• Tips from a First-Generation College Student

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

    Student with backpack, walking between buildings

    College is a major change for everyone, but especially for first-generation college students. Between checking lists, bingeing YouTube videos, and seeking advice from social media and mentors, first-generation students strive to surround themselves in advice to ensure that they learn from the mistakes of others. I would know since I lived this first-generation experience. I’m a college junior and over the past 3 years I have read more lists than I can count and made more mistakes than I would like to admit. But among these experiences I’ve learned a few things that I did not see on any YouTube video or tip list and wished someone had told me in my freshman year as first-generation student.

    Tip #1: Distinguish the direction to debt

    Learn how you can fall into debt. It was not until I was in my second year in college that I realized how college debt accumulated. Debt begins to build up when your college/university charges for a semester and you are unable to pay off the total balance charged. This is the point at which students may decide to take out a loan to cover the charge, otherwise your school begins to enforce restrictions such as such as blocking registration, viewing schedules, viewing degree audits, access to campus resources, etc. This may be intuitive to some but for those students and parents who are new to the college experience, this may unfortunately become their first encounter with this process. The earlier you understand this path to debt, the more motivation you may garner to apply to more scholarships, grants, and internships in high school and/or college.

    Tip #2: Discover your department

    Students who enter college already knowing their major or feeling pressured by social or time constraints to stick to a specific major may have tunnel vision and avoid exploring other possibilities. Take time to consider the different courses at least within your current department. You may find another major that is similar to yours but focuses more on a career direction you are more interested in going in. I experienced this shift when I stepped out of my tunnel vision of my nutritional sciences major to see that my career goals better aligned with the Dietetics major, which was in my same department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Following this advice ensures that your major is the best fit for you and what you really want!

    Tip #3: Study your degree audit

    Check, study and get to know your degree audit! A degree audit is a progress checker of how close you are to finishing your degree. It lists all the required courses and types of credits you need for your degree along with the classes you have completed and which requirements they satisfy. Some schools allow students to access it on their own through a student portal, but even if your school does not, I suggest asking your adviser for a copy because becoming literate in your degree audit’s language can be critical to saving time and money in the future. As a freshman, I took extra classes that satisfied certain requirements because I didn’t realize that my degree plan already included classes that would have satisfied those requirements, thus wasting my credits. Taking a certain number of extra credits past your required degree credit count can result in your school charging you for what is called excess hours. In some schools, you are charged double the tuition rate for every excess hour you take! Check your school’s excess hour policy and make sure you are intentional about the classes that you take and do not take, based on your degree audit!

    Tip #4: Remember your reason

    Finally, remember how you got to where you are now! You may encounter trials in your college experience but as a first-generation college student, do not forget the trail you are blazing a trail for your family and yourself. You are entering territory where others near you may have never been before. I and so many others are prouder of you than you can ever imagine. Remember why you are in college and that you never walk alone in this journey!

    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 Benefits of Taking Summer Classes

    by Kiara Lozano

    An open laptop sitting on a table beside an iced coffee drink, writing pads and pens.

    After freshman year, I was so excited to finally have a break. No classes and no responsibilities. I mean who doesn’t want to enjoy their summer after a year of hard work?

    The truth is even though you need a break, taking one or two additional classes during the summer isn’t a bad idea. It can be manageable and very rewarding. I will admit at first I was not easily persuaded, but after my first summer class I was astonished at how easy, convenient, and beneficial it really was. In fact, the summer after my sophomore year I ended up taking four classes over the summer and am now on the path to graduating a semester early.

    Taking summer classes has been one of the most beneficial decisions I have made throughout my college career. Here are some of the reasons why I believe it is a great idea to take a few extra classes whenever you can.

    Save Money

    Summer session courses typically cost less than if you were to take them during the regular school semester and community college courses cost even less. There are also many scholarships available for students interested in taking summer classes that you can apply for.

    Graduate Early

    Taking summer classes do not need to take up all your time. Even just taking one or two every summer can help you graduate early. I recommend taking one in both June and July or doing an intersession to get ahead and not get burned out. By graduating early, not only are you saving money, but you have more time to get ahead in your career or have some off time before you start your job post college.

    Add Credentials

    A different benefit summer classes provide is allowing you to fit more credentials into your college career without adding extra years. Taking some classes during the summer could free up space in your schedule during the regular semesters to add a minor or even a double major.

    Shorter Duration

    Most summer classes are 5 weeks long and the intersessions classes around 2 weeks. Since you are most likely not taking a semester worth of courses, you have more time to focus on the given subject. You can finish classes faster, while still having time to do all the fun things summer has to offer. Sounds like a good deal to me!


    Finding the format that’s best for you is important. Classes are offered various times throughout the summer, and you can take them in person, online, or asynchronous. Classes also don’t necessarily have to be with your university so if you find one at another university or local community college that fits your needs, get it approved and take it! Having different options is beneficial especially if you are planning a summer trip, work certain times, or simply prefer having more flexibility with your classes.

    Complete Harder Courses

    Finally, summer semesters or intersessions are a great way to tackle your more difficult courses. This allows you to have more time to focus on the subject without having to balance all the other aspects of a regular college semester. It is also a great opportunity to take the classes that are hard to get into, making sure that you get all the credits you need stress free.

    Taking summer classes is a great way to get those tough classes out of the way, get ahead, and save money while still having the flexibility and time to do all the fun summer activities! Don’t be afraid to utilize your time off to get ahead!

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


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  • College Students Can Try Yoga to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

    by Aathira Balu

    A woman sitting at the top of stairs, back to the camera, legs crossed and arms overhead in a yoga pose.

    Stress and anxiety are something everyone has to deal with at some point, whether it be social matters, academics, change, or just everyday life. Stress tends to run especially high with students balancing class, work, clubs, friends, family, and more. Finding a way to cope and minimize stress is imperative for a healthy life. I have found the best way for me to cope is through the practice of yoga.

    Why Start Yoga?

    Yoga is a practice of both the physical and mental minds and is a great way to integrate a healthful approach to your day-to-day routines. Yoga not only has great health benefits, but can also help reduce stress and anxiety. The practice of yoga can even help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It also helps with increasing one’s flexibility, strength, and breathing capacity. Even though yoga is considered very safe, if you have any ongoing health conditions (such as arthritis, balancing issues, etc.), make sure to consult a doctor before beginning.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when getting started!

    On-line vs. In-Person

    There are many different types of yoga courses and classes that you can attend either online or in person and both have their benefits. For example, online practices can be low cost or free, plus they can be available on-demand for whatever fits into your schedule. In-person classes offer more personalized interaction with the teacher and may lead you through a more structured work out.

    Whether you select online, in-person, or a combination of both types of classes, plan out your week and find times that you know will be best for you to take a break and relax with some yoga. As a beginner, try and aim for 30-45 minutes as a full practice. As you get more advanced, 30 minutes can eventually become 90 minutes.


    Along with creating your own practice schedule, there are certain equipment/materials that people use when practicing, including things like yoga mats, blocks, straps, yoga wheels, etc. If you are a beginner, you can use what you have around your house such as the carpet instead of a mat, pillows to substitute as blocks, and a belt or long strap of some kind to serve as a yoga strap.

    When creating your own yoga workout, practice moves and positions that are most comfortable for you. Explore more simple starting poses to help you become more comfortable with the positioning, like child’s pose, bridge pose, plank pose, tree pose, etc. Modify them depending on your comfort, skill level, and/or any health conditions you may have.

    Benefits of Yoga

    The world of yoga is an amazing one that includes meditation, vibration, and devotion and is something that everyone should try out. Just as with learning any new skill, beginning a yoga practice requires a lot of patience. Start slow and be willing to learn and try new things; it takes time to become comfortable with this way of life. Good luck on all of your yoga journeys and always remember to stay calm and work hard.  

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  • Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet

    by Logan Collins

    A collection of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

    When becoming independent and going off to college you are faced with a lot of choices, especially ones involving nutrition. Nutritional choices include things like calorie intake and the type of foods and nutrients you are putting into your body. These decisions can have a big impact on things like the amount of energy we have or our mood. Recently I made the decision to transition to a plant-based diet. Here’s my experience with changing my diet and effects it has had on my everyday life. 

    Uncovering the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

    Last semester, I took a class called Plant-Based Living. By the middle of the semester, the class had fully convinced me to transition my diet to plant based. The key motivator that made me want to make this change was how plant-based diets can help improve mental health disorders and stress.

    During my studies, I learned that the majority animal products contain arachidonic acid, which can cause general inflammation in the brain. There is a direct link to inflammation in the brain and chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters causing depression and anxiety.

    Plants and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which can repair damage and decrease inflammation in brain cells, while also restoring balance to neurotransmitters. Phytochemicals are known as a natural antidepressant that increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. 

    Making the Change

    After all the research I had done I decided to change my diet to see if I noticed a difference. The transition to vegetarian hasn’t been very hard since there are a lot of plants you can get protein from to replace meat. For example, I have been eating more tofu, chickpeas, and seitan. Plus, the protein you get from plants is better for you than the protein made by animals. After just a month of eating a vegetarian diet I felt improvement in my energy level and my overall mood. 

    Examining the Results

    Going vegetarian has helped push me outside of my comfort zone in terms of cooking and meal prep. Using social apps like TikTok has been a great resource for me to find quick and easy vegetarian recipes to try. One of my new favorite dishes is “ratatouille.” This is made completely from vegetables like eggplant, peppers, tomato, and squash. If you’ve seen the movie by the same name, the reaction the food critic has when tasting the dish is spot-on!

    Overall, my plant-based diet has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my physical and mental health. They aren’t wrong when they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” so make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables! 


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  • Tips for a Successful Mentoring Experience

    by Brooklynn Gross

    Student holding and showing Alumni Mentor Program Handbook

    In the movies, every hero has a mentor who helps them achieve their goals: Dumbledore shares his wisdom and advice with Harry Potter, and Yoda trains Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi. Mentors are also important in real life because they can provide guidance and support during a student’s journey.

    Last semester I participated in my university’s alumni mentor program and communicated with a professional in my future career pathway. I hope to work in the field of education, so my college paired me with the director of instruction from a local school district. After participating in this program, I believe all college students should work with a mentor in order to make professional connections, explore careers, and develop work skills.

    If you’re struggling to find a mentor, think about professors, upperclassmen, or people at your workplace who may be willing to mentor you. You could also reach out to your university’s career center for information about connecting with alumni. Finding a mentor is the first step, but it isn’t the last—you will need to create a positive relationship with your mentor in order to build trust and spark meaningful conversations. Here are my top five tips for a successful mentoring experience.

    1. Be professional

    Mentors donate their time to work with you; show your appreciation by being on time for meetings and dressing appropriately. Put your phone away and give your full attention to the person in front of you. Practicing professionalism with your mentor will help you develop this skill for your future career.

    2. Get to know each other

    Learn about your mentor’s story and share your own. You may choose to discuss some of the following questions:

    • What challenges have you overcome?
    • Who has encouraged you throughout your journey?
    • Why did you feel inspired to choose this career path?

    Discussing these questions can help you form a connection with your mentor and learn things you didn’t know about them. Hearing about your mentor’s journey may give you information for your own career path.

    3. Set an agenda for each meeting

    My school’s mentoring program provided a handbook with suggested topics for mentors and students to discuss. At our first meeting, my mentor and I looked through the handbook and chose a topic for each session. Setting an agenda for each meeting helped us focus on subjects that were most relevant to me. Our discussions centered on themes like student teaching, job applications, relationships with colleagues, and graduate school. Choosing these topics ahead of time gave me the chance to prepare for each meeting and write down my questions.

