• 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.

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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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  • Ten Ways to Make the Most of Your Day

    by Emma Karant

    Three female college students stand outside on their campus with their backpacks. They are wearing facemasks.

    Online classes seem to make life easier for some students, but for others, such as myself, online classes have drastically changed the set schedules that we once had. Having a schedule, including being on campus and attending class in person, gives many of us a feeling of stability and productivity. So how do we produce this feeling in our lives when a lot of our classes are still online?

    1. Wake up early

    If you wake up early, you can give yourself enough time to have a productive day and fit in everything you need to do from work, school, and being with friends and family!

    2. Start the day by making your bed

    When I start my day by making my bed, it makes me get up and move in the morning and stay up. Additionally, I am not as tempted to get back in bed throughout the day and take a nap or do nothing. This gives me more time to get things done throughout the day and be productive, especially when classes are online, and we don’t have to leave our rooms.

    3. Stay off your phone for as long as possible in the morning

    I know, out of habit, I normally check my phone as soon as I wake up. But, when I do this, it leaves me feeling stressed because I see all the things I need to do. Instead, aim to stay off your phone until you are ready for your day!

    4. Create a daily schedule

    Especially when we do not have a full schedule of in person classes, it helps to make a schedule for yourself that would be like one you had pre-COVID. The most important thing about this is to be consistent because it will help you ease back into the adjustment of having an in-person class schedule. Check out this blog with tips to help students stay organized.

    5. Make a to-do list

    I like to write down a weekly list for myself at the beginning of every week, so I know what I must do each day. This helps me not forget anything important and it feels good to check things off a list!

    6. Go to work out classes

    Working out helps you to feel good, but it can sometimes be hard to find time in your day to work out if you do not have a set schedule. I have found that going to work out classes, whether it is with your school or a company, helps you create a schedule for yourself. If you find a class you like, you can go every week to help yourself get into a pattern!

    7. Have self-care time

    Although it is important to be productive, to make the most out of your day you must remember to take time for yourself. Whether this is going on a walk, journaling, doing something you enjoy, or resting, it will help you feel motivated to work hard later!

    8. Don’t overwork yourself all in one day

    When I procrastinate, I get incredibly stressed. Even if I finish everything on time, when I am done, I never feel productive because of how stressed I was. To try and avoid this, break up your work throughout the week. If you do a little bit of work every day, it will make you feel more productive and less stressed! Check out this blog for more tips for time management.

    9. Try a new healthy food

    Eating healthy food can help you feel more energized and ready to go for your day! Without this, you will not have enough energy to continue your motivation throughout the remainder of the day. Check out these blogs by college students with tips on nutrition and meal prepping tips.

    10. Make time in your day for your social life

    Although getting work done and being productive is important, a part of productivity is being with people you love.

    There are many ways to make the most of your day. While it is up to you how you choose to organize your time, these are just a few examples of great ways to ensure that you make the most of each day. For more tips on how to succeed in online classes, visit this blog.

    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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  • Confidence: The most important thing for a college student

    by Joseph Titchen

    A man wearing black jeans and a yellow jacket stands with his back to the viewer, looking down in a series of brick archways.

    What is the most important thing a college student needs to be successful? Many will say a schedule, others may say smarts, and some may say communication. I got all these answers from fellow students at my community college.

    Honestly, it makes sense why these answers were the main ones that came up. With a schedule, you can get everything done and ultimately structure tends to lead to balance. Smarts are what many consider to be the difference between winners and losers. Finally, communication is important because knowing how to speak up when struggling can be a lifesaver, literally.

    However, I’d like to present an answer different from all the ones above. I’d like to confidently say that I believe confidence is the most important thing a college student needs to be successful.

    Confidence is the stepping-stone to all the other things we do in life.

    Schedules, smarts, and communication are built from confidence. Without confidence, none of these things could be created. A good example would be focusing on the communication many students said created a successful college student. Every time we talk to somebody, we make a conscious effort to make the move to speak. Sometimes during times of self-doubt or fear, we hold our tongues even when we know we want to talk. It’s happened to all of us, where we have been in a class and wanted to ask a question, but we didn’t because the environment was either too quiet or we asked ourselves whether the question was stupid or not or even worth the teacher’s time.

    But if confidence is so important, how can you build it up?

    Two tools I recommend to help build confidence are meditation and self-reassurance. When I say meditating, I’m not talking about being in the hills of mainland China or sitting on a podium while trying to keep your balance. When I say meditation, I just mean stepping away from your everyday activities, sitting in silence, and just letting your mind roam. Many times, people find that they start to think about themselves, their lives, and their days. This is the space where you truly get to ask yourself why you do the things you do and get answers. These answers can be a relief and help you realize that as a human, we don’t make decisions with no reason. Feeling like we do irrational things for no reason is what makes many of us feel isolated or even crazy. But better understanding yourself can combat these feelings.

    The other thing you can do is self-reassure. Practice positive self-talk. Pat yourself on the back when you do something good. Look at yourself in the mirror and say simple things like “you’re worth it” or “you can do it”. The things you constantly tell yourself become the things you believe.

    Being human, it is evident we will all face times of low confidence in our lives. But getting past these phases will ultimately make us the most successful people we can be. So, in truth, yes, I think confidence the most important thing a college student needs to be successful; but I also believe this is the most important thing for anybody no matter age, race, student or not, to be successful.

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

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  • Three Tips for Balancing the Summer Semester

    by Daniela Gomez Lopez

    A computer monitor displaying a student’s schedule and a laptop displaying class documents.

    With the summer semester right around the corner, some college students are looking forward to taking additional courses. And while it can be a great opportunity to get ahead in classes, students also need to understand the importance of taking a break to avoid burnout. Here are 3 tips you can incorporate into your semester to make sure you can focus on your academics, internships, extracurriculars and social life. 

    Organize your time

    Assignment due dates and test dates can be impossible to keep track of mentally, so write them down on a planner or virtual calendar. In my opinion, Google Calendar is the best way to organize your weeks since you have the availability to access your schedule everywhere there is internet. While you are making your schedule, remember to fit in your personal plans. Whether you are interning, doing extracurriculars, or working, your calendar should display all the events you can’t miss. 

