• Spread Awareness About Mental Health

    by Natalie Farran

    A spiral notebook with the words ‘Natalie’s Notebook’ printed on the cover. A pen is placed on top of the notebook.

    Life is filled with ups and down, and as humans we might have up and down days. We need to take care of ourselves and not let the stressful moments make us angry, sad, or unable to focus. It is okay to have off days and bad days. It is okay to wake up sad, happy, or anxious.

    Process all the feelings you have as they come up and remember to breathe through them all and let them go. Some days are just harder than others.

    Here are some actions you can take when you are having a hard time:

    1. Doing exercises such as yoga or running
    2. Journaling
    3. Taking a bath
    4. Reading a book
    5. Practicing controlled breathing
    6. Meditating in the morning or before you sleep
    7. Talking to someone you trust and sharing your feelings
    8. Being out in nature
    9. Changing your frame of mind - focus on the positive
    10. Avoiding negative people
    11. Doing a smiling exercise
    12. Listening to music
    13. Eating food that you like
    14. Cleaning or organizing your space
    15. Acknowledging your achievements and being grateful for what you have

    Your mental health is as important as your physical health, and not something to feel embarrassed about making a priority. Talking about feelings, emotions, and the patterns our brains work in is an incredibly freeing thing to allow ourselves to do. It is okay to ask for help when you need 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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  • College Students: Develop Healthy Exercise Habits Now for Increased Longevity

    by Dominic Sequeira

    Three college students are playing ultimate frisbee on a football field.

    College students are in a unique position to build healthy exercise habits during their collegiate years. We’ve all heard about the benefits of exercising: a healthier body, a better chance at living a longer life, and so many more benefits that one could list off. However, do we truly understand what exactly we are getting by exercising?

    Increased Self-Esteem

    For starters, by exercising one tends to feel much better about themselves overall. Many times, for me personally either going to the gym or to practice has just overall lifted my mood up. Exercising can be a form to release stress. At the same time, exercising allows you to have time to yourself and forget about any other responsibilities for a while.

    Decreased Risk for Injury

    Regular exercise can greatly decrease your chances of being injured. For example, when someone starts to go to the gym and lift weights, they are automatically strengthening their muscles and bone structures. This not only leads to better longevity in those muscles and bones, but also helps you build a strong foundation. Whether you are playing sports or even in partaking in everyday activities, you have a reduced chance of developing an injury of any kind. It is important to take care of your body by properly lifting so that you build in these fundamentals from the very beginning.

    Develop Good Habits Now

    College is a perfect time to work on developing the habit of getting regular exercise. Most students have access to a wide variety of gyms, weight rooms, classes, and recreational spaces through their schools. Building time for regular workouts into your everyday schedule will help solidify excellent exercise habits that you can carry with you through your whole life.

    Maintaining your overall health is extremely important. If you start taking care of your body at a young age by exercising and having a routine that you stick by, you are setting yourself up to have a much better sense of longevity the older you get.

    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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  • Combating the Winter Blues

    by Stella Seth

    A dark green cactus-type plant featuring pointed fronds with spikes along the edges.

    I love fall. It’s the best season for fashion, fragrance, and fun. With fall comes crisp mornings, stunning sunrises, and petrichor. Where I live in Washington State has it all: mountains, trees, and water, but it’s lacking in sunshine in the wintertime. I’m originally from the Caribbean, a place known for its hot sun and volatile weather. I’m used to sunshine, so you can imagine when I first came here and experienced winter for the first time, my mental state took a hit.

    Later, I would realize that I suffer from what is known as seasonal affected disorder, more commonly known as seasonal depression. You might recognize the signs within yourself: a persistent low mood, losing interest in the things that usually bring you joy, and an unstated sadness. I believe everyone who lives in Washington and places that receive less sunlight in the fall and winter can experience some measure of this—it’s normal. Here are some tips and tricks to hijack this uncanny state so that your fall and winter may be a bit brighter.

    Keep Up with Hobbies

    During this time, indulge a little. Be a kid and spend time doing what usually brings you joy. Set some time aside to intentionally engage with your hobbies. Even though you might not feel like it, your mood will be lifted. I personally like thrifting and dancing. Do what makes you happy, whatever that is: embroidery, playing tennis with friends, hiking, paddleboarding, etc.

    Address Lower Sun Exposure

    Since sunlight helps produce vitamin D, less sun in the winter can lead to a deficiency in that area, which can affect your mood. Consider increasing your Vitamin D levels with supplements. (Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking supplements). I have found that another helpful way to address lower sunlight exposure during winter months is to use a light therapy lamp, and it does wonders. Just having a source of light that mimics the sun in my space brightens up my mood.

    Nature Therapy

    I would also recommend you spend time outdoors. Nature therapy works, at least for me. If you can’t do that then bring the outdoors to you. Do you like plants? I love them! My space is overflowing with them, and I feel happy every time I look at them. You’re also taking care of something and that’s motivating. Pets are especially great mood boosters. If plants are not your thing, then some picked flowers work equally as well.

    Winter is not an easy time. The world is filled with depressing stories, but if you take a bit of time out of your day to do what you love and consider self-care, I promise you it won’t go to waste.

    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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  • Camping is Good for the Soul

    by Maeve Murdock

    A campsite with three tents in the foreground, with rising hills and the sunset in the background.

    Camping is good for the soul. No matter how much you hate dirt, bugs, non-perishable food, or sleeping on the ground, camping for a few days out in nature can do wonders for your mental health and perspective on life.

    In August of 2021, a group of 10 friends and I landed in the midst of towering mountains in St. Elias-Wrangell National Preserve. St. Elias-Wrangell is our largest national park, containing 13 million acres, and is found in south-central Alaska. So remote, we were flown in from Tok, Alaska on a 3-person plane in 4 separate rounds. The trip and transportation were organized through Xavier Expeditions, an initiative at Xavier University to introduce students to the beauty and peacefulness of nature. 

    Camp Set Up

    Dropped in the remote wilderness, surrounded by a mountain range, the only sounds we could hear were the rush of the river and the soft wind. We kept our food in bear barrels, large metal barrels that conceal the scent of food, in an effort to keep the bears from venturing into our camp. Any time we cooked, all the food was required to be eaten–otherwise the bears would be attracted to our camp. At night, we traipsed into the thick of the trees to sling the bags of food over the branches above, keeping them out of the bears’ reach. As you can tell, many precautions were necessary for our safety. 

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  • Disclosing Disability on Campus: Risks and Rewards of Accommodations in College

    by Yvette Pegues

    Two tall library bookshelves with an empty electric wheelchair in the aisle between the shelves.

    To borrow and expand on a bit from science fiction writer Jane Espenson: if we can't embrace disability inclusion in campus life, then what is the point? You don't create new future leaders with the same limits as the old ones.

    Disability, by nature, is diverse. Just as many others born into a state of being or find themselves adapting at the turn of life, disabled individuals are often on the brunt end of acceptance. Considering that a disability can be visible or invisible, it may not be intentional, but the fact remains - inclusion and representation matter.

    The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 19% of on-campus undergraduates had a disability (2015-2016). Of that number, only 30% completed their studies, and the remaining dropped out, citing a lack of resources.

    There Are Inherent Risks to Lack of Representation

    Incomplete studies are just the beginning of the lack of disability inclusion. Generally, when the qualms of inclusion are discussed, they are framed in a manner that does not extend beyond wheelchair accommodation and other minimal approaches. While this allows students with some selective disabilities to participate in class with their peers, it still symbolizes just how different their campus experience may be.

    Visible and invisible disability inclusion is more than preparing students to be a mere oversight in a sea of workplace conformity. It should focus on how students can rise despite the disability they are experiencing.

    Disability Inclusion Is the Key to Impact Among College Campuses

    When a person's natural state of being, regardless of what it may be, is nurtured, it allows them to fully blossom into the best versions of themselves. Investing in the social, athletic, and cultural inclusion of disabled individuals on college campuses is a step in that direction.

    Reportedly, the number of students with a disability who participated in campus activities such as clubs and other on-campus events is significantly lower than their non-disabled peers.

    When a student has a disability, inclusion can be more difficult to achieve. Students with disabilities are less likely to disclose, attend, or graduate from college campuses with architectural and attitudinal barriers that are bottlenecking diverse workplace pipeline, talent, and innovation.

    However, imagine the confidence rooted in encouraging participation by showing the uniqueness and adaptability of disability possible, accommodated, and celebrated. Disability inclusion is the catalyst that colleges need to increase the graduation rate amongst disabled undergraduate students and move the needle in an upward direction on the percentage of disabled individuals in the workplace.

    Reworking the framework of diversity inclusion looks like addressing the inclusion gaps on college campuses by encouraging representation throughout the many factors of higher learning, ranging from the classroom to the campus yard. The risks associated with overlooking the importance of diversity inclusion go hand in hand with the rewards of changing the narrative and taking a step forward in eliminating the challenges.

    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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  • Overcoming the Pressure to Overachieve

    by Emilie Conners

    An open laptop on a bed. The screen is opened to a college webpage.

    The pressure to overachieve has definitely increased as social media has become more prominent for our generation. As students, it can sometimes feel like everyone is meeting their goals sooner than you and getting a ‘yes’ to everything they have tried for. However, it is incredibly important to remember that everyone’s path to success looks different and is on a different timeline.

    You Only See the Best

    As college students during this time, it can sometimes feel like everyone is getting their dream internship that turns into their dream job right off the bat. However, that’s just not the truth. This new sense of pressure to overachieve seems to be rooted from the fact that every achievement is posted on social media without the ‘no’s’ included. Seeing the highlights of somebody’s life without the lows can make it seem like everyone has it all together except you.

    Trust the Process

    This is why it is completely vital to try to not compare yourself to what your friends, coworkers, or roommates are doing and succeeding at in college. Trusting your own process and trying your best is all that you can do. A key thing to remember is that you are not on any kind of time crunch or perfect journey to success. There are going to be ups and downs no matter what and oftentimes doors close so that a better one can open for you.

    My best advice to handle the pressure to overachieve is to reflect on your own accomplishments, work towards your own goals and understand that your road to success won’t always be smooth and straight. And no matter how it may appear online, no one else’s will be either.

    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 Your Cultural Identity at a PWI

    by Sally Lee

    A collection of 4 images of events with the blog author’s sorority.

    Growing up, I always struggled with my cultural identity since I lived in a predominantly white area. Most of my peers and friends did not look like me, and most knew little to nothing about the country I was born in, South Korea. Therefore, I went through a very long phase of cultural rejection. I refused to speak the language and never wanted to take any Asian food to school. I tried my best to fit in with my peers.

    Accepting My Culture

    It wasn’t until seventh grade that I became more open-minded and susceptible to learning about my Korean culture. Food was always a part of my life, but now I craved Korean food more often than I did before and would ask my mom to cook certain dishes. I incorporated more of the culture such as music, tv shows, etc. into my life. This was a turning point in my journey of embracing my Asian American culture. Time passed and my culture became a bigger part of my life, but there was still more I could learn, and I felt like there were communities out there to help.

    Progress Stalled

    My progress was stalled when I decided to attend college at a predominantly white institution (PWI). I was hoping to go to a college with a bigger Asian American community. However, this could not be further from the truth. In the days leading up to leaving for college I started to worry that I would lose all the progress I’d made so far or hit a dead end since there was no difference from the environment I grew up in my whole life.

    A Search for a Cultural Community

    As soon as I got to campus, I was obviously comfortable with the environment since I was used to being around people who don’t look like me. But I wanted to challenge myself and continue my journey of finding my cultural identity. I decided to immerse myself in the different cultural communities on campus. The community that allowed me to finally feel a strong sense of belonging was my Asian-interest sorority, alpha Kappa Delta Phi. (This group uses four Greek letters in its name and chooses not to capitalize the first letter.) Being at a PWI, this sorority provides a home away from home and is a tight-knit group of young women that are pursuing a college degree and finding themselves. One of the pillars of this sorority is Asian Awareness which has played a huge role in helping me to truly find my cultural identity and embrace my Asian American culture. I have never been able to share so many experiences with so many other Asian American women. Being able to relate to so many other people was the best feeling in the world.

    How Can I Make This Better for The Next Generation?

    In addition, I have been able to engage in many dialogues with my sisters and talk about what cultural identity means to us and how we want our kids to be more in touch with their culture. Despite my worries, I have felt the most pride in my culture and am the most in touch with my culture during my time here in college because of this community that I found.

    I urge you to share your stories, traditions, and ways that have made an impact on you and find a community that will help you embrace your culture. There is so much to learn about where you come from and what makes you, you. It’s never too late to start embracing your culture and striving to learn more about your identity.

    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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  • LinkedIn: Creating your account, building your profile, and everything in between

    by Hiren Gugnani

    A screenshot of blog author Hiren’s LinkedIn profile page.

    If you haven’t created your LinkedIn account, it certainly is not too late to do so! Not many realize that LinkedIn is purely beneficial to your career, and online persona; it’s a great resource to contact recruiters, alumni, and countless other people you’ve come across professionally. Whether you’re creating your LinkedIn for the first time or updating your profile, here are a few tips to best utilize this platform to your advantage!

    First Impressions

    First and foremost, make a few simple updates your profile by adding a profile picture, headline, and bio. Although a professional headshot is ideal, any professional-looking photo or even a picture taken of you against a neutral background taken with your cell phone camera should suffice. If you have an iPhone, simply place the camera app in “Portrait Mode” to achieve a clear and focused DIY headshot! Add a headline with your current job/degree prowess, and there’s a solid start right there!

    Next, add a bio in the ‘About’ section on your profile. This does not need to be any longer than 100-200 words, but it is nice to provide an introduction into yourself. Think about it as a condensed cover letter. Make sure there is a space for additional contact as well, such as your email address. You want your profile to look good and to make the lasting impression that is easily transferable to a contact at any point in the future.

    Experiences & Activity

    All jobs, internships, and volunteer activities can be listed here on your profile! While it is beneficial when you list associations and institutions with their own respective LinkedIn pages, any experiences that have made an impact on you that can be spoken about has its place on your page. An easy way to update this section is to copy and paste bullets from your resume or supporting documents into the description text box. It is also possible to rephrase a summary of the experience in paragraph format. If choosing the second option, make sure to keep it brief!

    Education is also important to list in your profile. Any degrees or programs completed or in progress should be listed here. Your alumni network is vast, and this shows potential connections that you both have the institution in common, which helps to instill talking points.

