• College Money Management Hacks

    by Madeline Beavis

    A close-up shot of 2 rows of $1 bills.

    “I’m broke!” might just be the most common statement made by college students. College is a major expense, but there are many ways to still have fun and be involved without breaking the bank!

    Take Advantage of Student Discounts

    Did I hear discounts? Yes! There are many businesses that offer discounts for students. From clothes to electronics to movie theaters to theme parks, retailers are happy to support students. Don't be afraid to ask about available student discounts.

    Apply For Scholarships

    I know it can seem daunting to write essay after essay about why you deserve a scholarship, but organizations want to help students with their financial needs! Sitting down for a couple of hours and submitting applications can make all the difference to offset college costs... and some scholarships don’t even require essays! Make sure that you check with your school’s financial aid office for specific scholarships related to academic performance, athletics, or extracurriculars.

    Give Yourself an Allowance

    Learning how to balance your spending is an important life skill. If you have a job, calculate how much money you make per month and allow yourself a maximum amount to spend out of your income. If you do not have a job, allot a specific amount you can spend each month or consider finding a job on campus if you have enough time in your schedule. There are usually many opportunities to work at on-campus coffee shops, the library, or dining halls. Check out your school’s employment opportunities for more information. Be sure to track your spending and progress for motivation!

    Open A Savings Account

    A savings account is a great way to store your money in a secure location, limit spending (remember your allowance!), and earn interest. Keeping your savings in an account ensures access to your funds in case of an emergency, while intentionally separating your spending money from what you are trying to save. Investigate savings accounts without minimum balance amounts and no monthly fees to save even more.

    Investigate E-Textbooks

    It is no secret that college textbooks are expensive! Many college textbooks are available in a more budget-friendly eTextbook format – which are often less than half of the cost of the print version. I’ve had the opportunity to subscribe to my eTextbooks, available in Pearson+. This has been a great way to save money on textbooks. For just $10.99/month you have instant access to your eTextbook, videos, and study tools. With the Pearson+ mobile app, you can access your textbooks from anywhere!

    Your college years can be challenging in many ways and managing finances can top the list at times. Take the time to plan the money management strategies that work best for you. The habits you build will serve you well both throughout your college experience and after graduation.

    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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  • From College to the Whole Wide World

    by Malina Gavris

    A computer generated graphic featuring a graduation cap, a rolled diploma, and a whit diploma cover labeled Certificate of Graduation.

    As a college senior, I am at a very important yet strange part of my life. Still a student, I have the luxury of worrying about small things such as making sure I'm prepared for the pop quizzes my accounting professor likes to surprise us with, or deciding what restaurant my friends want to eat at after a library study sesh. But as an upperclassman, I also know that my college years are coming to an end, and I can't help but think about my future ALL of the time. What job will I have? Where will I work? Am I brave enough to move to a big city? Don't even get me started on thinking about grad school. As my graduation day inches closer, here’s how I am addressing the transition from college life to the real world, and tips I've learned on how to have not just a successful college career but a functional plan for your future!

    Meet with Advisors

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is to schedule advising appointments with your respective advisors and counselors, and to schedule them ahead of time. During my freshman year, I had a plethora of questions about my schedule, extracurriculars, and how to format my resume. I thought my questions were trivial and the answers could be found somewhere on my university’s web pages. I spent weeks going on wild goose chases, looking for the information that I needed to no avail. Fully frustrated, I finally decided to schedule an appointment with my advisor, only to find that she was booked for the next three weeks! However, when I finally met with her, all my worries were ameliorated. I received such helpful advice and from that day on, I’ve never shied away from meeting with what my school calls my “success team”, whether it be to choose my electives for next semester or just to discuss my professional goals.

    Don’t be afraid to ask your advisors for help whenever you need it! They are there for you to make sure that you succeed and can provide you with specialized advice that family and friends might be unable to.

    Get Organized

    Something else that I’ve learned over the past few years is that staying organized matters! I went from being the person who rarely took notes, to someone who sets reminders on my phone the moment I am notified of a plan or an assignment. I’ve never missed a deadline since my second semester of freshman year, and the habit of staying organized will help you not only with school but with your future jobs. With a corporate banking internship under my belt, I’ve definitely learned that your managers expect you to be punctual and to handle multiple tasks at a time, so it was a great way for me to put my organizational skills to the test.

    Manage Your Stress

    Lastly, when it comes to transitioning to your future career and thinking about long-term plans for your life, the most important thing that I’ve learned is to not stress! As long as you lead a balanced life with a strong work ethic and make the most of the opportunities presented to you, you are on the right track to succeed. Never feel bad if you don’t get a position or a job! Even the most prepared candidates might not be the right fit, and that rejection might actually lead you to find a better position more suited to your skillset and personality. Of course, you should have a plan for your life post-graduation but remember to be flexible because you don’t know what life will offer you and how your interests will evolve or change!

    In conclusion, while ending your undergraduate education seems like a big close to an important chapter of your life, it is really the beginning of your future. I’ve learned to make the most out of life as a college student and to not be afraid to dream big. Through trial and error, I’ve learned how to manage my scholarly and professional life in order to kickstart my career, and I hope that my tips will help you kickstart your own professional and personal journey so that you can bring your best to any situation!

    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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  • Three Things I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman

    by Laura Avellaneda

    Two college women are standing outside with the Golden Gate Bridge behind them.

    Now that I have graduated, I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on my college experience. I’ve realized that there are three things I wish I knew as a freshman that would’ve made my college experience much easier!

    1. Don’t be afraid to take risks

    College can be an intimidating place, especially as a freshman going to a big school! Don’t be afraid to take risks or try new things because of what other people might think; this is the perfect environment to do it in. This could mean joining a new club, trying a new sport, taking a difficult class, going to a social event, and more. For all you know, it could lead to you meeting your best friends or finding a new hobby! This is an awesome opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you like and don’t like.

    2. Everything will work out in the end

    Although it won’t always seem like it, most of the time everything always works out in the end! As a freshman, it can be so stressful and overwhelming when you don’t get the class you want or you aren’t able to become roommates with your friends. But what if it leads to you taking a different class that you love or you becoming best friends with your roommates that you’ve never met? It’s easy to get stuck on something when one bad thing happens, but living with the mindset that everything happens for a reason and that it will all work out can be super helpful. Stress is inevitable but understanding this can make college a little less stressful!

    3. Reach for help when you need it

    Everyone will experience highs and lows in college, especially in their freshman year. Sometimes, it might seem like you’re having a lot of lows, but when this happens it’s important to reach out for help so you can feel less lonely. This could mean reaching out to friends and family and letting them know you’re struggling, going to therapy on campus, or asking for help in classes. College is already hard enough, but having a close circle of people you can rely on when you need it can significantly improve your experience!

    If you’re just getting started in your college career, take my advice to ease your way into this experience. Be prepared to take risks, keep an open mind, and seek support when you inevitably face challenges.

    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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  • Use Goals and Rewards to Achieve Academic Success

    by Tommy Sewczwicz

    Blog author Tommy is wearing a blue t-shirt and holding up a small dry erase board, on which he has written out his weekly goals.

    At the beginning of every semester most students are very motivated to achieve their academic goals – whether that be to achieve straight A's or just passing all their classes. We get to start fresh at the beginning of the semester with the belief that this will be our best semester. Typically, the first couple weeks go by smoothly but when tests start coming up and work piles up, things can go downhill. We may start settling and not working as hard as we did at the start of the semester, losing the vision of our goals. Here are a few tips I use to help me stay motivated throughout the semester.

    Write Out Big Goals

    The first thing I do at the beginning of the semester is write down my big goals for the semester on my whiteboard. Some of the goals I may include are:

    • more A’s than B’s
    • no C’s or worse
    • complete all homework assignments on time

    …or whatever else I may be trying to focus on. By writing these goals on my white board I see them every day and remind myself of what I am trying to accomplish. If I have fallen behind in one of the goals, I have set for myself I know I have to lock in more. Whereas if I am on pace to meet my goal, I know that what I am doing is working and to keep doing what I am doing.

    Write Out Smaller Goals Through the Week

    Next, I also have smaller goals written down. These can be daily or weekly goals that help you reach your big main goals. I will also write these down on my whiteboard so that I can see what I have to do and get the satisfaction of crossing it off my list. An example of some of the smaller goals I may set for myself are:

    • go to all my classes
    • complete my upcoming homework assignments
    • study for an hour

    Breaking down my main big goals into smaller goals makes it seem easier and motivates me to do my work because I know that it will directly affect my big goals.

    Reward Yourself Whenever You Accomplish Something

    One of the great ways to stay motivated is by giving yourself something to look forward to. It can be something as small and simple like you get the rest of the day to just relax and do what you want or something bigger like buying new clothes or going on a little trip. Last semester I tried this and ended up completing my goals because I wanted a couple of new sweatshirts. For each goal I completed, I allowed myself to buy a sweatshirt. It was the first time I was engaged and motivated through a whole academic semester. Giving yourself something to work for keeps you engaged with your schoolwork, and you’ll learn a lot more.

    Remember the Big Picture

    Whenever I am dreading to do an assignment, I will look at the big picture and examine the path that leads me to where I want to be. All the little assignments, projects, and tests matter and are just little steps leading me to my goals. This visualization helps keep me motivated because I want to accomplish my larger goals and I will get my work done to insure the best future for myself.

    A certain amount of self-management is needed to achieve academic success. Whether it be long term and short-term goal setting, establishing rewards for yourself, or examining the big picture, figure out what motivates you to complete your work and implement it early in the semester before you get off track.

    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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  • My College Roommate: Tips, Testimonials, and Advice for Improving Your Relationship

    by Isabella Allen

    A collage of 3 photos of the blog author and her college roommates with the text ‘My College Roommate’ in white letters.

    College is full of new experiences: a new sense of freedom, many new responsibilities, and (for some) a new place to live. Whether you met your college roommate(s) in high school, or they were assigned to you by your school, there are several things that you can do to ensure the success of your roommate relationship(s). With clear communication, compromise, and patience, living away from home will bring you lifelong memories and lasting friendships.

    It is important to remember that one of the most important aspects of going to college is meeting new people, and that starts with whom you live. Read on for advice on how to communicate to prevent problems before they escalate, plus a real-world example and testimony of a conflict encountered by roommates and how it was resolved.

    Set Expectations and Boundaries

    One of the most important pieces of advice for new roommates is this: don’t force a friendship. It is necessary to have time away from the person that you are living with as well as time that you will spend together in your dorm or apartment. Whether you have known your roommate for years or you are meeting them for the first time, remember that memories take time and come naturally. Along with spending time apart, be respectful when spending time together. Set clear boundaries early on and make respect a priority. It is super fun to live with someone, and it can be a bond like no other, but no matter what you must remember to respect each other’s time, belongings, and privacy.

    Resolve Conflicts Through Communication

    In my time with my freshman year roommate, we only encountered one conflict together. While I was taking a nap, my roommate left to take a shower (we had communal bathrooms). I woke up from my nap to a text from a friend asking if I’d like to join them for lunch. I failed to notice the fact that my roommate’s clothes were on her bed, and I left and locked the door. Because I was napping when she left, she didn’t bring her key with her and was locked out in her shower robe. I received a call from a neighbor explaining that I needed to get back to the dorm, and I quickly returned and unlocked the door. My roommate didn’t speak to me for three days, which also upset me because I felt that I hadn’t totally been in the wrong. After a very uncomfortable (yet temporary) silent treatment, we had a conversation where we apologized to each other and agreed that we had both been at fault. She bought a cute whiteboard to put on our door so that we could write on it if one of us was just leaving the room for a moment, and we each agreed to take our keys with us anytime we left the room.

    Your roommates are going to be the people who are there for you when no one else is. Literally, they are the ones who are physically there. Depending on the person, it may even feel like they are there even when you may not want them to be. Remember this: it is totally normal to get annoyed by little things or feel like you need time to yourself. It is okay to ask for 30 minutes alone, and it is also okay to invite them to get lunch with you! The most important thing in any relationship is communication. Focus on the good and talk about how you can resolve the not-so-good together.

    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 Leadership in College Can Change Your Life

    by Tristan Deveyra

    A group of college students at the University of Houston that are members of the Asian Student Business Association.

    Unlocking leadership opportunities can be daunting if you lack the credentials you think are necessary. I've experienced this firsthand; lacking a vast network of friends or professional experience, I missed out on leadership roles in high school. However, when I embraced leadership within the Asian Business Student Association an incredible transformation occurred. I discovered a world brimming with social, mental health, and professional benefits.

    College Leadership Opportunities

    As a leader, I forged deep connections and lifelong friendships, finding a community that supported me and allowed me to create cherished memories. It opened doors to a support system I never knew I needed. Here’s a picture of me and my leadership team in the thumbnail! (That’s me in the top right!) Furthermore, being a leader enhanced my college experience economically by maximizing internship opportunities and valuable connections with companies. Employers highly value leadership and soft skills in candidates, recognizing their importance alongside technical knowledge.

    Zooming out, leadership offers a broader perspective and the chance to leave a lasting impact on those you lead. It extends beyond the workplace, influencing all aspects of life, from sports teams to family dynamics and friendships.

    How to Find Leadership Positions

    Leadership positions are everywhere in college! Your first step is to research and find an organization or club that you can join. Strive to find a community you’re truly passionate about and want to develop, and make sure it aligns with your interests, values, and goals. Indulge in its culture, and you’re set! Most colleges have websites with a catalog of all the organizations and also hold club fairs in the beginning of each semester. Make a point to attend and be sure to talk to recruiting personalities during these fairs.

    Leadership Positions and Corporate Recruiters

    As most college students progress through their careers, they tend to begin their search for internships. For Corporate Recruiters, students who have leadership experience become more appealing as they hold many qualities that make them a valuable candidate. Holding a leadership position in college showcases your ability to take on responsibilities and manage a team or an organization. Recruiters value candidates who can demonstrate their commitment, reliability, and capacity to handle complex tasks.

    Overall, leadership positions in college offer a platform for personal growth, skill development, and the cultivation of valuable soft skills that can benefit you in various aspects of your life, including your future careers.

    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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  • Personal Organization is a Key Part of College Student Success

    by Kiahna Seijo

    Blog author Kiahna is outside in front of a big tree. She is wearing overalls and has a backpack slung over one shoulder.

    As a college student it can be difficult to stay organized, especially with the amount of classes you are taking on top of extracurricular activities and work. With everything going on, it is of the utmost importance to find a way to organize your time. There are many different ways – you just have to find the one that works best for you!

    Personally, I like to utilize Google Calendar. This virtual tool provides a calendar along with a to-do list. This is the perfect combination for me because I can view my weekly schedule and the assignments I need to complete side-by-side.

    In my weekly calendar, I add the events I have every week. This helps me be on time and prevents me from missing anything important. The calendar aspect also allows me to enter in events for the whole month, but I tend to get overwhelmed when I see everything at once. One of my main tips, if you’re like me, is to take it day-by-day. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed with the amount of work you have.

    Another tool that Google Calendar has is a to-do list. I input all the assignments I have for the week with the dates they are due. This is one of my favorite tools to use because I can check each task off my list. When I get things done it’s very rewarding to check each one off!

