• Discovering Your Best Learning Techniques Leads to Academic Success

    by Kaitlin Hung

    A close-up of a student’s study area including an iPad, highlighters, and note paper with math problems.

    Growing up, I was always surrounded by smart friends who continuously scored full marks on assignments and exams. I, on the other hand, scored average or below and constantly felt at a loss when I used the same learning and studying techniques as my peers, but didn’t score as well as them. It wasn’t until late in my high school career that I figured out how to do just as well as others by using a different learning technique.

    Out with the old….

    During one of my biology classes, I noticed that even though I was listening to everything the teacher was saying, my brain lagged like an old laptop running low on battery. By the time I processed the first topic, the teacher was already discussing content from three topics later. I felt I needed a way to have more time to process new information, so I started playing around with learning techniques.

    ….in with the new

    I’d always thought that learning all the material consecutively, or in one sitting, was the best way to learn. But this study method made me less likely to pay attention or remember the content. In exploring alternative methods, I figured out I could find YouTube videos on the topic area I was studying, and I could pause or adjust the speed, plus read the captions. This allowed me to learn the same material, but at my own pace. I would never be “behind”.

    I also learned that taking short breaks in between videos or study sessions seemed to “recharge” my learning capability. Instead of beating myself up over not remembering everything during a long study session, I would reward myself for what I could remember with a break for as long as I deemed necessary.

    Putting it all together

    I later found out that there are different learning styles, such as auditory, spatial, and linguistic, for each person. I researched more about it, took a few online tests, and decided to pick up more techniques that catered towards my specific learning style.

    Since I am not an auditory learner, it was hard for me to retain everything a teacher said in class. But I could spend more time reading the provided textbook to fill in information I missed in a lecture. If I couldn’t properly visualize a concept, I would look up videos or images to help me do so. Instead of continuing to feel like a failure for not understanding things when others around me could, I found ways that worked best for me.

    Although it was sometimes tedious, investing time in discovering how I learn and retain information helped me build confidence as a student and achieve academic success.

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  • 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!

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  • Networking for Beginners

    by Geeta Chandaluri

    A screengrab of a virtual networking event held on Zoom.

    When I first entered college, I was constantly hearing juniors and seniors tell me how important networking is. However, like most freshman, I had no idea what networking was. It’s not something they taught us in high school. So, what is networking, how do you prepare for it, and how do you maintain connections?

    What is networking?

    Networking is the art of interacting with peers and experts in a professional manner. It is about creating lasting connections that can help you learn and gain industry insights.

    Networking can happen anywhere, in any setting. Often times people think of networking as attending organized events all suited up, but that’s not the case. Every interaction you have is working to widen your network. The person you strike up a conversation with at a coffee shop may help you with career advice or be able to put in a word at a company where you’ve applied.

    Create your Elevator Pitch

    The first question people often ask you is to tell a little bit about yourself. This is a question you should be prepared to answer with what is called your ‘Elevator Pitch’. An Elevator Pitch is essentially a 30 second introduction of yourself and your experiences. The idea is that if you met someone you’d like to connect with on an elevator, by the time the person got off, they’d know you.

    The tricky part comes in deciding what to include in your Elevator Pitch. You probably did a lot in high school like extracurriculars, community service, and part-time jobs. If you are beyond a first year in college, you likely have even more accomplishments you would like to include. Therefore, it can be a bit of a challenge to speak about yourself in a concise manner. So how do you decide what should be included in an Elevator Pitch and what shouldn’t?

    Think about your end goal: making memorable connections. You should always try to grab attention and facilitate a longer conversation. You are essentially marketing yourself. So, think like a marketer --Elevator Pitches are simply self-advertisements.

    You should give an overview of past accomplishments, present involvements, and future goals. You can start off with your major and extracurriculars, then move into relevant job experiences, then finally career aspirations. After you frame your pitch, rehearse it until you become comfortable saying it.

    Formal vs Informal Networking Situations

    Sometimes organizations will sponsor networking events where students can interact with employers. If you plan to attend a formal networking event, research the people you’d like to connect with ahead of time. A good place to research is LinkedIn. Tailor questions to that individual. People love talking about themselves - the more specific the questions are, the better.

    Always be sure to assess the nature of the event. Understand the tone so you can frame your conversations. If you are in a formal setting, it is encouraged to have copies of your resume to distribute. However, if you are in an informal setting, like a coffee shop, passing along your resume may be strange. But you could perhaps create a business card to use in that situation. Always be sure to read the environment you are in.

    Maintaining Connections

    After a conversation, ask the person if they are comfortable sharing their email address and connecting via LinkedIn. Most professionals are happy to connect, but it is nice to show courtesy and mention your intent to maintain the connection.

    If you met the person at a formal networking event, always send thank you notes within 24 hours. This signifies that you respected their time. Sending out thank you letters always works in your favor. Not everyone sends them out, so a customized thank you letter will make you stand out.

    You may run into your connections again. Take the opportunity to reconnect. Remind them when you last interacted and something memorable from the conversation. The familiarity can lead into more specific and beneficial conversations.