    Make Connections!

    When meeting someone in class, a networking event, a coffee chat, or any other occasion involving a potential life connection, you may as well add them as a connection on LinkedIn! There is an option to leave a note when connecting if you would like to say thank you for their time, or simply remind them when/where you interacted. For any number of connections up to 499, the exact number is publicly listed on your profile. Once the threshold of 500 connections is made, then it is shown as “500+”. For that reason, it is not necessary to spend time connecting with numerous individuals. Once you get connected with your high school or college class, there will be hundreds already established within your network. Once connected, one’s profile is a “1st” connection when you are signed in.

    It is also doable to reach out to secondary connections! When someone is one degree of separation from your profile on LinkedIn, they show up for you (and vice versa) as “2nd”, and any more degrees of separation away is “3+”. In this case, a 2nd connection can be made into a 1st connection when your mutual puts you two together, or by personally reaching out to the 2nd connection due to a dedicated interest.

    Is LinkedIn Premium Worth the Cost?

    Premium has a heavy cost to it, and thankfully this can be accessed via a free trial for each account. There are a few bonuses that come with this subscription, and from personal experience utilizing the free trial, I find it can be quite helpful when actively searching for a job or internship, but not necessarily year-round.

    There is a yellow badge that appears next to your name on your profile to notify others of your premium access. Those with Premium can see who specifically is viewing their profile and receive metrics based on viewers. Up to five “InMail” credits are given, which allow for direct messaging to recruiters! This can be especially helpful when applying for sought after roles to place yourself above the standard application process.

    All in all, I would say it is definitely worth taking advantage of the free trial when it will be useful for you to do so. From there, it is up to you to figure out when to continue having LinkedIn premium. Just make sure to turn off auto-renewal when you begin your trial!

    LinkedIn is the top networking and job searching site. It’s free set up make it easy to make connections and get noticed by potential future employers. Try these tips and you’ll get your LinkedIn profile in top shape in no time!

    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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  • My Hardest Goodbye

    by Gina Condit

    A Miami University campus building with colorful red and white flowers in front.

    Choosing a college when you’re in high school seems like the hardest decision in the moment. I remember being torn between the University of Cincinnati and Miami University. Both were close to home, and I had family at both colleges. Tours and months later, Miami University blew me away and my decision became easy; I knew it was where I wanted to spend my college years. Now as I approach graduation, two features stand out that helped make Miami University my college home.

    Campus Beauty

    My favorite thing about Miami University is the environment and the beauty of the campus. I look forward to walking to class because of the activities that are always happening, the unique brick buildings, and the flowers all around campus. Miami maintains the same brick design from building to building, creating a cohesive college campus look. And the inside of the buildings is even prettier. I spend the majority of my time at The Farmer School of Business where piano is playing and students are studying. I also love the trails and walkways throughout the campus and am making it a habit to explore them every week before I can’t anymore. I only have one short month left here at Miami University; I don’t know how time has flown by.

    Lasting Community

    From the forever friends I’ve made, the professors who’ve taught me lessons professionally and personally, and the memories I’ll never forget, Miami University will always be a home in my heart. My friends became family to me, and I couldn’t imagine going through college without them. The professors on this campus truly care about their students more than just how well they do in their classes. The professors are more like mentors at Miami who you can ask for advice, guidance, and real-life experience. I’ll carry the memories and their words of wisdom with me for the rest of my life.

    My advice to anyone looking at colleges and going through the application process is to tour every campus, go outside your comfort zone, and listen to the people on those campuses about their experience. College is only 4 years, and it goes by fast. The choice seems hard, but you can never make the wrong decision in the long run. The decisions you make will bring you friends, mentors, and memories like Miami University did for me. College is an exciting time in life, and I am blessed to have had the experience I had, making it my hardest goodbye.

    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 Tips to Help You De-Stress!

    by Synia Malbrough

    A building the the Tennesee State University campus. It is pink-hued with white trim.

    Managing day-to-day college life can be a tough time, from managing time commitments, striving to stay organized, maintaining relationships, and even meeting that 11:59 pm deadline. Constantly trapped in your mind with so many thoughts, you just want that one moment of relaxation. Here are five tips/ways to de-stress: 

    Meditate

    Meditation is scientifically proven to help decrease stress and promote an overall wellbeing. If you are a beginner, starting out is very simple; you can look up “guided meditation” videos and/or audios to help move you through the tranquil process. Most videos or audios range from five to fifteen minutes. Choose what fits into the time you have available.

    Take Breaks

    Another way is just to take a break. Even though this seems like a cliche, it seriously helps you clear your mind off your task. Stress can take over not just our mental, but our physical health as well. Just by taking a few minutes away for yourself, you can do certain things that you enjoy such as: listening to music, taking a bubble bath, doing a facemask, or even calling up a friend. These few alone-time minutes can seriously help you and your mental health.

    Get Moving

    Move around and keep your body active to de-stress! While exercising, your body releases positive hormones called endorphins, which means that it’ll help you feel less stressed. There are many ways of exercising, whichever one you choose to partake in, your stress levels will slowly but surely decrease. Take a walk around your campus, enroll in a dance class, or go to your local gym for an hour or two. 

    Unplug From Your Devices

    Another tip is “unplugging”. This is one I personally struggle with sometimes. To “unplug” is to move away or turn off the electronic device that’s distracting you from the task at hand. Since Gen-Z grew up with this type of technology, it’s a little difficult to take it out of our lives even just for a couple of minutes. We’re so used to looking at the blue light, waiting for a notification from our favorite person or influencer. Simply putting your phone in the “do not disturb” feature or silencing it will help you not worry about it as much.

    Journal

    Lastly, step away from a stress-filled situation to spend a few minutes journaling. Writing your thoughts down can help increase positive thinking and even help you better understand yourself. If you not sure where to start, search online for many different interesting prompts to help you on your journaling journey. 

    Overall, stress is something all college students experience and strive to manage. I hope these de-stress tips helped you out!

    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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  • An Out-of-State Student’s Guide to Handling Homesickness

    by Casey Murphy

    A landscape photo of a college campus in silhouette in front of a sunset sky with white clouds.

    When I was in high school, I had a romanticized vision of moving away from home for college. New scenery, new friends, finally escaping my hometown. When I found the University of Vermont, it was a match made in heaven. I fell in love with the campus, the mountains, and counted down the days until move-in day. The reality did not hit me until my parents drove away from my freshman dorm, leaving me 6 hours away from home. It all came crashing in on me. I was alone.

    I tried to suppress my homesickness by keeping busy and pushing the thoughts of home away for many weeks. Yet, that made those emotions hit harder when they bubbled to the surface. The newest chapter of my life was starting, and while I was excited, I had to navigate those emotions and fears that came from moving away for the first time.

    A lot of responsibility and expectations fall on your shoulders in college. It can be hard to keep a handle on the emotions that come with moving far away. Here’s some advice that I wish I had known earlier that helped me deal with my homesickness!

    Don’t compare your difficulties

    While it is hard, try not to compare your college transition to others. Your emotions are valid and unique to you. Some people have no problem adjusting, but that does not mean you cannot struggle a little! Most college kids are 17 or 18 when they move out. We are still kids, even though we often have adult responsibilities. It’s natural to be nervous, but you are as capable as the next person to have a successful college career.

    Identify your fears

    Take a moment and identify the cause of your emotions. What am I scared of? What do I specifically miss? Who do I miss? All these questions are essential to organizing your thoughts and making a plan to work through them. Once you identify the root of your emotions, things become a lot clearer, and a solution seems more doable.

    Make new connections

    Try and get yourself out there! Many colleges offer lots of activities the first week on campus, so get involved! Talk to other people, explore club fairs, take in the school spirit. Get out of the dorms and make some acquaintances! With each week that goes by, set small goals to introduce yourself to neighbors in your building, talk to someone in line at the dining hall, or strike up a conversation with older students. These connections are vital in establishing a new friend group and family away from home.

    Bring a little bit of home along

    Make your room a safe and comfortable environment. Dorm rooms seem plain and boring when you first arrive, but this gives you a unique opportunity to put your personal touch on a blank canvas. Put up pictures, trinkets, or other things you brought from home. This can bring a sense of comfort after a long day. Bring a little of home to your new college home!

    There are so many changes that happen when you go away to college. Sometimes they hit you immediately, sometimes they hit you later. Your expectations can affect how you perceive this difficult transition that looks different for everyone. Though it is hard, hopefully these four tips can help you get through this homesickness.

    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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  • Jumpstarting Your Creativity in College

    by Zoe Pitts

    A college student sits at a student desk writing in a notebook. There are various student office supplies on the desk. The student is wearing noise-canceling headphones.

    As exciting as college may be, it’s no secret that some classes are notorious for pushing students past their creative limits. In my freshman year, I remember staying up until the single-digit hours, crouched over my desk in a fetal position, lit only by a dim Target light, wracking my brain for ideas that were due 45 minutes ago. Even after switching to a less artistic major, I still found myself wondering where all those bright ideas from my fresh-out-of-high school brain had gone.

    The truth is, sometimes high school doesn’t prepare us to exercise the creative freedoms and ideas that college expects, so we find ourselves under our Target lights stressed, bewildered, and idea-less. Luckily, over the past few semesters I’ve learned a few tips to jumpstarting those creative juices.

    1. Ignore everything you’ve been told and get on your phone.

    We all know that our main distractions come in the form of dinging notifications and seemingly an endless supply of flashy pictures, but the reality is, there is also a plethora of creative ideas behind our screens. Most of my best project ideas came from things I found looking through my phone. The trick is to know where to look so you don’t end up losing hours mindlessly scrolling. Pinterest and Brainsparker have fantastic visual prompts and the option to make curated boards specific to your project. Unstuck and Simplemind have word-based cues that combat creative blocks. Unconventional places work just as well: Look through Letterboxd or Goodreads to see what people are saying about media related to your topic. Even TikTok is occasionally helpful, if you have enough shame to heed those “you’ve been scrolling for too long!” ads. 

    2. Take your work outside. Honestly.

    I used to find “just go outside!” to be a cop-out when it comes to mental health and brain refreshers, but truth be told, leaving my dim, dark room from time-to-time is exactly what the brain doctor ordered. And I am not anti-dim, dark room – it’s just that sometimes you forget what the sky looks like and what air smells like outside of this space! You may not have a creative epiphany looking at trees, but simply getting distracted by a change of scenery will help you to think outside the box. You don’t literally have to touch grass, but you can at least look at it from a distance. 

    3. Make a list of topics you actually care about.

    Even though it might seem easier to pick a random, seemingly easy topic to write, read, draw etc. about, in the long run you will thank yourself for researching one of your genuine interests. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been grateful to me-from-the-past for picking an assignment topic that aligned with my interests and saved myself the pain of digging through library archives, hunting for an obscure source for something about which I didn’t care. Creative ideas follow naturally when you’re working on something you're enthusiastic about.

    4. When in doubt, put a twist on it.

    This is like the infamous improv rule: “yes, and”. Look into some completed work that is like your project and make it personal; even if the project isn’t necessarily aligned with your career goals, you can make it work for you. For instance, if you’re an accounting major writing a history paper on vintage movies, you know there are a ton of published research on old Hollywood but, consider looking into how film royalties have transformed over the years. Or if you’re a psychology major who also likes linguistics, you know there’s an abundance of studies on the brain, but what about how different languages affect behavior? Don’t be afraid to get specific– the more specific you are in your topic, the more time you save trying to cover multiple bases, the more confident you will be in your subject (especially if you also follow Tip #3!) – the list goes on. 

    5. Remember that you are not your grade.

    Believe it or not, straining yourself to perfect every tiny detail in your assignment will do the exact opposite for helping your creativity. Getting caught up over small things is kind of like tunnel vision – you miss the bigger picture and potentially creative ideas that truly would have made the project yours. If you are really concerned, I advise keeping extra credit in mind, but remember that the best creativity comes from treating yourself like a friend. Trying to force a revolutionary idea out of an overworked, overstressed mind is like trying to make cold brew out of a single coffee bean. Cut yourself some slack and be proud of what you have gotten done. As endearing as the Canvas confetti is, real life celebrations are even better.

    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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  • Making the Most of your Internship Experience

    by Mariam Ameha

    Two college interns sitting on an office couch looking at a laptop screen.

    You finished applying, got through the interview process, and have received your acceptance letter. Now what? Preparing for an internship can be stressful, especially if it's your first time completing one. Whether your goal is to secure a full-time return offer or you want to gauge a feel for a new industry, an internship is a valuable experience and time for growth. It can be difficult to adjust for someone who has little-to-no experience in a professional setting. This is why it's important to form strategies that can be applied throughout the experience to build your skills and make you a more confident college student as you prepare for your career. Here are four ways to be successful as an intern and leave a lasting impact.

    1. Set goals

    Prior to starting your internship, you should think about what you want to learn during your time there. Once you connect with your manager, you should set more role-specific goals to measure your success. And it does not end there. Many people forget to review and note if they’re actually hitting their goals until the end of the internship, which can lead to added stress. Try checking in weekly or bi-weekly and listing your achievements somewhere, using a journal, for example. This will be very helpful as you recap what you’ve accomplished during midpoint or final evaluations! Keeping notes on what you have done will also be invaluable when writing a resume because you’ll want to include specific details and log any metrics that show your impact.

    2. Self-Advocate

    In any job, you will learn that actively seeking opportunities is the best way to get them. If there are specific projects that catch your eye, ask if you can be involved and do anything to help out. Although you are an intern, your time is just as important as others’ time at the organization, so be realistic about what you can handle in terms of workload. One common mistake made by interns is not following up after asking for something, in fear of bothering busy people. However, if you make a request to someone and do not get a response, kindly follow up after waiting an appropriate amount of time. Chances are that the initial request just slipped through the cracks!

    3. Be receptive to all feedback

    As an intern, you may receive both positive and negative feedback. Feedback is a gift, so try to remain open-minded to constructive criticism from your manager or other colleagues. You are there to learn, so put your best foot forward and ask how you can do better in your role. Once you receive this information, make sure to actively work on your weaknesses so you can show improvement by the end of the program. Being an intern does not mean you are not allowed to also share feedback. Communicate with your manager and respectfully let them know if you are missing tools needed to help you be successful, because they cannot read your mind! This will also show your initiative and leadership, as you are stepping up and have the ability to improve the program for future interns.

