• Things to Consider Before Changing your Major

    by Rachel Calcote

    A computer laptop screen displaying the 2022-2023 Academic Catalog of the University of Alabama.

    College can be way different than we ever imagined. You come in with a plan thinking you know what you want to do, then halfway through the semester you start second guessing yourself. Is it just nerves, hard classes, or do you really want to change your major? Have you found your passion? Even if all you know is that you hate your current major, here are a few tips for helping you find a new major, figure out if you actually want to change your major, or just want to explore different classes at your university.

    Do Some Research

    Check out the university catalog and see what other majors your school has to offer. Maybe there’s a program that sounds interesting that you want to try. Talk to some of your peers and faculty that are part of that program. If it’s not too late, maybe sign up for one class to try out the program before you switch degrees. Taking one class before changing your major can save you a lot of hassle if you decide you don’t enjoy that program. It could also help you realize that your current program is the right program for you. Or maybe your current school doesn’t have the program that you think is right for you. Are you willing to transfer schools?

    Take A Career Quiz

    It might sound cliché but taking a skills test can help point you in a new direction when considering careers. Additionally, look at jobs you might want in the future. Your major should help you gain knowledge in experience in whatever field you want to be in. Sometimes it’s easier to start by identifying the job you want and then working backwards to achieve it. Talk to people that currently have that job. Connect with recruiters. Ask people what qualities they look for when hiring and what majors they look for. Depending on the job, your major may matter less than the skills you acquire.

    Take A Look at Your Finances

    Can you afford to take the extra time it may take to graduate? If not, explore some additional scholarships or financial aid packages or consider finishing your current degree and coming back to school later when you’re financially able to. Some companies pay their employees to obtain certain degrees, so maybe that’s an option for you. Consider multiple paths to achieving your goals. Who knows, you may not even need to go back to school. You may need to learn a few skills on your own and then market yourself appropriately. Everyone’s path looks different, so consider what you want yours to look like.

    Meet With Your Advisor

    Talk to your current advisor and your potential advisor. Ask questions about program length, classes, grade requirements, scholarships, job opportunities, and anything else before making the switch. Advisors are incredibly knowledgeable and are there to help. They can also help you decide if changing your major is right for you. It’s a hard choice and can be intimidating, but there’s no need to be afraid to make that change.

    Whether or not you decide to change majors, make a point to meet with your campus career center. They will help guide you towards jobs that fit your goals. They are there to help you market yourself so that you can land your dream job. At the end of the day, it never hurts to diversify your learning and have fun while doing so.

    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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  • Gift Giving on a College Student Budget

    by Rachel Calcote

    A wreath made of red and silver globe ornaments is hung on a white door.

    The holidays are fast approaching and sometimes that can be stressful. Sure, there are the lights, cold weather, and the festive atmosphere, but the money you spend around the holidays - horror inducing. This can be especially stressful when you’re strapped for cash but want to do something nice for your friends and family. Here are a few tips for gift giving on a college budget.

    Tip #1: Create A Budget

    This seems fairly basic, but it is often overlooked. Assess your personal financial situation and see how much money, if any, you are able to feasibly set aside for gifts this season. There are some important things to factor into your holiday budget. Travel costs is a big one: Are you going home for the holidays? Are you going on a trip? How are you getting there? Who’s paying for it? Are you paying for all of it, just part, or for multiple people? Other important factors to think about are dining out expenses, living costs, groceries, and anything else you normally spend money on each month.

    Tip #2: Make A List of People

    Make a list of people you want to give something to this holiday. Once you have a number you can compare that to your budget and decide if you can afford to buy each person something or if you need to think about baking or making something for some or all of the people. This is also an important time to decide if you’re going to spend the same amount on everyone or if you’re going to spend more on your mom than on your neighbor. It’s ok to spend different amounts on people as long as you can afford to and that each gift is heartfelt. It’s often more about how much thought and time went into the gift than how much the gift costs that matters.

    Tip #3: Picking Out Gifts

    This is the fun part! Don’t look at picking out each gift as daunting. It should be fun and festive! Maybe you’re making everyone their favorite cookies or decorating each cookie specifically for them. Maybe you’re thinking about your practical friend and want to buy them something useful or your trendy friend that loves having the latest cool accessory. Whatever you’re doing or buying make sure it reminds you of the person and stays within your budget! Look for sales at stores you frequent and go on days that you know an item you want to get will be on sale. Look for coupons online before you go, and take only the amount of money you can spend on that gift (+ a little extra for tax). These actions will help you stay within your budget and maybe even save you a few bucks along the way.

    These are just some helpful ideas to help you get through gift giving this holiday season. College budgets can be especially tight and need a little extra thought. Really tap into the joy that gift giving brings your loved ones and you. Having a positive attitude will help you pick gifts and stick to your budget.

    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 Stay Organized when College Gets Chaotic

    by Rachel Calcote

    A college literature book open to a passage about Geoffrey Chaucer. Next to the book there is a cup of coffee with a heart design drawn in the coffee cream.

    Balancing school, extracurriculars, a social life, and work can be difficult at times. As the semester picks up pace, events increase, and deadlines quickly approach. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed or get distracted from the tasks at hand. But not to worry, here are three tips that can help you get organized and avoid that mid-semester meltdown.

    Tip #1: Figure out your scheduling preferences.

    Having your schedule laid out so that you can see your availability for that day, week, or month can help when planning for extracurriculars and social events. This can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. But consider whether you prefer a virtual or hand-written planner. Do you like to have everything to be on a computer or mobile device or are you a person who likes to handwrite things out? If you like everything in one place, consider if you take notes online or with a pen and paper. Don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find the one that works best for you.

    If you decide to track things using technology, add your schedule to your calendar. One that connects to your email is super helpful for when people email links to meetings. If you decide you want to use pen and paper, decide if you want to use a monthly calendar, a planner, or a desk calendar (where you can tear off the pages after you use them).

    Tip #2: Color code your commitments.

    Using colors to connect certain topics in your mind can help focus your thoughts and immediately distinguish between items on your schedule. Pick a color for each class, a color specifically for work, and then a color for each club you’re in. Then when you are tracking your deadlines and writing out your schedule, use the same color for deadlines that you used for that specific class or for work or whatever else you have on your schedule.

    If this seems like too much to try all at once, start by separating work and school, pick one color for each, and as you become more comfortable with the color-coding, you could add more if you chose to.

    If you’re wanting to get really into it and you take notes by hand, you can get your notebook colors to match your chosen calendar color for each class.

    Tip #3: Prioritize your to-do list.

    Most people have some form of a to-do list, whether it is in their head, on a piece of paper, in their planner, or on their phone/computer. To-do lists can be super helpful when you’re trying to get your thoughts in order and writing out things you would like to finish that day or within that week. The trouble is they can become long and overwhelming really fast.

    To prevent this, pick out the top 3 things from your to-do list that must be finished first. I pick out mine based on deadlines. Whichever 3 things have the most immediate deadlines are the ones I want to knock out first. Another way to do this can be to see which 2 things are due the soonest and 1 thing that will take a long time which must be started now. You can still write out your whole list, but each day pick at least 3 things to start or partially finish. When you finish those 3, pick out another 3 you want to start on.

    As the semester progresses, utilize these three organizing tips to get a better handle on what you need to get done. This can definitely help lower your stress so you can finish strong!

    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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