want on your wishlist when house hunting. From utilities included in the rent, location, monthly rent, amenities, and more, there are a plethora of components to consider with high and low importance.

    Research. Research. Research.

    Research the neighborhood. Research the safety of the locations. Research the average rent prices of local places nearby. Research the proximity and relativeness to campus. Research the convenience with businesses, parks, venues, and other activities.

    Read the fine print.

    It’s not just a saying… you need to actually read the whole leasing contract before signing. While the landlord or realtor may pressure you to sign fast, it is important to take your time on reading the lease and its details. Do not hesitate to ask questions if there are any confusions.

    Make sure to see the property in person.

    We get it, catfishing is a real issue in today’s technological world with social media profiles. But it can also affect property pictures. Never sign a lease without touring the property first. The pictures of the property can be altered or misrepresented in many ways. Even if you physically cannot go, try asking a friend or parent to visit on your behalf.

    Check campus resources.

    Schools may have websites and pages dedicated to realty companies, property management companies, individual properties, and landlords that are approved based on their criteria and standards. Prioritize looking at properties that made the cut.

    Take renter’s insurance into consideration.

    While it might seem like you are spending more money on a property that you will be staying in for a short time period during your college career, renter’s insurance is definitely an option for new leases. It will create peace of mind knowing that you and your belongings will be safe if anything unexpected occurs.

    Document the property condition at check-in.

    After you sign the lease and move in, make sure to take a walk around the property on both the interior and exterior sides. Take pictures and document any kinks and damages that you notice so you can get your full security deposit back when you move out.

    Furnish on a budget.

    Utilize thrift shops, Facebook marketplace, and housing group chats to keep your furniture expenditures to a minimum. Instead of buying new furniture for your first off-campus property, consider buying fair and good condition furniture pieces. It will keep your budget on the low end and allow you to focus your money on textbooks, rent, services, utilities, and most importantly, coffee.  

    Keep your expectations realistic.

    It is college, after all. Unlike all the movies and tv shows, the reality of college properties is that they aren’t all cute and quirky with a style that you prefer. While some places may possibly be the perfect place for you, it is quite rare. There isn’t a ton of space and amenities that you can have with the college budget.

    You should always feel happy and comfortable in your home-away-from-home. By making sure you research and take all of these factors into consideration, you will be able to have a place that you love to call home!

     

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  • An ultimate guide for transferring to another college

    by Ankita Chittiprolu

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    You didn’t get into your dream school when you were a senior in high school… now what? Don’t fret! You still have the option to transfer in! After doing so myself, I discovered 6 things I wish I knew beforehand. If you are thinking about transferring, these will help you get off to a good start!

    1. Carefully research the program and school you are interested in. Look through the curriculum and major requirements. Is it something you still want to pursue? It is important to make sure you will enjoy what you are learning. You should also be cognizant of post-graduation options. Will this major help you to achieve your goals?
    2. Contact an advisor in the school/department. Most advisors have an abundance of information and will give you great tips for transfers! Personally, my advisor told me a rough acceptance rate for the program I was applying into. This was information that was not available anywhere online. Not only did this increase my confidence in getting in, I was more aware of the program after hearing about how classes are run and where more of the graduates of this program/school end up.
    3. Writing your essays for a transfer application takes time. Most schools that you transfer into will ask for personal statements. After writing a rough draft, ask your English major friends or your writing class professor to read through your essay ahead of time. These professors have doctorate degrees in English/Writing and are more than capable of judging your essays. (Tip: Ask them to “destroy” your essay).
    4. Use a credit transfer website to see which courses will transfer. Don’t take classes at your current college if you know they won’t transfer to your desired transfer college. You do not want to retake them. Instead, take an alternative class that will transfer or is for fun. You want to save major-specific classes to take at the desired college you are applying into. The more university- specialized courses may not transfer into equivalent credits. I took Honors General Chemistry and it did not transfer to my desired school, so I had to submit additional material in order to get credit.
    5. Get close with your professors! College professors see thousands of students some days. Go to office hours, send emails, and actively participate in class. In the end, you can ask for recommendations! Most applications would love to see a recommendation from a professor. It will help them get multiple perspectives of you.
    6. Lastly, visit the campus and see if you like the feel. DO NOT simply transfer to a college because of its prestige and “name”. Consider everything in a transfer such as weather, your financial situation, and education quality the school provides. Looking into specific things you enjoy is important. I really like research, so I was looking for a school with well-based research programs for their students. This was one of the main factors that led me to transfer into the University of Michigan. Talk to current students in the major/program you wish to transfer into; they will provide a great perspective of how they feel as current students.

    Take time and research the place you desire to attend. Rushing into decisions will not help in the future!

     
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  • Conquering the COVID school year

    by Will Cagnassola

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    College students, welcome to 2020: a school year unlike any other. A year of cancelled internships, Wi-Fi dilemmas, and isolation. Being a junior, I have come to understand how much of a detriment COVID-19 has been to the educational process, my social life, and mental health in general. This virus has made about every aspect of academic life unfamiliar. It has made every meal, conversation, walk home, and assignment that much more difficult. Trust me- I am right here with you. It is beyond frustrating! However, there ARE ways to help yourself move forward when the world is at a standstill. This blog will provide tips on how to stay on track with online classes while on campus and maintain a stress-free lifestyle while searching for employment in 2020.

    Stick to a schedule

    The most crucial aspect of keeping up with online school is updating your schedule. Whether you have a planner, calendar, or a good ole to-do list, you must update it on a daily basis. New assignments pop up all the time and they are even harder to keep track of when in-person lectures are not possible. I have had to find new ways to remind myself of upcoming work. For students struggling to stay on track, I would suggest designating sections on your personal schedule to each class. Write down specific assignments, due dates and exam times in chronological order. I personally like to mark exams in my schedule a week early. I have found that this strategy pushes me to look at study materials ahead of time.

    Never stop networking

    To all the students currently in the search for internships and full-time jobs – that is fantastic! You are already ahead of the game. To those who are not, that is completely fine. There is plenty of time to find opportunities this school year. Given the wait necessary for a COVID-19 vaccine to be brought to market, many companies have put new hires on hold. You can use this gap in recruitment to your advantage by building your network. Begin to leverage your media and start to build a more professional brand. Seek out advice from people experienced in your field of interest and use the technology you have available to make connections!

    Help yourself

    Stress is at an all-time high for students right now and remaining positive can be very difficult. It is understandable if some of my tips may not seem feasible for busier students right now. However, there are ways to win this school year. My advice would be to steer your focus on academics and get ahead. Try to spend an hour outside each day (unless you are quarantined) and exercise as often as time allows it. Also, do not forget to prioritize your sleep. When running low on rest, it is significantly harder to make it through your day.

    In a year unlike any other, students are faced with unique challenges. By sticking to a schedule, taking time to build your network, and practicing positivity, you’ll be able to conquer this school year.

     

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  • College career fairs: How will you prepare?

    by Sydnie Ho

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    The college career fair. One of the most stressful weeks of the semester for many students. Whether your upcoming career fair is in-person or virtual, it can be a daunting experience to think about. Prepare yourself well and you will be able to ace it! I had my first career fair experience last semester, and I definitely underestimated how much work it was going to be. With that said, I left the fair with 4 interviews the next day! How did I do this? One simple word: Research.

    Research the Company List

    Most schools will offer a list of companies that are attending the fair. Examine it ahead of time to develop a target list. Often, each company will specify what year(s) and major(s) they are searching for. Look for companies that are hiring your year and major. After this, narrow down your list even further by eliminating companies you don’t have a passion for. If you want to work in the food industry don’t invest your time at a medical company. After I completed this, I had about 10 companies in mind.

    Research Specific Companies

    Next, research each company on your target list. You can look on their website for information on their company values, news, accomplishments, and roles. Take notes, think of questions, and bring them with you. It is impressive to recruiters when students are able to ask them specific questions about an award they might have gotten, new initiatives they are implementing, or their core values. This part takes longer than you might want it to but completing this step shows initiative; recruiters will be more likely to remember you. This can be the difference between you and a similar candidate.

    Research Yourself

    This may seem a little weird, but it is important to research yourself. Know yourself. Refresh your brain on projects or classes that could relate to the job or internship. Think about the times you have succeeded and the times you have failed. Be ready to answer questions similar to those you would in an interview. Being overly prepared is better than being underprepared.

    Research the Dress Code

    Many career fairs have a business professional dress code that can be daunting to newcomers. Go to the fair in an outfit you are confident in! This is important even for virtual career fairs; you’ll want to look well-groomed for any video interviews. Pick out your favorite suit, blouse and shoes. Feeling confident is so important when walking into a fair full of people. Maybe even add a fun colored tie or hairbow that makes you stand out.