    4. Build your network!

    You may get caught up in a routine of working solo on your computer but remember that your internship time is limited. This is a valuable time to build your connections and get to know different people at your company. Even if someone is not in your team or specific department, you can learn about various areas of interest and potentially find something that aligns more with your goals. Find a good balance between your usual workload and networking. To avoid burnout, you can set a goal of speaking to a certain amount of people a week. During my summer internship this year, I aimed to connect with 1-2 new people weekly, and set up meetings to ask questions and learn about various departments. This led to many new connections and more clarity about my career goals. If you are in a cohort of interns, take this time to form long-lasting relationships and socialize! This can be through coffee chats (especially if your internship is virtual) or asking to grab lunch together at the office. Take advantage of company-wide social events as well, since this will let you mingle with people you otherwise would not cross paths with through your day-to-day work.

    Internships can fly by, and you want to be able to look back at the end and feel confident that you did the best that you could. Plan ahead, ask questions, and conquer your internship!

    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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  • Everything Happens for a Reason

    by Tahmina Tisha

    Four college students standing arm-in-arm in a college building hallway.

    “Everything happens for a reason.” Oh, how many times have I heard this phrase after getting rejected by fifteen companies for an internship? It is a stressful feeling when you were the smartest kid in high school but suddenly when you transition to college you are no longer the smart one. You start competing with people that are on the same level as you and now you have imposter syndrome. Rejection is something I did not encounter until I started college. I did not quite understand this concept of ‘everything happens for a reason’ until something good finally came along.

    As a responsible college student, I felt heartbroken and insecure with each rejection on an internship application, especially since I felt I had tried my best, stayed active in school, and had a better than average academic performance. Was there something wrong with my accent, my style? Was I somehow not smart enough for these jobs? There are many times I wanted to give up and never try again for an internship, job, or even a leadership position. That is when I encountered mental health problems.

    It is not fun to be depressed and sad and stressed all the time. It affected my academic progress. I could not concentrate in school because I felt like it was pointless. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Coming from a South Asian household, I have seen my immigrant parents who came to this unknown land, having the same feeling where they are lost and stressed. No idea where they might get their next meal. I used their hardship as my inspiration to never give up and to keep moving forward. I utilized three techniques to overcome my rejection by continuing to: move forward, keep trying, and networking.

    Moving forward

    When it comes to rejection, it is best to move forward because taking things personally will not help you move forward in life. You can be sad and depressed all day, but that won’t help you get the job that you desperately want. Yes, rejection may be the worst feeling, but opportunities are always within our reach. Learning to trust the process is the biggest confidence boost anyone can ever have.

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  • Incorporate Sustainability into Everyday Decision Making

    by McKinley Falkowski

    A group of 5 college students are chatting in a lobby.

    Climate change is an issue already affecting how we live. It seems like once-in-a-century storms happen all the time now! Businesses, governments, and regular folks need to take action to ensure that we avoid the worst of climate change by reducing our carbon footprint.

    As consumers, we need to start incorporating sustainability into our purchasing and disposal decisions as the products we use may have a major impact on the environment. Here are five things that you can do to incorporate sustainability into everyday decision making and reduce your carbon footprint:

    1. Shop Regularly at Local Farmers Markets

    By shopping regularly at your local farmers market, you reduce the amount of fuel needed to bring that fruit or vegetable from a farm thousands of miles away to just in your backyard. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and simply by changing purchasing habits you can reduce the demand for distant food and help local farmers in your community!

    2. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

    How many times have you gone to a grocery store to have your groceries placed in plastic bags only to be thrown out later? Plastic bags are incredibly wasteful, as the production of these bags are energy intensive, and it will take that bag over 1,000 years to break down! If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, consider buying a re-usable bag as this will eliminate the need to use plastic bags.

    3. Donate Used Clothes

    Another easy way to incorporate sustainability into your everyday decision making could be to donate used clothes, so long as they are still wearable, to thrift stores or other used clothing stores. Clothing waste is terrible for the environment, and if you can limit how much waste enters landfills the better the environment impact.

    4. No More Plastic Water Bottles

    Plastic bottles, like plastic bags, are extremely unhealthy to the environment. I recommend buying a stainless-steel water bottle as it will cut the need for you to use a plastic water bottle. Stainless-steel water bottles are BPA free, contain far fewer chemicals then plastic, and help keep mold, and other bacteria at bay.

    5. Compost Your Food Waste

    Composting your food waste is fantastic for the environment as it reduces carbon emissions from food waste decomposition, and it sequesters carbon already in the atmosphere! Additionally, composting helps keep food out of landfills which are a big contributor to climate change. I have a compost bin in my back yard, and I absolutely love it! I use the composted soil to plant my own vegetables!

    We all have a role to play in combatting climate change. Doing your part to incorporate sustainability into everyday decisions is both fun and good for the planet!

    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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  • What Advocacy Can Look Like in College

    by Sarah Peters

    Blog author Sarah P is standing outside and holding a sign that reads, ‘Repro Rights are Human Rights’.

    As young people in college who are studying and preparing to become the next generation of active members of society, advocacy is one of the most important skills that you can learn and apply to your education and campus involvement. Some people experience disadvantages, lack equal opportunity, and face discrimination based on their socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

    If you are a college student and looking for ways to make a change, here are some ways that you can get involved on your college campus to advocate for equity and instigate progress within your community to ensure that all individuals are guaranteed the opportunity for success and a healthy social, academic, and workplace environment while embracing their identities and the diversity that they bring to the community.

    Get Involved with Student Government

    The first activity that I enrolled in when I arrived at college was the undergraduate student government. After going through an interview and application process, I had the honor of being selected as a member of the University of Missouri’s First Year Council. Not only did I make friends and feel closer to my community, but I was able to build my leadership skills, get further involved in student government, develop professional connections that led to internships and part-time positions, and advocate for the students to create a better college experience for everyone on campus.

    Through my student government, I had the honor of meeting with various members of my university’s administration to discuss ways to benefit the student wellbeing on campus. I felt that I could amplify the voices of students on campus by voting on legislation and policies that the students create.

    Oftentimes, student government can be overlooked by many students. If you’re interested in the legislative lens of advocacy through policymaking as a student, I encourage you to reach out to a member of your undergraduate student government! I guarantee that your student government would love to have you get involved.

    Listen, Learn, and Educate

    One of the easiest ways for injustice to occur is when people refuse to listen or believe people courageously speaking about their experiences. Some people may feel uncomfortable by talking about social justice issues, which can lead to shutting down, reacting inappropriately, or refusing to believe the person speaking. Not only are these harmful ways to deal with serious topics, but it can worsen the issue and deeply hurt the people that are advocating for better treatment.

    It’s important to recognize that remaining ignorant to contemporary issues is not going to create any progress or help anyone, and the wellbeing and prosperity of others is the most important thing when it comes to maintaining or developing a healthy community. It serves as a benefit to everyone when you listen to others when they’re speaking about their experiences, learn from what others have to say, and educate yourself on important topics that need advocacy. Another way that you can advocate through educating is by correcting peers, family, and friends if you're hearing hurtful or unjust language being used.

    Attend a Rally or Protest

    Some outlets that you can use to stay updated with upcoming rallies, protests, or gatherings are social media, student media, local newspapers, and flyers posted around campus. If you notice an issue on your campus, don’t be afraid to be a leader and organize your own rally or protest! On-campus clubs and organizations often are involved with rallies and protests, so you can always communicate with an on-campus organization to help arrange one. This is a great way to raise awareness by getting your peers actively involved in solving problems that are negatively impacting your community.

    If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unfamiliar or unsure of how to respond or help someone, you can never go wrong with responding with empathy and humanity. Advocacy is one of the best ways to give back to your community. Living in this world is a group effort, and advocacy is the price that you must pay to be a part of the team.

    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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  • Time Management Tips from a Grade A Procrastinator

    by Madison Butler

    An iPhone stacked on top of a planner.

    Who is perfect at time management? In high school, I felt on top of everything: school, social life, and extracurriculars! I believed the glide into my first year of college would be effortless. However, as soon as the first week finished, I was behind on my schoolwork and became a Grade-A procrastinator.

    Honestly, I’m still working on my ever-changing schedule, but I have picked up some tips and tricks that have made my workload flow in a way that does not stress me out at the last minute. Having a schedule that works for you is the backbone of not losing motivation and feeling successful!

    1. Phone Privileges (Okay, Mom)

    Ah yes, the dreaded words I used to hear from my parents growing up, "you have lost your phone privileges, Maddie," blah blah blah. But back then, I did not realize how much they were actually right! Staying up late, whipping my head at the sound of notifications, and scrolling on TikTok for hours (I know I am not the only one!), are just some of the ways I am constantly distracted. Especially when I need to focus on the task I have at hand. What has helped me in the past year, especially if you have an iPhone, is using the Do Not Disturb setting and setting my own screen time limits. The screen time limit tip helped me allot time (mine is set for 2 hours) for my daily social media and games "binge." Then, as soon as the time limit notification popped up, I have had to train myself to not hit the "ignore limit" button, and trust me, it's taken a while. I have now realized that I can complete a lot more tasks in my day when I’m not glued to my phone.

    2. The Foreboding To-Do List

    To be perfectly frank, I hated To-Do lists. I would always forget about it, lose it, and/or NEVER check all of the boxes. Those never helped me until about three months ago. To set the scene: the weekend before school started, I had just told myself I needed to create a routine, but how would I be able to do that because I rarely ever stuck with it (previous life evidence proves this theory correct). So, my solution was to buy the absolute cutest To-Do list I could find (I wish I was kidding). I placed it in the center of my desk, so it was one of the first things I would see when I woke up. I started the tasks off simple: brush my teeth, wash my face, eat breakfast, and others like studying Accounting for two hours, then rest for 15 minutes. Doing simple mundane tasks helped me easily track and stay on task throughout my day. Now, I don't need to write "brush my teeth" and stick with my more prioritized tasks, but it was an excellent start for me, personally! Find your own list in your own time!

    3. Use Breaks Wisely

    Another way to hold myself accountable is by using my breaks wisely. I downloaded an app called Focus Keeper, and it helps me when I am studying to work for thirty minutes and then take off ten minutes. This app allows me to study for more extended periods without burning myself out!

    All in all, you will find your rhythm to motivate and hold yourself accountable! Remember you are human, and it takes a while to break a habit, so be easy on yourself <3!

    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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  • National Dessert Day: Easy to Make Sweet Treats for College Students

    by Taylor Perline

    Four bowls of chocolate-covered pretzels decorated in orange, brown, and white colors.

    Spooky season is just around the corner, and October 14th is National Dessert Day! This means that stores everywhere are stocking up on candy to celebrate this sweet holiday. While fun sized candy is easy to grab, it can be harder to find those classic and fun desserts that filled many of our childhoods. Luckily, there are plenty of dessert recipes that are accessible to college students!

    Mug Cakes!

    Mug cakes are so easy and fun to make! They can easily be purchased at a local grocery store and often don’t require more than a mug, microwave, water, and the pre-mixed mug cake powder. With easy-to-follow instructions, a simple mug cake is a late-night MUST. Feel free to add some fun to your cake as well. Whipped cream, icing, or some sprinkles can spice up any cake.

    S’mores!

    Another simple and easy microwave recipe is an old fireside classic: s’mores! Everyone knows the recipe. Gooey marshmallows roasted over a fire, paired with chocolate, and sandwiched between two sweet gram cracker pieces. What everyone may not know is that these can easily be replicated within a microwave – no campfire needed! Just 20-25 seconds later and you’ve got a treat that’ll remind you of those fun summer campfires under the stars. A disclaimer, however, those that love burnt or crispy marshmallows on their s’mores should wait until they’re outside with a real fire. Unless, that is, they want to set off their dorm or house’s fire alarm.

    Chocolate Covered... Anything!

    Pretzels, marshmallows, crispy rice treats, strawberries, etc.! The possibilities are endless when you’ve got a bowl of melted chocolate. You can melt down your favorite brand or pick out a bag of “melting chocolates” at a local shop. Typically, chocolate should be melted for 30 second intervals and stirred between these intervals. If you’d like to try making something spooky for the holidays, try adding some orange and black sprinkles, purple and green icing, or even some spooky eyes for the occasion!

    Single Serve Cookies!

    A personal favorite of mine, single serve cookies probably require the most ingredients out of any of these desserts. The payoff is so worth the extra effort, however. While there are plenty of recipes, a favorite of mine is a mug cookie recipe! It requires 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tbsp granulated white sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract, 5 tbsp all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, and 2 tbsp of chocolate chips. Butter is melted, ingredients are mixed within the mug and cooked in the microwave for 1 minute. The full recipe can be found here.

    Ice Cream Night!

    An amazing way to get together with friends, an ice cream night doesn’t even require the usage of a microwave! The sky’s the limit of what you can do. Everyone can bring a small pint and some toppings to create a Frankenstein's monster of ice cream or have some fun making ice cream cookie sandwiches and rolling them in some cookie crumbs or fun sprinkles.

    College, Halloween, and life in general can be scary. Luckily, making fun sweet treats doesn’t have to be!

    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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  • Ace the Interview to Land that Job or Internship!

    by Geeta Chandaluri

    A screengrab of a virtual networking event held on Zoom.

    Searching for an internship or a job as a college student can certainly be very stressful. There are many moving parts from building a perfect resume, marketing yourself, meeting the right people, and sometimes being lucky enough. While considering all factors that are supposed to go right to land a position, it is hard to stay mentally sane. Do not feel alienated if you feel pressure, it is common to get stressed when starting your career.

    I am a college senior, and I have been down the “applying to a job” road several times before. One thing that all jobs have in common is interviewing. Interviewing is one of the important steps to landing a job. So here are some tips on how to stay poised while applying and interviewing!

    1. Identify What You Want

    There are an astonishing number of jobs out there; meaning that there are many paths for you to choose. When applying you need to list out your goals and intentions. Do you want something to make some money? Do you want an educational experience that relates to the industry that you are interested in? Do you want to meet new people and network? There are no right or wrong answers, all you need to do is sit down and brainstorm a list of your priorities.

    2. “The Perfect” Resume

    Many people may apply for the same opening you did, especially if it is a huge corporation. To make the hiring process manageable, many firms tend to process resumes through a “software”. This is not a reason to be intimidated; all you need to do is make sure you use keywords in your resume that demonstrate both hard and soft skills. And the last thing you want is for your resume to be thrown out because of spelling errors, so make sure your grammar and formatting are a hundred percent accurate. Run your resume by a friend or a family member to make sure it is the perfect version of your resume.

