• Does group work in college prepare you for the real world?

    by Jennifer Brown

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    As college students we hear about the importance of group work. In fact, group work is emphasized considerably throughout many courses. Many, if not, all of my undergraduate courses have had some element of working with a team, being a leader, or presenting with a group. With the added online components of coursework, as a student I have had the experience of working in a group in both the traditional and non-traditional way. With our academic and professional emphasis on group work, perhaps a good question to ask is, does group work in college relate to the “real world?"

    Learning together

    In collegiate programs, group work has been used for learning certain topics, discussing ideas, and performing certain skills. Depending on your career field, group work in a work environment can be similar. For instance, companies may require monthly staff meetings, just as college courses require student participation in presentations and forums. When I was a certified nursing assistant I often went through training in group formats to learn new skills, such as how to safely transfer patients from a regular bed to a specialty bed.

    Getting the job done

    Unlike the academic focus of college, group work in the workforce tends to focus on a particular cause or need. That is, collegiate group work primarily focuses on teaching you something, whereas workplace group work focuses on getting a job done. In college, you are being taught information and learning it, while in the work environment, you are expected to already have some skills and knowledge.

    In reality though, almost all group work can be considered opportunities for learning. Group work in college is formatted to fit the college student’s coursework curriculum, thus providing a unique experience for critical thinking and consolidation of ideas in a group format. It comes as no surprise then, that group work leads students to develop teamwork as a result of learning in these formats. In essence, whether you are taking college courses or are in the job market, group work remains important, its main purpose has just shifted.

     

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  • Test Prep: 4 tips to help you study for exams and finals

    by Jennifer Brown

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    What do you do to study for finals? What about regular exams? Do your methods work? Whether you are a freshman or a senior, finals still are one of the most stressful parts of college for students. All your hard work can depend on how well you perform on this last test. While some courses weigh final exams more than others, these tests are something students need to take their time to prepare for. Here are my tips when studying for not only finals, but regular exams: review your own notes, write key concepts down, create your own questions, and use your professor’s notes or material widgets, if included.

    Review your notes early and often

    One of the first things I do is review my notes for an exam. However, finals are quite different. Recently, I reviewed all my notes over eighteen chapters for my behavior therapy course, which proved difficult to retain the information.  What I recommend is to periodically review your notes for certain chapters throughout the semester. For example, if your course lists modules with several chapters, review those chapters at the end of the week. For some of my courses, our modules were spaced out every two weeks. After I finished a chapter I reviewed my notes before I moved on to the next chapter. This may be especially helpful when attempting to accumulate all of the information from previous chapters for exams.

    Rewrite your notes

    Rewriting important concepts and topics is also helpful. This deepens my understanding for the material and how each chapter shared similar ideas. For example, in my behavior therapy course we had a module on exposure therapy. Within this module, I had notes for flooding and graded exposure via imaginal and in vivo techniques. Although these therapies were separated in our text, by writing down outlines of the main topics I was able to clarify the distinctions between each technique and how these techniques were similar to other modalities taught in the course.

    Quiz yourself with flashcards

    Flashcards take studying to a whole new level! One great tool I began using this past semester was Pearson’s beta testing app called PearsonPrep. As a Pearson Beta Tester, I was able to test automatic flashcards made from my own documents uploaded to the app. I found this app great because it covered specific details that had the potential to be on the final. Personally, I have always had a hard time remembering details from the text, so when I could input my professor’s module summaries into a document and have flashcards from it, I found it very helpful. I was able to have different types of questions regarding the same topic, so I would recall it in different ways, not just by a fill in the blank answer or multiple choice. Likewise, I also found that generating my own questions really helped me remember the material. I suggest students generate their own questions when preparing for exams and their finals.

    Winning with widgets

    Lastly, when I transferred to the University of Central Florida, some of my professors included material participation as part of the modules. These participation activities usually were in the form of hangman or a crossword puzzle. What I loved about studying this way is that it tended to cover topics or ideas I may have forgotten about. Although the questions may not give enough information to use them exclusively for finals prep,  I used the material widgets in combination of other tools which strengthened my confidence in understanding the material. One benefit about these tools is that you can repeat them as many times as you like to review certain topics or key words.

