• Making Friends in College

    by Ashanti Crowder

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

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

    Get Involved

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

    Use Your Residence Hall

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

    Social Media

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

    Join A Work Study

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

    And Last but Not Least, Attend Class

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

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

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

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  • Learning Through Intergenerational Connections

    by Miyu Nakajima

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

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

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

    In A Way, It Is Time Travel

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

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

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

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

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

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  • The Illusions of Social Media

    by Sadaf Nasiri

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

    "Social media isn't real life!"

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

    Be On Your Guard

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

    Increased Pressure

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

    False Reality

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

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

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

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

    by Courtney Lally

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

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

    Mindset Makes Everything

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

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

    You Are Inherently Worthy No Matter What You Achieve

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

    Reprioritizing ME

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

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

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

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  • Differentiating Fact from Opinion in the News

    by Alyson Robinett

    A female student wearing a hoodie reading information from two computer monitors and a laptop screen.

    When did the news become about ratings instead of reporting what is truly happening in the world, and how can we know what to believe? College students need to be aware of why news outlets are biased and learn how to differentiate fact from opinion in the jungle known as fake news.

    Today, a person can name any news outlet and know what they stand for – what the outlet reports, whose side they support, and what “type” of person watches their channel. How did this happen? If it is the news’ job to report what is going on in the world, then a person should be able to watch any news station and hear the same information. Unfortunately, this ideal is not what occurs today.

    What Is Fake News?

    The news didn’t always operate like this. This phenomenon of reporting only one side of the story is called biased or opinionated reporting. It is also called Fake News. The media began to implement this type of reporting as people began to “[cancel their cable subscriptions] in favor of an Internet-based service” (Is Media Dividing America?), also known as cord-cutting. To convince people to keep their news subscriptions, news networks needed to keep people entertained. This doesn’t happen with facts; they needed to report opinions.

    Ratings Reign Above All Else

    News companies abandoned their integrity to keep their ratings high and keep people watching. They chose which side to support and kept their stories consistent with their side. This form of “news” “[appeals] to our emotions in many ways... It’s these emotions that keep us addicted to media,” (Is Media Dividing America?). If the news reported unbiased facts, then they couldn’t put their spin on the story to keep us coming back for more.

    Differentiating Fact from Opinion

    So, students know that news outlets are biased in their reporting and only support a certain side. How can they discern what is fact and what is opinion? There isn’t one right way to do it. It requires a lot of research on the topic, double checking claims from news outlets, and reviewing opinions from experts about the topic.

    How can people stop news outlets from reporting biased opinions? The truth is, they can’t. However, students can educate themselves in order to recognize the difference between fact and opinion.

    Source:

    Is Media Dividing America?” Paypervids, 24 Apr. 2021

    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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  • Balancing School, Work, Internships, and Interviews

    by Rukmini Waranashiwar

    A female college student sits in a saucer-type red chair with a laptop in her lap. There is a large window behind her, a low round table in front of her and the chair next to her is empty.

    When first starting college, I always looked forward to having a relaxing senior year; however, that did not turn out to be the case. What I hoped to be an easy semester turned into me taking 12 credit hours, managing a Pearson micro-internship, working as a Pearson Campus Ambassador (PCA), and interviewing for full-time jobs. My life became incredibly busy. Although it seems like a lot, my past experiences taught me how to manage my time wisely.

    Increasing Responsibility

    This was not the first time I had to handle a chaotic schedule. During the Spring semester of my junior year, I took 18 credit hours, worked as a PCA, and completed an internship with a search fund. During that time, the best thing I did to manage school and work was to prepare for exams at least a week in advance. Since I would have multiple exams a week, internship deadlines, and PCA projects all coinciding, I couldn’t spend all day studying for an exam anymore. Learning how to space out my studying was extremely integral to my being able to manage other responsibilities on top of school.

