• College Meal Hack: Korean Beef on a Budget

    by Alivia Clay

    The ingredients listed for the recipe included in the blog, including frozen fried rice, frozen broccoli, soy sauce, and vegetables.

    As a college student, it's important to find meals that are both affordable and delicious. That's why Korean Beef is one of my go-to meals. This dish is not only easy to make but also highly customizable to suit any taste preferences. Plus, it can be cooked in just one pan, making it perfect for students who have limited kitchen space, like me and my roommates.

    To make this dish, you will need the following ingredients:

    • 1 pound of ground beef
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 bag of frozen vegetable fried rice


    1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, onion, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
    2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef with the sesame oil until it's well done.
    3. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the meat and combine it well. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
    4. Add the vegetable fried rice (I like Trader Joe’s brand) to the skillet and let it simmer until the soy sauce mixture is fully absorbed.

    The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. For instance, if you’re not a fan of ginger, you can simply leave it out. Or if you love spice, like me, you can add more than the recommended amount of crushed red pepper flakes. You can also incorporate frozen broccoli to add some extra veggies to the dish. Frozen broccoli is a great option since it doesn't go bad quickly and steams well with the rest of the meal absorbing the sauce’s flavor. If you’re interested in boosting the dish’s protein content, you can scramble an egg into it or top it with a fried egg. This will not only add extra protein but also a delicious flavor.

    This meal requires only a few ingredients but is incredibly delicious. It balances sweet and salty flavors perfectly, creating a dish that's almost addicting. Even when I'm no longer a college student, I can see myself making this dish as a quick and affordable option that tastes restaurant-quality. Enjoy!

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  • Academic Research: Not Just for STEM!

    by Andrew Bierbower

    An outdoor recreational area with a large rock jutting out of the ground.

    When it comes to research opportunities, most people envision a laboratory filled with high-tech equipment, hazardous chemicals, and lots of scientists wearing lab coats working on experiments in biology, chemistry, and physics. This can be intimidating to those who do not have a strong background in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). However, there are many non-STEM opportunities available that can be equally rewarding and arguably even more impactful.

    Research in the Social Sciences

    A major area of non-STEM research is the social sciences. This includes fields like psychology, sociology, and political science, just to name a few. Social science research aims to understand things like human behavior, social structures, and societal issues. As an example, a sociologist may study the effects of social media on mental health or how income inequality may impact crime rates. This type of research helps provide important insights into human behavior and can help inform active, effective, and wide-reaching policy decisions at local, state, and federal levels.

    Medical Research

    Medical research is another important area of non-STEM research that is often overlooked. While medical research often involves STEM fields like biology and chemistry, it also includes non-STEM fields such as epidemiology, public health, and even bioethics. Medical research aims to understand and treat human diseases, while improving healthcare systems and policies. This could include studying the effectiveness of different types of healthcare interventions, healthcare communication to different socio-economic groups, and even understanding the ethical implications of introducing new medical technologies.

    Collaborative Research

    Most importantly, many research opportunities are looking to combine STEM and non-STEM fields into interdisciplinary research. This type of research enables inputs from multiple fields, facilitating new, conceptual solutions that may never have been created solely due to the lack of looking at the problem from a new perspective. For example, an economist may ask a sociologist for help in analyzing healthcare spending habits in underprivileged communities before recommending policies providing subsidies for specific healthcare services. This type of collaboration between disciplines helps create more impactful and significant changes than a singular approach to solving problems.


    Opportunities to get yourself involved in this type of research are wide-ranging; the National Science Foundation runs a program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) in which universities across the US receive federal funding to pursue different disciplines of research. Ethics, Social, Behavioral, and Economic sciences are just a few of the disciplines that are funded by this program. Applying to these programs requires completing an application, writing letters of intent, and most require letters of recommendations from a professor or manager.