    Extra tip: avoid Friday classes if possible, so you won’t have to turn down every fun summertime activity. If you have the availability to choose online classes, try them out; they provide a lot more flexibility.

    Set your summer goals 

    Whether school, travel, or socially related, write down what you want to accomplish this summer. After you have written down realistic goals, go through and prioritize them. It’s important to rearrange and plan out your priorities. Note that even though a social life and school are essential, so is your mental health, which might mean saying no to plans sometimes.

    Take advantage of the weather

    Studying doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up in a library or your room. Take advantage of the weather and find new parks or coffee shops to explore. You’ll be taking advantage of that nice summer weather while also being productive. Since I love coffee, I always lean towards exploring new coffee shops. I also make it a habit to invite my friends if they ever need to get work done. When I do these “study dates,” I feel the most productive and inspired to keep trying out new places. 

    Summer classes offer a great opportunity to earn additional credits and can be successfully balanced with other summer activities with a little planning and goal setting. What will you accomplish this summer?

    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 Friends in College

    by Ashanti Crowder

    Two female high school students are smiling and hugging in front of a Jeep vehicle. They are both wearing black dresses and the female on the left is wearing a green graduation cap.

    For many of students, the shift from high school to college can be an extremely challenging and nerve-wracking experience. For most students, it is their first time away from their families and friends, navigating through a new state, city, or town. Starting fresh and making new friends can seem like quite the hassle. As a sophomore attending my first year on campus post-covid, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned on how to make friends on campus:

    Get Involved

    Campus involvement is a great way to meet new people and build relationships. What does it mean to be involved? Being an involved student means you are an active member of clubs and organizations on your campus. Joining clubs that are aligned with your personal interests, beliefs, and ideas can help you connect with people that you have something in common with!

    Use Your Residence Hall

    Some of the first people you’ll meet in college are your roommates. Get to know them and build a connection, share your interest, and invite them to attend events with you. Many college relationships and connections are built by being in the same place at the same time. Try speaking to your dorm neighbor or attending activities your residence hall may be hosting.

    Social Media

    Most colleges have a student activities council or some form of event coordinator. Follow your school’s social media pages to stay up to date with events that are happening around campus. This is a good way to reach out to other students and ask if they’re attending events. Check your school’s page for incoming freshmen. There are tons of new students who possibly don’t know anyone on the campus; reach out to people and get to know them!

    Join A Work Study

    As college students a little extra change in your pocket is an opportunity most of us won’t pass on. Working on campus will not only help you get familiar with your school but help you gain job experience and, of course, meet new people.

    And Last but Not Least, Attend Class

    As I mentioned earlier, being in the same place at the same time is how most relationships in college form. Attending classes, lectures, and tutoring allows you to connect with others easily. Offer to create a study group or GroupMe for the class. This is a way for everyone to get to know each other. If this is too large of a step, start with introducing yourself to the person that sits next to you.

    Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, even just a little, can make all the difference during your first weeks on campus. Be bold and take the first step to create friendships that will enhance your college experience and may last a lifetime.

    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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  • 3 Tips to Having Good Conversations

    by Johnny Condit

    Two college-aged men stand arm-in-arm on a ski slope on a sunny day. They are dressed in skiing attire.

    How many times do we get stuck in this situation when meeting someone for the first time?

    “Hi, my name is Johnny, how are you?”

    Then that person responds, “Hey, I’m Blake, I’m doing well, how are you?”

    …and then you respond, “I am doing well.”

    Then the most awkward, deafening silence fills the air as neither person has no idea what to say or think. Does this happen to you? This happened to me all the time and I have learned ways not to just take control of the conversation but to make it an enjoyable one. Here are 3 tips that can make any new encounter with a stranger easier.

    1. Take charge of a conversation

    People are dying to talk to people but are too timid because of the fear of awkward exchanges. Do not let that happen to you. Initiate conversation and you will be surprised at how many pleasant exchanges you have with other people. There always needs to be one driver – be that driver!

    2. Dig deeper into responses

    When you ask someone how their day is going and they respond with a typical answer like “it was good”, ask them “why was it good?” or “what did you do today to make it good?”. Make the other person answer an open-ended question so more conversation can develop. They might say, “I went on a jog today or I read a book”. From there, you open the opportunity to have something in common. You can respond with numerous options such as: “Oh, I love running, did you run cross country in high school”, “do you jog often?”, “what book are you reading?” or “what type of books do you like to read?”. You can do these types of questions with any response given to you. This type of question does two things: first, it increases the chances of commonality found, and two, it gives off an impression to the person that you are friendly and genuine.

    3. Ask a lot of “why” and “what” questions

    This builds from tip 2 and it may take time to develop but learn how to ask “why” and “what” questions. “Why do you like running?”, “what about running do you like or dislike the most?”, “what would you rather do than run?” These are questions that my 4 and 6-year-old nieces and nephews have, and it works! Just like a toddler, you need to have curiosity when speaking with someone new. These responses again make the conversation so much better, and you are not going to be stuck with one-word responses like “yes” or “no”. Again, these questions can be implemented with any topic that is brought up.

    I hope these 3 tips help! It does not matter whether you are extroverted or introverted; you can take charge of a conversation and make it a good one! Impress people on your conversation skills, it will make you more likable, approachable and make you stand 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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  • Learning Through Intergenerational Connections

    by Miyu Nakajima

    Blog author Miyu Nakajima is wearing one of her vintage dresses, a long pink dress with short, puffed sleeves and belted at the waist. She is also wearing black Converse sneakers and has a black cross-body purse. She is standing on concrete steps and is looking back towards something behind her.

    "​The sooner growing older is stripped of reflexive dread, the better equipped we are to benefit from the countless ways in which it can enrich us."​ –Ashton Applewhite

    My vintage dress collection is still minimal, but I’m proud of it, nonetheless. After finding my first one at the thrift shop, I still remember twirling around with glee way too many times in a 1950s Candi Jones pink floral dress. I just love how these dresses are meant for dancing, to make you sway side by side so that you can feel the fabric swish past. And I know that the previous owners of these pieces must’ve felt the same way. I love knowing that. I love knowing that somewhere, in another timeline, they too, also felt dolled up in these dresses. It’s a shared experience.

