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Adapting to Change Isn’t Easy, But Sarah Donohoo Has Some Great Advice

Boston University student Sarah Donohoo talking about adapting to change Adapting to change is a challenge many university students face throughout their time at school in one way or another. On Episode 13 of the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast, we had the opportunity to speak to Sarah Donohoo and get her insights on adapting to change, living a culturally rich life, the importance of overcoming challenges and growing as a person in university, and so much more.

Sarah Donohoo is a psychology student at Boston University and she’s also completing a minor in classical civilization. It’s fitting when you consider her background: Sarah is a first generation Italian-American, and lived in Sicily, Italy for 20 years. Before starting her Boston University psychology degree, she graduated from Northern Essex Community College.

Here are some of the insights we learned from chatting with Sarah, and the lessons she shared that can help you throughout your own academic journey. Let them inspire you and help you adapt to change within your own life, cherish every moment of your time at school, and balance all of the responsibilities you have on your plate.

City of Boston near Boston University

Embracing Culture: From America to Italy, and Back Again

When it comes to embracing culture, Sarah knows a thing or two. Since she spent 20 years living in Sicily, she has experienced school in both Italy and the United States. Naturally, switching between the Italian school system and the American school system was a pretty big challenge for Sarah.

One of the biggest differences might cause a panic for those who are uncomfortable speaking in front of people: in Italy, all of the exams and tests are oral. Professors will call you up to the front desk and ask you what you’ve learned, and you are expected to say everything you’ve learned and remembered out loud. “It’s everyone’s biggest fear in Italy,” Sarah says, “Everyone’s praying that they don’t get called because they randomly call your name when it’s time to be interrogated.”

Meanwhile, in the United States, most assignments and exams are all written and submitted, or completed through multiple-choice exams. That took a pretty big adjustment since she wasn’t accustomed to writing those big papers and essays. However, Sarah likes to see the bright side of everything. Adapting to change in terms of school assignments and dealing with oral examinations has helped her to be more confident speaking in front of people and stay focused on studying.

As a whole, overcoming cultural barriers is something that Sarah believes has helped to shape her as an individual. Embracing culture and cultural diversity is a big part of her life, and she is proud of her dual heritage. As Americans living in Italy, she and her family did their best to combine both worlds and share their experiences with others. They would host Fourth of July parties and American themed parties that went over really well with their Italian neighbours.

Sarah Donohoo embracing culture from both Italy and the United States

Striving to Make a Difference, One Person at a Time

Sarah aspires to become a clinical psychologist for children and adolescents, and is determined to make it her life’s mission to help people in any way she can. When we talked to her in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, she didn’t complain about taking online courses or having to adjust to a lockdown. Instead, she wanted to talk about the mental health issues that could arise from a pandemic and the ways in which she could use her own skills to help others.

Chronic stress can be really detrimental to people’s self-development and mental health, and that’s Sarah’s biggest concern right now. Her short term goals are trying to find a way to help people with her psychology skills as they cope with adjustment from living through a pandemic and trying to get back on their feet. She’d also be open to doing online sessions if that were an option. Even if she can just help a couple people, that would make a world of difference.

When it comes to Sarah’s favourite memory as a student, her desire to help people through her psychology degree shines through yet again. She immediately smiles when she thinks about a workshop she gave when she attended Northern Essex Community College. The workshop was conducted for people with intellectual disabilities, where they had the audience express themselves through art. She says this was an amazing, enriching experience and “I loved every second of it.”

Sarah Donohoo living her life and going to school in Boston

“You Only Grow Through Adversity”: “Adulting” and Adapting to Change in University

For Sarah, as well as the majority of students entering the postsecondary world, adjusting to university life was initially a struggle in and of itself. Sarah says, “In college, they treat you a lot more like an adult and it could be a good thing. And it could also be a bad thing, because they give you a lot of freedom.”

The biggest struggle many university students face as they come out of high school is adjusting to the challenges and struggles of managing a much bigger workload without the guidance and support of their teachers, parents, and councillors. You will be expected to learn how to pace yourself, be accountable for your own success, and meet significantly larger expectations than you’ve ever faced before. But to Sarah, it’s important to see those challenges not as struggles, but as building blocks on the road to becoming a more well-rounded student.

Juggling all of that stress is tough, but it helps you grow as a person. In Sarah’s opinion, university life teaches you so much more than simply the subjects you’re studying in class. It’s about “adulting” and learning how to make it on your own as an adult. You learn how to grow as a person and develop the skills you need to make it in the real world. It’s about learning to be resilient in the face of setbacks, challenges, and struggles, and to Sarah, it’s an experience that works best when you dive in.

This may seem pretty scary, but in Sarah’s words: “You do only grow through adversity. I mean, the more challenges you face, the more you’re growing. And it’s important to remember that.”