    3. Research The Role

    After you submit your resume, you may get a call for an interview. This is an achievement itself, but now the real work begins. Make sure you research your firm and the role. This helps you better formulate your answers and tie them back to why you are interested in the role to begin with. It shows the employer that you are interested in the job because you spent time learning about it.

    4. Prep

    Interview prepping can be difficult as it is impossible to know what questions you will be asked. However, good preparation is simply knowing yourself. Think about all the times when you had to be a leader or made an impact, take these stories, and convert them into potential answers that demonstrate various desirable skills. Interviewing is all about marketing yourself; the better you tell your story, the more memorable you will be.

    5. Stay Poised

    In addition to preparing for the interview make sure you eat well and get a good night's rest. It is important to take care of yourself physically and mentally because it reduces stress and nervousness.

    Interviewing for a job or internship is daunting, but with enough preparation, you will be able to speak eloquently in front of your future employer. When you are familiar with what stories you want to tell and ideas you want to express, the interview will start to feel more like a conversation.

    Want to read more on this topic from other students? Check out these blogs on finding and securing an internship, making the most of your internship experience, and more advice on interview prep.

    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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  • Get Organized and Stay Organized for your Best Semester Yet

    by Lexie Harris

    Five post-it notes in alternating colors of pink, blue, and yellow are labeled with the initials of the days of the week: M, T, W, T, F.

    Organization skills are vital for college students, but sometimes can be a little difficult to maintain. Whether it is making a schedule for the week or finishing and turning in assignments on time, there are so many tasks that require organization. There are plenty of ways to be organized, and not everyone has to use the same method. The way someone keeps organized usually differs from person to person. If one way does not work for you try another way! Here are some different tips to try on how to be organized and stay organized.

    Organize Your Time

    Staying on top of commitments and due dates is a required skill in college, and it can be a little difficult for some. Many students find using a planner or calendar, either hard-copy or digital, to be the best solution. However, it is not the correct way for everyone. Instead of using a planner or calendar, try using something else to keep track of what is coming up that day and that week. I have found that using sticky notes is very helpful. Every time I know there is something I need to do or remember, I write it on a sticky note. Then I stick them together somewhere I can easily see. When I am finished with whatever is on the sticky note, I crumple it up and throw it away. This helps me keep track of what I have coming up.

    Organize Your Stuff

    Another thing students might find a little difficult to organize is their possessions and belongings. This is especially true for people living in dorms. Even though dorms are, as a rule, pretty small, that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find what you are looking for every time you need it. It might sound cliche, but putting stuff in the same place every time makes finding it when you need it much easier. Another useful tip is to put things close to where you might need them. For example, I usually only need my keys when I leave. So, I have a spot close to the door where I put my keys every time I enter. I find that this helps me to remember where my keys are and to not forget my keys in the room when I leave.

    Building solid organizational skills now will pay off for your future. There are many things in life that require a person to be organized. Everyone must find their own way to get and stay organized. A way that works to keep a friend organized might not work for you. These tips are the ways that I have found to help keep me organized. If they don’t work for you, keep exploring! The thing that matters is that you find a way that works 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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  • October 10th: World Mental Health Day

    by Emilie Conners

    A gratitude journal set against a dark grey background.

    October 10th is a day extremely important in bringing awareness to mental health. Over the years, this topic has become increasingly important as more and more people have been affected by issues surrounding mental health. If you haven’t been affected by mental health issues, chances are you know someone who has been. Each year, many college students experience mental health challenges that can be crippling to their quality of life. Raising awareness can help end the stigma surrounding mental health challenges.

    Mental Health Is Hard to See

    When you have a physical injury like a broken arm, it is usually visible to everyone; you can easily go to the doctor and get it fixed. However, it can be much more difficult to notice and fix a mental “injury”. Mental illness is often not noticeable to someone from the outside. This is why it is so important that more awareness is brought to mental health so that people will become more comfortable with speaking up about their struggles.

    It Can’t Stay “All in Our Head”

    Being self-aware can help you better assess your own mental health so that you can seek help when you feel less like yourself. Therapy is a great way to get started and can help you deal with life changes and better understand why you feel the way that you do. Someone who isn’t your friend or family member may be able to provide more objective feedback. Additionally, it is important to look out for your friends and family and make sure they’re okay when you notice them acting different. It is vital that your loved ones know that you care about them and that there are resources there for them if they need help.

    Destigmatize Mental Health by Building Awareness

    Overall, mental health is something that is still very stigmatized and oftentimes overlooked. The consequences of untreated mental health conditions can be severe which is why it is critical that people educate themselves on the matter and seek help when necessary. Showing the people around you that you care about them along with being understanding when someone comes to you with their struggles can make a world of a difference. World Mental Health Day is a great day to start becoming an advocate for mental health awareness.

    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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  • Stop Doubting Yourself

    by Nia LaCour

    A grouping of fall-colored marigolds in orange and yellow.

    Inferior. Insignificant. Lacking. All feelings that we know all too well. Almost everyone on earth has felt they are not good enough at one point. We have all doubted ourselves.

    Scoring Myself

    When I graduated #3 in my high school class, I believed the curriculum was too easy. When I got accepted into my university's Honors College, I thought the required ACT score was too low even though I scored a 28. And when I scored that 28, I convinced myself it was only because I scored well in one area and above a 30 was an acceptable score. And when I got accepted to all 12 colleges I applied to, I managed to convince myself that it was only because their acceptance rate was high. I was not being true to myself, and instead letting my own negative self-talk break me down.

    Breaking Free

    This endless cycle of being your own worst enemy is tiring and even damaging to your mental health. I had proved to myself time and time again that I was capable of breaking barriers and achieving remarkable goals, so it was time I started to believe in myself. The moment I decided to break free of this harmful thought process, it seemed as if countless doors of opportunities started to open.

    I started to receive internship offers. I was offered a spot on a huge research project in my university. Not only was I offered that spot, but I was the only freshman participating among upperclassmen and graduate students! I began to get more involved on campus, building those connections that we have all heard are so essential in college years! I felt renewed.

    Believe

    You are the only person holding yourself back. Once you break free of that mental prison and start to believe you can do anything, the sky is the limit. In fact, there are no limits! Stop doubting yourself! You are capable. You are worthy. You are you! You were made to do great things that only you can do. Go make the world better by being yourself.

    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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  • Writing is a Gift

    by Princess Robinson

    A graphic featuring the words ‘Writing is a Gift’ alongside a fountain pen. ‘Princess Anna’ appears on the second line.

    When hearing the word “write”, what comes to mind? Is it a five-to-twenty-page academic essay or dissertation that leads one to dread or procrastination? Beyond academic aspects, writing is the gift of communication that is good for the health, proves or documents that events took place or feelings existed, and creates art. Writing is inevitable, so as college students it is necessary to develop this skill for career and life success.

    Writing In Any Form Improves Mental Health

    As college students, it’s easy to become stressed about a work-life balance, maintaining relationships, acquiring internships and career opportunities, and managing financial circumstances. When used effectively, writing is a remedy to alleviate levels of depression and anxiety by lowering cortisol (a hormone released from stress that can suppress the immune system at consistently elevated levels). Writing can help to bring your dreams and vision into focus. A tip for effective writing for mental health includes documenting positive moments or events that take place in your life and refer back to them for encouragement when experiencing rough circumstances.

    Writing Clarifies Goals

    Writing down goals or life plans can help you maintain discipline and confirm your capability to achieve success. A useful way to set goals is to form a timeline ranging from one to seven years and specify the extent of a goal as short-term or long-term. For example, a student desiring to become a counselor could set the short-term goal of passing all university psychology exams and graduating. Longer-term goals would be to pass a certification exam and attain all hours required to become a licensed counselor. The important aspect of writing for improved mental health is that it serves as a confirmation that conquered challenges bring success, and hardships won’t always last.

    Communication is Key

    The phrase, “if it isn’t written down it doesn’t matter”, highlights the importance of communicating or documenting circumstances or events in the workplace, educational institutions, or any legal matter. In a college students’ perspective, it is important to communicate with your professors, especially when there is a lack of understanding. For example, a student attends a class with approximately 150 students, and the professor is teaching a complex subject that is difficult to comprehend. Putting pride aside by sending an email to the professor explaining where the misunderstanding is, asking for an explanation, and seeking resources for knowledge is the first step in learning to communicate for success.

    Another example of the importance of writing can be seen in legal scenarios. When a victim of the sequences of unethical or criminal acts writes down the accumulation of the events (specifying dates from start to finish), the process to attain justice from legal or managerial authority is made clear, understandable, and easier. Becoming competent in writing skills is important for college students, as it will aid in self-advocacy, career success, and communication for clarification and causation.

    Writing As a Coping Skill Has the Potential to Create Art

    A thirteen-year-old girl was faced with the inevitable and hospitalized for several weeks as she processed her new life. She wrote inspirational and optimistic songs that prophesized the brighter, prosperous, and impactful future that she had desired. Singing was a habit that she had adopted at an earlier age, so it complemented her ability to write. Those songs have allowed her to step out of her comfort zone by sharing and encouraging others to not give up during life’s hardships.

    You may have guessed that the young woman mentioned above is me. Though writing is inevitable, it is also one of our greatest gifts. The ability to communicate is a skill that constantly must be refined and sharpened throughout one’s whole life. Perhaps you have to write a memo at work, an essay, or even notes in class or in a meeting. Beyond work and school, writing can be an artistic outlet that is used to reduce stress. No matter the type of writing you are doing, it is a gift in all its forms if we recognize it as such.

    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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  • Isn’t College Supposed to be Fun? 3 Great Ways to Manage Academics and Do What Makes You Happy

    by Libby Davis

    A group of male and female college students sitting in a circle and talking on a campus lawn. Their backpacks are scattered on the grass beside each student.

    When I got to college, I remembered the countless times I heard an older adult or other family member say to me “college was the most fun time in my life, I would go back if I could”. I decided to take it as motivation to have the best college experience possible. I came up with three ingredients to make my college experience sweet; prioritizing what is important, managing my time, and getting involved in order to new people. These simple rules are something that college students hear all the time but why are they so important for us to actually follow?

    Prioritize Your Work First

    The biggest reason we all go to college is to pursue an education and eventually earn a degree that will hopefully lead to a job. But simply attending classes won’t lead to doing well and achieving a good GPA. Poor grades lead to negative feelings and stress; no one has fun failing. This is where prioritizing your work can help. Make sure you are on top of your schoolwork before participating in any other plans such as hanging with friends or going to sporting events.

    My own example of this occurred last semester when I really wanted to join some friends on a trip to California to watch my university play in the NCAA basketball tournament. The day we were to leave, I had two exams I needed to take. I prioritized preparing for and taking those exams over anything else – even packing. Everything ended up a success with two great grades on the exams and I made it on time to my flight later that day. Knowing I prioritized my tests and scored well on them made my time in California so much more fun because I knew I had been successful.

    Plan for Work and Play

    Learning how to manage your time on a day-to-day basis while in college is important. I manage my time by having a calendar with dates for not only all my schoolwork but also my personal commitments, like setting aside time to make meals, extra studying besides just homework, and time for personal hobbies. Having this organization has aided me in being a successful student while also building in time for fun activities, like hanging out with friends, spending time with my family, playing golf, and babysitting. These outside activities are what makes college fun for me and makes me happiest.

    It’s Who You Know, Not What You Know

    Besides just being on campus and in the classroom, it is very important to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Campus involvement plays a huge role in making your college experience the best because you get to meet so many new people who could be an ally for you in the future. A close family member has always said to me, “it’s who you know, not what you know”, and those words have proved to be true. Building emotional intelligence and social skills can make you so much more of a successful person no matter how smart you are in the classroom. People need people and we rely on each other so much. Getting involved within your college or university will just make your experience even more sweet.

    All in all, I know I have made my college experience worth way more than I ever thought I could, and I think everyone else should be able to as well by following my three ingredients to become a successful and happy student.

    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 Balance Your 3 S’s: School, Sleep, and Social Life

    by Ambyr Dack

    A closed student laptop with a student planner stacked on top and a pen on the desk by the laptop.

    When I came to college, I was told there are three S’s: school, sleep, and social life… but the catch is you can only have two. While there are times that certainly feel like the case, creating good organization and time management skills can help you maximize your college experience. What I have found to be most helpful throughout college is creating a calendar system that works for me, scheduling times to do certain projects that are during my peak hours of performance, and realizing the importance of intentional rest even in the midst of crazy schedules. 

    Find The Best Calendar for You

    How many times have you gotten a physical calendar and after one month you stop writing in it? We have all been there. Finding the right kind of calendar for you is key to keeping on track. If you know you are prone to stop using a physical calendar, try a digital one like Google Calendar or Outlook. At the beginning of the semester type in all of your deadlines for assignments along with known events like club meetings, classes, concerts, or trips. Set alerts that will automatically pop up on your home screen to ensure that you actually have to take a look at your calendar. What I have found to be most helpful is at the beginning of every month briefly reviewing my calendar for that month to make sure I'm aware of all upcoming dates and plan accordingly.

    Personally, I like to use two calendars. One is a monthly calendar on my desk that I use to add all of my assignment deadlines as well as any holidays or upcoming events. The other is a small physical calendar that has a weekly view that allows me to plan out what I will do on each day. 

    Strategize Your Studying

    Scheduling times to do certain projects that are during your peak hours of performance will help you with mental fatigue. For example, if you have a textbook chapter you have to read, a discussion post, and a quantitative assignment to do, be strategic on planning when to do these assignments. It takes a lot more focus to read a textbook chapter or to do a quantitative assignment than to write a discussion post. If you find you are able to focus the most in the morning, try knocking out the textbook chapter or quantitative assignment first, take a break, and save the discussion post for a time in the day you aren't as alert.

    Additionally, I know I get overwhelmed by the number of tasks that are on my to-do list, which easily leads to procrastination. Try setting an alarm on your phone for a short period of time like 30 minutes and just start a task. It will make it seem smaller and easier to start when you know you only are going to work on it for a brief amount of time. Moreover, this can also help when you have other tasks like cleaning your room or folding laundry. By setting a 5–10-minute timer you know that you are dedicating that specific time to it, which gives you more incentive to complete it within that time.