    I have made it a habit to check my calendar daily, and this helped me achieve all A’s in my first year of college. I found it very important to stay organized because as college students we have so much on our plates. On top of school and the three jobs I work, I am also the president of an organization at my school. Being organized and sticking to a routine has allowed me to have balance. I still have time to go to the gym every day, hang out with friends, and do things that I love!

    Whether you use a virtual tool or a traditional planner, take the time to find the organization tool that works best for you. I believe that being organized will significantly improve the trajectory of your life.

    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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  • Career Connections: Sports Management

    by Amiaya Ross

    A collage of 3 photos: upper left is a group of 7 women – 6 are wearing sailor hats; lower left is the blog author with a football bowl trophy, and on the right is the University of South Alabama football stadium.

    While growing up, I was always involved in sports in various aspects. Whether I was playing on the field, supporting my siblings, or watching games on television, sports was a part of nearly everything I did. This happened quickly from a young age. At the time it didn’t occur to me that sports could be an area where I’d find my future career.

    First There Was Football

    My favorite sport to watch has always been football. Football has always been a big thing in my family, from Friday night lights to NFL Sundays. I have always enjoyed the lively and social atmosphere on game days. This led me to wanting to pursue a football game day staff position at my local university during my senior year of high school. I enjoyed every minute of my experience there.

    Campus Job

    As soon as I started college, I reached out to acquire a similar position and was hired by my university’s athletic department as an Event Services and Facilities Operations Student Assistant. In my role, I get to work and connect with so many staff members across the various different athletic departments, as well as external visitors who use our facilities on campus.

    Taking It to the Next Level

    This past semester, I recently started a position as a football equipment manager. This has been one of my favorite positions, since in this role I get to be more involved with what happens on the field and not just the stadium. Although both of my roles include many long and busy days and nights, I believe that getting involved in the sports industry has been one of the best experiences so far.

    Over the last three years, I have gained and developed numerous skills, such as communication and time management, that have been beneficial outside of work. I have had the best experience working in the sports industry so far, which is why I have decided to pursue a career within the industry after graduation. My goal is to someday work in event operations at a professional sports stadium or arena.

    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 Your Niche

    by CJ Schumacher

    A view of a football game at Michigan State. The marching band is on the field.

    College is a stressful time for many freshmen as establishing a new group of friends can be a difficult thing to achieve. Expression and discovery are two things that every college student will look at when arriving at school. These things can be very hard to come by and it can be difficult to even start to think about how to put yourself out there. Here are four ideas to help you find your niche in this new environment.

    Have Some Variety

    Build some variety into your course schedule. This will encourage you to meet many types of people throughout all your classes and can lead to different types of connections.

    Join Some Clubs

    Club involvement is crucial to getting connected to a new school. At Michigan State, we have something called Sparticipation in both the fall and spring semesters. This is a giant club fair for all the clubs on campus. Your school most likely has something similar. Attend the event and talk to the people representing different groups. You can also see if they have an information QR code or a signup list to sign up for emails from that club! In connection with this, look at any school-related social media accounts and posts to discover clubs you are interested in. Reach out to them through their direct messages or see if there is an information link in their account.

    Speak to Your Advisor

    Have discussions with your advisor. Advisors can often open your mind to your options and give you advice on good clubs and organizations to join to make the most of your college experience. Getting to know your advisors can improve your college experience and enhance job opportunities for the future.

    Be Yourself

    My final tip is something that may appear to be basic but be yourself. While going around campus just be true to yourself and be open to new opportunities. Just do what makes you happy and positive experiences will come your way.

    There will definitely be challenging times during college, but many very fulfilling times as well. Try everything you can, have a good time and enjoy some of the best years of your life.

    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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  • Leveling Up: Capitalizing on a Freshman Year Internship

    by A’Georre Williams

    A computer generated graphic in which three human figures are helping each other climb a set of stairs.

    When I was a freshman in college, I had no idea what an internship was, how to obtain one, or the astonishing benefits that can be attained after completing one. If you are anything like I was that first year, being initially nervous about giving up your summer for an internship may seem daunting. Now I can say that having an internship during my freshman year was the best decision for my professional career and has helped me develop qualities and skills that will lead to the trajectory of my success. Here are five things that you can learn during your internship that will set you ahead!

    Career Exploration

    Internships are a fantastic method for students to familiarize themselves with the field they are interested in, and exploring is a crucial component of the college experience. Freshmen may choose a major while having no real idea what an actual career in that area will look like. Obtaining an internship during your freshman year will allow you to gain experience in your intended field and can help you determine if it's the correct field for you. Or you may learn that this could be the right field, but not the exact job you want to pursue anymore. Students who interned early are more likely to feel assured that they made the proper degree choice by the time they graduate.

    Network Establishment

    Internships are a useful method to widen your professional network. Professional contacts you meet could be the most important link to your future employment, so having genuine and authentic relationships with your employer and co-workers is essential. Put simply, performing your best work will speak for itself and will make it easy for others to advocate for you in the future. Also, your intern supervisors can be useful in the future for recommendations and referrals, so making a good impression can be beneficial.

    Real-World Experience

    One of the most significant advantages of internships is the invaluable hands-on job experience that is provided, which cannot be achieved in a classroom setting. Interns have the chance to put their newly gained knowledge to use in real work situations while also getting a firsthand look at the typical tasks associated with their chosen sector. The opportunity to work on actual projects that benefit the company is not only surreal but insightful. Interns gain skills including communication and teamwork, in addition to the specialized knowledge of a certain industry, which helps prepare them for the workforce after graduation.

    Skills Training

    An internship is a great way to discover your talents and limitations. Internships provide unique learning experiences and allow for feedback from supervisors and others who are established in the industry. You may not have that type of opportunity once you’re in a full-time role. Get the most out of your internship training experience by asking questions, paying attention, and taking chances. Also developing those hard skills specifically catered to your major can help with future employment and opportunities.

    Financial Compensation

    Lastly, having an internship during your freshman year could potentially lead to financial compensation. Some students have unpaid internships which can still offer great opportunities to learn and develop. But more and more companies realize the value in offering paid internships. Being paid for performing tasks and projects for a job that you enjoy gives you a preview of what your future career can entail. Having money to pay for school and to save for the following school year is also a bonus.

    Overall, having an internship early has so many positive factors that will benefit you professionally and personally. Taking that first step will not only help you build your confidence but will also assist you in piloting a triumphant career!

    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 Tradition Greater Than Football

    by Lauren O'Brien

    A full football stadium at the University of Iowa. The marching band is on the field and many fans are wearing black and gold.

    It’s a Saturday in the fall, the weather is a crisp fall breeze in the air. Melrose Avenue is crowded with tailgates, food trucks, fan shops, and the colors black and gold flood the sidewalk and streets. This is the scene of an Iowa Hawkeye Football game day. As a student coming to the University of Iowa, this was the experience I could not wait to have. I could barely wait to start attending the tailgates, spending time with my friends, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes play on Saturdays.

    Inside the stadium, a tradition takes place every game after the first quarter – the tradition that is greater than football – the Hawkeye Wave. This is the moment in the game where the team, fans, and opponents wave to the patients in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, which sits adjacent to the Hawkeye’s Kinnick Stadium. This is the moment in the game where the teams come together and support the children and families who are receiving care.

    As a student that has experienced this chilling moment, it has taught me that there are greater things in life than going to football games. No matter how many times I have had this experience, I have chills rush down my body. I’ve taken three inspirations from the Hawkeye Wave: to be thankful for what I have, to give back to the community, and finally, to smile and wave.

    Be Grateful

    One way I show gratitude is by writing down three things I am thankful for in a journal before bed. This has allowed me to reflect on my day and be thankful for what I have and not dwell on what I do not have. Other ways I show gratitude is by reaching out to friends or family who I haven’t talked to in a while and letting them know I am thinking about them and hope they are well. If you are reading this, it is your reminder to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, share how much you appreciate them!

    Give Back

    As a college student, I have many opportunities to give back to those in need. A few ways I have done this is by creating cards for cancer patients, volunteering at a local elementary school, and participating in blood drives. I am fortunate to be on a campus that offers and advertises so many ways to give back to the community. Even though I may not be recognized for my efforts, I appreciate the feeling of knowing I have helped individuals in my community. I am working to encourage others to seek out opportunities to give back to the community because I believe no matter who you are, you have a gift to share with this world.

    Smile and Wave

    From a young age, my mom always told me to treat others with kindness. One small way to show kindness is through simply smiling and waving. If you know the person, greet them with their name and tell them how great it is to see them. If it is a stranger, just take a second to smile and wave. At the end of the day, you never know who may need the extra positivity and kindness.

    I find these three actions – keeping a gratitude journal, volunteering, and greeting others – help make me feel a little more fulfilled. Every small act of kindness can make a difference.

    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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  • Podcasts: Study Smarter, Not Harder!

    by Mikayla Wallace

    Body Unboxed podcast illustration of person running.

    Podcasts have become a valuable tool in higher education, offering numerous benefits to students and educators. For students, podcasts offer a more conversational and engaging approach to learning. They can be accessed anytime and anywhere, allowing students to engage with educational content at their own pace. A study conducted by researchers at Kent State University found that students felt weekly podcast summaries enhanced their comprehension and helped with test preparation, resulting in higher mean test scores (Francom et al., 2011). For educators, podcasts offer a medium to extend their reach and share their expertise with a wider audience. Podcasts can also supplement in-person lectures by providing additional explanations, examples, and real-world applications. 

    In my experience, having access to a podcast that was hosted by one of my professors, who also wrote the textbook for the course, provided a credible resource that enhanced my knowledge of the subject. What made it particularly valuable was that all the information was seamlessly synced across various learning platforms, including online lectures, podcast episodes, and eText. As a student who appreciates multitasking, I found the availability of a podcast format to be a game-changer. It allowed me to engage with the course material without being glued to my screen or textbook. I could listen to the podcast while going for a walk, cooking, or commuting, which helped me make the most of my time. Moreover, one of the standout benefits of podcasts is the conversational tone they provide compared to traditional in-person lectures. The podcast format made learning feel more interactive and engaging, as if I were conversing with the professor. Additionally, I had the flexibility to pause, rewind, and replay sections, which allowed me to reinforce key concepts at my own pace and ensure a solid understanding. Overall, the availability and convenience of the podcast format, along with its conversational nature and self-paced learning opportunities, enriched my education.

    I am a fan of the Pearson Body Unboxed podcast episodes because they provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the concepts discussed in the textbooks, all while maintaining relevance and covering trending topics. What I truly appreciate about the episodes co-hosted by Dr. Joan Salge Blake is that every episode features real-world issues from some of the top nutrition scientists, writers, and researchers. This is especially important to me because I want to know that the information that I am listening to is current and accurate. Moreover, the podcasts have the perfect duration. As a student, I often struggle with extended periods of listening to a single person discussing a topic. Thankfully, the podcast episodes are around 30 minutes in length, allowing them to cover the key concepts effectively. This concise format also proves beneficial when it comes to note-taking for studying purposes. The Pearson Body Unboxed podcast episodes are invaluable resources that encourage students to focus on the essential concepts and provide a refreshing break from in-person lectures and textbook reading.

    Podcasts have revolutionized higher education by offering a wide range of benefits for both students and educators. The availability of podcasts from reputable sources provides students with additional resources and insights to enhance their understanding of course materials. Incorporating podcasts into higher education can enrich the learning experience and support student's academic success.


    Francom, J., Ryan, T., & Kariuki, M. (2011). The Effects of Podcasting on College Student Achievement and Attitude. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 7(1). Retrieved July 12, 2023, from https://rcetj.org/index.php/rcetj/article/view/117/236  

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  • Embracing the Journey: Navigating the Maze of Choosing a College Major

    by Catherine Asberger

    A few college students standing in front of a wedge-shaped building in a European city.

    When I started college in 2021, I was very self-conscious about the direction my life was heading in. While other freshmen had grand plans about what they wanted to major in, I had no clue about what major would be best for me. I talked to so many of my classmates and was amazed at the career paths I heard. Pre-nursing, computer science, engineering – their confident declarations only highlighted my own indecisiveness. How did they come to these conclusions at the ripe age of 18, and how could I find a major that sparked the same passion within me?

    Assess the Journey

    At the start of this journey, not knowing my major made me feel inadequate and lost. I knew that a major I was happy with was not going to fall into my lap, I was going to have to work for it. So, the first step was narrowing down my options. I scrutinized the curriculum of the majors I was interested in, considering which classes might pose challenges and whether I was willing to invest the effort required to overcome them. Additionally, I assessed the job prospects available in each field post-graduation. These self-reflection exercises helped me streamline my choices, bringing me one step closer to a decision.

    Apply, Apply, Apply

    While this whittled down my choices for a major, I still did not have a clear idea about what I wanted to pursue. My fear was that if I chose a major without getting involved in the subject first, I’d realize that I didn’t like it. Therefore, my next step was to experience my options firsthand. My advice is: if you’re struggling to choose a major, go out there and apply for opportunities that get you immersed into your prospective major(s)! If you can take introductory courses for the major, take them. If you can get involved in volunteer opportunities, do it.

    Develop Your Passion

    For me, because I was deciding between a marketing degree or an information systems degree, I joined my university’s honors college marketing team. Then, to learn more about a field in a similar ballpark to marketing, I did a PR externship where I got to network with a local PR professional. Outside of professional opportunities, I took lots of classes pertaining to information systems and marketing. These experiences enhanced my resume and developed my skills as a young professional, which is paramount during college. Not only that, but it also served as a compass that guided me towards a major I knew I would love. In the end, I confidently declared as a marketing major halfway through my sophomore year.

    Trust the Process

    I thought not knowing what I wanted to major in was a major burden, but I was surprised to learn that it is an immense gift. It’s so empowering to say to yourself, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I will figure it out in due time.” It is so empowering to put in the work and trust the process. Don’t shy away from the indecisiveness – lean into it and grow from it.

    Seek the Best Version of Yourself

    To any fellow students struggling with choosing a major, I implore you not to be too hard on yourselves. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and trust that the right path will reveal itself in due time. Seek guidance from academic advisors, attend career fairs, and engage in internships or volunteer work. Make connections with professionals in the fields you're considering, and don't hesitate to ask for their insights.

    Remember, college is not solely about obtaining a degree; it's about nurturing your passions, developing new skills, and evolving into the best version of yourself.

    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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  • Maintaining Your Health During Freshman Year

    by Cooper Grahek

    A group of college students playing indoor hockey in a campus gym.

    College is an exciting time for many young adults. For most, it’s their first time away from home and they have an opportunity to explore the world on their own. However, with this newfound freedom comes a lot of stress. This stress is something that I had a hard time handling properly. It took a toll not only on my mental health, but my physical health as well.

    During my freshman year I found myself locked in my room and doing homework all the time. I struggled to allow myself to do anything besides homework and felt a level of stress when I did. I never went to the gym, wasn’t staying active, and most importantly I wasn’t eating the best. I would often catch myself getting stuck in a “buffet mentality” at the dining hall and constantly never felt full. This led to me eating pizza and drinking soda with nearly every meal.

    Coming into college I was a little underweight for my height, and all I wanted was to put on some muscle. Instead, I put on fat, and quite a bit of it. Although eating was my main issue, never going to the gym didn’t help. By the time Christmas break came around I could tell I had put on some pounds, and not in the way I wanted. I knew I had to make a change. Instead of letting stress control my life, I used it to fuel my motivation to find interests that helped me escape, whether it was going to the gym or doing some other physical activity.

