• Study Abroad – Post-COVID Edition

    by Kiara Lozano

    An ornate ceiling of a cathedral in Rome, Italy.

    Now that travelling restrictions are beginning to loosen, it’s time to start thinking about studying abroad again. Travelling post-COVID brings many new challenges that haven’t presented themselves before. However, do not let it set you back - you might be surprised at the amazing opportunities they can actually create. I know that with proper planning you will be ready to take on the world this year!

    Pre-departure Preparations

    In addition to getting your passport, packing, and booking your flight, one of the biggest factors that you need to consider when studying abroad are the health laws and regulations of your host country along with any additional travelling requirement that might be needed upon entry. As the world continues to open up, many places may still require the use of masks in public areas, require proof of vaccination upon entry, or have other key considerations you need to be aware of. Communicating with your study abroad advisor and host country programmer ahead of time is essential for making sure you have all of your documentation and are prepared prior to your departure. For any additional concerns upon arrival, I recommend checking the CDC and US Embassy websites consistently for all of the latest updates relating to your host country.

    Setting Expectations

    My biggest piece of advice – expect the unexpected. During these unprecedented times it is important to consider that your study abroad experience might not look the same as you originally thought and that is okay!!! Instead consider it a chance to be spontaneous, embrace the unknown, and learn more about yourself during the process. When I studied abroad in Italy this past summer, my best experiences where those that were unplanned and unsought after. This was a huge breakaway for me as I tend to be an avid planner. But with COVID restrictions consistently changing throughout my stay, I could never be prepared – no matter how hard I tried. However, this allowed me to go into the experience without any expectations and enjoy the moment just as it presented itself. Not setting expectations truly makes your experience abroad.

    Immersing Yourself in the Culture

    As cliché as it sounds, do as the locals do! There is no better way to experience a new country than by immersing yourself in the culture and exploring the city the way the locals do. During my experience abroad, most of Europe was closed down to tourist and cross-country travelling wasn’t easily accessible or encouraged. This meant that I spent a lot of my time in Rome where I was based. At first this was discouraging, not because Rome isn’t amazing (it is!) but because I felt like I wanted to visit as many places as possible during my time abroad. However, I quickly realized that not being able to travel outside the country I was residing in was in fact the best opportunity. I was able to experience Rome with a more local perspective and made many Italian friends along the way. I strongly encourage you to look at study abroad from a more local approach and take the opportunity to welcome new experiences.

    Embracing Change

    Lastly, be open minded and eager to embrace change. This experience will bring many amazing opportunities, but it will also present challenges along the way. It is completely normal to feel homesick or experience culture shock – especially if it is your first time abroad. However, it is important to remember that it is all part of the learning experience and differences should be celebrated. Keeping a positive attitude and having a strong support group, whether it be friends or advisors, will help you overcome these bumps in the road and allow you to enjoy your study abroad experience to the fullest.

    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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  • Going to College the Same Time as My Mom

    by Hannah G. Brennan

    The blog author’s mom is sitting on a grey couch and working on a laptop computer.

    If you’ve seen Melissa McCarthy’s 2018 hit Life of the Party, then you witnessed a hilarious account of a mother and daughter attending the same college, going to the same parties, and eventually graduating together. Having not seen this movie since it came out three years ago, memories of it came rushing back to me when my mom decided to go back to school this past spring.

    After thirty years of raising two kids as a single parent, my mom’s decision to finally become a nurse while working full time is one that motivates me in my own college endeavors. And even though she is not attending UW-Madison with me, here are some ways my mom and I plan to motivate and inspire one another as we each continue our unique college journeys.

    #1: Practicing patience

    My mom and I both being in school has given us an additional experience in common, ultimately bringing us closer together. However, it has taken some work. I can sometimes get frustrated with my mom as I try to guide her through using the new technology that comes with doing schoolwork in the twenty-first century-- let alone the technological leaps education has taken the past year and half due to the pandemic. Doing this is even more difficult when I am on campus over two hours away from her. However, by taking a step back and putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes, we are able to defuse our anger and find a positive common ground.