    Studying for finals does not have to be daunting. With the right approach and a plan, you can make studying efficient and fun. I recommend that when studying for finals you review your own notes, write down key concepts, create flash cards and use your professor’s notes or material widgets.

     

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  • Be Flexible With Future Endeavors

    by Jennifer Brown

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    After I graduated from Lake-Sumter State College in 2016, I transferred to the University of Central Florida to get my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. In May 2018 I graduated Magna Cum Laude. Interestingly though, even when taking into consideration the varied future goals of psychology students, my journey after my bachelor’s degree is more uncommon than most. While most students are entering the workforce via the civilian or military route, taking a gap year, or going to graduate school, I am combining all three. That is, I am enlisting in the Navy, taking some time off from school, and am looking to apply to a graduate program to be a psychologist in the civilian or military profession.

    From Nursing to Psychology

    Despite my present goals, as a senior in high school, my plan was to become a nurse. I was involved in Health Occupation Students of America, a club that future health professional students joined to experience competing, learning, and participating in health-related events. To encourage this dream, after I graduated high school I decided to pursue nursing by working as a certified nursing assistant and taking nursing prerequisites at a community college. After earning my associate degree, however, I decided that I would pursue psychology for my next two years of college.

    I have always been fascinated by the vast and unending psychological research and theories that accompany a psychology degree. When I chose my enlisted contract for the Navy, I had two goals. The first was to fulfill my desire to serve my country. The second was to attend a graduate program for clinical mental health counseling, specializing in Rapid Resolution Therapy post-licensure. Over the past few months my goals have slightly changed. Now I am choosing to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology.

    Finding Research Experience

    Before I do so, I am going to follow the advice of many professors and Ph.D. students: get research experience! While working for the Navy, I look forward to assisting in research either at a Naval hospital or a university near my base. Research has been highly stressed upon during my undergraduate career in almost all my psychology courses as a prerequisite for most doctoral programs in psychology. One benefit I’ve enjoyed in participating with the Pearson Student Insiders has been to actively participate with Pearson researchers. Although I have not inputted data like most research assistants do, being a Student Insider has allowed me to give my input for the generation of present and future products that Pearson is creating. Being given this opportunity as a Student Insider has been a valuable stepping stone for my professional and academic goals. I am looking forward to working with researchers in the future and doing my own research in a graduate-level program.

    I still have one decision to make before applying for a doctoral degree and that is what master’s degree to pursue. Since I had originally decided to study mental health counseling, this is still of interest to me. Although the decision cannot be made now, I am grateful that as an active duty military personnel I will receive the GI Bill and tuition assistance.

    So here’s a reminder for current students or those just graduated: even if you have your next few years planned out, things can change. Although it may be disappointing and discouraging, being open to alternative options via your own mindfulness of the present may give you more freedom to pursue your values. Thus, being flexible in the present may lead you to new experiences you had never imagined. Even if your projected timeline does not come together as you thought, if you are able to be flexible in the situation you may be more likely to end up on top.

     

     

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  • MyLabs and Mastering: Improving Results for Math Students

    by Jennifer Brown

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    As a student at Lake-Sumter State college, I often used online math labs, such as Pearson’s MyLab and Mastering, to do homework and submit quizzes. I found the program extremely beneficial, especially during my statistics course. Students need to be aware of the advantages of MyLabs and Mastering so they’ll will be more prepared to make the most of the resources included. Here are the four tools I found to be the most helpful.

    Help with Homework

    The prerequisite section within MyLab Math helped me master the skills I needed to get started on my homework. This section was usually available before the actual course content was. When I took Liberal Arts math, I used this section frequently. It had been a year since the last time I had taken a math course and I felt I had lost some skills. Math is a process that requires you to master one section before moving on to the next. During this course, I went through multiple sections of the prerequisite section to review and hone in on the skills I thought I had forgotten. As someone who has struggled with math, this section was invaluable as I went through not only Liberal Arts Math, but also Statistics.