    In A Way, It Is Time Travel

    That’s why I love listening to older people talk about their past, nodding along as they describe their first heartbreak, their first time holding a baby, their wedding, and more. I know that I’ll get to that chapter of life one day and experience those same feelings, but for now, I just get to listen and, in a way, time travel.

    To Be Truly Wise Is to Learn from Other’s Mistakes Before They Become Yours

    As graduation approaches, I can feel the impending pressure to ensure I’m “adulting” and securing my future. However, I’ve learned that the best way to deal with this graduation anxiety is to talk with older people, particularly seniors who have so much wisdom. I encourage college students to connect with elders and be inspired to make an impact in the world that the seniors entrusted us with. You can find seniors to talk to at senior retirement centers, volunteer opportunities, and maybe even through family friends.

    The more I talk with seniors, the more I realize the importance of stepping away from the screen, enjoying the small moments (like dancing in a beautiful dress), and having an abundant mindset ready to tackle new experiences and learn from mistakes. Yet, despite all of this wisdom, our society perpetuates ageism. So many seniors have fought through obstacles like misogyny, financial crisis, and more, which inspires me to keep pushing through, despite it all. I hope that through intergenerational connections, I can learn not to be anxious about my future and continue to be a lifelong scholar who strives to turn the world into a comfortable place for our senior citizens, all the while swishing around in hand-me-down vintage dresses.

    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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  • Avoid the Trap of Comparing Yourself to Others on Social Media

    by Chris Simmons

    Blog author Chris Simmons is standing 3rd from the left in a row of seven male college students standing arm-in-arm.

    Dear Instagram,

    I am so frustrated with you right now. I would have never thought that you would be one of the leading causes to so many mental health problems for my generation. I remember when I first downloaded you in 7th grade. I used to spend 8 hours a day using your app. I used to feel like I had to post pictures every day to seek attention from others. I used to feel anxious about my life because I thought I wasn’t doing enough compared to what someone else was doing. Then as I got older, I realized that your app has been feeding people like me misconceptions about who they are and what their value is in life. This has led to a major identity crisis in this generation.

    Now that Instagram has made it possible to see pictures of what others are doing, it makes people feel like they aren’t doing enough with their life because they may not be posting the stacks of money in their hand, or the nice house and cars in their driveway. This has caused people to measure their level of success by comparing what they have to what someone else has.

    That’s one thing I started to notice about going onto Instagram nowadays. People are constantly showing off everything they possess to prove that their life is worth something: a house with double doors, a swimming pool, and three cars in the driveway. Many social media users have come to think that the person with all those material things is the standard of what being successful looks like, which is a misconception. Success is about how far YOU have come in your journey to get to where you want to be NOT by anyone else’s journey! Everybody starts from different places so don’t expect your path to be like someone else’s path.

    Instagram is also where people can develop misconceptions about the standard of beauty. The study covered in this USA Today article included teen social media users in the U.S. and the U.K. It found that “over 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling “unattractive” traced that feeling back to the platform.” It frustrates me when I hear people talk down about themselves because they don’t have the certain look as some other person they might see on there. I hear a lot of people say things like; I wish I had blonde hair like them, I wish I was as skinny as them, I wish I had their skin tone. It’s because when they’re looking at someone else’s page with the 1 million or 2 million followers and reading comments on their picture that have the heart eyes emoji, they are thinking to themselves, ‘this must be what I need to look like in order to be labeled as beautiful’. But I’m here to tell you that beauty is not defined by another person on Instagram. Beauty is defined by the way YOU see yourself. It’s about embracing who God created you to be and having the confidence to go out in the world and step toward your purpose!

    For those of you who are using Instagram, do not let other people on the app try and talk you out of being who you are. You are unique and talented in your own way, and you do not have to spend all your energy trying to prove that to anyone. The only person that can verify you is 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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  • Take a Step Back to Manage Your Stress

    by Kayshla Jimenez

    A patch of bright purple flowers from the blog author’s garden.

    As the semester ends it means finals are slowly approaching, and there's something everyone shares from this: stress, anxiety, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Everyone should be learning to de-stress from the finals, take a step back and breathe. It's important to remember that it's completely natural to feel stress and anxiety in ourselves but those shouldn’t stop us from obtaining peace. It can all start with taking breaks from social media, taking care of your body, taking some time to unwind and relax, and connecting with friends and family.

    Like you, I also become overwhelmed with stress when finals approach; it leaves me restless and unable to properly focus. I've realized now though that taking some time to destress isn’t a bad thing. Here are three techniques I do when I'm filled with anxiety.

    Meditate

    First and most importantly, maintaining a clear and calm mindset can get you up and going and could help you finish strong. It could start with you in your room. Set up your space to be clean and peaceful. Ordering your surroundings can help order your mind. Adding plants to your space can help decrease stress and promote a more meditative environment. Meditation is a common practice along with yoga and prayer that can help your mind and body.

    Get Moving

    Another approach you can attempt is exercise, staying fit and being active can let you destress, it can also apply to taking a walk, jog or quick run. Eating well and getting enough sleep helps maintain the best health. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind too.

    Unplug

    Unplugging from social media could be one of the best escapes to destress, even if it's for a short period of time. You can listen to music or spend time on one of your hobbies. Try something new. One thing about social media is the novelty it brings. Our brain craves that. If we give it novelty outside of social media, we can still satisfy that while experiencing new things.

    These are just suggestions; you can change it to fit your liking. But remember – stress only happens when you feel you must figure everything out at once. Just take a deep breath and move forward. For more tips on how to handle anxiety and stress, visit this blog.

    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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  • Reduce Distractions to Improve Your Study Sessions

    by Molly McKenna

    A young female college student sits at a table studying surrounded by her notes, a laptop, and a water bottle.