    For in-person career fairs, check to see if your school allows bags or provides name tags. If your school allows you to, wear a nametag from work or a club. There might be alumni that recognize the organization.

    Attending the Fair

    After you research and prepare, the next step is to actually attend. Whether it’s an in-person or virtual event, this is the scariest part. For in-person career fairs, bring physical copies of your resume. If it’s a virtual, have your resume available on your computer desktop for easy access. Check to make sure your internet connection is stable and that your audio/video is working properly.

    When talking with recruiters, I never start with a memorized elevator pitch. I usually start with asking how their day going. There is nothing wrong with a little small talk before getting to the job. As the conversation progresses, I’ll ask what they do so they can talk about themselves and the organization. Then, if they ask me about myself, then I’ll go over my resume and tell them about the organizations, leadership, and work positions I’m in at school. Something short and sweet. For this part, I have a rough idea of what to say, but not a robotic memorized speech. It should just come naturally!

    Be Yourself

    The career fair can be intimidating. By being prepared, you can feel more confident walking through the doors (or joining the Zoom link). No matter what happens, remember to be yourself. If a company turns out to not be a great fit, that is okay. You might also be surprised by organizations! Just be open and stay true to yourself. You got this!

     

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  • What It's Really Like to be a Campus Ambassador for Pearson

    by Megan Cistulli

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    When writing blogs for Pearson, the possibilities are endless and the scope is about as broad as it gets. This means student writing on this particular platform is exceedingly honest and authentic. This piece does not deviate from that trend and gives readers a genuine look into what it is like working for Pearson.

    I have been working for Pearson as a Campus Ambassador for a little over half a year now, and I can honestly say it is the best job I have had, but why? How is Pearson different from those other companies? Keep reading if you want to find out.

    The Experiences

    One thing that separates Pearson from other companies is the quality and quantity of experiences. From strategy meetings in Palo Alto, California to meeting with department heads at universities in the San Francisco Bay Area to spending hours in the campus bookstore compiling an Excel sheet containing the Pearson products used at my university, my experiences are frequent and invaluable.

    What I gain from the professional experiences is the priceless commodity many students my age never have the opportunity to encounter. Personally, numerous of my on-campus and off-campus experiences are attributed to Matt Christopherson, District Sales Manager, and Nick Dincelli, Senior Regional Sales Executive and Account Manager. For example, when Nick or Matt allow me to accompany them to meet department heads or strategize with an executive team, I not only see firsthand the laying of the groundwork and behind the scenes action that goes into making Pearson products thrive in college classrooms, but I am also able to participate and talk with these professionals and the customers. Consequently, my communication, public speaking, leadership, and critical thinking skills sharpen and improve as they are put to the test through these real-life experiences.

    The Leadership

    Another element of Pearson that truly stands out is the leadership; specifically, the leadership I have interacted with. I once had the opportunity to have dinner with Pearson’s President of Global Product and North America Courseware, Tim Bozik, along with District Sales Manager Heather Kazakoff, Sales Vice President Brian Williams, and Senior Sales Rep Becca Butts. As I sat there with my ears open taking in the exciting new ideas they were discussing, Tim Bozik asked, “How can we improve as we head into a digital era? How can we bridge the gap between paper and digital? What steps does leadership need to take in order to improve and make this happen?” To my surprise and excitement, the question was not only directed at the Pearson professionals at the table, but it was directed to me as well – a young college student.

    After I gave my input, I began interjecting in the rest of the conversations. My ideas were listened to and expanded upon. The leadership did not overlook or ignore my voice but rather welcomed and sincerely acknowledged my solutions and suggestions. The main take away from this one example is that Pearson’s leadership sculpts and fashions its approach and role in a purposeful and meaningful way from the bottom up. The leadership is approachable and progressive; always supporting the student voice and critically thinking about better ways to serve customers and the community.

    The Moms

    Some of us are lucky enough to have one mom who supports and cares for us. As a Pearson Campus Ambassador, I get five: Dory Thornton, Mary Frances Weatherly, Margo McIlroy, Jeanne Bronson and Molly Meiners. It is one thing for a division of employees to have a productive management team. It is entirely different to have a management team that is not only productive but supports, encourages, cares, endorses, and even cries for their employees. Remarkably, the Moms’ treatment of all ambassadors creates a culture of excellence where students want to succeed, put themselves on the line, and work hard for people who work just as hard for them. When hopping onto a Zoom call with our team, I am prepared to work; however, the environment is different – quite familial. The air is filled with a unique trust and positive energy which directly contributes to the success of the Pearson Campus Ambassador Program. The Moms absolutely follow the trend of outstanding and unparalleled leadership at Pearson.

    I remember one day about seven months ago I was scrolling through my LinkedIn page, and saw a message from Mary Frances with a headline that stated, “Ambassador Opportunity.” I must admit I first thought it was LinkedIn sponsored spam or something of the sort. Thankfully, I was wrong, and I took the time to research and apply for the opportunity. I wonder where I would be today without Pearson, all of the experiences, the exceptional leadership, and the Moms. Well, I am glad I never have to find out.

    If you are interested in becoming a Pearson Campus Ambassador, follow this link

     

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  • Study smarter: How to outwit your brain

    by Taylor Hughes

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    The old, boring study techniques you’re probably using right now are doing you no good. When exam season approaches and you find yourself surrounded by textbooks and old coffee, there’s no time to do everything on your list if you have to spend an exhaustive amount of time memorizing. So, let’s find the median. Where’s the happy middle between doing well on your exams and not going through two weeks of dread at the end of every semester? Using these easy tips, you can actually be smarter than yourself. The brain is just another organ, and you can use it to your advantage! Use these research-based psychology facts in your studying routine to hack into your brain and trick it into remembering more and learning faster, without even knowing it.

    Questions: Think before you even need to

    Before you come across any real information, you have to let your brain warm up and get it ready to remember the most possible information. Start by studying the headings. Turn them into questions. Get your brain to start thinking. It might seem simple, but you’ll remember a lot more information right off the bat, and you didn’t even really have to work for it.

    Start with it, and end it with it, too

    Another easy way to remember important information without even putting any effort into it is to study it at the beginning of your reviewing, and at the end, too. This is called primacy (the beginning) and recency (the end), and it’s been proven that the brain remembers the first and last details the best. You’ll trick your brain into recalling it faster and gain much more information, while not having to put too much more time into studying it.

    Chunk the concepts

    Brain maps are the road to easy memorizing. When you have a lot of concepts and not so much space to remember the details of each, draw them out on a map. Connect them to each other, the central idea, and the main points of each. This will help you to remember each not only individually, but in the grand scheme of things as well. Studying isn’t just about each concept, but about linking what you know to comprehend it faster and more efficiently.

    Pick your spot

    Another hint to make your brain smarter without knowing it: pick your spot and keep to it. If you attend class in-person, listen to lectures in one spot, and do your best to write the exam there too. It’s proven that the brain remembers better when it’s in a familiar place. An interesting 1975 study by Godden and Baddeley actually shows that students who studied underwater, recalled more underwater than above ground!

    Relate it to you

    This one is easy to remember: make everything about you. Look for ways to make a personal connection to everything you read and listen to. Think about how the words remind you of something from home and you’ll recall them faster. Think about how a formula isn’t so different from a recipe you love to bake and it’ll come easier to you.

    I hope you take advantage of these proven study tips and ace your next exam with less study time! Always remember to study smarter, not harder.

     

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  • How to de-stress without screens

    by Jasmine Hartman Budnik

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    When it comes to managing a busy schedule as a college student, we all know that it is essential to fit in time to de-stress. But if I’m being entirely honest, I often find myself sprawled out on my bed mindlessly scrolling through social media after a long day. Yet, it doesn’t feel very relieving to look at the time and realize that I just spent an entire hour glued to my phone watching random videos. In fact, I often end up feeling upset about being unproductive and even more overwhelmed by my to-do list. What I have learned is that screen-free methods of de-stressing actually leave me feeling more relaxed, motivated to get back to work, and content with what I accomplished at the end of the day.

    Relax on your own

    Finding a way to relax without technology is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself. If you take a break on your own, making something nice for yourself can be a great way to boost your mood. You can make your favorite drink – whether it be a classic cup of coffee or a tasty fruit smoothie – or put together a healthy meal or snack. Cooking and baking can be a great way to get yourself in a positive mindset so that you can tackle the rest of your responsibilities.

    Another creative way to unwind is to get your thoughts out by drawing or writing in a journal. If you feel like a “Dear Diary” entry is a little too cheesy for you, you can even try just writing out your highs and lows about your day on a sticky note. I often find that this can help me focus on positive moments and make changes to better tackle my schedule the following day.