    Don’t let the stress of college control your life like it controlled mine. Physical health is one of the most important things that lead to a long life. You also need to watch what you put in your body as fatty and unhealthy foods can lead to you feeling worse about yourself and increase the stress you already feel.

    There is more to college than just the school portion. Remember that and always try to take care of your body both physically and mentally.

    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 Student Involvement Can Shape Your College Experience

    by Rileigh Horcher

    College students unloading luggage and supplies for freshman orientation. Some are wearing face paint and funny headbands.

    Everyone tells you that getting involved within your school is so important, and I am living proof that this is true! I transferred to Texas A&M my sophomore year of college, and I felt like the smallest fish in the biggest pond. Texas A&M has a strong community of valuing involvement and finding your place, but it can be hard to find how you belong, especially as a transfer student. I decided to dive in headfirst to find ways to get involved and from that moment, my collegiate life changed. Through joining various student organizations, I found my calling to serve other people within my university and to build a massive community of friends and supporters in this brand-new place that I’ve learned to call home.

    Greek Life and Community Service

    My sorority has given me the chance to meet some of my best friends while serving in a philanthropic setting. I have also participated in a women's organization that benefited the youth in my area. We went to local elementary schools and read to the students to help improve their literacy rates by the time they were in third grade. Being a part of my university’s student government association has given me a completely different facet to be able to serve my peers and my university. I get to be a part of bringing our traditions to life through the events that we host, connecting the new generations of Aggies with the former students of Texas A&M.

    Fish Camp

    The most impactful organization that I have had the honor of being a part of is Texas A&M’s extended freshman orientation experience called Fish Camp. This is an Aggie’s first tradition in which incoming freshmen spend 2 nights and 3 days learning all that A&M has to offer. Students begin their college experience meeting new friends and getting to know what it is like to come together as an Aggie family and build lifelong relationships and connections to their peers and to their university.

    Now let’s talk about how you can get involved on your campus! Getting involved is a critical part of making the most out of these 4 short years that we get in college. It gives you the opportunity to find out who you truly are, and to better yourself through the skills you’ll learn and connections you’ll make. You’ll build a community of life-long friends as you find ways to give back to your school and your community. Find a way to get involved today!

    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 Succeed During an Overscheduled Semester

    by Kayleigh Parish

    A calendar notebook and several pens.

    At my university, counselors emphasize the importance of “thinking fifteen”, meaning taking fifteen credit hours a semester to graduate in four years. While this doesn’t seem too difficult, as a biomedical sciences student this often means that the fifteen credits I’m taking are all STEM-based classes, which typically come with a heavy work load. This can make planning my weekly schedule overwhelming, especially since I’m also scheduling in work and events with student organizations I’m involved with on campus. Here are some tips I use when going about my semester.

    Register Wisely

    Setting yourself up for success happens at class registration. Choose classes during the time of day when you will be most active and more likely to pay attention. Whether it be morning, afternoon, or night, keeping to the part of the day that is best for you will help you to get the most out of your day. Also, give yourself enough time between classes to process your notes and assignments. This will help you understand the information given and might even decrease the total amount of study time needed.

    Be Flexible

    One of the biggest things to realize when scheduling yourself throughout the semester is that there is a difference between concrete plans and plans that can be flexible. Concrete plans are your exams and classes. They will not change no matter what. Even if one class session is cancelled or an exam moved around, for the most part the days and times won’t change. Plans you make with your friends can also be concrete. You all choose a time and an activity and because multiple people agree, it’s more likely to not be changed. Flexible plans are things that could be moved around your day if they need to be. You may not have a decision when other people or organizations plan events you wish to participate in, but you can decide to push your afternoon studying to later or earlier in the day. Being flexible is super important in college. It allows you to do what you need to do and what you want to do at the same time.

    Build Sustainable Habits

    It’s better to build daily habits in your day rather than try to adhere to a strict schedule. If you create a daily schedule, it may not work every day. Instead, make a list of what needs to be done in the day and complete each task when you can. If you know you need to study for three hours, go day-by-day and decide where studying will fit in that day. When I know I have an event at night, I try my hardest to finish everything I need to get done that day before the event. On a day with no extra events scheduled, I space my tasks out a bit more so as to not overwhelm myself. Being able to do this will help you not only succeed in classes and have fun, but it will also relieve some stress from your day.

    Finally, understand that while deadlines are important, you shouldn’t fully live by them. Give yourself enough time to study for exams or properly complete assignments but allow yourself to take breaks and have fun throughout the week as well. Taking thirty-minute coffee breaks can help you reset. Having dinner with your friends can help you destress before or after exams. Studying is important to succeeding in many classes, but you can have fun and succeed at the same time.

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

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  • Four Ways to Increase Productivity and Organization for College Students

    by Bella Emanuel

    A graphic with geometrical shapes and the blog title ‘Four Ways to Increase Productivity and Organization for College Students’.

    During the first few weeks of my freshman year at Miami University, I was overwhelmed with how I would balance my schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and new friendships. Creating a balanced schedule at college can often be tricky. I quickly adapted to life here at Miami and implemented four strategies that helped me stay productive and organized: using a planner, making my bed every morning, creating a master syllabus, and prioritizing my mental and physical health.

    Planning Each Week

    At the beginning of each school year, I buy a new planner to start fresh. When the semester begins, I plan my week each Sunday evening. This allows me to plan out what assignments I will complete each day of the week. This helps me avoid procrastination and allows me to get my assignments done early. I also include group meetings, social events, or any other work that needs to be accomplished that week. Using a planner each week allows me to balance all my work and activities in an organized fashion.

    Making My Bed

    Each morning, the first thing that I do is make my bed. I started doing this after reading Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven. It helps me start my day both productively and in an organized manner. Making my bed makes me feel put together and ready to take on the day. Completing a task right when I wake up allows me to check a task off my list and makes me feel accomplished.

    Creating a Master Syllabus

    During the first week of each semester I create a master syllabus that includes all my assignments for each class for the whole semester. I go through each syllabus and pull out the assignment names, dates, and times that each assignment is due. Next, I enter them into a spreadsheet and color-code them by class. The final step is to order the data by the due date. This allows me to recognize what assignments are due each week and allows me to write them down in my planner. This is a way to keep track of all of my assignments and see which weeks have a heavier course load. Having all my assignments in one place creates good habits of turning work in on time and increases my productivity.

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  • 5 Tips to Help College Students Balance School, Work, and Social Life

    by Anna Garner

    Three images – left image is an alarm clock and calendar, center image is an open book, right image is a water bottle, cell phone, hand weights, and a jump rope.

    Working while going to school can be overwhelming, especially when trying to maintain a social life. I am currently in my senior year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and senior level classes are no joke. While school is my top priority, I also work three different jobs. My first job being a marketing intern for a local company, my second one being a Pearson Campus Ambassador, and my last one being a Prime Student Digital Brand Ambassador. It is safe to say that I am busy, but thanks to the tips I am about to teach you I can balance it all and still have time to myself or to spend with others.

    Stay Organized

    If you do not have a calendar, then you need to get one. Always write down your class schedule and when assignments are due. Next, write down your work schedule and any work meetings. Lastly write down any important dates such as birthdays, events, trips, etc. A calendar is a reminder of everything you need to do so you do not forget anything. Another way to stay organized is to create a to-do list every Monday with your assignments, meeting, or events going on that week. You can start by listing Monday and the things you need to do for that day and then move to Tuesday, Wednesday. etc. Once you have completed an assignment, meeting, or event you can cross it off. Crossing things off always brings me satisfaction.

    Rise and Shine

    Creating a morning routine will help you know what to expect for each day and help you start your day off right. Your mornings play a critical part of your day. My morning routine goes like this: I wake up, make my bed, brush my teeth, wash my face, eat breakfast, read my devotional, and go to the gym. By completing each of these things, I am setting myself up for success because they are each a small win. Morning routines can look different for each individual, but that’s the glory of it because they can be customized to you and your needs.

    Regulate Your Circadian Rhythm

    I have not always been a morning person but waking up early has helped my mental health a lot. I started waking up between 6am – 7am each morning to create time for myself. Now I have time to work out with a friend in the morning that I would not have if I were to wake up at 9 am like I used to. It is also important to go to bed at a reasonable time; for me that means 9:30 pm or 10 pm. You need to give your body time to reset and rest. If you do not take care of your body then you will not be able to function at your fullest, and when you are a busy person, you need your body to function.

    Limit Screentime

    We spend so much time on our phones out of habit. We scroll on social media and lose track of time from watching videos. I am not saying don’t ever go on social media, I am saying to be intentional when you do. Set an amount of screen time per each day that will satisfy your need for social media without taking too much of your time. To help with this I recommend avoiding your phone until you are done with your morning routine. By doing this you are less likely to get distracted. I also think it is best not to get on your phone before you go to bed. Scrolling just before you go to sleep can affect your sleep schedule and cause you to stay up later than you had planned to.

    Create a Nighttime Routine

    A nighttime routine is just as important as a morning routine. You need to give yourself time to decompress before bed. My nighttime routine consists of washing my face, brushing my teeth, and reading my book. Since creating this routine, I have been able to read books that I never had the time to read before. It also helps me go to bed at a reasonable time and stay off my phone.

    No matter how busy you are, it is all about perspective when it comes to your time. Everyone has the same 24 hours each day; we just spend them differently. If you’re more intentional with your time, then you can get a lot done. Set yourself up for success via to-do lists, morning and nighttime routines, getting ample sleep, and managing your phone usage. I hope these tips help you manage your school, work, and social life better and help you be less overwhelmed.

    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 Meal Hack: Korean Beef on a Budget

    by Alivia Clay

    The ingredients listed for the recipe included in the blog, including frozen fried rice, frozen broccoli, soy sauce, and vegetables.

    As a college student, it's important to find meals that are both affordable and delicious. That's why Korean Beef is one of my go-to meals. This dish is not only easy to make but also highly customizable to suit any taste preferences. Plus, it can be cooked in just one pan, making it perfect for students who have limited kitchen space, like me and my roommates.

    To make this dish, you will need the following ingredients:

    • 1 pound of ground beef
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 bag of frozen vegetable fried rice


    1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, onion, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
    2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef with the sesame oil until it's well done.
    3. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the meat and combine it well. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
    4. Add the vegetable fried rice (I like Trader Joe’s brand) to the skillet and let it simmer until the soy sauce mixture is fully absorbed.

    The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. For instance, if you’re not a fan of ginger, you can simply leave it out. Or if you love spice, like me, you can add more than the recommended amount of crushed red pepper flakes. You can also incorporate frozen broccoli to add some extra veggies to the dish. Frozen broccoli is a great option since it doesn't go bad quickly and steams well with the rest of the meal absorbing the sauce’s flavor. If you’re interested in boosting the dish’s protein content, you can scramble an egg into it or top it with a fried egg. This will not only add extra protein but also a delicious flavor.

    This meal requires only a few ingredients but is incredibly delicious. It balances sweet and salty flavors perfectly, creating a dish that's almost addicting. Even when I'm no longer a college student, I can see myself making this dish as a quick and affordable option that tastes restaurant-quality. Enjoy!

    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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  • Academic Research: Not Just for STEM!

    by Andrew Bierbower

    An outdoor recreational area with a large rock jutting out of the ground.

    When it comes to research opportunities, most people envision a laboratory filled with high-tech equipment, hazardous chemicals, and lots of scientists wearing lab coats working on experiments in biology, chemistry, and physics. This can be intimidating to those who do not have a strong background in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). However, there are many non-STEM opportunities available that can be equally rewarding and arguably even more impactful.

    Research in the Social Sciences

    A major area of non-STEM research is the social sciences. This includes fields like psychology, sociology, and political science, just to name a few. Social science research aims to understand things like human behavior, social structures, and societal issues. As an example, a sociologist may study the effects of social media on mental health or how income inequality may impact crime rates. This type of research helps provide important insights into human behavior and can help inform active, effective, and wide-reaching policy decisions at local, state, and federal levels.

    Medical Research

    Medical research is another important area of non-STEM research that is often overlooked. While medical research often involves STEM fields like biology and chemistry, it also includes non-STEM fields such as epidemiology, public health, and even bioethics. Medical research aims to understand and treat human diseases, while improving healthcare systems and policies. This could include studying the effectiveness of different types of healthcare interventions, healthcare communication to different socio-economic groups, and even understanding the ethical implications of introducing new medical technologies.

    Collaborative Research

    Most importantly, many research opportunities are looking to combine STEM and non-STEM fields into interdisciplinary research. This type of research enables inputs from multiple fields, facilitating new, conceptual solutions that may never have been created solely due to the lack of looking at the problem from a new perspective. For example, an economist may ask a sociologist for help in analyzing healthcare spending habits in underprivileged communities before recommending policies providing subsidies for specific healthcare services. This type of collaboration between disciplines helps create more impactful and significant changes than a singular approach to solving problems.


    Opportunities to get yourself involved in this type of research are wide-ranging; the National Science Foundation runs a program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) in which universities across the US receive federal funding to pursue different disciplines of research. Ethics, Social, Behavioral, and Economic sciences are just a few of the disciplines that are funded by this program. Applying to these programs requires completing an application, writing letters of intent, and most require letters of recommendations from a professor or manager.

    Reach Out to Your Professor

    However, if you miss those deadlines or don’t have the time to complete the applications, you can also reach out directly to professors and working labs at your university or other universities you would be willing to travel to. This approach requires a bit more leg work, as you need to find out background information on the research the professor is doing and seeing if it aligns with what you are interested in. However, it can be much more rewarding in the end when compared to blanket applying to programs as mentioned earlier.

    Regardless of how you choose to pursue research, do not feel like you are limited because you are a non-STEM major. Significant contributions are made every day by people from all backgrounds, including historians, humanists, sociologists, artists, and more. You never know how your perspective can change the lives of those around you!

    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 Language Learning Journey

    by Princess Robinson

    A young man lies on his back outside on a concrete step. He is wearing headphones and using an app on his phone.

    “Ah-beh-se-cheh-de-eh-efe”, accompanied with a military tune, were the words of the alphabet song that my first high school Spanish teacher played every day. I will never forget it. While some view the language class requirements as a hassle, taking them seriously, especially in high school, changed my life. Indeed, learning multiple languages has benefits, including opportunities to cultivate meaningful relationships, improvement of your first language, and strengthening your memory.

    When a positive engagement or activity evokes feelings of joy and doesn’t seem burdensome, one is said to be passionate about something. Having the ability to speak multiple languages lights my countenance and confirms a part of my purpose. My first high school Spanish teacher was energetic, humorous, and patient. I attentively took notes as he paddled the desks of the drowsy students with a yard long ruler. While I was an average Spanish student, what allowed me to grow in it was repetition. I didn’t exceed the high school Spanish course requirement, but in the summer of my junior high school year, I began to look at my Spanish book and make Spanish vocabulary flash cards, ranging from colors to food. Grocery store runs became opportunities to practice what I had learned. Some people were astonished, celebratory of the bravery of learning a new language, and some were critical. In fact, many people have told me to just speak English. I keep in mind that learning languages is for everyone to learn, is not cultural appropriation, but is a desire for improved communication.