    Reach Out to Your Professor

    However, if you miss those deadlines or don’t have the time to complete the applications, you can also reach out directly to professors and working labs at your university or other universities you would be willing to travel to. This approach requires a bit more leg work, as you need to find out background information on the research the professor is doing and seeing if it aligns with what you are interested in. However, it can be much more rewarding in the end when compared to blanket applying to programs as mentioned earlier.

    Regardless of how you choose to pursue research, do not feel like you are limited because you are a non-STEM major. Significant contributions are made every day by people from all backgrounds, including historians, humanists, sociologists, artists, and more. You never know how your perspective can change the lives of those around you!

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  • A Language Learning Journey

    by Princess Robinson

    A young man lies on his back outside on a concrete step. He is wearing headphones and using an app on his phone.

    “Ah-beh-se-cheh-de-eh-efe”, accompanied with a military tune, were the words of the alphabet song that my first high school Spanish teacher played every day. I will never forget it. While some view the language class requirements as a hassle, taking them seriously, especially in high school, changed my life. Indeed, learning multiple languages has benefits, including opportunities to cultivate meaningful relationships, improvement of your first language, and strengthening your memory.

    When a positive engagement or activity evokes feelings of joy and doesn’t seem burdensome, one is said to be passionate about something. Having the ability to speak multiple languages lights my countenance and confirms a part of my purpose. My first high school Spanish teacher was energetic, humorous, and patient. I attentively took notes as he paddled the desks of the drowsy students with a yard long ruler. While I was an average Spanish student, what allowed me to grow in it was repetition. I didn’t exceed the high school Spanish course requirement, but in the summer of my junior high school year, I began to look at my Spanish book and make Spanish vocabulary flash cards, ranging from colors to food. Grocery store runs became opportunities to practice what I had learned. Some people were astonished, celebratory of the bravery of learning a new language, and some were critical. In fact, many people have told me to just speak English. I keep in mind that learning languages is for everyone to learn, is not cultural appropriation, but is a desire for improved communication.

    Learning a second language can improve your first language and enhance memory. Prior to learning Spanish, I didn’t fully grasp the context of the English sentence structure. For example, Spanish taught me that the words for “to be”, “ser” and “estar”, are verbs. Studying a second language also requires a willingness to be disciplined and consistent in training the brain to adapt to different grammatical and sentence structures.

    It can be tricky to figure out the distinction of gender differences in grammatical structure for languages where there are grammatical differences in communicating with males and females. Saying “how are you?”, for instance, is structured differently in some languages because the pronouns you, him, her, and them represent gender in word differences in acknowledging a man or woman. When you begin to study a new language, your brain begins to adapt and you increase your ability to multitask.

    Learning new languages can cultivate priceless connections. As mentioned earlier, as I built my Spanish vocabulary, I implemented what I learned by practicing with people in shopping centers, school, and even church.

    Apps are a primary way to learn languages. In addition to Spanish, I am learning Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Hindi with Pearson’s very own app – Mondly by Pearson, included free when you use Pearson+!

    I’d love to see language learning apps incorporate live instructors from different countries that are willing and able to give personalized lessons. Recently Mondly by Pearson added new options to practice real-life conversations and chat with a personalized virtual language teacher with Mondly VR and Mondly AR.

    Learning a new language takes dedication and discipline. Immerse yourself in YouTube videos in the desired language, use your language learning app on a regular basis, and seek out opportunities to converse with someone who speaks that language. Above all practice, practice, practice and you’ll begin to realize the results of your hard work!

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

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  • Reading Between the Lines: The Power of Annotation

    by Arwa Hammad

    Blog author Arwa’s spiral bound journal showing a page of her annotated notes.

    Do you feel stuck in a reading rut, unable to recall the knowledge you've just absorbed? If this is you, don't worry because there's a solution: annotation! Although there is no "correct" way to use this approach, annotating can be described as writing your thoughts, questions, and observations immediately on the material you're reading. This establishes a permanent record of your thoughts and ideas for future reference, while enhancing your comprehension of the subject matter.