Sarah Donohoo studying for a Boston University psychology exam

The Secret to Success? Don’t Procrastinate!

Sarah’s number one piece of advice for any student who is working part-time and juggling a full school courseload is this: “don’t allow yourself to procrastinate.” Especially if you’re balancing a part-time job on top of everything else.

When you’re working with a tight schedule, particularly with a part-time job, you have to make sure you get to class on time, get to work on time, and dedicate enough time to studying, assignments, and tests. Throw in a social life on top of that, and you’ve got a lot on your plate.

How do you avoid procrastination? It’s about self-discipline.

Here are a couple tips you can try to keep yourself focused and avoid procrastinating, especially if you’re taking online classes right now and having a hard time adjusting to working from home full-time:
Turn off all of your distractions. That means putting your phone on airplane mode, using a browser extension to block your go-to websites, and even setting a really long password to unlock your phone so it’s harder to quickly check social media.
Find a study space that works for you. For example, if you need absolute silence you can try studying at the library, but if you get really bored and distracted with silence, try a coffee shop or the student centre.
Get enough sleep. Your brain is at peak performance for memory, focus, and concentration when you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Don’t forget to give yourself breaks to refresh and rejuvenate your brain.

Ultimately, however you choose to self-discipline and stay on track, it’s important to keep a balance in your life. As Sarah puts it, “It’s important to have a balance. You know, it’s important to be a student, but be a person at the same time. Be a friend, be a girlfriend, a boyfriend, be a daughter, a sister… be who you are.”

Sarah Donohoo as she relaxes and de-stresses in school

Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health While You’re at it

To Sarah, taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. That’s part of the reason she is determined to become a clinical psychologist. It’s important to de-stress and take time for yourself in order to avoid burning out and becoming too overwhelmed by stress, especially when you have a lot in your life to balance.

Another important part of keeping your mental health in check is avoiding the things that hold you back, like fear of the unknown. When we ask her what she would say if she could go back in time and talk to her 15-year-old self, Sarah says she would say this: “There’s more fear in what’s going to come than when you actually go through the experience yourself.” That means stop letting your fear of the future impact how you live in the present.

Being afraid of the things that you don’t know are going to happen can limit your ability to live in the moment and take advantage of the amazing things happening right in front of your eyes. When you look back on your time in school five or ten years from now, you want to be able to look back on those happy memories and the moments you cherished, not the things that flew by because you were too busy worrying about your future.

It’s hard to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, as a student when most of your time is spent logging hours behind a computer screen or sitting at a desk. If you’re having trouble trying to balance, read our article on staying healthy as a student.

Tri Delta sorority graduating together at Boston University

Embracing the Sorority Life at Boston University

One of the highlights of Sarah’s life at Boston University so far has been joining the Tri Delta sorority. It wasn’t something she had ever seen herself doing, but she has loved the experience so far.

For some students living outside of the United States, the idea of a sorority and a fraternity might not be more than just something they see on television and in the movies. In Italy, Sarah says that they don’t exist at all. This could be both a great thing and a bad thing, depending on which movie you watch. If you watch certain movies (like Animal House, for example) you may end up thinking that sororities and fraternities are just big party houses full of people dressed in togas drinking from red solo cups and yelling ancient Greek words.

The reality is that, according to Sarah, there is actually a lot of philanthropic work involved with being in a sorority. It’s about community, connecting with people, and making long-lasting friendships that offer emotional support. Sarah credits Tri Delta with helping her grow as a person, and for adding a source of enrichment to her life that has made her university experience better than she could have hoped.

If you’re thinking about joining a sorority or fraternity at your own school, take the leap and go for it! Sarah highly recommends doing so, and doesn’t regret a thing about the experience overall. You will learn valuable lessons and make connections with people that will last throughout the rest of your life.

Sarah Donohoo hanging out at Boston University

Get More Insights and Advice on Adapting to Change, Overcoming Challenges, and Much More on The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast

So what is Sarah up to right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are her tips for students who are starting school this year? What’s her go-to motivational quote that has helped her with overcoming challenges in her life? You’ll have to check out her full interview on the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast Series.

Listen to the full podcast here with Sarah Donohoo to get the full scoop and hear Sarah’s unique insights. If you’d prefer to watch the interview, you can check out The Homework Help Show YouTube page instead.

To learn more amazing insights from inspiring students and alumni around the globe, and catch up on past episodes, tune in to the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast on or your favourite streaming platform. Each week, we bring you the best advice, tips, and insights that can help you succeed in your own academic career and beyond.


Sarah [00:00:01] You do only grow through adversity. I mean.

Lesley [00:00:04] Right.

Sarah [00:00:05] The more challenges you face, the more you’re growing. And it’s important to remember that.