    Learning a second language can improve your first language and enhance memory. Prior to learning Spanish, I didn’t fully grasp the context of the English sentence structure. For example, Spanish taught me that the words for “to be”, “ser” and “estar”, are verbs. Studying a second language also requires a willingness to be disciplined and consistent in training the brain to adapt to different grammatical and sentence structures.

    It can be tricky to figure out the distinction of gender differences in grammatical structure for languages where there are grammatical differences in communicating with males and females. Saying “how are you?”, for instance, is structured differently in some languages because the pronouns you, him, her, and them represent gender in word differences in acknowledging a man or woman. When you begin to study a new language, your brain begins to adapt and you increase your ability to multitask.

    Learning new languages can cultivate priceless connections. As mentioned earlier, as I built my Spanish vocabulary, I implemented what I learned by practicing with people in shopping centers, school, and even church.

    Apps are a primary way to learn languages. In addition to Spanish, I am learning Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Hindi with Pearson’s very own app – Mondly by Pearson, included free when you use Pearson+!

    I’d love to see language learning apps incorporate live instructors from different countries that are willing and able to give personalized lessons. Recently Mondly by Pearson added new options to practice real-life conversations and chat with a personalized virtual language teacher with Mondly VR and Mondly AR.

    Learning a new language takes dedication and discipline. Immerse yourself in YouTube videos in the desired language, use your language learning app on a regular basis, and seek out opportunities to converse with someone who speaks that language. Above all practice, practice, practice and you’ll begin to realize the results of your hard work!

    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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  • Reading Between the Lines: The Power of Annotation

    by Arwa Hammad

    Blog author Arwa’s spiral bound journal showing a page of her annotated notes.

    Do you feel stuck in a reading rut, unable to recall the knowledge you've just absorbed? If this is you, don't worry because there's a solution: annotation! Although there is no "correct" way to use this approach, annotating can be described as writing your thoughts, questions, and observations immediately on the material you're reading. This establishes a permanent record of your thoughts and ideas for future reference, while enhancing your comprehension of the subject matter.


    To begin annotating, I typically take a highlighter and a pen and jot down my thoughts on a sentence, passage, or chapter I've read. I prefer to apply my prior knowledge before reading the chapter and critically search what I have read. This not only enables me to revisit and comprehend what I have written but also allows me to analyze the text in real time, aiding me in understanding the material and identifying where I have encountered confusion.


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  • Navigating the Emotions and Challenges of Your College “Limbo” Years

    by Lauren Blair

    A full stadium at an Iowa State football game.

    Navigating through your college sophomore and junior years towards being a college senior is an underplayed challenge. The new responsibilities and freedoms for freshmen are highlighted and discussed frequently. However, a shadow falls over many college sophomores and juniors as they enter the "limbo" years. They don’t need the support that many freshmen seek yet they also don’t have the spotlight of graduating and entering a full-time position in a few months that the seniors acquire.

    Reality Sets In

    The “limbo” years can feature feelings of burnout and questioning as students feel stuck in a repetitive cycle of attending classes, studying, and taking exams. Many of my peers agree that these years are full of love/hate relationships. They describe going from one day loving their major and studies to the very next day finding themselves questioning everything about their future. The excitement of college has worn off. These students are facing many internal battles to find the right path for their success while managing to have a good time along the way, despite the difficulty of their classes increasing. Some might feel stuck working their way through generic courses, still searching for their passion while having yet to experience the joy of practicing real work in their major field.

    Change Your Mindset

    One way that helps me stay motivated despite the repetitive nature of the “limbo” years is to change my perspective. I struggle to find passion for required courses I have to take outside my major, but I take a step back and evaluate ways I can adjust my performance and attitude towards these classes. A basic course such as English seems taxing and time-consuming to an engineering student, however I recognize that this course may be more helpful for things outside my degree such as scholarship or application essays.

    This change of perspective helps me maintain a positive outlook and an attitude focused on making the best of the situation I am in. I realize I cannot change that I must take courses I may not enjoy but I can change how I approach them. Staying more open-minded allows me to draw something from the course even if it as simple as how to talk to professors or how to study for non-problem-solving courses.

    Set Small Goals

    Another tactic I use is to set small goals so I can visualize my own progression and growth despite feeling stuck in a loop. Setting a different attainable goal each month or between each holiday is an easy way to build in self-progression. For example, after winter break last semester, I set one goal to work towards and after Valentine’s Day I reflected to see how successful I was. I then set a new goal and reflected on that one during Spring Break. Following this schedule, I could see myself growing professionally, academically, and personally as I improved different areas of my life.

    Some examples of goals I have set are to reach out to professional contacts I haven’t reached out to in a while, finalizing an internship position for the summer, cooking more meals in my apartment, or attending a weekly yoga class. These goals cover a wide range of my life and are simply set to help provide myself with a way to track progression and find purpose amid the academic cloud many sophomores and juniors feel trapped under.

    The challenges that sophomores and juniors face may not be highlighted as strongly as those of freshmen and seniors, but maybe they should be. There are many more tactics to fight through this feeling of being stuck in quicksand, but the main key is to pull yourself out of the situation and view it from a more overarching perspective. Set goals for yourself to keep your personal values the focus of your daily work.

    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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  • Stretch Your Brain by Keeping a Sketchbook

    by David Marquez

    A close-up of someone’s hand drawing in a sketchbook.

    A sketchbook allows you to create a visual and textual imprint of your thoughts. Image-making is an inherent fascination of the human mind. Through sketching, you can wholly render and express your thoughts. Like a journal, a sketchbook is a key to your consciousness; keeping one on your person always allows you to communicate emotion.

    You don’t have to be an artist; a sketchbook can simultaneously be notes and images of your environment. You could be jotting down notes in class or drawing while waiting outside.

    Sketchbooks offer consistent mental exercise. The dynamic between the visual and textual speaks to how we comprehend information. It relaxes us; it empowers us to take what we see, hear, and feel, and communicate it through ourselves. Keeping a sketchbook allows you to connect with yourself and your environment.

    Like Journaling with a Twist!

    Sketching is commonly associated with an artist or a designer; however, you don’t need to be one to do it! Having a sketchbook gives you a visual diary of your life. We are connected to a visible environment: I love to sit outside and sketch my surroundings; however, I also use my sketchbook as a facet of internal comprehension. Whether through words or putting pen to paper and expressing myself on the page, I write and draw my feelings and frustrations.

    You don’t have to be a master at drawing to sketch; you don’t even have to make art: sketching is about getting an idea, feeling, or emotion onto paper. When you journal or write, you describe your life in words; however, in a sketchbook, you can use form, line, or even color to lay out your thinking.

    Like a journal, a sketchbook can be a private diary, but it can also be a place to take notes and observe (you can even write in it like a journal). There are no bounds to your imagination!

    Doodle All the Time!

    Doodling keeps your brain relaxed and communitive. We have so many distractions: lights, sounds, etc. When you sketch, your hand glides across the paper's surface. You're not thinking about the final product; you ease back, and your thoughts start to clear. The agitated atmosphere within your head drifts away.

    It’s easy to find yourself bored in class. It happens to me quite frequently. The notes seem to fade away and you find yourself drifting into the background. However, in front of you, that notebook or homework sheet, you have a piece of paper. What can bring you back out of your mind can be doodling across the borders of your paper. Surprisingly, this focuses you back into the world and your environment. By giving your mind time to relax, you actively retain knowledge presented by the professor.

    So, when you find yourself drifting away into the realm of boredom, try doodling in your sketchbook or on your paper. You can even sketch and take notes, which is my favorite thing to do in lecture classes!

    Our mind is a significant part of us. Stretch your brain and give it some time to breathe. We’re a visual culture: by creating images, we can communicate our thoughts, feelings, and emotions into the perceivable world.

    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 be an Effective Researcher

    by Sarah L. Jacques

    A woman wearing a white lab coat standing beside a college campus sign that reads, ‘Engineering Laboratory’.

    Research is a central part of academic and societal advancements of industries. As a college student, having keen research skills under your belt will propel your comprehension, broaden the horizons of your knowledge, and support your academic performance. The overall objective of research is to obtain, record and analyze, and present information over time. Here are the basic foundational characteristics and habits of a successful researcher.

    Passionate curiosity

    Think like a scientist. Ask questions. Most researchers have discovered new topics and interests through an insatiable hunger for learning. If you often find yourself asking, “why?” and “how?” you are on the right track to thinking with the mind of a researcher. Develop sturdy hypotheses by asking questions that are clear and succinct and when you have wondered consciously about a topic, wander to find its answer(s) with structured planning.

    Coherent expression

    Effective researchers develop strong written and verbal communication skills. A large part of providing information is knowing how to convey and report it. This does not stop at writing essays–explore schematic ways to present data, based on the material. (Is a flow chart or histogram befitting?) Just as it is important to present the findings, it is key to obtain it effectively. Evaluate what is best: survey? Interview or focus group? Familiarize yourself with these methods to organize information clearly and appropriately.

    Being trustworthy and acknowledging the work of others

    Profound discoveries and cutting-edge leads are only as good as the trailblazers which paved the way for them, by supporting a claim or probing a point for further detail. When you use information such as statistics or direct quotes, be sure to note the source it came from. Most researchers write their papers in MLA, APA, or Chicago format. Knowing how to cite relevant sources is important because it helps the reader understand the topic in context and allows them to refer back to the source for further related information.

    Digging deep

    Evaluate your approach. Broaden the horizons of your knowledge by visiting institutions, watching, and reading related and trustworthy informational media sources. If applicable, consider the contrast of the group or identities you are studying. What are the focal points? How do they apply to your own thoughts, the thoughts of your peers, or media you have been exposed to? Schema of a productive study can vary, depending on elements such as time frame, type of data (quantitative or qualitative, for instance), etc.

    Doing the work

    All in all, a productive researcher uses a blend of literary, intuitive, and scientific elements to learn, teach, and propose ideas. No matter what path in a field you choose to study, pick up a pen, visit a lab or library, or take a survey. The next great discovery could be yours!

    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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  • Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes for College Students

    by Keya Soni

    A tabletop featuring a variety of dishes featuring eggs, potatoes, and bagels.

    Do you want to get more active, but have a super busy schedule and feel drained at times? I love working out as it relieves my stress and calms my anxieties, especially as a college student, but sometimes managing that and school can be difficult. Some days, I feel extremely overwhelmed and exhausted, but that is my body’s way of telling me to fuel myself and relax a bit. Food is fuel but eating clean can be difficult when you’re living on campus.

    As a Hindu, I have been vegetarian my whole life, so I did not have many choices when eating out in the area where I grew up. These limitations led me to seek the one place I could rely on: The Kitchen.

    My kitchen has become one of my safe havens as it is reliable and never fails to keep me satisfied. I can adjust anything to my liking, as can you. Here are some of my favorite quick and easy vegetarian recipes that keep me energized for my workouts. I make most of these ahead of time so all I have to do is heat them up or put them on a plate and go!

    Blueberry Bites

    Cook time: ~15 minutes after prep

    What you’ll need:

    • 1 pack blueberries
    • nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
    • dark or milk chocolate
    • Another amazing option: raspberries and white chocolate

    I found this recipe on TikTok and I love it! Wash your pack of blueberries and let them dry. Then mix the blueberries with a few large dollops of Greek yogurt. Place a cluster onto a sheet and freeze for a few hours. (I like to do this in the morning before class.) Then, dip each one into melted chocolate and wait for them to harden in a fridge for a few minutes and save for later or enjoy!

    Japanese Style Egg Sandwich

    Cook time: ~25 minutes

    What you’ll need:

    • bread (I prefer milk bread)
    • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs
    • 1 T. kewpie mayo
    • sriracha
    • salt and pepper

    Boil your eggs for about 8-9 minutes. Separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, mash your yellows with a tablespoon of mayo and as much sriracha (for the heat) as you wish. Season with some salt and pepper. Next, chop the egg whites into medium sized pieces and softly combine with the yolk. Cut the crust off the bread and lay the mixture in between. Cut in half and enjoy!

    Peanut Sauce Crispy Tofu

    Cook time: ~30 minutes

    What you’ll need:

    • extra firm tofu
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons sriracha
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
    • cooked rice
    • chopped vegetables of your choice (I like bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli)

    This is one of my most filling recipes and helps me achieve my protein goals. I like to chop up all my vegetables first and set them aside. I cube my tofu and cook it over medium to high heat in a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, ensuring all sides get crispy. I’ve noticed that my tofu is even crispier when I cook in avocado oil, but any oil works! While that is cooking, work on your sauce. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir. Add in equal parts of sriracha and soy sauce, about 2-3 tablespoons. Then, add in 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil, and mix. It should be a slightly thick and slightly runny consistency. When your tofu is almost done, stir fry in your vegetables for a few minutes. Add your sauce and serve over some warm rice!

    I hope that some of these gave you inspiration for some vegetarian recipes for those days when you are trying to cut down on meat consumption but eat healthy and flavorful food.

    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 a Gap Year

    by Xavier Kretsinger-Walters

    An expansive view of a wide arid area with mountains in the distance.

    For many high school graduates, college is the logical next step as one transitions into adulthood. However, entering a completely new environment away from the comfort of home can be incredibly frightening and stressful. Many high school graduates become overwhelmed entering into this next stage of life. One of the primary reasons students struggle to adapt to their new environments is a lack of purpose and direction, with the reason being a shortage of time to decide between graduation from high school and enrollment into university. Having an extra year after high school allows students to think about what they truly want out of their college experience.

    Following high school, I decided to take a different route and deferred my freshman year of college. While it isn’t uncommon for high school graduates to take a gap year, there are many high school graduates who could still benefit tremendously from it.

    Why I Chose a Gap Year

    From the beginning of high school, my family had always encouraged me to postpone university for a year. Both my brother and sister had already taken gap years and had benefited tremendously, so it made sense that I would follow suit. They were also able to assist in the planning of my year away and gave me lots of advice. Additionally, my graduation year coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave me a unique opportunity. Most Universities at this time had transitioned to online classes to curb the virus’s transmission. Being somebody who struggles to learn effectively online made me even more certain that postponing my college enrollment was the right decision. Thankfully, when it was time for me to enroll in university, most COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted.

    What I Did on my Gap Year

    While the COVID-19 pandemic gave me an opportunity to take time off, it certainly did not help me in my planning. Pandemic restrictions made it incredibly difficult to travel but through determined planning, I found ways around it. Finally, in early September, Costa Rica began allowing visitors from the United States. I would spend the next three months there as a student volunteer with the Jakera conservation program. This program was centered around biological preservation, specifically the conservation of sea turtles. Outside of working and learning, I was able to practice my Spanish, learn how to surf, and travel to many different areas of Costa Rica.

    My next destination following Costa Rica was Argentina. My father’s side of the family grew up in Argentina and we still have family and close family friends there. This allowed me to stay under the roofs of local Argentines, which was incredibly helpful as I navigated throughout Argentina. During my three months there I was able to travel throughout much of the country starting in Buenos Aires, and later Iguazu, Patagonia, Mendoza, Rosario, Cordoba, Salta, Mar de Plata, and Corrientes. Due to high inflation and the devaluation of the Argentine Peso, excluding plane tickets I spent only $1,200 in my three months in Argentina.

