• 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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  • Ten Tips to Manage Stress and Anxiety

    by Natalie Farran

    A white blanket is spread out on a rocky beach. A book with the words ‘My Bullet Journal’ is on the blanket.

    As the Spring semester gets into full swing, stress and anxiety can begin to creep into every college student’s day-to-day life. Here are ten simple ways to help you shift your mindset, feel relaxed & have better outcomes.

    1. Spend a quick minute saying gratitude statements for all you currently have. 
    2. Keep a journal to help you process anxious feelings. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; even setting aside 3-5 minutes to write each day can be beneficial.
    3. Try meditation and mindful breathing to help rejuvenate and refresh your outlook. There are many free apps that can help guide you through this process. If you have very little space in your day, try doing it when you first wake up or as the last thing you do before you go to bed. 
    4. Reframe how you talk to yourself. Your words have energy so telling yourself, “I can’t do it” will negatively affect your motivation and performance. Say instead, “I can do it, I am here to try...” to help bring about a positive change to your attitude.
    5. Big exams can bring about big stress levels. Along with studying ahead of time, be prepared to combat text anxiety on exam day. Get plenty of rest and have some relaxation exercises at the ready, such as deep breathing.
    6. Take a hot shower to help you to feel relaxed.
    7. Reward yourself when you accomplish short goals. Treat yourself with a favorite snack after a study session or build in time to socialize with friends after finishing a big assignment.
    8. Reach out to friends or mentors. Staying connected to others either through a virtual chat or getting together in person can boost your mood and renew your motivation.
    9. Remember that tomorrow is a new day. Don’t waste your energy worrying about what you did not do. Look ahead and vow to try your best going forward.
    10. Be thankful that each day is a new opportunity.

    Finally, keep in mind that college students face daily stressors and academic demands that can potentially aggravate mental health issues. Don’t be afraid to seek a therapist to talk with and help you find useful tools to use when you are not in your comfort zone. Contact your campus health services to find out what resources are offered.

    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 I'm staying positive while staying at home

    by Natalie Farran

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    Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be spread every day. This virus does not know young from old – anyone can be affected by it. Yes, we have a stay at home order in Michigan, but it will help things get better. Meanwhile, this does not mean we can’t have fun. To face these hard times, I have several activities I try to complete every day. These help me maintain a positive outlook and attitude.

    • Creating a schedule to stay on track. It’s easy to fall behind in online classes. I allot daily time for studying, homework, and taking care of my family.
    • Drawing and writing as much as possible. It serves as a creative outlet and brings me joy when I am in a bad mood. 
    • Video-chatting with my family members who are in Italy. 
    • Meditating because it helps me to sleep well and lifts my mood. 
    • Getting outside in the sunshine as much as possible. 
    • Putting on my favorite outfit and going for a drive, while playing my favorite music. 
    • Running in the empty park because I enjoy smelling the fresh air.
    • Looking to reliable sources for news and information. I check reliable websites like the Center for Disease Control.

    Outside of these things, I always make time for fun. We all get busy with work and school, but making time for activities you enjoy usually lifts your mood. I make sure to start every day with a smile. This simple gesture reminds me to think positively.

    I know by following proper safety protocols, things will get better. I try to stay strong for my friends and family who do not have this option. Together, we will get through this. Despite social distancing, love can still be spread. So, continue to spread love and care in your everyday life. 

     

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  • Starting over: College students can manage stress to achieve success

    by Natalie Farran

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    Many college students experience high levels of stress throughout the semester. Dealing with feelings of anxiety and sadness can get in the way of achieving academic success. It is OK to not feel OK, but learning to manage stress is an important skill for all college students to develop. Remind yourself that this isn’t forever and to try to make it better tomorrow. Happiness begins from within yourself and doing what you truly love. Being selfish sometimes is necessary for your well-being.  

    I used to be the kind of student who focused only on the grades I received. I would make myself sick trying to get all A’s. Any time I earned a B, I would feel so guilty. A little voice in my head would tell me I wasn’t smart enough and I felt like a failure. This stress and anxiety began to affect my health. I gained a lot of weight and wasn’t able to sleep well. I forgot to take care of myself in exchange for studying. 

    Finally in the summer of 2019, I decided to change my lifestyle. I realized that I was not happy in my major and I questioned why I was in it. I decided to start over by changing my major and changing my mindset. Choosing happiness was my new philosophy. I worked hard to change my thinking and started a new chapter.

    Studying is still something I have to do, but I’ve learned that my best is good enough even if my score isn’t perfect. Your life is more important and loving yourself should be the first priority. Here are some tips that have helped me and may just help you as well. 

    • Surround yourself with positive people that value you. You deserve to be loved for who you are.
    • Stay rested. Work on developing good sleep habits. 
    • Let go of perfectionism. School and grades aren’t everything, so don’t make it your entire life. 
    • Reward yourself when you do great things. 
    • Create a study plan and stick to it to help manage your time.

    Do what makes you feel happy, try your best, and don’t worry. It can be stressful, but remember that grades don’t define your life.  College is a beautiful time in your life so enjoy it. 

     

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  • Helpful tips for college success

    by Natalie Farran

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    When I first got to college, I could see myself struggling and didn’t understand why. With the help of friends and professors, I soon realized that a lot of my problems stemmed from not being organized and not having a routine. Once I started using a planner and following a schedule, my grades quickly went up and I felt more confident in everything I did. Here are more tips I follow that have helped me succeed throughout college and may just help you as well. 

