Welcome to Around the Grove, the official student blog of
The Universities at Shady Grove!

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Time to reflect & reset!



Image from newschool.edu

I cannot believe that the semester is ending! I am sure that all of us have learned quite a bit this semester. We can evaluate lessons learned as this is the perfect time of the year to reflect and reset.

An excellent way of reflection is by asking yourself questions. Questions will help you zero in on essential pieces or events of your semester. Examples of the questions are as follows:

  1. What have I learned this school year?
  2. What was the most challenging part of the school year?
  3. What was the highlight of each class?

These questions will highlight your strengths this semester so that you can hopefully carry them out to the next semester. Also, you will underscore your weaknesses so that you take necessary action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

Happy Holidays!

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The End of an Era/A New Beginning

Last Friday, an email received by pharmacy students from Dean Eddington, dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP), shocked us all. Here’s the scoop:

Beginning with the Fall 2018 semester, all pharmacy students will now be enrolled at the main campus in Baltimore, without the option of taking didactic courses in Shady Grove. The total size of the incoming class will also be reduced from 160 to approximately 140 students. What will become of current Shady Grovers? Thankfully, we’re not going anywhere. Current first, second, and third year students will finish up our education right here at USG.

But wait… there’s more. Although USG will no longer be a “home campus” for any pharmacy student, UMSOP’s partnership with USG will continue in the form of experiential education at USG’s new Interprofessional (IP) clinic. This clinic (please see my post “(Interprofessional) Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”) becomes operational in 2019, and will serve as an advanced experiential rotation site for pharmacy and other health professions students.

In a way, all of this kind of makes me sad. Now a third-year student, I’ve made so many great memories here at the USG campus. From the many laughs my friends and I shared as we crammed for an exam together in one of the Priddy Library study rooms… to the good times we had making suppositories and dog treats in the compounding lab of Building II. Just looking back at the posts I’ve written for Around the Grove, I’ve realized just how many amazing people I’ve met and fun campus events I’ve taken part in because I’m a student at USG. Future pharmacy students won’t be able to have these same experiences.

In spite of all this, I think the decisions that have been made with regard to UMSOP’s partnership with USG make a lot of sense. The fact of the matter is that the pharmacist job market has become over-saturated. In response, there’s been a national trend for pharmacy schools to reduce their class sizes and to implement programs that help to differentiate their own students from the masses. The transition that will occur at USG, from didactic coursework to IP experiential learning, most definitely accomplishes this.

It’s time to celebrate the end of a wonderful era, and welcome an exciting new beginning.

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Feel the Sniffles Coming On?

rectangle-tissue-box-regular-1Have you ever gotten sick right after you have finished something big? (Like, for instance, completing an intense semester of school?) It’s happened to me before so I put on my super sleuth hat and set off to find out why.

It’s actually got a name—it is a phenomenon referred to as “the let-down effect”. Psychologist Marc Schoen, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California–Los Angeles and the author of When Relaxation Is Hazardous to Your Health, explains that this is a pattern in which people come down with an illness or experience exacerbation of a chronic condition after a concentrated period of stress ends. Sound familiar to any USG students?

Basically, it comes down to your “flight or flight” system protecting you during times of stress. When we were cave people, those hormones like cortisol and adrenaline would do things like speed up our heart rate to help us get away from a saber-tooth tiger. (Yes, I know that man and saber-teeth tigers weren’t around at the same time, but you get the drift). Now, the same thing happens when we are stressed when sitting in traffic or having to perform on an exam. Once the “danger” is over, there is a suppression of the immune response triggered by the easing of stress (basically, to give your body a break from protective hormones). That’s when you get sick.

So what to do to avoid the let-down effect?

  • Get plenty of exercise and sleep
  • Eat as healthy as you can
  • Take time to decompress on a regular basis (with meditation, rhythmic breathing or other relaxation techniques)

Is it too late for all of the above? Have you already been skipping the gym, staying up until all hours and embracing a diet of pizza and Doritos? Never fear. You can mitigate the let-down effect by helping your body de-stress slowly. “Just like you have a cool-down period after exercising, you want your body to have a tapering down of stress,” Schoen explains. The key, he says, is “to keep your body slightly revved up to keep your immune system from downshifting abruptly” when the stress ends. The best way to do this, Schoen says, is to seek the right intensity of Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 7.34.59 AMphysical and mental stimulation. For physical stimulation, “moderate exercise in quick bursts—such as jogging or walking stairs for five or six minutes at a time, several times a day—can help,” Schoen says. For mental stimulation, do challenging math problems, crossword puzzles or computer games, or play chess under time pressure for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, he suggests. He adds that you should do these activities for three days after a stressful period and you’ll improve your odds of emerging from the aftermath of stress feeling good, not sick.