    Following my time spent abroad, I returned home where I spent the remainder of my time earning money and preparing myself for college.

    How My Gap Year Benefited Me

    My experiences both abroad and at home during my gap year were incredibly valuable for my maturation and motivation. The duration and location of my time abroad were certainly a step outside of my comfort zone. Overcoming cultural and language barriers was often difficult, but through this challenge, I was able to grow tremendously. Throughout long stretches of my time abroad, I was entirely alone. Having to support myself without the immediate assistance of my parents gave me a sense of independence before going to college. Additionally, the money I earned working at home gave me a financial cushion before entering college.

    Why Take a Gap Year

    I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take a gap year. Understandably, many high school graduates do not have the money to travel abroad as I did. However, there are still plenty of ways one could benefit from a gap year without having to spend money. I encourage anyone considering a gap year to do something outside of their comfort zone, whether that be learning a new skill, traveling to unfamiliar places, or gaining working experience in a field you’d consider pursuing. If one spends their time wisely during their gap year, they might find it to be incredibly rewarding.

    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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  • Three Major Things to Consider Before Moving Off-Campus

    by Madison Butler

    An overhead view of a student’s desk with a planner, a stack of post-it notes, and a calendar.

    Living off-campus in your own apartment/condo/townhouse is one of the most exciting college student adventures. You actually start to feel like an adult! BUT (and it's a big one) there are several things to consider before making the big move, including these three major items.

    Roommate Selection

    First, when selecting potential roommate(s), prepare for the good, the bad, and the ugly. My biggest piece of advice is your freshmen "party" friends should NOT be your roommate(s); let me explain. There are some people you meet/talk to only when you go out, and you always have a great time! However, it might not always be a good time when you start having to have tough conversations about boundaries and the cleanliness of your shared space. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some people may be receptive to criticism, and you yourself should be open to receiving some as well because, as I said, your college home will be a shared space, and all participating members should treat it like one.

    Handling Housework

    Second, have a chores list or routine. College students can be dirty - point blank, period. Creating a structured cleaning routine is pertinent to having an open, smells-like-roses type of place where people want to come over and hang out. The issue of dishes is can be a major cause of roommate disagreements. How long is too long for dirty dishes to pile up in the sink? My roommates and I picked four major cleaning chores to take care of each week: dishes, sweeping/mopping (if needed), taking out the trash, and wiping down counters, stove, microwave, and common room area. We took one chore a week and rotated every Sunday. Some may be more heavy lifting than others, but by taking turns, everyone has to do it at some point. As for the dishes, we set the expectation that everyone should at least rinse their own dish because who wants to touch soggy and/or smelly leftovers. We built chores into a solid system and that is what worked best for us!

    Heating and Cooling

    Third, TALK ABOUT THE THERMOSTAT. It might seem silly, but this was legitimately an on-going issue with my roommates. It was either set at 60° or 75°, neither of which are great and can be costly, depending on the season. Remember, you and your roommates will probably be responsible for the heating and cooling bills, so thinking about energy saving/cost saving while also feeling comfortable is a little tough. We found the perfect temperature range was between 70° – 72° for most days. There were a few summer nights where we agreed to turn it a little cooler, but overall, we stuck with that range. It might sound like such a minute detail but trust me you do not want to come back to your apartment and be instantly sweating or shivering.

    Overall, living in an apartment/house off-campus allowed me to grow A LOT. Learning to adjust how I live and function with other people in a shared space definitely helped me become the person I am today. Good luck on finding great roommates and a last tip would be try to find a night where you all can have a movie night or cooking night, anything to bond with your roommates and make the best out of it!

    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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  • Five Benefits Pet Ownership Brings to College Students

    by Kylie Guzman

    A large gray cat sits on the windowsill of a college apartment by a string of red lights.

    Ever been alone in your dorm, apartment, or room and felt like you were in a rut because of the amount of stress school or life has thrown on you? I know I have.

    We can all agree that college is a relatively strange time in young adults’ lives. For most, it is their first time living on their own, away from their safety net, being left to navigate the “adult world” solo. For others, this could just be a highly anxiety-inducing situation. Friends, family, mentors, and advisors are all an important part of helping navigate this transition, but they are not always reliable or able to fully alleviate stressors.

    Introducing a pet into your life could help fill in those gaps the people in your life are not able to fulfill. Owning a pet as a college student comes with some benefits and here are five of them!

    1. Emotional Support: Pets can provide emotional support to college students, especially when they are away from home and feeling homesick or stressed. They can help reduce anxiety, depression and can also provide comfort during tough times.

    2. Improved Mental Health: Studies have shown that pets can have a positive impact on mental health. Owning a pet can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve overall mood, which is essential for college students dealing with a lot of academic pressure.

    3. Responsibility and Time Management: Owning a pet comes with responsibilities such as feeding, grooming, and taking care of them. This can help college students learn time management skills and develop a sense of responsibility and accountability.

    4. Increased Social Interaction: Pets can be great conversation starters and can help college students connect with other pet owners on campus. This can lead to increased social interaction, which is especially important for students who are shy or introverted.

    5. Exercise and Physical Activity: Having a pet can encourage college students to get more exercise and physical activity. This is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for those who spend a lot of time sitting and studying. Taking a dog for a walk or playing with a cat can help students stay active and energized throughout the day.

    College students should use realistic decision making when considering pet ownership and/or what type of pet is compatible with their schedule and living environment. But overall, owning a pet can enhance and support college student life with many positive benefits!

    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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  • New Puppy Brings About Efficiency with Responsibility

    by May Gratton

    The blog author’s new puppy has black and white fur and large, pointed ears.

    Earlier this year, when I returned to Oregon State from winter break, I came home to a puppy! Her name is Winnie, named after Winnie Cooper from the television show, The Wonder Years, and she has been the light of my life since I have gotten her. Winnie has helped me be more responsible, motivated, and social. As I am sure everyone knows, whenever someone sees a puppy, they immediately want to pet it. This has forced me to come out of my shell even more and talk to new people and make new friends.

    Better Time Management

    Since Winnie is still young, she needs a lot of playtime with long naps in between. As I’ve adjusted to this schedule, I’ve become a more efficient student, getting my schoolwork done more quickly. Before Winnie, I often procrastinated doing homework before due dates and wasted so much time. Now, I have a puppy to look after, play with, and cuddle. Now I make sure to get my homework done on schedule, so I have more time to give my puppy all the love and attention she deserves.

    Increased Bonding

    Winnie has also brought my roommates and I significantly closer. We were all great friends before we moved in together, but last term, we were more likely to be found in our respective rooms rather than together in the common living area. Now, we all spend as much time as we can in the common areas studying, hanging out, and playing with the puppy. This has helped our relationship as a whole and our individual relationships with each other. We have been communicating more than ever and have prioritized keeping these common areas clean so Winnie does not get into anything that she is not supposed to.

    Improved Mental Health

    Winnie has also helped with my mental health more than I could have imagined. She has encouraged me to get up earlier than before and has just overall made me much happier. Although sometimes she can stress me out, the way that she always lightens the mood and is there when I need her outweighs the stressful times. There were times last year where I would lay in bed all day because I didn’t have a reason to get up. Winnie has given me a reason to get up, which has encouraged me to go to class rather than skipping classes and falling behind. She has also helped with the mental health of all of my roommates. The way we like to put it is that whenever we play with her or she lays next to us for her nap, it’s a “serotonin boost”.

    One of the main reasons I really wanted a dog was because I miss my family and my dog at home. Last summer, I was living in my townhouse pretty much all by myself until my roommates moved in. It was very lonely and hard to get myself to do anything besides work and lay on the couch all day. Winnie has filled a huge hole in my life, and I am more than grateful that I was able to get her. I now have a best friend that will be by my side throughout college and whatever the future brings.

    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 My Cultural Identity

    by Malia Cazalot

    A computer-generated graphic with a map of the world in white against a blue background with small people figures spaced throughout.

    I grew up in a very culturally rich home. My mom is a Chinese and Puerto Rican immigrant from Jamaica, whilst my dad is a second generation French Italian. I feel extremely blessed being able to grow up surrounded by such rich culture, and good food (dim sum being my personal favorite, but I digress). However, it has also caused me to struggle with my own cultural identity.

    ‘What are you?’

    By the time I was 12 I had moved five times, from Florida to Seattle to Texas back to Florida then finally Louisiana. Every time we moved somewhere new, I was asked “what are you?”, and as I delved into the explanation of what my parents were, I would watch as kids’ faces began to morph into a look of confusion. “Well, my mom was born in Jamaica, but I’m not Jamaican. I’m Chinese, Puerto Rican, Italian, and French. No, I don’t speak Spanish or Chinese or any other language except English actually...”. The more and more I struggled to explain it, the more I felt like a poser or a fraud.

    Although my last name is French, and my family practices Chinese traditions like celebrating Lunar Year, and my mom often cooks traditional Italian and Puerto Rican meals, I felt like I couldn’t truly identify with any ethnicity. I didn’t speak any of the languages and I don’t look like any of the races.

    Eager to belong

    Coming to Louisiana was especially hard as it is a state so deeply rooted in culture and tradition, from Mardi Gras to Cajun food; where LSU football is considered religion and jazz music engulfs you on every street corner. I felt so out of place in my new home as I didn’t fit in, but also, I felt I had no real culture of my own to claim and identify.

    Going off to college I was eager to find a place to belong, however, I soon encountered the same problems I had moving around in my childhood. I was excited to find more diversity in college, but I didn’t speak Spanish, I didn’t “look” Chinese, and I wasn’t necessarily “white” enough. I’d get teased for certain things I said or ate.

    A combination of amazing cultures

    For a long time, I struggled with my cultural identity and wished that I was just one thing instead of a little bit of four things. That way I could truly identify with one culture, and it would finally be enough. I now realize how lucky I was to grow up surrounded by four amazing cultures. Although I don’t speak any other language other than English, I was fortunate to have my grandfather sing to me in Italian before bed and hear my aunties arguing fervently in Chinese over nonsense.

    I am blessed to be made up of so many things and that is what makes me unique. I don’t have to identify with just one specific culture, but can embrace everything that makes me who I am. Although I still struggle with my cultural identity, I am now proud of my family and what makes us, instead of being ashamed and wishing we were something different.

    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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  • Learn the Basics of Coding!

    by Sophie Harrison

    A screenshot of code with an overlay of a confused looking cartoon face.

    Learning to code can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. The basics of coding are essential in today's technology-driven world, and with the right tools and knowledge, anyone can become a proficient coder. Here’s a short guide on how to learn the basics of coding, the best applications to use, and some beginner's knowledge to get you started.

    1. Understand the basics of coding:

    Before diving into coding, it's crucial to understand what coding is and how it works. Coding is essentially the process of creating instructions that a computer can understand and execute. There are many programming languages that you can learn, but the fundamental concepts are similar across all of them. These concepts include variables, loops, functions, and conditionals.

    To start learning coding basics, we recommend finding a beginner-friendly resource that can provide you with a solid foundation. Online resources like Codecademy, FreeCodeCamp, and Khan Academy are great places to start. They offer free, interactive courses that cover the fundamentals of coding.

    2. Choose the right coding applications:

    Choosing the right coding applications can make a significant difference in your learning experience. There are many coding applications available, and the right one for you will depend on your level of experience and the programming language you want to learn.

    For beginners, we recommend starting with a text editor like Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, or Atom. These text editors are free and provide an easy-to-use interface for writing code. Once you've become more comfortable with coding, you can move on to more complex integrated development environments (IDEs) like Eclipse, IntelliJ, or Visual Studio.

    3. Understand the basics of a programming language:

    Each programming language has its own unique syntax and rules, but the basic concepts are similar across all languages. Understanding the basics of a programming language is essential to becoming a proficient coder.

    The four basic concepts that all programming languages share are variables, loops, functions, and conditionals. Variables are used to store data, while loops allow you to execute a block of code repeatedly. Functions allow you to group related code and reuse it throughout your program, and conditionals are used to make decisions based on certain criteria.

    4. Practice, Practice, Practice:

    Practice makes perfect, and the same holds true for coding. The more you practice, the better you'll become. Start by writing simple programs, and then gradually move on to more complex ones. Don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes; this is how you'll learn and grow.

    There are many websites and resources that offer coding challenges and exercises to help you practice your skills. Some popular ones include HackerRank, LeetCode, and Project Euler.

    5. Join a coding community:

    Joining a coding community can be an excellent way to learn from other coders and get feedback on your work. There are many online coding communities, such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Reddit's r/learnprogramming subreddit.

    Participating in coding communities can also provide you with opportunities to work on open-source projects and collaborate with other coders. This can help you develop your skills further and build your portfolio.

    In conclusion, learning to code takes time, patience, and dedication. By understanding the basics of coding, choosing the right applications, and practicing regularly, you can become a proficient coder. Joining a coding community can also help you stay motivated and learn from others. With these tips and resources, you can begin your coding journey today.

    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 Become a Morning Person

    by Katherine Scott

    An early sunrise over a lake featuring a dock and two small boats on the water.

    Rise and shine! Waking up in the morning can be hard but persistently working on changing your sleeping habits can ease the morning slog. As a natural night owl, I decided that I needed to make a change to become an early bird. On this journey I learned a few lessons that I’d like to share with anyone who wants to become a morning person.

    Ditch the Afternoon Coffee

    Caffeine is a stimulant so drinking caffeine late in the day can create a disruptive sleep schedule. Many studies have shown that caffeine causes some people to be kept awake or to wake up periodically throughout the night. However, morning coffee is a positive; it can help boost morning energy levels and create that morning routine.

    Seek out Natural Light

    You might want to rethink the blackout curtains you currently utilize. It is important to let the natural light come in and help wake you up. Natural light plays an important role in suppressing the hormone melatonin. The less amount of melatonin you have in your system the more likely you are to feel awake and have the greater ability to seize the day.

    Workout in the Morning

    A sweat session is a great way to begin each day. Research has shown that early morning movement can help improve mood. The workout will increase endorphins and dopamine in the body; these are feel-good neurotransmitters. If you do this, you will start your day off in the best mental state. I always recommend prepping your workout stuff the night before, so you have no excuses.

    No Snooze Policy

    The key to this process is to set up a routine for yourself; setting up boundaries with the snooze button is a great step. This will force you to get out of bed immediately. The first couple early mornings I didn’t trust myself to not hit the snooze button, so I set my alarm clock across the room. This ensured that I physically got out of bed to turn it off.

    Implementing these changes can make the seemingly impossible feat of becoming a morning person seem effortless. Over the past year that I have been implementing these changes, I have been given a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

    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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  • Women in Engineering: Why I Chose an Engineering Major

    by Alexis Fiechtner

    The Colorado State campus featuring a fountain and campus buildings with the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

    My experience with biomedical engineering began in 8th grade as a 13-year-old diagnosed with a rare condition called Miserable Malalignment Syndrome. I learned that my leg bones were slowly twisting out of alignment, and would require multiple surgeries, weeks out of school, months in a wheelchair, two sets of casts, and walking boots. Without the surgery, my prognosis was joint dislocations in my hips, ankles, and especially my knees. My surgeon, Dr. Riley, used a custom-designed biomedical tool to perform my surgery. My childhood experience made me realize I wanted to help children with disabilities facing similar challenges and sparked my interest in biomedical engineering.

