• What’s in a Name?

    by Johnny Condit

    Two young men smiling and sitting behind a table with a Pearson tablecloth and prizes.

    Do you ever met someone for the first time, introduce yourself, and then totally forget their name? You see them again 5 minutes later and have no idea how to address them. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many people have trouble remembering names when meeting someone for the first time. However, through my college career, I have learned more and more how important it is to learn and remember someone’s name. We all have one, right? So, we might as well use them.

    Addressing someone by their name is a sign of respect that will grab people’s attention. It shows that you are an active listener that is genuinely engaged when in a conversation. So often we are worried about what we will say or how we look that when someone introduces themselves to you, their name goes totally over your head. To keep that from happening, here are 3 tips that I use to remember people’s names the first time I meet them.

    1. Remember that you are not the most important person in the room - Most people are too worried about how they look or what they are going to say when meeting new people. They do not even register what even comes out of your mouth when speaking. Well, if that’s the case, don’t worry about what you’re going to say and become aware of what people are trying to tell you. Once you stop worrying about yourself, you are able to become more of an active listener.
    2. Repeat their name - When you first meet someone, the first thing you do is exchange names. When the opposite person says for an example, “Hello, my name is Jerry, nice to meet you!” you should respond, “Hey Jerry, its nice to meet you too!”. Hearing the name twice, from him and yourself, will make your brain realize that the name is something important to remember.
    3. Look for name tags – When someone is wearing a name tag, it is not for style. Become more aware when someone has a name tag. You can even address them by their name before they introduce themselves. That will make you stand out from others and leave a lasting impression on someone.

    Being able to remember someone’s name is an amazing quality and it makes people feel special. Take value in people’s names and watch your network and friendships grow!

    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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  • 6 tips to help you survive freshman year

    by Cobe Fatovic

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    So, you are going to be a freshman in college? I was too, about one year ago. My freshmen year was far from perfect, but what fun would it have been if it was? I am going to share with you 6 things I wish I knew going into my freshman year so you can have the best first year experience possible.

    1 – Make your dorm feel like an actual home

    Dorm life is something that a lot of people worry about and is a trademark of your freshmen year. You will be living here for the next year, so make it your own. Something as simple as putting a rug on the ground so you don’t see the tile floor can make all the difference. Also, bring things that remind you of home. It may be hard to admit, but you will miss your family.

    2 – Get involved right away!

    Join a club, go to all the Welcome Week events, apply for a leadership position, just do something! In college, you will be surrounded by more kids your age than ever before, but it can still be very lonely, especially if you don’t know anyone. Whether you find virtual, hybrid, or smaller in-person events, joining a club can make all the difference because it can make a huge campus feel a whole lot smaller.

    3 – Take yourself out of your comfort zone

    Making friends can be difficult. But you have to remember, everyone wants to make friends! Go sit with someone in the dining hall or introduce yourself to who you are sitting next to in class, who knows where it’ll go! If you try talking to someone and they don’t seem interested, don’t be discouraged. It may take a few people before you meet your best friend, but if you don’t keep trying, you will never get anywhere.

    4 – Build in time to relax and take care of yourself

    While it is important to study before tests, make sure you plan time in your schedule to do something that relaxes you. Whether it is playing Xbox or reading a book, make time for yourself, too. This will help you manage stress and prevent it from interfering with your student success.

    5 – Consider rushing!

    To rush or not to rush, that is the question. The first week I was at school, the main topic of conversation was everyone asking, “Are you going to rush a fraternity or sorority?” I went into college not expecting to rush at all, but I ended up rushing because some of the friends I made in the first week were. I joined Beta Theta Pi at the University of Florida, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Even if you find it is not for you, there is a good chance you will make some friends during the rush process.

    6 – Be open minded

    If you go into college with a closed mind, your life will probably be pretty tough. I went through more changes my freshmen year than the rest of my life combined. If you don’t love your major, change it. If you have an interest in something weird, take a class on it! There are so many opportunities to try new things and meet new people in college, you have to take advantage of everything you can.

    Now, a lot of that is easier said than done. You will probably get to campus and be so overwhelmed by everything that is going on, and that is okay, so is everyone else. Just take a deep breath, take it day by day, and go make memories. Good luck with your first year, stay positive!