So what am I doing after my exams are finished? I’m ditching the diet soda and Combos and eating healthier. Yes, I may even play some games of Scrabble and always try to take the stairs instead of the elevator. And to decompress, some of my classmates and I will be going to a Korean spa in Baltimore for the day. Could “Nurses at the Spa” be a topic for my next blog? Perhaps, but there may be nudity involved so I’ll have to see how it goes. (Want to keep the blog PG-13, you know.) Stay healthy, peeps!

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Champion Your Cause

The holidays are sneaking up on us here at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and so are the holiday parties. I was recently invited to the 2017 Holiday Networking Event hosted by the Student Construction Association of Montgomery College, the program which provides 95 percent of the students for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Construction Management and Technology (UMES CMT) program offered on the USG campus. I was never one to decline an invitation to a good social. However, I have been a bit under the weather lately and almost could not attend. With the help of some over the counter medication, I was able to muster up the strength to attend and saw first-hand why networking around the grove is important. So here’s my take away from attending this great event that was hosted by an impressive group of student leaders that are future USG students!

Held on Thursday 7th December in the Technical Center building of the Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, the event was an excellent opportunity to meet industry professionals, learn more about the construction field and share information about the program at USG. It was a fantastic event held just around the corner from USG where attendees included industry professionals from some of the leading general construction and subcontractor companies in Montgomery County, leaders in construction education, students in the Montgomery College program and students from the UMES CMT program. The venue was nicely decorated with a festive Christmas theme, and there were many delicious treats to satisfy the appetite of the energetic crowd of attendees. The event was free and lasted for just over 2 hours.

While it is no secret that the USG campus provides many incredible networking opportunities throughout the year, it is great to note that there are also many other networking opportunities in the broader community, that being a USG student gets you in the door. Like many of my readers, I often feel that I am too busy to attend events, but after attending, I realized that networking is one of the most valuable uses of my time.

It provided a nice break and basically allowed me to spread the name of USG across a vast audience, an audience that can add significant value to USG, the UMES CMT program, and my personal, professional development. And an audience that was especially curious to learn more about the USG campus. Below are a few pictures taken at the event. 

Attending this networking event provided opportunities for me to not only interact with current friends but to also form new friendships. I was able to establish new bonds of a lifetime by simply sharing information about USG, information that changed perspectives and even attitudes. I was surprised to know how little folks knew about USG and while at times it did seem like I was trying to sell something, I was delighted to use the laid-back atmosphere that the event provided to chat with folks and discover potential ways we could work together. Check out a few pictures showing just how laid back the atmosphere was.

So as you go forth in this winter break, accept as many invitations as possible for networking events, and you will see the value in forming and maintaining a strong contact base. The words of the Chair of the USG Board of Advisors, Mike Knapp in his recent greetings to the campus sums up the importance of this in this line “you are our community’s next generation of leaders, and as leaders you can help ensure that USG continues to grow by not only advocating in Annapolis but by becoming ambassadors for USG in the community and helping to make sure they know who we are and what we do.”

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Baby, it’s cold outside

Happy Wednesday everyone! I feel like this week has been super hectic due to finals but we are half way there. Just keep pushing. It may be a little hard to do because of the past few days have also been so, so, so cold. I’ve been layering up with sweaters, long sleeved shirts, and even double socks. I’ve been wearing scarves, headbands, gloves, and tall boots. As we speak, I’m wearing fuzzy socks, sweats, a long sleeved shirt, with a thick Maryland hoodie. I am still cold.National Cocoa Day.png

I’ve been drinking more teas and coffee as well to keep warm but today I wanted something different. Come to find out today, December 13, is National Cocoa Day. Yes, there is an actual day to celebrate this delicious hot drink! You may call it hot chocolate or hot cocoa but the bottom line is that it tends to be made of cocoa powder, hot milk or water, and sugar. It can be paired with whipped cream or marshmallows on top which adds an extra sweetness to your hot drink. It doesn’t get any better than chocolate and warmth to get you through this 30 degree weather.