    Entering high school, I attended a school called STEM, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. It was here that I learned the fundamentals of what engineering actually is… a combination of technology and creativity. I had always thought of myself as creative, but not in the typical artistic type of way, but in a more problem-solving sort of way. Throughout high school I found myself drawing away from the purely theoretical mathematical equations, or the tiny molecules of chemistry that you can’t see. I focused my attention on design; specifically design that solves medical problems using the technical aspects of math and science.

    As it came time to choose a college, my choice was easier than most. I knew I had to go to a school that offered biomedical engineering as a major. Colorado State University offered the best program for me: a 5-year program ending in a double major of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering. I had found the perfect combination of my biomedical interest, with the technical skills of a fundamental form of engineering. This was ultimately the best choice I could have made because, as I am entering the job field, my mechanical engineering degree has served me well with opportunities.

    I will not say it’s been easy double majoring with two engineering degrees. It was long hours, lots of study sessions, and the difficulty of being a woman in STEM. Times are definitely changing and there were genuinely more women in my courses than I was expecting. However, standing up freshman year in Dr. B’s class and only seeing about 25 other women in a 200-person mechanical engineering lecture was shocking. Throughout my experience at CSU, I discovered the importance of speaking up for myself, joining organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and putting myself in situations where I may be the only woman in the room. Sometimes I did experience the general challenges women face in this field: I did get spoken over, my ideas were ignored, credit was taken from me when I was rightfully due. But out of that 200-person lecture class from freshman year, I graduated in May alongside only 117 other students.

    It’s not always easy being a woman in STEM, but like I said, times are changing and if it were easy, everyone would do it! There are more women pursuing their passion in a STEM field than ever before; and out of all the times that I was ignored, didn’t get credit, or spoken over, there were twice as many times when I was respected. I surrounded myself with like-minded friends – engineers – lots of whom were also women in STEM – and stuck to my passion.

    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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  • Celebrating Women in Engineering

    by Jordan Wilton

    Two side-by-side photos. On the left, 3 college women smiling over the logo for Mississippi State University. On the right, blog author Jordan poses with a piece of engineering machinery.

    Happy International Women in Engineering Day! In honor of the holiday, I wanted to share some insight into the good and the bad of being a woman in engineering, and my hopes for the future.

    Being Alone at The Table

    While being a woman in engineering has come a long way, there is still so much progress to be made. Out of countless interviews, I have only ever been interviewed by women twice. Out of countless company sponsored dinners, I have never been with more than two other women. In my coursework, I have been in many groups where I was the only woman.

    I think it is important to acknowledge the difficulty of always feeling like the odd person out just because of your gender. The crazy part of it is that it has nothing to even do with your personality. I play sports, I grew up with two brothers, and I play video games, yet I always feel so separated from the guys sitting next to me.

    When learning to use surveying equipment for the first time in a course, I had the same level of experience as the guys in my group, but every time I was the person designated to take notes or just observe instead of setting up the equipment. The saddest part was that I soon noticed that it wasn’t just me. In almost every group, being female pretty much just meant you ‘probably had the best handwriting’ or ‘probably made things look prettier’. Despite being on the same playing field, for some reason we were still left out.

    The Brighter Future

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  • Boost Your Brain Power Through Reading

    by Myaya Morton

    A female college student reads a book and listens to music with headphones

    The action of reading, no matter how big or small, improves memory and concentration. It involves a complex network or brain circuits and signals. Reading more and more strengthens those networks and reduces stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. When reading there are multiple processes that happen starting with word analysis and visualization and ending with vocalization and comprehension.

    Reading Improves Memory

    Reading can actually improve memory because of the multiple brain functions involved. It allows more time for the brain to stop; you have to think about what you read, process it, and then imagine what is happening in the story. These particular steps help you recall information and sharpen your memory.

    Increases Vocabulary

    Scientists Timothy Keller and Marcel Just discovered that intense reading in young children causes the brain to physically rewire itself and create more white matter which improves communication hence why some young children have a more developed vocabulary than their peers. Reading is also contagious so if you read to or around children, they are more likely to read on their own.

    Increase Attention Span

    Nowadays it is easy to grow bored because everything is becoming routine – getting off work or out of class and watching a series on Netflix. Reading actually increases your attention span. Due to the sequential narrative style, the author has to keep you engaged thus increasing your attention span. While books come in digital formats now (audio and etext), reading a physical book can create a stronger impact due to the connection your sense of touch makes with your brain.

    Helps Relax and Promote Sleep

    Ever had trouble falling asleep and decided to watch some television to help? Using screens like your phone, tablet or television can actually keep you awake longer and cause you to lose sleep. Reading a book helps you relax after a long day which allows you to go to sleep easier.

    This summer, grab a good book and spend the day reading. It’s said that it takes twenty-one days to build a habit and ninety days to build a lifestyle so why not make reading one. Remember, it is one of the healthiest hobbies in the world!

    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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  • Re-discover Reading for Fun with this Summer Reading List

    by Madeline Beavis

    A female student lies outside in the grass, propped up on her elbows and reading a book.

    Students do so much academic reading for their classes that the joy of a good book is often forgotten! After reading hundreds of textbook pages during my first year in college, I’m sad to say that I, like many of my friends, lost my connection to one of my favorite pastimes: pleasure reading. Reading is a fantastic way to reduce stress, explore an author’s creative world, and exercise the mind without even realizing it! So, let’s reignite a passion for reading with 5 book recommendations from a variety of genres... happy reading!

    Who doesn’t love a twist on a good fairy tale? Check out Cinder by Marie Lu.

    Jump into a world where humans and androids attempt to coexist, a plague ravages the Earth, and those with special gifts live on the moon. Cinder, a well-known mechanic from New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth, spends her days trying to escape her stepmother and stepsisters who can be awfully wicked. In a whirlwind of ballgowns, royalty, and secrets, Cinder becomes the center of a cosmic war, and she may just be the key to saving humanity. Follow Cinder’s story in The Lunar Chronicles series, preceding Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, where she must distinguish friend from foe in order to find her happily ever after.

    Are you a science fiction enthusiast? Pick up The Martian by Andy Weir.

    If you think Mother Nature is merciless on Earth, try living on Mars. When botanist-astronaut Mark Watney is accidentally left behind on his crew's Hermes mission, it appears he may be the first person to walk on the Red Planet as well as die there. Over 128 million miles from home, running low on food and water, and lacking a way to communicate with Earth, Watney must use all his astronomical knowledge in order to survive. Can he overcome the planetary elements, or will he stay lost in space forever?

    Maybe you’re looking for an inspiring, true story? Educated by Tara Westover is perfect for you.

    Tara Westover’s memoir was named one of the top ten best books of the year in 2018 by the New York Times. Westover recounts her experience growing up as a daughter of Mormon survivalists. Living in the mountains of Idaho, she was almost completely isolated from modern society. She was seventeen when she first stepped into a classroom and after watching one of her brothers get into college, she knew she wanted a different life for herself. Traveling thousands of miles away from the safety of the mountain, even making it to some of the most prestigious universities, her educational journey opened her eyes to the wonders of the world around her. Take the trip with Westover as she acquires knowledge from all corners of the globe, battling superstition, lack of self-confidence, while wondering if she’s drifted just slightly too far from the mountains.

    Unsure of what the world could look like in a couple hundred years? Consider this future in Legend by Marie Lu.

    The western United States is a region of the past, rebuilt and now known as the Republic. Growing up in two very different worlds, child prodigy, June Iparis, and the government’s most wanted criminal, Day Wing, meet under extreme circumstances: the murder of June’s brother where Day is the prime suspect. June is on a mission to avenge her brother while Day is determined to help his impoverished family survive. As the chase continues, the truth begins to unfold and sends blame circulating through the Republic until it becomes clear there are a lifetime of secrets kept behind closed doors. Detangle the dystopia in The Legend Series trilogy to find out the real reason for the unpredictable partnership between rags and riches.

    Feeling like a detective? Investigate the supernatural in Gone by Michael Grant.

    Gone. Without a trace. Internet, television, social media all disappear, along with everyone 15 years and older. High school is hard enough without an entire town becoming a fishbowl. An impenetrable barrier has left the remaining teens trapped with no way to call for help. But danger lurks in the shadows. Emotions are running high, food is becoming scarce, animals are mutating, and some kids themselves are discovering they have strange abilities. Deadly abilities. The struggle for control shakes the town and battle lines are drawn. If you’re young, enjoy your stay in the fishbowl while it lasts because on your 15th birthday you will vanish as well, just like the adults. And you don’t come back. Are all the teens doomed to an early death or does safety lie beyond the barrier?

    Summer is a time when many college students are able to slow down and get some much-needed relaxation. Reading for pleasure is a great way to do just that. No matter what book you choose, take some time this summer to re-discover reading for fun and enjoyment!

    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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  • When It Comes to Marine Plastic Pollution, We Aren’t Off the Hook Yet

    by Kennedy McGrath

    A laptop and an iPad, both featuring a screencap of MapMaster 2.0.

    EarthDay.org reports that every minute, two garbage trucks of plastics are dumped into the world’s oceans.1 Marine plastic pollution is an ongoing issue that affects everyone, whether you live on the coast or not. Waste we release into the ocean can affect our food, water, health, and economy. We all have a responsibility to make small changes in our lives and use our vote to help reduce the amount of plastic that enters our ocean every year. Since June is National Oceans Month, there is no better time to reevaluate your consumption habits and educate yourself on this global issue.

    Before making any major changes to our lifestyle, it is important to educate ourselves on the impacts of plastic pollution. Plastic in the ocean can harm marine life, which can have effects that are felt throughout the food chain. As noted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, seafood accounts for 20% of the world’s protein intake so it is important to protect and maintain the wild fish and shellfish populations we depend on.2 Aquaculture, a seafood farming practice meant to provide more food and ease strain on wild populations, isn’t safe from plastic pollution either. Many enclosures are housed in open water where waste can flow freely in and out. In addition to threatening a major food supply, plastic also has negative economic implications related to tourism in many countries that rely on it as their largest economic sector. We should all make it a priority to learn how plastic waste affects our home and what changes can be made to protect it.  

    What We Can Do About Plastic 

    The first and most obvious change you can make is to refuse single use plastics whenever possible. This can be things like plastic cutlery, straws, bottles, and bags, many of which are the most abundant types of plastic waste in the ocean today. Items like these can harm marine life when they ingest it mistaking it for food. Preliminary research indicates that the chemicals in the ingested plastic can make it to humans with undetermined health effects. Instead, consider alternatives like reusable grocery bags made from recycled materials and reusable metal cutlery and straws. Using a reusable water bottle also goes a long way to mitigate plastic waste, and many public spaces have installed water bottle filling stations to encourage the use of reusable bottles. Though it can feel like we are just one small part of a much larger, more problematic whole, your individual actions matter. You can reduce your own plastic footprint while inspiring others to do the same until environmentally conscious actions have spread to everyone, catalyzing major change.  

    Your Vote Matters 

    Beyond your personal consumption habits, your vote can make a huge difference in the fight to end marine pollution. Use your voice to tell your representatives and senators to support environmentally friendly laws so they can be passed faster. When laws are passed that regulate plastic production and use, change happens more quickly than if a small group of consumers refuses it. If we can set an example as a nation, starting with each local government, we have the power to set a precedent that can spark change all over the world. This is when education on the issue becomes extremely important. An informed voter is dramatically more impactful than the alternative. 

    By the time you’ve finished reading this article, six more garbage trucks of plastic have been added to the same ocean we all share. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and disconnected in the face of a problem this grand, but in reality, it is no bigger than the plastic straw in your cup or the bag you use for groceries. We all have the power to make one small change every day that will make a world of difference. Educate yourself, make responsible consumption choices, and vote for environmentally friendly policies that can make big change fast. Remember that others are standing with you, from Pacific to Atlantic, and beyond.  

    Want to see visuals of marine pollution areas across the world? Check out MapMaster 2.0, an interactive digital mapping tool that helps students develop geographic literacy, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking skills by examining patterns and relationships across regional and global datasets. 

    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 College Student’s Guide to Sustainability

    by Ashanti Crowder

    A female college student is working in a community garden picking strawberries.

    College campuses are some of the largest populated areas within metropolitan cities and small towns. Throughout our fast-paced lives juggling school, work, extracurricular activities, and our social lives sometimes we forget to take care of our community. While being confined to a campus has its restraints there are still ways to help the environment around you!

    What does living sustainably mean?

    To live sustainably is to sustain life on our planet, making sure we are being conscious of our water usage, recycling, and even electronic usage.

    Why does it matter?

    Sustainability is necessary to maintain our quality of life and ensure we are living in a safe and healthy environment. We want to keep our planet and ourselves as healthy as possible which is why we must contribute.

    How can we contribute?

    1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

    Some of the greatest ways you can aid your environment start at home! For college students this looks like reducing the amount of water you’re using in the shower or brushing your teeth. Turning off water when you are not actively using it helps conserve water usage. Find out where and how you can recycle plastic and reusable products within your community, and reuse some materials for fun D.I.Y projects!

    2. Join Your Campus Green Club

    Campus Green Clubs (or other environment-related clubs) are dedicated to keeping the environment clean. Joining and helping out is a great way to contribute to your community as well as meet new people. Green club activities usually consist of campus clean ups, turning scraps into compost, and more.

    3. Help Out Your Community Garden

    Offering to help your local community garden contributes to limiting food insecurity. You could even learn and try exciting new recipes from the crops you harvest.

    4. Go Thrifting

    Thrift shopping is one of the most popular methods of living sustainably amongst college students. If you’re wondering how thrifting is contributing, shopping second hand limits the amount of clothing and materials that will be thrown into landfills. Thrifted items are able to be repurposed and redesigned into fun and unique pieces. Other items can be thrifted as well such as books, toys, electronics, and furniture.

    Try these tips to move towards living more sustainably in your college community.

    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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  • Using Gaming to Build Community Connections: Dot’s Home

    by Janay Pope

    A graphic with DETROIT in large block letters with a view of the game graphics embedded.

    Ever since I could remember, there was always something to do in Detroit with my family. From spending time by the river, I enjoyed festivals like River Days, auto shows, Fourth of July fireworks, and the Eastern Market every weekend to enjoy breakfast with my parents. When people think of Detroit, some everyday things that come to mind are Motown or Motor City. Many focus on the downtown area, yet the city is much bigger than the new Campus Martius. As the downtown area grows into a fast-paced shopping and tech hub, the rest of the city is not receiving the same love.

    My family has been in Detroit for generations and has seen how the city has changed, yet there was not much in the mainstream media about how different things were when my great-grandmother and grandma were growing up. Now, through different forms of media: film, art, and gaming, Detroit’s history is making its way to people not just outside the city but throughout the state of Michigan.

    Dot’s Home

    Games for Change is an organization that facilitates communities of gaming creators and also hosts multiple events annually. In 2022, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) helped housing justice organizers, Weathered Sweater and Rise Home Stories Project compete in the Games for Change Festival. Their forward-thinking video game Dot’s Home was recognized for its narrative-driven interactive component and won awards for best impact and for being the best civic game.