    To begin annotating, I typically take a highlighter and a pen and jot down my thoughts on a sentence, passage, or chapter I've read. I prefer to apply my prior knowledge before reading the chapter and critically search what I have read. This not only enables me to revisit and comprehend what I have written but also allows me to analyze the text in real time, aiding me in understanding the material and identifying where I have encountered confusion.


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  • Navigating the Emotions and Challenges of Your College “Limbo” Years

    by Lauren Blair

    A full stadium at an Iowa State football game.

    Navigating through your college sophomore and junior years towards being a college senior is an underplayed challenge. The new responsibilities and freedoms for freshmen are highlighted and discussed frequently. However, a shadow falls over many college sophomores and juniors as they enter the "limbo" years. They don’t need the support that many freshmen seek yet they also don’t have the spotlight of graduating and entering a full-time position in a few months that the seniors acquire.

    Reality Sets In

    The “limbo” years can feature feelings of burnout and questioning as students feel stuck in a repetitive cycle of attending classes, studying, and taking exams. Many of my peers agree that these years are full of love/hate relationships. They describe going from one day loving their major and studies to the very next day finding themselves questioning everything about their future. The excitement of college has worn off. These students are facing many internal battles to find the right path for their success while managing to have a good time along the way, despite the difficulty of their classes increasing. Some might feel stuck working their way through generic courses, still searching for their passion while having yet to experience the joy of practicing real work in their major field.

    Change Your Mindset

    One way that helps me stay motivated despite the repetitive nature of the “limbo” years is to change my perspective. I struggle to find passion for required courses I have to take outside my major, but I take a step back and evaluate ways I can adjust my performance and attitude towards these classes. A basic course such as English seems taxing and time-consuming to an engineering student, however I recognize that this course may be more helpful for things outside my degree such as scholarship or application essays.

    This change of perspective helps me maintain a positive outlook and an attitude focused on making the best of the situation I am in. I realize I cannot change that I must take courses I may not enjoy but I can change how I approach them. Staying more open-minded allows me to draw something from the course even if it as simple as how to talk to professors or how to study for non-problem-solving courses.

    Set Small Goals

    Another tactic I use is to set small goals so I can visualize my own progression and growth despite feeling stuck in a loop. Setting a different attainable goal each month or between each holiday is an easy way to build in self-progression. For example, after winter break last semester, I set one goal to work towards and after Valentine’s Day I reflected to see how successful I was. I then set a new goal and reflected on that one during Spring Break. Following this schedule, I could see myself growing professionally, academically, and personally as I improved different areas of my life.

    Some examples of goals I have set are to reach out to professional contacts I haven’t reached out to in a while, finalizing an internship position for the summer, cooking more meals in my apartment, or attending a weekly yoga class. These goals cover a wide range of my life and are simply set to help provide myself with a way to track progression and find purpose amid the academic cloud many sophomores and juniors feel trapped under.

    The challenges that sophomores and juniors face may not be highlighted as strongly as those of freshmen and seniors, but maybe they should be. There are many more tactics to fight through this feeling of being stuck in quicksand, but the main key is to pull yourself out of the situation and view it from a more overarching perspective. Set goals for yourself to keep your personal values the focus of your daily work.

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

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  • Stretch Your Brain by Keeping a Sketchbook

    by David Marquez

    A close-up of someone’s hand drawing in a sketchbook.

    A sketchbook allows you to create a visual and textual imprint of your thoughts. Image-making is an inherent fascination of the human mind. Through sketching, you can wholly render and express your thoughts. Like a journal, a sketchbook is a key to your consciousness; keeping one on your person always allows you to communicate emotion.

    You don’t have to be an artist; a sketchbook can simultaneously be notes and images of your environment. You could be jotting down notes in class or drawing while waiting outside.

    Sketchbooks offer consistent mental exercise. The dynamic between the visual and textual speaks to how we comprehend information. It relaxes us; it empowers us to take what we see, hear, and feel, and communicate it through ourselves. Keeping a sketchbook allows you to connect with yourself and your environment.

    Like Journaling with a Twist!