    Do you ever have a challenging time studying? Do you often find yourself getting distracted and losing focus? Guess what... we have all been there. Studying can be a tedious task, especially when you are not prepared. Simple changes to your routine could tremendously help with your ability to get work done in the most efficient way. Ranging from finding the perfect spot to having the perfect materials, I am here to provide you with study tips and tricks that have motivated me to complete assignments and to properly conquer my studying requirements.

    Step One: Find A Spot That Is Secluded from Noise and Distractions

    I am one to get distracted very easily, but one of the best ways for me to stay focused is to set up my workspace on a quiet floor in the library or study lounge in my living complex. Another key component to feeling prepared to work is having a spacious workspace. When my area is cluttered with extra papers and junk, I feel overwhelmed. Attempting to eliminate any unnecessary clutter from your space and allowing yourself to dissociate from others during your studying time will help conquer that common overwhelmed feeling. If surrounded by friends, I will usually not complete as much as I originally hoped to because of distractive conversations. Set small goals and allow yourself to have more breaks after achieving each goal and not become overwhelmed by the total amount of assignments and studying requirements on your plate.

    Step Two: Put Your Phone Away (Or At Least Silenced)

    Technology is a huge cause of distraction nowadays. Although it can commonly be used as a tool in work and studying assignments, staying away from social media and other extracurriculars is such an important key to staying on task. Most are probably guilty of procrastinating an assignment and when finally getting to that assignment, only wanting to scroll through their latest feed. I know I have been there! Having your electronic device next to you with messages popping up is quite a tempting interruption. To maximize the potential of your studying and staying on task, I suggest silence your phone and put it out of sight at least for a set amount of time. Start with 20 minutes and continue to increase the time interval– no phone and no distractions. After those 20 minutes, allow yourself to have a 3-minute break. This should lower the chances of wanting to grab that phone constantly and will make getting work done more efficient.

    Step Three: Be Prepared with The Necessary Materials.

    Before sitting down to get to work, I suggest looking over each task to see what materials you will need. Do you need to print papers out? Are highlighters going to be a useful tool for studying purposes? When studying, I like to have notes printed and separated by class. I always utilize highlighters to help me stay organized with material. If not on paper, I usually will have my laptop and use the tools built into the program my notes are on. Aside from studying materials, I suggest having water and a light snack next to you to prevent you from having to get up and become distracted. Being prepared will already have you feeling accomplished before even starting your assignments.

    With these tips and tricks in mind, you will be set to manage your assignment and studying goals. Simple adjustments to your work habits and methods of achieving your academic tasks will have you prepared to get to work in the most efficient environment.

    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 Illusions of Social Media

    by Sadaf Nasiri

    An adult male with dark hair and beard is lying on his back with his head on a backpack. He is wearing headphones and looking at his mobile phone.

    "Social media isn't real life!"

    This is a common phrase we hear in our everyday lives as people critique the false reality of social media. Like other social media platforms, Instagram pushes forward this "perfect" reality of others around us. While it is nice to see what our favorite celebrities or influencers are up to, is it worth the cost of it ruining our perspectives of our own lives and directions?

    Be On Your Guard

    To be frank, I find myself also getting lost in the continuous scrolling process. It is nice to connect with those we know from the past or present and possibly connect to new people in the future, but we all have to play some form of devil's advocate when it comes to social media and how it can impact our lives. Social media has the power to distract us with even the smallest thing such as an ad or a picture. The control that social media has obtained over the years is quite frightening, but who can we blame for this?

    Increased Pressure

    It is so hard to pinpoint the villain in this narrative when we all contributed to the rise of social media in this day and age. The pressures of being suitable for society’s norms are already high enough, but social media just increases this pressure as it pushes people to believe that they must be the best or at least present themselves as the best.

    False Reality

    Other technologies, like photoshop, filters, and other editing tools help create the illusion of perfection and attainability of society’s high standards. A good portion of people use these every day or on social media. I can say that I do too because it is so common now to use one of these tools. However, at the end of the day, we need to realize that all these things aren’t 100% true as they seem. We need a reality check to make sure we aren’t consumed by the high standards and pressures presented through social media and society.

    We are human beings who were designed to be ourselves and be authentic to that. Keep that in mind the next time you’re scrolling through social media and see an influencer’s post that makes you ever doubt yourself. Because deep down, we all struggle with the illusions of social media and the impacts they have on us.

    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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  • Seven Must-Have Apps for College Students

    by Erica Yap

    A young female college student sits at a desk working on a tablet.

    How many times have you heard that your mobile devices are a distraction? While the answer may be a lot, there are surprisingly several apps available to optimize your learning, maintain your focus, and help you manage your time better. As a student who is often on the go, I want to share my favorite mobile apps that have helped turn my mobile devices into my best study buddies over the course of my four years in college.

    1. Pearson+: Whenever I am riding the bus to and from campus, a very productive use of my time is to scroll through flashcards offline on the Pearson+ app. Even if it is just a few minutes of study time here and there, it really adds up! Many other features to the Pearson+ app include access to textbooks, an audio player, advanced note taking, practice questions, and tutoring discounts!

    2. Mondly: I always wanted to study at least one semester abroad, so I use Mondly to learn languages. It’s fun, easy to use and it includes just the right amount of gamification without distracting me from actually learning. Conversation practice feels like talking to a friend, so I never have to worry I won’t be good enough in real-life situations.

    3. Flora: Have you ever wanted a virtual plant? The Flora app uses gamified technology to give you that extra incentive to focus. The longer you spend working on your assignments or completing your studying, the more time your virtual seed must grow! When you choose to browse a different website or hop onto social media, then your virtual plant dies.

    4. Notability: A powerful, yet simple note-taking app that allows you to make PDF annotations. On this app, I find it helpful to download class PowerPoints beforehand and take notes directly on the slides while my professor teaches the material. I also use this app to sign documents and highlight my notes as I study outside of class.

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  • Three Ways College Students Can Prioritize Their Health

    by Mercy Aruleba

    A young female college students rides a bike on a city sidewalk.