    Lecture tips

    The first step for having success in your classes is to be on time and be prepared. If you know what you are going over that day and have read ahead, you will know what questions you may have. Another way to stay focused is to stay off your phone; this will help you avoid being side tracked. You may even want to turn it off. Success in your classes also comes from actually attending class. Make it a point to be at all the lectures you can. If you can’t make it, ask a friend for notes from that day. Overall, you want to be fully there in your lectures and focused on the professors.

    Study tips

    Studying doesn’t start right before each test, it starts from the beginning. It is good to make a study outline after every lecture. This will make it less of a hassle once test time comes. If you don’t understand something, visit your professor during office hours. They want to help you and see you succeed so use them before it is too late. There are also tools you can use to help better understand the material. You can use flash cards, questions from your book, and even online study guide tools to help remember things. Finally, after each test reward yourself. You have worked hard and deserve it!

    Lab tips

    Labs are here to help you better understand classroom concepts. They are in a smaller setting and a great place to ask questions. There are always things to do beforehand, so make sure you are prepared with readings and videos. Make friends in your labs because you may need them later on with help for lectures or labs. Tests in labs are just as important as tests in your lectures so prepare accordingly. Overall, labs can be a fun way to learn materials. Use your time wisely and have fun with it.

    Time management tips

    Keeping a routine can be hard, but once you get it set, it can make a world of a difference. Strive to keep school and home separate. You can study at the library, with friends, or even at a desk. Staying off the bed or couch can help you be more focused. Also, try studying during the day so you can have more time at night for family and friends. Once you have a schedule, stick to it to stay on track!

    College can be hard, but staying organized and having a schedule brings calm to the chaos.  It will help you to stay motivated and to get better grades. Always remember why you are doing it and look toward your goal!

     

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  • Finding Your Sunshine: Identify pillars of support to help achieve collegiate success

    by Natalie Farran

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    When I started going to college, I found that the subjects got a lot harder than in high school. I began to feel that I couldn’t pass, make good scores, or even finish all of my homework. But through it all my mom was always there to help me and held my hand when I needed it. I have found my sunshine through her.

    My mom likes to tell me how much she believes in the quote, “the roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.” She never got the opportunity to finish her education, but pushes me to continue mine in order to accomplish my dreams. It is because of her that I feel I can do anything.  Whenever I need support I always turn to her because I know her words will soothe me.

    While college can be a great time of finding yourself, it can also be a time of big challenges and stress. A little light shining in can help you keep moving forward. Whether it be a person or activity, there needs to be something that drives you and pushes you to be better. My mom always says that college is not easy, but nothing in this life is easy. Work hard and fight for what you believe in.

    She also always said that I never need to change to please anyone. It is important that whatever you may choose to pursue doesn’t change you along the way. College is where you learn a lot, but you can get lost in the shuffle of things. Hold firm to your values and beliefs so you don’t lose your way.

    I believe all college students need to feel supported. We have pressure to conform, change, or even give in to failure. We all need to feel that there is someone or something who can help and encourage us to keep going. It is imperative that you find what helps make you shine by putting you up instead of tearing you down. So if you ever find yourself discouraged, think about what keeps you going and don’t look back.

     

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  • Manage Your Smartphone or It Will Manage You

    by Natalie Farran

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    The use of technology negatively affects interpersonal communication skills because it limits social interaction and development. This is important because it affects our future jobs, relationships, and health. Allowing our phones to kill our real communication will damage our relationships. Access to the world through technology leads us to spend hours sitting in front of a screen without us noticing. Here are some ways that can help you stay off your phones and stay connected to the real world.

    Set Timers

    There are many apps and settings on your phone that allow you to set time limits for social media and other apps. When you have reached the limit,  your phone locks you out and you have to go back in and change the setting if you want to keep using that app. This makes you more aware of how much time you are spending on your phone and keeps you more accountable.

    Play Games

    A lot of times when I am with friends, it feels like everyone is always on their phones. A way we have learned to stop that is keeping our phones in the middle of the table and the first person that grabs theirs loses. They could have to buy everyone pizza or deal with the fact they lost. Another way to keep everyone engaged is to play games together. It is hard for people to be focused on their phones when they are trying to win. Either way, these are good ways to keep talking together and not talking over the phone.

    I have experienced being ignored by my friends and even left my own house without them noticing. They finally realized their mistakes and apologized, but it taught a valuable message: don’t allow your phone to take you away from those you love. It can become an addiction, but if you stay on top of it, your phone won’t take over you.

     

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  • Teacher Appreciation: My North Star

    by Natalie Farran

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    When considering a professor who inspired me, the one that really stood out to me taught my Anatomy and Physiology class, Dr. GK. He is the professor that has helped and supported me the most in my time at college. He has been there when I needed encouragement and I know he has been there for others as well.

    His office door is always open to any of his students about questions they may have about class or life. Once I shared with him my dream of becoming a biology professor, but how I wasn’t sure because of how much I was struggling. He surprised me with his uplifting words saying that he struggled as well and he had to study a lot to get where he was now. He urged me to continue working hard and to think positive because it pays off. Those words were exactly what I needed to continue pushing forward.

    Dr. GK is funny, honest, and always tries his best to help all of his students in and out of the classroom. Most of all he is friendly while being professional at the same time. I believe these are the qualities that all professors and teachers should possess and ones I want to implement in my future classroom. I want to be successful because I have a great role model whose footsteps I want to follow in. I believe that the right role can be like your North Star to guide you when you are lost and put you on the right track.

     

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