    Spend time with friends

    If you are in the mood for a more social version of taking a technology-free break, spending time with others can be a great way to recharge your energy and positivity. On a nice day, my favorite thing to do is set out a blanket somewhere on campus and have a picnic with friends. And if you have something like a hammock, a frisbee, or a spike ball net, it can be a great addition to the fun. Don’t be afraid to mention to your friends that you are planning a screen-free get together. While it may be fun to take a picture to capture the moment, there’s nothing less social than when everyone is checking social media instead of hanging out together!

    Get active!

    One of the best things you can do to both relieve stress and feel good about yourself is to get outside and do something active. College campuses are especially great places to walk, run, or bike around. If you feel like a change in scenery, try looking for a nearby park where you can explore while being active.

    I have noticed that students easily forget all of the fun opportunities to be active that colleges often provide students for free. See what free classes your college gym might offer like Zumba, dance, or martial arts. Get moving and motivated by playing basketball or challenging your friend to a game of racquetball. I know that for me, being active can really help me de-stress and feel more accomplished by the end of the day.

    When it comes to unwinding without technology, the possibilities are truly endless. Whether you feel like spending time with other people, going outside, or treating yourself, all it takes is a little creativity to find a fulfilling and motivating way to reset. So next time you feel like taking a break, put your phone down, close your laptop, and discover how refreshing it is to be stress-free by going screen-free.

     
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  • How to survive the commuter student life

    by Rukmini Waranashiwar

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    Unlike many college students, I decided to commute to campus my freshman and sophomore years. Why? Mainly to save money, and because I didn’t want to room with people I didn’t know. I live fairly close to my school, the University of Texas at Dallas, but the 35-40 minute one-way commute can add up. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about how to thrive as a commuting student. If you are considering living off campus, here are some things to keep in mind:

    Smart Scheduling

    Consider rush hours when planning your schedule.

    Try not to schedule classes that begin at 8 am. The traffic during rush hour in the morning is insane no matter where you are because everyone is trying to get to work. If that’s the only time you can get for a class you need, learn the attendance policy and have a conversation with your professor early in the semester. Similarly, try not to leave school between 4:45-5:30 PM due to the evening rush hour. It will save you gas and time.

    But don’t start too late in the day.

    While you want to avoid morning rush hour, try to start your day on campus around 10 am. Parking spots will fill quickly throughout the day and after a morning commute, you do not want to spend any more time in the car than necessary hunting for a place to park.

    Try to take most of your classes on the same days.

    Registering for classes that are on the same two or three days per week will save gas and time. One drawback to this is the chance that big exams get scheduled on the same day. But having regular days off from class gives you the option to work or intern the rest of the week.

    Join clubs but be aware of their meeting times.

    I was not aware of how late in the evening some club meetings would be when I joined. This is especially difficult for commuters because after class, you just want to go home and relax. Since I don’t live close enough to campus to drive home and back, I tend to dread staying on campus till my club meeting is over. If you do have time to fill between classes and club meetings, find a favorite study spot on campus so you can be productive while you’re waiting.

    Mobile Mindset

    Make good use of your time in the car.

    Driving for a long stretch or sitting in traffic can be mentally tiring. Play loud music to destress, listen to a podcast, or call a friend – using hands-free options, of course! See if any of your textbooks are available in audio-format so you can listen to your required reading. There have been several instances where I have been extremely tired and almost fallen asleep. College can be tiring; take steps to keep alert during your commute.

    You can never predict the weather!

    Always have an umbrella in your car, and maybe an extra coat or jacket. In colder climates, be sure you have an ice scraper in case you come out from class to a windshield covered in snow or ice.

    Keep a professional outfit in your car.

    There may be a career fair, interview, or networking opportunity that you forgot about.  Commuter students don’t have the option to run back to their dorm to change. Having professional clothes in your car will mean you’re prepared for anything.

    Cultivate Connections

    My final advice is to make friends! Since you are not on campus all the time, this can be difficult. I don’t cross paths with many people on a daily basis because I usually head home after class unless I have a club meeting. Cultivating relationships with your classmates helps you increase your social interactions, plus you’ll have someone to contact for class-related questions.

    I wish I’d known these things before making the decision to live off campus. But all of these ideas have helped me be successful. I hope they help you conquer the commuter life!

     
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  • Participate on purpose: Building strong relationships on campus

    by Jaylen Brown

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    I attend the University of Central Florida, one of the largest higher education institutions in the nation with over 70,000 students. It can be easy to feel lost or like you’re just a number at a university this size. The easiest way to avoid this is to get involved or to participate on purpose. I like this phrase because it shows that involvement can be much more than you think if you just put your mind to it. Other than joining a typical club or organization, there are tons of simple ways to build and grow relationships on campus that you may not have thought of.

    Get involved

    The most simple and obvious way to grow relationships on campus is to get involved. This can include joining clubs, organizations, or finding a niche. Involvement brings such a strong sense of self-belonging and community. Personally, I couldn’t imagine going through college without getting involved in at least one thing. I joined the Marching Knights and became a College of Business ambassador. I’ve met most of my closest friends within these two organizations – organizations that turned into families.

    Involvement doesn’t always have to be campus led and can be student initiated with those who share common interests. For example, I ended up creating a small group that plays volleyball on campus every week. Sometimes, others nearby may ask to join in which allows for an opportunity to meet new friends. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, just a gathering for people to meet.

    Step outside of your comfort zone

    This technique of relationship building is most definitely the hardest, but in my opinion, the most rewarding. I want to specifically focus on how to use this diverse method to meet and talk with new people. This can include introducing yourself to a classmate that you’ve never spoken to before or even purposely inviting others to join an activity that you’re engaged in.

    Of course, this can be challenging; many overthink it and let their minds get clouded with doubts, such as “what do I say to this person?” or “what if they don’t want to talk to me?” This happened to me as a freshman. During the first few weeks, everyone in the dining hall sat alone because they were brand new and didn’t know anyone. When these doubts clouded my mind, I reminded myself that most other students here are experiencing the same thing. They all wanted to make friends but didn’t want to risk rejection. I initiated a conversation with the guy in line behind me and asked to sit with him afterwards. He was delighted by my request, and we both made a new friend – all because I stepped out of my comfort zone.

    Keep your head up

    When walking or biking around campus, I always see friends and acquaintances. Usually when I attempt to speak or wave, they don’t notice me because they are staring at their phones or have their headphones blasting. I purposefully differentiate myself from “the campus zombies” and walk with my head up, making myself approachable. It makes a huge difference – priming a way to strengthen relationships. I encourage other college students to also keep their heads up while migrating across campus – it creates an opportunity to “catch up” with your peers.

    I’ve asked a few people what they do on their phones while walking and I was shocked by the responses. Many feel socially uncomfortable if they aren’t doing what everyone else is doing, so they just swipe left and right on the home screen or even type random letters in their notes. If this sounds like you, it’s totally fine to not do what everyone else is doing. Keeping your head up makes you stand out and gives you the opportunity to socialize with others, overall strengthening relationships.

    I hope you now realize that building strong relationships on campus can be much easier than you might have originally thought. Just by making some small adjustments and by participating on purpose, you can have a more meaningful and impactful college experience.

     
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  • Dear younger me: How you'll learn to pilot a balanced life

    by Megan Cistulli

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    September 15, 2020

    Dear Younger Megan,

    I am writing you this letter sitting in an apartment in a big city just like you always dreamed of. After reading this message, I hope two things: first, you listen to the advice I bestow upon you because I know how stubborn you can be. Second and more importantly, I hope this information allows you to successfully pilot a balanced life through a calculated trifecta of wellness and harmony.

    In a few years, you’ll have an amazing high school career and end up traveling across the country from Atlanta to San Francisco to attend college and play collegiate basketball. You become an NCAA athlete, moot court vice president, clerking at the Hall of Justice, a member and soon to be president of Pi Sigma Alpha, 4.0 student, and Pearson Campus Ambassador. You hit some bumps along the way which include a horrific injury which ends your college athletic career, but overall, you do pretty well for yourself. You may be wondering how you got to where I am, and my answer comes in one word: balance. The balance I seek every day in my life has three distinct sides creating a foolproof triangle: social, physical, and mental.

    Social

    The first point of the triangle is social. You need to find yourself a community. For you, it will start with the sports community as an athlete, but then you will begin to branch out to students in your class. Make sure to hang out with your friends and make time for them. Grades and work are important, but remember, establishing a community is a crucial part of maintaining a balanced life.

    Physical

    Equally important, the physical component of the trifecta feeds positivity to the other two sides. For you, working out every day is key. Whether it is a quick three mile run or a heavy lift in the weight room, there is no better feeling than a good sweat. The gym is an amazing place to make like-minded friends grinding for similar goals. More to the point, working out creates endorphins which make you naturally happy, as well as contributing to a more natural sleep pattern. As a college student, keeping your body physically fit allows you to not only be happy, make friends, and feel great, but it also helps you stay focused throughout the day.