    Dot’s Home is an interactive narrative-driven video game that can be played via desktop or mobile devices. It follows a young African American woman who lives with her grandmother and can time travel to the past with their family house key. Through her journey, players get to decide her path as she learns about the housing crisis and disparities that took place over the years in her hometown, Detroit, Michigan. Dot meets family members from the past, including her grandmother, and players learn about the different challenges for each generation, from redlining to the Detroit riots and gentrification. The game is profound with its use of current cultural references and its ability to rope in the past entertainingly, so players stay engaged throughout the storyline. Not to mention it is fun and relaxing to play when there is down time, and you want to learn something new!

    Ready. Set. Play!

    Detroit and many similar places continue to face housing crises today. There are also so many amazing creatives in the tech world working on intersecting education and video gaming. Dot’s Home may have won the award, but plenty of interactive games deserve their flowers. Below are some honorable mentions from the Games for Change organization that resonated with me or that I found to also be impactful in the way Dot’s Home has:

    • Svoboda 1945: Liberation – Charles Games
    • Blackhaven – Historiated Games
    • MadeVR – Take me to the end of the Assembly Line from Singing Cicadas

    To learn more about the advancements of gaming and how it is working to connect with communities, be sure to check out Games for Change.

    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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  • Movement for Your Mind

    by Ava Ambrose

    A dock on a lake with the sunset on the horizon. The clouds look pink in the evening light.

    As a college student, I have a lot on my plate. From homework, to clubs, to maintaining relationships, it’s a lot. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed at times. Whether it is an upcoming exam, or a task I have to complete for an extracurricular, I can get stressed out pretty easily. That is why I find it important to set aside at least 15 minutes each day to be active. This does not always mean going to do a workout at the gym. On especially busy days, I take a short walk around my neighborhood and just allow myself to decompress.

    Keep Active

    Your mind needs breaks in order to perform at its best. Remaining active is a guaranteed way to keep your mood up while dealing with all of the struggles of schoolwork. Walks are especially great because they are so low commitment. As soon as I’ve made the decision to take a walk, I’ve technically already begun! All you have to do is step out your front door and the rest is whatever you make it! I love walking around my neighborhood because I never know who I may run into.

    Get Fresh Air

    It is also really important for your health to get fresh air, so you’re really doing a lot for your health by just taking a walk! I find it really peaceful to walk down to the lake that is behind my apartment complex; however, you don’t need a lake in order to enjoy nature! There are so many things to appreciate, and it can bring you joy to even just look at what’s going on in the sky. My favorite is when I see cool clouds or really pretty sunsets. And just like that, all of my stress is off my mind and I’m in a great mood.

    Other Stress Relievers

    There are many different things you can do for your health, both physical and mental. Physical activity has incredible benefits for your heart, body, and mind. It has been proven that physical movement reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. You can incorporate extra movement throughout your day. This could be taking your dog for a walk, choosing to take the stairs over the elevator, or even biking instead of driving. These may seem like small steps, but they can have significant impacts on your wellbeing.

    I find that being active is a very effective form of mindfulness. It brings peace to my day as it allows me to be with my thoughts. It is so important to remain active and give yourself breaks from all of the hard work you do!

    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 Evolving World of Technology

    by Molly McKenna

    A graphic featuring a person wearing an AR headset alongside lines resembling computer circuits.

    Never did I think as a ten-year-old that my twenty-year-old self would have the opportunity to work as a software engineer developing new and upcoming technologies in alternate realms… but here I am! Technology is a fast-growing world and continues to push boundaries day by day, and the rise of artificial intelligence and the metaverse have only added to that growth. As a software developer on the University of Miami’s Information Technology XR Garage Innovate Team, my eyes have been opened to the developments of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) toolsets. Utilizing various software for development, the Magic Leap headsets and Microsoft’s HoloLens allow the team’s innovations to become reality!

    Grasping the Metaverse

    Whether it’s the latest phone, the newest headset, an advanced television setup, or progressive discoveries in the metaverse, technological advancements are expanding every day. The need to keep up with changes is inevitable. Times are different than a century ago – even a decade ago! It seems impossible to walk out of your house without your cellphone attached to your hip. How will someone contact me? How will I know what time it is? How will I know what’s next on my agenda? Technology is the control center for the world we are living in today.

    Expanding beyond just the latest smartphone or electronic watch, the rise of the metaverse has made significant impact in new inventions. Realms including virtual, augmented, and mixed realities have been explored and used in upcoming developments in various aspects of companies. People continue to be fascinated with the idea of creating and experiencing this out-of-body innovation through an electronic headset, and luckily, I have the opportunity to work with and be immersed in this emerging world of technology.

    Hands On Experience

    As my interest in technology has grown, I have taken advantage of opportunities on my college campus to learn more. In February of 2022, I was introduced to a department known as XR Garage as a part of the University of Miami IT Innovate Team. Under the leadership of our director is a group of students who work as programmers, project managers, designers, and apprentices. The hiring process includes a one-on-one interview with our director to discuss our experience and goals for our careers. Once determined if a good fit for the team, we are then accepted and jump right into a series of tutorials, demos, and assessments for the software being used.

    I was eager for the learning process of new programs I have never used before including Unity, Magic Leap, Plastic SCM, Jira, and Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. After months of completing the tutorials as an apprentice, I advanced to a position as a full stack XR engineer where I now contribute to extended reality projects. Through our team’s agile workflow, I have learned to work with other developers and creative members to brainstorm new components to projects that will allow the user to experience this metaverse through different lenses.

    Taking Advantage of Every Opportunity

    I have been fortunate enough to grow up with parents and other role models who have shown me what hard work looks like, and I have always strived to push myself to my fullest potential in all aspects of my life. When it comes to my experience as a college student, I know I am a dedicated hard worker through my academics, extracurriculars, and my goals towards my future career. I came into college telling myself to take advantage of all the opportunities available to me as a student. Through my time here at the University of Miami so far, I can proudly say I am doing just that. Whether it’s a hired position as a tour guide, an engineer in the concert halls, or a programmer on the IT Innovate Team, I always aspire to learn more and gain new perspectives. An integral part of my experiences is my collaboration with other passion-driven individuals. Working with others is such a significant part of learning because every person comes from different experiences.

    At the end of the day, technology is and always will be evolving. Communication is key and communication is supported through this new technology. Just as technology is growing, so should we. Through my experience with my university’s IT team, my passion for getting involved and enhancing my personal growth is constantly put into action.

    Say “yes” to the opportunities in front of you. You never know – our evolving world and its technological advancements just might allow you to discover something new about yourself!

    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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  • Crossroads Between Heritage and Homework

    by Suhani Chopra

    Two young Indian women looking at each other and smiling. They are wearing traditional Indian saris.

    I vividly remember my first time failing an assignment.

    This wasn’t failing by my high standards, either – this was the proper, below-a-C-minus, failing grade. Flashback to 7th grade Algebra, more than 7 years ago at this point. Our teacher was handing back our first quiz of the year, on some supposedly easy topics. I wasn’t feeling too worried about it, and when I got my paper back, I flipped it over, expecting an A. Instead, a 65% in red ink stared back at me.

    I remember my face heated up as I shoved the paper into my bag as quickly as I could. I remember barely being able to hold it together for the rest of the day, that dreaded number swirling around in my head. And I remember getting home, jumping into my bed and sobbing, unable to stop the tears rolling down my face.

    Eventually I calmed down, and I was able to get started on the rest of the homework I had to do. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t erase that day from my mind - because looking back, that was the moment I realized how much of my self-worth I put into my academics.

    In an Indian household like the one I grew up in, the expectation of doing well in school cannot be overstated. Good grades are not “good”, they are simply standard. My parents definitely instilled the importance of academic performance into me but tried to teach me to balance out my happiness and interests with that as well. Unfortunately, my own expectations became higher than theirs, and getting anything less than a 90% on an assignment in high school would cause me to go into a blind panic. I would stress all day about even the easiest homework assignments. And tests? Tests were the bane of my existence; I would limit myself to 3 hours of sleep sometimes just so that I could spend all night studying (even if I already knew the material). I got the grades I wanted, but most times it was at the cost of my mental health.

    Then came college:

    The fast-paced learning style, the difficult curriculum, and sometimes, the less-than-ideal professors. I knew that I would have to work to keep up with everything, but I could feel myself starting to drown in my stress and overthinking already – and it was only the third week of school. Something had to change, otherwise at this rate making it through the school year was going to be almost impossible.

    A large part of my college experience, aside from meeting new people, gaining independence, and finding what I wanted to major in, was learning to be more lenient with myself academically. As a byproduct of my culture’s views on grades, I had almost ingrained this idea in me that school comes before everything else in my life. It was only after coming to college and physically seeing that my mentality in high school wasn’t going to help me succeed here, that I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was pushing myself too hard. It wasn’t an overnight process by a long shot. But it was the start of trying to “un-learn” the mentality that my grades defined my self-worth, and if I didn’t do well, then that reflected on me as a person. People had told me in the past that, “your grades are not who you are”. But it didn’t hit me until I experienced that in practice.

    I tried to let myself be more okay with getting a B on an assignment if I knew I tried my best. I started prioritizing my work more and making sure I gave more attention to the things that were worth more points, instead of getting overly stressed about everything. Most of all, I attempted to get out of my own head. I started making new friends, exploring clubs, going to social events around campus – trying to make my life about more than just studying for the next test. I started really enjoying life, instead of just living it.

    I’m definitely still working on it today. Old habits die hard, and when I have a lot on my plate academically, I feel myself falling back into my “panic mode” that I had throughout high school. I’m doing my best to remind myself, though, that even if I’m not doing perfect, I am doing my best with my classes, and that is enough. I am enough for myself, at the end of the day. And at the crossroads of heritage and homework, I managed to carve out a third path – that of happiness.

    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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  • Writing a Winning Resume

    by Faith Van Wyk

    A spiral notebook open to a page featuring a written outline planning a resume. The word Success written in larger letters at the bottom and circled.

    Applying for a summer job? Maybe it’s your first time, or maybe you’ve got lots of work experience to include on your resume. Either way, it can be intimidating trying to decide what to write. After all, your resume is part of your first impression when you apply for a position. Let’s break down the process of crafting a resume into a few steps:

    1. Compare Your Qualities to the Job Listing

    It’s always a good idea to go back and look at the desired skills for a candidate included on the original job listing. For example, if one of the skills on the listing is “good time management skills” and you know that you always adhere to a schedule and always get your work done on time, go ahead and add it to your resume. Make sure that any skills you take from the listing are skills you actually have – don't say you’re proficient in Microsoft Word when you’ve only ever used Google Docs.

    2. Decide What Prior Experience to Include

    This next step can be tricky if you’ve never had a “professional” job before - but don’t worry! You may still have things you can include in this section: babysitting, mowing lawns, being part of a club or organization, volunteer work, and even being part of a sports team can count as experience. As long as you show that you have dedication and you’re reliable, you’re good to go. You can list accomplishments like “babysat for x number of families” or “utilized teamwork and communication to win games” to show that you’ve gained desirable skills from your past experiences.

    If you have had a few jobs before, you don’t need to include all of them on your resume. Only include positions that are relevant to the one you are applying for. Also try not to have repetitive experience on your resume. For example, if you have had 6 retail positions, you don’t need to list all 6 – just pick a few and highlight a different set of skills and accomplishments from each.

    You can (and should!) mention your education on your resume. You can list skills and accomplishments there as well. For example, you may want to mention it on your resume if you had a good GPA or won any awards.

    3. Create Your First Draft

    After you have decided what to include on your resume, you’re ready to start writing! Include a strong introduction or summary statement that tells the reader who you are and what your mission is before they even begin reading about your skills and experience.

    General tips and guidelines for resume writing:

    1. Keep your resume under one page in length.
    2. If you are in college or have graduated from college, you don’t need to include your high school diploma on your resume.
    3. Try to avoid using bold colors unless you are applying for a more creative position. In general, stick to neutral colors.
    4. Make sure that your font is readable. Don’t make your font too big or too small, and don’t use more than two or three different font styles. For most jobs, you’ll also want to make sure that your font style is in print and does not include wacky designs.
    5. When writing about past experiences, write in past-tense. If you are including a job you still have, write about it in the present tense.
    6. Be honest. It’s never a good idea to lie about your skills and experience, especially when they are necessary for the job.

    These tips should help you create a fantastic resume that will increase your chances of landing that job or getting that internship. Having a quality resume is an important document that you will constantly be revising for the rest of your life as you move through your career. Writing an excellent first draft is putting your best foot forward. Happy writing!

    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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  • Seize Your Summer!

    by Ashish Bijumon

    A group of college students sitting in a circle outside on their campus.

    We all want a stress-free summer after a long and difficult semester. It is a time to unwind and relax. However, students often waste valuable time on apps such as Instagram and TikTok. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of scrolling through social media for hours watching the latest Kardashian news or the new trendy dance. My own mistake was following sports news religiously. I wasted so much time until I realized I could use my time to learn a new skill, apply for jobs/internships, or participate in community events to network with others. The summer is a time for fun, but we must take control of the day and use it to our benefit. Here are a few tips I used to seize my summer and take control of my career.

    Rise and Shine

    During the summer I would stay up late until around 2-3 AM and wake up at noon. This was due to me playing video games late at night with my friends. However, when you wake up late, HALF of the day is already gone/wasted. I would be angry at myself for waking up so late because now the day felt shorter, and tasks felt like they could not be finished. This was very unmotivating and I found myself just pushing the tasks to the next day, except then I would repeat my same mistakes. I recommend setting multiple alarms so you can get up in the morning and get more stuff done, such as getting a workout going in the gym or heading to the library to pick up a book.

    Learn Something New

    During my first two years of college, I worked at a Dunkin Donuts. It was a fine job, but I felt that I was not setting myself up for a successful future. I wanted to learn skills in the computer field such as database management and coding; how could I do that being a barista? It took me a while to leave the job, but when I left, I went to the local library and picked up a “Coding 101” guidebook. This book would define my summer of 2021. I was taking a programming course the coming semester and knew that I needed to be familiar with the concepts. With more time on my hands, I used it on enhancing my technical skills. I read and practiced the different programming languages such as Python and JavaScript and became comfortable with them. I was a beginner in programming with no experience, but with dedication and structure I became confident in my skills and felt that I used my time to help my future career.

    Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

    I was lucky to be around career driven individuals. We all shared the same goal: to better ourselves. My friends and I would meet every evening to play basketball and stay active. We reserved the morning and afternoon hours to better our skills and network. Having people who share the same ideals and have the same mindset as you is a crucial part in taking control of your summer and career. They won’t be obtrusive, but rather they will support you and have your back. Surround yourself with positivity.

    Summer shouldn’t just be about focusing on your career, but you can use some of that time to make productive strides towards your career goals. Have fun, but don’t loaf around. Time is crucial, seize the day and reap the benefits.

    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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  • Redefining Health and Beauty: Mindsets and Affirmations for Your Best Self

    by Rachel Stennett

    Student, Rachel Stennett blowing bubbles against a blue sky with heart and flower illustrations and the words 'Redefining Health and Beauty' in white.