    #2: Staying positive

    By nature, my mom and I are highly self-critical. Whether it is lamenting over grades not as high as we hoped or letting the await of future assignments overwhelm us in the present, the energy can get negative quite fast. But since we acknowledge this behavior, we take steps to relieve ourselves of the burden. We talk things through (even when we don’t want to talk), help each other make lists to prioritize, and assure one another when confidence is low. For everything, but especially school, my mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. Now I get to be the same for her.

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  • Eat Good, Feel Good

    by Rachel Schachter

    An arrangement of colorful fruit featuring red grapes, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, black berries, strawberries, star fruit, and orange slices.

    Entering college was a major change from high school. Who knew something could possibly take up so much of my time! Despite the virtual aspect of becoming a college student in 2020, finding the time to fulfill my basic daily routines was a struggle. With so much work and so little time to take care of myself, I found myself turning to fast food options far too often when I was constantly running between activities and meetings. I felt it was important for me to take the little free time that I had within my schedule to educate myself on proper nutrition.

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  • Navigating the Student Organizations Fair!

    by Alyson Robinett

    A group of 14 college students posing in front of a scenic overlook with mountains in the background.

    When students come to college, one of the first events they will most likely go to is the school’s student organizations fair. There will be a ton of tables with many current students trying to convince you to join their club. It can seem very overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

     

    Know Yourself

    One of the best ways to approach this fair is by already listing out what your main interests are before you go to the event. This way, you’ll know what kinds of clubs you already want to join, and you won’t be distracted by the various other ones.

     

    Take Your Time

    Another good tip for joining clubs is to make sure you’re not joining too many at once. This was my problem during my freshman year of college. I had already done step one; I knew what I was interested in and what I wanted to join. The problem was that I had too many interests. I ended up joining six clubs! That is way too much for a freshman to handle. Because of this, I became way too stressed and had to quit three of them in less than a month.

     

    Make sure that you give yourself a limit as to how many clubs you join. A good number to start with is one or two. Remember, you have four more years to try out different organizations; you don’t have to join them all in the beginning.

     

    Look Beyond Resume Builders

    Be sure to join at least one organization that personally interests you. Don’t just join something because you think it will look good on your resume. Future employers will not care if you joined a club that focused on your major or community service. They care more about your interests and passions. If they ask you an interview question regarding your experience in a club that you didn’t care about, it won’t matter what the club was about. You have to be able to talk about your experiences and relate them to interview questions, and you can’t do that if you are part of an organization that bores you.

     

    The student org fair doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. These clubs are here to connect you with other students who have similar interests. Go to the fair with an open mind. You have four years to explore and find the groups that are the best fit for you!

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

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  • College Students Can Save Time and Money by Meal Prepping

    by Abby VanDuyne

    An overhead view of four made-ahead meals in glass dishes.

    We've all heard the saying, "You are what you eat", but when we skip meals... what are we? Many college students today skip meals to cram in more studying, sneak in a few more minutes of sleep, or to save a couple of dollars. As a full-time engineering student with plenty on my plate, I can say that meal prepping has saved me time, money, and from losing focus while studying!

    College is a busy time for everyone. A typical day for me starts at 8am and ends at 5pm. Finding time to eat and pack a lunch every morning just doesn’t happen. Furthermore, after finishing a full day of classes, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking dinner. Meal prepping has saved me from a grumbling stomach during class and so much time before and after my day ends.

    Save Time & Money

    Not only has meal prepping saved me time during the school week, but it’s also saved me money. After having a meal plan freshman year, the habit of going to the dining hall for lunch or another quick-eat on campus was deeply ingrained in my brain. In addition, once I was done for the day, I’d be so exhausted that all I would want to do is order take out. I found myself spending so much money going out to eat and then throwing away any groceries I had bought because they’d go bad before I would get around to using them. With the amount of money I would spend on going out to eat, I have been able to make three meals a day, seven days a week for less than $3.75 per meal and a grand total of around $78 at the grocery store.

