• Coffee with a CEO: College students gain more by networking up

    by Timothy Evans

    A screenshot of the blog author on a web call with 13 others.

    A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest rank that you can achieve in a company. For many of us, achieving this position seems like a far-off dream – especially as a college student. Students know that networking is important, and while it can be intimidating to network up with a higher-level executive, there’s so much to gain by putting yourself out there.

    When making the connection, it is natural to get nervous, of course, but you don’t need to change who you are to impress them. Students tend to forget that a CEO is still a human being. Here are three things I do during the preparation, presenting, and follow-up stages of connecting with a CEO.

    Preparation

    This step is crucial. By preparing, you will have a better grasp of what to say and ask. Yes, you will get nervous, but the preparation phase helps calm those nerves. It’s similar to taking a test after studying extensively: you still feel anxious, but you KNOW that you are ready. Ways in which you can prepare are simple.

    • Pick out clothes to wear the day before. Your clothing choice is essential. It shows the executive that you respect them and that you are here to be remembered. Even in a virtual setting, you want to look professional on screen.
    • Write out an outline of what you want to say. Make sure to keep this as an outline. You are not reading a word-for-word script but helping to keep a conversation structure. Studies have shown that going over an outline three times can best prepare you for a presentation.
    • Get questions ready that aren’t just about the business or your goals. Ask questions about his/her interests and try and find things that build a relationship between the two of you. This will help you stand out from the crowd as well.

    The prep phase is critical, and with these three things in mind, you can wake up in the morning with the most incredible sense of relief.

    Presenting

    You will be nervous. Do not try and fight that - embrace it. When you speak to an executive, you want to keep it brief. Do not ramble on. Show them that you can get to the point and respect their time. When presenting, make eye contact, use your hands when speaking to declare emphases, and nod when spoken to. These all are important in showing that you can be confident in your ideas and an active listener. Lastly, presenting doesn’t mean just you are speaking. Let the other person talk as well. Ask questions about things they bring up to show interest and show that you care about what they are saying and want to know more.

    Follow Up

    After the meeting or casual coffee call, make sure you follow up and share something that you appreciated about the conversation. People love reflecting on good stories, and CEO’s are no different. Don’t forget that it is okay to ask questions in the follow-up email. It doesn’t have to be goodbye. If you liked your conversation and felt it was a good connection, use this email as an invitation to connect further.

    Now that you have understanding of the do’s and don’ts, you should be ready to put yourself out there and grab the attention of an executive. Remember to always prepare beforehand, maintain good presentation skills, and be ready to continue the conversation, even after the call.

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


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  • College Students: Develop Money Management Skills Now as an Investment in Your Future

    by Molly Hicks

    A young woman looks at a laptop screen showing investment information.

    As a college student, money management can appear daunting. It is natural to brush it off as a topic which only concerns adults. I am currently a freshman in college, and ten months ago, I had no true interest in investing. However, during quarantine, my dad began to explain the perks and advantages of investing. It certainly sounded attractive, but how was I supposed to invest my personal money when I did not even know the basics?

    I am excited to share four steps to encourage you to invest and lead you to long-term success.

    1. Identify a trading platform that fits your needs and interests. Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Robinhood are reliable and safe companies, and I know many people using each. For a beginner, Robinhood is the easiest platform to use. All three of these platforms have little to no fees for investing.
    2. Open a Roth IRA account, as well as a normal brokerage account. An IRA is designed for long-term investing, which usually means your money stays in the account until retirement. A brokerage account gives you access to invest and withdraw your money at any time. Opening both an IRA and a brokerage account allows you to do long-term investing and short-term investing.
    3. Create an investment plan. At this point you are ready to invest! This is an exciting time in your life, especially if you are a first-time investor. It is important to identify your goals and purpose for investing, and then to plan and research based those goals.
    4. Identify investments that interest you. Look for steady, reliable, well-performing companies that are in good financial standing and have a positive outlook for the future. As Warren Buffett says, “if you wouldn’t hold your investment in a company for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” Do not make spur-of-the-moment investment decisions, as I can tell you from personal experience, they usually lead to mistakes. Identify an investment that interests you, think over it for an extended period of time, and then execute.

    My best piece of advice is to invest in an index fund. In simple terms, an index fund is a form of investment that tracks the performance of hundreds of different companies. The S&P 500 Index is the most famous, and there are plenty of funds that follow this particular index.

    Warren Buffett has stated numerous times the importance of investing in a low-cost index fund. Buffett recently said in a 2019 Yahoo! interview, “in 1942, if I put $114 into an S&P 500 fund instead of buying a single stock, it would be worth about $400,000 today.” This is arguably the most risk-free and reliable strategy for investing.

    Make it your goal every month to put at least $10 or more into an index fund in your IRA. You are not only investing in your future, but the future of your family.