    4. Visit your mentor’s workplace

    All of my mentoring sessions were virtual due to COVID-19, but I would encourage you to visit your mentor’s workplace once the pandemic is over. Shadowing your mentor would give you the opportunity to meet their coworkers and connect with other professionals in the same field. It would also help you experience the work environment and decide if your mentor’s career would be a good fit for you.

    5. Ask for feedback

    My mentor reviewed my résumé and asked me interview questions, and he shared some tips that I can use when I apply for jobs in the future. I now feel more confident about my résumé and my interviewing skills. You could also ask your mentor to give you feedback on your LinkedIn profile.

    These five tips will help you get the most out of your mentoring experience. Don’t forget to send a handwritten thank-you card. When you put time and effort into this relationship, you can develop a lasting connection that will be fulfilling for both you and your mentor.  

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  • Set Goals to Create Daily Motivation

    by Jesus Hernandez

    Shadow of a person, excercise objects spread out on the concrete floor

    If you are lacking daily motivation, writing down your goals can be a game changer as this will be a constant reminder of what you are striving for. The three main goals I believe everyone must have written down and be constantly focused on are your career, health, and leisure goals. These three types of goals have worked well for me because they help me feel balanced in life and help me stay self-motivated every day. 

    Breaking it down

    Career goals are goals you hope to achieve in a certain profession such as working for your dream company, becoming a doctor, a professional athlete, or perhaps a musician. These are considered long-term goals; many may get discouraged because it seems like it will be years before the goal is achieved. A great way to stay motivated is to set smaller goals to reach the ultimate goal. An example of a small goal for a student can be getting an A on exam in one of their major courses. Breaking down long-term goals into smaller achievable goals will help you sustain your drive to reach that final career goal. 

    Daily practice

    Setting goals to maintain good health has helped me become more accountable each day because health-related goals usually require daily practice. While you can certainly have long-term health goals, this area is very compatible with setting smaller achievable goals. One small goal that I have set for myself during this pandemic is to get at least 10,000 steps a day. I have my long-term health goals as well, however setting this small goal for myself has kept me self-motivated in times where I might otherwise have been inactive due to the closure of gyms. 

    Get out of your comfort zone

    Leisure goals can be short-term or long-term and vary from person to person depending on their interests. This is a type of goal that can allow you to get out of your comfort zone. Some examples can be traveling to different countries, taking road trips, visiting all the beaches in your area, or trying a new adventure like skydiving. Leisure goals are important for your mental health because it is a time to reward yourself and destress from the demands of school or work.

    Setting career, health, and leisure goals has allowed me to stay self-motivated. I encourage you to take time to think about your goals and write them out. Investing the time to set both short-term and long-term goals will change your mindset and you will constantly want to keep improving to reach those goals. 

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  • Planning the Perfect Schedule

    by Sydnie Ho

    A college student desk with laptop, notebook, planner, and an iced coffee.

    Have you registered for your classes next semester yet? If you are lucky, you will get all the classes you planned for. Other times, things might not go as planned. Here are some tips on how to plan the perfect schedule you might not have thought of before!

    Select class times that set you up for success

    People think that since they were able to wake up at 6am for high school, college will be the same. Let me tell you, it’s not! For some reason, waking up early in college is so much harder, so if you are genuinely not a morning person, do not register for 7am classes! Even if it is only 2x a week, you will regret it. Take into consideration when a good start time for your day is and build your schedule off of that.

    Plan for lunch breaks

    I like to register for classes that are back-to-back because I like getting all my classes out of the way, but I often forget about lunch! When this happens, I start losing focus and get hangry during classes. If this sounds like you, be sure to plan accordingly.

    Have backup classes

    Of course, we all hope to get our perfect schedule, but that does not always happen. There are 70k students at my school, so classes are bound to fill up fast! Sometimes you won’t get the section you want. Depending on your school, you might have a waitlist or be able to periodically check to see if someone dropped the class. Make sure you know the process and continually checking for updates. If you can’t get the class, have a backup plan for a class you can substitute in.

    Vary subjects and/or level of difficulty

    You don’t want to load all your challenging major classes in one semester. Mix it up with some of the hard classes and some of your easier classes or electives. If you are adding a minor or certificate, try to mix in some of those classes. You will be thankful to have some variance in what you are studying each week.

    Set an alarm for registration

    Make sure you set 1 or 2 or even 3 alarms before your registration time! One time I was out grocery shopping when my registration time came, and I had to do it from my phone. That caused me so much unnecessary stress. Make sure you are prepared to click that enroll button the second it’s time. You know everyone is doing the same so get ready!

    By keeping these things in mind, registration can be made easier and less stressful. Research your classes, plan well ahead of time, and have a backup plan. If you do not get all of your first-choice classes, know it will be okay. Sometimes the unexpected can be better than what you had planned! Good luck!


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  • Navigating Graduate and Professional School Entrance Exams

    by Sidney Li

    blog image alt text

    GRE. MCAT. PCAT. DAT. OAT. These are acronyms for a few of the entrance exams that undergraduate students applying for graduate school may have to face. In order to better prepare, here is a shortened know-how manual of the various exams and which ones to take.

    Health and Medical Field Programs


    The Dental Admissions Test is a year-round test that is proctored in test centers. It is accepted by 66 dental schools in the United States and 10 in Canada. This timed exam allows test-takers 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the following sections: natural sciences for 90 minutes, perceptual ability for 60 minutes, reading comprehension for 60 minutes, and quantitative reasoning for 45 mins. An optional 45 minutes is allowed for a tutorial in the beginning, a break, and a survey. While there is no specific undergraduate major requirement, dental school applicants must fulfill the pre-requisites that vary amongst dental schools.


    The Medical College Admission Test is required by most medical schools and is completely computer-based with four sections in its 7 hours and 30-minute length. It is offered 15 times a year and is known to be one of the longest and hardest exams. The four sections are comprised of the biological sciences for 95 minutes, the chemical and physical sciences for 95 minutes, the psychological and social sciences for 95 minutes, and critical analysis and reasoning skills for 90 minutes. It is important to study well for this exam as in addition to testing their skills, it is used as a predictor of the applicant’s success in medical school.


    The Optometry Admission Test is a computer-based test used to measure a prospective optometry student’s skills. Similar to the DAT, the OAT has four sections: natural sciences for 90 minutes, reading comprehension for 50 minutes, physics for 50 minutes, and quantitative reasoning for 45 minutes. This four and a half hour exam is administered on a year-round basis in recognized test centers throughout the country. As with other entrance exams, it is important to verify the requirements of individual optometry schools. And like dental schools, there is no specific undergraduate major requirement, but there are pre-requisites.


    The Pharmacy College Admission Test is required by some pharmacy schools for admission. Divided into five subtests, there is a variety of multiple-choice and writing questions given within the two and a half-hour time limit with a 15 minute break. The sections include: 30 minute writing section, biology section for 45 minutes, chemistry section for 45 minutes, critical reading section for 50 minutes, and the quantitative reasoning section for 50 minutes. Similar to the DAT and MCAT, application requirements vary among individual pharmacy schools.

    General Graduate School Programs


    The Graduate Record Examinations is a computer-based test that is offered year-round in more than 160 countries. Applicants vary from prospective graduate and business school students who are pursuing a master’s, MBA, J.D. degree, a doctoral degree, or a specialized master’s in business. The sections of the GRE include analytical writing with an “analyze an issue” task and “analyze an argument” task for 30 minutes each, two sections in verbal reasoning for 30 minutes each, two sections in quantitative reasoning for 35 minutes each, and an unscored and research section that varies.


    The Miller Analogies Test is a standardized graduate school admissions test that features 120 partial analogies. The test measures higher-level thinking skills, general academic knowledge, and analytical thinking. The final score is based on 100 questions; twenty questions (unknown to the test-taker) are unscored and used for research. While the GRE is more widely known, the MAT is a shorter and cheaper alternative. Students should check the entrance exam requirements of the specific graduate schools where they plan to apply.

    MBA Programs


    The Graduate Management Admission Test is required by many business schools that offer MBA programs. This computer-based exam is offered at testing centers all year long and can also be taken online. There are four sections of the GMAT: the quantitative reasoning section for 62 minutes, the verbal reasoning section for 65 minutes, the integrated reasoning for 30 minutes, and an analytical writing assessment for 30 minutes for a total testing time of 3.5 hours with breaks.

    Law School


    The Law School Admissions Test is the only test accepted by ABA-accredited law schools and Canadian common-law law schools. Divided into two parts, the total testing time allotted is 3.5 hours with breaks. The first part of the LSAT addresses logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension. The second part is a writing prompt. Unlike the exams mentioned prior, the LSAT is only offered seven times a year and dependent on the law school, they can accept the GRE in lieu of LSAT score. Read another blog about taking the LSAT here.

    When you are considering your career path and whether you want to attend graduate school, keep these exams in mind! Be sure to do further research and study beforehand for the best results on any one of these tests.

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  • Don’t be LAST to take the LSAT: Start Early!

    by Megan Cistulli

    A female college student studying for the LSAT

    Calling all my future lawyers: are you interested in law school? If so, this article dives into preparing for the inevitable and dreaded Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as an undergraduate. As a rising junior in college, I have decided to study for a test most people wait to study for until their senior year or after. Why wait? Starting early allows you to plan out your studying and take your LSAT before your senior year.

    Study Early

    Some people think the best time to take the LSAT is post-college because they will be better equipped to take the test; however, I can attest to the fact that this is a faulty assumption. If your plan is to jump right from undergraduate to graduate school, then studying for the LSAT after your college graduation creates an extremely crunched and stressful study period. Studying for this test takes approximately three months full of migraines and extra-large cups of coffee. Instead of relaxing, traveling, or spending time with friends and family during the summer before law school, you will be cooped up in your room trying to understand logic games.

    On the other hand, if you plan out your studying schedule early, you open up the door to numerous test date availability, study abroad opportunities for later summers, and a much less stressful study routine. Studying for and taking the test early does not put you at a deficit as the LSAT is a learnable test that does not truly relate to the courses you take in college. So begin studying early so that you have a firm understanding of the material.

    Test Early

    Law school applications typically open between the end of August to the start of October. The caveat is most law schools have rolling admissions, meaning reviews and decisions are made as applications come in, not after the application deadline. Waiting can be detrimental to your acceptance. Law school classes have an extremely exclusive and specific number of spots. If admission offices fill those spots before your application comes in, then you must wait until the next year to apply. Similarly, applying later in the admission period is much more competitive as you are vying for limited remaining seats.

    In order to combat the admission process, you can take the LSAT early. I suggest taking your LSAT the summer before your junior or senior year of college. This way, you can get your score back well before the application period opens, and it also gives you time to retake the test if you are unsatisfied with your score.

    I am not a great standardized test taker. Seriously, they present one of my biggest obstacles in my education and pursing graduate school as well. However, by strategically planning out my studying for the LSAT and taking it early, I am more confident in my abilities to take on this standardized and required test. More than that, I am able to put myself in the best position possible to get into the school of my dreams. I hope that you will be able to do so as well by implementing the strategy of studying early and planning out when to take your LSAT.

    Pearson Students: What are your tips for acing standardized tests?