    Helpful Habits

    The habits I built during that time made me confident that I could handle all that senior year had to throw at me. I’d learned how to space out studying so I could balance my academics and maintain my GPA, while still being able to keep up with other commitments. Another habit that helped me was to put all due dates onto a Google or Outlook calendar. I have a hard time keeping up with a written planner, however I am always on my laptop. Having those notifications pop up for things like internship meetings, job meetings, and even classes is super helpful. I keep up with all my deadlines and make to do lists for day-to-day tasks. Being organized is genuinely the most important thing to manage several projects at once.

    And something interesting I learned during these heavy semesters is that I work more efficiently when I have more to do. Having many deadlines helps me get things done faster because I know I don’t have much time to procrastinate. When I was in high school and my only focus was on school, I wasn’t as efficient with my time because I didn’t need to be.

    Although taking on more responsibility may seem daunting, it has proven to be rewarding. Both my PCA position and Pearson internship have provided me with so much experience to talk about during my job interviews.

    Take Time for Yourself

    Now in my final semester, I’m finding that carrying out a job search can feel like a full-time job on its own: preparing for interviews, updating my resume, and applying to jobs in between classes and during lunch. The best thing I’ve done for myself this semester is build time in to take breaks, like hanging out with friends, exercising, and treating myself to some ice cream. Taking care of your mental health is important to maintain your best self. I’m extremely thankful for all of opportunities I have had throughout my college career and hope to apply what I’ve learned during these busy semesters post-college.

    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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  • Trying New Things: Study Spots Edition

    by Sidney Li

    An empty college classroom with a Smartboard at the front. Each student desk has a red chair.

    Studying is an integral part of any and every college student’s life. Eight out of 10 times that anybody asks what a college student is doing, they’re most likely studying. There are certainly popular spots that every college student seeks: libraries. Yet, these spots get quickly crowded and become so popular around midterms and final season. Here is a guide on other not-so-popular spots around campus that any and every college student can utilize.

    Empty Classrooms

    Mentally and physically separating work and play is crucial for any student. There are a variety of empty rooms that you could utilize when classes aren’t in session. It could be tricky to find one during the week because a class might need that space, too. Be flexible and ready to move, if needed. If you’re looking for a space on campus on the weekends, empty classrooms can be your best friends if they’re not locked after hours.

    Parks, Outdoors, and Green Space

    Being inside for multiple hours a day studying has its drawbacks, as you need some vitamin D from the sun. You could find a picnic table, bench, or even using Mother Nature herself by sitting on some grass while soaking in the sun. Having that breath of fresh air might help you stay more productive especially if you don’t need to use Wi-Fi and the weather isn’t crummy.

    Lounges around Campus

    Every university has sitting areas throughout their multitude of campus buildings for people to utilize between classes—so take advantage of these! I’ve definitely utilized some throughout my college career between classes or to grab a quick bite while reviewing notes for my upcoming class.

    Cafes and Dining Halls

    Who doesn’t like having food and drinks in one spot near where you’re studying for a few hours? I have spent an entire day studying in one of our campus dining halls during finals season because there is so much seating. As long as you have headphones or can tune out conversations and the hustling and bustling sounds easily then you’re practically golden!

    Student Union or Recreational Centers

    If you want to make your studying exciting, you can easily switch up your areas as it will help refresh your brain and even help remember your class notes easily. Every campus has community or recreational centers that often have common areas or even lounges set up for public use. Not only that, but you can take a studying break by working out for a bit or taking a walk!

    Next time you’re trekking towards the library for a three-hour study session, try out one of these new spots instead! Be sure to take advantage of the many different areas your college campus offers to get some work done.

    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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  • It’s Never Too Late

    by Lee Ann Ridgley

    A view of the blog author’s desk featuring a desk calendar, computer keyboard, and a notepad with the quote in the blog from Maya Angelou.

    More than two decades ago, my college journey began, and I am still on that journey today. My pathway is one of heartbreak and loss, but also countless blessings. John Lennon sums it up perfectly with this quote, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." I hope my story will encourage students of all ages to realize their educational dreams, no matter the magnitude.

    Change of Plans

    After high school graduation, I was ready to take on the world. My next step...college! I was an innocent teenager with a solid plan. I would attend college, graduate in four years, and become a teacher. January 11, 2000, everything changed.