     

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  • Freshmen: Create good habits to achieve first year success

    by McKinley Falkowski

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    Your freshman year of college is one of momentous change and growth. Prior to starting my journey at the University at Buffalo, I was terrified of what college held for me. I knew almost nobody on campus and came from a high school program that had roughly 18 people in it compared to a university with a student body of 30,000. Additionally, obvious differences like more demanding work terrified me of what was about to lay ahead.

    Because I am a History major with a focus on Education, I spent many days back at my high school obtaining classroom observation hours. Senior friends still in high school and about to go off on the same journey would ask me, “how did you survive your freshman year?” The fear of the freshman year of college is universally terrifying, but I took advantage of the challenges thrown at me and was able to succeed.

    While explaining a key fundamental difference between high school and college, I ask students this question: “whose fault is it if you fail?” Most students respond that it is the teacher’s fault, to which I respond, in college, it is not the professor’s fault if you fail, it is yours. This fundamental difference means that students need to change their approach to school, like I did in my freshman year.

    Show up for office hours

    One of the changes I made was taking advantage of office hours. This is where students go to their professor for help if they don’t understand material. Even if I felt I understood the material, I would always try to see my professors once a week to develop personal relationships. Sometimes I would realize that I did not always have a fully accurate grasp of the material. Office hours completely transformed me as a student. College freshmen should take advantage of them if they wish to succeed in the new environment.

    Tackle time management

    An additional adjustment I had to make had to do with time management. In college, so many assignments are thrown at you and you need to be able to juggle them all at once. That is why during the first week of classes, I take the syllabus from each class and write when all assignments are due in my agenda. This way I am always able to see when an upcoming assignment is due, won’t lose track of any assignments, and always see when a quiz or exam is coming up. Many times a professor will not remind you when something is due, they will just expect it to be done.

    Be alert for lectures

    A final element I had to change was my ability to pay attention in lecture halls of over 300 students. I made sure to choose a seat in the front of the class, otherwise I knew I might doze off. I also made sure my phone was turned off to minimize distraction. Finally, I found that actively writing notes using pen and paper increased my ability to focus on the material being presented.

    College is fundamentally different than high school, and it is terrifying for almost all people in their freshman year. However, these are some of the strategies I used to succeed, and I know you will be able to use them to succeed, too.

     

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  • Beating the beginning of the semester scaries

    by Colleen Borian

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    While there’s no better feeling than being on summer break, it’s safe to say that adjusting back to being a student this fall won’t be easy.  In this video blog, Colleen Borian acknowledges that start-of-semester scaries are a real thing and with COVID-19 changing how our semesters will look, they will be more real than ever. Watch her vlog below!

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  • Work smarter, not harder: 3 rules to help you reach success

    by Albert Hernandez

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    “How did you go from a small high school in a developing country to a booming public university in the United States?” “How did you travel to Austria and Japan in the middle of the academic year and still manage to keep a 3.96 GPA?” “How do you balance your time when you take 17 credits, work, and participate in extracurricular activities at the same time?”  I hear these questions from friends, family, and peers often as they look back on all I have done in the last couple of years. I explain that I constantly look out for content on how to be more productive, successful, and happy. 

    Tons of hours invested on TED talks, books, and seminars have given me mountains of advice. Some examples include waking up at 5 am when everyone else sleeps and no one will distract you, but when I do that, I run out of energy by 2 pm. I have also heard to attend office hours and ask questions, but my professors’ office hours often conflict with work or other classes. Focusing on your passion means I love engineering, but trust me differential equations are no pleasure. Even though all this advice has been somewhat helpful, it is often too specific and not flexible enough. I had to take in the advice and then tailor it to my own need and situation. After looking back and analyzing the last couple of years, I realized that the secret for my success comes down to these three simple rules I want to share with you. 