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  • Setting SMART Goals

    by Brionika Johnson

    blog image alt text

    As an active college junior majoring in Business Administration, I have to balance between my academics and extracurricular activities. I realize that it is not easy, but setting SMART goals helps me to stay organized. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Click the link below to watch my vlog on Setting SMART Goals:


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  • Winning Writing: Email Essentials for College Students

    by Taylor King

    Lptop, paper planner and pencils on a table

    What is one of the most important responsibilities of a college student? Selling yourself. More specifically, selling yourself in writing. Given our increasingly competitive environments, students have had to do this more than ever before! Whether your objective is to get hired by a recruiter, or just to request a favor from a busy individual, excellent communication skills are a MUST. Your utmost goal is to show that you are one in a million, not one of a million. In this brief article, I will highlight several tips for writing stellar emails.


    Be you. If you are not, you are fooling yourself and the recruiter. And you could end up in a job that makes you miserable.

    Show two qualities – warmth and competence.

    Warmth, so that they will want to enjoy a coffee with you. Competence, so that they will want to hire you. Can you think of a story that might make the person smile, or even laugh?

    Mention mutual connections.

    Name someone you know whom the individual you are writing to also knows (and respects). Or have that someone introduce the two of you. Mutual connections are a great element in building rapport.

    Find similarities.

    Try to compare yourself to the individual. Or mention something you have learned from them. Example: “Like you, I decided my strength was in finance, not marketing.”

    Keep it brief.

    Make sure there is an “ask” or next step. Keep the ask small and specific. Be direct. Make it easy to say “Yes!”

    Check it for accuracy!

    Then, check it a second and third time! Ensure proper grammar and spelling of names.


    With increased virtual communication, email introductions have become dull and typical. Try something new to impress your audience! Here is an example.

    “I hope this email finds you well.” NO. This makes you one of a million.

    “Greetings from sunny California!” YES! This sets you apart.

    By applying these simple steps to your email content, you will surely stand out and display yourself as a remarkable candidate. Well, what are you waiting for? Go and reach out to that recruiter you have in mind! Best of luck!

    Pearson Students: What are your favorite email openings? Share in the comments below!

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  • How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

    by Christy Zheng

    Friends in a Zoom call

    So, you’ve spent the last couple of months working and studying and your midterms and finals are finally over. You now have all this extra free time and don’t know what to do with it. Well, as an expert in feeling completely lost after school ends, let me help guide you on what you should do over winter break to help you 1) prepare for next semester 2) have fun while staying safe during COVID-19!

    Actually Take Time Off

    First, take a few days off. Don’t jump right into your work! You just worked your butt off studying for finals and you deserve a couple of days off. Use this time to destress, sleep, binge all the shows you weren’t able to, and generally relax.

    Though COVID-19 has made going out and having some semblance of a normal life very difficult, there are still some things you can enjoy safely. First, you can always cozy up in your fuzzy socks and blanket to watch a good Christmas movie. I recommend The Santa Clause– it’s a classic. If your friends are also on break, I recommend hopping on a Zoom call with them and watching the movie together. Although many of us can’t physically be in the same room, small things like this make a huge difference.

    Spend Time with Friends

    Next, I’d recommend scheduling time to catch up with your friends. It’s often easy to get caught up in your own world and now that everything is online, it’s even harder to connect with people. You don’t run into people randomly in the dining hall, so we have to make a conscious effort to reach out to people. Don’t be afraid to message someone you were in a group project with or even someone who you talked to in a breakout room! You never know where the best friendships could arise.

    Getting Back to Work

    After those few weeks, you may start feeling restless. I know I always get bored very quickly whenever I’m on break. Use this as motivation to get back to work. I know many of us are looking for summer internships and this is the perfect time to prepare. Get your LinkedIn ready, scour Google for contacts or positions to apply to, and if you’re just a freshman, don’t be afraid to work at a local company or organization. Any experience is better than no experience. And with COVID-19, job hunting virtually has been made easier than ever. Don’t be afraid to cold email or message people on LinkedIn about your interest in their position or company!

    Next, try to stay on a somewhat consistent schedule and maybe start learning again. It doesn’t have to be linear algebra or biochemistry, but it never hurts to stay informed and educate yourself. I recommend finding some podcasts to listen to when doing your morning or night routine.

    If you want to be extra prepared for the upcoming school year, try to find the syllabus for your classes and get ahead on readings, or the topic in general. This is going to make the future you very grateful and happy.

    Before you know it, you’ll be ending your break and going back to school soon. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and will be ready and energized to tackle the spring semester!

    Pearson Students: What is your favorite thing to do over break?

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  • Holidays on Campus: Winter Wonderland Room Tour

    by Camryn McCrary

    Woman holding hands up catching snowflakes

    Even though it doesn’t snow here in San Diego, I am from Ohio so the winter and holiday snowy season will always remind me of home. Click the link below to view my vlog showcasing how I’ve brought a little bit of home into to my winter wonderland room decor. Happy Holidays from California!

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  • Overcoming Failure: How to Dust Yourself Off and Set Yourself Up for Success

    by McKinley Falkowski

    McKinley Falkowski

    I am often faced with a simple adage in life: whether it be academic, personal, or career related, failure happens, but it is our ability to stand up and dust ourselves off following this, that will drive us to success. The Latin phrase, “per Astra per aspera” or “through adversity to the stars” is emblematic of the challenges we face. Failure is a part of life, and however de-moralizing it may feel, there are lessons we learn by going through such scenarios. As an example, I recently lost an election in a race for a local Board of Education. But there are things I learned in my loss, that coming out of it has made me a better employee, student, and general member of society.

    Reflect on your actions

    Following my electoral loss, I faced the reality that the plan I had created for myself and had been following for years was disrupted. At that very moment though, I had to make a choice, either to continue the path I was headed down, unaware of what lay ahead, or reflect and figure out exactly what went wrong, and where. I created a timeline of my campaign, carefully analyzed methods and strategy of mine, I discussed tactics with some stakeholders in my campaign, and had honest conversations with them on what I did right, but most importantly, what I did wrong.

    It was here that I learned that it is a necessity for anyone, in whatever failure they may face, whether it be minor or large, that the ability to critically reflect on ones actions, and be open minded on the findings is crucial to overcoming failure. Without the ability to reflect on oneself, you are bound to repeat these failures, and as Mark Twain once put it “There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule”.

    Visualize your challenges

    While the ability to reflect is essential to overcoming a failure, the ability to be visionary is another. No, I am not talking about wishful idealism, or a vision that ignores the enormity of challenges before you. I am talking about a vision that allows you to see the challenges and how they should be tackled. Following this period of reflection, you must see where the challenges before you lay, and come up with a visionary plan as to how they must be tackled.

    When it relates to my electoral loss, my reflection followed a major course correction, but this correction did not underestimate the challenges before me. However masterful of a plan you create, you must embrace the nature of life, where the unexpected may suddenly appear and you must deal with it.

    Follow through on the process

    The last, and perhaps most fundamental characteristic of overcoming a failure is the ability to follow through. This strenuous ordeal requires a great deal of devotion, organization, and perseverance. Without follow through, the ability to craft an expansive reflection and establish a vision for the future becomes meaningless.

    Failure is an unequivocal aspect of life; however, it is our ability to learn and grow that is key to our individual success. Although each of us may face unique scenarios, we are united in our struggle to ascertain a better future.

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  • A Major Decision Made Easy!

    by Rachel Hutchinson

    A woman holding a book with smile

    Exploring and applying to colleges was a long and difficult process, and when I finally chose to attend CU Boulder, I thought all of my decisions had been made. However, there was a new weight on my shoulders: what would I study?

    Choosing a major is an extremely important decision, and at first, I felt very stressed about making it. However, I soon realized that the decision came naturally.

    Take Your Time

    Some people know what career path they want to follow before they even enter college, but don’t worry if you are not one of these people. College is an opportunity to explore different passions and areas of study, and you do not need to decide your major before you have the chance to explore. Most colleges want you to decide your major by the end of your sophomore year, which gives you two years to discover your passions.

    When I came to CU, I knew that I wanted to eventually pursue a career in business, but I had no idea the specific area of emphasis. Business includes a plethora of career paths, from information management and data analytics to finance and accounting. My school allowed me to try all of these areas during my freshman and sophomore years and by the end, I was able to choose the field I was most excited about. I realized that I loved accounting, so I declared my major and began taking more accounting related classes my junior year.

    Don’t Stress!

    My advice for you if you are struggling to decide a major is to take time to explore your options. Spend the first year or two of college taking tons of different courses and finding what you love. Don’t stress too much about it! If you choose something you don’t end up liking, you can always change your major. Many people change their majors in college. It is completely normal.

    Overall, choosing your major can be scary but also very exciting when you finally decide what you want to pursue. I wish you luck on your journey through discovering your passions and choosing a major!

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  • A Holiday Season Bucket List

    by Taylor Guynup

    A male and female college student sitting in front of a large red Christmas ornament

    As the song goes, ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’! It’s also one of the best seasons to spend time with friends and family. December is here, you’re done (or nearly done) with school and you have some free time. Even amid a global pandemic, there are still ways to get in the spirit. Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas season things to do with my friends and family.

    Looking at Christmas Lights

    Driving or walking through neighborhoods to look at the lights is one of my favorite things to do. Some cities or universities will also have a Christmas celebration. Search online for neighborhoods or city spots near you to see where the best lights are!

    Hot Chocolate and Movie Night

    During the holiday season it’s chilly out at night and my favorite thing to do is snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket, make some hot cocoa, and turn on a classic Christmas movie. My two favorite holiday movies are Elf and White Christmas. You can even make a mini hot chocolate bar where people can make their own hot chocolate creation.

    Ice Skating

    I’ll admit I am not the most graceful ice skater out there, but I always have a lot of fun! Many ice rinks have Covid guidelines in place so they can safely offer open sessions to the public during this season. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

    Decorating a Holiday Treat

    Cookies, brownies, gingerbread houses, oh my! There are so many holiday treats that can be made and decorated. I love this tradition because somehow icing always ends up on my face rather than the cookie. It’s a fun time that your taste buds can enjoy afterwards.

    Putting Up Decorations

    One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was decorate the Christmas tree with my parents. I loved looking at all the ornaments and hearing the stories behind them. Although I’ve graduated now, in the past, my college roommates and I also decorated our house and it was a night full of laughs and smiles. This will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit.

    Serving in a Soup Kitchen

    The holiday season is a time to be thankful for everything we have however, there are those who are less fortunate than us. There are a lot of soup kitchens or other service locations that need volunteers and it is a great way to give back to your community while still spending time with your friends and family.

    Taking Christmas Card Pictures

    Before I graduated, this was a super fun thing to do with my roommates! My friends and I got silly Christmas sweaters and took pictures on campus. We just printed pictures out at CVS and signed the back to send to our friends and family.

    Make a Homemade Gift or Card

    A gift from the heart is the most precious gift. My mom and I used to hand make Christmas cards with stamps and it was so much fun. I got some quality time with my mom and all of our relatives loved the unique cards. Find ideas and inspiration for homemade gifts and cards on Pinterest.

    Elf on the Shelf

    This is a silly and fun holiday tradition. It’s always interesting finding what our elf was doing the next morning. People may think it is just for kids, but it can also be a fun thing to do with roommates or family as we get older. Seeing who can come up with the funniest idea will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

    Jam Out to Some Tunes

    Whether you have a long plane ride or a lot of holiday shopping to do, Christmas music will make your day much merrier. Christmas time can get a little stressful but blasting music can put anyone in a better mood.

    This time of year can be jam-packed with things to do and sometimes people can forget to have fun. Having things that you enjoy and love is the true reason for the season. I hope these ideas help you with doing fun things and that you have a Merry Christmas!

    Pearson Students: What is part of your Christmas Bucket List? Share by commenting below!