    This may seem like a large sum of money for a one-time purchase but when you compare the two options, the savings is clear. Let’s say you spend an average of $7 for each meal when you go out to eat.

    Going out to eat once a day:

         1 meal/day x $7/meal x 7 days/ week= $49.00

    Meal prepping for the week:

         3 meals/day x $3.75/meal x 7 days/week = $78.75

    By going out to eat even once a day each week you miss out on major savings and spend over half the amount you could have spent at the grocery store for three times the number of meals!

    Tips & Tricks

    Here are a few things that I have found useful while meal prepping:

    • Make a list of the meals to prep for the upcoming week. This helps me to stay organized and figure out what I need from the grocery store. If I’m struggling to decide, I turn to Pinterest for some food inspiration!
    • Make all of the meals at once. I set aside about 2 hours every Sunday to make everything.
    • Invest in good food storage containers to store it all in. Make sure they are dishwasher safe for convenience and have a secure-snap lid to keep the food fresh!

    The transition from traditional “spur of the moment” cooking or grabbing a bite out to eat can be difficult, especially once these things have become a habit. Once you give it a whirl and begin experiencing the benefits of meal prepping, you’ll be hooked!

    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 Student Activities and How to Get Involved

    by Juan Andres Rodriguez

    A group of Florida Atlantic University students are standing or kneeling on a plaza on their campus. There are palm trees and a large residence hall behind them.

    Every college student has probably heard at least one time from a friend or elder to “enjoy the college experience because there is nothing else like it.” Some may take this advice seriously, but the majority would just brush it off as an insignificant suggestion. Personally, I used to be one of the students to brush it off and ignore this advice, but I now realize the importance of participating in different school activities, joining clubs, and even getting involved with the student government. From meeting new people to opening up opportunities for the future, check out the benefits of student activities and how to get involved.

    Getting Started

    At this point, you may still be questioning the importance of getting involved in student activities at your school and for good reason. As I mentioned before, I also did not understand how beneficial and enjoyable it is to join different organizations and participate in various events. Getting involved in school activities is a lot like reading a book. The hardest part is getting yourself to start, but once you get past that barrier you soon realize how entertaining and fun it actually is. Not to mention how both of these things are not only a fun pastime but are beneficial for your everyday life and future.

    Jumping In

    As for how to apply for a student organization or club, I recommend contacting to your university’s student activities office, as they will have administrators that can help you get involved. Just google your college along with the words “student involvement” and there will be information on how to contact them. Often, clubs try to have an active presence on social media as well. Many campuses host a student organization fair at the beginning of the school year to help students get involved with campus organizations.

    Building Relationships

    One of the huge benefits you receive from joining a student organization are the people you meet and spend time with. The relationships that you build by participating in student activities and organizations are invaluable. Not only are they helpful in the present but are important for your future. These new relationships become part of your network. You never know who may help you with landing a job or achieving a personal goal. For example, one of my goals is to join student government. By participating in different activities online, I have already been able to connect with the Student Government President, Vice President, and some House Members.

    As the new school year begins, be proactive in seeking extracurricular activities to round out your college experience. Go out there and get involved because great opportunities await!

    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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  • Essential Apps for College Students

    by Sidney Li

    An iPad with various app icons on the home screen. There is a college workbook underneath.

    College is notoriously known to be difficult but with the increased presence of technology in every college student’s life, there are a plethora of apps that students can utilize. From managing homework to notetaking to saving money and more, apps can be integrated into the traditional lifestyles of college students. Here is a list of the top apps that I have religiously used since a freshman in college to now as a college senior.