    Communicate with Instructors

    During my Introduction to Statistics course, perhaps one of the best tools I found through MyLab Math was the Email Your Teacher tool. It was a life-saver for the problems where I became stuck while preparing for an upcoming test. My professor was so prompt about replying to our questions via email. Due to the fact that all our homework was turned in through MyLab Math, she knew each problem we covered and whether any related problems caused other students to struggle. Likewise, when I took a developmental math course, this tool was a great asset for me. As a first-year student, taking a developmental class was embarrassing, but it certainly paid off when I earned an A in the course. I often emailed my professor about questions to make sure I worked problems correctly.

    Learn through Examples

    I also often used the “Example” tool when I was in my first math course of college. The tool was tricky to use at first. I realized that if you chose to use the example tool you forfeited your chance at trying the problem on your own and the points associated with that. Sometimes I had trouble understanding the examples themselves because they were explained in a more complicated manner. The great thing was that students in my course took the initiative to bring their laptops into class to show our professor problems they were stuck on and we would review them before class.

    Review for Tests

    One last benefit I found from the MyLab Math was using it as a review for my upcoming tests. For one of my math courses, the professor created a section just for reviewing problem sets. When I started studying for a test, I used this section along with reviewing previous homework assignments by redoing the problems. A unique factor in this program was that it included multiple options for a problem. That is, if I wanted to do a similar problem, I could just reset the problem and go through the different options for that problem. Like my professors stated, practice is key! This review was just what I needed to prepare for my exams because most questions were like our homework assignments.

    I highly encourage any student to consider using MyLab Math for their upcoming math classes. This helpful study tool saved my math grade. Whether it be an intro level or an upper level statistics course, the benefits of this product are endless.

     

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  • Technology Tools Enhance Education Online and On Campus

    by Jennifer Brown

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    Technology has proven to be a great tool in society. Can you imagine where we would be without it? This blog certainly would not be here! Technology not only impacts the way we communicate and exchange information, it also plays a big part in our education. Computers, tablets, cell phones and other electronic devices have perks for students. Whether you take courses online or on campus, here are some tips on how technology can enhance your education.

    Taking online classes or modules

    Online students and professors use technology for teaching, learning, and testing. Using online learning connects people together for a purpose. Students and professors can easily have access to course materials via computer, smartphone, or tablet. Instead of having students travel long distances to campus, the classroom comes right to the computer. Some professors even take the time to upload recordings of themselves lecturing. Plus, professors and their teaching assistants can respond to questions about material quickly via emails or discussion boards when using the online platform.

    Testing

    Online courses complete testing through a computer. For some courses, teachers may include a video monitor to watch students as they take their test. It’s important to know that even though you can take your test virtually anywhere, look for an ideal location.  Take your online exams in a place that is free of distraction, comfortable and familiar to you, and has strong internet connection.

    Studying

    In some of my courses, my instructors have included material widgets to help students practice key concepts. Basically, these are computerized games like hangman, crossword puzzles, or matching to help you practice and learn vocabulary and other concepts. Many students use phone apps or apps on websites to help study for tests. Quizlet is one of the most popular apps. I have also been in classes where students connect through GroupMe, an app for students to have an ongoing group chat. Most of my online classes have discussion threads where students ask questions and participate in assignments.

    Homework

    Many online courses and seated courses have online learning tools for you to complete homework in a fun and engaging way. For example, Pearson’s MyLabMath not only facilitates how you complete your homework, but also allows you to seek help when stuck on a tricky question. The “Help Me Solve This” button will open up a separate question similar to the one you are working on and walk you through the steps of solving it. Study tools like this are helpful in learning difficult concepts.

    Technology is amazing to help students excel in academics! Whether it be for online classes, tests, studying, or homework – you can use technology to improve your learning.

    Pearson Students –  How do you use technology for your academics?