    Commit to learning, save your money, and invest it wisely. Also, have confidence, because you are making one of the best decisions for your future, and beginning a lifelong journey of excitement!

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

     

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  • Finding a Faculty Mentor

    by Tori Jacobson

    Blog author Tori Jacobson stands in front of a large presentation board showing information about Gender Socialization.

    Have you heard the term “faculty mentor”? Though connecting with faculty can appear challenging in the digital classroom, it is still possible to find a mentor to help you throughout college. A faculty mentor is a faculty member you can go to for questions, recommendations, and to help prepare you for work in your specific field. My faculty mentor has helped me attend conferences, write research, and she will write a recommendation letter for graduate school. But what makes a good faculty mentor? Here are three characteristics to keep in mind as you are considering a possible mentor search:

    They make themselves available

    How difficult would it be to have a faculty mentor you can never get in touch with? You can often tell pretty quickly how willing a faculty member is to make themselves available as a resource for their students. It may come as a shock, but professors have lives of their own outside of the university setting. Some professors will stick to straight office hours, and those designated time slots will be the only time they will use to communicate with students. Professors who offer one-on-one appointments, their office phone number, or different ways to message them make it evident that they want to get to know and better assist their students. A professor that makes a great faculty mentor will offer multiple options for communication and will appear unbothered to do so.

    They are well connected to their field

    Whether they have always been in academia or if they returned to it recently, having knowledge of opportunities within your field is an important factor in a mentor. This can look like awareness of conferences, internships, or other resume builders they can recommend to you.

    You enjoy their course

    This one sounds like it shouldn’t be a requirement, but it is easier to work with someone when you are used their communication strategies and are comfortable approaching them. If you are terrified to approach this professor, they probably aren’t the best pick. Your job as a mentee is to observe and communicate with your mentor as much as possible to best learn whatever knowledge they are inclined to share. If you already are having difficulty sitting through a one-hour lecture with this professor, adding more one-on-one interactions may not be beneficial.

    I hope these tips help you to find a faculty mentor that fits your needs! This is a great tool for students to utilize while they still have easy access to their highly trained and connected professors. Don’t let that opportunity pass!

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

     

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  • Best Places to Get Virtual Badging

    by Rhea Mathur

    A screenshot of eight digital badge examples for topics related to career development and leadership.

    As the recruitment process relies more and more on virtual aspects, it is more important than ever to maintain an accurate and competitive online presence. Virtual badging is a newer way to receive recognition for skills learned on websites like LinkedIn.com and Monster.com. Virtual badging typically doesn’t take very long to obtain – for many LinkedIn Learning certifications, it could take anywhere between 45 minutes and 3 hours, making the commitment totally worth it!

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  • The Collegiate Experience – COVID-19 Edition

    by Alexa Carlton

    A bright sunny day at a lake in Syracuse, New York, surrounded by trees brown, yellow, and orange leaves.

    If you are in college and anything like me, you will never forget the day March 13th, 2020. That was the day when my classes officially went online at Syracuse University. The reality set in that I no longer would be on campus developing my professional skills, while also creating strong relationships with the people around me. I knew that once August came, I would appreciate every second I had on campus. Syracuse University went with a hybrid class method. Although my experience did revolve around social distancing and mask wearing, I would not trade this school year for anything! I am here to tell you how I enjoyed my college experience during a pandemic and how you can, as well!

    Explore.

    I never really explored the city of Syracuse, New York until this year. It always seemed that I was super busy on campus and unable to leave. However, because of the pandemic, I found myself with a lot more free time. I encourage you to check out the area around your college campus - in a COVID safe way, of course! With proper mask wearing and social distancing, my roommates and I were able to go to fun places that we may have never had the chance to go! We hiked, ate at new restaurants, and explored!

    Be active!

    Personally, I do not find online classes to be much fun. One of my favorite parts of being at school is walking around and seeing familiar faces. Although it was more difficult to get out of my apartment this year, I certainly did not feel trapped. I found myself a running partner and went with her on daily runs. Not only were we able to get all around campus, but we had a fun time while doing so! Even if you are not a runner, I encourage going on walks around campus as this sure saved me!

    Get Involved!

    As crazy as this may seem, a simple Zoom call sometimes made my day. Even if you are not involved in many clubs, it is not too late! All the clubs and organizations I was involved with met on Zoom, but this does not mean the experience was not worthwhile. Often after a long day, it was nice to connect with my friends and classmates!

    The college experience has been vastly different this year than ever before. I have learned to value every moment and experience that I have on the Syracuse University campus. I hope with my tips give you some ideas to do the same on your campus!

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

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  • 11 Tips to Make Any College Club Great

    by Alexa Kosloski

    A laptop screen with a Zoom call open, showing a meeting with 22 participants.