    Long Run Goals

    Networking is all about the give and take. Once you established yourself and created a strong network, be open to helping others forge their own impact. You can practice giving by inviting professionals on a panel to host events. There are endless possibilities on how you can give back by sharing your experience to your peers and juniors.

    Networking is like professional speed dating: some will succeed, and some will fail. But the most important thing is to have fun. Enjoy speaking to people. You may not see it coming now, but interactions will open doors for you. You will be grateful for having made those connections in the past.

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

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  • 3 Factors to Consider when Choosing a College Major

    by Abby Williams

    An aerial view of the Texas Tech University campus.

    Sometimes planning your future can be more complicated than finding and choosing something you love to do. The story of how I initially settled on my major probably echoes that of many other college students today who took a while to decide what they wanted to do. Here are 3 factors that made me fall in love with my major and decide to seriously pursue a career in the field of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

    Like everyone else, by the time I reached my junior year of high school, I was already very tired of receiving countless questions, from what felt like everyone in my life, regarding my future. After another conversation with my mom about what I could potentially do with my life, I finally decided that speech-language pathology (SLP) sounded like a decent answer to parrot for the next few years until I figured out what I actually wanted to do. And that’s exactly what I did, all the way through officially choosing my major at Texas Tech University. Once I started my coursework, I discovered 3 factors that helped me realize how perfect the seemingly random field I had chosen was for me.

    Variety of roles

    One of the first things that I noticed about my major and fell in love with is how many types of job opportunities my degree can present. Speech pathologists and audiologists can work in a wide variety of settings and work with people of any age and background, from newborns with difficulty swallowing, to prisoners with traumatic brain injuries, to elderly individuals with aphasia. I like that you can choose so many different avenues and can change your mind, all with the common theme of helping people. I think it’s important to find a profession that allows you to grow in and with your occupation as you grow up and change yourself, in all aspects of your life. For example, right now my dream job as a SLP would be to work with premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a hospital, but I realize that if I become a mom in the future, that job might no longer be the best fit for me. With SLP, I can always change my mind and work with a different age group (i.e., pediatrics or adults), with a different condition (e.g., aphasia, phonological disorder, TBI, etc.), or in a different setting (i.e., hospital, clinic, school, etc.).

    Incorporates personal interests

    It’s important to choose a field that can potentially provide opportunities that appeal to your personal interests as well as professional interests. For example, I love to travel and wanted to choose an occupation that would allow me to do so without forcing me to constantly be on the road. With a degree in SLP, I will be able to pursue occupations which involve travel (e.g., pediatric home health) at points of my life I deem appropriate. Other opportunities to consider could be networking and advancement if moving up the ladder is an important factor for you.

    Cost-happiness ratio

    Finally, I recommend evaluating something I call the ‘cost-happiness ratio’ of a profession. While making enough money to support your lifestyle is the overall goal of working and arguably the most important aspect, as they always say, “money can’t buy happiness”. Evaluate the benefit of a profession by comparing the amount of positivity and happiness the job brings into your life with the actual financial gain of the job. Then determine whether the values are proportional. For example, if you make a lot of money doing a job that makes you miserable, the money may not be worth it overall. Through my major-related classes and learning more about my field, I have learned that helping people is the work I find most gratifying.

    By considering the variety of roles in a career field, the possible opportunities a field could offer you, and the cost-happiness ratio, you can find the college major that will be best for you.

     

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  • The Importance of Humility

    by Mykel Broady

    The title of the blog “The Importance of Humility” in white letters against an orange background.

    “Alexa, define humility.”

    Google defines humility as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance, humbleness.” Now, when I first read that I was shocked. I thought, “why should I have a low view of my own importance? Shouldn’t I be ultra-confident and think highly of myself?” These questions tossed and turned in my head for days as I tried to grapple with the true meaning of the word. It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about the intricacies of the definition, and actually applied humility, that I started to see change — meaningful change. Humility has significantly changed my life for the better, and I can assure you, it has the potential to do the same for you.

    Creating an open and honest environment

    Humility yields open-mindedness. When applying humility to your own life, you’re more eager to hear outside perspectives. No longer is it a game of competition amongst others, but rather a modest game of learning from others. The good news to spread about this game is that you’re coachable! In my own life I found that in the times I lacked humility the most, I also lacked the ability to open up my mind to others. You see, humility has the unique ability to silence any selfish desires occupying your mind and bring you back to reality — a world that thrives on collaboration, not solo efforts. 

    More collaboration is always on the forecast in environments where individuals value humility. How many times have you stayed away from an arrogant person? Whether it be the kid in kindergarten who boasts on all his toys, or the coworker that never seems to accept any advice, I’m sure you’ve never been in a rush to collaborate with those solely, and blatantly, concerned about themselves over others. Naturally, individuals want to collaborate with others who will listen, respect, and value their input. Applying humility to your own life opens up the opportune door of collaboration!

    Help inspire others

    Humility simply inspires others. When an individual does something amazing, especially a stunt that naturally can’t be pulled off, it’s possible that you may assess your own shortcomings compared to their success. If we’re being honest, you may think you simply aren’t capable of doing certain things, because you don’t have their abilities. Now what if the individual who did the miraculous came out and said, “I’m thankful for the recognition, but I’m just doing the things anyone else could do.” You would be inspired, wouldn’t you? You’d realize that everyone is equal and that the impossible is possible. I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up just writing that. When you apply humility in your own life, you immediately set yourself up to inspire others — that’s a very special gift. So finally, it’s time to stop reading and start applying!

