• The Gist of Germs: The Importance of Proper Handwashing

    by Ana Cooper

    Lab Notebook: Prepare for the Experiement: Wash Your Hands Lab Animation

    Washing your hands is one of the basics of hygiene that we often do without thinking. It was heavily emphasized during the pandemic and continues to be a major prevention of contamination. Handwashing is critical in healthcare careers since many personnel come into direct contact with the patient. The personnel must be trained in handwashing technique to ensure that all areas of the hand are cleaned. This makes learning the skill an important step in a person’s career. That is why Pearson has taken extraordinary measures to make an excellent handwashing simulation.

    Handwashing Education

    During the Fall of 2021, still in the height of the pandemic, I was taking Microbiology I and training to be a certified nursing assistant. Every day I learned about ten new diseases that could be on my hands at any given moment. Simultaneously, my nursing instructor would stand over my shoulder timing me while I washed my hands. The ticking of the watch made me so nervous that I was shaking all over trying to take a deep breath. I tried to remember every area of my hands and make sure I was scrubbing for just enough time.   

    Handwashing is a simple skill, but this semester it was taken to an extreme level. I was taught to first turn on the faucet with a paper towel. I then squirt antibacterial soap on my hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds. It is important to scrub the palms, back of the hands, in between the fingers, and all fingertips. Observe fingernails and make certain that there is no grime stuck under the nails, as this is a common site for bacterial growth. Ensure that all surfaces have been scrubbed with soap. Don’t forget the wrists! Rinse the hands off completely without touching the sink and do not shake hands to dry. Grab a paper towel to dry hand. Turn the faucet off with a paper towel.   

    The Cause for Cleanliness

    He emphasized over and over again how important it was to have excellent hand hygiene. The examiners who preside over my state exams would observe my handwashing technique just as meticulously. If I did not wash my hands well enough or long enough, I could not continue with the exam. I would have had to still pay for another exam, come another day, and test once again. It would go on my records that I did not pass the exam the first time and the reason would be noted too. There was a lot to lose if I did not wash my hands correctly.

    Anti-Protist Protocols

    This rigorous routine would continue in my Microbiology labs. Weeks of experimentation would go in the garbage if a slide got contaminated with my skin in the Microbiology lab. If I did not wash my hands after the experiment, I might take home fragments of whatever that bacteria, fungi, or worm was to my family. Microbiology forced me to think like a germaphobe. Clean the counter, clean the slides, clean the microscope, sterile procedures, inoculate the loop, wear gloves, don’t breathe on your specimens, and many, many, MANY more hygienic precautions would loop through my brain.

    Handwashing Never Goes Away

    That was my fall of 2021. I knew that all of this was important as I was taking my first steps to becoming a nurse on the field. In nursing school and in the hospitals for my clinical rotations, hand hygiene is still meticulous. I continue to be tested on it in my exam questions and in my skills labs. Handwashing never goes away. I have must wash my hands 100% so that there is 0% chance of anything spreading.

    Handwashing is always relevant. Repetition is key which is why it shows up at the beginning of the virtual labs. This is why Pearson devoted lots of time and technology to making a proper simulation for handwashing for each lab. Professors, clinicians, students, and designers all worked together to make this product a reality. Having this handwashing simulation on the virtual labs is crucial to maintaining excellence, accuracy, and relevance. There is a proper order to wash hands that needs to be maintained. The entire hand to be cleaned well with soap and water. Sticks for removing grime from under the fingernails are a notable task in the routine. Many other actions must be performed in the specific order to complete the whole routine. This is a skill that a person carries with them their whole life, but especially when they are in the medical field and have direct contact with patients. No matter the major, all are responsible for keeping their hands clean and decreasing the spread of diseases. Whether one is at home, in the office, at the hospital, or labs, everyone needs handwashing to be a regular hygiene habit to maintain cleanliness and health throughout society.