    Sketching is commonly associated with an artist or a designer; however, you don’t need to be one to do it! Having a sketchbook gives you a visual diary of your life. We are connected to a visible environment: I love to sit outside and sketch my surroundings; however, I also use my sketchbook as a facet of internal comprehension. Whether through words or putting pen to paper and expressing myself on the page, I write and draw my feelings and frustrations.

    You don’t have to be a master at drawing to sketch; you don’t even have to make art: sketching is about getting an idea, feeling, or emotion onto paper. When you journal or write, you describe your life in words; however, in a sketchbook, you can use form, line, or even color to lay out your thinking.

    Like a journal, a sketchbook can be a private diary, but it can also be a place to take notes and observe (you can even write in it like a journal). There are no bounds to your imagination!

    Doodle All the Time!

    Doodling keeps your brain relaxed and communitive. We have so many distractions: lights, sounds, etc. When you sketch, your hand glides across the paper's surface. You're not thinking about the final product; you ease back, and your thoughts start to clear. The agitated atmosphere within your head drifts away.

    It’s easy to find yourself bored in class. It happens to me quite frequently. The notes seem to fade away and you find yourself drifting into the background. However, in front of you, that notebook or homework sheet, you have a piece of paper. What can bring you back out of your mind can be doodling across the borders of your paper. Surprisingly, this focuses you back into the world and your environment. By giving your mind time to relax, you actively retain knowledge presented by the professor.

    So, when you find yourself drifting away into the realm of boredom, try doodling in your sketchbook or on your paper. You can even sketch and take notes, which is my favorite thing to do in lecture classes!

    Our mind is a significant part of us. Stretch your brain and give it some time to breathe. We’re a visual culture: by creating images, we can communicate our thoughts, feelings, and emotions into the perceivable world.

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

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  • How to be an Effective Researcher

    by Sarah L. Jacques

    A woman wearing a white lab coat standing beside a college campus sign that reads, ‘Engineering Laboratory’.

    Research is a central part of academic and societal advancements of industries. As a college student, having keen research skills under your belt will propel your comprehension, broaden the horizons of your knowledge, and support your academic performance. The overall objective of research is to obtain, record and analyze, and present information over time. Here are the basic foundational characteristics and habits of a successful researcher.

    Passionate curiosity

    Think like a scientist. Ask questions. Most researchers have discovered new topics and interests through an insatiable hunger for learning. If you often find yourself asking, “why?” and “how?” you are on the right track to thinking with the mind of a researcher. Develop sturdy hypotheses by asking questions that are clear and succinct and when you have wondered consciously about a topic, wander to find its answer(s) with structured planning.

    Coherent expression

    Effective researchers develop strong written and verbal communication skills. A large part of providing information is knowing how to convey and report it. This does not stop at writing essays–explore schematic ways to present data, based on the material. (Is a flow chart or histogram befitting?) Just as it is important to present the findings, it is key to obtain it effectively. Evaluate what is best: survey? Interview or focus group? Familiarize yourself with these methods to organize information clearly and appropriately.

    Being trustworthy and acknowledging the work of others

    Profound discoveries and cutting-edge leads are only as good as the trailblazers which paved the way for them, by supporting a claim or probing a point for further detail. When you use information such as statistics or direct quotes, be sure to note the source it came from. Most researchers write their papers in MLA, APA, or Chicago format. Knowing how to cite relevant sources is important because it helps the reader understand the topic in context and allows them to refer back to the source for further related information.

    Digging deep

    Evaluate your approach. Broaden the horizons of your knowledge by visiting institutions, watching, and reading related and trustworthy informational media sources. If applicable, consider the contrast of the group or identities you are studying. What are the focal points? How do they apply to your own thoughts, the thoughts of your peers, or media you have been exposed to? Schema of a productive study can vary, depending on elements such as time frame, type of data (quantitative or qualitative, for instance), etc.

    Doing the work

    All in all, a productive researcher uses a blend of literary, intuitive, and scientific elements to learn, teach, and propose ideas. No matter what path in a field you choose to study, pick up a pen, visit a lab or library, or take a survey. The next great discovery could be yours!