    It’s hard to talk about diets and nutritional tracking without mentioning the social and psychological implications surrounding these topics. It is crucial to remember that while changing your lifestyle can be conducive to your health, it can become destructive if taken to the point of obsession. Societal expectations unfortunately do not help with this issue. For years, the media has shaped what the ideal of “happy, healthy, and beautiful” should look like, especially for young adults. With each generation, a new physique is idolized along with a new fad diet to help the “average” person reach these ideals. While the effects of these diets often end up being short-term, the negative effects on body image and relationship with food are often long-term. My own battles with body image and unhealthy eating habits have attracted me to the field of dietetics and nutritional health. Even though I still struggle from time to time, one of the most helpful tools in overcoming these issues is changing the way I create my definition of health. In this blog, I want to address some of the movements and affirmations that helped me redefine what my best self looks and feels like.


    Healthy at Every Size (HAES)

    One of the hardest obstacles I had to overcome with my body image is that no matter how much I changed my lifestyle habits, I would never look like the physique I was chasing after. Something would always be a little off — in the scale, the mirror, in pictures. The Healthy At Every Size (HAES) movement pivots away from many of the focuses within traditional dieting methods. Rather than focusing on losing weight, restricting diets, and intense exercise routines, HAES encourages participants to focus on accepting their size and trusting their bodies. When it comes to vital ratings, it is shown that participants who adopt this approach to health often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than strict dieting groups. Instead of calculating what a healthy physique looks like for a person based on algorithms, HAES recognizes that healthy body weight may vary just like our shoe sizes and heights. There’s no set perfect weight for every individual.

    Mindful eating and eating in moderation

    Mindful eating and eating in moderation fall under the HAES dogma. In these practices, following natural hunger cues is encouraged over restricting foods and caloric intake. Since no food is declared as being “bad” or “good” for your health, a varied diet of all types of foods is highly recommended. This is not to say that eating sugary, salty, and highly processed foods are a free-for-all or that supersized portions are encouraged. Rather, these practices seek to remove the anxiety and obsessive tendencies that following a strict diet may create. To this day, I catch myself feeling guilty for eating out multiple times a day or eating a second serving of dessert since my previous diet plans would not allow for it. By adopting mindful eating and eating in moderation, I am slowly relearning that it is OK to have a second slice of cake if I’m hungry, as long as my overall diet is still varied with fruits and vegetables.


    Your clothes should fit you

    Another source of insecurity with body image for me, and many college-aged students, is clothing size. There have been many times when I have bought clothing and promised myself I would wear it when I reached my weight loss goals. Conversely, there have been times when I have broken down since clothing I bought a couple of years ago is now too tight. While it may seem silly, it is important to keep in mind that your clothes should fit you; you shouldn’t fit your clothes. Many clothing stores do not follow the same sizing guidelines. Furthermore, it is natural for your body to go through changes over the course of the year and even throughout the day. If something doesn’t fit, don’t get discouraged.

    Your body is capable of amazing things — appreciate it

    The underlying message of this post is to love yourself the way that you are. Follow your health goals to feel your best, not to look like what other people think is your best. Fuel it to be happy, train it to be healthy, and appreciate what it is and is not capable of at the moment. No matter how you look, your body is capable of amazing things.

    I hope you were able to learn a little bit more about nutrition and health. From looking at what nutrients college-aged students are deficient in, to new recipes to include within your daily diet, and finally, to concerns about body image, we have analyzed nutrition on biological, practical, and societal levels.

    For more practice with nutrition tracking and health resources, check out MyDietAnaylsis.  

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  • Celebrate Mother’s Day!

    by Emilie Conners

    The blog author and her mom standing outside a residence hall on campus.

    Mothers and motherly figures in life play an essential role in developing children into who they become. I believe motherhood requires sacrifice, selflessness, and a LOT of patience. Over the years, as I have gotten older, I have come to realize the true effort my mother put into raising and supporting me. Mother’s Day is a day certainly worth celebrating each year. Whether you celebrate your mother on this day, or a different woman who simply encompasses what that word means to you, here are some ways to ensure that person feels appreciated today.

    Quality Time

    I know you saw this one coming and it is a given, but make sure to spend quality time with mom today! It truly is what means the most to them and it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Something as simple as putting on your mom’s favorite show and watching it with her will surely bring her joy.

    Start Her Day Right

    Another great option is making/bringing your mom her favorite breakfast. Almost all moms love breakfast (especially coffee). Make a stop by her favorite breakfast stop or just grab her favorite coffee and she will be so happy!!

    Simple Gifts

    Now for a great Mother’s Day gift, my go-to is always a nice picture frame with her favorite recent picture of the two of you or the whole family, whatever is best suited. You can get a great 4x6 picture frame at most stores for under $6. Along with that, you can get your favorite picture printed out for just a few cents!! A sweet gift that she’ll put on her desk or bedside table that will always make her think of you!

    Get Her Some Flowers

    Now this one you definitely already thought of, but I couldn’t just leave it out. Flowers. A nice bouquet always looks great on the kitchen table on Mother’s Day. Your local grocery store will most definitely be selling beautiful flowers around this time so just be sure to stop by the day before, so the best ones aren’t all gone!

    Overall, I think Mother’s Day becomes more special each year. We learn new things about our moms each year that make us further appreciate the time and energy they put into raising us. No matter what you do, just make sure your mom knows how much you appreciate her and all she’s done for you. Moms truly are gifts, and they certainly don’t get enough credit for all that they do.

    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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  • National Nurses Day: Why I Chose a Nursing Major

    by Ana Cooper

    A v-neck scrub shirt with a stethoscope around the neck. The pocket logo says, “Benjamin Leon School of Nursing, Miami Dade College”.

    May 6th, 2023 is National Nurses Day here in the US. This day will be special to me because for the first time, I’ll celebrate it as a nursing student. While digging my nose in a book, writing care plans, assessing patients, and attending long clinical hours, I don’t lose sight of why I am in this field and what brought me here. Picking a college major can be difficult. But I am going to show you some character traits I have that are helping me to be a great nurse.

    Precision and Diligence

    Nurses must be precise and accurate in everything they do. You have to triple check everything. I was called a “perfectionist” because I liked things done right. I often took on with the most detail-oriented tasks because I could step back and see how this detail is actually significant in the big picture. Growing up homeschooled, it was all on me in high school if I didn’t do my schoolwork. I used to get up at 6am, say my prayers, and start school by 6:05am. I still did dance, piano, youth group, yearbook, honors society stuff, yet I never fell behind. Being an overachiever who loved studying the human body, nursing seemed like a great challenge and fit.

    A Sense of Humor

    Many patients are not quite themselves when they are sick and can say really ridiculous things. I had an elderly gentleman that proposed to me and asked me to dump my boyfriend for him! That is extremely personal, but I had to laugh it off and not let him get under my skin. I am usually able to make my friends laugh especially when I am telling a frustrating story. Humor helps me cope and will help me cope later.


    As a nurse, you must be organized. You have to keep all your patients straight and do your patient rounds efficiently. An ordered environment leads to ordered thinking. Organized rounds also lead to organized assessments and organized documentation. My friends have asked me to help them move and organize their belongings or prepare nurseries because I can stay on task and perform efficiently. Learning about the pyxis (medication management) system made me feel elated.

    A Caring Bedside Manner

    You can’t lie but you can’t sugar coat either. My closest family and friends know that I am honest no matter what. I tell it like it is. But I try my best to speak kindly and empathetically. When I feel sick, I like to know what is wrong with me and how to fix it. I love to learn about medicine and pathology because I can educate patients and help them to feel more in control. I have even been told by friends and relatives that I'd make a great nurse.


    I love the sciences. Anatomy and physiology as well as microbiology as are so fascinating to me and in high school, I preferred them to other subjects. The more I learn about what can go wrong in the body, I realize what a blessing it is when things are going well. I use social media to follow other medical personnel, specifically related to labor and delivery, to learn as much as possible even before I take my OB class.

    It Works with The Lifestyle I Want

    I really love the idea of working for a few years and then being able to be home and care for a family. If I need or want to go back to work, there are a plethora of careers in nursing that could support this lifestyle either in-person or remotely, including case management and nursing research.

    No one knows what their future holds, but it is nice to know that my degree is adaptive. My passion and character traits have laid the foundation for successful academic and professional careers balanced with my goals for my personal life. Whether I am caring for patients or my own kin, I feel confident in my abilities to care for them because of my rigorous training. I have peace of mind knowing that I am being educated to critically think and be a patient advocate which will come in handy no matter what.

    Can’t wait to take the NCLEX! Happy Nurses Day!

    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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  • Graduation Gifts: Nurse’s Edition

    by Saige O’Rourke

    A graphic with a blue background and 3 images related to nursing: a stethoscope, a nurse’s cap and clipboard, and a medical jacket.

    With a nursing major roommate, I cannot count the number of times I have heard how expensive the profession is. Schooling in itself is a pricey commitment, but that is just the beginning. On a whim, I decided to look further into what a nursing major might enjoy receiving as a graduation gift and how much I should start to save. After talking with my roommate, I can confirm that a new stethoscope, scrubs, badge reels, pens, and a customized zip-up jacket with credentials are all much-needed wants. Although these items might seem either simple, known, or confusing to understand, there is a method to the madness of a Nursing student’s wish-list.

    New Stethoscope

    $350. That is the highest amount paid on a select website for a Littman’s Stethoscope without counting shipping and taxes. With a starting price of $100 for a necessity, I personally would not want to add that to my bank statement straight out of college. This product, however, is used daily by all nurses & nursing students. If you have ever visited a doctor’s office, it is common knowledge of how important these are in their daily practices. Naturally, this would be the perfect starter gift for a fresh out of college nurse.

    New Scrubs

    After a 12-hour shift, the last thing my roommate wants to do is laundry. Scrubs are a nurse’s uniform and working with sick patients for a long period of time daily can cause them to feel disheveled after a long day. Avoiding the inconvenience of either wearing dirty scrubs or losing sleep over a washer cycle, nurses need to fill their closet with multiple sets of scrubs.

    Badge Reels and Pens

    Hospitals are meant to be secure as lives are on the line. Scanning into rooms, departments, and time clocks are a part of the daily routine. To make this process easier, nurses attach badge reels to their identification then attach this to their scrubs; this also makes their uniform feel more personalized and complete in the autonomous field they work in. Alongside this, filling out charts is a valid part of taking care of patients. We can all attest to the annoyance of bad pens and the importance of investing in good ones. Both of these items may seem very simple, but they are very necessary in the daily activities of those in this profession.

    They Need to Dress the Part

    A customized zip-up jacket may seem unnecessary, but would you say the same about a customized lab coat for a doctor? Regardless of the brand of choice, nurses are able to wear jackets or hoodies while on the clock. Sometimes, their badges may be out of sight which makes it important to have another piece of clothing to identify who they are in a hall full of the same color.

    Whether your budget starts at $5 or extends to $400, there is always a gift a new nurse could use. Personally, I will need to start saving now to afford that customized zip-up jacket, but maybe someone else can pitch in for the stethoscope!

    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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  • Travel Opportunities Abound for College Students

    by Amiaya Ross

    The view from a cruise ship window looking out over the ocean with the faint outline of land in the distance.

    The first week of May is typically recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week in the United States. College students often have access to unique opportunities to travel for study abroad or during term breaks.

    Travel allows people to gain new experiences that they may not be able to have at home. Stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring new places allows you to expand your understanding of the diversity of other cultures, while also helping you to build self-confidence as you meet different people from all around the world. You can also generate your creativity by traveling to new places and seeing new things.

    While growing up, my family and I used to go on road trips all the time to visit relatives. Ever since then, traveling has become one of my favorite hobbies. Whether it be just a spur of the moment trip, or a weekend getaway, I am always down to join along. My favorite part of traveling is getting the opportunity to see new places, meeting new people, and getting to try new things.

    Ways to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week:

    Go on a trip

    Not all trips have to be extravagant and long. Take a trip to a new city or visit somewhere local you have never been before!

    Send a gift

    If you attend college outside of your hometown, send a gift to one of your friends or family members. Choose something that represents the city you live in!

    Try a foreign cuisine

    The best way to experience a new culture is through the cuisine. Look and see if there are any local restaurants in your area!

    Research your next adventure

    Pick a destination that you would like to travel to someday and look into their culture. For example, look into what holidays they celebrate! Or, check out your university’s study abroad or other travel opportunities.

    Traveling is known to be a great stress reliever, and as a busy college student, taking a break from school and getting away is important for your mental health, since it allows you to disconnect and recharge.

    What tourism opportunities are in your future?

    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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  • Thank You, Teachers!

    by Maeve Murdock

    A front view of the blog author’s elementary school, Sacred Heart School.

    Each May, Teacher Appreciation Week reminds us to pause and think about all the teachers we have had throughout our lives who formed us into who we are today. Many teachers challenged us, encouraged us, cared for us, and grew with us.

    Thinking all the way back to 1st grade, I remember a kind-faced, smiling, short woman with stark, black hair welcoming us all in. Her name was Ms. Youkhana. A mere five years old, I didn’t know what to expect other than that I wanted homework. I have two older twin sisters, both of whom would regularly come home from school with a math worksheet to do, or a few pages to read. I so badly wanted the same, having no idea the extent of the homework I’d be assigned in the years to come. As 1st grade progressed, I began reading the Harry Potter series. I’ll admit I was whizzing through the chapters alarmingly fast–so fast that Ms. Youkhana asked that I sit down with her after each chapter to quickly summarize what happened. She was incredibly supportive of my determination and motivation to learn and did everything she could to help me along the way.

    Ms. Carr, a wonderful, bright-eyed older woman, served as our long-term 4th grade sub, as our teacher had her baby at the beginning of the school year. Ms. Carr regularly spent her money on doughnuts for the class, just so we could start our day with a smile. She was patient, open-minded, and amazingly tolerant of the jokesters in my class. She made each of us feel loved and special.

    Señora Young, our Spanish teacher 3rd-5th grade, was brilliant, strong-minded, and hilarious. She made conquering a new language seem easy, teaching us vast amounts both linguistically and culturally very quickly. She pushed us to learn as much as we could yet kept her classroom an enjoyable learning environment. 

    Mr. Stewart, my 5th grade math teacher, was a goofy, heavy-set guy and an avid Chicago Bulls fan. Mr. Stewart put the class at ease with his quick-witted humor and made each student feel valued, heard, and intelligent. He taught us PEMDAS and how to solve for x, willing to go over tons of example problems and try other ways of explaining more difficult concepts. 

    Mr. Thomas, our 7th grade English teacher, was heavily opinionated and even goofier than Mr. Stewart. Mr. Thomas emphasized the importance of taking a stance on important issues and developing the skills of vocalizing your thoughts and advocating for your position. We regularly held debates in his class, many of which have stuck with me today, 7 years later. We performed rants and raves in front of our small, 15-person class, subtly learning to value releasing our emotions and coming to understand our irks and passions. 

    These five are only a few of the teachers who have made quite an impact on me over the years. The list goes on and on. These teachers, all of whom taught me in grades 1-8, were (or still are) employed at Sacred Heart School, a small, private, Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago. Catholic schoolteachers in Illinois are severely underpaid; they make significantly less than their public-school counterparts, and yet these teachers remain deeply enthusiastic and passionate. Each one showed up every day, ready and excited to teach. Especially after the educational trauma the pandemic brought, I am confident we’ve all come to realize how vital and special our teachers are. 

    Teachers, thank you SO much for all your hard work–we see and appreciate you!

    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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