    Pearson Students: How do you apply humility in your life?

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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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  • Prioritize Your Mental Health During Quarantine

    by Margot Banen

    An electric piano against a wall where a tapestry hangs and a hanging plant.

    Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled with anxiety. Anxiety can be hard to cope with on even the best days, but during quarantine, many people have seen declines in their mental health. Even as some quarantine protocols begin to lift, feelings of isolation can linger. In order to help cope with the struggles of quarantine, I’ve talked to my friends, family, and my therapist to create a small list of suggestions that may help people who are struggling.

    Going Outside

    In many cases, just being outside has helped a lot of people. Even though it’s often cold where I live, I try to take at least a quick 10-minute walk. It consistently helps to improve my mood and clear my mind. Being in the sun, even just briefly, will drastically change my mindset about the day.

    Working Out

    If going outside maybe isn’t the best option for you right now, or it’s just not possible, working out is the next best thing. Not everyone likes to work out, which is totally fair. When everyone first went into lockdown, many people gained “the quarantine 15” -- I know I did. And that’s perfectly ok! This was a very stressful and strange time for everyone, there is no shame in weight gain.

    Working out doesn’t mean you have to get insanely sweaty or overexert yourself. Nowadays, you can work out from the comfort of your room. A workout can be as simple as 10 minutes of abs or light cardio, like high knees, burpees, or butt kickers. My personal favorite is yoga, which I can do easily with a guide from a YouTube video.

    Working out can boost your energy and help with reducing stress, anxiety, and depression by increasing your self-esteem and cognitive functions. If you work out for at least 16-18 minutes, you’ll release endorphins which help to put you in a better mood.

    Listen to Music

    If you just don’t have the time or energy to work out, you can always use the universal language of music. There is not a person in this world who doesn’t listen to music. What’s so amazing about music is how quickly it can change your mood. When I’m feeling especially anxious, I put on songs to sing along to. This not only helps draw my focus away from my anxiety or the panic attack I may be having, but it also helps to regulate my breathing in an easy and fun way.

    Music can also provide an outlet for people. It can help someone feel less alone in their emotions or use it as a release from them. You can even write your own music or lyrics to help to help organize, catalog, and dissect your emotions. It’s a really healthy and creative way to get in touch with yourself.

    And So Much More

    There are so many ways to combat the stresses of quarantine and create an environment for yourself that is healthy and fun. Some people love to read, others like to call up friends and talk for hours, and others like to bake. Whatever it may be, always know that with everything going on there is always someone you can talk to if you’re struggling, whether that be a friend, a family member or a therapist. Remember that you are never alone.

    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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  • 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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  • Hair Stylist or Hair Therapist? Finding Stress Relief at a Hair Salon

    by Kiara Smith

    Blog author Kiara Smith shows off five different hair styles from her salon visits.

    Having a bad day or feeling stressed? Why not take a trip to the hair salon? A new hair style could be just the “pick me up” you need. College students can always use a way to unwind from the stress of their classes and exams. Popular options are working out, meditating, socializing with friends, or treating yourself at a local coffee shop. Who needs an iced coffee when you could just get a new hairdo?!

    A 2-for-1 deal

    Hair stylists should be celebrated for their great works. They often double as both a beautician and a therapist – it’s a 2-for-1 deal! They not only cater to the needs of your hair but also to your soul. In fact, getting your hair done can be very therapeutic. On those days when it feels like whatever could go wrong, does go wrong, a visit to the hair salon can leave you feeling renewed.

    A listening ear

    When you close your eyes and lay your head back to get washed, it is like all your problems have vanished. You take a deep inhale, exhale, and release the weight of the world that was on your shoulders when you walked through the door. The appointment progresses, you engage in conversation, your stylist works their magic, In the process, they are the listening ear you have been needing. Then there is a big reveal. You leave not only less stressed, but also as a happy customer with a newfound confidence.

    With so much going on today, college students need to find ways to destress and rejuvenate themselves. As you can see, visiting a hair salon is one of my favorite ways to unwind. Take some well-deserved time for yourself and schedule a hair appointment to relax and refresh.

    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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  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

    by Sidney Li

    Blog author Sidney Li stands arm-in-arm with eight others in front of a background with dragons.

    May. A time when school is out, and summer is just around the corner. The dreary days of sitting in a classroom are replaced by sunshine and pools. In addition to all this, as of 1992, it is also the month dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage.

    May was chosen in honor of the first Japanese to immigrate to the United States (US) on May 7, 1983, along with the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad being completed on May 10, 1869—which was predominately laid by Chinese immigrants.

    As a Chinese and Vietnamese American, I have grown up with few Asian role models in media. This perpetuated the idea that I assumed everyone who would be famous had to be Caucasian. However, when I found Brenda Song portraying London Tipton in Suite Life of Zack and Cody, I learned that didn’t have to be true; it is a norm created by the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

    Now, more than ever, it is important to commemorate the importance of diversity. Here are some reasons why Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is important and should be acknowledged.