    Mental

    Arguably the most important and hardest to grab hold of, the mental aspect of balance presents a conquerable challenge. Of course, there is no such thing as perfection; however, there are numerous ways to achieve happiness and equilibrium in this area of life.

    • First, take time for yourself. For you, taking one night a week to do a facemask, read a mystery novel, and eat a bowl of ice cream with your roommates will give you the mental check-in you deserve to make sure you are okay.
    • Second, stay organized. You keep a very colorful and organized paper planner which you live by.
    • Third, try meditation. You start to meditate freshman year of college, and will find it to be a transcending experience.

    My best advice is to do daily check-ins with yourself before going to sleep and ask yourself if you are okay and what you plan to do differently the next day.

    With that, I leave you with the notion: you will be successful in everything you do when you find your balance whatever it may be. By paying attention to your social, physical, and mental wellness, you will pilot your way to success!

    Best,

    Megan

     

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  • 6 tips to stay healthy in college

    by Sydnie Ho

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    I never really made my health a priority growing up. I played some sports and ate whatever my mom put in front of me. I didn’t think about how important it is to be proactive in staying healthy until I got to college. The dining halls can be full of junk and since I am no longer playing sports like I use to, I stopped being as active. While I never used to step foot in any gym, I have come to actually enjoy going to the gym to stay fit. Exercise, diet, and hydration are all important aspects of health and wellness. Here are six tips to help you stay healthy in college!

    Fill your room with healthy snacks

    Filling your apartment or dorm room with healthy snacks keeps you from snacking on junk. I know we all get the munches sometimes, so if you keep your space filled with healthy snacks, you will be forced to snack on them because you have nothing else! Eventually, you will start getting used to it and eating junk food won’t taste so good. This is an easy way to gradually change your diet and cravings without doing anything crazy.

    Carry a water bottle

    Always carry a water bottle with you! I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but drinking water is so important. It can help with weight loss, digestion, your skin, and your overall health. I used to never drink water, but I invested in a Hydroflask and it weirdly gets me excited to drink water. I try to fill up my water bottle at least 3 times a day.

    Identify activities you enjoy

    Figuring out what you like is so important! Being active doesn’t have to mean running 5 miles a day. I personally don’t like running. I found that I love weightlifting and strength workouts. I recommend trying out some classes at your gym like cycling, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, kickboxing, swimming – anything! You will never know if you don’t try.

    Find a gym buddy

    Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated. Having a gym buddy definitely helps drag you out of bed and keep you motivated. It’s a great way to bond with your friend and stay active together. It is also less scary working out when you aren’t alone!

    Stick to a schedule

    You don’t have to work out 6 times a week, but have a schedule starting at maybe 2-3 days a week and stick to it. After keeping a regular schedule your body will get used to working out so if you skip a day, your body will know you skipped a day and you will get this weird feeling that you should go workout again! I can’t describe the feeling but start working out and see for yourself!

    Just start

    The hardest part of any fitness plan is getting started. For some it’s being lazy, for others it’s the daunting thought of just going to a gym. Getting into a healthy, active lifestyle is so important and you will be glad you started. Just go and try it! See what you like and go for it. Good luck!

     

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  • Collegiate philanthropies make a big impact: Why I dance at HuskyTHON

    by Gabriella Soper

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    Take a trip down memory lane and think back to when you were five years old. You were just a carefree little boy or girl in kindergarten, spending your days learning about penguins and igloos and playing at recess with your friends. Now imagine that instead of playing on the playground with friends, you were sitting in a hospital bed getting your second round of chemo in the past month, surrounded by doctors and nurses, just trying to stay positive and happy. Just fighting to stay alive. This is the reality for so many young children across the country. That is why I dance.

    Every year, students at the University of Connecticut come together as one community to raise money in support of Connecticut Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Each February, the year-long philanthropic effort culminates with an 18-hour dance marathon called HuskyTHON. HuskyTHON is a magical day and night filled with fun, laughter, and love, not just for us, but For The Kids.

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  • Pearson's declassified networking survival guide

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

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    What is the most important part of the college experience? This part is the key to landing jobs, opportunities, and professional and personal relationships. The answer to this question lies beyond the classroom through a concept that you have probably heard before called networking.

    The word networking is thrown around so often, especially in the college setting, but what does the word even mean and what does it have to do with you? Networking is much more than collecting business cards. If you are new to networking keep reading to crystallize this abstract idea. If you aren’t new to networking, don’t go anywhere because I have tips that can help you completely rethink your approach!

    What is networking?

    To understand networking, we must first bust some myths and consider what networking is not. Networking is not self-promotion. Meeting people is not your opportunity to brag about yourself. Networking is also not using people or viewing them as resources you use upon request. Viewing others as a resource you use and forget will play into the myth that networking is cheap and unauthentic.  On the contrary, networking is about building a community. The idea that someone knows someone else that you should know perfectly embodies the idea of networking. When we network, we are building community, not a list of contacts.

    How do I network?

    Although it may seem like there is a series of complex steps and calculated scripts to approach networking, it is much simpler. Best-selling author Isaac Serwanga put it best into three simple steps to take by using your wishbone, jawbone, and backbone.

    Wish Bone

    The wish bone represents your dreams. Consider what it is that you want and who can help you attain that goal.

    Jawbone

    The jawbone focuses on your competency and humility of your speech.  Do the necessary research on your industry and know what you are talking about. Prove that you are competent but recognize that you have room for improvement or more knowledge through humility. Consider incorporating a 49/51 rather than a 50/50 relationship when networking where you set yourself aside to humbly be helped and learn from others.

    Backbone

    Perhaps the most important component is persistence. The most common word that you will hear in networking is often ‘no’. Hearing ‘no’ is not always a good feeling, especially when building the courage to make new connections, but having the backbone to persist is the only way to fully reap the benefits of networking.

    Where and when do I network?

    The beauty of networking is that it is not a phenomenon confined to the virtual walls of LinkedIn or the physical walls of networking events and professional conferences. Author Keith Ferrazzi’s advice to “never eat alone” embodies the prevalence of networking in our everyday life. Building community starts with a conversation and we can start conversations anywhere from the grocery store to the elevator. Approach others with Bill Nye’s idea that “everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t,” so always be prepared to be amazed.

    Connect and start conversations even with those that you believe may not be able to help you in your goals.  Odds are, they may know someone that you should know, or you may know someone that they should know. And reach out to the people that you are already connected with to strengthen those relationships. Continually work to build and strengthen your network so it will be there when you need it.

     

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  • Advice for new students or transfer students

    by Alex Mendoza

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    Starting a new semester at a new school can be overwhelming for both incoming freshmen and transfer students. New systems and new academic expectations can be tricky to navigate. Click the link below to watch my vlog with great advice to help you get off to a great start of the semester!

     

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  • 6 tips to help you survive freshman year

    by Cobe Fatovic

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    So, you are going to be a freshman in college? I was too, about one year ago. My freshmen year was far from perfect, but what fun would it have been if it was? I am going to share with you 6 things I wish I knew going into my freshman year so you can have the best first year experience possible.

    1 – Make your dorm feel like an actual home

    Dorm life is something that a lot of people worry about and is a trademark of your freshmen year. You will be living here for the next year, so make it your own. Something as simple as putting a rug on the ground so you don’t see the tile floor can make all the difference. Also, bring things that remind you of home. It may be hard to admit, but you will miss your family.

    2 – Get involved right away!

    Join a club, go to all the Welcome Week events, apply for a leadership position, just do something! In college, you will be surrounded by more kids your age than ever before, but it can still be very lonely, especially if you don’t know anyone. Whether you find virtual, hybrid, or smaller in-person events, joining a club can make all the difference because it can make a huge campus feel a whole lot smaller.

    3 – Take yourself out of your comfort zone

    Making friends can be difficult. But you have to remember, everyone wants to make friends! Go sit with someone in the dining hall or introduce yourself to who you are sitting next to in class, who knows where it’ll go! If you try talking to someone and they don’t seem interested, don’t be discouraged. It may take a few people before you meet your best friend, but if you don’t keep trying, you will never get anywhere.

    4 – Build in time to relax and take care of yourself

    While it is important to study before tests, make sure you plan time in your schedule to do something that relaxes you. Whether it is playing Xbox or reading a book, make time for yourself, too. This will help you manage stress and prevent it from interfering with your student success.

    5 – Consider rushing!

    To rush or not to rush, that is the question. The first week I was at school, the main topic of conversation was everyone asking, “Are you going to rush a fraternity or sorority?” I went into college not expecting to rush at all, but I ended up rushing because some of the friends I made in the first week were. I joined Beta Theta Pi at the University of Florida, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Even if you find it is not for you, there is a good chance you will make some friends during the rush process.