    Rule One: Don’t procrastinate 

    Regardless of what your goals might be, there will always be a list of tasks we all need to complete to reach them. Have you ever woken up one Sunday to realize you have a paper to write, a presentation to prepare, and a midterm to study for, all by the next day? If you ever experienced this, you probably procrastinated on these tasks. Wouldn’t it feel better if you had written that paper a week in advance, prepared the presentation two days ago, and all you had to worry about was reviewing the hard concepts for your exam? The emphasis is on reviewing, as you had hopefully already studied one hour per day during the last week and feel confident for the upcoming test. The idea of getting things done in advance does require a high level of discipline, but such discipline will not only help you in your academic life,  it will also make a great impact in your professional and personal life. 

    Rule Two: Sleep

    Coming from an immigrant household that had to work remarkably hard to pursue a better future, I grew up with a dad that had a mentality that sleeping is a waste of time. When talking about sleeping, my dad pointed out that by sleeping eight hours per day as recommended, I waste 33 percent of my life in bed. However, it did not take me much time to realize that in the 16 hours I am up, I get a lot more done than fighting between getting things done and trying not to fall asleep. Additionally, sleeping has a great influence on your body, and proper sleep helps you enjoy your life more and makes you happier. It is important not to use this rule to oversleep and argue that it will make you even more efficient. Sleeping too much can be as bad as not sleeping enough. If you have the discipline to regularly sleep six, seven, or eight hours per night depending on your own body needs, you will be a lot more productive than those that sleep less and work more, or those that party until late and suffer the next day.

    Rule 3: Learn how to manage stress

    It is common knowledge that university students experience high stress levels during the academic year. Students perform better when they manage their stress levels. Getting things done in advance and good regular sleep will surely help drop stress levels. However, no matter how well you follow the first two rules, if all you do from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed is work and study, I promise you will burn out by the end of midterms with half of the semester left to go. It is crucial to learn what helps you de-stress. It could be working out, going to the movies once a week with friends, or maybe just watching an episode of your favorite show. Whatever it is, make sure you find the time on your schedule to treat yourself. 

    I hope these quick general rules will help in your goals. I know it takes a lot of discipline and time to include them in your lifestyle, but it will be rewarding and will take you closer to your goals. If you are looking for other strategies on how to be productive, I recommend the books “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. Best wishes in your goals and good luck!

     

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  • Get Refocused for the New Semester

    by Jacquie Dunworth

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    Congratulations! You’ve made it through the fall semester of college. You worked hard, made new friends, and survived finals week. Now that you’ve had a nice long break to unwind, it’s time to refocus. School is about to start up again, so here are some tips on how to get mentally and physically prepared for the new semester.

    Get Back Early

    Classes may start on the Monday after break and you’ll be tempted to return to school late that Sunday to make the most of your remaining hours, but consider returning to campus Saturday. Having a full day before classes start will give you more time to mentally and physically prepare for the semester. With this extra day, you will have time to put your best foot forward and follow the rest of the tips.

    Go School Shopping

    There’s nothing worse than going to the first day of class unprepared. Be sure to buy anything and everything you may need to make your first day back a success! Buying your materials early will ensure that you miss the rush at the bookstore and get a good start with professors.

    Read Over the Syllabus

    Reading over the syllabus before you attend class will give you a good overview of the class and its expectations. The syllabus will also let you know of any required materials and assignments to come prepared with on the first day. Writing all of it down will make sure you already have an idea of what the semester will look like. 

    Plan Ahead

    Now that you’ve given yourself an extra day to get prepared, purchased your class materials, and read through the syllabus, you can take your preparation one step further and plan ahead. Take a minute to fill out a planner or calendar with the due dates of big assignments, midterms, and finals. This will give you the opportunity to plan extracurricular activities around your classes and ensure that your semester will be a success!

    Other Tips and Tricks to Reduce Stress

    All of these are great ways to physically prepare yourself and put your mind at ease for the new semester. In order to further mentally prepare, take measures that will reduce potential stress in the future. Try to avoid procrastinating so you aren’t perpetually stressed that you don’t have enough time. Manage your sleep so you get plenty rest and function at your best. Working out will also help with keeping you healthy and clear-minded.

    A new semester will bring new challenges, but also new opportunities. Being prepared for it will allow you to make your semester the best one yet! Following these tips will put you ahead of the game as well as allow you to be physically and mentally healthy.