    1. The presence of Asian Americans is one of the fastest-growing groups of eligible voters in the US. In a May 2020 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, there are more than 11 million Asian Americans who will be eligible to vote and comprise nearly 5 percent of the eligible voters in the country. Not only that but in the last 20 years, the number of eligible Asian American voters increased 139 percent.
    2. This month helps dispel the “Model Minority Myth” that obscures the essentials of many underserved populations within the AAPI community. The model minority myth is a consistent assumption of the AAPI communities’ achievements and shedding only positive light; whilst ignoring the obstacles that hinder these same communities from achieving higher education, healthcare, jobs, and more due to the stigmas, limited communication, stereotypes, poverty, socioeconomic factors, and status as an immigrant. With that, this same stereotype also further divides other minority groups who struggle with representation too.
    3. It brings awareness of the injustices that the AAPI community have faced throughout history and today. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese internment camps, these acts were conducted out of racism towards AAPI populations. Despite the overturning and end of these events, racism and discrimination are still apparent today in the US. On March 2020, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council created a stop AAPI hate reporting center. Within the first month, it received about 1,500 reports of coronavirus related discrimination towards AAPI members.
    4. Learning more about AAPI history allows people to be more knowledgeable of other cultures in our country. Having knowledge of the enriched history of the US besides being taught in school allows students to be more aware of their society. For example, AAPIs have played crucial roles in shaping the country’s history with protecting the nation in war by building the first transcontinental railroad.

    It is extremely important to continue valuing and celebrating diversity within all aspects of life. This May, I hope you take time to learn about and appreciate Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and heritage.

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

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  • College Moveout: A Complete Checklist

    by Kamish Tajuddin

    Three stacks of moving boxes in front of a set of French doors.

    How am I going to prepare for finals week? Where will I be traveling this summer? Do I have a summer internship or full time offer yet? These questions are just some of the few that run through students’ heads during the Spring semester. Towards the end of April and May are some of the most stressful times that can occur for students.

    One other important question students ask, that often gets overlooked, is: what are my plans for moving out? This is a very important aspect of the end of the semester, as you do not want to leave behind anything important or delay this process. It is a difficult process to start and can often be very exhausting to do so.

    Personally, I believe that there are three important phases in the moveout process. Here is a step by step checklist for each phase that can help students ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible!

    Prep

    Before you can start moving and putting away our clothes, shoes, tv, and other important items, you need to have a game plan set in place. The first step in this phase is determining when and what time you need to move out. Every college has a set move out date and time for their residents, and often can provide containers to help students move out their belongings. However, students that own a lease can decide what day and time works best for them as long as it is before the lease ends.

    Once that is figured out, the next step is to come up with a plan of action. Figuring out what needs to be put away first that is not being used and understanding what can be put away on the last day is important to know. Also knowing what goes in each bag, suitcase, and box and labeling said boxes is going to be important. Last step in the prep phase is getting any materials, if needed. This can include extra boxes, a U-Haul truck, or extra hands to help you move.

    Now that we move prepped our moving process, let’s move on to the next phase.

    Pack and Load

    Your extensive planning in the previous phase will make this step much more manageable. First, pack and organizing your belongings. By the end of this step, everything should be put away and grouped together by whatever category you have picked.

    The next step is to throw away any unnecessary belongings and junk. This will make it easy to clean and have more space in the long run. The final step in this phase is loading your belongings. This can either be in your vehicle or in a U-Haul truck, depending on the size of your belongings.

    Believe it or not, there is one more phase left in the moving out process.

    Departure

    It’s time to double check your packing and start saying your goodbyes. Make one last round inside your dorm, apartment, house, etc. to make sure you are not forgetting anything. Next, make sure to clean your old place according to the specifications stated in your lease or housing contract. Make arrangements to turn in your keys and sign any required paperwork. Lastly, this step is optional but make sure to let neighbors, friends, etc. know that you are officially leaving and potentially provide a way to contact you!

    Following these phases and associated steps will help you turn the monumental task of moving into a smooth process! Remember to change your address ahead of time and potentially rent out a storage unit if need be. Good luck with you moveout!

    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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  • How to Ace an Interview

    by Paige DelBrocco

    A laptop screen shows a presentation slide with the words, “How to Ace an Interview’ on a pink background.

    The interview process for jobs and internships is one of the most stressful things that a college student can experience. We have all had our fair share of automated rejection emails or just no response at all. Although the entire process is quite overwhelming and nerve-wracking, it is extremely rewarding once you finally get that offer. From making sure to be yourself to figuring out which questions to ask the interviewer, there are a few key things you should know before walking into your interview. Here are some tips and tricks that have worked for me to ace an interview!

    Do your research

    It is so important to research as much as you possibly can about the company before you have your interview. Not only should you understand what the company does, but you should also think about why you want to work there in the first place. By researching the company, you are able to understand what it is that they do and why, and whether it would be a good fit for you. Completing this research prepares you to answer that first question without hesitation: “Why are you interested in working here?”

