• How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

    by Christy Zheng

    Friends in a Zoom call

    So, you’ve spent the last couple of months working and studying and your midterms and finals are finally over. You now have all this extra free time and don’t know what to do with it. Well, as an expert in feeling completely lost after school ends, let me help guide you on what you should do over winter break to help you 1) prepare for next semester 2) have fun while staying safe during COVID-19!

    Actually Take Time Off

    First, take a few days off. Don’t jump right into your work! You just worked your butt off studying for finals and you deserve a couple of days off. Use this time to destress, sleep, binge all the shows you weren’t able to, and generally relax.

    Though COVID-19 has made going out and having some semblance of a normal life very difficult, there are still some things you can enjoy safely. First, you can always cozy up in your fuzzy socks and blanket to watch a good Christmas movie. I recommend The Santa Clause– it’s a classic. If your friends are also on break, I recommend hopping on a Zoom call with them and watching the movie together. Although many of us can’t physically be in the same room, small things like this make a huge difference.

    Spend Time with Friends

    Next, I’d recommend scheduling time to catch up with your friends. It’s often easy to get caught up in your own world and now that everything is online, it’s even harder to connect with people. You don’t run into people randomly in the dining hall, so we have to make a conscious effort to reach out to people. Don’t be afraid to message someone you were in a group project with or even someone who you talked to in a breakout room! You never know where the best friendships could arise.

    Getting Back to Work

    After those few weeks, you may start feeling restless. I know I always get bored very quickly whenever I’m on break. Use this as motivation to get back to work. I know many of us are looking for summer internships and this is the perfect time to prepare. Get your LinkedIn ready, scour Google for contacts or positions to apply to, and if you’re just a freshman, don’t be afraid to work at a local company or organization. Any experience is better than no experience. And with COVID-19, job hunting virtually has been made easier than ever. Don’t be afraid to cold email or message people on LinkedIn about your interest in their position or company!

    Next, try to stay on a somewhat consistent schedule and maybe start learning again. It doesn’t have to be linear algebra or biochemistry, but it never hurts to stay informed and educate yourself. I recommend finding some podcasts to listen to when doing your morning or night routine.

    If you want to be extra prepared for the upcoming school year, try to find the syllabus for your classes and get ahead on readings, or the topic in general. This is going to make the future you very grateful and happy.

    Before you know it, you’ll be ending your break and going back to school soon. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and will be ready and energized to tackle the spring semester!

    Pearson Students: What is your favorite thing to do over break?

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  • Holidays on Campus: Winter Wonderland Room Tour

    by Camryn McCrary

    Woman holding hands up catching snowflakes

    Even though it doesn’t snow here in San Diego, I am from Ohio so the winter and holiday snowy season will always remind me of home. Click the link below to view my vlog showcasing how I’ve brought a little bit of home into to my winter wonderland room decor. Happy Holidays from California!

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  • Overcoming Failure: How to Dust Yourself Off and Set Yourself Up for Success

    by McKinley Falkowski

    McKinley Falkowski

    I am often faced with a simple adage in life: whether it be academic, personal, or career related, failure happens, but it is our ability to stand up and dust ourselves off following this, that will drive us to success. The Latin phrase, “per Astra per aspera” or “through adversity to the stars” is emblematic of the challenges we face. Failure is a part of life, and however de-moralizing it may feel, there are lessons we learn by going through such scenarios. As an example, I recently lost an election in a race for a local Board of Education. But there are things I learned in my loss, that coming out of it has made me a better employee, student, and general member of society.

    Reflect on your actions

    Following my electoral loss, I faced the reality that the plan I had created for myself and had been following for years was disrupted. At that very moment though, I had to make a choice, either to continue the path I was headed down, unaware of what lay ahead, or reflect and figure out exactly what went wrong, and where. I created a timeline of my campaign, carefully analyzed methods and strategy of mine, I discussed tactics with some stakeholders in my campaign, and had honest conversations with them on what I did right, but most importantly, what I did wrong.

    It was here that I learned that it is a necessity for anyone, in whatever failure they may face, whether it be minor or large, that the ability to critically reflect on ones actions, and be open minded on the findings is crucial to overcoming failure. Without the ability to reflect on oneself, you are bound to repeat these failures, and as Mark Twain once put it “There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule”.