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  • Military or College: Why Not Both?

    by Jennifer Brown

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    As a student who has always been interested in the military, I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should join any branch. During high school I saw recruiters set up their tables and pass out pamphlets. I even scheduled a time to take my dad with me and meet with an army recruiter. At the time I was confused about what I wanted to do in the future. With being so indecisive, I knew I probably should wait to make a decision. I waited all the way up until the summer before my senior year of college. It was a huge step, full of uncertainty and following many talks with my parents.

    Waiting for the right time

    Why did I wait so long? After I graduated from high school I decided that maybe the military was not for me, at least not yet. I chose to go to community college and also got involved with volunteer opportunities in my areas of interest. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I loved the experiences I got from volunteering and going to a community college. I believe those experiences made me who I am now.

    An idea that resurfaced

    After transferring to the University of Central Florida, I found myself again pondering the idea of enlisting. I had several friends who had suddenly joined the military. It made me realize that the same passion in them was also in me. First, I considered joining the ROTC program through my university. However, I found that as an online student it would be difficult to manage. After browsing around for recruiters, a Navy recruiter contacted me; there the journey began.

    Making the final decision

    So, what does it mean to join the military? What about college? If you join the military you can get your college paid for. You can get trained in any field you desire. However, I wanted to finish my degree and work in the field of psychology. In my case, I had the option to go in as an officer and receive the benefits of being an officer. I also had the option of extending my major and doing ROTC at my university or going to another college for the specific ROTC program I wanted. In the end, I chose to enlist, despite many people telling me to start as an officer.

    Gaining insight

    Why didn’t I join as an officer? I spoke to multiple recruiters, talked to veterans, and talked to people I knew were currently serving. This allowed me to gain better insight on what I really wanted to do. I did not find any officer positions I fell in love with so enlisting seemed like the best option for me.

    The choice is yours

    If you are considering the military, what you do and what you experience is up to you. Do your research, work hard and don’t give up when obstacles come your way. You decide your life’s path. You can go to college and join as an officer or enlistee. There are even civilian careers associated with the military. Realize that your options can be endless!

    Pearson students — are you a member of the military or considering military service? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Positive Affirmations: How a Sticky Note Can Make an Impact

    by Jennifer Brown

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    Have you ever wondered what would happen if you decided to go outside of yourself and do something amazing? I had this experience while volunteering for a nonprofit. I found out how simply giving positive affirmations can make a big impact on others.

    Do something special

    I do not remember what it was that caused me to come up with this idea, but one morning I decided that instead of just coming into the office for a regular day, I would do something special. I decided to write positive affirmations on as many sticky notes as there were doors to the offices in the building. You can see where this is going. I got there early and only the secretary knew what I was doing. I was so worried I would get in trouble by doing this, but I stuck with my intuition and did it anyway.

    On every door, I put a sticky note with something positive written on it. I was leaving early in the morning to go to another office, so I wasn’t there when everyone found the notes.

    So surprised!

    When I got back to the office I found out that everyone was talking about the notes on their doors and was wondering who put them there! Not everyone went to the office that day so there were some notes still on the doors. But most of the notes had been taken off and obviously read. The secretary told me how so many people were so happy and surprised to see the notes!

    A small act makes a big difference

    I was filled with so much pride knowing that I could make a big difference in the lives of everyone in the building through such a small act – even if it was just for one morning. Although this was a challenge for me I realized upon doing this that there is so much inside of me that has potential. So, what is it that is in you? What is the one thing that you should be doing, but aren’t? How can you make a positive impact on others?

    I want to hear about some of the things you want to do in the lives of others! Retweet this blog and share your impactful stories!

     

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  • Community College Success: It's There For You to Discover!

    by Jennifer Brown

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    During my first two years of college, I attended Lake-Sumter State College, a local “state” college in Florida with campuses in three locations – Leesburg, Clermont, and Sumterville. This college is primarily known for its low costs for students who wish to stay local and complete their first two years of credits. With the development of its first bachelor’s program a few years ago, this community college became a state college, but most still think of it as  a community college. I discovered that community college can be a rewarding experience both in and outside the classroom if you take the time to explore what’s out there.