    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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  • Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes for College Students

    by Keya Soni

    A tabletop featuring a variety of dishes featuring eggs, potatoes, and bagels.

    Do you want to get more active, but have a super busy schedule and feel drained at times? I love working out as it relieves my stress and calms my anxieties, especially as a college student, but sometimes managing that and school can be difficult. Some days, I feel extremely overwhelmed and exhausted, but that is my body’s way of telling me to fuel myself and relax a bit. Food is fuel but eating clean can be difficult when you’re living on campus.

    As a Hindu, I have been vegetarian my whole life, so I did not have many choices when eating out in the area where I grew up. These limitations led me to seek the one place I could rely on: The Kitchen.

    My kitchen has become one of my safe havens as it is reliable and never fails to keep me satisfied. I can adjust anything to my liking, as can you. Here are some of my favorite quick and easy vegetarian recipes that keep me energized for my workouts. I make most of these ahead of time so all I have to do is heat them up or put them on a plate and go!

    Blueberry Bites

    Cook time: ~15 minutes after prep

    What you’ll need:

    • 1 pack blueberries
    • nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
    • dark or milk chocolate
    • Another amazing option: raspberries and white chocolate

    I found this recipe on TikTok and I love it! Wash your pack of blueberries and let them dry. Then mix the blueberries with a few large dollops of Greek yogurt. Place a cluster onto a sheet and freeze for a few hours. (I like to do this in the morning before class.) Then, dip each one into melted chocolate and wait for them to harden in a fridge for a few minutes and save for later or enjoy!

    Japanese Style Egg Sandwich

    Cook time: ~25 minutes

    What you’ll need:

    • bread (I prefer milk bread)
    • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs
    • 1 T. kewpie mayo
    • sriracha
    • salt and pepper

    Boil your eggs for about 8-9 minutes. Separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, mash your yellows with a tablespoon of mayo and as much sriracha (for the heat) as you wish. Season with some salt and pepper. Next, chop the egg whites into medium sized pieces and softly combine with the yolk. Cut the crust off the bread and lay the mixture in between. Cut in half and enjoy!

    Peanut Sauce Crispy Tofu

    Cook time: ~30 minutes

    What you’ll need:

    • extra firm tofu
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons sriracha
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
    • cooked rice
    • chopped vegetables of your choice (I like bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli)

    This is one of my most filling recipes and helps me achieve my protein goals. I like to chop up all my vegetables first and set them aside. I cube my tofu and cook it over medium to high heat in a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, ensuring all sides get crispy. I’ve noticed that my tofu is even crispier when I cook in avocado oil, but any oil works! While that is cooking, work on your sauce. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir. Add in equal parts of sriracha and soy sauce, about 2-3 tablespoons. Then, add in 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil, and mix. It should be a slightly thick and slightly runny consistency. When your tofu is almost done, stir fry in your vegetables for a few minutes. Add your sauce and serve over some warm rice!

    I hope that some of these gave you inspiration for some vegetarian recipes for those days when you are trying to cut down on meat consumption but eat healthy and flavorful food.

    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 a Gap Year

    by Xavier Kretsinger-Walters

    An expansive view of a wide arid area with mountains in the distance.

    For many high school graduates, college is the logical next step as one transitions into adulthood. However, entering a completely new environment away from the comfort of home can be incredibly frightening and stressful. Many high school graduates become overwhelmed entering into this next stage of life. One of the primary reasons students struggle to adapt to their new environments is a lack of purpose and direction, with the reason being a shortage of time to decide between graduation from high school and enrollment into university. Having an extra year after high school allows students to think about what they truly want out of their college experience.

    Following high school, I decided to take a different route and deferred my freshman year of college. While it isn’t uncommon for high school graduates to take a gap year, there are many high school graduates who could still benefit tremendously from it.