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  • The World is Calling, and I Must Go

    by Olivia Kane

    A sunny day in Norway looking out over a blue lake with a beach area, dock, and sail boats. There are shrubs with pink flowers in the forefront.

    A College Student's Guide to Study Abroad, Internships Abroad, and COVID-19

    It is no secret that many college students and recent graduates have had their fair share of plans derailed or cancelled due to the presence of COVID-19. One common experience that many had to put on hold is study abroad, which traditionally has been a wonderful way for students to not only fulfill college credits but to immerse themselves into a culture unfamiliar to their own and learn by doing, rather than by sitting in a classroom.

    I am one of those students who had a 2020 study abroad trip derailed. I was scheduled to study accounting in Dublin and Galway, Ireland for that summer. Ireland is an incredibly academically aesthetic place, with many universities covered in ivy-bricked walls and filled with friendly peers. When I booked my plane ticket in early February, my dad and I briefly debated whether I should purchase trip insurance, ultimately deciding against it. A little over a month later, I realized what a mistake I had made. Not only was my Summer 2020 abroad cancelled, but my Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 options were wiped out, too. I was heartbroken. My experience is not a one-in-a-million. It is a collective opinion of loss and frustration at the thought of what could have been.

    Good news. With vaccination rates exponentially increasing, the presence of masks, trip-insurance, and soon-to-be open borders, the option to study abroad is just around the corner. Many U.S. college students are ready to take the leap to study in a foreign country, even though uncertainty still looms.

    So how can students better prepare to study abroad in light of COVID-19?

    Buy the trip insurance

    While it may be a hassle or a financial pain to purchase trip insurance, it is recommended to not only purchase it for airline travels, but any hotel or Airbnb booking, any excursions, and more. Basically, if a website offers trip insurance, it is for a reason. You may lose a couple dollars paying for the insurance, but it is better than losing hundreds, if not thousands. Also, it is recommended for international and domestic travel to book refundable tickets, trips, and housing. The more knowledgeable you are about cancellation policies and refund options, the better prepared you will be to enjoy your trip with no surprises.

    Check your destination country’s COVID-19 news

    Not only is it important to purchase insurance, but it is also important to research the country in which you plan to travel to and study. Find the site where your destination country’s official COVID-19 travel advisories are updated. Start by referencing the U.S. State Department’s list. Look for information on the country’s border status (open or closed) and their criteria for entering the country. Next, look at the country’s trend of opening and closing its borders. If the country has continually gone into lockdown and closed its borders, there is a chance it will close its borders again before you arrive, taking your money, security deposits, and everything you spent along with it. Moral of the story, research is your best friend. The more you know, the more peace of mind you will have!

    Check for Visa requirements

    So, you booked your trip, bought trip insurance, and did your research on your future home-away-from-home. What next? Well, most individuals who have lived abroad agree that the hardest part about studying or working abroad is obtaining a Visa or whichever pass is necessary for your chosen country. Typically, obtaining a Visa is a drawn out and stressful process. Do not procrastinate this process as obtaining a Visa will likely require a visit to the country’s embassy which may even require an additional plane ticket. The faster you can arrange a Visa, the less stress you will endure and the more money you will save!

    Seek authentic tourism advice

    Immersing yourself into the culture is a large part of the true experience abroad; however, it is important to not just follow popular tourist destination websites. Consider networking and reaching out to old friends who have spent time in the country. They can give you a first-hand break-down on the country’s customs and ‘norms’ that a tourism site cannot. They can provide insights on where to stay, where to avoid, must-sees, must-dos, where to eat, where to not eat, and even simple mannerisms that are acceptable in the country!

    I know this process is long; trust me, I have been there. But when your chosen country opens and you ‘check all the boxes’, you are going to have an amazing time and will remember your trip for the rest of your life. Despite new variants of COVID-19, do not lose hope; many countries rely on tourism for a large source of income. They want you to visit just as much as you do.

    Trust the process and enjoy your time!