Lesley [00:00:12] Welcome to The Homework Help Show Influencers podcast. I’m your host, Lesley. And today I’m here with Sarah. So thank you, Sarah, for being here with us.

Sarah [00:00:22] Thank you for having me.

Lesley [00:00:23] First, we usually start out with some get to know you kind of questions, so we can start with where are you currently located?

Sarah [00:00:31] So I live in North Andover, Massachusetts, USA.

Lesley [00:00:35] Perfect. And where were you born?

Sarah [00:00:38] I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but I’ve lived 20 years in Italy. So.

Lesley [00:00:43] Italy.

Sarah [00:00:44] Yeah, in Sicily.

Lesley [00:00:45] Wow. That must have been interesting.

Sarah [00:00:49] Very.

Lesley [00:00:49] Do you have family from there, or?

Sarah [00:00:51] Yeah, my mom’s from Sicily and my dad’s from Texas, so I am first generation American and Italian.

Lesley [00:00:57] Wow. That’s an interesting combination.

Sarah [00:01:00] Yeah, pretty much.

Lesley [00:01:02] So right now, what college or university do you go to?

Sarah [00:01:06] So right now I go to Boston University, I’m a rising senior.

Lesley [00:01:10] Nice. And what do you study there?

Sarah [00:01:12] Psychology. And I’m getting a minor in classical civilization.

Lesley [00:01:17] Oh, that’s awesome. That must be super interesting, too.

Sarah [00:01:20] Oh, yeah. It’s my biggest passion. Love it.

Lesley [00:01:22] Has it been like a lifelong passion for you or?

Sarah [00:01:25] Yes, pretty much. I’ve always loved psychology. And my biggest aspiration is to become a clinical psychologist for children and adolescents. So, yeah, I definitely love what I do.

Lesley [00:01:38] That’s amazing, yeah so that’s a really great introduction. So in your experience, how would you say that being in university is different from high school?

Sarah [00:01:51] Well, OK. So in my experience, also I have a comparison with Italian schooling and American schooling. So definitely I’m going to say that high school overall is different from college with the way they treat you. I feel like in college they treat you a lot more like an adult and it could be a good thing. And it could also be a bad thing because they give you a lot of freedom. So it’s very self-paced in university and you kind of have to have discipline. You got to be responsible enough to know when to work, when to have fun. Definitely have fun. Like, I feel like mental health is just as important as physical health. So, yes, it’s important to take care of one’s body, of one’s mental health, to have fun, you know, but obviously it’s a lot of work because you’re responsible for yourself and your academic success. So definitely I feel like that’s the biggest difference whereas in high school, I feel like, you know, they- they’ve all- they always treat you a bit like a child, not like an adult where they tell you what to do. It’s not self-paced.

Sarah [00:02:51] So in my experience, I definitely prefer university.

Lesley [00:02:54] Yeah, it definitely seems like the common thing is that a lot of people find that university kind of just throws you into this new world where you’re accountable for everything, for yourself, where in high school they don’t- you’re not really- you don’t have that full autonomy where you’re completely accountable for everything.

Sarah [00:03:13] Absolutely. Yes, exactly.

Lesley [00:03:15] It’s probably pretty hard to prepare for that, too, if- if you’re not expecting it.

Sarah [00:03:20] Exactly. It takes some getting used to. For sure.

Lesley [00:03:23] Do you find that- how did you do you find that… I’m trying to word how I was going to say it, but do you find that there’s a big contrast between going to school in Italy and going to school in the- like, how did you adjust to that transition?

Sarah [00:03:40] Yeah, definitely. Especially when it comes to assignments and exams. ‘Cause in Italy, all the exams in school are oral. So you basically study what you study and then you have to orally, you know, explain what you studied, where the professors will call you up to the, you know, to the front desk. And basically- basically, they will say, OK, what did you learn? And you have to orally relate everything. And it’s very stressful, but it really does help you, you know, forms you as a student, as a hard-working one, too, because you really do have to know your material if you need- if you, you know, have to explain it orally. Whereas in the United States, you know, it’s a lot of assignments or papers or everything’s written where there are multiple-choice tests. So definitely I did have to adjust. Yeah. At first the first few papers were like, OK, what do I do? I don’t know what I’m doing.

Sarah [00:04:32] Like, OK, I, I did have to write a few things in Italy, but obviously as an Italian and although I am mother tongue and my primary language is English, it’s still a major adjustment because it was- I was used to studying in a language and then I had to shift my study language into English and I was okay after like the first month of college. But it was still yeah, I remember it was a struggle at first.

Lesley [00:04:58] It must have- that sounds like it probably took a lot of adjustment.

Sarah [00:05:02] Yeah, and a lot of help from my dad.