    6 – Be open minded

    If you go into college with a closed mind, your life will probably be pretty tough. I went through more changes my freshmen year than the rest of my life combined. If you don’t love your major, change it. If you have an interest in something weird, take a class on it! There are so many opportunities to try new things and meet new people in college, you have to take advantage of everything you can.

    Now, a lot of that is easier said than done. You will probably get to campus and be so overwhelmed by everything that is going on, and that is okay, so is everyone else. Just take a deep breath, take it day by day, and go make memories. Good luck with your first year, stay positive!

     

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  • How to stay organized when facing a hectic schedule

    by Paris Lane

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    As there is so much to do on a college campus, it is common to want to fill your schedule with club activities, meetings, events, and more. Typically, the further along you are in school, the more packed your weekly schedule becomes. For some, this can become overwhelming very quickly. One of the keys to maintaining a successful college career is to stay organized. By making a list of important dates ahead of time in the Notes section of your phone, keeping up with a monthly planner, or utilizing online calendars, students can ensure that they never miss an assignment or important event and use their time at school to the fullest extent possible.

    Cell phone resources

    One of the most helpful, and most overlooked, resources on cell phones is the Notes section. This application provides a great place to list out all the important dates for the semester in one organized location. In order to give yourself a general overview for the semester, it is helpful to make a list of the courses you are taking this semester as well as all the organizations that you are a part of. Under each of these, you can make a bulleted list of upcoming important due dates or meeting dates and times.

    This serves as a convenient resource to refer to during the busy times of the semester or finals week. My favorite personal feature of the Notes section is the option to create a to-do list. With this option, you can put bubbles beside each date or assignment and check it off after completion. This serves as a good motivator because you can see all of the difficult or fun things you have completed throughout the semester!

    Keeping a planner

    Another way to have all your important dates at hand is to keep up with a monthly planner. Planners are a great way to stay on track as they give you the option to display your information as detailed or long-term as you choose. You can select a planner for the calendar year or academic year, plus choose the layout you prefer: monthly, weekly, daily, or a combination.

    Having options is nice because you can flip ahead to any given point within the semester and know what to expect coming up, as well as what you need to be working on day to day to ensure that you do not fall behind. As these are generally pretty small in size, you can put it in your backpack and carry it around with you anywhere. I bring my planner to class and write down homework assignments as they are assigned so it is not as overwhelming all at once.

    Schedule reminders

    If you want your phone to send you digital reminders, and you have a generally repetitive schedule, online calendars make organization simple as you can assign tasks and block out times every week for recurring events. Google calendar and the Microsoft Outlook calendar are just two examples of organized online resources that can be color-coded and set up however you choose. You can set up these to send you reminders everyday at set times that you choose. In addition, these are often free of charge so they can be a good alternative to planners. My favorite feature is that these online calendars are shareable with whoever you choose. This makes coordination with groups, friends, or teams a lot easier as you don’t have to manually detail your whole schedule out over text!

    Being a student in college can be extremely busy and overwhelming. One of the big fears that comes with this is falling behind or missing assignments. There are many ways to help yourself stay organized, including the Notes section on your phone, yearly planners, and online calendars. If you choose to use even one of these methods, you can save yourself the stressful task of trying to memorize events and due dates and you can work smarter, not harder!

     

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  • Don't Let the Unknown Stop You from Being Involved

    by Maddie Parker Martinez

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    As students, we’re always told how important it is to get involved on campus, but sometimes this can seem really intimidating. There are so many options for involvement with clubs, programs, and organizations, how can you know where to start? Not to mention that putting yourself in a situation with new people can be really scary, at least I know it is for me.

    I’m currently a junior attending Utah Valley University and there are hundreds of ways to get involved on my campus, as is true with most universities. One of the greatest things I’ve learned is that being involved comes in many shapes and sizes and everyone’s experiences with involvement is different.

    Trying new things

    My freshman year of college I got accepted into a scholarship program called the UVU Ambassador Program. I helped plan events for prospective students and traveled to different high schools around Utah to educate high school students about attending UVU. This program taught me so much and I loved every minute of my experiences there. However, during my sophomore year I realized that I wanted to try something new. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with a desire to change. Whether you’re currently involved and looking to try new things or you’re looking where to start, I hope you hear my experiences and are motivated to find the way that is best for you.

    Getting outside your comfort zone

    I was nervous to try something new and break out of my old routines and habits. Despite this, I knew that if I wanted to continue to live my best college experience, I had to put myself out there and search for something different. This can take time. By my junior year I found what I wanted to do next – participate in my school’s PRSSA Chapter. PRSSA is short for Public Relations Student Society of America. It helps to develop students going into the Public Relations field by expanding their networks and teaching important skills with hands on learning. I had been attending a lot of their events for my classes when I made the decision to run for the secretary position on the student board. This was a hard transition for me because I knew I would be closing a chapter in my life. However, it also meant that I would meet new people and learn skills that were out of my comfort zone.

    Accomplishing great things

    I decided to take a huge leap of faith by applying and to my surprise, I won! I was shocked, nervous, and excited all at the same time. The moral of the story is that when we take risks, we can accomplish great things. More importantly, taking risks helps us put ourselves in a place that will make us happy. Moving from one form of involvement to the next takes courage, but also has rewards.

    My wish for all those who read this is to know that no matter where you are in your involvement, if you want a change, you need to believe in yourself enough to make it happen. It’s okay to be afraid of the unknown, but don’t let it stop you from getting to where you want to be.

     

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  • Collegiate extracurriculars: Can too much of a good thing become bad?

    by Sydnie Ho

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    Getting involved on campus has led me to some of my best experiences in college. I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people and learned so many new things. I went into college with the idea of getting involved in everything, which resulted in me getting almost ‘too involved’. I was so busy that I didn’t have time to do homework, hang with friends, or even just relax. It is good to be involved, but you do not have to be involved in everything. You have to make sure you find the right balance.

    Taking a chance

    Let me start with saying, get involved! It makes college 100x better. Getting this advice from older peers, I decided to dive right in during my first year. I went to a bunch of general meetings and met so many people. From there, I decided what organizations I wanted to keep pursing. It is scary at first, showing up at your first club meeting not knowing anyone, but it just takes a “hello” to start a new friendship.

    Not only have I been able to meet some incredible people, but I’ve had so many opportunities to grow and experience new things. I landed a leadership position my sophomore year, which was such a rewarding experience. I learned so much and am able to talk about it in job interviews. Getting involved can be scary, but the rewards are worth it. Don’t be afraid to take a chance!

    Keeping up with the Jones

    Recognize that there is a fine line between getting involved and getting too involved. My freshman year, I made a friend who was involved in so many organizations and working an internship, all while taking 21 credits. He would push me to get involved and be like him, and I started to feel the pressure. I went to many different club meetings that I was not invested in. I was just doing it to keep up with the everyone else. I soon realized that I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. There is no point in getting involved with something if you aren’t passionate enough to grow from the experiences you are investing in.

    I learned I needed to stop comparing my involvements to others and just focus on the ones I actually enjoyed. Even now, as I am taking on new exciting projects and positions for this semester, I am realizing there are still things I need to drop. And that’s okay. Do the things you want to do and stop wasting your time on things you think you need. There is no point in having an organization on your resume when you weren’t truly involved. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. You are going to make the most out of your experiences because you are involved with your passions.

    Using time wisely

    With that said, I suggest taking some time to reflect on the organizations you are in and where you are putting your time. Is there something more you want to do? Are you involved in too many things? Are you doing these things for yourself or for someone else?

    You are going to enjoy college a lot more the quicker you recognize your passions. Allocate your time accordingly. Good luck ?

     

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  • Freshmen: Create good habits to achieve first year success

    by McKinley Falkowski

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    Your freshman year of college is one of momentous change and growth. Prior to starting my journey at the University at Buffalo, I was terrified of what college held for me. I knew almost nobody on campus and came from a high school program that had roughly 18 people in it compared to a university with a student body of 30,000. Additionally, obvious differences like more demanding work terrified me of what was about to lay ahead.

    Because I am a History major with a focus on Education, I spent many days back at my high school obtaining classroom observation hours. Senior friends still in high school and about to go off on the same journey would ask me, “how did you survive your freshman year?” The fear of the freshman year of college is universally terrifying, but I took advantage of the challenges thrown at me and was able to succeed.

    While explaining a key fundamental difference between high school and college, I ask students this question: “whose fault is it if you fail?” Most students respond that it is the teacher’s fault, to which I respond, in college, it is not the professor’s fault if you fail, it is yours. This fundamental difference means that students need to change their approach to school, like I did in my freshman year.

    Show up for office hours

    One of the changes I made was taking advantage of office hours. This is where students go to their professor for help if they don’t understand material. Even if I felt I understood the material, I would always try to see my professors once a week to develop personal relationships. Sometimes I would realize that I did not always have a fully accurate grasp of the material. Office hours completely transformed me as a student. College freshmen should take advantage of them if they wish to succeed in the new environment.