    Ask questions

    I have been told time and time again from my mentors to ask questions during an interview, and it is excellent advice. Not only does it show that you are interested in the position, but it helps you understand the role better. An interview is not a one-way street; it goes both ways. You need to make sure that the role suits your own experiences and professional aspirations. When you ask questions, you can get a much better understanding of the opportunity that you are exploring.

    When it comes to figuring out which questions to ask, I have found that preparing a few before the interview relieves some stress for me. Although it is important to have questions in your mind beforehand, you should ask questions throughout the entire interview based on what the interviewer is sharing with you.

    Be yourself

    I realized early on in my interviewing experience that it is vital that you stay true to yourself and avoid putting on a new face to impress your interviewer. They want to know who you are, not who you are pretending to be. Being straight-forward about your personality, skills and experiences is the only way to go. By being yourself and sharing what you can bring to the table, you will gain the respect of your interviewer in no time.

    Believe me, I know interviews are stressful—especially when you want nothing more than to receive an offer. Don’t let the fear of interviewing hold you back from pursuing your professional endeavors because by following these tips, I promise you will be able to ace that interview.

    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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  • A Guide to Finding the Perfect Off-Campus Housing

    by Jacquie Dunworth

    Five college girls sitting on the white front porch railing of their off-campus house. They are smiling and laughing.

    The school year is coming to a close and it’s almost time to move out of your dorm. You want to live off campus next year but where do you even start? How do you find a house/apartment? Find roommates? Sign a lease? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to find the perfect off campus housing!

    Getting started

    First figure out who you might want to live with. Do you have friends that also want to live off campus? Do you want to live by yourself? Are you ok living with strangers? Once you determine this there are a few different steps you can take.

    Living with friends

    Once you establish your future roommates it’s time to find a living space that fits your needs. Think about the areas surrounding your campus - are they primarily houses, apartments, a mix of both? Do your research to figure out if there is the type of housing you’re interested in available for you and your roommates. For example, websites like Zillow, Redfin, and apartments.com are good resources to use to see what’s on the market. However, not all housing is listed on these sites. It can be very helpful to simply go on a walk in areas that you may want to live in and look for “for rent” signs.

    Living alone

    Choosing to live on your own will make for a simpler house hunting process. You won’t have to coordinate with others and can pick wherever you want to live. A 1 bedroom or studio apartment is probably where you’ll want to be. Research options and availability by looking at the same websites mentioned previously. Check to see if the area around your school has newer apartment developments. Often, these buildings have leasing offices that you can walk into and ask about pricing/availability.

    Living with strangers

    If you want to live with others but don’t know who, it’s best to find people looking for roommates. Often, upperclassmen will move out of a house and leave bedrooms available for new tenants, or friend groups that move into a house will have an extra bedroom they need filled. Facebook is a good platform to use to find these opportunities. People with extra bedrooms for rent often post in college groups, housing groups, etc. Another way to find housing opportunities is to simply ask around. Ask people in your classes, clubs, and network if they know anyone looking to rent rooms in their houses/apartments.

    Signing the lease

    Once you’ve determined who you want to live with and where, it’s time to reach out to the leasing agent! Their information can usually be found in apartment leasing offices, on housing websites, or on “for rent” signs. You’ll typically get to see the house/apartment and start paperwork. Usually, the landlord will require proof of employment, a credit score, photo ID, past addresses, references, bank information, and proof of residency. Since many college students don’t work full time jobs or have enough income for a particular rent, your parent will probably co-sign the lease with you.

    After completing these steps, you will have secured off-campus housing for next year!

    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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  • Coffee with a CEO: College students gain more by networking up

    by Timothy Evans

    A screenshot of the blog author on a web call with 13 others.

    A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest rank that you can achieve in a company. For many of us, achieving this position seems like a far-off dream – especially as a college student. Students know that networking is important, and while it can be intimidating to network up with a higher-level executive, there’s so much to gain by putting yourself out there.

    When making the connection, it is natural to get nervous, of course, but you don’t need to change who you are to impress them. Students tend to forget that a CEO is still a human being. Here are three things I do during the preparation, presenting, and follow-up stages of connecting with a CEO.

    Preparation

    This step is crucial. By preparing, you will have a better grasp of what to say and ask. Yes, you will get nervous, but the preparation phase helps calm those nerves. It’s similar to taking a test after studying extensively: you still feel anxious, but you KNOW that you are ready. Ways in which you can prepare are simple.

    • Pick out clothes to wear the day before. Your clothing choice is essential. It shows the executive that you respect them and that you are here to be remembered. Even in a virtual setting, you want to look professional on screen.
    • Write out an outline of what you want to say. Make sure to keep this as an outline. You are not reading a word-for-word script but helping to keep a conversation structure. Studies have shown that going over an outline three times can best prepare you for a presentation.
    • Get questions ready that aren’t just about the business or your goals. Ask questions about his/her interests and try and find things that build a relationship between the two of you. This will help you stand out from the crowd as well.

    The prep phase is critical, and with these three things in mind, you can wake up in the morning with the most incredible sense of relief.