Lesley [00:05:05] Those oral- oral exams sound pretty intimidating.

Sarah [00:05:09] They are. It’s like every student’s biggest fear in Italy. Everyone’s praying that they don’t get called because they randomly call your name when it’s your time to be interrogated. That’s what they call it.

Lesley [00:05:20] Oh my goodness.

Sarah [00:05:21] Yeah. Schooling in Italy is pretty intense.

Lesley [00:05:25] Yeah. Sounds like it.

Sarah [00:05:27] Yeah. But at least it helped me. You know, I was already- when I went to college I was already pretty disciplined.

Lesley [00:05:33] You probably learned a lot more confidence for like speaking in front of a class too.

Sarah [00:05:37] Oh yeah. For sure. Plus I’m a little shy, a little of a mix between an introvert and extrovert. But I have to say that the interrogations were intense every time. But yeah, no, it definitely did help because I had to give a few presentations like PowerPoint presentations here in the States. And yeah, it’s not the same thing, but it’s a lot more fun, I have to be honest.

Lesley [00:06:00] Really?

Sarah [00:06:01] Definitely I was more used to talking in front of people, that’s for sure.

Lesley [00:06:05] Yeah. That can’t be a bad thing.

Sarah [00:06:07] No.

Lesley [00:06:07] I mean that’s a skill you’re probably going to use forever, so at least it taught you that.

Sarah [00:06:13] Yeah, absolutely. No, I’m happy I went through that.

Lesley [00:06:16] Yeah. Definitely a learning experience, that’s for sure.

Sarah [00:06:19] For sure. Yeah.

Lesley [00:06:21] What is your- what are your favorite memories so far in university?

Sarah [00:06:25] Okay, so I graduated from a community college, so I’m going to pick out one from that community college and then one from Boston University.

Lesley [00:06:33] Awesome.

Sarah [00:06:33] So I’m a psych major and I love psychology. So my favorite experience at Northern Essex Community College was the workshop I conducted for people with intellectual disabilities. It was an enriching experience. I loved every second of it. We basically, as a group, it was me and two other classmates. We had to set up a PowerPoint presentation where we would have to teach a skill to these people, to our clients, and then we had to like host an hour-long workshop. It was a lot of fun. We made our presentation based on learning through art and expressing yourself through art. And then we had an hour long workshop where we had them create like portraits of themselves the way they saw themselves. And it was an amazing experience. I mean, it was so enriching and I absolutely loved it. And then at Boston University. Oh, my God, I love BU, unfortunately, because I transferred last semester and it was my only semester at BU before Coronavirus, so.

Lesley [00:07:37] Right, right.

Sarah [00:07:38] Yeah, it was pretty sad. But I think my favorite memory so far is joining a sorority. Tri Delta. So yeah, I love that, but I love every day at BU. I’m just in love with my school.

Lesley [00:07:50] Now that must have been- we’re, our company is in Canada, so we don’t really have the whole sorority and fraternity.

Sarah [00:07:58] Really?

Lesley [00:07:59] Well, we do, but it’s not the same as it is in the States. It’s not that big of a thing in the States. So it’s always interesting to hear those perspectives, too, because obviously we talk about- we talk to a lot of US students. So it’s kind of interesting on our end, because when I was in university, I- we didn’t have sororities, so that must have been quite a different experience, I’m sure.

Sarah [00:08:24] Yeah, absolutely. I didn’t even think I would ever join a sorority, but I am so glad I did. It’s not a thing in Italy. They don’t even exist in Italy.

Lesley [00:08:31] Oh, yeah?

Sarah [00:08:32] So, yeah, my best friend’s in college in Italy and she- she knows what it is because of movies but it’s all American movies. So, yeah, it’s not a thing in Italy for some reason, but it’ll catch on at some point.

Lesley [00:08:44] Yeah. It seems to be the biggest in the US. I mean.

Sarah [00:08:47] Yeah. I think so.

Lesley [00:08:48] It’s in so many different movies. I’m sure that’s not an actual. I’m sure they exaggerate a lot about the experience.

Sarah [00:08:56] Some of them. Others I don’t know.

Lesley [00:08:59] Well, maybe your experience was better with that.

Sarah [00:09:02] Absolutely.

Lesley [00:09:03] I’m sure. I’m sure it also taught you a lot of lessons, too, and gave you a lot of those community connections.

Sarah [00:09:09] Absolutely. There’s a lot of philanthropy involved in sororities. And I’m, so I love it. I mean, it’s perfect. It really gives you a chance to grow as a person as well as a student, so that’s really enriching.

Lesley [00:09:21] It seems like it fits in really well with your psychology major. And you’re- obviously you really want to help people.

Sarah [00:09:29] Absolutely. Yes.