     

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  • Off to College: Preparing for Your First Year

    by Kristi Yamashita

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    Twelve years of school have finally passed and you’ve finished an endless amount of assignments, reports, and presentations.  After writing what may have been some of the most important essays of your life, you finally did it! You got accepted to college and you’re about to begin some of the best years of your life.  Going to college for the first time can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking milestone in your life. There are a lot of new things to adjust to such as being able to pick your own class schedule, making new friends, and maybe even living hundreds of miles away from home.  Here are some tips on how to prepare for your upcoming adventure.

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  • Adjusting to a New Environment: Tips to ease first semester jitters

    by Katie Underwood

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    Life can be so unexpected sometimes. It can send you somewhere you never imagined you would end up. Adjusting to a new environment is scary and nerve wracking. If you think you are the only one experiencing these jitters you are wrong. Everyone at some point in their lives have had to adjust to a new environment. Whether this new environment is a new town, school, or workplace, here are a few simple tips to feel at ease with your new lifestyle. 

    Find Friends

    Life comes at you fast, so you have to act fast as well. My first step in creating a less intimidating new situation is to find a friend within the first week. This way you are going through the process slightly less lonely and have someone to open up to. This friend can be your roommate, classmate, neighbor, or someone you met on the train. No matter what, find someone to express your feelings to and to talk to every now and then. It will keep you sane.

    Operate with Optimism

    Go into this new territory with an open mind. Be optimistic because you never know what life will throw your way – both good and bad. Going into a new setting with an open mind will allow you to give it a chance without making a negative judgment right from the beginning. 

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  • Advice for new freshmen: 6 things I didn't expect in college

    by Sydnie Ho

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    College is a lot. This is the first time you are out in the world all by yourself. You create your own schedule, you create your own rules, you create your own life. All of high school has built up for you to experience what people say will be the “best four years of your life.” Although this is the start of an amazing four-year experience, there are things I encountered during my freshman year I wasn’t expecting to experience. These are 6 things I didn’t expect in college.

    7 a.m. is not the same

    You always hear people say, “never take a 7 a.m. class in college”, but it never made sense because in high school we were so used to waking up way before that, right? Wrong. It’s true, waking up early in college is way harder. You are staying up later, getting involved in more, and encountering more stress. It is hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it, but take my word for it and get a little extra sleep. 

    You will have doubts

    Coming into college I thought I would have it all figured out. That I would instantly love college and everything about it. But that wasn’t the case. It took me a long time to adjust to everything and I doubted a lot. It’s totally normal and know that even though it may seem like it, you are not alone. It is good to talk it through with your friends and advisers so they know what is going on and they can help.

    You will miss home

    It’s bound to happen. Whether it is your home state, your family, your friends, your mom’s home cooked meals – you will miss home. In college, you are making a new home, which is scary at first. You hit a point where all you want to do is be in a familiar place. That’s the thing about being independent. Eventually you learn to be on your own and appreciate home even more when you get the chance to go back. 

    Friends change

    This was a tough pill to swallow but it’s true. Even if you are in the same state, you will probably meet new friends and drift from those from your past. For me, leaving my friends back home was one of the hardest things I had to do. I had to learn to make new ones. My fellow freshmen were learning to make new friends, too, so we immediately shared something in common. I met some incredible people during my freshman year and am so excited for what new memories I’ll make with them. 

    Failure happens

    In high school I was a straight A student, never failed, and always cringed at the thought of anything below perfect. Although they are still important in college, grades aren’t everything. You will probably fail multiple times. Maybe it will be a quiz, a test, or even a class. But that’s OK! You have to learn to move past it and not allow it to affect your next assignment. If you find you are really struggling, look for the free tutoring and services your college offers. They want to see you succeed.

    It goes by fast

    I thought high school went by fast, but college is a whole different story. I’m already seeing my years in college fly by and I just started. Your life is going at a quicker pace now and you’re always headed to do something else. Try to enjoy every moment before it’s done, but just know it goes by very fast!

    These are some things I’ve learned to understand in college that I never expected to encounter. It really is a journey, but you will learn a lot about yourself and in time, you will have an amazing college experience.  

     

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