    Google Drive and Google Office Apps

    Having the ability to organize my classes, semesters, projects, and more into folders with Google Docs, Google sheets, Google slides, and other files has been so beneficial. It makes searching and referring to old notes, projects, presentations, and papers reliable and simple.

    Notability

    Since I use an iPad and Apple pencil to take notes during lectures or to study, I use Notability practically every day when I’m taking classes. You can even audio record while writing your notes so you can easily refer back to your lectures when studying. Although it isn’t a free app, it is so worth the money. I can easily organize my notes within subjects and furthermore into dividers too.

    Venmo

    I can’t remember the last time I paid for something in cash. Having Venmo has allowed me to split request my friends if I want to pay for something on my card or Venmo my friends to cover me when I forget my card too.

    Postmates, GrubHub, and/or DoorDash

    Sometimes cooking just sounds daunting or a lot of work. At the end of a long day, sometimes it is so nice and convenient having food delivered right to your dorm or place so you can focus on other necessities in your busy life.

    Uber and Lyft

    While living off campus has its perks, it gets intimidating studying at the library all day and having to walk back to my place alone at night. Using Uber and Lyft has allowed me to not stress about my safety and not worry about facing the unpredictable weather I get in Ohio.

    Google Calendar

    I personally prefer using Google Calendar but using the built-in calendar in Apple is pretty similar with the same objectives. I can sync my academic calendar for the semester along with adding events, creating reminders, and even sharing my availability all in one place.

    Quizlet

    Quizlet is notorious for creating and sharing flashcard decks for classes and subjects. Not only that, but Quizlet can let you play time-based games to help you memorize terms in a fun manner.

    Spotify

    Spotify is a great music streaming app that caters to your listening and preferences. They even have a deal for students for their Spotify premium monthly memberships where listeners can download music and listen without ads. Also, they have a gamut of playlists for different and every occasion possible like studying, partying, emotions, and holidays.

    Mint

    Keeping track of my spending has allowed me to budget my weekly and monthly finances. I can categorize what I spend and create budgets for a variety of categories, such as traveling, groceries, clothes, gas, bills, investments, and more.

    MyFitnessPal

    Having an app to monitor my workouts and eating habits is so useful to maintain a healthy mindset. You can even track everything from your sleep down to the specific micronutrients that you consume in a day.

    Grammarly

    Grammarly catches grammar issues, misspelling, and punctuation errors. This is so useful and makes proofreading easier especially for long papers and emails to professors. It is also available as a browser extension for your computer.

    The goal of technology is to help make your life easier. By using these apps, I have found I am able to simplify previously time-consuming activities so that I can focus on other aspects of my life.

    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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  • Developing Your Personal Brand: The Art of Selling Yourself

    by Keila Garza

    Nine pencils in a pencil cup. Eight of the pencils are the standard dark yellow color, but the one in the middle is hot pink.

    Who Am I?

    Picture this: after years of working hard in college, you find yourself interviewing for your dream job – the exact one you have pinned on your vision board. Having prepared for this opportunity, you expect positive results. You are acing every interview question until they ask, “how would you describe yourself, and what skills can you offer us?” You freeze. Describe myself? Oh no, the dreaded 30 second elevator pitch. How do I narrow down 20+ years of living to 30 seconds? What is actually important in communicating ‘who am I’?

    The Secret

    Well, you’re a college student, but is that all? In spite of the dramatization, many students panic and freeze in these circumstances, but should you? As a fellow college student, allow me to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: you will soon be entering the very competitive job market where such questions are commonplace! It is important to be aware and prepare yourself for this daunting task early on in your college career.

    Perhaps you may have already gotten the chance to “dip your feet” into this metaphorical ocean of the job market with a hopeful heart, only to find yourself fade into the vast sea of similar job seekers. Or, like many other college students, you have not yet had the opportunity to interview for a professional role. I propose that your experiences as a student are not as shallow as you might imagine and provide a depth of knowledge from which to share.  Wherever you are in your professional job search, it’s never too early to work on a very essential part of your professional self – your personal brand.