    Presenting

    You will be nervous. Do not try and fight that - embrace it. When you speak to an executive, you want to keep it brief. Do not ramble on. Show them that you can get to the point and respect their time. When presenting, make eye contact, use your hands when speaking to declare emphases, and nod when spoken to. These all are important in showing that you can be confident in your ideas and an active listener. Lastly, presenting doesn’t mean just you are speaking. Let the other person talk as well. Ask questions about things they bring up to show interest and show that you care about what they are saying and want to know more.

    Follow Up

    After the meeting or casual coffee call, make sure you follow up and share something that you appreciated about the conversation. People love reflecting on good stories, and CEO’s are no different. Don’t forget that it is okay to ask questions in the follow-up email. It doesn’t have to be goodbye. If you liked your conversation and felt it was a good connection, use this email as an invitation to connect further.

    Now that you have understanding of the do’s and don’ts, you should be ready to put yourself out there and grab the attention of an executive. Remember to always prepare beforehand, maintain good presentation skills, and be ready to continue the conversation, even after the call.

    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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  • Best Places to Get Virtual Badging

    by Rhea Mathur

    A screenshot of eight digital badge examples for topics related to career development and leadership.

    As the recruitment process relies more and more on virtual aspects, it is more important than ever to maintain an accurate and competitive online presence. Virtual badging is a newer way to receive recognition for skills learned on websites like LinkedIn.com and Monster.com. Virtual badging typically doesn’t take very long to obtain – for many LinkedIn Learning certifications, it could take anywhere between 45 minutes and 3 hours, making the commitment totally worth it!

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  • College Students: Develop Money Management Skills Now as an Investment in Your Future

    by Molly Hicks

    A young woman looks at a laptop screen showing investment information.

    As a college student, money management can appear daunting. It is natural to brush it off as a topic which only concerns adults. I am currently a freshman in college, and ten months ago, I had no true interest in investing. However, during quarantine, my dad began to explain the perks and advantages of investing. It certainly sounded attractive, but how was I supposed to invest my personal money when I did not even know the basics?

    I am excited to share four steps to encourage you to invest and lead you to long-term success.

    1. Identify a trading platform that fits your needs and interests. Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Robinhood are reliable and safe companies, and I know many people using each. For a beginner, Robinhood is the easiest platform to use. All three of these platforms have little to no fees for investing.
    2. Open a Roth IRA account, as well as a normal brokerage account. An IRA is designed for long-term investing, which usually means your money stays in the account until retirement. A brokerage account gives you access to invest and withdraw your money at any time. Opening both an IRA and a brokerage account allows you to do long-term investing and short-term investing.
    3. Create an investment plan. At this point you are ready to invest! This is an exciting time in your life, especially if you are a first-time investor. It is important to identify your goals and purpose for investing, and then to plan and research based those goals.
    4. Identify investments that interest you. Look for steady, reliable, well-performing companies that are in good financial standing and have a positive outlook for the future. As Warren Buffett says, “if you wouldn’t hold your investment in a company for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” Do not make spur-of-the-moment investment decisions, as I can tell you from personal experience, they usually lead to mistakes. Identify an investment that interests you, think over it for an extended period of time, and then execute.

    My best piece of advice is to invest in an index fund. In simple terms, an index fund is a form of investment that tracks the performance of hundreds of different companies. The S&P 500 Index is the most famous, and there are plenty of funds that follow this particular index.

    Warren Buffett has stated numerous times the importance of investing in a low-cost index fund. Buffett recently said in a 2019 Yahoo! interview, “in 1942, if I put $114 into an S&P 500 fund instead of buying a single stock, it would be worth about $400,000 today.” This is arguably the most risk-free and reliable strategy for investing.

    Make it your goal every month to put at least $10 or more into an index fund in your IRA. You are not only investing in your future, but the future of your family.

    Commit to learning, save your money, and invest it wisely. Also, have confidence, because you are making one of the best decisions for your future, and beginning a lifelong journey of excitement!

    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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  • Finding a Faculty Mentor

    by Tori Jacobson

    Blog author Tori Jacobson stands in front of a large presentation board showing information about Gender Socialization.

    Have you heard the term “faculty mentor”? Though connecting with faculty can appear challenging in the digital classroom, it is still possible to find a mentor to help you throughout college. A faculty mentor is a faculty member you can go to for questions, recommendations, and to help prepare you for work in your specific field. My faculty mentor has helped me attend conferences, write research, and she will write a recommendation letter for graduate school. But what makes a good faculty mentor? Here are three characteristics to keep in mind as you are considering a possible mentor search:

    They make themselves available

    How difficult would it be to have a faculty mentor you can never get in touch with? You can often tell pretty quickly how willing a faculty member is to make themselves available as a resource for their students. It may come as a shock, but professors have lives of their own outside of the university setting. Some professors will stick to straight office hours, and those designated time slots will be the only time they will use to communicate with students. Professors who offer one-on-one appointments, their office phone number, or different ways to message them make it evident that they want to get to know and better assist their students. A professor that makes a great faculty mentor will offer multiple options for communication and will appear unbothered to do so.

    They are well connected to their field

    Whether they have always been in academia or if they returned to it recently, having knowledge of opportunities within your field is an important factor in a mentor. This can look like awareness of conferences, internships, or other resume builders they can recommend to you.