    As a full time, college student, it’s easy to neglect your well-being as you’re multitasking with life problems. We prioritize schoolwork, extracurricular activities, work outside of school and social life. But one thing we tend to forget quickly is ourselves! I’ve gathered a few tips along the way that have helped me navigate through the stressful times as a full-time student. Here are three amazing ways you can practice healthy living to navigate through everyday challenges.

    Take Time and Get Some Sunshine

    Sunlight exposure can provide a variety of health benefits, so it is extremely important to make a point to get outside throughout the week. During the colder months it can be challenging to find any sunshine as the days are shorter. Taking time to go for walk during sunny hours will help increase your extra vitamin D nutrients while also increasing your serotonin. As a college student it’s very easy to lose track of time when it comes to balancing school assignments and extracurricular activities so it’s imperative to implement into your daily routine. The health benefits of sunlight include generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health.

    Change Your Surroundings

    Last year, the transition from in-person to online classes and remote learning was a huge jump for the whole world. Many students continue to deal with a hybrid combination of online learning and in-person classes. When studying remotely, it can be very easy to stay in one location and complete your assignments. Try looking for a new study spot to promote better memory recall when it comes to studying and completing assignments.

    Sleeping Is Medicine

    It can be very difficult for college students to get the recommended 6- 8 of sleep per night if they are pulling all-nighters to study for exams and complete projects. The best tip I’d recommend is to prioritize your sleep. Taking time to rest your body and mind allows you to recover from any day’s challenges. Students who sleep better enjoy better grades, better recall, better mood, and better health. Better sleep is associated with improved academic performance. To enjoy the maximum benefits of good sleep, you should consistently get sufficient hours of sleep nightly for at least a week leading up to your exam.

    With these amazing tips incorporated into your daily routine, you'll see a huge difference in your everyday life. These steps have improved my daily life as I feel more energized to start my day and take on tomorrow's obstacle.

    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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  • Four Money Management Tips for College Students

    by Matthew Dougherty

    Blog author Matthew Dougherty sits at a desk looking at two computer screens, both displaying financial documents.

    College is an important time in many people’s lives. For some, it is the first time they live independently and have bills to pay. The habits you form in college will impact your habits in the future, especially when it comes to money management. It is important to develop good practices and habits when it comes to your finances because what you do in college can either put you ahead in life or hold you back. Here are four topics to think about and/or actions to take while in college that will prepare you for the future.

    Understand Student Loans

    We can’t talk about how to effectively manage money in college without talking about student loans. Too many students go to college and agree to take out loans, without knowing the terms of the loans or realizing the impact these loans can have on them later in life. Every college student should work part time to make some money and gain work experience. You should aim to pay for as much of your living and tuition expenses as possible.

    Once you have a job and steady income, you can decide whether you will need to take out student loans, and, if you do, how much you should take out. Pay close attention to the interest rates on loans if you do take them out. Look for loans that have less than 5% interest rates. If interest rates are over 5%, you should try to look at alternative options. Generally, federal loans will have much lower interest rates than private loans and you should look here first. Additionally, you can look for opportunities such as scholarships and grants to help pay for the costs of college.

    Brains in Budgeting

    While working part time in college and paying bills, you should begin to track your income and expenses. This is generally referred to as a budget or cash flow analysis. You can make a budget in Excel, on a Google spreadsheet, on paper, or you can use a budgeting app such as Mint, Personal Capital, or EveryDollar.

    When making a budget, you will want to split it into income and expenses. In the income section, list the paychecks you receive from work, income from side hustles and investments (if applicable), and cash gifts. In the expenses section, choose categories that apply to your situation such as housing, utilities, transportation, food, etc. Once you have chosen your categories you can add subcategories underneath. For example, rent and household supplies could go under housing; electricity, water, and internet could go under utilities; gas and car insurance could go under transportation; and groceries and eating out could go under food. It is important to track your income and expenses, so you know where your money is going.

    Build an Emergency Fund

    If you have discretionary income remaining after paying for living expenses and tuition, focus on building an emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses. This will ensure that you are still able to pay your tuition and bills in case you are between jobs. You can keep your emergency fund in a money market or high yield savings account.

    Start Investing Now

    Once you have a fully funded emergency fund, you can consider investing. The sooner you start investing, the longer your money will have to grow. It is important to get in the habit of saving and investing and this can start in college. Even if you are only able to invest $20 a month, this will start the habit of investing. Since you are young and in a low tax bracket, consider opening a Roth IRA so your money can grow tax-free. You can open a Roth IRA at a brokerage firm such as Fidelity or Vanguard. I recommend investing in a total stock market index fund and putting in the same amount of money each month.

    Doing things such as minimizing student loan debt, budgeting, building an emergency fund, and investing in college can help put you ahead in life and set you up for success in the future. It is important to build these habits in college so you can graduate in a good financial position and be prepared to manage more money after college when you are working full time and no longer must pay for school. If you can learn and implement these important lessons in college, you will look back one day and be glad that you started early.

    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 a Way to Balance School and Life Now to Avoid Regrets Later On

    by Courtney Lally

    A young female college student with long blonde hair is sitting at student desk, looking at a laptop screen and taking notes.

    As a college student taking many difficult classes, being a part of different organizations, and wanting to have time for a social life, it becomes difficult to find a balance. I often found myself spending too much time locked in my room doing homework and studying, therefore missing out on time spent doing the things I love. I don't want anyone to make the same mistakes I made and have senior year come wishing you would've spent more time doing those fun things. Don't worry, though, you can learn from me – here is how I made adjustments to create a healthy balance between school and life.

    Mindset Makes Everything

    I grew up with two very strong, independent parents and two brothers. My brothers pushed me to be more of a tomboy instead of a girly girl, and I often was judged for it throughout my elementary and middle school days. People would say mean things and I was grasping for something that could make me special, because clearly it was not my appearance, the sports I played, or my voice. I discovered that when I put more time and energy into school, did the homework, and studied a sufficient amount, I easily earned A’s. With this, I was the valedictorian of my 8th grade class, and I went into high school having the same mindset – get all A’s to prove you are worthy. I did exactly that in high school and felt very confident about myself due to my performance in school.

    I assumed that the way I had operated up until my senior year of high school would be perfectly fine to replicate in college, but boy was I wrong.