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  • Eating Healthy at Home

    by Megan Cistulli

    Healthy food nicely arranged in a plate placed on the table

    What’s harder than standing six feet away from everyone around you? Standing six feet away from a fridge filled with cookie dough, gelato, and leftover pizza and a cupboard filled with potato chips, gummy candies, snack cakes, and Girl Scout Cookies. Unfortunately, I don’t think the bathroom scale is broken this time.

    Our current pandemic is causing us to overeat food high in fat and sugar leading to unhealthy weight gain; it won’t be getting any easier during the holidays! During this time, I have found three great strategies to help stop overeating and focus on a healthy and fun lifestyle.

    Intermittent Fasting

    The first strategy I implemented when COVID-19 forced us indoors was intermittent fasting. Personally, I find this strategy easy, and it leaves my body feeling wonderful. The easiest fasting schedule is a 16/8 schedule. For 16 hours you fast, and you only eat during the other 8 hours. The best part about intermittent fasting is for most of the fasting period, you are asleep. Think of yourself as a bear. Sixteen hours of your 24-hour day are left to your body to burn fat like a bear in hibernation while the other 8 hours allow you to fuel your body so that you can stock up for “winter.” In my case, I do not eat until 11am, and I stop eating at 7pm.

    Sugar Free (sort of)

    I must admit: my sweet tooth is as big as anyone’s. Suppressing your sweet tooth completely does not work. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Designate certain days in which you allow your body to consume sugar. This tactic not only leads to discipline but also gives you a chance to savor the sugary sweets when you do consume them. For me, I only allow sugar like ice cream and cookies on Sunday. Now my Sundays are not only relaxing but are also a little extra sweet.


    If you get bored, like I did the second week of quarantine, try a new lifestyle altogether! I decided to try a vegetarian diet. I have been meat-free for about four months now. Of course, you can try any type of lifestyle from vegan to pescatarian to flexitarian. The sky is the limit, my friends.

    These three viable options can make a major positive impact in your day to day life especially while we hunker down in our homes, but make sure to always workout when you can to keep your metabolism engaged and your endorphins flowing. Notably, these strategies can be short term – until the pandemic subsides – or long term depending on your body’s reaction to the change.

    Next time you go grocery shopping, cut down on the sugar so your kitchen is not home to as many temptations. The next time you are craving a Twinkie, do twenty jumping jacks and eat a banana instead.

    We all get cravings or like to treat ourselves from time to time – try to be aware of how you are treating your body and be mindful! We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel, so hold on until then because the light is much sweeter than the fleeting pleasure and regretful feeling of scarfing down an entire box of Thin Mints.

    Pearson Students: How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle during quarantine? Share in the comments below!

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  • Beating the Finals Flu

    by Sidney Li

    Sign showing Flu season ahead

    College brings a plethora of emotions and foreign experiences. For many people, it is the first time they are away from home, responsible for their own schedule, and even, in some cases, cooking for themselves. Every college student has their own unique opinions and experiences, but we can all agree on one subject that brings dread to us all—finals.

    Despite how much stress and anxiety comes around the week or even two weeks of finals, college students often lose sight of their priorities and focus on their studying, final projects, and papers, instead of their health. As their physical, mental, and emotional health rapidly declines, students are bound to experience the “finals flu.”

    What is the “finals flu”?

    First of all, the “finals flu” isn’t always the actual flu. You will know if you have influenza because its symptoms range from pains and aches to a fever and more. The “finals flu” can just be any number of illnesses that are bound to spread throughout a college campus near the end of the semester. Despite how it can be more prevalent for the incoming class of freshmen and how they underestimate the toll finals week has, every student is susceptible.

    Why does it happen?

    Just like any other sickness, the flu or a cold can spread around at a faster rate when people live or inhabit an area in close proximity, like a library, classroom, dorm, or dining hall. Even with the current environment of increased hygiene and social distancing requirements, students are open to getting in contact with foreign pathogens that their bodies cannot handle. Students who get sick and don’t take care of themselves well with the proper hygiene and medications can easily spread illnesses to others.

    How to avoid it?

    Everyone is bound to get in contact with a pathogen at least once in their college career. It would be impossible to avoid them all. However, there are various tips that a student can utilize to decrease their chances. Some of them include getting a flu shot, sleeping the recommended six to eight hours, eating sensibly, exercising regularly, managing stress, and maintaining a practical personal hygiene and social distance from others.

    What happens if one gets it?

    If you get the “finals flu”, take steps to control its symptoms until it is gone. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms it’s important to get tested right away to rule it out. Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration or else your body can’t function properly. Also, use over-the-counter medications with anti-inflammatory properties that will curb the stuffiness, aches, and pains. Lozenges with honey or lemon can soothe your throat and limit the coughing and soreness. Yet, most importantly, sleep and eating plenty of food with some nutritional value will provide the most benefit.

    What if the “finals flu” sticks around?

    The “finals flu” can be persistent because of the circumstance and timing of it. However, if you find that your illness has not changed drastically or is still tenacious after about a week to ten days, then it is advised that students should check back with their student health services or a local doctor. This simply could be a different strain of illness and needs medical attention.

    Students who let themselves get run down as the end of the semester draws near can be more susceptible to illness. Take care of yourselves properly on a day-to-day basis by getting enough sleep, managing stress, and eating a balanced diet. Practice good hand-washing habits, wear a mask when out and about, and maintain social distancing. If you do get sick, take the right measures to recuperate quickly and avoid infecting others. You will know what to do or not do when the next semester finals start rolling around!


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  • Life as a STEM Student

    by Mary-Kate Wesley

    looking out over city skyline from aircraft with control panel in view

    I am a junior at the University of Iowa currently majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Autonomous Systems and Robotics as well as minoring in Mathematics. Click the link below to watch my vlog about why I chose STEM, what I am passionate about, and things I do and am involved with as a STEM major in college!

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  • 3 Ways You Can Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

    by Grace Millsap

    A person sitting on grass and writing in a journal on their lap

    Expressing feelings of gratitude everyday can transform your life by improving your mental health, physical health, and emotional well-being. Click the link below to watch my vlog where I talk about three things I do everyday to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in my life!


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  • 5 Tips to Creating Your Personal Brand Online

    by Noah Myers

    Noah Myers infront of a building

    When you Google your name, what comes up? If the answer is 'nothing' you probably haven’t spent much time developing your personal brand. Everyone today is marketing something. It could be a product, a service, an idea, or even a person. In today’s increasingly virtual world, it's important for college students to take the time to establish and pay attention to their online personal brand.

    Here are 5 tips for you to keep in mind when creating an online personal brand to promote or market yourself as you embark on your career.

    Be genuine and authentic

    The easiest way to have an original and unique personal brand is to be genuine and authentic. Not only will this make it much easier to manage your personal brand on a daily basis, but also differentiate you from others in the long run. Millennial influencer and head of marketing at Popular Demand, Monica Lin, says “People can see right through a disingenuous act.”

    Tell a story

    People are more likely to remember a story than just stating facts. Create a story around your personal brand that the audience can engage with. Your story should show a clear understanding of who you are, what you’re passionate about, and your strengths. This will help you make you more human and authentic which will enhance your chances of establishing an emotional connection with the audience. There is no better spokesperson for your journey and mission than you!

    Review and clean up your social media accounts

    Your online past can come back to bite you. Take the time to review all of your social media accounts. This will allow you to find things you posted that “seemed like a good idea” and make you say, “I posted/said that?!” now. You can control what your reputation is online, so make changes to ensure all of your visible content is in line with the brand and persona that you want to present. You wouldn’t want anything you posted or said on social media to negatively impact your presence.

    Be consistent

    It will be easier for you to get recognized if you consistently create content and brand voice around that content. Something consistent visually or personality wise helps people associate with your brand and know it’s you. Secure your name, social media handles, emails, and website addresses. Having a consistent name/brand across all media can help the audience find you.

    Write your bio & take a professional headshot

    Your bio should answer the question “Who am I?”. It tells your audience who you are and will help them to get to know you, what you stand for, and why they should contact you. Your bio should tell your story quickly. Think of it as a 15-second commercial.

    Having a professional headshot shows you at your best, conveys your professionalism, gives people an idea of your personality, and the way you want your audience to see you.

    I hope these tips help you to create a personal brand. Creating a personal brand has a ton of benefits, both personally and professionally, and it can help open many doors for you in the future.

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  • When the Impossible Becomes Possible: 3 Actions to Achieve Academic Goals

    by AJ Porter

    Red and blue color baloons in the air infront of a building

    For the first two years of high school, I was homeschooled. However, I quickly learned that was not the right choice for me. So, in October 2018, I enrolled in public high school as a junior determined to still graduate on time. The staff was skeptical. They wanted me to understand that it would most likely take me at least three years to complete the curriculum. I did not let that deter me. By the end of my second year, I had all of my credits and I graduated with the class of 2020. Through this untraditional schooling, I learned useful lessons that I plan to carry into both college and life itself.

    Forging Relationships

    When working to achieving your goals, it’s very helpful to forge meaningful relationships along the way. Effective communication is the key to maintaining strong relationships. In order to meet my goal, I had to effectively communicate with school staff. I created a relationship with my teachers. I couldn’t just ask them simple questions, wait for an answer, and leave. I conveyed my needs and thoughts in detail, and at the same time, I listened for theirs.

    For the more socially awkward, this may sound difficult. I understand. It is important to acknowledge, though, that your mentors in your life are there to help you. They are a resource and they will gladly listen when you open up.

    Productivity Methods

    During this time, I had to be incredibly productive. In order to finish everything in time, I had to develop the best ways to stay on task.

    If you happen to be a procrastinator, I’ve learned that the common advice of “spreading out” your work is not always the best idea. I was more efficient when I got a large portion of my work done in one sitting. If you don’t stay on task well, long breaks can invite distractions. “I’ll do the rest tonight” can easily become “I’ll do the rest tomorrow.” It was better for me to do all of my daily work in one sitting. After that, I had hours to do whatever I pleased.

    When overwhelmed, it’s also important to plan with foresight. You can’t outrun future responsibilities, so be prepared instead. If you’re dreading a project, save the date and plan in advance. Make sure that all other big projects are done by then. Keep a planner. Remove the element of surprise by becoming a master of the near future.

    Perfectionism and Effort

    When tackling a massive challenge, it’s important to accept your hard limits. Despite my already difficult task, I was a perfectionist. I pushed further. I wanted to be the best at all of my classes and extracurricular activities.

    It’s not bad to have a wide variety of goals. However, it’s important to have reasonable expectations when you spread yourself thin. You will be making hard choices. You won’t always succeed. Not every goal I made for myself received equal attention, and there were some that I had to let go of. At first, I worried that these compromises made me less successful. The truth of that matter, though, is that I graduated in two years. That’s an achievement regardless of anything else. When I received my final report card, I also learned that I finished eighth in my class. I was so scared of being unsuccessful that I wasn’t in touch with the reality of my effort. I didn’t have to do every little thing to be successful. I was already doing the impossible.

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  • Distance Learning Week 2020: How to Excel in Online Classes

    by Jill Kelly

    An old fashioned alarm clock on a desk beside a laptop with the word

    Distance Learning Week is an annual week set aside to focus on online learning. This year, more students than ever before are learning virtually. As this year’s Distance Learning Week wraps up, click the link below to watch my vlog with tips and advice to help college students across the country excel in online classes!