    Rest Is Productive

    Lastly, rest! Unfortunately, burnout is very common among college students, especially towards the end of the semester. The best way to avoid burnout is by taking time to intentionally rest throughout your week. This means finding ways to recharge, which looks different for everyone! Some examples might be to read a book, go on a walk, work out, listen to music, hang out with friends, journal, or cook. Finding times in your schedule to incorporate breaks like this is essential. It might seem like there is no time for this, but by adding rest into your schedule you will be more productive and have more energy throughout your week. Maybe you have an hour chunk during the week or split up that hour throughout your week. Find what works for you and make sure you prioritize it!

    Start early in the semester to establish effective time management balanced with plenty of rest. This will lay the foundation to productive habits that will help you maintain student success throughout the school year!

    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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  • Living with Student Debt Pre-Graduation

    by Hannah G. Brennan

    An aerial shot of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

    Student loan debt has been a newsworthy topic recently. There are definitely pros and cons to borrowing money to pay for college. Here’s my experience with how taking out loans can provide both a path to greater learning as well as greater student debt.

    As part of the first generation in my family to go to college, I knew it would be no easy feat — let alone a small bill. I sometimes think back to who I was when I was choosing a college. I was just an 18-year-old kid eager to get out of Chicago, make new friends, and take the world by storm. I did not know what new roads college would lead me down, but I did know that I wanted a fresh change of scenery. I got just that by taking out loans and heading up to Wisconsin.

    After getting sent home in the middle of my second semester due to the pandemic, I realized my student debt was turning out to be more of a mountain than a hill. I was very fortunate to have received grants and scholarships that put going out-of-state on my radar. But still, the loans I did have were enough to create a panic that was starting to set in. I had trouble sleeping and could think of nothing else for weeks.

    How will I pay all this money back? Will my quality of life be worse than my peers who did not need loans? Did I make the right choices? — These are questions I asked and still ask myself.

    At 19 years old with no clue what I wanted to do to earn money after graduating, I did not know how I would deal with this money mess I had created. Not knowing how I would solve this problem scared me and watching many of my peers not have this same fear frustrated me.

    But over time, I have found that the best way to cope is by changing my perspective. I am learning to look at student debt as much more than a bill on the kitchen table. Instead, it is a representation of my stepping into adulthood and taking control of my education, my career, and my life. Some days the stress still gets me down, but most days I feel as though it is fueling me to succeed even more.

    I do not intend for this piece to serve as any kind of financial advice. I certainly did not make my college choice based on what was most financially sound. However, I did make my college choice based on what I wanted. I chose the option that was right for my future and that felt right becoming my second home.

    I cannot go back in time and undo what I have done, but I like to think that if I did go back, knowing what I know now, I would not have chosen differently. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. If I had not chosen to take out loans and go to the school I did, I would not be the person I am today. And I would not be as responsible or as grateful for every minute of my college experience.

    I don’t want financial worries of the future tainting my experiences in the present. When I start to feel the pressure like I did freshman year, I take a deep breath and look at pictures from all my happy memories at school these last few years. I could not imagine them being taken anywhere else, and that keeps me grateful and reminds me that everything is going to work out.

    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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  • Why You Should Consider Academic Research

    by Maeve Murdock

    Blog author Maeve Murdock at work in her research lab. She is using a white tube to insert a liquid into a test tube.

    Typically, people interested in science are immediately asked if they’re pre-med. The conversation normally goes something like this:
    Them: “What’s your major at ND?”
    Me: “Biological Sciences!”
    Them: “Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. Are you pre-med?”

    I plan on pursuing a PhD post-grad, and I strongly believe more attention needs to be drawn to academic research. People paint this picture of those in research as highly introverted, antisocial, and uber-competitive. While I can’t universally disprove this rhetoric, I’m here to make you think twice and to share why I personally love biological research. 

    Find The How and The Why

    Biology is the study of living organisms. When you think about it, we, as humans, have millions of little molecular machines going nonstop, keeping us alive, regulated, and energized. Studying for an exam within one of the areas of biology is one thing. Performing research to uncover a new truth in the field is another challenge entirely. Not only must you completely understand all the fundamental concepts related to your field of work, you must think innovatively and creatively about very complex ideas. Rather than the “what” of biological processes, you begin to consider the “how” and the “why.” Why is this family of genes expressed in these conditions but not in those conditions? How could this protein play an instrumental part in this unknown signaling pathway?

    It Takes Intense Focus

    Biological research has a degree of attention to detail that I had never previously experienced. You cannot space out for even one moment in the lab because you'll forget which reagent you put in which sample so far, label something wrong (which then can ruin weeks of work) or contaminate thousands of dollars of reagents. Yes, I’m speaking from experience–I’ve done all of the above. It takes mental stamina and experience to apply the highest levels of critical thinking and attentiveness for many hours at a time. 

    There Is Always Room for Improvement

    In addition to abstract thinking, an endless skillset accompanies biological research. As soon as I begin feeling comfortable with one procedure, I’m expected to multitask that procedure with two or three new ones, jumping on incubation periods of 10-15 minutes as an opportunity to make progress on my other experiment. The other side of that coin, though, is that there is always more to learn. Much of the results of my experiments are quantifiable data–results that are good or bad. I find it a fun challenge to always try to improve my performance on an experiment compared to my previous attempt (less background signal, higher DNA concentration, faster speed, etc.). 

    Think Beyond the Stereotype

    If you like science, research can be a very fun, stimulating way to apply your passion and knowledge to push the medical field forward. Though researchers rarely get much credit, they are the reason our medical treatments continue to improve so rapidly over time. And as for the stereotypes I mentioned earlier, my lab is full of very social people. We have happy hour, networking events, and occasionally take a quick break to walk to the farmers’ market together. We are collaborative, and every member of the lab contributes to others’ work in a meaningful way.

    If you are interested in getting started in academic research on your campus, talk to professors to learn more about the process. Explore academic departments that interest you. Reach out to current classmates involved in academic research for ideas on how they discovered their research opportunities.

    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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  • Learning About My Ancestry via European Heritage Days

    by Emilie Conners

    Blog author Emilie as a young girl sitting on her mother’s lap on a couch. Next to them is Emilee’s Belgian grandmother.

    European Heritage Days are traditionally held each September across the European Union, and feature cultural events highlighting local skills and traditions, architecture and works of art. The broader aim is to bring citizens together in harmony even though there are differences in cultures and languages.

    These days have come to mean a lot to me because, while my father’s side of the family is from the U.S., my mother and her whole side of the family are from Belgium. It has always been really important for me and my family to acknowledge my European heritage, especially growing up in the States. Understanding and learning more about my heritage is something that I have come to realize is so valuable especially as I have gotten older.

    Digging deeper

    Growing up with parents from two different countries teaches you a lot about the importance of culture and the permanent stamp it leaves on your identity. When I was younger, I never really paid much attention to my Belgium heritage. because it didn’t feel as significant due to the fact that all of my mother’s side of the family still live in Europe and so we don’t get to see them as often. However, this doesn’t make my European heritage any less important; it just means I have to dig deeper to learn more about it.

    Learning to represent

    It wasn’t until I started asking my mom more questions about what her life was like as she was growing up and before she moved to America that I realized the impact of her life experience has on who I am. Knowing where you come from and the types of cultures your parents were raised in can help you better understand why you are the way you are, and how you got to be that way. The valuable stories, pictures, and glimpses that I get into my mom’s European customs help me better represent my family and my heritage.

    Keeping traditions alive

    Even doing something small like asking my mom to teach me a recipe her mom used to make helps me learn more about some of our Belgium traditions which are just as important as our American ones. Getting to experience two different cultures growing up is a beautiful thing to be explored, understood, and appreciated. I am so thankful for the different pieces of heritage that have come together to help me become who I am today. Additionally, I am thankful for my parents for always striving to show me the importance of both cultures and raising me to be curious about my roots.

    I would urge you to ask your parents about their stories, traditions, and ways that have made an impact on you. There is so much to learn about where you come from and what makes you, you. It’s never too late to start embracing your culture and striving to learn more about your family history.

    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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  • Falling Into the Autumn Semester – Fall Fun Activities!

    by Taylor Perline

    A view from the stands of a campus football game. There is a marching band on the field.

    The autumn semester is an exciting time for students of all walks of life. It’s a fresh start for both new and returning college students; however, it is not always a breath of fresh air. New classes, new professors, changes in schedules, and other factors can make the fall semester feel more overwhelming than exciting. Luckily, with this change in season, there is an opportunity for fun fall activities on campus!

    Check Out Your College’s Sports

    With the start of the academic season, various sports seasons also start up around campus! And students should not just limit themselves to going to a weekly football game. Football games are full of tradition and school spirit, but students can also check out their college’s soccer teams, volleyball teams, or even water polo (if their school has it of course)! Or if you’d rather be on the field, check out your school’s intramural sports schedule! Whether as a spectator or participant, getting involved with more athletic teams can build a much stronger connection between a student and their school.

    Join a New Club

    Embrace the new beginnings that the fall semester offers and try out a new club! This could be something related to a major, minor, or just another passion. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Maybe give the baking club, drawing club, or even some form of animal-based club a try. Connect with your campus student organization office to learn more about what clubs and organizations are available and how to get involved.

    Visit a Coffee Shop

    Whether it be solo or with a friend, a warm drink or a pastry on a crisp fall day can refresh even the most exhausted student. Check out a new coffee shop that you have never been to before.

    Get Ready for Spooky Season

    The faster the color of the leaves begins to change, the faster Halloween season approaches. Many college students enjoy spending time together in fun Halloween-related activities. This could be through going out in costume, staying in for a spooky movie night, or even finding a way to go out trick or treating! In college, it is also common to see students engage in partner or group costumes! Even though the season may be scary, do not be afraid to have a little fun!

    The start of the academic season can a challenging and stressful time for many. Students should remember to make time for self-care and have some fun during their college experience!

    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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  • Starting Your Semester Out Strong

    by Gabriel Hawthorne

    A screenshot of a student’s color-coded weekly digital planner.

    As students return from summer break, it can be challenging to re-activate one's mindset to a productive mode. Personally, I usually struggle with returning from summer because I have spent several months not thinking about school. However, not getting a strong start to the semester can make things harder in the long run, especially during midterms and finals. Here are some tips and guidance on easing your brain back into an effective mindset.

    Get Comfortable with Your Class Schedule

    Whether it is a course you've been excited about taking since you got admitted to college or a core curriculum class that you've been putting off, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your schedule. Not only knowing where and when your classes are, but what you anticipate your experience will be like in these courses.

    Review the syllabus to see if the workload is longer than you've been anticipating. The time commitment may require you to alter your schedule for other activities. If the class seems very challenging and requires a lot of work, you may want to consider how much time you plan to allocate completing that work on top of other classes and activities.

    For instance, I noticed that one of my classes required us to hand in reading assignments before each class. As someone who sometimes pushes their reading off until the last minute, I decided to make sure I had no activities before the class so I could do the assignment if I got too busy to do it beforehand.

    While it’s impossible to predict exactly how your semester will look simply based on the syllabi, reviewing your courses and schedule can help set reasonable expectations so you are not surprised by the workload.

    Plan Out Your First Week Back

    I usually like to schedule out all my activities for each week as soon as I can. This helps prevent me from overbooking my schedule and allows me to mentally prepare myself for the week ahead.

    Some activities, such as classes and meetings, have set times that cannot be changed. The gym and any time spent with friends can easily be rescheduled. However, allowing yourself time to relax is imperative to not burning out from work, so make sure to allow yourself some time to exercise or see some friends.

    After I have planned out my first week back to the best of my ability, I try to keep it consistent throughout the semester to build a routine for myself. Some people may not want to schedule out their entire week, however it can provide you with an understanding of what you have coming up and when. Create your own format that is comfortable for your success.

    Set Some Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

    When the semester begins, I usually reflect on my previous semester's academic performance and personal growth. There are times when I have felt I need to revise my study habits, so I try to make that happen early in the semester. Other times, I've noticed that I am happier when I exercise 2-3 times a week. Therefore, I prioritize adding the gym to my schedule. Making these adjustments early on in the semester can help you develop positive habits for the semester.

    I figured out these tips through repetition and listening to what my mind and body felt was right, which changed each semester. These are simply some tips that I have personally used and found very helpful as I start each semester. Obviously, everyone's experience will be different. If you are going to take anything away from this, let it be that you are the one who decides what works best for you. Trust your instincts and let yourself feel free to find your way of getting ready to have a great semester.

    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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  • Find Your Space

    by Gabriel Hawthorne

    Two textbooks stacked in front of a laptop and a desktop monitor. There is a set of headphones sitting on the top book.

    College students need a productive space to study and work on assignments. While many students prefer to work in their room or apartment, often that space is shared with roommates whose academic schedules do not line up. For those students, it is crucial to find a space where they can focus. Even if someone feels comfortable in their current study space, trying new places can still lead to an even better studying experience.

    How To Find a New Location?

    Explore! Try new spots around campus: outside, different parts of the library, classrooms. Gather your study materials, walk around the campus until you find an inviting place, sit down, and try it out. If it doesn’t feel right, pick up and try somewhere else. Students often limit themselves to popular places, like libraries or outside the coffee shop. While those are great, do not be afraid to branch out and find somewhere no one has recommended. There are hidden treasures everywhere.

    No One Size Fits All

    People like different spots. Just because a bunch of people say the school library is perfect for them does not mean that it is for you. Everyone needs to find their own place. A spot that seems ideal for one student may be full of distractions for another. Determine how much noise level, light, and overall aura of the space is conducive to your study preferences.

    You may even prefer different locations depending on the subject you are working on. If you’re working on flashcards or getting a reading assignment done, it may work to find a relaxing place outside or in quiet corner of the library. If you’re getting group work done, you probably want to find a space where you can sit around a table and have a conversation without begin shushed by a librarian.

    Give it a Shot!

    Many students can get pretty set in their ways with where they like to study, and that is totally understandable! People like structure and consistency, especially in school. But if you study in your bed, it can be hard to resist falling asleep. Working at the kitchen counter can lead to distractions from roommates. Finding the right place to work will lead to a more positive and productive study session.

    If you ever feel like you want a bit of a change, try out a new space. There is nothing to lose, and it might lead to a pleasant surprise.

    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 Best Features on MyLab

    by Lexie Harris

    A graphic with a blue background featuring the words ‘MyLab by Pearson’.