    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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  • Haven’t We All Been Home-Schooled?

    by Ana Cooper

    Two girls sit on a front porch bench holding first day of school signs. The front girl holds a Kindergarten sign and the older girl holds a Freshman sign. There is a tall stack of books between them.

    Before starting college, I was homeschooled my whole life. I sometimes feel homeschooled students face unfair stereotypes. However, that seemed to change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since almost every student and teacher in the world had to shift to remote learning, they got a taste of being “homeschooled”. Even then, some still have misconceptions concerning homeschoolers and homeschooling itself, so I’d like to share my experience.

    Homeschool is Not a Solitary Learning Experience

    On the contrary, homeschoolers get to spend more time with friends that they choose while doing recreational activities. Many local homeschooling communities provide field trips to museums, parks, historical sites, have yearbook committees, various clubs, and hold dances. Homeschoolers are very social and involved in their communities. Because homeschoolers are not age segregated, they often deal with multiple ages and personalities and have great interpersonal skills.

    Many Influential Figures Were Homeschooled

    Did you know that many of the U.S. Presidents and founding fathers were homeschooled? They have contributed extensively to society and put together the greatest country in the world. Thomas Edison’s mother homeschooled him because his schoolteacher said that Thomas was “addled”. Check out this list of other famous authors and scientists who were homeschooled: C.S. Lewis, Winston Churchill, J. R. R. Tolkien, the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, G. W. Carver, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, and Louisa May Alcott.

    Independent Learning is Embraced

    Homeschoolers are trained to be independent and active learners from an early age. Because they have to work independently, they develop the good study habits which carry them through college and beyond. In general, college freshmen can struggle with time management during their first semester, but many homeschoolers tend to have an easier transition because of their established habits. Many colleges these days seek homeschooled students because they know they can be successful. These same skills and qualities of active learners are carried into the workforce as well.

    Did I ‘Miss Out’ on a Traditional High School Experience?

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  • Study Abroad – Post-COVID Edition

    by Kiara Lozano

    An ornate ceiling of a cathedral in Rome, Italy.

    Now that travelling restrictions are beginning to loosen, it’s time to start thinking about studying abroad again. Travelling post-COVID brings many new challenges that haven’t presented themselves before. However, do not let it set you back - you might be surprised at the amazing opportunities they can actually create. I know that with proper planning you will be ready to take on the world this year!

    Pre-departure Preparations

    In addition to getting your passport, packing, and booking your flight, one of the biggest factors that you need to consider when studying abroad are the health laws and regulations of your host country along with any additional travelling requirement that might be needed upon entry. As the world continues to open up, many places may still require the use of masks in public areas, require proof of vaccination upon entry, or have other key considerations you need to be aware of. Communicating with your study abroad advisor and host country programmer ahead of time is essential for making sure you have all of your documentation and are prepared prior to your departure. For any additional concerns upon arrival, I recommend checking the CDC and US Embassy websites consistently for all of the latest updates relating to your host country.

    Setting Expectations

    My biggest piece of advice – expect the unexpected. During these unprecedented times it is important to consider that your study abroad experience might not look the same as you originally thought and that is okay!!! Instead consider it a chance to be spontaneous, embrace the unknown, and learn more about yourself during the process. When I studied abroad in Italy this past summer, my best experiences where those that were unplanned and unsought after. This was a huge breakaway for me as I tend to be an avid planner. But with COVID restrictions consistently changing throughout my stay, I could never be prepared – no matter how hard I tried. However, this allowed me to go into the experience without any expectations and enjoy the moment just as it presented itself. Not setting expectations truly makes your experience abroad.