    You Are Inherently Worthy No Matter What You Achieve

    I spent my first three years of college doing the exact same thing – going to class and doing homework until it was time for bed. Hanging out with friends during the week was never something that occurred to me as an option. As I approached my senior year, I found myself being very depressed due to the fact that school consumed most of my life; I began to feel drained and unfulfilled. I realized that I couldn’t keep neglecting alone time and time with friends solely to get straight A’s to “prove myself.” The funniest thing looking back is that I’m not quite sure who I was trying to prove myself to – perhaps it was me, but it definitely wasn’t anyone else because I came to realize that they actually loved me beyond my academic performance.

    Reprioritizing ME

    I decided to make a crucial change in how I operated on a daily basis in order to refrain from missing out on the fun things in life. I began treating my schoolwork and fitness as a full-time 9 am to 5 pm job. As much as I hate waking up early, doing so has allowed me to attend class, get homework done, and spend time on my personal health. Once 5 pm hits, I make dinner and dedicate the rest of the evening to hanging out with my roommates and friends. This seemingly minor, yet impactful change improved both my physical and mental health while also allowing me to maintain my academic performance.

    Consider making this type of change for yourself. I promise you; you will not look back in 5 years and remember the grade you received in an economics class – you will remember the time you enjoyed working on yourself and surrounding yourself with those that you love. Learn from my mistakes and make adjustments now so you don’t have regrets at the end of your college years.

    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 Transformed into a Totally Digital Student and Artist This Year

    by Ankita Chittiprolu

    Two photos side-by-side showing how the blog author uses her tablet. The left side shows her digital artwork, including a hummingbird drawing. The right side shows how she takes notes on her tablet during class.

    Coming out of high school, my desks, shelves, and tables in my room were filled with papers and textbooks, even after graduating. I knew I had to change my system for college. I couldn't just continue to hoard all my notes with the mental process of hoping I'll need them in the future.

    Invest In Your Future

    After extensive research, I came across the Apple iPad and Apple pencil. However, the price was a nightmare – I couldn't afford something like this after going on a spring break trip in my senior year of high school. Working a tutoring job, I saved throughout the summer. I finally bought an iPad and a second-hand Apple pencil from Amazon during Black Friday.

    All Your Materials in One Place

    I started by downloading GoodNotes, an app that specializes in writing notes. The possibilities were endless! This app held my planner, notebooks for class, lab reports, and pdf copies of articles I needed to read. I was even able to doodle and take quick notes on the app. It felt like I was writing on paper with unlimited colored pens and highlighters with an Apple pencil. I bought all my textbooks in an eBook format and accessed them through my iPad from apps such as Pearson e-text and iBooks. These apps allowed me to take notes and highlight the pages in my textbook. In the past, through rental books, these actions were constricted. I never “forgot” my books in the dorm or misplaced my papers because the digital copies were on my iPad.

    Sustainably Study

    I bought a keyboard that connected to my iPad through Bluetooth so I could type class papers or any essays, which made things even better. It transformed my lifestyle. I was no longer carrying heavy weights and my friends were envious of my easily accessible notes and e-texts. For any papers that were provided in class, I could just scan the paper and get a digital copy on my iPad to write on – an environmentally friendly way to save paper. Especially with the current conditions, a lot of assignments are done online – I no longer need to print out my assignments to work on them, I just download a copy onto my iPad and complete the assignment. It is very simple and efficient, and singlehandedly the best decision I made in my freshman year of college.

    Clean, Conscious, & Concise Creativity

    Not only did I use my iPad for my academic endeavors, but I also downloaded an app called Procreate, a digital art studio. Though the iPad doesn't mimic a paintbrush that I usually work with, it was very close! I loved drawing and painting on it, and the best part was that I wasn’t making a mess of art supplies or paint. The complexity behind this app is incredible, there are numerous features for even professional artists. There were 100s of “brushes” to choose from, various color palettes, and inspiration you can draw from. This provided a way for me to destress without bringing out my canvas, water, and paints. It was versatile and easy to use and allowed me to easily fix mistakes if needed.

    I believe that investing in an iPad was a good decision, however, there are many alternatives. I recommend researching online and then visiting technology stores near you to try out different products before deciding on investing in the one that best fits you.

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  • Stress: What It Is and How to Handle It

    by Andrew Bierbower

    A young female college student sits at a desk in her room working on a laptop computer. There is also a desktop monitor and tablet open on her desk. There are various posters on the wall in front of her, including one for Harry Styles.

    Stress is not inherently a bad thing. Stress can be a good motivator and can help you be productive. No one lives a completely stress-free life. The important thing to recognize is when your stress begins to take over everyday tasks and becomes counter-productive. If your stress begins to impinge on your ability to complete daily tasks or if it becomes debilitating, it’s well past the point of you having to talk to someone. Here are four things students can do to manage stress.

    Evaluate The Semester

    First, understand that semesters are variable and can range from overwhelming to easy. It is not forever, even though it may seem that way, and you will get through it. Lowering your expectations for school and concentrating more on improving your life balance to improve your stress will work wonders for your mental well-being.

    If you are working while also enrolled in school, try to see if you can reduce your work hours for your busiest school weeks or around big projects. Go over your semester with your boss and see if you can work around difficult weeks. Perhaps you can drop a shift here or there or take a few fewer hours and make up for it later. Trying to balance too many things at once is one of the leading causes of stress and the simplest solution is almost always the best: do less!

    Have a Game Plan

    Maximizing your available time is another key tip in reducing the stress you feel when your plate is full. Getting a scheduler and planning out your week, hour by hour or day by day can help you feel more in control of your life. You can see what you must complete and can more easily schedule more downtime. That could mean you take a half-hour/hour each day to go for a walk or run, read, hang out with friends, go to the gym, watch tv, or just zone out. Make sure you are actively scheduling your time!

    Use Your Resources

    One of the hardest things to do when you are feeling overwhelmed is to reach out for help. This means going to your professor's office hours when you don't understand a concept in class. This means heading over to your wellness center and talking to a counselor about your stress. This means participating in campus activities or club events. This means seeking out workshops dedicated to making you a better student. Utilize the resources on your campus that are there to make your life easier!