    MyLab, if you didn’t know, is a Pearson online learning platform that covers over 50 subjects and classes. MyLab has great features for both students and instructors. Two of my favorites are the homepage calendar and the “Show Me an Example” button.

    Instructors also have a wide variety of ways to customize the platform. In the end, the wide range of features in Pearson’s MyLab benefit both the students and the instructors.

    Getting Organized with the Homepage Calendar

    The homepage calendar is one of my favorite features on MyLab. On the calendar, the days with assignments due have a small blue dot. The assignments are listed under categories. The most helpful is the one with the upcoming assignments. The homepage calendar is a terrific tool to help students get and stay organized.

    A Little Help from the ‘Show Me’ Tool

    Another one of my favorite features is the “Show Me an Example” button. This feature comes in especially helpful when taking math or math-related courses. If a student is having trouble working out a particular problem or part of a particular problem, clicking the “Show Me an Example” button will create a very similar problem. The platform will then walk the student through how to do the problem or part of the problem. It can help the student learn, reinforce a concept, and help with homework all in one. When I don’t fully understand a concept in class, I know I can use the “Show Me an Example” button to gain more mastery of that concept.

    Instructor Resources

    Instructors have some options in how they structure MyLab to align with how they want their students to learn in their class. An example of one way they can change MyLab for the students is by setting the maximum attempts each student has to answer a question. Another example is that an instructor can turn off the “Show Me an Example” button if they don’t want their students to use it. They can also pick the quantity of questions they want to assign as well as which specific questions. There are many more customizable features at the disposal for instructors to use at their preference.

    Pearson’s MyLab is a great online learning platform no matter what class you are using it for. The wide range of features make it a valuable resources for both students and instructors.

    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 Get Involved on Campus and Keep the Perfect Balance

    by Alex Santoro

    An overhead view of a group of eleven college students sitting around two tables.

    As a college student, we are often stuck inside our own bubbles within our colleges and universities. There is a constant routine of going to class, studying, doing daily activities, and repeating the same things over and over. As time goes on, having the same routine can get tiring; college is a time to try new things.

    Change Up Your Routine

    One way to change your routine up is to become more involved on your campus. Campus involvement is something that can provide many professional, social, and fun opportunities. There are so many kinds of organizations on our campuses, and there is a chance that you can even create your own! Some kinds of organizations that would be great to be involved in are academic and social organizations, Greek life, or even organizations like student government. Most campuses provide a very diverse number of organizations that you can join.

    Schedule Time for Involvement

    As a college student attending classes and being involved, I have had issues with keeping the perfect balance between my academic, social, and work lifestyles. One thing that I did to perfect the balance between everything was to create a planner and schedule out my weeks ahead of time. When you take time to create a schedule and put information into a planner, it can tremendously improve the balance of everything that you are juggling.

    Start Each Semester by Noting All Due Dates

    When you are in multiple different classes, it can be hard to keep up with certain deadlines. At the beginning of each semester, I put all the due dates for all assignments, quizzes, and exams into my planner. This gives me the big picture when I look at my planner every week and see the things that I must complete for my classes. Another helpful tip is to color code your classes when you write down all the deadlines so that when you look at your planner every day, you can quickly see which class is which. You can also add a color for your organization meetings and events.

    Overall, campus involvement is something that every college student should try out. It is important to branch out and put yourself out there to experience the wonders of what colleges can have to offer. It is also very important to keep a good balance between all the things to ensure that you can be successful and work hard towards the end goal, which is obtaining a degree and graduating.

    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 Grand Activities for Grandparents Day

    by Ana Cooper

    Blog author Ana stands in front of her four grandparents within a large wooden frame.

    My grandparents have a special place in my heart. I am blessed to know all four of them well and live close to them. September 11th, 2022 is National Grandparents Day. I never gave this day much thought, but as I enter nursing school my schedule has become much more demanding. I constantly miss family gatherings and I worry that my grandparents might suddenly pass away, and I didn’t have time to send them a text. So, this year I am not going to take them for granted. I want to honor them the best that I can while I still have them.

    If you’re lucky enough to have a grandparent in your life, here are five ideas for keeping that connection strong – even while you are busy with your college studies!

    Cook With or For Them

    Even though my grandmother has shared some of her special recipes with me on a recipe card and has told me her little cooking secrets, mine never come out the way hers do. Learning a grandparent’s recipe with them might be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. They will be happy to teach someone their recipes.

    Or prepare them one of your own recipes and just enjoy the meal together. Sometimes this is more fun and healthier than eating out.

    Make Them a Card

    My love language is definitely words of affirmation. Telling someone the things I love about them is my favorite way to show appreciation. I grew up in a crafty home where my mom let me make cards for my friends with her Cricut machine. In making a card for my grandparents, I can put pictures, their favorites quotes, quotes from themselves, hand-drawn pictures, or anything I like. Consider making a hand-crafted card for your grandparents, too. Fill the card with words of affirmation and drop it in the mail.

    Make ‘Em Laugh

    Telling my grandparents funny stories or imitating them makes them laugh a ton. Showing them funny movies or singing silly songs make them giggle. Sometimes playing cards makes them laugh since they are so tickled. I love watching the Make ‘Em Laugh clip from the movie Singing in the Rain, which leads into my next idea…

    Watch a Movie Together

    Each of my grandparents has different tastes. My abuela loves murder mysteries while my grandma prefers romantic comedies. Both my grandfather and my abuelo love documentaries that teach them something new. But they are suckers for musicals with romance. They sing the songs loudly by heart to my grandmothers and make them blush. It makes them feel young again. Make time to find a film you can enjoy together.

    Record Their Stories

    My grandparents fled Cuba in their teen years during the late 1950s when Fidel Castro was taking over Cuba. They have amazing stories of growing up in such a beautiful country. There are lots of stories about what happened on the way to the States and how they acclimated. The tales of how my grandparents met could be made into movies. I remember them well now, but my children might not. I could tell my grandparents my desire to carry on these stories to the next generation and record them with my phone as they tell their stories.

    My goal is to do at least one of these things for my grandparents soon. Even calling them or texting them on a regular basis is important. They did so much for me growing up so I want to return that service the best that I can. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas to maintain strong ties with your grandparents, too!

    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 K-9 Touch

    by Ana Cooper

    A goldendoodle dog is standing in the front seat of a car. The dog has a small blue and pink bow on top of its head.

    On August 26th, social media is flooded with pictures of canines of all shapes and sizes for National Dog Day. If you're anything like me, a single dog's presence can make you smile even on the lowest of days. Dogs can offer a distinct kind of companionship and emotional support that even humans can’t mimic! Whether they're bouncing around just because they're happy to see you or licking the tears off your face because they can see you've had a rough day, your dog will always be there for you.  

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  • Creating a More Effective Educational Environment

    by Ryan Celestine

    An overhead view of a student’s desk featuring an open student planner, a closed notebook, and pen.

    As a college student, you have been taking tests and quizzes for your entire school career, and you will continue to take these assessments throughout your time in college. There have been many improvements and changes to the education system for the benefit of students' learning, but one thing that remains consistent is the emphasis put on grades. Tests and quizzes usually make up a large portion of your grade, but a test or quiz grade doesn't always accurately reflect your knowledge of a topic.

    It’s important to find a way to take the emphasis off grades and put the emphasis on learning and retention. Tests and quizzes may not be the most effective way to grade students and measure their academic progress. Here are a few ideas to remedy this situation and create a more effective educational environment.

    The Emphasis Put on Grades

    Being that there is such an emphasis put on grades, students usually center their learning on making a grade. A test or quiz grade doesn’t always accurately reflect a student’s knowledge of a subject, though. For example, on a 17-question test, say you miss two questions and score an 88. That is mathematically correct, and you did technically know 88% of the information, but that may not be the best reflection of your knowledge on the topic. Look at it in this way - you only missed two questions, and you got 15 questions correct! You got 15/17 questions right, and you demonstrated that you understood most of the information. In my opinion, that looks and sounds so much better than the 88 that will appear in the grade book.

    Focus on Learning and Retention

    Many students either study for long hours, cram information or even resort to cheating to do well on a test or quiz. This can really hurt the student’s retention and ability to recall information. It’s important to find a way to take the emphasis off grades and put the emphasis on learning and retention. Let’s dial down the pressure in the classroom and help students learn and increase their knowledge. Find a different way to “grade” students. If an instructor wants to implement tests and quizzes in their class, they should do it in a way that truly helps them to learn the information. It would be beneficial to allow students to do test corrections to understand where they went wrong. This will help students better retain the course information, learn from their mistakes, and possibly improve their grades.

    Results and Benefits

    By finding a different way to “grade” students, learning and retention will improve, student stress will be reduced, and the incentive to cheat will be eliminated. It’s very important to reward students for their effort and hard work rather than their ability to take a test because so many factors can impact a student's test-taking. When considering something like offering the student the opportunity to complete test corrections, some students may take advantage of the opportunity, and some may not. That decision of whether to complete the test corrections or not is fully up to the student. They control the outcome of their learning in this situation.

    Making an adjustment like this in the classroom will also help reduce the stress of students being that they can have a chance to understand where they went wrong and receive some points back. Taking the pressure off grades will also eliminate the incentive to cheat since it’s the student’s hard work and willingness to do test corrections that will impact their grade.

    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 Do’s and Don’ts of Packing for Your Move to Campus

    by Ryan Celestine

    Two college women pose together in their dorm room. They are standing in front of a desk in the space between their single beds.

    Moving into a college dorm can be a daunting task for any incoming freshmen. It can be difficult to determine what is necessary to bring and what can be left at home with limited space in your dorm room. Even if you’ve watched a thousand YouTube videos about the “perfect” packing suggestions, you can still end up with a list a mile long. After experiencing two semesters of dorm life, here are some of my do's and don’ts for move-in day!

    DO Bring Lots and Lots of Storage Options

    Storage is one of the biggest challenges. I recommend using the space under your bed to store extra items that don’t fit in your closet or dresser. Large plastic tubs or storage bins with drawers are a great place to put things like sweatshirts or snacks, and smaller containers are perfect for stacking on shelves. Remember, organization is key!

    DON’T Bring an Iron or Ironing Board

    When I was first packing for school, I thought ironing equipment was an essential item... but if I wasn’t ironing my clothes at home, why would I do it at school? These items take up a lot of space and you will most likely only use them once, if at all.

    DO Bring a Wide Range of Clothes

    When you’re sitting in lectures for a long time, comfort is top priority so pack some cozy outfits! Don’t forget one or two business casual options as well for any academic presentations or job interviews. It’s also good to remember that you may not have to bring everything on the first day. Depending on your school location, summer clothing could be brought home during breaks and exchanged with winter clothing or vice versa! Lastly, if you are traveling a long distance, consider what items can be purchased when you get there!

    DON’T Bring Items That Are Not Allowed

    Many schools do not allow certain items for safety reasons or because they will be provided for you. Although you may really want to bring an air conditioning unit, candles, or smaller appliances like hot plates or toasters, your Resident Assistant will require you to remove them or confiscate them completely.

    DO Bring a Desk Lamp and Surge Protector

    Lightning is not always the best in dorm rooms. Having a light on your desk is really helpful if you’re studying late at night while a roommate is sleeping. Having a surge protector helps eliminate the scarcity of outlets if you have multiple devices you need to plug in.

    DON’T Bring a Massive Laundry Bin, DO Bring a Laundry Bag

    Potentially carrying a large laundry basket up many flights of stairs is not ideal. I found that a laundry bag you can swing over your shoulder was super easy. I even brought two bags: one for dirty clothes on the way to my laundry room and one for clean clothes on the way back!

    DO Bring a Shower Caddy (And Shower Shoes!)

    You’re going to want something to carry all of your shower stuff with you to the bathroom. I recommend a mesh bag which is very easy to clean by hand or in the washing machine and hangs nicely. However, some students prefer to use a plastic caddy that they put on the floor. Don’t forget shower shoes are strongly recommended in dorm bathrooms!!

    Most importantly, DO Coordinate with Your Roommate(s)

    It’s not always possible to get in touch with your future roommate(s) but try your best to coordinate certain items. For example, you won’t need two vacuums or two TVs, and you can save a lot of money and time if you split a wish list!

    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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  • Enjoy College While Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Future

    by Lauren Blair

    A clock tower on the campus of Iowa State University.

    College is a time of immense transition. Given that it is the first instance in which young adults gain complete independence and freedom, a heavy weighing question is how to approach these newfound opportunities. Do I get involved in Greek life? Which clubs are worth my limited free time? Who should I make friends with? Do I get an internship over the summer? Is my major the right major for me? Here are a few tips and strategies to help you make the best out of your college years plus recognize which opportunities to take to prepare you for a successful future.

    It's All About Perspective

    My number one tip for balancing your academic, professional, and social life in college is to keep it all in perspective. A lot of stress comes from overthinking events that seem pivotal at the time however months later as you look back are nearly irrelevant. I’m not saying this is easy. It is very difficult in the moment to not freak out about earning a 50% on your midterm. However, there are plenty of practices that will help you successfully do so. For instance, when something is not going well and you catch yourself being engrossed by it, pause, and take a step back. Consider all the other accomplishments you have and progress you are making in other areas, and this will help make the current situation appear less defining. Failure is most definitely a large part of college and learning to deal with it is a key factor in your success. You will fail many more times in your career, however, what employees and peers admire is your ability to respond to your failure and learn from it.

    Learn Your Limits

    As you become acclimated to your new independence, and surroundings you will be offered with a ton of opportunities. Within the first week of each year, even as a senior, you will face new challenges and decisions. Deciding which opportunities to say yes to is a lot harder than it seems. My first month or so of college I couldn’t say no. I said yes to every social, academic, and professional opportunity I was offered, and I found myself overloaded with commitments that I could not follow through with. I was so exhausted from my spending every second active that I struggled to value the time as it seemed to be passing by too fast for me to do so. After winter break, I sat down with a list of everything I was involved in, friends, jobs, classes, clubs, research, etc. This helped me visualize and determine which activities I found most joy in and which I benefited from most. I immediately crossed off anything I was no longer interested in or dreaded going to. I then circled the activities that I had to stay in (school/work) or I did not want to drop. This then left me with the in-between commitments. I was able to narrow it down to three-four clubs in addition to school/work. I made sure that I was involved in at least one club that was major specific, one for pure enjoyment, and one that was social. Although this will look differently for everyone as we all have different amounts of schoolwork and non-negotiable commitments, the process is versatile.