Lesley [00:09:31] And connect with people. So that really seems like it really fits in there.

Sarah [00:09:34] Oh, yes. I love it.

Lesley [00:09:36] That’s awesome. On the contrast, what are any struggles or challenges that you’ve faced so far in university? I’m sure that between going from Italy to the US is probably a big enough struggle. But are there any struggles you want to expand on?

Sarah [00:09:53] Yeah, I think overall I’m going to say as a student, one of the struggles, especially as a freshman that you will encounter, is definitely adjusting to university workload. It’s definitely not going to be the same as high school. And there’s a lot more expectation put on you. And I think that’s one of the major struggles that any student will face when they enter college. It’s definitely worth it in the end, but it takes a lot of adjusting in so many regards, like even grading is more harsh and the amount of work, the intensity, the workload itself and the managing life with social life, with health, with, you know, sleep and, you know, your academic life as well. So, yeah, definitely because of the expectations and the amount of stress that you’re going to face, it’s obviously a struggle. But in the end, it’s so much worth it because they don’t- college just doesn’t teach you about your major, you know, it teaches you so much more and teaches you to grow as a person, as a student, as an adult. And I’m extremely grateful for all the struggles that college has put me through so far because it’s really helped me grow. I do feel like-.

Lesley [00:11:08] You learn to do stuff on your own.

Sarah [00:11:10] Oh, absolutely. Because you do only grow through adversity. I mean.

Lesley [00:11:13] Right.

Sarah [00:11:14] The more challenges you face, the more you’re growing. And it’s important to remember that.

Lesley [00:11:18] Right.

Lesley [00:11:19] Yeah. I think a lot of people tend to forget things like that, too, because university is- a lot of people kind of think it’s either you’re swarming under a pile of work or all you’re doing is partying. And they don’t. A lot of people don’t really- they kind of generalize it and they don’t really consider all of the other important experiences, like becoming an adult and learning how to do things for yourself and do a lot of those things that you never really did at home.

Sarah [00:11:45] Absolutely.

Lesley [00:11:46] Like for some people doing laundry or even those adult things that yeah, it’s kind of you- you kind of get forced to learn.

Sarah [00:11:55] Yeah, I wish they had, like, an adult 101 course when you go in. Like, how do I do laundry? Thanks, Mom.

Lesley [00:12:02] I’ve heard a lot of people say that they need to teach some kind of prep course and it just get- like a life skills course. No one’s no one started that yet.

Sarah [00:12:12] Yeah, they should though.

Lesley [00:12:13] They really should.

Sarah [00:12:14] It would be so useful. Oh, my goodness.

Lesley [00:12:17] Yeah. So you would say that going to university college is beneficial?

Sarah [00:12:23] Absolutely. I would definitely recommend it. Well, obviously, it depends on what you want to do in life, like not every aspiration involves college. But for those who do want to do something that involves going to college first, then yes. Oh, my gosh. It’s so worth it in the end. And even while you’re in it, it’s definitely an enriching experience and it’s a lot of fun. I mean, all you have to do is adjust at first. It’s gonna be hard at first and you’re gonna think, OK, why did I put myself through this? Why did I join? But then, you know, when the crazy effect is over, it definitely leaves you with some- something great, you know, something that you will keep for the rest of your life because you won’t only have a university degree. You will have so much more as a person, as an individual, and especially as an adult. Like- like we said before, it’s, oh my gosh.

Lesley [00:13:15] All those new adult life skills.

Sarah [00:13:16] Yes, for sure. And even resiliency, because every time, you know, college puts you through three papers due in three days or, you know, an exam on a five hundred page book or whatever, you know, you’re growing and you- yes, you get stressed. I’m not going to deny that. But then once the stress is over, you’re going to feel much more resilient and stronger and ready to tackle the next, you know, challenge.

Lesley [00:13:40] Right. Yeah. And that self-discipline, too, is really, really important.

Sarah [00:13:46] Yeah, no. Absolutely. When you know, when it’s time for work, when it’s time for school, when it’s time for, you know, your social life, it’s important to have a balance. You know, it’s important to be a student, but be a person at the same time, like be a friend, be a girlfriend, a boyfriend, you know, be a daughter, a sister, be, you know, who you are. And you need to learn to incorporate all of your different aspects into your life.

Lesley [00:14:11] Right. Yeah. That is important. So how many hours would you say- I know right now is kind of a bit of a unique situation with the COVID-19 pandemic going on and a lot of online classes, but on a- in a regular week, how many hours do you think that you spend studying?

Sarah [00:14:35] Well, okay, so I would say something like 13 maybe overall, like it always depends on, you know, the week on the workload. You know, there’s some weeks where luckily I can rest or I can study less and do more of what I want to do. But there are weeks where, especially during midterm season and final season, or just like when the workload’s heavier than usual, that’s when I study, you know, intensely and probably five to six hours a day, five days a week. Something like that. Depends. It depends. Yeah.