    Study for Mastery

    Lastly, studying more efficiently can reduce the amount of time it feels like you’re spending on tasks. Don't spend 4 hours studying what could be learned in 20 min. One of the worst ways that you can study is simply by re-reading the material. Instead, try writing out your notes again or writing them in a different format; even better yet, explain your notes to a friend! Mastery of a subject comes when you can explain it to someone else. For math or science-heavy subjects, the only way to study is by practicing questions repeatedly, so get extra questions from your professor or online.

    Putting these tips into practice can be much harder than just reading about them. It is important to take small, incremental steps and make sure you aren’t overwhelming yourself all at once.

    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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  • Set Yourself Ahead by Taking Classes During Summer or Winter Break

    by McKinley Falkowski

    A young Black college professor stands in front of the classroom with his back to a green chalkboard. Several students seated in front of him are raising their hands.

    Let’s be honest, the idea of winter or summer break and schoolwork don’t go together. Summers are supposed to be for the beach, and winter for skiing. But there are numerous advantages to taking courses during the winter or summer break. Taking winter or summer classes can set you ahead and make life easier for you in the fall or spring semesters. I will explore four key reasons why taking winter or summer courses can be advantageous to you.

    1. Fewer classes during the fall or spring semester – Depending on your financial aid circumstances, taking a class or two during the break may help you rebalance how many classes you are taking in the fall or spring semester. This can mean that you don’t need to overload yourself during those semesters by trying to fill your schedule with as many classes as possible. Additionally, it can help you out by allowing you to focus on those harder classes you signed up for. For example, if you know you need to take organic chemistry and calculus, why take those in the same semester when you can take the classes in a longer period you so can have ample time to devote to those two difficult classes.
    2. Knock out a prerequisite course or two and get into the upper-level classes – Taking a winter or summer course will allow you to get into those upper-level classes much faster as usually they offer prerequisite courses during these semesters. Getting into the upper-level classes sooner may be advantageous because it may open up opportunities to internships and future research with professors as they look for students who have taken certain courses and have ample time left during their university studies. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of winter or summer classes is that they often do not take place in a packed lecture hall! This provides a greater opportunity to develop a rapport with a professor or TA.
    3. Keep your mind in the academic groove – I have often found it difficult to transition back into the “academic groove” during the first couple weeks of the fall or spring semester when I had not taken a winter or summer course. Up until that first exam, I wouldn’t devote the necessary time needed to fully grasp material and would in some cases fall behind for the remainder of the semester as I didn’t have complete understanding of material. Taking a winter or summer course has allowed my mind to remain in that groove and I also found it easier to concentrate, and devote the necessary time needed for material during the entirety of fall and spring semesters.
    4. You can still do all the activities you want to do with good time management – With good time management, all the skiing and beach trips are still possible even when you have academic commitments. Unless its an online course, you won’t be able to go away for a weeklong vacation, but it is still possible to do so many thrilling and relaxing activities. My tips for having good time management are to use a calendar, designate time each week to focus on each course, and write down all your assignment due dates together so you see what is coming up.

    Winter and summer classes sound like the worst-case scenario for a break. But they can be worth it and set you ahead for future success!

    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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  • Take a Break and Get Outside

    by Carl Conley

    A panoramic view of a large brown, hilly area for 4-wheeling at sunset.

    Nearing the end of the semester, students will be faced with the most difficult time of year... finals. Final exams are what most students dread every year right before leaving for break. Studying for hours can be exhausting and take a toll on students’ physical and mental health. Here are three activities that have helped me stay focused and determined while studying for those big exams.

    Put Down the Phone

    There have been many times while I was studying that I would pick up my phone to text one person back. What do you know?: 30 minutes later I would still be on my phone scrolling mindlessly through social media while accomplishing no work. Then I would stop looking at my phone screen and look right back onto my computer or iPad screen. This turned into hours of staring at nothing but screens, leading to headaches and sore eyes. I can easily say that the best decision I have ever made is to leave my phone in another room or my backpack while studying and not right next to me on the table.

    Fresh Air is Essential

    Sitting inside for hours on end is an easy way to lose motivation. On average, a person can stay focused for about 45 minutes at one time before their mind starts to wander. This may not seem like a long time to study for some people, but it can vary from person to person. What I have figured out works best for me is setting a timer for 45 minutes. As soon as those 45 minutes are up, I stop working, close my computer and take a 15-minute break. The best way to take a break is to get outside and enjoy a new environment, some sunshine, and fresh air.

    Fresh oxygen can lead to keeping your eyes and brain running in the best shape possible. As referenced in this article on how fresh air affects children’s’ learning, “allowing in fresh air cleans the lungs and gets rid of impurities and allows more oxygen into the body. The brain uses 20% of the body’s oxygen supply – therefore keeping the air fresh is a sure way of keeping (your brain) working at top capacity to help in learning” [1]. Where going on your phone for 15 minutes will do nothing but strain your eyes, stepping outside and breathing the fresh air will immediately help your entire mental state.

    Get Moving

    Physical activity is a perfect way to take your mind off the stress of school. Some of my favorite activities to do outside include going for a run or bike ride, playing spike ball with friends, or going for a hike/walk to relax and enjoy the outdoors while letting my mind take a break. Not only does regular physical activity help ensure you will stay in shape throughout the school year but, according to Heidi Godman at Harvard Health Publishing [2], “exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills”.

    I can personally say that ever since I changed my study habits and stuck to the basics of putting my phone away, taking scheduled breaks outside, and getting regular exercise, I have seen a drastic change in the efficiency of studying. It now takes me less time to go through the material because the 15-minute breaks of fresh air or exercise help me stay much more focused during the 45 minutes of work.

    With finals coming up, don’t make the same mistakes I once did of staring at screens for hours on end. Ironically, taking a break from studying every now and then may be your best chance to study effectively!

    References:

    Fireco. (n.d.) How Fresh Air Creates Happier Classroom. Fireco.uk. https://www.fireco.uk/how-fresh-air-creates-happier-classrooms/#:~:text=Allowing%20in%20fresh%20air%20cleans,capacity%20to%20help%20their%20learning.