    Visualize your challenges

    While the ability to reflect is essential to overcoming a failure, the ability to be visionary is another. No, I am not talking about wishful idealism, or a vision that ignores the enormity of challenges before you. I am talking about a vision that allows you to see the challenges and how they should be tackled. Following this period of reflection, you must see where the challenges before you lay, and come up with a visionary plan as to how they must be tackled.

    When it relates to my electoral loss, my reflection followed a major course correction, but this correction did not underestimate the challenges before me. However masterful of a plan you create, you must embrace the nature of life, where the unexpected may suddenly appear and you must deal with it.

    Follow through on the process

    The last, and perhaps most fundamental characteristic of overcoming a failure is the ability to follow through. This strenuous ordeal requires a great deal of devotion, organization, and perseverance. Without follow through, the ability to craft an expansive reflection and establish a vision for the future becomes meaningless.

    Failure is an unequivocal aspect of life; however, it is our ability to learn and grow that is key to our individual success. Although each of us may face unique scenarios, we are united in our struggle to ascertain a better future.

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  • A Major Decision Made Easy!

    by Rachel Hutchinson

    A woman holding a book with smile

    Exploring and applying to colleges was a long and difficult process, and when I finally chose to attend CU Boulder, I thought all of my decisions had been made. However, there was a new weight on my shoulders: what would I study?

    Choosing a major is an extremely important decision, and at first, I felt very stressed about making it. However, I soon realized that the decision came naturally.

    Take Your Time

    Some people know what career path they want to follow before they even enter college, but don’t worry if you are not one of these people. College is an opportunity to explore different passions and areas of study, and you do not need to decide your major before you have the chance to explore. Most colleges want you to decide your major by the end of your sophomore year, which gives you two years to discover your passions.

    When I came to CU, I knew that I wanted to eventually pursue a career in business, but I had no idea the specific area of emphasis. Business includes a plethora of career paths, from information management and data analytics to finance and accounting. My school allowed me to try all of these areas during my freshman and sophomore years and by the end, I was able to choose the field I was most excited about. I realized that I loved accounting, so I declared my major and began taking more accounting related classes my junior year.

    Don’t Stress!

    My advice for you if you are struggling to decide a major is to take time to explore your options. Spend the first year or two of college taking tons of different courses and finding what you love. Don’t stress too much about it! If you choose something you don’t end up liking, you can always change your major. Many people change their majors in college. It is completely normal.

    Overall, choosing your major can be scary but also very exciting when you finally decide what you want to pursue. I wish you luck on your journey through discovering your passions and choosing a major!

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  • A Holiday Season Bucket List

    by Taylor Guynup

    A male and female college student sitting in front of a large red Christmas ornament

    As the song goes, ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’! It’s also one of the best seasons to spend time with friends and family. December is here, you’re done (or nearly done) with school and you have some free time. Even amid a global pandemic, there are still ways to get in the spirit. Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas season things to do with my friends and family.

    Looking at Christmas Lights

    Driving or walking through neighborhoods to look at the lights is one of my favorite things to do. Some cities or universities will also have a Christmas celebration. Search online for neighborhoods or city spots near you to see where the best lights are!

    Hot Chocolate and Movie Night

    During the holiday season it’s chilly out at night and my favorite thing to do is snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket, make some hot cocoa, and turn on a classic Christmas movie. My two favorite holiday movies are Elf and White Christmas. You can even make a mini hot chocolate bar where people can make their own hot chocolate creation.

    Ice Skating

    I’ll admit I am not the most graceful ice skater out there, but I always have a lot of fun! Many ice rinks have Covid guidelines in place so they can safely offer open sessions to the public during this season. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

    Decorating a Holiday Treat

    Cookies, brownies, gingerbread houses, oh my! There are so many holiday treats that can be made and decorated. I love this tradition because somehow icing always ends up on my face rather than the cookie. It’s a fun time that your taste buds can enjoy afterwards.

    Putting Up Decorations

    One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was decorate the Christmas tree with my parents. I loved looking at all the ornaments and hearing the stories behind them. Although I’ve graduated now, in the past, my college roommates and I also decorated our house and it was a night full of laughs and smiles. This will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit.