    Tackle time management

    An additional adjustment I had to make had to do with time management. In college, so many assignments are thrown at you and you need to be able to juggle them all at once. That is why during the first week of classes, I take the syllabus from each class and write when all assignments are due in my agenda. This way I am always able to see when an upcoming assignment is due, won’t lose track of any assignments, and always see when a quiz or exam is coming up. Many times a professor will not remind you when something is due, they will just expect it to be done.

    Be alert for lectures

    A final element I had to change was my ability to pay attention in lecture halls of over 300 students. I made sure to choose a seat in the front of the class, otherwise I knew I might doze off. I also made sure my phone was turned off to minimize distraction. Finally, I found that actively writing notes using pen and paper increased my ability to focus on the material being presented.

    College is fundamentally different than high school, and it is terrifying for almost all people in their freshman year. However, these are some of the strategies I used to succeed, and I know you will be able to use them to succeed, too.

     

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  • Time is valuable: Utilize tools wisely

    by Camryn McCrary

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    College is considered to be the best four years of your life, but some great things can come with a cost. With the large amount of freedom, flexibility, and independence, it can be hard to stay on the right schedule and not procrastinate. Especially since college always seems to have something going on, whether its homework, a test, a club event, or just hanging out with friends; you start to hit a wall of work overload. Fortunately, the following tips may be able to help you both have fun, as well as balance the many challenges that college brings us.

    Use Technology

    Many college students already have a large collection of textbooks, papers, worksheets, and other things that may overload your brain. However, using different technology platforms can help you stay on track and even lower anxiety levels. Whether it’s your laptop, tablet, or phone, using a digital planner is a great way to have your deadlines and reminders at your disposal. Inputting all the information and deadlines for the semester allows you to plan ahead for any big projects or tests. The visual representation of a crazy college schedule will also help you better balance your obligations so that you can physically see where you may feel overwhelmed and be proactive in it.

    Keep a Routine

    Since college doesn’t have anyone monitoring where you are and what you are doing, it can be really easy to fall out of structure or routine. Having a solid regular routine is important to help you avoid procrastination, which ultimately leads to that stressed out feeling. Referring back to the use of technology, setting up recurring tasks in your calendar will help you develop habits and new routines. Examples of this could include blocking off time in between classes for activities, such as going to the gym, studying, grocery shopping, and other activities.

    Set Rewards

    Just like any other situation, rewarding ourselves after reaching our goal helps us feel more confident that we can achieve even greater challenges. This feeling of pride after achieving a goal allows us as students to feel motivated to be more productive in whatever work we are doing. Just like when you run a race and are rewarded with a medal, you should read a chapter, or finish an assignment, and then reward yourself with a tasty treat, a 10-minute break, or whatever puts your mind back at ease.

    Maintain a Healthy Balance

    Sometimes we all just want to get certain assignments or projects out of the way faster than we think. However, it is extremely important to be able to maintain a healthy balance of everything on our plate. Piling everything up and trying to complete it all in one sitting will easily cause a work overload. It is completely fine, and necessary, to schedule in rest, relaxation, and fun when working or planning out your week. Every single day doesn’t have to be all work and no play, because having those down times to ourselves helps us recharge and refresh our minds in order to better prepare us for our next task.

    Through time management you are not only able to get your work done, but you will also have the feeling of being accomplished and time for things that you love. Know your time is valuable, so think of as that and take care of it.

     

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  • Getting organized for the first week of classes

    by Christy Zheng

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    We all know this semester is going be a little hectic and crazy but I’m going to try and focus on the things that I can control! Click on the link below to check out my vlog on three ways I’m getting organized for the first week of online classes!

     

     


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  • The proper way to email your professor (or anyone on campus)

    by Marissa Atilano

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    As students begin college, a new chapter of adventures, discoveries, and experiences begins. They have the ability to develop relationships with many different people, including both peers and professors. In recent times, digital communication has become more important than ever before. Here are a few items to consider when establishing a professional and respectful line of communication with someone.

    Utilize Accessible Resources

    Anyone who has stepped foot on a college campus (or logged into a virtual class) has likely heard the phrase “check the syllabus”. It is important to refer to your accessible resources before emailing a professor directly. Often, the question can be answered by reading through a rubric, asking a friend, or reaching out to a teaching assistant. If this is the case, take advantage of these alternative methods before directly contacting your professor. Like many of us, professors have busy schedules and an overwhelming amount of emails to read. By using available resources, it saves both you and your professor valuable time.

    Crafting an Email

    If using available resources does not suffice, it may be necessary to contact professors directly. Professors expect professionalism in conversations and proper email etiquette from students. In all emails, it is important to include a proper greeting such as “Good morning”, “Dear Professor/ Dr.”, or even “Hello Professor/Dr.” to create a respectful relationship with the recipient. Be sure to use the proper title and the correct spellings of their name. Next, include your full name and a reference to how they know you. This can be the class session you are in, the organization they sponsor, or the conference where you met.

    To begin the body of the email, clearly state your question or reason for contacting them. After this, explain the action you are looking for as a result of the email. Some examples include: asking for a response to your question, requesting an appointment, or expecting an adjustment on a class assignment. Finally, include an appropriate signature which contains an expression of gratitude, your name, title, and contact information. Always be sure to include a subject and verify the email address before sending.

    Building a Relationship

    Contacting professors can be nerve-wracking to a student. The dynamic and expectations greatly differ from those in high school, so it is important to remain respectful and professional when contacting anyone on campus. Writing an email can be a great way to engage with your professor outside of class. Building a relationship beyond the classroom can lead to great connections and opportunities, like research positions or internships.

    In times where face to face conversation can be limited, digital communication is a great way to continue expanding your network.

     

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  • Good time management allows you to succeed in college while still pursuing your passions

    by Paige DelBrocco

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    As a fourth year college student, I understand how tough it can be to find the time to focus on hobbies or do things that you are passionate about. For me, drawing and being creative is what makes me feel fulfilled, but sometimes I feel guilty working on my art when I have an exam to study for or an essay to write. I realized that in order to live a happy, productive and positive life, I should not feel bad doing the things I love to do. Here are some tips and tricks that I have found useful to manage my time, while still pursuing my passions.  

    School Comes First

    The best way to avoid feeling bad about working on things other than school is to stop procrastinating and get all of your obligations out of the way first. As soon as I finish with classes each day, I like to get started on my assignments that have upcoming due dates. Rather than immediately grabbing my iPad to doodle after class, I will try to get at least two things done. This makes me feel like I have accomplished something and helps me relieve the stress that comes with being a busy college student. Not having to think about those assignments that I just finished lets me unwind and destress, so I can draw and create without worry.

    Put Your Phone Away

    As we all know, smartphones are a huge distraction. I have found myself aimlessly scrolling on TikTok or Twitter for hours on end, and then realizing I only have an hour until I should go to sleep. It is extremely difficult to do—believe me, I know—but I recommend putting the phone down for a few hours of the day to devote your undivided attention to your schoolwork or hobby. This will give you the time to focus on something either productive or satisfying, which is the whole point, right?

    Schedule a Spot for Your Hobbies

    Enjoying our hobbies or passions is just as important as the other day-to-day tasks we are obligated to do—like work and school. I like to make a to-do list on the Notes app on my phone, and I always make sure drawing makes the cut. Not only are you making sure you set aside time for it, but putting it in writing with things that are deemed as important gives it its own sense of significance. 

    Being a college student is definitely not easy, and it can be hard to find the time to do things you love. Don’t let the responsibility of school get in the way of your hobbies. By following these easy tips and tricks—I promise you will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

     

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  • Tailgating: A southern college football tradition

    by Mary Nielson Clinton

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    Whether you have attended a Southeastern Conference (SEC) football game or not, chances are that you have heard the stories of the rows of tents and all the people crammed under them before the start of the game. Tailgating has been a long-standing tradition of southern football games and a kickoff isn’t complete without first eating a meal of BBQ and fried chicken surrounded by all your friends.

    Tailgating may look a lot different this Fall with face masks and social distancing putting a damper on some activities. But hopefully we’ll still get to participate in at least a few of my favorite aspects of this southern-style fun!

    Tents and Traditions

    The SEC is known for having decked out tailgating tents and fans who are dedicated to them. For the Saturday games, some schools such as Mississippi State University have services that will begin setting up tents on Wednesday. At other schools dedicated fans will wake up before the sun rises on game day to secure their spot. Regardless of where you are, each school has diehard fans and time-honored traditions. For instance, Texas A&M has “The Midnight Yell” where the Aggies start a celebration at midnight on gameday by packing into Kyle Field. Other traditions include “Kickoff on the Quad” at the University of Alabama and the 22 Cockabooses surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina. Wherever you go, each school has their own traditions that make their tailgating experience special and different from any other school.