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  • Hunting for internships in the time of COVID

    by Christy Zheng


    We all know how difficult it is to get an internship. Most times, you need job experience before even getting your first job and this standard has only increased. To add on, COVID-19 has made internship hunting harder: no coffee chats, in-person recruiting events, and many companies can’t even afford to hire. However, COVID has also allowed us to work from anywhere. After going through the recruiting process myself, I’ve gained some experience that I feel can help you maximize your time and get an internship when you feel like it’s impossible. Keep reading to find out!

    My Background

    For reference (and ethos), I had a consulting and small banking internship two years ago and had the opportunity to attend some small conferences. Currently, I’m interning at an investment banking firm. I received neither of these opportunities through traditional resume dropping or online applications. With all this being said, I hope the advice I give in the rest of this blog holds some merit.

    Build a Network

    The single most important thing you can do to help you stand out from other candidates in lieu of in-person career fairs is building your network. Since you won’t be able to talk to recruiters in person and Zoom fatigue gets even the best of us, you have to take things into your own hands to, basically, create a career fair of your own.

    Firstly, NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK. And did I mention network? Utilize your connections and if you don’t have connections… find some! Simply searching “[school name] [company] LinkedIn” into google will give you at least 10 connections to reach out to. However, don’t just rely on LinkedIn (most professionals won’t check it often). Instead, try to find the email format of companies. The most common ones are firstname.lastname@company.com and firstinitiallastname@company.com which can usually be found in SEC filings. Next, draft up an interesting, but short, introduction email asking for a short phone or Zoom call. This builds a more personal connection and they now know what you sound like!

    Make an Impression

    Now, what do you say on the actual phone call? After briefly introducing yourself, give a quick elevator pitch (no more than 1-2 mins) as to why you’re interested in the field and why you want to talk to this person specifically. After that, try to let the conversation flow naturally and ask good questions. Besides the obvious, sometimes even “what’s your day-to-day like” or “why do you want to work at [company]” are a little generic. Instead, ask about specific projects that are happening within the company. Did your contact just publish something? Ask questions that prove you’re genuinely interested.

    Ask for Referrals

    Lastly (and this is the most important part), ask “is there anyone else at your company that you think I could benefit from talking to?” This way, your network doesn’t stop here, and you can use this person as a referral for the next. It’s like making your way up to the boss level in a video game. If they say yes, great, reach out to the person they recommend or wait to be referred. If they say no, then no worries, on to the next; there are 10,001 more people to reach out to.

    Now, you have a whole long list of people to refer to in your interview; people to vouch for you and flag your resume for interviews and mentors to help guide you through the rest of the recruiting process. COVID-19 era job hunting is going to be difficult but keep pushing and something will come from your efforts!

    Pearson Students: How did you land your first internship? Share in the comments below!


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  • Meal Prep Made Easy

    by Sydnie Ho

    Healthy meal

    I always thought meal prepping was strange. The thought of eating the same things every day for a week was somehow daunting. But after living in an apartment with my own kitchen, I quickly realized how convenient, easy, and simple meal prepping is! I love going grocery shopping now, scrolling through Pinterest to find new recipes, and cooking my own meals. It definitely saves me a lot of money. Before I was eating at Qdoba and Chick-fil-a every day. Now, I am able to eat healthier and cheaper. Here are some quick and simple recipes you can mimic (and adjust to your preferences) to start meal prepping. Maybe you will find a new love for meal prepping like I did!


    Egg Cups

    These are so yummy and easy to make! I make a ton of them at the beginning of the week so I can just grab a few and go on my way out in the morning.


    • 12 eggs
    • Mushrooms
    • Tomatoes
    • Ham
    • Spinach
    • Salt/Pepper

    Wisk up your eggs and pour them into a muffin tin. Chop up all your veggies and add your desired amount in each muffin cup. Add salt and pepper to taste and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. They should be firm to the touch. Enjoy!


    I make a 2-3 different recipes at the beginning of the week so I can switch up what I eat. Here are some of my favorite recipes to make!

    Healthy Turkey Chili

    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
    • 4 tablespoons chili powder* (I used McCormick chili powder)
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
    • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained

    Sauté your onions on medium-high heat in some olive oil in a large pot of about 5 minutes. Add your ground turkey and cook until no longer pink. Then add all the spices and cook for about 30 sec. Add your beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and corn then simmer at a medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. Serve with chips, avocado and sour cream and enjoy!

    Teriyaki Chicken

    • 2 T. olive oil
    • 1.5lb boneless skinless chicken breast
    • ½ c. teriyaki sauce
    • steamed broccoli
    • cooked brown rice
    • salt/pepper

    Cut chicken breast into small chunks. (Make sure to clean everything the chicken touches really well afterwards!) Season your chicken with salt and pepper. On medium-high heat, cook your chicken in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes until it is white all the way through. You can cut open the biggest piece and if it is not clear or pink anymore, its done! Add your teriyaki sauce, salt/pepper, and simmer on low heat for about 2-5 minutes. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli!

    Vegetarian Fried Rice

    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 pkg. frozen peas and carrots
    • ½ diced onion
    • 2-3 eggs
    • 4 cups of cooked brown/white rice
    • 3-4 T. soy sauce
    • Salt/pepper/sugar

    Sauté diced onions with olive oil on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes until soft brown. Add frozen peas and carrots for 2-4 minutes until soft. Push everything to the side of your pan, and crack 2-3 eggs on the clean side and scramble until cooked. After the eggs are cooked, mix everything in the pan together. Add cooked rice and mix well. Season with soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar to your desired taste and enjoy!

    These are some of my favorite recipes to make at home. If meal-prepping still seems daunting, have a friend come and do it with you! I hope you try these recipes, and hopefully start meal prepping at home too. Happy Cooking!

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  • A Day in the Life at Lone Star College

    by Kimberly Hartshorn

    Lone star college picture

    The Fall 2020 semester definitely looks a little different from last year because of COVID 19 guidelines. Instead of attending classes in person, many students have all classes online or some type of hybrid schedule with smaller classes in person and larger classes online. It has forced many to re-think how they organize their day and find new ways to be productive.

    Check out how Lone Star College student Kimberly Hartshorn is finding ways to be successful in her vlog showing a typical day in the life at her college.

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  • The truth about federal student loans

    by Vivianna Loza

    blog image alt text

    Everyone always says that the last option you should take when paying for school is getting a loan. Of course, this discourse is only strengthened by the horror stories of people paying their loans off for years due to interest, and of families having to pay off their loved one’s debt after they die. However, while it is something to consider seriously – as it is a long-term legal commitment – taking on a student loan doesn’t have to be scary. Educating yourself on the differences, expectations, and protections for different types of loans will help you make smart decisions.

    Private Loans vs. Federal Loans

    Before you get a student loan, it’s important to learn the difference between federal and private loans. A federal loan is a loan offered by the government while a private loan is offered by private organizations – usually banks, credit unions, and state organizations. Federal loans offer benefits such as multiple types of repayment plans and fixed interest rates for undergraduate students and graduate students. Private loans do not always offer fixed interest and are often more expensive.

    Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized

    I was terrified when I realized that I was going to have to get a loan to pay to attend graduate school. I was lucky enough to have a full scholarship for my undergraduate degree and received enough grants to cover my other expenses. So, when I received an offer for an unsubsidized federal student loan through my school, I was apprehensive but happy. Then I started doing research.

    I was shocked to find out that only undergraduate students are offered subsidized federal loans, loans that don’t accrue interest while the student is in school. With an unsubsidized federal loan, the interest accrues even while students are in school. But I discovered that the interest rate for this loan was low and that I could pay off that monthly interest while enrolled. That way it does not get added to the original amount loaned out.

    Understand All Options and Expectations

    Before accepting your first federal student loan, everyone must complete entrance loan counseling to help you understand exactly what the loan entails, the type of payment plans offered, and much more. It was relief to learn that I would get loan counseling.  This really set my mind at ease and made me feel secure when accepting the loan.

    Everyone’s experience when contemplating getting a loan is different. Some people are lucky enough to have sufficient resources to afford school without a loan, while for others it is their only option. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it is a tool to help you on your journey. Do your research beforehand and remember to always consider a federal loan before a private loan. You can learn more from the Federal Student Aid website.


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  • Pearson Students Recipe of the Month: Dracula Dentures

    by Camryn McCrary

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    Just in time for some fun spooky season baking, this month’s featured recipe is for Halloween cookies! Click below to check out my vlog where I show how to make these fun and easy cookie treats!


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  • How to nail your interview: SMILE

    by Megan Cistulli

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    Interviews are tough, but if you SMILE, you can nail them every time and get the job. Sure, your resume may be perfect, but the face-to-face interview can make or break whether or not the position is yours. Read on to learn about an acronym I created for the word SMILE to consistently thrive in interviews. It is as easy as smiling.

    S- speak slowly

    If you speak too fast, you come across as nervous, out of your element, and in a rush to leave. Slow down to improve enunciation, pronunciation, tone, and cadence. Equally important, a slower interview is more natural and conversational. Consequently, you create a more relaxed and comfortable environment for the employer interviewing you, and you become a person they would enjoy having on their team because of the natural dynamic you have established.

    M- memorize material

    You do not want to come across as robotic or too rehearsed, but you do need to know what you are talking about without constantly referencing your resume or notes. For example, when the interviewer asks about a past job you had, be able to talk about the details of your role and more importantly how that role would contribute to your success in the position you are interviewing for.

    I- inspire your listeners

    In an interview, you have to step out of your comfort zone and make the person having a conversation with you feel excited and energetic. Imagine how many conversations a single interviewer is required to listen to. The answer: a lot. You need to give the person sitting across from you a reason to hire you. What will you do for the company? Why are you special? How will you make a difference at this company when other candidates have the exact same credentials as you? Speak with some gusto and wow your audience.

    L- listen carefully

    One factor some people tend to leave out of their interview arsenal is listening carefully to what the interviewer says and the questions they ask. Do not glaze over tricky questions just to stick to a script that adheres to your resume. Remember, employers have seen your resume and that is why you got the interview. Interviewers want you to listen carefully to what they are saying then critically think about an answer that not only incorporates past experience, but also has a fresh perspective on the problem or task at hand.

    E- explain your answers

    This is not a time to be shy and hold back all of your brilliance which earned you an opportunity to interview. When you give an answer, explain it in a way that the employer can understand your experience. You must create a narrative.

    Here’s an example. I played basketball at the collegiate level then stopped playing after I transferred to another school. If a potential employer asked about this, I’d want to give a thorough answer incorporating not only why I stopped playing, but what I gained from the experience. “As a collegiate player I had invaluable experiences like waking up at 5 a.m. for weight training, immediately heading to classes, then back to a second practice. The experience not only sharpened my mental and physical toughness but directly contributed to my outstanding work ethic, time management skills, and ability to work on a team productively and successfully. However, as my career goals began to take shape, I made the decision to transfer to a more rigorous and academic-focused school. I plan to earn a B.A. in political science focused in the public law sector and minor in Italian before attending law school.”

    Remembering the SMILE acronym gives you a new perspective on the interview process and your interview arsenal. When you practice for an upcoming interview, take note of how fast you are talking, how natural you sound speaking about your past experiences, and how in depth you can elaborate on your ideas. One last thing to top of your interview, make sure you don’t forget to smile!


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  • Lessons from a college senior: Advice for freshmen about the road ahead

    by Grace Millsap

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    Everyone has heard the old platitude that college is the time to ‘find yourself’. However, three years ago, I started school at Louisiana State University thinking I’d already had it all figured out. Now that I’m in my senior year at LSU, I realize what I think I had known the whole time: you never really figure yourself out because you are constantly growing, changing, and evolving into the person you want to be. That being said, I’ve gained a lot of clarity over the years. While I can’t imagine what it’s like to start college in the midst of a pandemic, I can impart some wisdom I’ve gained and offer advice to freshmen for the road ahead.