    Godman, Heidi (2014, April 9). Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

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  • Planning the Next Step

    by Marissa Atilano

    A young college woman standing in front of a white board in a conference room. She is looking down at a laptop open on the table in front of her. The words ‘Determine Your Goal’ are written on the white board.

    Imagine this, finally, the time has come. As you toss your grad cap in the air, you think back on all the memories you've made throughout your time in college: cooking with your roommates, going to tailgates, cheering on your team, and pulling off a few all-nighters to earn that A on your final project. Now, as the cap falls back into your lap, you think about what is next.

    What is next? Did you plan for the next step? How could you have found the time to worry about the future when you were worrying about the present? You're in luck, as you have found the blog that guides you in avoiding this unwanted situation. Even if you are reading this as you throw your grad cap in the air, you can set yourself up for success post-graduation by following these tips for planning the next step.

    Determine Your Goals

    The first step in every plan is to determine the end goal. You can have multiple end goals for post-graduation that focus on career, lifestyle, or personal life. To discover your goals, spend time studying yourself and gather your wants and needs for your future. Your initial goals do not have to be detailed and definitive. As you continue your journey in reaching your goals, you may find that they change or become more concrete.

    Create A Schedule

    Creating a schedule can be the most influential process in planning the next step if done properly. Allocate time on a weekly, or even daily, basis to work on reaching your goals. To make your schedule efficient and realistic, set working times and deadlines for small goals that will collectively assist you in reaching your ultimate end goal. The most important aspect of a schedule is consistency. Practicing consistency will allow you to reach goals at a quicker and more predictable pace.

    Don’t Do It Alone

    In addition, I recommend that you do this process with the help of your community and resources. Finding a mentor or taking advantage of your campus career center can assist you in planning your next step. These resources can provide guidance in making decisions, networking opportunities, and additional methodologies. Utilizing the people around you can have a large impact on reaching your goals and on the direction of them.

    In conclusion, planning your next step takes time and resources, so it is beneficial to follow a strategy when taking on this challenge. Any student or graduate can use this strategy to advance themselves in reaching their desired goals, including you. Now that you have read this blog, you can feel confident in planning the future that you have ahead of 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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  • Leadership is Not Just a Position: You Can Be a Leader, Too!

    by Gina Condit

    A computer generated graphic with 3 playing cards – an ace, queen, and king – and the words ‘You Can Be a Leader’. The word ‘leader’ is spelled out in Scrabble tiles.

    A question I was recently asked in my Leadership and Learning lecture was, “if you are potentially a role model for someone, wouldn’t you want to be the best role model you can be?” This got me asking myself, “am I a leader to someone? Am I being the best leader I can be? How can I become a better leader?” This class has encouraged me to be the leader I hope to be, and I hope this encourages you to be the leader you are meant to be.

    Leadership Is a Process

    Being a leader is not just about holding a position. You lead every day and you do not even realize it. I have learned that some people are born to be leaders, and some learn to be leaders. Either way, leadership is a process, an influence, a common goal, and most importantly a relationship; a relationship that is built on human connection and credibility. Being a leader means something different to everyone. It is a multi-dimensional concept but no matter who you are, with the right mindset, you can be a leader. Research has shown that people are drawn to those with these top characteristics:

    • Honesty
    • Forward-looking
    • Competent
    • Inspiring
    • Intelligent

    Who Do You Consider a Leader?

    Do you have these qualities? Leadership is an earned role by how you can consistently portray and behave yourself in a positive light. Think about who you consider a leader. This person probably has consistently shown you that you can rely on them, learn from them, and grow through them.

    Leaders Do Not Always Have Titles

    A leader creates a movement and an emotional impact. So, as you go on with your daily life, try to think about the influence you can have on your roommates, classmates, siblings, and the strangers you encounter. To be a leader you do not need a title.

    So, start taking baby steps. Engage in your roommates’ aspirations, be there for the classmate struggling to understand that week, and most importantly, focus on developing your capacity to mobilize others. There are all types of leaders and styles to become, so try out different techniques to influence others around you. There is someone out there waiting for you to take the lead.

    Recommended Read: Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

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  • Major Spotlight: Dietetics

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

    Two college students standing in front of a bookcase with cookbooks and cooking equipment. They are both wearing face masks and the student on the left is also wearing a headscarf.

    A confused look followed by “what is that?” is often the response that I get when I tell others that my major is dietetics. Simply put, dietetics is the profession of nutrition. Dietitians have essential roles in many areas; however, many are unaware that the profession even exists. Dietetics is one example of a “found” major, meaning that many discover the major after entering college and many even discover the profession after graduating and come back for another bachelor’s degree! Dietetics is a unique and rewarding major for anyone interested in helping others to thrive and live better and healthier lives starting from their diet!

    Dietetics and Dietitians Defined

    As previously stated, dietetics is the profession of human nutrition. Dietetics translates and applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. Professionals who actively practice dietetics are known as Registered Dietitians (RD), also known as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

    Myth Buster: Registered Dietitian = Nutritionist

    Not at all! Registered Dietitians (RD) should not be confused with nutritionists (or health coaches). A nutritionist does not have accreditation, rather it is a self-proclaimed title, hence they have no legal protection or acceptance as an expert in the field. Often nutritionists will take a certificate course and claim to be an expert which may be detrimental to potential clients with diseases and illnesses who need proper medical nutrition therapy (MNT) that a registered dietitian is qualified and trained to provide.

    RD’s are employed in a variety of settings such as hospitals, health care facilities, government agencies, companies, schools, and universities, and the list continues. The main practice areas that dietitians are often categorized into are clinical, food service, and community.

    Types of Dietitians and Their Scope of Practice

    Clinical dietitians work alongside doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in health care settings serving as the nutrition expert on the team. Clinical dietitians screen and treat malnutrition in patients, order tube feedings (enteral nutrition) for patients unable to eat by mouth. They also specialize in nutrition management of a variety of chronic diseases such as kidney disease, heart disease, and intestinal diseases.

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