    Serving in a Soup Kitchen

    The holiday season is a time to be thankful for everything we have however, there are those who are less fortunate than us. There are a lot of soup kitchens or other service locations that need volunteers and it is a great way to give back to your community while still spending time with your friends and family.

    Taking Christmas Card Pictures

    Before I graduated, this was a super fun thing to do with my roommates! My friends and I got silly Christmas sweaters and took pictures on campus. We just printed pictures out at CVS and signed the back to send to our friends and family.

    Make a Homemade Gift or Card

    A gift from the heart is the most precious gift. My mom and I used to hand make Christmas cards with stamps and it was so much fun. I got some quality time with my mom and all of our relatives loved the unique cards. Find ideas and inspiration for homemade gifts and cards on Pinterest.

    Elf on the Shelf

    This is a silly and fun holiday tradition. It’s always interesting finding what our elf was doing the next morning. People may think it is just for kids, but it can also be a fun thing to do with roommates or family as we get older. Seeing who can come up with the funniest idea will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

    Jam Out to Some Tunes

    Whether you have a long plane ride or a lot of holiday shopping to do, Christmas music will make your day much merrier. Christmas time can get a little stressful but blasting music can put anyone in a better mood.

    This time of year can be jam-packed with things to do and sometimes people can forget to have fun. Having things that you enjoy and love is the true reason for the season. I hope these ideas help you with doing fun things and that you have a Merry Christmas!

    Pearson Students: What is part of your Christmas Bucket List? Share by commenting below!

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  • Eating Healthy at Home

    by Megan Cistulli

    Healthy food nicely arranged in a plate placed on the table

    What’s harder than standing six feet away from everyone around you? Standing six feet away from a fridge filled with cookie dough, gelato, and leftover pizza and a cupboard filled with potato chips, gummy candies, snack cakes, and Girl Scout Cookies. Unfortunately, I don’t think the bathroom scale is broken this time.

    Our current pandemic is causing us to overeat food high in fat and sugar leading to unhealthy weight gain; it won’t be getting any easier during the holidays! During this time, I have found three great strategies to help stop overeating and focus on a healthy and fun lifestyle.

    Intermittent Fasting

    The first strategy I implemented when COVID-19 forced us indoors was intermittent fasting. Personally, I find this strategy easy, and it leaves my body feeling wonderful. The easiest fasting schedule is a 16/8 schedule. For 16 hours you fast, and you only eat during the other 8 hours. The best part about intermittent fasting is for most of the fasting period, you are asleep. Think of yourself as a bear. Sixteen hours of your 24-hour day are left to your body to burn fat like a bear in hibernation while the other 8 hours allow you to fuel your body so that you can stock up for “winter.” In my case, I do not eat until 11am, and I stop eating at 7pm.

    Sugar Free (sort of)

    I must admit: my sweet tooth is as big as anyone’s. Suppressing your sweet tooth completely does not work. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Designate certain days in which you allow your body to consume sugar. This tactic not only leads to discipline but also gives you a chance to savor the sugary sweets when you do consume them. For me, I only allow sugar like ice cream and cookies on Sunday. Now my Sundays are not only relaxing but are also a little extra sweet.

    Vegetarian

    If you get bored, like I did the second week of quarantine, try a new lifestyle altogether! I decided to try a vegetarian diet. I have been meat-free for about four months now. Of course, you can try any type of lifestyle from vegan to pescatarian to flexitarian. The sky is the limit, my friends.

    These three viable options can make a major positive impact in your day to day life especially while we hunker down in our homes, but make sure to always workout when you can to keep your metabolism engaged and your endorphins flowing. Notably, these strategies can be short term – until the pandemic subsides – or long term depending on your body’s reaction to the change.

    Next time you go grocery shopping, cut down on the sugar so your kitchen is not home to as many temptations. The next time you are craving a Twinkie, do twenty jumping jacks and eat a banana instead.

    We all get cravings or like to treat ourselves from time to time – try to be aware of how you are treating your body and be mindful! We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel, so hold on until then because the light is much sweeter than the fleeting pleasure and regretful feeling of scarfing down an entire box of Thin Mints.

    Pearson Students: How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle during quarantine? Share in the comments below!

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