    Take This Time to Find Yourself

    Firstly, you should really listen to that old cliché and take this time to find yourself. This statement is broad and not easily applied, but there are numerous ways you can go about this. Take time to figure out what makes you tick. Take classes that you find interesting, not because it helps you get your degree but because you want to learn something new. Some of my favorite classes at LSU have been the ones that don’t have much to do with my major but push me to think deeper and discuss new topics and ideas with classmates and friends. Take advantage of events and activities your university offers to freshmen; I met some of my best friends this way. It may look different this year, but that brings me to my next point.

    Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

    You should intentionally go out of your comfort zone. The best way to learn about yourself and what makes you tick is to constantly open yourself to new opportunities for growth. If an idea excites you and scares you, roll with it. You’d be surprised how much happier and fulfilled you will feel when you take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. Join clubs. Get involved with your professors and classmates. You can even take a dance class. (I did this a few times, and let me tell you, as an entirely unrhythmic dancer with disproportionally long legs, it is one the most terrifying and exhilarating things I’ve done in college). The point is not that you do any one particular thing but that you try to go beyond what you already know.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

    Broadening your scope of experience can be scary. I know it was for me. My next piece of advice is a big one: don’t be afraid to fail. Throughout my life, I’ve always been a perfectionist. So much so, that I’ve been tempted to not try certain things on numerous occasions in order to maintain my sense of self. But that’s no way to live. The times I’ve failed have taught me more about myself and what I want out of life than the times I was succeeding at everything I was doing.

    Go with Your Gut

    The single best piece of advice I can give you is to go with your gut. In other words, trust yourself. What I’ve learned in college is that you should only ever make decisions for yourself and not for other people. Be kind and compassionate but do what’s right for you. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is right for you because you know yourself best. Now is your time to figure out what you want to do with your life, but do so at your own pace.

    Best of Luck

    Remember, there’s a season for everything; don’t beat yourself up if things don’t look like how you want them to in the present moment. Just keep pushing yourself. You CAN do it. You have made it through everything else in your life up until this point, and you will make it through this too. I wish you all the best of luck.


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  • Using smart power in the workplace

    by McKinley Falkowski

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    Leaders are inevitably faced with crisis. Events arrive and derail years of progress made by an organization. As a result, leaders must develop a leadership style that prepares an organization for unexpected circumstances. In international affairs, a strategy called Smart Power exists for this reason. With modifications, this strategy could be deployed in the workplace. When using Smart Power, leaders should focus their efforts on identifying key talents of their staff, understanding threats to productivity, and implementing strategic communication.

    Implementing Smart Power

    While applying Smart Power as a leadership strategy for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a leader must have a clear understanding of the soft and hard power of a leader. Soft power is the ability to influence and engage others through communication, and hard power is where a directive is clear. Smart Power is a combination of both strategies. Business leaders must be prepared for unexpected circumstances. The leadership style of Smart Power could help organizations navigate complicated situations and develop employee skillsets in the process.

    Developing a Collaboration Culture

    One must be aware of the organizational mission and staff skills when using this strategy. Leaders should seek to transform the shortcomings of their employees with the proper resources and allow them to grow as individuals.

    In addition to this, leaders must be able to grapple with threats in both the short and long term. One such strategy is to develop a framework that cultivates input directly from those in the field, allowing those in leadership to take quick and decisive action prior to a major problem leading to crisis. Leaders must construct a culture of collaboration among employees. This allows leaders to address problems before they consume the organization.

    Today’s leaders are often faced with unpredictable and unrueing circumstances which can derail an organization. They must develop a leadership style that adequately addresses this nature. By developing a Smart Power mindset, leaders will be well equipped to better their organization, and thrive in times of challenge.


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  • When the world knocks you down: Waking up with a purpose

    by Chris Simmons

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    Sometimes it can be hard to understand why certain things in life happen. It sometimes seems that just as your life starts getting good, the world comes to knock you down. What do I mean? I was at a point in my life where everything was going right. Classes were going well, I had a great part-time job, and an internship lined up for the summer. But just as sudden as it all came, a storm came into my life and wreaked havoc. While playing basketball with friends I was going up for a layup and felt an unusual feeling in the back of my foot when I came down. The storm came and it brought pain. That’s how I felt when I found out I tore my Achilles tendon.

    At the Doctors

    The doctor came back after looking at the x-rays and said there was a partial tear in my Achilles. I was shocked, but still remained optimistic because at least it was not fully torn. So now I’m wondering what’s next? Her advice caught me off guard. The doctor said I needed to get an MRI then come back to get a cast put over my foot and see if I need surgery. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At that point, I had no choice but to do what the doctor said. I was too emotionally hurt to say anything, so when she put the boot on, I walked out without saying a word.

    Man…..the pain was starting to run deep. When I got home, I went outside on the back porch and just sat there for 5 hours listening to music. I needed to clear my mind from all this mental stress.

    Wise Words

    While I was sitting outside, my dad came out to check on me. He asked if I was doing alright and my frustrations started coming out one by one. I expressed how hard it was to deal with this type of physical and emotional pain when I felt like I had so much going for me. How it now felt like my desires had been pushed back because of my circumstances.

    My dad looked at me and said “Son, you can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because of what happened to you. Life is going to keep going regardless. You have to keep your head up and know that your pain is going to bring you progress.” As frustrating as it sounded, I knew my dad was right. When he was finished talking to me I decided to lift my head up. At that moment, I realized what time it was.

    It was time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself and use this pain to push me to greatness. I knew lying in bed all day wasn’t going to help my situation. I started waking at 4am because I wanted to push myself to rise above my injury. I lived by the verse Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” I decided to start waking up with a purpose.

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  • How to Avoid Burnout

    by Christy Zheng

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    It’s the second half of the semester. Mid-term season just ended and for many of us with a shortened semester, finals are right around the corner. With extracurriculars, job hunting, studying for interviews, and actually interviewing, it’s tough to avoid feelings of burnout. However, you need to remember that you’ve got this! A few more weeks and you’ll be on break so keep pushing! Check out PCA Christy’s vlog to learn about things she’s doing to avoid burnout.

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  • You are what you eat: Student-approved tips to healthy eating

    by Alana Castle

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    Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that students face when transitioning to college is that of eating healthy.

    We are tasked with adjusting to rigorous academic coursework, making new friends, holding part-time jobs, and joining student organizations – alongside everything else that comes with growing up (like doing our own laundry and making sure that we get out of bed before 11:00 AM). It is understandable that, in the midst of all of this, making healthy choices often drifts from our list of priorities.

     Thankfully, I have learned a few things about eating healthy while on a budget and when crunched for time throughout my two years as a college student.

    Taking Control

    For many of us, our first year of college is the first time in our lives that we truly have control over what, when, and even where we eat. Because of this, it is easy to lose structure and regularity in meal schedules. Oftentimes, we settle for eating whatever is the easiest and quickest or for skipping meals entirely.

    Take time early on to figure out what mealtime is going to look like for you. Will you have a meal plan and be eating at dining halls? Will you be reliant on your dorm room’s microwave and minifridge? Will you be doing your own grocery shopping and cooking in your own kitchen?

    Once you have an answer to the questions above, it is much easier to explore your options and learn how to prioritize your health during mealtime.

     Conquering the Dorm Room and the Dining Hall

     Tip #1: Learn to buffet ‘better’

    Let’s be real. The endless buffets offered by most campus dining halls seem like a dream come true for most college students. When you swipe in, try to gravitate towards the healthy options that are offered. Try out vegetarian and vegan dishes, load up on fruits and vegetables, and enjoy ice cream and cookies in moderation.

    Tip #2: Drink more water

    It may seem obvious that drinking water is good for your health, but many of us are not drinking as much as we should be. Fill up on water rather than sugary sodas or juices whenever you sit down for a meal in the dining hall. Carrying a reusable bottle with you at all times as it is good for you AND good for the environment. It’s a win-win!

    Tip #3: Dining hall ‘take-out’

    If you are able to, I recommend taking reusable containers with you to the dining hall. Fill up your containers with salads, cooked vegetables, or even rice and pasta dishes to store in your minifridge to have meals ready to go right in your dorm room. Convenient and frugal! You can also grab some fruits to go to snack on throughout the day instead of stopping by the nearest vending machine for a Snickers.

    Tackling the Off-Campus Kitchen

    Tip #1: Limit how often you eat out

    Although it is tempting to eat out when you are rushing from class to class or holed away in the library, it is important to limit how often you indulge fast food. Not only are these foods less nutritious, they are more expensive than homemade options in the long run.

    Tip #2: Conscious grocery shopping

    When it comes to grocery shopping, I recommend visiting stores like Aldi that source delivered-daily produce, fresh meats and fish, and carry an extensive line of organics, gluten-free and vegan foods for affordable prices. Grab your reusable shopping bags and choose to buy foods that will nourish you (and that you know you will not let go to waste in the back of your fridge or cupboard).

    Tip #3: Meal prep

    Eating meals at home does not have to be inconvenient when you are willing to give meal prepping a try. Find a day that works for you each week, perhaps Sunday, that you can set aside time to prepare various meals to store in your fridge and heat up. I recommend making several servings of overnight oats for a quick and easy breakfast that you can take on the go. Brown rice, lentil pastas, chicken or tofu, and various vegetables are great to cook and have as lunches throughout the week.

    Figuring out how to eat healthy in college is no easy task, but it is possible. Whether it is in your dining hall, dorm room, or kitchen, I hope that you keep the tips and tricks that I have learned throughout my time as a student in mind.

    Prioritize eating healthy now. Your mind and body will thank you later!

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  • House hunting 101 for college students

    by Sidney Li

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    College dorms are great but most students eventually want to move off-campus. Moving into your own place with your friends, strangers, or even by yourself can seem daunting. From finding places to estimating a budget, house hunting is relentlessly stressful. Here is a simplified how-to manual on navigating the realty industry near a college campus because – we get it – money is tight. And we are trying to get the best bang for our buck at the end of the day!

    Determine what style of living you’d prefer.

    If you are more of a social person, living with friends is preferred but if you like your personal space, maybe consider a studio. A rental house may offer more space while apartment complexes can offer more amenities like gyms and pool areas.

    What’s on your wishlist?

    Make a list of priorities that you’d want on your wishlist when house hunting. From utilities included in the rent, location, monthly rent, amenities, and more, there are a plethora of components to consider with high and low importance.

    Research. Research. Research.

    Research the neighborhood. Research the safety of the locations. Research the average rent prices of local places nearby. Research the proximity and relativeness to campus. Research the convenience with businesses, parks, venues, and other activities.

    Read the fine print.

    It’s not just a saying… you need to actually read the whole leasing contract before signing. While the landlord or realtor may pressure you to sign fast, it is important to take your time on reading the lease and its details. Do not hesitate to ask questions if there are any confusions.

    Make sure to see the property in person.

    We get it, catfishing is a real issue in today’s technological world with social media profiles. But it can also affect property pictures. Never sign a lease without touring the property first. The pictures of the property can be altered or misrepresented in many ways. Even if you physically cannot go, try asking a friend or parent to visit on your behalf.

    Check campus resources.

    Schools may have websites and pages dedicated to realty companies, property management companies, individual properties, and landlords that are approved based on their criteria and standards. Prioritize looking at properties that made the cut.

    Take renter’s insurance into consideration.

    While it might seem like you are spending more money on a property that you will be staying in for a short time period during your college career, renter’s insurance is definitely an option for new leases. It will create peace of mind knowing that you and your belongings will be safe if anything unexpected occurs.