    Immersing Yourself in the Culture

    As cliché as it sounds, do as the locals do! There is no better way to experience a new country than by immersing yourself in the culture and exploring the city the way the locals do. During my experience abroad, most of Europe was closed down to tourist and cross-country travelling wasn’t easily accessible or encouraged. This meant that I spent a lot of my time in Rome where I was based. At first this was discouraging, not because Rome isn’t amazing (it is!) but because I felt like I wanted to visit as many places as possible during my time abroad. However, I quickly realized that not being able to travel outside the country I was residing in was in fact the best opportunity. I was able to experience Rome with a more local perspective and made many Italian friends along the way. I strongly encourage you to look at study abroad from a more local approach and take the opportunity to welcome new experiences.

    Embracing Change

    Lastly, be open minded and eager to embrace change. This experience will bring many amazing opportunities, but it will also present challenges along the way. It is completely normal to feel homesick or experience culture shock – especially if it is your first time abroad. However, it is important to remember that it is all part of the learning experience and differences should be celebrated. Keeping a positive attitude and having a strong support group, whether it be friends or advisors, will help you overcome these bumps in the road and allow you to enjoy your study abroad experience to the fullest.

    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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  • Becoming a Successful Leader in a Chaotic World

    by Sarah Faust

    Blog author Sarah Faust sits with seven of her sorority sisters on the steps of an academic building. Due to quarantine rules, they are wearing facemasks.

    The title of this blog might have been misleading. After a few months of reflection, I have struggled with whether or not I truly was a successful leader. However, the thing we need in an abundance, especially during this time, is grace. For the sake of sharing what I learned in 2020, I will grant myself some grace and label my term as successful, even if the only success was my refusal to give up.

    In November of 2019, I was elected as the Chapter President of my sorority. It is an organization made up of around 250 women whom I respect deeply and was excited to serve. With the most trustworthy, capable people by my side, we took over the operations of the chapter with no idea what was soon to come. The first couple months were trying because of a snowstorm cancelling our flights to a leadership convention and contentious senior members who always seemed to disagree with us. By late March, though, those challenging days seemed like a dream.

    The next eight months were a whirlwind of deep uncertainty. Like most other schools across the country, our university shut down in-person classes. Our sorority house closed for the semester. Before I knew it, I was back in St. Louis living in my parents’ house and trying to run a sorority.

    I doubt there will ever be a complete, step-by-step list that will encompass everything it takes to be a successful leader, but it would be a shame if I missed the opportunity to share what I found to be helpful. Here is my personal guide to successful leadership during the most trying times. After all, hindsight is 2020.

    Confidence is key

    If you are not confident that you will be able to carry yourself and those you lead through a difficult time, no one else will believe that you will be able to either. When a global pandemic took the world and turned it upside down, I was a 19-year-old sophomore in college who was barely prepared to lead a large group of young women, much less do so virtually and without consistent information regarding the future. If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that confidence is never something I seem to lack, so it was terrifying when I was faced with something that made me question my own abilities. To be fair, though, no one was prepared to handle all of the fallout that a pandemic can cause, so why couldn’t I be the one to do so?

    You cannot allow that which you cannot control to take control of you

    It was not my fault that my members’ worlds seemed to be falling apart, but it was my responsibility to do what I could to keep one area of their lives safe. Almost daily, I was approached with things that were not part of my training. Rather than throwing a fit because of how unfair it was, I had to take things as they came. Organization and planning are not my strong suits, but I can think on my toes, and that proved to be valuable.

    Self-care is not selfish

    It was easy to take the weight of everything and put it on my own shoulders. That was a good way to drive myself crazy. I was the best leader I could be when I started respecting myself. Taking the time to do what is important for your own mental health indirectly benefits those you lead.

    As the president of a sorority, I did not face anywhere near the worst of what this pandemic has had to offer. However, I felt the challenges of the unknown every single day. It was not the term I hoped for, but it taught me more than I ever imagined. Even if it wasn’t what I would deem “successful,” I know that one day I will use what I learned to be undeniably so.

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

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  • The Collegiate Experience – COVID-19 Edition

    by Alexa Carlton

    A bright sunny day at a lake in Syracuse, New York, surrounded by trees brown, yellow, and orange leaves.