    Why I Chose a Gap Year

    From the beginning of high school, my family had always encouraged me to postpone university for a year. Both my brother and sister had already taken gap years and had benefited tremendously, so it made sense that I would follow suit. They were also able to assist in the planning of my year away and gave me lots of advice. Additionally, my graduation year coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave me a unique opportunity. Most Universities at this time had transitioned to online classes to curb the virus’s transmission. Being somebody who struggles to learn effectively online made me even more certain that postponing my college enrollment was the right decision. Thankfully, when it was time for me to enroll in university, most COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted.

    What I Did on my Gap Year

    While the COVID-19 pandemic gave me an opportunity to take time off, it certainly did not help me in my planning. Pandemic restrictions made it incredibly difficult to travel but through determined planning, I found ways around it. Finally, in early September, Costa Rica began allowing visitors from the United States. I would spend the next three months there as a student volunteer with the Jakera conservation program. This program was centered around biological preservation, specifically the conservation of sea turtles. Outside of working and learning, I was able to practice my Spanish, learn how to surf, and travel to many different areas of Costa Rica.

    My next destination following Costa Rica was Argentina. My father’s side of the family grew up in Argentina and we still have family and close family friends there. This allowed me to stay under the roofs of local Argentines, which was incredibly helpful as I navigated throughout Argentina. During my three months there I was able to travel throughout much of the country starting in Buenos Aires, and later Iguazu, Patagonia, Mendoza, Rosario, Cordoba, Salta, Mar de Plata, and Corrientes. Due to high inflation and the devaluation of the Argentine Peso, excluding plane tickets I spent only $1,200 in my three months in Argentina.

    Following my time spent abroad, I returned home where I spent the remainder of my time earning money and preparing myself for college.

    How My Gap Year Benefited Me

    My experiences both abroad and at home during my gap year were incredibly valuable for my maturation and motivation. The duration and location of my time abroad were certainly a step outside of my comfort zone. Overcoming cultural and language barriers was often difficult, but through this challenge, I was able to grow tremendously. Throughout long stretches of my time abroad, I was entirely alone. Having to support myself without the immediate assistance of my parents gave me a sense of independence before going to college. Additionally, the money I earned working at home gave me a financial cushion before entering college.

    Why Take a Gap Year

    I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take a gap year. Understandably, many high school graduates do not have the money to travel abroad as I did. However, there are still plenty of ways one could benefit from a gap year without having to spend money. I encourage anyone considering a gap year to do something outside of their comfort zone, whether that be learning a new skill, traveling to unfamiliar places, or gaining working experience in a field you’d consider pursuing. If one spends their time wisely during their gap year, they might find it to be incredibly rewarding.

    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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  • Three Major Things to Consider Before Moving Off-Campus

    by Madison Butler

    An overhead view of a student’s desk with a planner, a stack of post-it notes, and a calendar.

    Living off-campus in your own apartment/condo/townhouse is one of the most exciting college student adventures. You actually start to feel like an adult! BUT (and it's a big one) there are several things to consider before making the big move, including these three major items.

    Roommate Selection

    First, when selecting potential roommate(s), prepare for the good, the bad, and the ugly. My biggest piece of advice is your freshmen "party" friends should NOT be your roommate(s); let me explain. There are some people you meet/talk to only when you go out, and you always have a great time! However, it might not always be a good time when you start having to have tough conversations about boundaries and the cleanliness of your shared space. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some people may be receptive to criticism, and you yourself should be open to receiving some as well because, as I said, your college home will be a shared space, and all participating members should treat it like one.

    Handling Housework

    Second, have a chores list or routine. College students can be dirty - point blank, period. Creating a structured cleaning routine is pertinent to having an open, smells-like-roses type of place where people want to come over and hang out. The issue of dishes is can be a major cause of roommate disagreements. How long is too long for dirty dishes to pile up in the sink? My roommates and I picked four major cleaning chores to take care of each week: dishes, sweeping/mopping (if needed), taking out the trash, and wiping down counters, stove, microwave, and common room area. We took one chore a week and rotated every Sunday. Some may be more heavy lifting than others, but by taking turns, everyone has to do it at some point. As for the dishes, we set the expectation that everyone should at least rinse their own dish because who wants to touch soggy and/or smelly leftovers. We built chores into a solid system and that is what worked best for us!