    I found a variety of helpful resources in the people and places at this community college/state college.  

    People Resources

    1. The professors and the dedication they had for their subjects. I attended many office hours to review material, which was especially helpful for my science courses in anatomy and physiology! Those courses were not easy, but having a teacher who knew how to teach difficult material in a simplistic manner made an incredible difference. My favorite instructor out of all of my teachers from LSSC was Dr. Urquhart. She told stories about how psychology related to life and engaged students in the conversation. Although her class was challenging, I found it to be a wonderful experience.
    2. The librarians. They were extremely devoted to helping students with their essays, and they were especially known for their skills in formatting papers!
    3. The Learning Center (LC) scheduled specific professors and students to help others with their class assignments. I went to the LC for almost every English paper I had.  
    4. The Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Career Services Center offered sessions with a local provider at no cost. I used the Career Center to find resources that helped me make my decision for my major.

    Other Resources

    1. Extracurricular activities made my college experience at LSSC more rewarding too, including volunteer and study abroad opportunities. I volunteered to help a local non-profit sponsor a prom event for  high school girls.
    2. Campus facilities. My favorite spot on the main campus was the nature trail. Most students didn’t even know that the campus has one! I loved to be able to retreat to the trail and be alone in nature. The walk helped me clear my head and just enjoy the outdoors.

    For students who choose to get involved and work hard, there are many opportunities for success at community colleges like Lake Sumter. If students are willing to make an effort, they are more likely to get much more out of the experience.

     

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  • Psychology Majors Keep It Personal

    by Jennifer Brown

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    Have you ever been interested in why people do what they do? Have you wondered what processes and pathways the brain uses to help you stay focused? These answers may be found in the field of psychology. Psychology is such a diverse field of science that may be right for you! Unlike hard sciences, psychology is like sociology in that it focuses on people, but instead of the global or societal level, it takes it to a personal one.

    People and their behavior are what I find intriguing, and therefore I first decided to study psychology. Little did I know, there is so much more to psychology than the cognition or development. There are many subfields just waiting to be explored.

    I took a course on positive psychology this semester. Upon taking the class, I learned that positive psychology is not just “how to be happy.” It is about broadening the traditional methods of psychology that focus on the negative views of mental illness and human behavior, to include the positive and beneficial view that helps our well-being. Positive psychology is all about how to find out the positive traits and strengths we as humans have, analyzing theories regarding what positive behaviors and cognitions are related to higher life satisfaction, and so much more.

    Experimental psychology, another subfield of psychology, focuses on research with experimental methods. One of my classes I am taking is a research methods class and I have learned how experimental methods of research differ from non-experimental methods. For instance, a survey you take online that may be part of a research study isn’t a real experimental study. It is a study, but the questionnaires themselves are not part of experimental research. What is the difference? Well, experimental studies manipulate the independent variable, while non-experimental studies don’t.

    Are you interested in health? The field of health psychology is another fascinating field. Like positive psychology, health psychology also focuses on character strengths, but it is more in relation to our health behaviors, physical, emotional, and psychological health. Health psychologists try to figure out treatments for patients in a variety of settings and focus on their whole well being, a concept known as the biopsychosocial perspective. That is, they consider the impact of biology, psychology, and the social influences in a person’s life and their impact on one’s quality of life and health.

    A popular area of interest in psychology is counseling. Counseling psychology is very like clinical psychology in that it aims to treat clients using therapeutic methods. The differences between these two fields are minimal, but essentially, counseling psychologists focus on the lesser mental health concerns, such as relationships concerns or mild forms of disorders, while clinical psychologists focus on more serious disorders, such as schizophrenia, and major depression.

    One of the fields I am interested in is neuropsychology. This is the study of the brain and how certain behavior is modified by certain pathways and connections within the nervous system.

    Whatever field you are interested in, know that psychology is focused on the individual and how findings relate to people versus a society. Psychology is a very interesting major which leads to a very interesting work environment for your career! I hope I was able to shine a light on the various forms of psychology classes that you can explore with a major in Psychology!

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