    You enjoy their course

    This one sounds like it shouldn’t be a requirement, but it is easier to work with someone when you are used their communication strategies and are comfortable approaching them. If you are terrified to approach this professor, they probably aren’t the best pick. Your job as a mentee is to observe and communicate with your mentor as much as possible to best learn whatever knowledge they are inclined to share. If you already are having difficulty sitting through a one-hour lecture with this professor, adding more one-on-one interactions may not be beneficial.

    I hope these tips help you to find a faculty mentor that fits your needs! This is a great tool for students to utilize while they still have easy access to their highly trained and connected professors. Don’t let that opportunity pass!

    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!

    Explore.

    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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  • 11 Tips to Make Any College Club Great

    by Alexa Kosloski

    A laptop screen with a Zoom call open, showing a meeting with 22 participants.

    Throughout my undergrad career, I have served on executive boards for 3 different clubs and served Chapter President for one. Having this experience has allowed me to understand what it takes to truly have a successful college club. Although every organization is different, the steps it takes to be successful are similar. Below are 11 tips that can help take any college club from good to great.

    1) Brainstorm ideas ahead of time

    If you have the opportunity to do so, brainstorm ideas for your club before the semester starts. This can be a huge time saver and stress relief. To accomplish this, have your executive board meet on Zoom during the summer or during winter break prior to the semester start. By brainstorming your ideas ahead of time, you will have an idea of what exactly your club offers so that you can encourage others to join. This also will save you time in the future, so you can just be at your club events instead of stressing about what your next meeting will contain. Members can tell if a club planned something ahead of time or was put together last minute.

    2) Pay attention to your members

    While you may have a million different ideas for your club, your members may not be a fan of all of them. Try to vary your events early on so that you can gauge what activities your members enjoy most and use that feedback to shape what your club offers. Make sure to include members as much as possible, especially if you’re a virtual club. It will be more engaging and will give them more to talk about when other students and employers ask them what they do in the club.

    3) Don’t underestimate word of mouth marketing

    Besides just posting flyers about your events, the executive board members need to share your events with their friends and classmates. You can also see if your professors will share your flyers or let you talk about your bigger events during classes that are of relevant subject matter to your club. A student may be more likely to attend your event if they hear about it from a friend, rather than just seeing it posted on the bulletin board.

    4) Get inspiration from others

    Pay attention to the actions and activities of other clubs on your campus and clubs from other colleges that provide a similar experience. Strive to stay up to date with trends in the specific industry that your club revolves around, or even current events. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

    5) Change it up

    Regardless of what your club is, a little change can be very refreshing. That’s not to say that you have to drastically change the activities that you offer, although you certainly could if you want to. But perhaps there’s a way to improve how you carry out your original activities. For instance, maybe your club has fundraisers at the same restaurant every year. Consider holding the event at another restaurant. A simple change of location can breathe new life into an annual event.

    6) Make it more than a resume builder

    The number one thing that makes a great college club is the executive board. No matter what the reputation of your club is, the executive board has the ability to hold or change that. Be willing to put in the work, not just list the position on your resume. The best clubs put their members first and know that their work will help keep the club running for years after their terms have ended.

    7) Stay organized

    There are so many dates, times, and documents to keep track of when you’re on an executive board. Keep it all in one place that every member can access. This will reduce confusion and you’ll all be able to find everything when you need it. I highly recommend using Google Calendar and Google Drive for all of your club’s organization needs.

    8) Do your checks and balances ahead of time

    While normal member meetings may not require this, running a large event has a lot of moving pieces. Make sure that you talk to the necessary parties WAY in advance. Each piece takes time and the more time that you give yourself, the better your results will be.

    9) Don’t burn yourself out

    While it’s great to have tons of ideas, a club’s members have midterms, finals, and holidays to attend to. Keep these dates in mind to avoid having events during these times, if possible. Your members will appreciate having that time to themselves. In addition to this, gauge how everyone on the executive board is feeling. Do they seem burnt out? If the answer is yes, try to build in a week with no events or meetings to give everyone break. This can really re-energize the board.

    10) Help each other

    While everyone on an executive board has their own tasks to accomplish, some tasks involve more work than others. If you have the chance to help someone, help them. This will create a better bond between you and the other executive board member, and the task will be less stressful and more successful.

    11) Plan for transitions

    There’s a lot of knowledge gained from being on an executive board. You learn what works and what doesn’t work, what struggles and opportunities the club has, important club requirements, and much more. If your club’s former executive board has to learn all of this on their own, they are bound to miss out on potential opportunities and repeat past mistakes. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, have each former executive board member train the incoming board member for their position. This will be immensely helpful and result in greater success for the club.

    While this may seem like a lot to remember, the basic idea comes down to putting your people first. That includes both other executive board members, as well as your general club members. If you continuously work to put them first, everything else will fall into place.