    Keep Yourself Challenged

    This process allowed me to commit more of my time to each activity allowing me to gain more from my involvement in each one. Ensuring you have commitment to your personal health is also very important and can at times take a good chunk of time. This list strategy should help you differentiate between the endless opportunities you are offered in college and ensure you have a good array of involvement. Find opportunities that that bring you joy, challenge you, and prepare you for your future career.

    As you venture though college and the many new experiences to come remember it is key to keep this in perspective, do not over commit your time, and take some time to yourself to enjoy the stage you are in.

    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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  • Thrifting Your Way to a Better World

    by Logan Collins

    Blog author Logan Collins stands by a rack of clothes at her favorite local thrift store.

    What if I told you there’s a way for you to help the environment and protest fast fashion all while being the best dressed? Sounds appealing right? Well, then you should try thrift shopping! Thrift shopping has so many benefits when it comes to the environment, human rights, and our personal life.

    The Environment

    The whole production and distribution process of clothing takes up a lot of energy and water, just for the average individual in the U.S to throw away about 60 to 80 pounds of textile per year. Thrifting is just clothes being recycled. It avoids this whole process and is a sustainable way to shop. If you’re good at sewing, you can even find things in thrift stores you can modify and update into something trendier.

    Social Issues

    With the high demand for quick new trends, fast fashion has been taken to a new level. Due to this, many fashion companies (yes, even the expensive ones) use sweat shops for cheap labor to keep up with demand. Sweat shops are factories that provide illegal working conditions to their employees all while paying them a couple cents an hour. Thrifting allows you to bypass supporting these companies, while allowing you to protest the fast fashion industry. If you’re interested in learning more about sweatshops, you can search online to find a number of documentaries on this topic.

    Personal Life

    Lastly, thrifting helps you find your personal style and feel more confident. I used to be the type of person who would just buy whatever was trendy, since I wasn’t sure what my style was. The more I thrifted the more I learned what I really liked and how to express myself through clothing. Not to mention you save money thrifting since most clothing ranges from $5-$15.

    Support your favorite thrift shop or explore a new one on National Thrift Shop Day on August 17, 2022. So, who wants to go thrift shopping?

    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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  • A Triple Major’s Guide to Not Freaking Out

    by Maggie Parker

    Blog author Maggie Parker took this photo of a colorful sunset in Syracuse, New York.

    College students all have a lot of responsibilities to tackle. Some are involved with sports at varying levels, some are part of clubs, some have a job, and some (like me), made the crazy decision to do all three of those and more. I’m a student at Syracuse University with a triple major, a member of two club sports teams, a member of a sorority, and hold two jobs. I’m busy to say the least. In addition to all my commitments, I know how important it is to take care of my mental health. Over the past couple of years, I’ve accumulated a number of helpful strategies to help manage a balance of work and fun while also taking care of myself. Here are my top 5 tips:

    Make A Schedule

    Some prefer digital calendars, some prefer the classic pen and paper, but either way creating or updating a calendar with your daily schedule is the best way to stay organized when you have a lot on your plate. I personally use Google calendar and color code my schedule based on if the commitment is for school, work, or an extracurricular activity. This lets me see my whole week ahead clearly, and I can access my schedule on my laptop or my phone when I’m on the go.

    Plan Time for Yourself

    Related to my first tip, scheduling time for self-care into your calendar can be incredibly helpful if you find yourself struggling. I personally try to go to the gym 4-5 days a week, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, because I know that moving my body is super important for my mental wellbeing. I put my gym times into my schedule at the beginning of the week, so I don’t have to worry about trying to fit it in on a day-by-day basis.

    Prioritize Sleep

    Believe me, I understand that making time for a full 8 hours of sleep isn’t always possible. However, trying to make an effort to get the right amount of sleep for you is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Not only will getting enough sleep make you feel better, but it can also help you perform better in academic pursuits. To maximize sleep, try reading a book or journaling instead of looking at your phone right before bed.

    Prioritize Assignments Appropriately

    While I’ll never fully recommend skipping one commitment to finish something for another, it can be helpful to prioritize things like assignments based on how the grade is weighted or how lenient the professor is on late work. For example, when I’m having an unbearably busy week, I know I can let an assignment for a certain class slide because I know the professor accepts late work. For another class, however, my professor is super strict, so I always make sure to get my assignments for that class in on time. Check out this blog with more time management strategies like this.

    Have Fun!

    College involves a lot of academic and extracurricular commitments, but there are also so many opportunities to be a young adult and have fun. Whether you want to have a night in with your friends, go out to dinner, or go to a sporting event, take advantage of this time of your life, and take a break from the struggles of academia. Having fun with friends is one of the highlights of the college experience, so try to make time for it when possible.

    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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  • Creating a Home Away from Home

    by Janay Pope

    A picture of the blog author’s campus with the words ‘Welcome Home & Away’.

    Whether you are a freshman moving into your dorm, a senior living on your own, or a transfer student getting adjusted to a new school’s structure, being away from home can be a unique, exciting moment in your life. Yet, it can also be stressful or, at times, lonely. It is a new experience for some college students to make new friends and explore a new community independently. Many college students go through a period where they realize they can start over but do not know how to start or feel awkward exploring a new environment. Here are some lessons I’ve learned on making new friends and creating your new home away from home.

    Finding Resources

    Moving out of the house away from one’s parents may seem like the highlight of college, but no one prepares you for feeling homesick or feeling like a stranger in a new community. This was the case for me coming from Michigan, moving to Oxford, Ohio, and later transferring to Florida A&M University located in Tallahassee, Florida. I went from a virtual space during my first and second years to an in-person experience, so getting involved on campus was challenging. It felt like everyone had a head start because they had already been there. One of the ways I overcame this was accepting guidance from faculty, joining on-campus and off-campus organizations, and connecting with local businesses where I could meet people in the same situation as me but who came from different backgrounds.

    Getting Connected

    A great way to get connected is to get involved with events on campus. Most will have back-to-school events to kick off the new semester. If you prefer to leave campus, get involved in the community. Some towns may seem small, but sometimes less is more because there is beauty in simplicity. Here is a list of things to do that may spark ideas to explore the community around you.

    • Local theater
    • Festivals / carnivals
    • Restaurants
    • Community/botanical gardens
    • Flea markets & local markets
    • Local sports teams involvement
    • Car shows, museums & local competitions

    These are just a few general ideas of what you could explore. I recommend getting familiar with the behavior of the city you are in. Is it a quiet town or a city that never sleeps? Finding where a town is in terms of characteristics will help you find your space and maybe even create one of your own.

    Creating a Space for Memories

    Whether you’re in a dorm or apartment, decorate your room or space until you can’t anymore. Hang pictures and leave space for new memories you will make. If there’s a Pinterest post you have always loved…recreate it! Make your space yours. If you have symbols of home, showcase them in your room and allow it to be a place of comfort when feelings of homesickness arise.

    Bringing Home Traditions

    Finally, it is okay to take home with you. One of the best experiences about living away from home is meeting peers who have their own traditions and coming together to explore those traditions. Just because a city does not partake in activities you experienced back home does not mean they are unwilling. It is important to celebrate where you come from and be introduced to others from different backgrounds. Create an event on campus related to something you did in your hometown or create new traditions with your friends. As you move through your college career, remember that home can be wherever you want it to be if you make it 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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  • Expand Your Horizons through Study Abroad

    by Emilee Foy

    A picture of a city

    Whether in high school or college, there are a lot of benefits that come from traveling to a foreign country to study. Three big things that I learned in high school from studying abroad were observing the differences in cultures, adapting to living in a new place, and learning through new experiences. I studied in Cadiz, Spain before my senior year of high school and am studying abroad in Innsbruck this summer. Therefore, hopefully what I have learned from this experience will give other students a realistic feel of what it is like.

    The Culture

    One of the big things I learned while in Spain was the differences between the United States’ culture and Spain’s culture. Not only was the language a difference, but the way the people in Spain dressed was much different than the way Americans did. In addition, the house mom I lived with had very strict dining rules and ate very quickly which was much different than I was used to. Many people in the city of Cadiz did not have cars and relied on walking or public transportation. It was beneficial for me to adapt to their customs and understand that different countries have different ways of life. It allowed me to see the differences among cultures which gave me a broader outlook.

    New Environment

    While it was definitely a culture shock, I had to adapt to the environment in order to gain the most from the experience. After overcoming jetlag due to the time change, I slowly became more and more familiar with to my new surroundings. Embracing the day-to-day experience of living in a different country helped me to understand their unique customs and helped me to get the most out of the trip.

    Unique Experiences

    The most important aspect to a study abroad trip is to enjoy exposure to new experiences. I was able to take salsa lessons, surfing lessons, and a cooking class to learn how to make paella. We also visited outdoor markets with tents that sold locally made handbags, clothing, and other things. This was interesting to see what vendors could make and how they bargained with their customers for the products. These things were activities that people in this country did daily, so it was a unique feeling to be a part of things that were so different than where I am from.

    It is a profound experience to see different landmarks and meet new people outside of one’s own country. Any student who has the opportunity to study abroad should seize their chance in order to expand their knowledge.

    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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  • 4 Tips to Make Your First Year of College Easier

    by Josephina Hinds

    A student copies class notes from one notebook to another. There are also pens and snacks on the desk.

    College can be a scary thing and can sometimes feel like you are back in high school all over again. Let me assure you though that college is nothing like high school and can actually be a lot more fun. Here are some ways to make your first year just a bit easier.

    1. Don’t be afraid to go out and meet new people

    While it may seem like a very overwhelming thing to do, there are ways to make it easy. Campus-held events are a great way to get out and meet new friends. Most campuses will let you know in advice when an event is and what the event is going to be.

    Don’t be afraid to talk to the people in your major as well. This is a great way to connect with people who have the same interest as you.

    2. Put yourself out there

    Get your name out in the community. Join groups or clubs to get out there and make more connections. If your college has volunteer clubs, joining can help you make new friends and also help you get familiar with your new town if you aren’t from there.

    3. Get organized

    I was not organized when I was younger but trust me when I say that organization is going to be your best friend. Get sticky notes to keep in your books so you aren’t marking them up.

    Whether your college uses Canvas or another learning management system (LMS), there’s probably a built-in to-do list. Use it to keep track of assignments so you won’t fall behind.

    Set reminders in your own calendar of what assignments are due when and what time they are due. This will help you stay on track even when you aren’t logging into your Canvas or other LMS on a regular basis.

    4. Take time to yourself

    I can’t stress this enough when I say you need to take time for yourself. Look after your mental health and take time when you need it. Talk with your professors when you need a break and most of the time they will be understanding. Take the time to do what you love and relax every once in a while.

    While your first year of college can seem crazy and wild, be sure to take in those fun moments. Make new friends and just remember to breathe. Have fun in your first year of college – you’ve got this!

    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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  • Study Locations to Keep You Motivated and Productive

    by Kaitlin Hung

    A latte in a white cup with a leaf design in the foam.

    Even after my third year of university and I STILL struggle with finding the ideal environment/habits for studying. This past quarter seemed to be one of my best quarters, not perfect but I was able to smoothly pass my classes while balancing two jobs. I was wondering what caused this and realized there was something I did differently. I studied in different spots!

    I noticed that the reason I don’t study as well in my room is because my room is a personal space of comfort. I subconsciously associate my room with relaxation which causes me to not work as hard or lose focus easily.

    In no particular order here are the different places I studied this year and what I loved about them:

    1. University Library

    My university’s library has many tables with dividers for individual study as well as study rooms you can reserve for hours. The library is a free option with Wi-Fi that allows me to study with my friends (including the ones that lived on campus and didn’t have a car). Being surrounded by studying students motivates me to study as hard as my peers. Not to mention our school’s libraries have a designated quiet floor for those who don’t enjoy the chatter!

    2. Local Cafes

    I’m not talking about the international chains of cafes, which aren’t a bad option at all, but the smaller rustic cafes that have dimmed lights and other seating options like couches or loveseats. People here will be independently working or having a chat with their friends, the white noise here is one of my favorite sounds to listen to while working. It may be difficult for some to work in dull lighting, but I personally enjoy it, it provides what I imagine “old school academia” would be like.

    3. Botanical Garden

    This may sound a bit impractical but think of it as a productive picnic! My university has a botanical garden but if your school doesn’t, a local park would be another great option! I usually study here if I have an exam coming up; I’d bring a clipboard and print all my practice material to go over so I wouldn’t have to use any electronics. The sun shining on me and the light breeze is a nice way to get out and stay productive. Check out this blog about how plants reduce stress!

    These are the main places I visited to stay motivated, and I look forward to finding new spots to study!

    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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  • Managing the Stress of College Life

    by Emilie Conners

    A water bottle and a writing journal set on a white blanket. The journal is titled “just breathe”.

    College can be exciting, stressful, fun, and overwhelming all at the same time. Enjoying your time spent in your college years while also taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to you is extremely important. Many of us juggle a part-time job or sport with a demanding class schedule that leaves us asking “how do I manage my stress during a time like this?” Here are some tips to help you balance all the pieces of your college life whether you’re an incoming freshman or you’re planning to graduate in the spring.

    Relieve Stress by Writing

    I have made a habit of journaling to help myself decompress during the week. Journaling can be extremely helpful for alleviating stress and anxiety. Some things I love to journal about are my goals, positive affirmations, and sometimes just thoughts to help organize my ideas. Starting your day off with journaling can help you begin your day in a positive manner.

    Sweat Away the Stress

    Working out during the week through an activity that’s fun for you can be a great way to let off some steam. Some ways you can do this are by taking a walk/jogging around campus, attending a workout class with some friends, or simply trying a new hobby like hiking or biking. Everyone likes working out in different ways and so there’s no wrong way to get your exercise in.

    Fight the F.O.M.O.

    Schedule time for yourself to enjoy moments with the people that are important to you. The “fear of missing out” is a common feeling among college students and can make handling multiple responsibilities nearly impossible. I have found that scheduling a dinner with your roommates once a week or coffee with a friend can make even the most chaotic weeks enjoyable and easier to get through. The people you surround yourself with are the people who help you become who you’re striving to be; don’t let those important relationships pass you by. However, it is also important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t stress about missing certain events, it won’t matter to you in the future and there will most likely be another opportunity just like it.