    Throughout my undergrad career, I have served on executive boards for 3 different clubs and served Chapter President for one. Having this experience has allowed me to understand what it takes to truly have a successful college club. Although every organization is different, the steps it takes to be successful are similar. Below are 11 tips that can help take any college club from good to great.

    1) Brainstorm ideas ahead of time

    If you have the opportunity to do so, brainstorm ideas for your club before the semester starts. This can be a huge time saver and stress relief. To accomplish this, have your executive board meet on Zoom during the summer or during winter break prior to the semester start. By brainstorming your ideas ahead of time, you will have an idea of what exactly your club offers so that you can encourage others to join. This also will save you time in the future, so you can just be at your club events instead of stressing about what your next meeting will contain. Members can tell if a club planned something ahead of time or was put together last minute.

    2) Pay attention to your members

    While you may have a million different ideas for your club, your members may not be a fan of all of them. Try to vary your events early on so that you can gauge what activities your members enjoy most and use that feedback to shape what your club offers. Make sure to include members as much as possible, especially if you’re a virtual club. It will be more engaging and will give them more to talk about when other students and employers ask them what they do in the club.

    3) Don’t underestimate word of mouth marketing

    Besides just posting flyers about your events, the executive board members need to share your events with their friends and classmates. You can also see if your professors will share your flyers or let you talk about your bigger events during classes that are of relevant subject matter to your club. A student may be more likely to attend your event if they hear about it from a friend, rather than just seeing it posted on the bulletin board.

    4) Get inspiration from others

    Pay attention to the actions and activities of other clubs on your campus and clubs from other colleges that provide a similar experience. Strive to stay up to date with trends in the specific industry that your club revolves around, or even current events. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

    5) Change it up

    Regardless of what your club is, a little change can be very refreshing. That’s not to say that you have to drastically change the activities that you offer, although you certainly could if you want to. But perhaps there’s a way to improve how you carry out your original activities. For instance, maybe your club has fundraisers at the same restaurant every year. Consider holding the event at another restaurant. A simple change of location can breathe new life into an annual event.

    6) Make it more than a resume builder

    The number one thing that makes a great college club is the executive board. No matter what the reputation of your club is, the executive board has the ability to hold or change that. Be willing to put in the work, not just list the position on your resume. The best clubs put their members first and know that their work will help keep the club running for years after their terms have ended.

    7) Stay organized

    There are so many dates, times, and documents to keep track of when you’re on an executive board. Keep it all in one place that every member can access. This will reduce confusion and you’ll all be able to find everything when you need it. I highly recommend using Google Calendar and Google Drive for all of your club’s organization needs.

    8) Do your checks and balances ahead of time

    While normal member meetings may not require this, running a large event has a lot of moving pieces. Make sure that you talk to the necessary parties WAY in advance. Each piece takes time and the more time that you give yourself, the better your results will be.

    9) Don’t burn yourself out

    While it’s great to have tons of ideas, a club’s members have midterms, finals, and holidays to attend to. Keep these dates in mind to avoid having events during these times, if possible. Your members will appreciate having that time to themselves. In addition to this, gauge how everyone on the executive board is feeling. Do they seem burnt out? If the answer is yes, try to build in a week with no events or meetings to give everyone break. This can really re-energize the board.

    10) Help each other

    While everyone on an executive board has their own tasks to accomplish, some tasks involve more work than others. If you have the chance to help someone, help them. This will create a better bond between you and the other executive board member, and the task will be less stressful and more successful.

    11) Plan for transitions

    There’s a lot of knowledge gained from being on an executive board. You learn what works and what doesn’t work, what struggles and opportunities the club has, important club requirements, and much more. If your club’s former executive board has to learn all of this on their own, they are bound to miss out on potential opportunities and repeat past mistakes. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, have each former executive board member train the incoming board member for their position. This will be immensely helpful and result in greater success for the club.

    While this may seem like a lot to remember, the basic idea comes down to putting your people first. That includes both other executive board members, as well as your general club members. If you continuously work to put them first, everything else will fall into place.

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

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  • Tips from a First-Generation College Student

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

    Student with backpack, walking between buildings

    College is a major change for everyone, but especially for first-generation college students. Between checking lists, bingeing YouTube videos, and seeking advice from social media and mentors, first-generation students strive to surround themselves in advice to ensure that they learn from the mistakes of others. I would know since I lived this first-generation experience. I’m a college junior and over the past 3 years I have read more lists than I can count and made more mistakes than I would like to admit. But among these experiences I’ve learned a few things that I did not see on any YouTube video or tip list and wished someone had told me in my freshman year as first-generation student.