    Document the property condition at check-in.

    After you sign the lease and move in, make sure to take a walk around the property on both the interior and exterior sides. Take pictures and document any kinks and damages that you notice so you can get your full security deposit back when you move out.

    Furnish on a budget.

    Utilize thrift shops, Facebook marketplace, and housing group chats to keep your furniture expenditures to a minimum. Instead of buying new furniture for your first off-campus property, consider buying fair and good condition furniture pieces. It will keep your budget on the low end and allow you to focus your money on textbooks, rent, services, utilities, and most importantly, coffee.  

    Keep your expectations realistic.

    It is college, after all. Unlike all the movies and tv shows, the reality of college properties is that they aren’t all cute and quirky with a style that you prefer. While some places may possibly be the perfect place for you, it is quite rare. There isn’t a ton of space and amenities that you can have with the college budget.

    You should always feel happy and comfortable in your home-away-from-home. By making sure you research and take all of these factors into consideration, you will be able to have a place that you love to call home!


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  • An ultimate guide for transferring to another college

    by Ankita Chittiprolu

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    You didn’t get into your dream school when you were a senior in high school… now what? Don’t fret! You still have the option to transfer in! After doing so myself, I discovered 6 things I wish I knew beforehand. If you are thinking about transferring, these will help you get off to a good start!

    1. Carefully research the program and school you are interested in. Look through the curriculum and major requirements. Is it something you still want to pursue? It is important to make sure you will enjoy what you are learning. You should also be cognizant of post-graduation options. Will this major help you to achieve your goals?
    2. Contact an advisor in the school/department. Most advisors have an abundance of information and will give you great tips for transfers! Personally, my advisor told me a rough acceptance rate for the program I was applying into. This was information that was not available anywhere online. Not only did this increase my confidence in getting in, I was more aware of the program after hearing about how classes are run and where more of the graduates of this program/school end up.
    3. Writing your essays for a transfer application takes time. Most schools that you transfer into will ask for personal statements. After writing a rough draft, ask your English major friends or your writing class professor to read through your essay ahead of time. These professors have doctorate degrees in English/Writing and are more than capable of judging your essays. (Tip: Ask them to “destroy” your essay).
    4. Use a credit transfer website to see which courses will transfer. Don’t take classes at your current college if you know they won’t transfer to your desired transfer college. You do not want to retake them. Instead, take an alternative class that will transfer or is for fun. You want to save major-specific classes to take at the desired college you are applying into. The more university- specialized courses may not transfer into equivalent credits. I took Honors General Chemistry and it did not transfer to my desired school, so I had to submit additional material in order to get credit.
    5. Get close with your professors! College professors see thousands of students some days. Go to office hours, send emails, and actively participate in class. In the end, you can ask for recommendations! Most applications would love to see a recommendation from a professor. It will help them get multiple perspectives of you.
    6. Lastly, visit the campus and see if you like the feel. DO NOT simply transfer to a college because of its prestige and “name”. Consider everything in a transfer such as weather, your financial situation, and education quality the school provides. Looking into specific things you enjoy is important. I really like research, so I was looking for a school with well-based research programs for their students. This was one of the main factors that led me to transfer into the University of Michigan. Talk to current students in the major/program you wish to transfer into; they will provide a great perspective of how they feel as current students.

    Take time and research the place you desire to attend. Rushing into decisions will not help in the future!

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  • Conquering the COVID school year

    by Will Cagnassola

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    College students, welcome to 2020: a school year unlike any other. A year of cancelled internships, Wi-Fi dilemmas, and isolation. Being a junior, I have come to understand how much of a detriment COVID-19 has been to the educational process, my social life, and mental health in general. This virus has made about every aspect of academic life unfamiliar. It has made every meal, conversation, walk home, and assignment that much more difficult. Trust me- I am right here with you. It is beyond frustrating! However, there ARE ways to help yourself move forward when the world is at a standstill. This blog will provide tips on how to stay on track with online classes while on campus and maintain a stress-free lifestyle while searching for employment in 2020.

    Stick to a schedule

    The most crucial aspect of keeping up with online school is updating your schedule. Whether you have a planner, calendar, or a good ole to-do list, you must update it on a daily basis. New assignments pop up all the time and they are even harder to keep track of when in-person lectures are not possible. I have had to find new ways to remind myself of upcoming work. For students struggling to stay on track, I would suggest designating sections on your personal schedule to each class. Write down specific assignments, due dates and exam times in chronological order. I personally like to mark exams in my schedule a week early. I have found that this strategy pushes me to look at study materials ahead of time.

    Never stop networking

    To all the students currently in the search for internships and full-time jobs – that is fantastic! You are already ahead of the game. To those who are not, that is completely fine. There is plenty of time to find opportunities this school year. Given the wait necessary for a COVID-19 vaccine to be brought to market, many companies have put new hires on hold. You can use this gap in recruitment to your advantage by building your network. Begin to leverage your media and start to build a more professional brand. Seek out advice from people experienced in your field of interest and use the technology you have available to make connections!

    Help yourself

    Stress is at an all-time high for students right now and remaining positive can be very difficult. It is understandable if some of my tips may not seem feasible for busier students right now. However, there are ways to win this school year. My advice would be to steer your focus on academics and get ahead. Try to spend an hour outside each day (unless you are quarantined) and exercise as often as time allows it. Also, do not forget to prioritize your sleep. When running low on rest, it is significantly harder to make it through your day.

    In a year unlike any other, students are faced with unique challenges. By sticking to a schedule, taking time to build your network, and practicing positivity, you’ll be able to conquer this school year.


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  • College career fairs: How will you prepare?

    by Sydnie Ho

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    The college career fair. One of the most stressful weeks of the semester for many students. Whether your upcoming career fair is in-person or virtual, it can be a daunting experience to think about. Prepare yourself well and you will be able to ace it! I had my first career fair experience last semester, and I definitely underestimated how much work it was going to be. With that said, I left the fair with 4 interviews the next day! How did I do this? One simple word: Research.

    Research the Company List

    Most schools will offer a list of companies that are attending the fair. Examine it ahead of time to develop a target list. Often, each company will specify what year(s) and major(s) they are searching for. Look for companies that are hiring your year and major. After this, narrow down your list even further by eliminating companies you don’t have a passion for. If you want to work in the food industry don’t invest your time at a medical company. After I completed this, I had about 10 companies in mind.

    Research Specific Companies

    Next, research each company on your target list. You can look on their website for information on their company values, news, accomplishments, and roles. Take notes, think of questions, and bring them with you. It is impressive to recruiters when students are able to ask them specific questions about an award they might have gotten, new initiatives they are implementing, or their core values. This part takes longer than you might want it to but completing this step shows initiative; recruiters will be more likely to remember you. This can be the difference between you and a similar candidate.

    Research Yourself

    This may seem a little weird, but it is important to research yourself. Know yourself. Refresh your brain on projects or classes that could relate to the job or internship. Think about the times you have succeeded and the times you have failed. Be ready to answer questions similar to those you would in an interview. Being overly prepared is better than being underprepared.

    Research the Dress Code

    Many career fairs have a business professional dress code that can be daunting to newcomers. Go to the fair in an outfit you are confident in! This is important even for virtual career fairs; you’ll want to look well-groomed for any video interviews. Pick out your favorite suit, blouse and shoes. Feeling confident is so important when walking into a fair full of people. Maybe even add a fun colored tie or hairbow that makes you stand out.

    For in-person career fairs, check to see if your school allows bags or provides name tags. If your school allows you to, wear a nametag from work or a club. There might be alumni that recognize the organization.

    Attending the Fair

    After you research and prepare, the next step is to actually attend. Whether it’s an in-person or virtual event, this is the scariest part. For in-person career fairs, bring physical copies of your resume. If it’s a virtual, have your resume available on your computer desktop for easy access. Check to make sure your internet connection is stable and that your audio/video is working properly.

    When talking with recruiters, I never start with a memorized elevator pitch. I usually start with asking how their day going. There is nothing wrong with a little small talk before getting to the job. As the conversation progresses, I’ll ask what they do so they can talk about themselves and the organization. Then, if they ask me about myself, then I’ll go over my resume and tell them about the organizations, leadership, and work positions I’m in at school. Something short and sweet. For this part, I have a rough idea of what to say, but not a robotic memorized speech. It should just come naturally!

    Be Yourself

    The career fair can be intimidating. By being prepared, you can feel more confident walking through the doors (or joining the Zoom link). No matter what happens, remember to be yourself. If a company turns out to not be a great fit, that is okay. You might also be surprised by organizations! Just be open and stay true to yourself. You got this!


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  • What It's Really Like to be a Campus Ambassador for Pearson

    by Megan Cistulli

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    When writing blogs for Pearson, the possibilities are endless and the scope is about as broad as it gets. This means student writing on this particular platform is exceedingly honest and authentic. This piece does not deviate from that trend and gives readers a genuine look into what it is like working for Pearson.

    I have been working for Pearson as a Campus Ambassador for a little over half a year now, and I can honestly say it is the best job I have had, but why? How is Pearson different from those other companies? Keep reading if you want to find out.

    The Experiences

    One thing that separates Pearson from other companies is the quality and quantity of experiences. From strategy meetings in Palo Alto, California to meeting with department heads at universities in the San Francisco Bay Area to spending hours in the campus bookstore compiling an Excel sheet containing the Pearson products used at my university, my experiences are frequent and invaluable.

    What I gain from the professional experiences is the priceless commodity many students my age never have the opportunity to encounter. Personally, numerous of my on-campus and off-campus experiences are attributed to Matt Christopherson, District Sales Manager, and Nick Dincelli, Senior Regional Sales Executive and Account Manager. For example, when Nick or Matt allow me to accompany them to meet department heads or strategize with an executive team, I not only see firsthand the laying of the groundwork and behind the scenes action that goes into making Pearson products thrive in college classrooms, but I am also able to participate and talk with these professionals and the customers. Consequently, my communication, public speaking, leadership, and critical thinking skills sharpen and improve as they are put to the test through these real-life experiences.

    The Leadership

    Another element of Pearson that truly stands out is the leadership; specifically, the leadership I have interacted with. I once had the opportunity to have dinner with Pearson’s President of Global Product and North America Courseware, Tim Bozik, along with District Sales Manager Heather Kazakoff, Sales Vice President Brian Williams, and Senior Sales Rep Becca Butts. As I sat there with my ears open taking in the exciting new ideas they were discussing, Tim Bozik asked, “How can we improve as we head into a digital era? How can we bridge the gap between paper and digital? What steps does leadership need to take in order to improve and make this happen?” To my surprise and excitement, the question was not only directed at the Pearson professionals at the table, but it was directed to me as well – a young college student.

    After I gave my input, I began interjecting in the rest of the conversations. My ideas were listened to and expanded upon. The leadership did not overlook or ignore my voice but rather welcomed and sincerely acknowledged my solutions and suggestions. The main take away from this one example is that Pearson’s leadership sculpts and fashions its approach and role in a purposeful and meaningful way from the bottom up. The leadership is approachable and progressive; always supporting the student voice and critically thinking about better ways to serve customers and the community.

    The Moms

    Some of us are lucky enough to have one mom who supports and cares for us. As a Pearson Campus Ambassador, I get five: Dory Thornton, Mary Frances Weatherly, Margo McIlroy, Jeanne Bronson and Molly Meiners. It is one thing for a division of employees to have a productive management team. It is entirely different to have a management team that is not only productive but supports, encourages, cares, endorses, and even cries for their employees. Remarkably, the Moms’ treatment of all ambassadors creates a culture of excellence where students want to succeed, put themselves on the line, and work hard for people who work just as hard for them. When hopping onto a Zoom call with our team, I am prepared to work; however, the environment is different – quite familial. The air is filled with a unique trust and positive energy which directly contributes to the success of the Pearson Campus Ambassador Program. The Moms absolutely follow the trend of outstanding and unparalleled leadership at Pearson.