    If you are in college and anything like me, you will never forget the day March 13th, 2020. That was the day when my classes officially went online at Syracuse University. The reality set in that I no longer would be on campus developing my professional skills, while also creating strong relationships with the people around me. I knew that once August came, I would appreciate every second I had on campus. Syracuse University went with a hybrid class method. Although my experience did revolve around social distancing and mask wearing, I would not trade this school year for anything! I am here to tell you how I enjoyed my college experience during a pandemic and how you can, as well!


    I never really explored the city of Syracuse, New York until this year. It always seemed that I was super busy on campus and unable to leave. However, because of the pandemic, I found myself with a lot more free time. I encourage you to check out the area around your college campus - in a COVID safe way, of course! With proper mask wearing and social distancing, my roommates and I were able to go to fun places that we may have never had the chance to go! We hiked, ate at new restaurants, and explored!

    Be active!

    Personally, I do not find online classes to be much fun. One of my favorite parts of being at school is walking around and seeing familiar faces. Although it was more difficult to get out of my apartment this year, I certainly did not feel trapped. I found myself a running partner and went with her on daily runs. Not only were we able to get all around campus, but we had a fun time while doing so! Even if you are not a runner, I encourage going on walks around campus as this sure saved me!

    Get Involved!

    As crazy as this may seem, a simple Zoom call sometimes made my day. Even if you are not involved in many clubs, it is not too late! All the clubs and organizations I was involved with met on Zoom, but this does not mean the experience was not worthwhile. Often after a long day, it was nice to connect with my friends and classmates!

    The college experience has been vastly different this year than ever before. I have learned to value every moment and experience that I have on the Syracuse University campus. I hope with my tips give you some ideas to do the same on your campus!

    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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  • 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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  • The value of resiliency

    by Alana Castle

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    The past few months have presented many of us with changes and challenges unlike any that we have faced before in our lifetimes. From transitioning to remote, online learning (then back to a hybrid model of online and in-person learning) and adjusting to a world in which facemasks and social distancing are the new norm, the COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted every aspect of life as we once knew it. Although much remains uncertain, I am able to reflect and acknowledge that the past few months have taught me quite a bit. Specifically, I have learned a lot about the value of resiliency

    Practicing Resiliency

    One of the most difficult aspects of coping with the changes brought upon us all by the pandemic is the fact that we are unable to be in control of many facets of our lives. Whether it be our education, work, or even our social lives, the pandemic prevents us from living out our ‘normal’ day-to-day lives. This feeling of being out of control can leave many of us, myself included, feeling overwhelmed and oftentimes on the verge of coming undone

    Thankfully, these situations are exactly the kind that resiliency can help us to overcome.  Instead of letting our circumstances dictate us and dwelling on the negative, practicing resiliency allows us to handle unforeseen and unprecedented events in ways that cultivate emotional strength and personal growth. 

    Focusing on the Positives

    I can acknowledge that the pandemic has brought unfavorable change into my life without placing blame or brooding on what I cannot control. I can reach out to friends and family to work through my emotions and realize that I am not alone in what I face. I can focus on the multitude of positives in my life that the pandemic cannot alter.

    Dealing with change is an inevitable part of life. How we adjust to these changes determines what our lives will look like moving forward. Although it is not easy, remaining resilient in the face of life’s adversities can help each of us to live more meaningful, fulfilling, and happy lives. 

    Piece by Piece

    I admit that I did not suddenly start seeing life through rose-colored glasses, but, by practicing resiliency, I have better been able to work through the challenges, setbacks, and losses that I have faced in recent months. Resiliency helps me to keep moving forward little by little, piece by piece. I hope that it can help you do the same. 


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  • PolyMOMial: Solving the factors presented by a pandemic

    by Chelsea Bowles

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    Being a 30-year old single mom, a full-time student, and out of work during a pandemic is not easy. It’s challenging trying to balance being a mom with a full course load, especially at a time with no child-care. 