    In the process of unpacking my dorm room, my Resident Assistant informed me I had a visitor downstairs. The elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open. I rounded the corner to find my dad standing in the lobby. He said we needed to talk. Immediately panicked, I asked if my mother was alright. "Yes," Dad said. I then learned that my older brother had been in a fatal car accident, I packed my suitcase and headed home.

    I didn't have a plan, but God did. I do not believe that Darrell's passing was necessary, but his loss has served countless purposes in my life, my faith journey, and my professional development into adulthood.

    Trust the Process

    As a younger student, I never imagined I would be the type of person to become so engaged in my education outside of the classroom much less emerge as a leader among my peers. But after returning to school as a non-traditional student, that is exactly what happened. My first accomplishment, being accepted into the Honors College on scholarship. I became the President of The Future Teachers Club, and soon after, I was asked to mentor new Honors Students and students in the lifePATH® Program. Currently, I have the blessing of serving as Pearson Campus Ambassador and writing this blog. Did I ever dream of being a blog author? Never! No matter your path, and it may seem arduous, trust the process. The world's most beautiful diamonds remain under pressure for billions of years before producing their ethereal glow.

    Parenthood

    Motherhood is a catalyst for my achievements, but raising children while working, going to school, and taking care of my home is not easy. Being a stay-at-home Mom has produced glory and if I dare say, a much stronger gut. It took time to learn how to do it gracefully. I understand the value of time, something that diminishes before our eyes. Now my children can experience their future dreams, goals, and accomplishments through my lens. I hope that my children will understand the importance of believing in themselves and holding themselves to higher standards. Every parent's dream is for their child to be successful and productive. What better way to help them achieve that dream than through modeling it myself?

    The Transformation

    My transformation started immediately, but I couldn't see it. After my brother's passing, I gained an unusual affinity for butterflies. Every single time I see one, I think of him. I cannot help but gasp at their weightlessness and their ability to be graceful as they appear to hop spastically through the air.

    What's your dream? It's never too late to start.

    "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."

    –Maya Angelou

    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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  • Mascot Madness: The Ohio State Buckeyes

    by Sidney Li

    The Ohio State Marching Band spells out O-H-I-O on the football field.

    Being a student within a Big Ten school has its perks. From the wildly supportive student body to alumni that travel from out of town to attend football games, being a part of The Ohio State University “Buckeyes” is a privilege. While traditionally colleges tend to utilize animals as their mascots, my school used Ohio’s state tree.

     

    History

    Contrary to popular belief, Brutus the Buckeye is the mascot of the Ohio State due to the prevalence of the buckeye trees found throughout the state. It wasn’t made up to be just cute and quirky. According to Ohio History Central, Native Americans in Ohio called this nut “hetuck” or “buck’s eye” and would utilize the acid from this actually poisonous nut for leather making.

     

    In reality, the buckeye tree is considerably impractical with its smelly bark and wood that doesn’t burn well. Yet, it is a stubborn tree. The buckeye tree can grow in places where a multitude of other trees can’t be found. This has served as inspiration to many Ohio natives.

     

    According to Ohio State’s student journalism paper, The Lantern, locals within the state referred to themselves publicly as the Buckeyes during the presidential election in 1840 when former Ohio presidential candidate William Henry Harrison won. Harrison also utilized the buckeye nut, a shiny dark brown nut with a beige tan patch in the middle resembling a deer’s eye, as his campaign symbol by wearing one around his neck. His supporters wore buttons featuring buckeyes.

     

    Buckeyes Today

    Due to the history and pride surrounding buckeye trees, Ohio State adapted this as the university’s nickname in 1950. Since then, Buckeyes have become famous beyond the state of Ohio. Today, there is a popular dessert of the same name made from rolled peanut butter dipped in chocolate, creating the similar dark brown exterior with a beige tan patch in the middle.