    Tip #1: Distinguish the direction to debt

    Learn how you can fall into debt. It was not until I was in my second year in college that I realized how college debt accumulated. Debt begins to build up when your college/university charges for a semester and you are unable to pay off the total balance charged. This is the point at which students may decide to take out a loan to cover the charge, otherwise your school begins to enforce restrictions such as such as blocking registration, viewing schedules, viewing degree audits, access to campus resources, etc. This may be intuitive to some but for those students and parents who are new to the college experience, this may unfortunately become their first encounter with this process. The earlier you understand this path to debt, the more motivation you may garner to apply to more scholarships, grants, and internships in high school and/or college.

    Tip #2: Discover your department

    Students who enter college already knowing their major or feeling pressured by social or time constraints to stick to a specific major may have tunnel vision and avoid exploring other possibilities. Take time to consider the different courses at least within your current department. You may find another major that is similar to yours but focuses more on a career direction you are more interested in going in. I experienced this shift when I stepped out of my tunnel vision of my nutritional sciences major to see that my career goals better aligned with the Dietetics major, which was in my same department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Following this advice ensures that your major is the best fit for you and what you really want!

    Tip #3: Study your degree audit

    Check, study and get to know your degree audit! A degree audit is a progress checker of how close you are to finishing your degree. It lists all the required courses and types of credits you need for your degree along with the classes you have completed and which requirements they satisfy. Some schools allow students to access it on their own through a student portal, but even if your school does not, I suggest asking your adviser for a copy because becoming literate in your degree audit’s language can be critical to saving time and money in the future. As a freshman, I took extra classes that satisfied certain requirements because I didn’t realize that my degree plan already included classes that would have satisfied those requirements, thus wasting my credits. Taking a certain number of extra credits past your required degree credit count can result in your school charging you for what is called excess hours. In some schools, you are charged double the tuition rate for every excess hour you take! Check your school’s excess hour policy and make sure you are intentional about the classes that you take and do not take, based on your degree audit!

    Tip #4: Remember your reason

    Finally, remember how you got to where you are now! You may encounter trials in your college experience but as a first-generation college student, do not forget the trail you are blazing a trail for your family and yourself. You are entering territory where others near you may have never been before. I and so many others are prouder of you than you can ever imagine. Remember why you are in college and that you never walk alone in this journey!

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

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  • The Benefits of Taking Summer Classes

    by Kiara Lozano

    An open laptop sitting on a table beside an iced coffee drink, writing pads and pens.

    After freshman year, I was so excited to finally have a break. No classes and no responsibilities. I mean who doesn’t want to enjoy their summer after a year of hard work?

    The truth is even though you need a break, taking one or two additional classes during the summer isn’t a bad idea. It can be manageable and very rewarding. I will admit at first I was not easily persuaded, but after my first summer class I was astonished at how easy, convenient, and beneficial it really was. In fact, the summer after my sophomore year I ended up taking four classes over the summer and am now on the path to graduating a semester early.

    Taking summer classes has been one of the most beneficial decisions I have made throughout my college career. Here are some of the reasons why I believe it is a great idea to take a few extra classes whenever you can.

    Save Money

    Summer session courses typically cost less than if you were to take them during the regular school semester and community college courses cost even less. There are also many scholarships available for students interested in taking summer classes that you can apply for.

    Graduate Early

    Taking summer classes do not need to take up all your time. Even just taking one or two every summer can help you graduate early. I recommend taking one in both June and July or doing an intersession to get ahead and not get burned out. By graduating early, not only are you saving money, but you have more time to get ahead in your career or have some off time before you start your job post college.

    Add Credentials

    A different benefit summer classes provide is allowing you to fit more credentials into your college career without adding extra years. Taking some classes during the summer could free up space in your schedule during the regular semesters to add a minor or even a double major.

    Shorter Duration

    Most summer classes are 5 weeks long and the intersessions classes around 2 weeks. Since you are most likely not taking a semester worth of courses, you have more time to focus on the given subject. You can finish classes faster, while still having time to do all the fun things summer has to offer. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    Flexibility

    Finding the format that’s best for you is important. Classes are offered various times throughout the summer, and you can take them in person, online, or asynchronous. Classes also don’t necessarily have to be with your university so if you find one at another university or local community college that fits your needs, get it approved and take it! Having different options is beneficial especially if you are planning a summer trip, work certain times, or simply prefer having more flexibility with your classes.

    Complete Harder Courses

    Finally, summer semesters or intersessions are a great way to tackle your more difficult courses. This allows you to have more time to focus on the subject without having to balance all the other aspects of a regular college semester. It is also a great opportunity to take the classes that are hard to get into, making sure that you get all the credits you need stress free.

    Taking summer classes is a great way to get those tough classes out of the way, get ahead, and save money while still having the flexibility and time to do all the fun summer activities! Don’t be afraid to utilize your time off to get ahead!

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

     

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  • College Students 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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