    When campus and community closures first hit in March, I was stressed, but also happy about the time I would get to spend with my daughter. After two weeks on “stay at home” order, depression set in. I didn’t want to do schoolwork, play, clean, or even talk to anyone. It was very clearly rubbing off on my daughter as well, as she was losing interest in playing and becoming a Disney channel zombie.

    The bright side

    Then came a day with almost 70-degree weather. The sun motivated me. I dragged my daughter outside to play. She napped well, ate a great dinner, and went to sleep at a normal hour.

    That’s when I devised a plan to take my daughter outside every day- rain or shine. We both needed it. The outdoors is one of the most engaging atmospheres for children.

    Change of plans…

    Despite my best efforts, that plan didn’t last too long. I still felt extremely overwhelmed with my daily responsibilities. Completing schoolwork, trying to play and teach my daughter, cleaning, and all my other tasks became difficult to complete. 

    So, I tried looking at this mathematically. A polynomial is a mathematical term that comes from poly- (meaning “many”) and -nomial (in this case meaning “factor”) … so it means “many factors”. Using this idea, I came up with a new, simpler plan.

    Step 1: Take care of the greatest common factor.

    For me, this is my daughter. Take care of her first and make sure she is happy. Then deal with the rest. Nothing will be easy or doable with an unhappy child. Children can feel when you aren’t okay—so put the phone down, stop looking at the minute-by-minute news updates, and just PLAY. Children learn through play and exploration; this is the best way to engage them (and tire them out). Once they’re tired, at nap time and/or bed-time–that’s your time.

    Step 2: What factors are left and what makes sense where?

    I’m a mom and a student. I have to cook, clean the house, do my work, let’s not forget shower. Prioritize. I like to clean up first, then shower, and then sit down and do my work. When my daughter naps, I complete schoolwork. 

    Step 3: Put the remaining factors where they belong. Follow through.

    I know at times it seems impossible.  This new normal is hard to navigate. These are some tips that have helped me through the last couple of months:

    • Confront your feelings. It’s okay to be frustrated and scared. Your little ones feel it, too. Allow yourself to feel and then find solutions for problems. 
    • Make a plan and stick to it—children come first, and the rest will fall into place.
    • Stop watching or scrolling through endless news, but stay informed. Check for updates once or twice a day, and then stop.
    • We are social distancing… not social excluding. Stay in touch with people and reach out if you need to. You are not in this alone.

    Being a parent can be tiring and stressful but if you focus on that “greatest common factor” first, the rest will fall into place. We can win parenting, education, and COVID-19.


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  • Practicing mindfulness amidst uncertainty

    by Alana Castle

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    Similar to the experiences of many college students from around the world, my semester on campus came to an abrupt end when universities transitioned to online learning due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. I found myself in a situation that I had not anticipated and never experienced before. I was packing my belongings and moving back to my childhood home, with news of the cancellation of my summer internship and fall study abroad program weighing heavily on my mind. I spent my first weeks at home adjusting to a new class schedule, new academic requirements, and a new ‘normal’ in quarantine. 

    Now, having finished my final exams and completed my sophomore year of college, I have had the time to reflect upon my experiences. Amidst these times of great uncertainty, the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that we have endured and continue to face prove to be difficult in a variety of ways. I cannot change the circumstances that I find myself in. However, I have found that there are ways in which I can practice mindfulness in order take care of my physical well-being, attend to my emotions, and learn to be present despite it all. 

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  • How I'm staying positive while staying at home

    by Natalie Farran

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

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

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

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


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  • Conquering COVID Cabin Fever

    by Anna Attaway

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    “I’m just feeling so…STUCK!” I vented to my best friend (through a text message, of course). Within 4 days, COVID-19 had wrecked my plans for at least the next couple of months.

    Now, I’m isolated from my friends and school community, while managing the burden of 15 hours of online classes and worrying about a global virus. You probably know exactly how that feels; everyone is in a similar boat right now. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. But the good news is that we’re not alone and there are ways to make this more bearable. 