     

    Despite how this strange it may sound to have a tree nut as a mascot, Ohio has great pride in the buckeye - especially that carrying one brings good luck to the person. Overall, you can’t deny how unique Ohio State is with the buckeyes when it comes to marketing and familiarity as a plethora of people across the country know of this special nut.

    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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  • Going to College the Same Time as My Mom

    by Hannah G. Brennan

    The blog author’s mom is sitting on a grey couch and working on a laptop computer.

    If you’ve seen Melissa McCarthy’s 2018 hit Life of the Party, then you witnessed a hilarious account of a mother and daughter attending the same college, going to the same parties, and eventually graduating together. Having not seen this movie since it came out three years ago, memories of it came rushing back to me when my mom decided to go back to school this past spring.

    After thirty years of raising two kids as a single parent, my mom’s decision to finally become a nurse while working full time is one that motivates me in my own college endeavors. And even though she is not attending UW-Madison with me, here are some ways my mom and I plan to motivate and inspire one another as we each continue our unique college journeys.

    #1: Practicing patience

    My mom and I both being in school has given us an additional experience in common, ultimately bringing us closer together. However, it has taken some work. I can sometimes get frustrated with my mom as I try to guide her through using the new technology that comes with doing schoolwork in the twenty-first century-- let alone the technological leaps education has taken the past year and half due to the pandemic. Doing this is even more difficult when I am on campus over two hours away from her. However, by taking a step back and putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes, we are able to defuse our anger and find a positive common ground.

    #2: Staying positive

    By nature, my mom and I are highly self-critical. Whether it is lamenting over grades not as high as we hoped or letting the await of future assignments overwhelm us in the present, the energy can get negative quite fast. But since we acknowledge this behavior, we take steps to relieve ourselves of the burden. We talk things through (even when we don’t want to talk), help each other make lists to prioritize, and assure one another when confidence is low. For everything, but especially school, my mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. Now I get to be the same for her.

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  • Graduating and Missing a Loved One

    by Michelle Gomez

    Blog author Michelle Gomez stands on a park bridge, surrounded by her father, mother, and two younger sisters holding a portrait of her late sister.

    For any graduating senior who has lost somebody special to them, there's nothing you want more than for that person to be there for when you graduate college. Dealing with the death of a loved one can be particularly difficult for college students – trust me, I know. My sister died during my sophomore year of college. I felt like I was not grieving properly because of the overwhelming energy grief requires on top of the demands of being a student. But I learned that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and I found healthy ways to cope that, in time, renewed me and permitted me to live again with a hole in my heart.

    Milestones can be painful

    Fast forward to 2021 and I’ll be graduating in a few short weeks. Graduating is a HUGE milestone. Whether you’re graduating from middle school, high school, or college - you’ve made it. However, milestones like birthdays and graduation can be painful after someone you love dies. As I graduate from college on May 15th, I am thinking about whether my sister is proud of me and imagining how big her smile would be on my graduation day.

    As this bittersweet chapter of my life ends, the only thing monopolizing my thoughts is knowing that she won’t be there to hug me and say congratulations as I receive my college diploma. It absolutely kills me inside knowing that no matter how much I cry and plea, she isn’t coming back. The worst part is that there's nothing I can do to change that.

    Celebrate with their memory in mind

    Learning how to include my sister when big moments arrive has helped me both celebrate my accomplishments and remember her. I incorporate my sister into my daily life by wearing a bracelet with a charm with her name on it. I wear it every day and whenever I feel sad, I hold it and remember that she is always with me.

    Instead of dwelling about how sad and awful it is without her there, I think of all the happiness graduating brings to me and of all the people that have been there for me. There's nothing I wouldn't do to have my sister there at the end of this journey. But I know in my heart, she has been there every single step. I also know how proud she is of me for everything I've accomplished. I know that she’s truly been my guardian angel and made sure I got to this point. She also left me in great hands because I am loved incredibly by my family and my friends. From my incredible mother and grandmother to my little sisters and best friends, finally to all the people I call my family and friends, I am so blessed.

    Graduating college isn't just for me, it's for them and it's for her.

    Mairim, I love you so much.

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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