Lesley [00:15:11] Right. Do you work part-time when you’re at school?

Sarah [00:15:16] I worked part-time when I was at my community college. But then when I transferred to BU, I stopped working because I wanted to adjust to the workload. And then I never really got to work because when the semester ended and then the spring semester started, that’s when COVID-19 started to mess things up. And I wanted to really get an internship rather than work a part time job per say. But, you know, that kind of failed because of COVID. But I’m trying to do something this summer. Yeah. Definitely.

Lesley [00:15:47] Maybe there will be another chance when everything slows down but an internship would probably be super helpful. Especially in your field.

Sarah [00:15:56] Absolutely.

Lesley [00:15:58] Because I was going to say, if you do, do you have any specific study techniques or anything that you, like do you have like a study routine, you usually go to where- to help you balance the rest of your life?

Sarah [00:16:11] Well. OK. Yeah. When I worked when I went to my community college, definitely the goal is to not procrastinate. You can sort of afford to procrastinate when you don’t have other responsibilities, but when you do have a job, I feel like that in itself teaches you some responsibility because you have to get there on time. You have to make sure your classes don’t interfere with your work and vice versa. But it’s definitely- organization is key and discipline is key. There were times when I was able to finish before going to work, but there were times where I wasn’t able to do that either because the workload was increasing because we were getting closer to midterm or final season or simply because, you know, there were certain days I remember where the- the hours were so close together between my last class and my job. So, yeah, definitely don’t allow yourself to procrastinate. That’s number one advice I would give any student trying to work and manage, you know, in a successful academic career.

Lesley [00:17:18] Right. Yeah, that seems like it’s an important thing and it seems like a skill that a lot of people still have trouble mastering, I think. Well, I mean, right now is a little different because people are doing classes from home. So it’s- it’s really- some people just can’t focus when they work at home.

Sarah [00:17:40] Yeah. I’m one of them. Yeah. It was so hard to adjust, to be honest. Boston University does give a few online classes, but it’s definitely not, you know, full-time online classes. It was so hard to focus. You know, being in my home environment with my family and. Oh my goodness. Yeah. Took some some adjustment. But, you know, in the end, the semester ended a few days ago, so.

Lesley [00:18:03] Oh, yeah, that’s nice.

Sarah [00:18:04] Yeah, definitely.

Lesley [00:18:06] Now you get a break. Except it’s not. I mean, it’s not much of a break when you- with- when we’re in the circumstances we’re in, but.

Sarah [00:18:16] Yeah exactly. And so it’s different. But at least I can binge watch Netflix without pressure.

Lesley [00:18:21] Right. I mean, that’s important. That’s a good way to take a break.

Sarah [00:18:25] Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:18:26] And at least you didn’t have- I know a lot of students ended up with this whole online course load and kind of just unexpectedly didn’t know what to do with it. So, you know, at least you didn’t have to- at least you didn’t have, like, the full span of all of that to try and get used to that.

Sarah [00:18:44] Absolutely. And I’m hoping we get to go back in the fall.

Lesley [00:18:47] Yeah. Well, I guess we’ll have to take it day by day and find that out.

Sarah [00:18:52] Exactly.

Lesley [00:18:55] On a lighter note, if you could go back to your 15-year-old self or your high school self, what would you say to yourself or what advice would you give yourself?

Sarah [00:19:05] OK. So I would definitely say chill out. Don’t let stress get the best of you. There is a lot coming, a lot of change, a lot of responsibilities. But you’ll pull through. Just be strong and don’t worry so much about it because there’s more fear in what’s going to come than when you actually go through the experience itself. So definitely take it day by day and relax. It’s going gonna be fine. Nothing you can’t handle.

Lesley [00:19:40] I mean, I think that’s actually good advice to tell people now, not even- not even like 15-year-olds too, like current students now, because I’m sure people are experiencing issues with that right now.

Sarah [00:19:53] For sure. Yeah, there’s- there’s a lot going on. Oh, my goodness.

Lesley [00:19:58] There’s a lot of stress out there right now.

Sarah [00:19:59] Exactly. We need to- we need to cope with it and make sure that if things, you know, change even a little for the fall, if we’re still not able to get back to normal, that we know that it’s going to pass at some point. You know, a few years from now, we’re going to be looking back and we’re going to be like, wow, you know, this happened. But thank God it’s over now. You know, we’re stronger, as you know, as people in this. You know, we’ll- we’ll pull through no matter what.