    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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  • The Benefits of Taking Summer Classes

    by Kiara Lozano

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

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

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

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

    Save Money

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

    Graduate Early

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

    Add Credentials

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

    Shorter Duration

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

    Flexibility

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

    Complete Harder Courses

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

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

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

     

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  • Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet

    by Logan Collins

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

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

    Uncovering the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

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

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

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

    Making the Change

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

    Examining the Results

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

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

     

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  • Tips for a Successful Mentoring Experience

    by Brooklynn Gross

    Student holding and showing Alumni Mentor Program Handbook

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

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

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

    1. Be professional

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

    2. Get to know each other

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

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

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

    3. Set an agenda for each meeting

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

    4. Visit your mentor’s workplace

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

    5. Ask for feedback

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

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

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  • Set Goals to Create Daily Motivation

    by Jesus Hernandez

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

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

    Breaking it down

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

    Daily practice

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

    Get out of your comfort zone

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

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

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  • Planning the Perfect Schedule

    by Sydnie Ho

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

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

    Select class times that set you up for success

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

    Plan for lunch breaks

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

    Have backup classes

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

    Vary subjects and/or level of difficulty

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

    Set an alarm for registration

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

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

     

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  • Navigating Graduate and Professional School Entrance Exams

    by Sidney Li

    blog image alt text

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

    Health and Medical Field Programs

    DAT

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

    MCAT

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

    OAT

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

    PCAT

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

    General Graduate School Programs

    GRE

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

    MAT

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

    MBA Programs

    GMAT

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

    Law School

    LSAT

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

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

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

    by Megan Cistulli

    A female college student studying for the LSAT

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

    Study Early

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

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

    Test Early

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

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

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

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

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  • Setting SMART Goals

    by Brionika Johnson

    blog image alt text

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

     

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  • Winning Writing: Email Essentials for College Students

    by Taylor King

    Lptop, paper planner and pencils on a table

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

    Be GENUINE.

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

    Show two qualities – warmth and competence.

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

    Mention mutual connections.

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

    Find similarities.

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

    Keep it brief.

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

    Check it for accuracy!

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

    BONUS TIP:

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

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

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

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

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

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  • How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

    by Christy Zheng

    Friends in a Zoom call

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

    Actually Take Time Off

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

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

    Spend Time with Friends

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

    Getting Back to Work

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Holidays on Campus: Winter Wonderland Room Tour

    by Camryn McCrary

    Woman holding hands up catching snowflakes

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

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

    by McKinley Falkowski

    McKinley Falkowski

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

    Reflect on your actions

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

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

    Visualize your challenges

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

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

    Follow through on the process

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

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

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  • A Major Decision Made Easy!

    by Rachel Hutchinson

    A woman holding a book with smile

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

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

    Take Your Time

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

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

    Don’t Stress!

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

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

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  • A Holiday Season Bucket List

    by Taylor Guynup

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

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

    Looking at Christmas Lights

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

    Hot Chocolate and Movie Night

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

    Ice Skating

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

    Decorating a Holiday Treat

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

    Putting Up Decorations

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

    Serving in a Soup Kitchen

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

    Taking Christmas Card Pictures

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

    Make a Homemade Gift or Card

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

    Elf on the Shelf

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

    Jam Out to Some Tunes

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

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

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

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  • Eating Healthy at Home

    by Megan Cistulli

    Healthy food nicely arranged in a plate placed on the table

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

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

    Intermittent Fasting

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

    Sugar Free (sort of)

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

    Vegetarian

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Beating the Finals Flu

    by Sidney Li

    Sign showing Flu season ahead

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

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

    What is the “finals flu”?

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

    Why does it happen?

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

    How to avoid it?

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

    What happens if one gets it?

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

    What if the “finals flu” sticks around?

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

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

     

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  • Life as a STEM Student

    by Mary-Kate Wesley

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

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

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  • 3 Ways You Can Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

    by Grace Millsap

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

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

     

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  • 5 Tips to Creating Your Personal Brand Online

    by Noah Myers

    Noah Myers infront of a building

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

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

    Be genuine and authentic

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

    Tell a story

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

    Review and clean up your social media accounts

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

    Be consistent

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

    Write your bio & take a professional headshot

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

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

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

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

    by AJ Porter

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

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

    Forging Relationships

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

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

    Productivity Methods

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

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

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

    Perfectionism and Effort

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

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

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

    by Jill Kelly

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

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

     

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  • Hunting for internships in the time of COVID

    by Christy Zheng

    GLP-screenshot

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

    My Background

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

    Build a Network

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

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

    Make an Impression

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

    Ask for Referrals

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

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

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

     

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  • Meal Prep Made Easy

    by Sydnie Ho

    Healthy meal

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

    Breakfast

    Egg Cups

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

    Ingredients:

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

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

    Lunch/Dinner:

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

    Healthy Turkey Chili

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

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

    Teriyaki Chicken

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

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

    Vegetarian Fried Rice

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

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

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

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  • A Day in the Life at Lone Star College

    by Kimberly Hartshorn

    Lone star college picture

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

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

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  • The truth about federal student loans

    by Vivianna Loza

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

    Private Loans vs. Federal Loans

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

    Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized

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

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

    Understand All Options and Expectations

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

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

     

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  • Pearson Students Recipe of the Month: Dracula Dentures

    by Camryn McCrary

    blog image alt text

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

     

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  • How to nail your interview: SMILE

    by Megan Cistulli

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

    S- speak slowly

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

    M- memorize material

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

    I- inspire your listeners

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

    L- listen carefully

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

    E- explain your answers

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

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

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

     

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