    Heating and Cooling

    Third, TALK ABOUT THE THERMOSTAT. It might seem silly, but this was legitimately an on-going issue with my roommates. It was either set at 60° or 75°, neither of which are great and can be costly, depending on the season. Remember, you and your roommates will probably be responsible for the heating and cooling bills, so thinking about energy saving/cost saving while also feeling comfortable is a little tough. We found the perfect temperature range was between 70° – 72° for most days. There were a few summer nights where we agreed to turn it a little cooler, but overall, we stuck with that range. It might sound like such a minute detail but trust me you do not want to come back to your apartment and be instantly sweating or shivering.

    Overall, living in an apartment/house off-campus allowed me to grow A LOT. Learning to adjust how I live and function with other people in a shared space definitely helped me become the person I am today. Good luck on finding great roommates and a last tip would be try to find a night where you all can have a movie night or cooking night, anything to bond with your roommates and make the best out of it!

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

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  • Five Benefits Pet Ownership Brings to College Students

    by Kylie Guzman

    A large gray cat sits on the windowsill of a college apartment by a string of red lights.

    Ever been alone in your dorm, apartment, or room and felt like you were in a rut because of the amount of stress school or life has thrown on you? I know I have.

    We can all agree that college is a relatively strange time in young adults’ lives. For most, it is their first time living on their own, away from their safety net, being left to navigate the “adult world” solo. For others, this could just be a highly anxiety-inducing situation. Friends, family, mentors, and advisors are all an important part of helping navigate this transition, but they are not always reliable or able to fully alleviate stressors.

    Introducing a pet into your life could help fill in those gaps the people in your life are not able to fulfill. Owning a pet as a college student comes with some benefits and here are five of them!

    1. Emotional Support: Pets can provide emotional support to college students, especially when they are away from home and feeling homesick or stressed. They can help reduce anxiety, depression and can also provide comfort during tough times.

    2. Improved Mental Health: Studies have shown that pets can have a positive impact on mental health. Owning a pet can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve overall mood, which is essential for college students dealing with a lot of academic pressure.

    3. Responsibility and Time Management: Owning a pet comes with responsibilities such as feeding, grooming, and taking care of them. This can help college students learn time management skills and develop a sense of responsibility and accountability.

    4. Increased Social Interaction: Pets can be great conversation starters and can help college students connect with other pet owners on campus. This can lead to increased social interaction, which is especially important for students who are shy or introverted.

    5. Exercise and Physical Activity: Having a pet can encourage college students to get more exercise and physical activity. This is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for those who spend a lot of time sitting and studying. Taking a dog for a walk or playing with a cat can help students stay active and energized throughout the day.

    College students should use realistic decision making when considering pet ownership and/or what type of pet is compatible with their schedule and living environment. But overall, owning a pet can enhance and support college student life with many positive benefits!

    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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  • New Puppy Brings About Efficiency with Responsibility

    by May Gratton

    The blog author’s new puppy has black and white fur and large, pointed ears.

    Earlier this year, when I returned to Oregon State from winter break, I came home to a puppy! Her name is Winnie, named after Winnie Cooper from the television show, The Wonder Years, and she has been the light of my life since I have gotten her. Winnie has helped me be more responsible, motivated, and social. As I am sure everyone knows, whenever someone sees a puppy, they immediately want to pet it. This has forced me to come out of my shell even more and talk to new people and make new friends.

    Better Time Management

    Since Winnie is still young, she needs a lot of playtime with long naps in between. As I’ve adjusted to this schedule, I’ve become a more efficient student, getting my schoolwork done more quickly. Before Winnie, I often procrastinated doing homework before due dates and wasted so much time. Now, I have a puppy to look after, play with, and cuddle. Now I make sure to get my homework done on schedule, so I have more time to give my puppy all the love and attention she deserves.