    The ultimate key to managing stress during college is not expecting yourself to do a million things at once. Just remember it’s okay to take some things off your plate if you feel overwhelmed or unable to complete everything you’re responsible for. College is all about taking advantage of opportunities and helping yourself become the best version of yourself possible. This takes patience, mistakes, and practice. Taking care of yourself is the first step to becoming successful at anything else. It is extremely important to value your mental and physical health before prioritizing your other responsibilities.

    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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  • Don’t Dread Volunteering

    by KC Cooper

    Blog author KC and a fellow student hold up part of a white banner that says ‘Yam Jam 2022’.

    Volunteering can help you gain real world experience by giving back to your community. High school students can use volunteering as a resume booster for colleges or trade school while college students can use it to apply to a master’s program or as a steppingstone in the workforce.

    But volunteering doesn’t have to be boring or merely a box on your checklist. When you volunteer, you are helping someone and that is a rewarding feeling. Everyone should volunteer at least once in their lives so they can promote a sense of community as well as gain valuable life skills by working with others.

    Below are some volunteering opportunities that may be in your city/area:

    1. Food Bank

    Most cities and states typically have food banks or food pantries that are open for volunteers WITHOUT any experience! You can expect to do a variety of tasks such as bagging potatoes or sorting cans from food drives.

    2. Community Garden

    Colleges, small towns, or a close neighborhood near you may have a community garden that is open to volunteers. Although it may seem like skills are needed, the tasks are usually things anyone can do. The spring and summer months may lead to more volunteers needed due to the fact that gardens flourish in warm weather. You can expect to water plants, weed around the vegetation, or help with organizational tasks.

    3. Animal Shelter

    Perfect for animal lovers, your local animal shelter may accept volunteers to help them take care of the future pets! Most places require a volunteer application and may or may not require experience. Volunteers may participate in a broad set of tasks ranging from feeding the animals to daily health checks.

    It is also important to note that signing up to volunteer isn’t a lifelong commitment unless you make it one. Most places that have volunteers work on a sign-up basis so you can volunteer when it’s convenient for you and your schedule. When you do volunteer, strive to give your best because whether you volunteer for the hours or volunteer for yourself you have the capability of positively impacting someone’s 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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  • The Impact of Movement on the Mind

    by Logan Collins

    A silhouetted figure is standing on a beach at sunrise.

    Mental health has been an increasing topic of conversation today, especially around the demographic of students. Mental health is impacted heavily through the amount of movement incorporated in our daily lives. For many college students, making movement a priority can be a challenge due to having to find a balance between their academics, career goals and personal life.

    With the direct influence that movement of the body has on the mind, making movement a priority can be essential in creating more balance in an individual’s life. Here are a few of the benefits that come from this and how to find ways to incorporate more movement in your life.

    Benefits to circulation, digestion, and stress level

    There are many benefits to health that occur as a result from movement, ranging from mental, physical, to emotional health.

    • Circulation: Circulation impacts the way we digest our food and process nutrients in our body. How does this improve our mental health? When we are digesting the proper nutrients our stress levels are easily manageable, allowing the brain to enhance the way it processes, retains, and remembers information.
    • Stress Management: Increased physical activity releases stress. This is one way to “blow off steam”. Stress has terrible effects on the body and the mind. The less stress we have, the better our mental and physical health will be. Manageable stress levels also have an influence on our sleep schedule. More sleep will also aid in digestion and memory. Posture, eating habits, and mood are also swayed by having a more active lifestyle. Check out this blog post to learn more ways to manage stress.

    Incorporate more movement in your life

    There are many ways to incorporate more habits that involve movement into one’s daily schedule. Find an exercise that works for your body, and you can see yourself wanting to do every day. This could be going to the gym, yoga, dance, or joining some sort of club sport. Or start with smaller movements. For example, setting a reminder to stand up and stretch and/or take a short 5-minute walk once an hour. Taking time to just breathe and walk helps refresh the brain. Even stretching for 5 minutes after waking up every day can make a huge difference.

    Listen to your body and find ways to start consistently incorporating more movement in your life and your mental health will benefit as well!

    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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  • Sell Yourself

    by Brian Hayes

    An academic building featuring white pillars and a collection of international flags hanging from the porch overhang.

    When you’re in the midst of a job search, you are actually selling a product – yourself. The ability to sell yourself to someone is an important skill. When this is done properly you can separate yourself from other people in a professional environment. Let’s talk about how to prepare to sell yourself and the key components that you should consider.

    Do Your Research

    Prior to meeting with a recruiter, you must do some research. It is rare that I encounter someone who enjoys doing research, but this step is critical. When talking to a potential employer about an opportunity in an environment such as a career fair, doing the necessary research can set you apart from other individuals competing for the same opportunity. Here are the three things that you need to research and understand:

    • The recruiter: It is important to research how long the recruiter has been with the company, their role with the company, where they graduated from and anything else that you can find that can allow you to relate and build rapport.
    • The actual company: If you are looking for an opportunity with an organization at the very least you should know the service or product that the company offers, their target market and mission statement.
    • Yourself: Get comfortable speaking about yourself and your story. It is also important to practice how you are going to tie your story and experiences with the company’s culture and mission.

    Researching and understanding these things can put you ahead of the curve and provide you with the confidence to speak with the person you will meet with. I will note that you will not always know these things as some opportunities might be more random than others, but it is always good to take time and ask questions to uncover facts about the company and the person you are speaking to.

    Ask About What You Want

    After you have completed your research, you should then think about what you want. This is known as the “ask”. People will do everything that we have spoken about to a tee but at the end they do not ask for anything. This wastes everyone’s time. When preparing to talk to a recruiter understand what you want out of the interaction and ask them for it. If you want a job, internship or informational meeting make sure that you have sold yourself well enough to have convinced them to consider granting you the request.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Now that you have the necessary information to sell yourself to someone make sure that you practice before meeting with them. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be in these settings. Put everything we have talked about so far together and execute. Introduce yourself, show that you have done research on the person you are speaking with and the company, tie your story/ experience in with the company, and finally go for the ask!

    I would wish you luck, but luck is for the unprepared!

    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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  • Ready, Set, Goal

    by Jasmine Hartman Budnik

    A panoramic view of a mountain range under a blue with while clouds. A dirt trail is featured in the terrain in the forefront.

    Setting goals is important, but sometimes it’s hard to believe it will make much of a change in your life. I felt this way until recently when I began to rethink my idea of setting goals. Not only did I find I was more motivated, but I also started seeing actual progress in the goals I set. All it took were some new strategies and a redefinition of what it means to set goals. Here are a few tips that can change the game as you race towards the finish line of achieving your goals.

    Make a Goal and Make a Plan

    When I realized that the sticky note of New Years' resolutions on my desk was the extent of how I set goals, I wondered if my definition of setting goals was part of the reason why nothing ever came of them. It is easy to think that setting a goal means coming up with an idea of something you want to accomplish and “setting” it by writing it down or telling others about it. In reality, that process is just scratching the surface of what “setting a goal” should mean to you.

    I redefined the term to mean not only picking an end-goal, but also the process of making a plan, clearly defining the small steps that will get you there, and finding a way to keep yourself accountable. I only started seeing progress when my goals were no longer statements on a sticky note, but checkboxes in my planner, consistent physical reminders in my environment, and progress reports I made to my friends.

    Consistency is Key

    In terms of strategies to help you set goals that actually lead to changes, there are some tips we have all heard but need to start taking a lot more seriously. To start, goals take time. We all know that important goals can’t be achieved overnight, but that means you need to be ready to put in place a long-term plan. The steps you make should be consistent and placed into your weekly schedule, rather than having vague benchmarks that you hope you end up finding the time to meet. Your goals also need to be action-based. There are plenty of resources on how to set SMART goals or workbooks to walk you through the steps. While I sometimes feel constrained using those frameworks, the central theme that your goals should be realistic and actionable needs to be incorporated into your goals no matter what!

    Find Your Why

    Lastly, here are some strategies that I didn’t expect would make such a big difference in setting achievable goals. First, you need to know why you want to achieve that goal. This means getting past the desire to do something because everyone else is doing it or because other people will be impressed. If no one in the entire world ever knew or saw you reach this goal, why do you still want to achieve it? When you realize why you really want something, or that maybe you don’t actually want it, working on the steps to get there becomes a passion, rather than a chore.

    Finally, I learned that sometimes it is better to set fewer goals to give yourself the time and space to invest in them, rather than spreading yourself too thin. I believe it is better to achieve one goal than to set ten and never get around to them. By picking only the goals that were most important to me, I have been able to see my available time lead to visible progress. I hope these tips help you start the race towards achieving your goals!

    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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  • LinkedIn Tips for College Students

    by Sophie Harrison

    A screengrab of blog author Sophie Harrison’s LinkedIn profile featuring her profile picture, background photo of mountains, and her school details.

    LinkedIn is a powerful tool that allows students and professionals to connect at the click of a button. Due to this, it has become a handy platform that allows its users to utilize networking, career building, and job hunting. Here are some ways to promote your LinkedIn to create an effective page.

    Professional Profile Picture

    For starters, the importance of a strong profile picture and background is something you need to prioritize. A common issue is that you may not have a professional headshot. I have good news: two options can help you outside of scouting through old pictures of yourself. For instance, most colleges offer free headshots in their university career center or have specific days during a career fair or welcome week. However, if this is not available at your college or you are currently not in school, you can take a fantastic headshot at home. All you need is good lighting, a solid background, a professional shirt, and either a self-timer or someone to take the picture for you. In addition, choose a neutral background image that supports what you are interested in, such as an art piece. The profile picture and background you choose reflect your brand.

    Simple Introduction

    Next, the introduction should be clean, simple, and straight to the point. The headline is where you can put current info that stands out. For instance, you can put what you currently do: Pearson Campus Ambassador, Student at this University. Underneath that, you can re-enter your current position, education, location, and industry. Think of this as another opportunity to show off more about you.

    Write in Your Job and Educational Background

    List your work experience in chronological order in the Experience section underneath your headline. Show how long you were at a position, the location, job type, company, and add details about the position. The description section allows you to highlight the noteworthy details of your role in a brief informative paragraph. Since the section is short, highlight your achievements and the overview of what you did. The specific details are for your resume. Add anything relevant to your goals and career path. Include jobs that showcase your knowledge and experience of the industry.

    LinkedIn Extras

    The next sections cover education, organizations, licenses, and certifications where you can highlight what you studied. Specifically, you can list out major, minor, concentration within the field of the study section and then list out your activities and societies while there. Show off your well-rounded side and let employers or colleges see your interests. Keep this section brief and more of an ordered form. In the Organizations section, you can list the specifics, the purpose, and position. This is a great way for you to highlight your involvement. Similarly, the Honors and Awards section is where you can list out things you’ve won and where they occurred. Furthermore, if you’ve taken a separate class where you’ve gotten a certification such as being CPR trained or having a license in Excel you can place that here.

    The Courses section is useful to utilize, as well. It allows employers to see if you’ve taken relevant coursework and how far you are in your degree program. Additionally, I recommend filling out the Skills section and taking the skills tests if you can. It allows you to show off your skills and what you are talented in.

    I hope that this gives you an idea of how to develop your LinkedIn further to benefit you so that you can highlight yourself more proficiently and build your network.

    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 Student Leadership Summit 2022

    by Ryan Celestine

    A group of 18 students standing in two rows. The students in the front row hold large placards with the Pearson logo and letters spelling ‘STUDENTS’.

    What a weekend.

    The first ever Pearson Campus Ambassador (PCA) Leadership Summit was held in Columbus, Ohio in April 2022. The goal of this meeting was to continue to build a top ambassador program that reshapes Pearson’s brand in the minds of students nationwide. The meeting also aimed to capitalize on the success of four outgoing student Regional Coordinators (RCs) by imparting their knowledge to the incoming leadership team.

    Graduating PCAs Delaney Henson and Noah Myers made it their mission, beginning in November 2021, to demonstrate the impact an in-person meeting could have on the future success of the PCA program. They turned the once abstract idea into a set of concrete deliverables. Once final approval came through, the Student Programs team enlisted leaders from both Sales and Marketing teams to create sessions focused on sales growth in the Higher Education market.

    Experience

    The final product was truly an amazing experience. This summit allowed Pearson to bring together the heart of the PCA Program, which is composed of some of the best and brightest students from all over the country. It was a great opportunity to meet everyone in person. These are people I have worked with virtually for some time, so it was truly amazing getting to work in the same office as them and share meals together. The memories, laughs, and conversations I had with my fellow Pearson colleagues are something I will always remember.

    The pandemic taught us that a lot can get done virtually, but the virtual work environment is not the same as meeting in person. The feeling is just different. There is a certain level of heartfelt sincerity that comes with being physically present. You can interact with your colleagues in a way that you can’t behind a screen. The connections made, the relationships created, and the friendships formed during this Leadership Summit were truly special.

    I couldn’t think of a better way to share this experience than by having the voices of the other PCA attendees tell you.

    “My favorite part of the Summit was getting to meet everyone for the first time. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to form not only work relationships but real friendships with my fellow PCAs who I now look forward to working with even more.” – Rachel Schachter, California State University, Northridge

    “This summit was truly a dream come true! I think my favorite part had to be the panel with the graduating RCs. I was able to learn so much from them in such a short period of time and the lessons I learned are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my time at Pearson and beyond.” – Camryn Enloe, Oklahoma State University

    “I've been working virtually at Pearson for two years and while I was looking forward to meeting everyone in person, I didn't think it would impact me SO much. We had so many incredible conversations, and I learned so many things about the other regions that will help me SO much as the RC Trainer. I think that we'll be able to make an even bigger impact moving forward.” – Laura Avellaneda, Kennesaw State University

    “BEST TRIP EVER!! Getting to meet with my fellow RCs and Student Directors was so amazing. I learned so much from them professionally and personally, and it was truly an experience I will never forget. I left feeling so inspired, and I am so excited to implement everything that I learned.” – Ambyr Dack, Florida State University

    “Every single individual at the Leadership Summit was super friendly and incredibly brilliant. I feel like I grew so much from talking to them in person.” – Saleem Abu-Tayeh, University of Virginia

    “Nothing has been more impactful to me than having the opportunity to attend the Summit. The event allowed me not only to heighten my leadership and professional skills, but it allowed me to finally connect with so many of my peers that I have been working with virtually for months now.” – Taylor Falls, University of Alabama

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