    So how do you stop feeling like COVID-19 is holding you hostage? Here are four things that have helped me: 

    (1) Breathe. Take a moment to let yourself pause. Set aside dedicated time to stop and rest. I’ve started doing yoga and having self-reflection each day. Having time that is intentionally set aside to be a quiet moment is important to regaining balance in an unbalanced time

    (2) Try something you’ve never had time for. Develop new interests! Even if you don’t pursue them further, it’s a way for you to gain new experiences while you stay inside. I’ve begun learning a second language, developing new chess strategies and trying new recipes. If you feel like giving something a shot, go for it! What do you have to lose?

    (3) Get creative. Take time to express your feelings. Whether that’s journaling, painting, or making music, be sure to acknowledge what you are feeling. It’s okay to be experiencing worry and sadness. Instead of just trying to move past them, allow yourself to express them in a creative way

    (4) Celebrate the little victories. No matter how you’re feeling, you are doing well simply by choosing to persevere. This is an unprecedented time of change, and you are moving through it in the best way you know how. Celebrate the little things you accomplish; whether it’s getting out of bed in the morning or taking a final exam. You deserve a chance to recognize the good things you’ve done. A little celebration can look however you want it to. Maybe it’s making brownies. Maybe it’s watching your favorite show. As long as it brings you joy, go for it! You deserve it. 


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  • Creating a Schedule in a Time of Chaos

    by Becca Elson

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    Has anyone else’s world completely turned upside down? Yes? Mine, too – as well as every other college student across the world. I would have never imagined my education could change so dramatically in such a short amount of time. Campus closures due to COVID-19 changed not only my education, but my entire social life as well. If you are managing to not go insane, huge props to you! 

    This is all very difficult, but I am doing my best to make it through this as I hope you are, too. I want to share what has helped me stay positive and motivated throughout this experience. Here’s a consistent schedule I try to follow every day to maintain a sense of normalcy

    Set the Alarm

    Waking up at a decent time is very important. This helps to get my day started and get motivated. I make a point to be up by 9 a.m. because I’ve noticed that if I wake up later than 10 a.m., the day is done before I’ve had a chance to be productive. I also like to have my day wind down around 6 p.m. so then I can relax, make dinner, and chat with friends in the evening. Keeping this timeline is a great way to establish balance in your life. 

    Make Daily Goals

    I suggest making a flexible schedule built around five things you would like to accomplish every day. For example, between the time I wake up and wind down, I try to work out, do something school related, read for thirty minutes, spend some time on my job with Pearson, and study for my certified public accountant license. No one is perfect and some days are better than others. I don’t always have to complete everything, but by having a goal, I find myself more motivated to get out of bed and get things accomplished!

    Stay Accountable

    Keeping track of what I am doing helps me stay on schedule. I created a document where I have each day listed in a row and I mark what I have done for each of my five daily goals. It might sound nerdy but it really works for me! Before I give in to the urge to lie in bed and watch Netflix, I will look at my document and see what I have slacked on before turning on my show. 

    Go Outside!

    I always carve out at least 30 minutes a day to be outside. Being cooped up in your house all day can get very dull. Going outside is a great way to get a change of scenery. If the weather is nice enough, I try to do my homework outside or take a walk. 

    Sticking to a routine can help you stay in a positive state of mind in these chaotic times. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, both physically and mentally. All we can do is try our best and hope this will be over soon.


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  • Coping with a study abroad program cut short by COVID-19

    by Sydnie Ho

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    I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. After months of convincing my parents, filling out paperwork, and taking extra classes to make this possible, I was finally going to Australia. I was so ready to have the best semester of my life! As I began my study abroad journey in February, it quickly became one of the best months of my life. There was something about Australia; there was a certain charm to it that made me fall in love instantly. I had quickly made so many memories, and met so many people from all around the world, it was unreal. 