    What is a Personal Brand?

    So, what exactly is a personal brand and where can you buy it? Is it expensive? Actually, you already have it; we all do. Each of us develops our own personal brand through our unique experiences and is characterized by the skills and deportment acquired over time.

    Consider the classes you might take at university, or the extracurricular activities that populate your schedule. Interested in spicing up your communication and developing effective delivery techniques? Take a class on public speaking and learn the mechanics of rhetoric and nonverbal cues. Want to brush up on your collaborative skills? Join an intercollegiate sports club where you can aspire to win the championship game with your teammates. Or audition for the next performance of Hamlet with the theater club and learn what it takes to labor for weeks alongside your fellow thespians. Pursuing the skills you want to strengthen will help you begin to shape your personal brand. The important thing is not what you choose to do, but that you choose to do something at all! Just go for it!

    You Can Do This!

    While developing a personal brand may seem like a very daunting task which lies out of reach for the everyman, gradual steps taken in pursuit of personal development are not only attainable, but practical as well. Be intentional about developing your personal brand! You are the catalyst of your own development and success. And when you are confronted by land mines of questions from interviewers, think back to all of your experiences and how they have molded you.

    Your personal brand is a tool which you can wield to your advantage; use it wisely. Cultivate your personal brand in a way that is unique to you so that you can distinguish yourself from the sea of faces and achieve your dreams. 

    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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  • Pearson’s Dynamic Study Modules Promote Mastery

    by Ambyr Dack

    A laptop computer is open on a desk with Dynamic Study Modules showing on the screen. Behind the laptop there is a window and a potted plant.

    Picture this: you are doing your homework and two answers seem like they are both right. You choose one, click the button, and up pops a huge red “X!” We have all been there, and it's even worse when it happens on an exam. That's why I love the Pearson dynamic study modules! Dynamic study modules are like a combination of personalized notecards and your eText. They allow you to review what you already know and focus on what you do not know. Even better, you can learn without the pressure of getting questions wrong. 

    Studying with a twist

    Dynamic study modules are a set of questions based on your textbook chapter readings. Each question is followed by five answer choices with large circles next to each one. The first four choices are based on the content of the question and the fifth choice is always “I Don’t Know.” You answer the questions by clicking on the circle next to your answer choice; however, there is a twist!

    If you are certain of an answer, you can double click the circle next to your choice to fill it completely. This will help to filter the material you’ve mastered, allowing you to focus on what you do not know.

    If you are unsure of your answer choice, you can click on the circle once to fill in the circle halfway and you won’t be penalized if you’re incorrect. Whether that choice was right or wrong, you will have the ability within the module to see the correct answer and read a small section straight from your textbook that explains why it's correct.

    You can also click the “I Don’t Know” button for a no penalty response. Just like if you answered a question halfway, you would get to see the correct answer and an explanation. 

    Questions you answered halfway or with “I Don’t Know” will come up again later in the module to make sure you fully understand the answers. The goal of these modules is to master the subject matter. With every correct answer you fulfill a green bar, meaning you are one step closer to mastery!

    Better retention leads to better results

    I took a course last semester that utilized Dynamic Study Modules and they helped me truly understand the content rather than just memorizing flashcards. I found that I had an easier time retaining the information that I learned because of this, and I enjoyed learning! I mean-- who likes being penalized when they get an answer wrong? No one!

    These modules alleviated my stress that points were being chipped away at my grade with every wrong answer. Better yet, I could review the modules all semester in two different ways: Smart Refresh and Refresh, allowing me to go back and review chapters quickly or in depth. It was perfect for when I had to review for exams or needed a quick refresh on the material before class.

    If you are currently enrolled in a course that utilizes Pearson Dynamic Study Modules, or if you take one in the future, I highly recommend taking full advantage of them to gain a deeper understanding of your course material!

    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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