    I remember one day about seven months ago I was scrolling through my LinkedIn page, and saw a message from Mary Frances with a headline that stated, “Ambassador Opportunity.” I must admit I first thought it was LinkedIn sponsored spam or something of the sort. Thankfully, I was wrong, and I took the time to research and apply for the opportunity. I wonder where I would be today without Pearson, all of the experiences, the exceptional leadership, and the Moms. Well, I am glad I never have to find out.

    If you are interested in becoming a Pearson Campus Ambassador, follow this link


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  • Study smarter: How to outwit your brain

    by Taylor Hughes

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    The old, boring study techniques you’re probably using right now are doing you no good. When exam season approaches and you find yourself surrounded by textbooks and old coffee, there’s no time to do everything on your list if you have to spend an exhaustive amount of time memorizing. So, let’s find the median. Where’s the happy middle between doing well on your exams and not going through two weeks of dread at the end of every semester? Using these easy tips, you can actually be smarter than yourself. The brain is just another organ, and you can use it to your advantage! Use these research-based psychology facts in your studying routine to hack into your brain and trick it into remembering more and learning faster, without even knowing it.

    Questions: Think before you even need to

    Before you come across any real information, you have to let your brain warm up and get it ready to remember the most possible information. Start by studying the headings. Turn them into questions. Get your brain to start thinking. It might seem simple, but you’ll remember a lot more information right off the bat, and you didn’t even really have to work for it.

    Start with it, and end it with it, too

    Another easy way to remember important information without even putting any effort into it is to study it at the beginning of your reviewing, and at the end, too. This is called primacy (the beginning) and recency (the end), and it’s been proven that the brain remembers the first and last details the best. You’ll trick your brain into recalling it faster and gain much more information, while not having to put too much more time into studying it.

    Chunk the concepts

    Brain maps are the road to easy memorizing. When you have a lot of concepts and not so much space to remember the details of each, draw them out on a map. Connect them to each other, the central idea, and the main points of each. This will help you to remember each not only individually, but in the grand scheme of things as well. Studying isn’t just about each concept, but about linking what you know to comprehend it faster and more efficiently.

    Pick your spot

    Another hint to make your brain smarter without knowing it: pick your spot and keep to it. If you attend class in-person, listen to lectures in one spot, and do your best to write the exam there too. It’s proven that the brain remembers better when it’s in a familiar place. An interesting 1975 study by Godden and Baddeley actually shows that students who studied underwater, recalled more underwater than above ground!

    Relate it to you

    This one is easy to remember: make everything about you. Look for ways to make a personal connection to everything you read and listen to. Think about how the words remind you of something from home and you’ll recall them faster. Think about how a formula isn’t so different from a recipe you love to bake and it’ll come easier to you.

    I hope you take advantage of these proven study tips and ace your next exam with less study time! Always remember to study smarter, not harder.


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  • How to de-stress without screens

    by Jasmine Hartman Budnik

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    When it comes to managing a busy schedule as a college student, we all know that it is essential to fit in time to de-stress. But if I’m being entirely honest, I often find myself sprawled out on my bed mindlessly scrolling through social media after a long day. Yet, it doesn’t feel very relieving to look at the time and realize that I just spent an entire hour glued to my phone watching random videos. In fact, I often end up feeling upset about being unproductive and even more overwhelmed by my to-do list. What I have learned is that screen-free methods of de-stressing actually leave me feeling more relaxed, motivated to get back to work, and content with what I accomplished at the end of the day.

    Relax on your own

    Finding a way to relax without technology is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself. If you take a break on your own, making something nice for yourself can be a great way to boost your mood. You can make your favorite drink – whether it be a classic cup of coffee or a tasty fruit smoothie – or put together a healthy meal or snack. Cooking and baking can be a great way to get yourself in a positive mindset so that you can tackle the rest of your responsibilities.

    Another creative way to unwind is to get your thoughts out by drawing or writing in a journal. If you feel like a “Dear Diary” entry is a little too cheesy for you, you can even try just writing out your highs and lows about your day on a sticky note. I often find that this can help me focus on positive moments and make changes to better tackle my schedule the following day.

    Spend time with friends

    If you are in the mood for a more social version of taking a technology-free break, spending time with others can be a great way to recharge your energy and positivity. On a nice day, my favorite thing to do is set out a blanket somewhere on campus and have a picnic with friends. And if you have something like a hammock, a frisbee, or a spike ball net, it can be a great addition to the fun. Don’t be afraid to mention to your friends that you are planning a screen-free get together. While it may be fun to take a picture to capture the moment, there’s nothing less social than when everyone is checking social media instead of hanging out together!

    Get active!

    One of the best things you can do to both relieve stress and feel good about yourself is to get outside and do something active. College campuses are especially great places to walk, run, or bike around. If you feel like a change in scenery, try looking for a nearby park where you can explore while being active.

    I have noticed that students easily forget all of the fun opportunities to be active that colleges often provide students for free. See what free classes your college gym might offer like Zumba, dance, or martial arts. Get moving and motivated by playing basketball or challenging your friend to a game of racquetball. I know that for me, being active can really help me de-stress and feel more accomplished by the end of the day.

    When it comes to unwinding without technology, the possibilities are truly endless. Whether you feel like spending time with other people, going outside, or treating yourself, all it takes is a little creativity to find a fulfilling and motivating way to reset. So next time you feel like taking a break, put your phone down, close your laptop, and discover how refreshing it is to be stress-free by going screen-free.

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  • How to survive the commuter student life

    by Rukmini Waranashiwar

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    Unlike many college students, I decided to commute to campus my freshman and sophomore years. Why? Mainly to save money, and because I didn’t want to room with people I didn’t know. I live fairly close to my school, the University of Texas at Dallas, but the 35-40 minute one-way commute can add up. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about how to thrive as a commuting student. If you are considering living off campus, here are some things to keep in mind:

    Smart Scheduling

    Consider rush hours when planning your schedule.

    Try not to schedule classes that begin at 8 am. The traffic during rush hour in the morning is insane no matter where you are because everyone is trying to get to work. If that’s the only time you can get for a class you need, learn the attendance policy and have a conversation with your professor early in the semester. Similarly, try not to leave school between 4:45-5:30 PM due to the evening rush hour. It will save you gas and time.

    But don’t start too late in the day.

    While you want to avoid morning rush hour, try to start your day on campus around 10 am. Parking spots will fill quickly throughout the day and after a morning commute, you do not want to spend any more time in the car than necessary hunting for a place to park.

    Try to take most of your classes on the same days.

    Registering for classes that are on the same two or three days per week will save gas and time. One drawback to this is the chance that big exams get scheduled on the same day. But having regular days off from class gives you the option to work or intern the rest of the week.

    Join clubs but be aware of their meeting times.

    I was not aware of how late in the evening some club meetings would be when I joined. This is especially difficult for commuters because after class, you just want to go home and relax. Since I don’t live close enough to campus to drive home and back, I tend to dread staying on campus till my club meeting is over. If you do have time to fill between classes and club meetings, find a favorite study spot on campus so you can be productive while you’re waiting.

    Mobile Mindset

    Make good use of your time in the car.

    Driving for a long stretch or sitting in traffic can be mentally tiring. Play loud music to destress, listen to a podcast, or call a friend – using hands-free options, of course! See if any of your textbooks are available in audio-format so you can listen to your required reading. There have been several instances where I have been extremely tired and almost fallen asleep. College can be tiring; take steps to keep alert during your commute.

    You can never predict the weather!

    Always have an umbrella in your car, and maybe an extra coat or jacket. In colder climates, be sure you have an ice scraper in case you come out from class to a windshield covered in snow or ice.

    Keep a professional outfit in your car.

    There may be a career fair, interview, or networking opportunity that you forgot about.  Commuter students don’t have the option to run back to their dorm to change. Having professional clothes in your car will mean you’re prepared for anything.

    Cultivate Connections

    My final advice is to make friends! Since you are not on campus all the time, this can be difficult. I don’t cross paths with many people on a daily basis because I usually head home after class unless I have a club meeting. Cultivating relationships with your classmates helps you increase your social interactions, plus you’ll have someone to contact for class-related questions.

    I wish I’d known these things before making the decision to live off campus. But all of these ideas have helped me be successful. I hope they help you conquer the commuter life!

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  • Participate on purpose: Building strong relationships on campus

    by Jaylen Brown

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    I attend the University of Central Florida, one of the largest higher education institutions in the nation with over 70,000 students. It can be easy to feel lost or like you’re just a number at a university this size. The easiest way to avoid this is to get involved or to participate on purpose. I like this phrase because it shows that involvement can be much more than you think if you just put your mind to it. Other than joining a typical club or organization, there are tons of simple ways to build and grow relationships on campus that you may not have thought of.

    Get involved

    The most simple and obvious way to grow relationships on campus is to get involved. This can include joining clubs, organizations, or finding a niche. Involvement brings such a strong sense of self-belonging and community. Personally, I couldn’t imagine going through college without getting involved in at least one thing. I joined the Marching Knights and became a College of Business ambassador. I’ve met most of my closest friends within these two organizations – organizations that turned into families.

    Involvement doesn’t always have to be campus led and can be student initiated with those who share common interests. For example, I ended up creating a small group that plays volleyball on campus every week. Sometimes, others nearby may ask to join in which allows for an opportunity to meet new friends. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, just a gathering for people to meet.

    Step outside of your comfort zone

    This technique of relationship building is most definitely the hardest, but in my opinion, the most rewarding. I want to specifically focus on how to use this diverse method to meet and talk with new people. This can include introducing yourself to a classmate that you’ve never spoken to before or even purposely inviting others to join an activity that you’re engaged in.

    Of course, this can be challenging; many overthink it and let their minds get clouded with doubts, such as “what do I say to this person?” or “what if they don’t want to talk to me?” This happened to me as a freshman. During the first few weeks, everyone in the dining hall sat alone because they were brand new and didn’t know anyone. When these doubts clouded my mind, I reminded myself that most other students here are experiencing the same thing. They all wanted to make friends but didn’t want to risk rejection. I initiated a conversation with the guy in line behind me and asked to sit with him afterwards. He was delighted by my request, and we both made a new friend – all because I stepped out of my comfort zone.

    Keep your head up

    When walking or biking around campus, I always see friends and acquaintances. Usually when I attempt to speak or wave, they don’t notice me because they are staring at their phones or have their headphones blasting. I purposefully differentiate myself from “the campus zombies” and walk with my head up, making myself approachable. It makes a huge difference – priming a way to strengthen relationships. I encourage other college students to also keep their heads up while migrating across campus – it creates an opportunity to “catch up” with your peers.

    I’ve asked a few people what they do on their phones while walking and I was shocked by the responses. Many feel socially uncomfortable if they aren’t doing what everyone else is doing, so they just swipe left and right on the home screen or even type random letters in their notes. If this sounds like you, it’s totally fine to not do what everyone else is doing. Keeping your head up makes you stand out and gives you the opportunity to socialize with others, overall strengthening relationships.

    I hope you now realize that building strong relationships on campus can be much easier than you might have originally thought. Just by making some small adjustments and by participating on purpose, you can have a more meaningful and impactful college experience.

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