    Then the virus hit. Something I would have never imagined would be an obstacle became a reality. I can’t even describe the emotions that went through my mind the week my mom told me to come home, but that week was one of the hardest weeks I’ve ever had to go through. After being home for 2 weeks now, I’ve had some time to process my experience. Maybe this will help give others some insight, too.

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  • How COVID-19 has impacted my life as a college student

    by Jesus Hernandez

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    Like many students in this uncertain time, my life quickly changed with the spread of COVID-19. My school moved to virtual classes and most areas on campus closed. My on-campus job was suddenly not necessary anymore. My summer internship might even be affected. My friends and I all moved back home for the unforeseeable future, so we are all separated. With so much change going on in everyone’s lives, it is important to stay focused on the positive and try not to dwell on the negative. I am trying to make this a learning experience for myself, knowing that anything can happen and needing to be prepared for the unknown. 

    Adjust to change

    I am still adjusting to online courses, as this will be my first time taking an online course at Fresno State University. Although I am worried about how my learning will be impacted by taking virtual courses, I know that there are many resources online that I can utilize to make sure I understand the concepts. Many students are also worried they will have a harder time keeping track of their assignments. Keeping an updated schedule or setting reminders of when something is due will be key to success in a virtual classroom. I know in the end this will only make me a stronger student if I roll with the punches.

    Focus on the positive 

    The media tends to focus on the negative impact of COVID-19, however I think we need to try and look at all of the people who have recovered from it, too. As a college student, it is hard to focus on school at all with all of this going on. But I’ve realized that once I stopped scrolling through endless news updates, I was able to refocus on school and get more things done. It is important to know what is going on in regard to this situation, but we all have to keep our mental health in check. While it is important to keep up with current events, look for all the good happening in the world as well. Don’t just get sucked into a time warp where you are only doing homework or not doing anything at all; be sure to take time for you and the things you enjoy. 

    These are uncertain times that seem to be constantly changing; it can be overwhelming. One thing I can do is remain positive and hope everything gets better soon. Students across the world have been thrown into a whirlwind, but by being flexible and focusing on the positive, we will make it through together.


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  • A letter to my peers: Stay optimistic and just breathe

    by Jaylen Brown

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    This past week, I flew from my university in Orlando to my family’s new home in San Angelo, Texas for spring break. I was expecting to spend no more than five days here; however, little did I know that I wouldn’t be going back at all this semester. The COVID-19 outbreak hit me hard and was unexpected. As a student, I’m confused and struggling to see what will happen next. Because my family just moved to Texas this past year, this will impact me socially, as I don’t know anyone. It will also affect me in my studies, as I’ll be learning online for the rest of the semester. I realize that many other students are experiencing the same thing I am going through.

    Social Impact

    If you have been feeling as if you are alone in this, know that you aren’t. This is only my second time being at my new home in a different state. Unfortunately, I am already feeling lonely and miss my friends so much. I’ve also seen that others have started to feel symptoms of depression and anxiety because of being quarantined. Although I’m not physically near my friends, I have been constantly keeping in contact with them via FaceTime, phone calls, texting, and social media. I strongly encourage everyone to consistently reach out to friends and loved ones. This is vitally important during a pandemic like this.

    Educational Impact

    When I got the news that the rest of my semester courses would be online, I was flabbergasted. No more classes at campus or face-to-face interactions with professors and peers. As students, this will be one of the most difficult transitions; however, we should still continue to do our best to achieve greatness.  Continue to reach out to your professors if you’re struggling because they’re along for the ride with you as well. Luckily, Pearson has provided many online resources for students to use that will allow us to adjust more smoothly as well.

    What’s next?

    It’s hard to determine what’s coming next or what to expect. The whole world is in panic mode and it seems like I’m hearing more and more negative news every day. Despite this, I still encourage everyone to take a deep breath and to stay positive, optimistic, and strong. We’re all in this together!


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