Lesley [00:20:27] I feel like we’re all going to look back and be like, hey, remember 2020? That was a weird year. So I know we kind of talked about this a little, too. And that the pandemic kind of puts a lot of plans on hold. But what are your current short term and long term goals? I know you said that your long term goals were to be working in clinical psychology.

Sarah [00:20:52] Yeah.

Lesley [00:20:52] And you mentioned looking for an internship. What do those goals kind of look like? I know with COVID, it’s…

Sarah [00:20:59] Well, yeah. I mean, if there is any way for me to provide some kind of service to people who need it, especially after the pandemic, you know, I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of mental health awareness and a lot of stress and- chronic stress is what’s really detrimental for people. So if there’s any way I can provide assistance, whether it’s an internship or volunteering, then that’s definitely a short term goal for me for this summer. If we’re able to, you know, move around, go out and even online. I mean, I’d be willing to give a hand, even online. I’m already volunteering at a hospice and obviously I haven’t seen my patients in so long. They are the most vulnerable, you know, population. So definitely something similar to that is short term and then long term. Yes, I also want to start applying for grad schools to get my masters and then hopefully a Psy.D. Yes, that’s definitely, I think incorporates both short term and long term goals that I have.

Lesley [00:22:03] That’s awesome. I think that that’s the whole- when you were saying about how there’s going to be a big need for that when- once the pandemic is over and everyone’s kind of going back to dealing with the aftermath of being quarantined or going back to their regular lives, I think that’s actually- I think that’s something a lot of people haven’t really thought about, is the mental- the need for mental health services that we’re gonna have.

Sarah [00:22:32] Right.

Lesley [00:22:33] So I think that’s important. I mean, I think that’s a good opportunity for you because obviously you like helping people. I got that right away. But I think that’s a good opportunity for you and other people like that who just want to help people and there’s gonna be so many people you can help right away.

Sarah [00:22:51] Yeah, I’ll do the best I can.

Lesley [00:22:54] No pressure.

Sarah [00:22:56] No pressure.

Lesley [00:22:56] You don’t have to help everybody.

Sarah [00:23:00] And just- even a couple is, you know, good enough if I’m able to make it work somehow.

Lesley [00:23:06] Yeah. I mean, that’s- I mean, that’s still a good goal. Even- even if it’s really ambitious, it’s still a really positive goal to have.

Sarah [00:23:15] Thank you.

Lesley [00:23:16] Just wanting to help people.

Sarah [00:23:19] Yeah. It’s what get me- got me started in psychology, too. It stemmed from that, and then it evolved into this big passion for the field itself, which is the most interesting thing I’ve ever learned about in my life.

Lesley [00:23:32] I think that’s great.

Sarah [00:23:33] Thank you.

Lesley [00:23:35] If you had to summarize your life story, what would you say?

Sarah [00:23:40] Oh, my goodness. So I would definitely say I have a rich background, cultural background. I would say that I was an American brought up in Italy. I’ve always been closer to my American side than my Italian side. But hands down, I adore Italy. It’s a great place to visit. Definitely recommend. But yeah, I’ve been a traveler since I was four months old. That’s when I moved to Italy with my family, then moving back, that’s when, you know, I had an opportunity to discover and really get to know my American side, even if I was raised as an American with, you know, all American traditions. We had Thanksgiving in Italy. I mean, people were looking at us weird, but that’s fine.

Lesley [00:24:24] I guess that’s not really a thing there.

Sarah [00:24:26] No, it doesn’t exist. And we would, you know, do something fun for the Fourth of July if we didn’t spend it in the States. You know. Yeah, people would actually love coming to our American themed parties itself. Yeah, definitely, if I had to summarize my whole life in a word, it would definitely be rich. Rich in, you know, diversity, cultural background and experiences even. Yeah, definitely. I’ve had very different experiences.

Lesley [00:24:55] Yeah, it sounds like it. Definitely, that is definitely very culturally rich.

Sarah [00:25:00] It’s eye-opening really. Yeah.

Lesley [00:25:02] Do you go back to Italy a lot now? I mean, not like right now because we can’t travel, but like normally?

Sarah [00:25:09] Yeah, usually whenever, yeah. During holidays, maybe Christmas. You know, every other year. Definitely. Yes. We- we go as much as we can because we do have family there and friends. But we would also like for them to start coming here. We can’t always go there.

Lesley [00:25:26] Yeah. I’m sure they want to see this side of the world too.

Sarah [00:25:30] Absolutely. Italians adore America and America adores Italy. So it’s really neutral, you know. Yeah. It’s a good combo for that reason, too.

Lesley [00:25:41] Yeah, definitely. Yeah, just- that’s so interesting. But, so, on a kind of ending note, do you have, like, a favorite motivational quote that you want to share?

Sarah [00:25:59] I do. I actually have two.

Lesley [00:26:00] Perfect.