    Increased Bonding

    Winnie has also brought my roommates and I significantly closer. We were all great friends before we moved in together, but last term, we were more likely to be found in our respective rooms rather than together in the common living area. Now, we all spend as much time as we can in the common areas studying, hanging out, and playing with the puppy. This has helped our relationship as a whole and our individual relationships with each other. We have been communicating more than ever and have prioritized keeping these common areas clean so Winnie does not get into anything that she is not supposed to.

    Improved Mental Health

    Winnie has also helped with my mental health more than I could have imagined. She has encouraged me to get up earlier than before and has just overall made me much happier. Although sometimes she can stress me out, the way that she always lightens the mood and is there when I need her outweighs the stressful times. There were times last year where I would lay in bed all day because I didn’t have a reason to get up. Winnie has given me a reason to get up, which has encouraged me to go to class rather than skipping classes and falling behind. She has also helped with the mental health of all of my roommates. The way we like to put it is that whenever we play with her or she lays next to us for her nap, it’s a “serotonin boost”.

    One of the main reasons I really wanted a dog was because I miss my family and my dog at home. Last summer, I was living in my townhouse pretty much all by myself until my roommates moved in. It was very lonely and hard to get myself to do anything besides work and lay on the couch all day. Winnie has filled a huge hole in my life, and I am more than grateful that I was able to get her. I now have a best friend that will be by my side throughout college and whatever the future brings.

    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 My Cultural Identity

    by Malia Cazalot

    A computer-generated graphic with a map of the world in white against a blue background with small people figures spaced throughout.

    I grew up in a very culturally rich home. My mom is a Chinese and Puerto Rican immigrant from Jamaica, whilst my dad is a second generation French Italian. I feel extremely blessed being able to grow up surrounded by such rich culture, and good food (dim sum being my personal favorite, but I digress). However, it has also caused me to struggle with my own cultural identity.

    ‘What are you?’

    By the time I was 12 I had moved five times, from Florida to Seattle to Texas back to Florida then finally Louisiana. Every time we moved somewhere new, I was asked “what are you?”, and as I delved into the explanation of what my parents were, I would watch as kids’ faces began to morph into a look of confusion. “Well, my mom was born in Jamaica, but I’m not Jamaican. I’m Chinese, Puerto Rican, Italian, and French. No, I don’t speak Spanish or Chinese or any other language except English actually...”. The more and more I struggled to explain it, the more I felt like a poser or a fraud.

    Although my last name is French, and my family practices Chinese traditions like celebrating Lunar Year, and my mom often cooks traditional Italian and Puerto Rican meals, I felt like I couldn’t truly identify with any ethnicity. I didn’t speak any of the languages and I don’t look like any of the races.

    Eager to belong

    Coming to Louisiana was especially hard as it is a state so deeply rooted in culture and tradition, from Mardi Gras to Cajun food; where LSU football is considered religion and jazz music engulfs you on every street corner. I felt so out of place in my new home as I didn’t fit in, but also, I felt I had no real culture of my own to claim and identify.

    Going off to college I was eager to find a place to belong, however, I soon encountered the same problems I had moving around in my childhood. I was excited to find more diversity in college, but I didn’t speak Spanish, I didn’t “look” Chinese, and I wasn’t necessarily “white” enough. I’d get teased for certain things I said or ate.

    A combination of amazing cultures

    For a long time, I struggled with my cultural identity and wished that I was just one thing instead of a little bit of four things. That way I could truly identify with one culture, and it would finally be enough. I now realize how lucky I was to grow up surrounded by four amazing cultures. Although I don’t speak any other language other than English, I was fortunate to have my grandfather sing to me in Italian before bed and hear my aunties arguing fervently in Chinese over nonsense.

    I am blessed to be made up of so many things and that is what makes me unique. I don’t have to identify with just one specific culture, but can embrace everything that makes me who I am. Although I still struggle with my cultural identity, I am now proud of my family and what makes us, instead of being ashamed and wishing we were something different.

    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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