    Snacks and Screens

    However, there are some parts of tailgating that remain the same throughout the South. For starters, no tent is complete without a table filled with an impressive spread of food. No matter where you go, chances are that you can find a tent with enough potato salad and corn dip to feed an army. Another common aspect is the TV’s. Certain tents will have large TV’s set up so that fans are able to watch other football games either before or after the big one they’re dressed for, which leads me to another similarity. 

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  • Keeping a full plate steady

    by Sanjana Saji

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    I’ve always been told that ‘your college experience is what you make of it.’ I never truly understood what that meant until this past year. I am a senior at Penn State University and I just completed my first year at the main campus, University Park. To go from a small branch campus that’s only two hours away from home to attend a large ‘typical college style’ campus that is a five-hour trip away is a big change that I had to mentally prepare myself for. 

    Walking into junior year, I realized that I only have two years at the main campus to experience and accomplish everything that I wanted to, which is an endless list in reality. Thankfully, time management and decision making weren’t my weaknesses, but these were two of my skills that were constantly tested. I had an unfaltering positive attitude and an ambitious drive walking into junior year, which is a big part of how I accomplished so much and still managed to keep calm throughout.

    I had multiple things on my plate which included my classes, my job with Pearson, dance team, and being a director for a student organization. Other things on my schedule that didn’t occur weekly included meetings for the national honor society that I’m a part of, attending TA office hours, group projects, and social events. Personally, I like to stay busy and limit my free time because that’s what helps me sustain a productive lifestyle. With so much on my plate, here are a few tools that I use to stay organized and manage my time.

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  • College students: 3 great ways to take time for yourself

    by Tory Harless

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    One of the biggest struggles that I have faced in college was feeling overwhelmed. As a freshman, I constantly felt like every day I was on a strict schedule that I couldn’t break away from if I were to complete everything that needed to be completed for that day. While in college I have had two part-time jobs, full class schedules every semester, and have been involved within my sorority.

    Most days my schedule consisted of work, hurrying to eat lunch, class, homework, hurrying to dinner, and then either more work, homework, or meetings. I was going out of my mind and started to feel really unhappy. Until one day I made myself take a step back from this stress creating cycle and realized why I always felt so over worked and exhausted. Here are 3 good habits I’ve found really help me take time for myself.

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  • Create a healthy transition to living off-campus

    by Brad Robison

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    Even though classes at many U.S. universities will be virtual this Fall semester, students are still moving back and may be transitioning from living on-campus to moving elsewhere off-campus. While there is no clear formula for optimal success in adjusting to the change, here are a few tips and tricks that can help students live a happy, healthy, and efficient life in their off-campus residences.

    Choose the right housemates

    Selecting the right people to live with is objectively the most important factor to consider when moving off campus. Living with people you clash with will make your residence feel less like a home and more like a battleground. On the other hand, living with your best friends may not be ideal if you get easily distracted and are unable to create boundaries. Ultimately, the ideal housemate is someone you get along well with but recognizes that there are times for fun and times for productivity.

    Learn to grocery shop and cook for yourself

    One of my favorite aspects about living in a house is that I can shop and cook for myself. Until I moved off-campus, I had no idea how much I enjoyed visits to the grocery store. Cooking for yourself allows you to be in complete control of your diet and nutrition, as you are no longer bound to dining hall meals. To make cooking healthy and entertaining, I try to experiment with at least one new main ingredient and recipe each week.

    Consider your commute

    Sometimes living a short commute away from campus is unavoidable. Figuring out how to get to class each day can sometimes be stressful. While each situation is different, many options for transportation exist. Some may prefer a more active method like biking, while others may be more attuned to driving or taking public transportation. If you choose to drive, then carpooling is a great option. Whether with roommates or other off-campus residents, coordinating schedules to carpool can be very beneficial.

    Find your study spot

    One of the most challenging aspects with living away from campus is figuring out where your ideal study location is. For some, it may be as simple as a kitchen table. Others may prefer the outdoors or local coffee shops. Some may even decide they are most productive on campus at the library. Having a few spots where you are comfortable studying and rotating between them helps to boost your productivity outside of a traditional learning space.

    There is no singular formula for how to be successful when living away from campus. It ultimately comes down to each individual’s habits and personal preferences, and likely some trial and error. I hope these tips prove to be helpful for anyone making the transition into off-campus housing and creating a happy, healthy lifestyle outside of a traditional dorm.

     

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  • Participating in collegiate sports: 3 ways to stay active and competitive

    by Bethany Robinson

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    To many, senior year of high school seems as if it’s the last opportunity to play sports at a competitive level. I am here to tell you that going to college without a scholarship doesn’t mean you have to stop participating in sports. Colleges provide many opportunities to stay active and be competitive. There are multiple ways you can continue sports in college through intramural leagues, club teams, and varsity college teams. With endless possibilities of sports, there are plenty of opportunities for athletes at any level to participate in college sports.

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  • Securing your dream internship

    by Jacquie Dunworth

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    When summer is coming to an end, you may not be thinking about what you’ll be doing a year from now. However, it is never too early to start preparing for the internship search and making a plan. Many companies are beginning to recruit earlier and earlier to secure the best talent. There are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself for securing an internship.

    Determine your interests

    The first step of your internship search is to determine what you are looking for. This entails figuring out which industries you are potentially interested in, like finance or health care or retailing. Reflect on your past schoolwork and major to help see where your skills lie and determine what kind position you are seeking. Determine what the size of company and culture you are looking for. Evaluate your past experiences, such as clubs, projects, or classes that you enjoyed and could translate into a career.

    Research

    Once you have an idea of which industry and role you want to get an internship in, start researching. As you discover specific companies you want to work for, create a list with the company name, then add internship opportunities and application deadlines as you find them. If you want to work somewhere with a very competitive internship program like Amazon, Google, or Facebook, ensure you have some companies that have less competitive programs. Research the type of interviews associated with the role you want. For example, some internships have multiple interview components. Finance interviews typically have a behavioral component and a technical finance component, whereas many engineering interviews contain a math test and consulting interviews have a case study.

    Prepare

    Once you know where you want to work and what to expect in the interview process, you need to prepare. Networking is very important and can help land you your first interview. Reach out to family and friends to see if they know anyone in the industry or company you are interested in. Check your school’s career events. While events this Fall may be virtual, many large companies will still have recruiting opportunities for students. Contact graduates from your college who work for companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn and have a coffee chat. Set up an appointment with a career coach at school and do a mock interview so you are ready when the time comes for you to interview for an internship.

    It’s never too early to start preparing, setting goals, and doing your research. Small things like these can help put you a step ahead of the other applicants. Hopefully starting early will help you land your dream internship. Good luck!

     

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  • Your best year yet!

    by Anna Attaway

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    If your life is anything like mine, your plans over the last few months changed a lot. Maybe your vacation was cancelled or maybe your internship was moved online. And now that many colleges will be starting Fall 2020 classes either partially or fully on-line, these next few months are going to look different than we had originally planned. But maybe in these new circumstances, we’ll find new opportunities. I think that we have the potential to make this time some of our best moments yet. Zig Ziglar once said, “Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends entirely upon you, your goals, and your determination to use every available minute.” These months can become fulfilling and meaningful if you dream big and set goals. 

    Here are some tips on setting goals:

    • Start by taking time to think about what you’d like this time to look like. When all is said and done and next year has come around, how will you remember this year? How do you want to use this time? Create a big picture vision statement.
    • Next, take your big picture and break it down into smaller goals. Then, think about the steps that you can take to accomplish these goals. There’s a French proverb that goes, “Little by little, the bird builds its nest.” The key to achieving big things is by taking them one small step at a time. You reach the summit of a mountain by starting at the bottom.
    • Reward yourself for each step you take, but don’t lose your motivation. Whenever the small steps feel meaningless, remember your reason for walking.

    Ready to set some goals? The best thing about goals is that they can be whatever you want them to be! They only need to be things that matter to you. Does the move to online classes open up time in your schedule to pursue new opportunities or gather new skills? Can you find different ways to relax and cultivate contentment? There are many meaningful options, but the goals that you care about are the ones that you will be willing to invest time in. Choose goals that reflect your best self. Are you ready to start working on your best year yet? Now is the best time to begin!

     

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  • Spotlight on college majors: Art therapy

    by Sugandhaa Pandey

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    Did you ever wonder why that holiday retreat to the mountains, or camping in the woods made you feel so alive? Color psychology says that green and blue are restful colors. According to biology, the eye focuses these colors directly on the retina which results in less strained eye muscles. There is a reason why we use expressions such as – ‘red with anger’ and ‘green with envy’. The effects of colors are myriad. Hence, making colorful artworks plays an important role in expressing what human vocalization cannot. 