Sarah [00:26:01] So one is by Oscar Wilde, and it’s, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” I feel like that is a motivational quote that’s really helped me persevere and get through lots of the challenges I’ve faced in my life. And similar to the other one, too. The other one is, “Everything you want lies just outside your comfort zone” by Robert G. Allen. And I feel like that’s the key to success because I think that personally, nothing really good ever happens when you’re in your comfort zone. When you’re uncomfortable, you know, that’s when the good things happen, when you allow yourself to step out of it, step out of your boundaries and your walls, and you put yourself out there. That’s when the good things happen. And I feel like a lot of students should remember this when they, you know- a lot of colleges give you lots of opportunities to grow, you know, to discover new things. They give you oppor- like academic, scholastic, career opportunities. And I feel like students sometimes are too shy or too scared to step out of their comfort zone. And I feel like that’s the number one advice I would give to students who are looking to join, you know, to actually go to college.

Lesley [00:27:17] Yeah, that’s- yeah. That’s really super inspiring. And something that, you know, it’s true. I mean, you can’t- if you’re not pushing yourself, then you’re just going to stay in the same space or the same spot over and over again. You’re not really going to grow and you’re not really going to develop those new experiences. And I mean, same- like how we were talking about these new experiences of becoming an adult for the first time when you go to university, that’s not- that’s going out of your comfort zone. And that’s really embracing a whole new perspective on life.

Sarah [00:27:49] Absolutely. Yeah, that’s really helped me with all the small successes I’ve had so far in twenty-three years of life, but.

Lesley [00:27:57] I’m sure there will be many more.

Sarah [00:27:59] Thank you.

Lesley [00:28:00] Getting- once we get over the pandemic then there will be a lot more.

Sarah [00:28:03] Oh yeah. Right now we can’t physically step out of our comfort zone.

Lesley [00:28:07] Right. But we can- we can do it mentally.

Sarah [00:28:10] Absolutely.

Lesley [00:28:11] We can learn new skills or whatever. However people are passing the time.

Sarah [00:28:15] Yes. And seize every opportunity that, you know, college or other people give us. It’s definitely really important.

Lesley [00:28:22] Definitely. So I’m glad you shared that.

Sarah [00:28:25] Thank you.

Lesley [00:28:27] So just to wrap things up, we, our la- we usually end with a more fun question. And that is, what is your favorite social media platform and why?

Sarah [00:28:39] OK. So if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have said Facebook. But now, I mean, I’ve noticed a lot of my friends don’t use it anymore.

Lesley [00:28:47] Yep.

Sarah [00:28:48] So I’m going to have to say Instagram just because it’s- it’s fun because you see pictures, you see what your friends are doing, and they’re- even in the explore page. I love going there because the algorithms and everything know exactly what type of videos I like. So I sometimes, you know, if I go to bed at 3:00, that’s probably what I’m doing. Just scrolling through. And it’s just entertainment. I guess. It helps relieve stress when you’re overthinking, you know, just release.

Lesley [00:29:19] Right. Do you want to share your Instagram handle now, and then our followers can follow you?

Sarah [00:29:25] Sure. So it’s Sarah Donahoo, just plain s a r a h d o n o h o o. Plain and simple. My first and last name.

Lesley [00:29:39] It’s easy to find.

Sarah [00:29:40] Yeah, absolutely.

Lesley [00:29:41] Yeah. Well, we’ll throw that in the description there and then people can follow you to keep up with your adventures post quarantine.

Sarah [00:29:51] Yeah. You’re not going to see a lot of activity right now, but definitely when we’re able to go out.

Lesley [00:29:56] Yeah, definitely. Do you have any last words you want to share before we say goodbye?

Sarah [00:30:03] Well, first of all, I’d like to thank you for having me. I love Homework Help Global, and it’s a great opportunity for students who want to improve their writing skills or even have that confidence of somebody, you know, proofreading something they write. Sometimes it’s all a matter of, you know, confidence saying, yeah, your work is good. You know, you have some advice. I mean, I think it’s a great opportunity for students and I definitely recommend it. Apart from that, just a reminder for students to keep persevering and a reminder to myself as well. Things will always get better. And no matter how many times you fall, get up that extra time. That’s the key to success.

Lesley [00:30:45] Awesome. Thanks so much for those awesome- those really kind words about us. We really appreciate it.

Sarah [00:30:51] All heartfelt.

Lesley [00:30:53] Anyway, thank you for joining us today. It was so nice to talk to you.

Sarah [00:30:57] Thank you. Likewise.

Lesley [00:30:59] And we’ll keep up with you in the future and see where you’re at.

Sarah [00:31:02] Thank you so much for having me.

Lesley [00:31:05] Thank you for joining us. Bye.

Sarah [00:31:08] Bye.