    Studying Art Therapy

    Art therapy uses the process of drawing, painting, and sculpting to enhance mental well-being. It is based on the premise of improving self-awareness, and one does not have to be Picasso to benefit from this! Art therapists work with clients of any age in mainstream and special education classes to guide them with this technique of exploring personal problems through the integration of sensory and physical activity. Students pursuing a degree in Art Therapy will take a combination of art and psychology courses.

    Art therapy for children with ADHD

    ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic condition that can be caused due to reasons ranging from genetics to prenatal exposures. While it can’t be cured, ADHD can be mitigated with proper medication. One of the notable alternate therapies for it is art therapy. A child suffering from ADHD experiences problems in communicating her/his feelings and art therapy acts as a facilitator to do so. 

    Children are often scolded for not being attentive in the classroom. Art therapy has shown to notably increase the attention span of a child by providing a source of focus. Since art is a natural part of play in children’s development, art projects under this therapy interest them. This therapy utilizes different forms of nonverbal creative expressions, which helps the child in engaging with the world without verbal outbursts. It helps a child get in sync with their inner positivity and creative energy.

    The therapeutic nature of art can be found in the structure of the materials as well. The more geometric the shape, the more likely that a child with ADHD would use it as a tool. This is because such materials are easy to control (like pencil colors) as opposed to fluid materials (like paint). This makes a child feel more in control of their surroundings and reduces their anxiety. The opportunity to draw something is essentially giving them a structure to work with. It makes them think about the consequences, thereby addressing the issues of distractibility and erred sequential thinking.

    Children with ADHD often suffer from low self-esteem. Improvement in concentration and performance via art therapy sessions results in reception of praise. This helps in nurturing confidence and a sense of achievement. Art therapy sessions can be a platform that helps in dispelling the feeling of loneliness and social exclusion from within a child.

    Art therapy enhances abilities

    While making art, different parts of the brain are engaged. This results in increasing the brain serotonin level, the lack of which causes depression. Making art from a memory whets a child’s analytic and sequential operations, logic, and abstraction. It also helps a child in exploring their identity, which is a powerful process as it improves a child’s self-efficacy. The current pandemic has restricted our movement. Schools have not re-opened thereby, limiting a child’s experiences that would have aided their social and emotional growth. Art therapy can provide children with an engaging way to explore and enhance their abilities even in the times of a pandemic.

     

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  • The value of resiliency

    by Alana Castle

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    The past few months have presented many of us with changes and challenges unlike any that we have faced before in our lifetimes. From transitioning to remote, online learning (then back to a hybrid model of online and in-person learning) and adjusting to a world in which facemasks and social distancing are the new norm, the COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted every aspect of life as we once knew it. Although much remains uncertain, I am able to reflect and acknowledge that the past few months have taught me quite a bit. Specifically, I have learned a lot about the value of resiliency

    Practicing Resiliency

    One of the most difficult aspects of coping with the changes brought upon us all by the pandemic is the fact that we are unable to be in control of many facets of our lives. Whether it be our education, work, or even our social lives, the pandemic prevents us from living out our ‘normal’ day-to-day lives. This feeling of being out of control can leave many of us, myself included, feeling overwhelmed and oftentimes on the verge of coming undone

    Thankfully, these situations are exactly the kind that resiliency can help us to overcome.  Instead of letting our circumstances dictate us and dwelling on the negative, practicing resiliency allows us to handle unforeseen and unprecedented events in ways that cultivate emotional strength and personal growth. 

    Focusing on the Positives

    I can acknowledge that the pandemic has brought unfavorable change into my life without placing blame or brooding on what I cannot control. I can reach out to friends and family to work through my emotions and realize that I am not alone in what I face. I can focus on the multitude of positives in my life that the pandemic cannot alter.

    Dealing with change is an inevitable part of life. How we adjust to these changes determines what our lives will look like moving forward. Although it is not easy, remaining resilient in the face of life’s adversities can help each of us to live more meaningful, fulfilling, and happy lives. 

    Piece by Piece

    I admit that I did not suddenly start seeing life through rose-colored glasses, but, by practicing resiliency, I have better been able to work through the challenges, setbacks, and losses that I have faced in recent months. Resiliency helps me to keep moving forward little by little, piece by piece. I hope that it can help you do the same. 

     

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  • 'Not racist' isn't enough: A guide to being anti-racist for college students

    by Jasmine Edmonson

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    Discourse about racism isn’t comfortable, but the perpetuation and prevalence of police brutality towards Blacks are encouraging individuals to push the agenda of dismantling systemic racism. The most effective mindset White and non-Black people of color can obtain to deconstruct systemic racism is to become anti-racist. An anti-racist is an individual who opposes racism and promotes racial tolerance, according to New Oxford American Dictionary.

    The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brook ignited outrage in people around the world. People are protesting, signing petitions, writing letters to their local officials and donating to well-known and grass-root organizations that help fight injustices in the Black community. Many statues of men who glorified racism are being legally removed. New legislation is passing that supports police reform and anti-discrimination toward Blacks. Most U.S. states marked Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the official end of slavery, a state holiday. Social media influencers are using their platforms to amplify the voices of Black activists. White and non-Black people of color are promoting Black-owned businesses and Black creators.  

    Although the deaths of Floyd, Taylor, Arbery and Brooks is resulting in progress of justice for the Black community, it’s not enough. The desire to dismantle systemic racism must not become a reoccurring trend but an intrinsic value. Education and persistently being anti-racist is the ideal way to deconstruct a system that begin by legally enslaving Blacks for 400 years.  Here’s how college students can strive towards being anti-racist to help achieve the long-term goal of permanent equality and justice for the Black community.

    Engage in Critically-Acclaimed Books, Podcasts and Films 

    It’s essential that White and non-Black people of color engage in credible literary resources to understand the creation of systemic racism and its effects. This invaluable step gives individuals the opportunity to learn about White privilege and its catalyzation of Black oppression, recognize their unconscious biases and microaggressions toward Blacks and the derivations, acknowledge that the minority model is a myth and educate children, family, and friends on systemic racism. 

    Books

    “How to be Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi, “Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America” by Jennifer Harvey, “White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo, “Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge, “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander and children’s book “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham are great reads to start off with about systemic racism. 

    Podcasts

    1619’s “The Fight for a True Democracy,” Throughline’s “American Police,” United States of Anxiety’s “40 Acres in Mississippi,” Pod Save the People’s “Justice for Ahmaud Arbery” and Floodline’s “Antediluvian” are important episodes to listen to first from podcasts about Black oppression in society. 

    Movies

    “13th,” “I am Not Your Negro” “Selma” “When They See Us” and “The Hate U Give,” are remarkable films that discuss anti-Blackness, racial disparity and the inspiration behind the Black power movement. 

    Solidify Your Political Activism 

    Racism is a global human rights issue, but anti-racists must be politically involved in their local community to create long-lasting change. It’s important to become educated on the policies of local elected officials and candidates to know if their morals and ethics support the Black community. Voting is the greatest tool anti-racist citizens can use to elect local officials who are anti-racist. This prevents policy makers, who create policies that help perpetuate systemic racism, from being in positions of power. Anti-racists should make sure some of their votes go toward Black candidates or Black students in government, if they are a college student, which helps amplify Black voices. Sites such as Vote.org tells eligible individuals if they’re registered to vote and walks them through an easy registration process if they aren’t. 

    Constant engagement with grass-root organizations that fight anti-Blackness allows anti-racists to learn more about specific injustices toward Blacks in their local community and effective strategies to solve them. Anti-racist should make consistent donations to well-known and local organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement and sign petitions that help dismantle systemic racism. Social media is a popular tool anti-racists can use to inform and educate their followers on social and political events occurring in their local community that support Blacks. 

    Be an Ally in Non-Black Spaces 

    The persistence and dedication of being anti-racist is usually tested when White and Non-Black people of color encounter spaces in which Blacks aren’t present. The most appreciative action that shows allyship for the Black community is standing up for them in spaces in which they’re not able to defend themselves. Anti-racists must maturely confront and accurately educate individuals who use racial slurs or language. During the confrontation, anti-racists should kindly invite the individual to attend a meeting at their organization that’s fighting anti-Blackness. College students can encourage others to enroll in at least one Black studies course to understand systemic racism, join clubs and organizations that genuinely celebrate multiculturalism and attend speeches by Black speakers. Anti-racists can recommend Black business in the local community to help combat stereotypes about the Black community and support the beauty of Black culture.  

    Dismantling systemic racism is a gradual process but continues to diminish many injustices toward the Black community. This global effect stems from the efforts made by anti-racists, including college students, who continue to educate themselves on systemic racism, actively listen to personal experiences within the Black community and hold themselves accountable for ending the perpetuation of Black oppression to create a fair and better life for Blacks from present and future generations. 

     

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