Whether you are studying for finals or finishing them off, you should definitely visit a local 7-Eleven, Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts to get your fill of hot chocolate this cold day! Maybe even go with a few friends and make it an event so all of you can enjoy it together. Thanks for reading everyone and have a safe break 🙂

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A review of the semester

As final exams are fast approaching, I want to wish all of you the best of luck! Who would have guessed that the semester would fly by so quickly?

As we get ready for winter break and the holidays, I wanted to have a look back on some of the events we’ve had at USG this past semester:

Welcome Week

To welcome students back to school, there was Welcome Week. Students coming to classes in the morning were greeted by some of the faculty at USG, and were given free notebooks. There were dogs that came in one day, and video games another. It was a successful week to get the students ready for the semester ahead.

USG Fest

One of USG’s more signature events, the USG Fest was open to all the students on campus. In the quad, there was a dunk tank hosted by the Student Council, free food, games and music. Students got to show off their school spirit by entering the Spirit Contest. It was a day for students to represent their home institutions and have fun doing so.

Leadership Bistro

The Leadership Bistro was for leaders of student clubs and organizations on campus. The goal was for the leaders to interact with each other, get to know one another and figure out ways to collaborate in future events.

Hunger Banquet


This event was held at USG by the Student Council. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of hunger inequalities around the world. Participants took part in meals that were based off various socioeconomic classes.

Destress Lounge

This week long event served one purpose – to relax before finals. The lounge had events occurring each day, including Pause for Paws, Video Games and Pizza, and DIY Candles. These events were designed to help students take a break from studying, to enjoy a stress-free environment!


As this is the last blog I post before the holidays, I wanted to wish you all happy holidays! Enjoy the break!

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The Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Good Morning USG-ers,

As you all may know, I am a big fan of financing your education via scholarships!

I want to tell you about a scholarship that might be a good opportunity for you. As an undergraduate student, I somehow stumbled upon HSF, otherwise knows as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Not thinking too much of it, I filled out the general application and was selected as a scholarship recipient (probably in 2013 or 2014).

Fast forward to 2016/2017 – I was enrolled in graduate school, looking for scholarships that might help me alleviate the financial burden of paying quite an expensive tuition. It might have just been me, but I honestly found it challenging to find scholarships for graduate students that I might be elligible for. I decided to revisit good old HSF.

I discovered that HSF provides scholarship funds for undergrad and graduate students! I filled out the general application. I noticed the process had become a bit longer than a few years back. The application was completed around May of 2017, and the scholarship notifications were sent out around August 2017…with final disbursement around December 2017 (so plan accordingly and mark your calendars). This scholarship also requires two references, so between now and May you’ve got plenty of time to build up your network.

Here is a link to the site: https://www.hsf.net/

Both times that I have applied for this scholarship, I have been lucky/blessed to receive it (and generous amounts too). Check it out and comment if you have any questions about the process.

Best of luck!

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Simulation & Game Design at the University of Baltimore


University of Baltimore at Shady Grove offers an exciting opportunity to study for a career in game design. The program focuses around the concepts and the designing skills that create the video games that we all love. The major offered at the Universities at Shady Grove instructs students on the necessary computer programming abilities to be a desirable candidate for gaming companies such as Bethesda Softworks LLC located in Rockville, MD. A students’ true creative capabilities can be demonstrated in the 3-D modeling and animation and implemented with usability design.


The Animation Career Review website is an online resource for students who are interested and aspiring to begin a career in animation and game development. The University of Baltimore is ranked number 17 on Animation Career Reviews list on the top 25 public game design schools and colleges. The nomination is based on professionals who dedicate themselves to finding out which schools offer the best hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge that is necessary to land a stimulating and gratifying career in the field.


The program gives the students the opportunity to choose what specific skills you would like to enhance in order to land the job you are interested in. The first choice focuses on building 3-D animations and modeling them for a focus in technical art. Students who choose this track must be visually artistic. The second choice revolves around the desire to design levels from scripts and logic. Level designers create interactive architecture for game segments. The skills that a student acquires in this class will not only prepare you for a career in simulation and game design but it will make you an admirable applicant for graduate school. The options that are available for graduate study include information technology, computer science and visual design.

Overall, the program is an incredible experience for students to work closely with gaming professionals in order to graduate with an impressive portfolio.

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Tips for using Adobe Photoshop CC

Photoshop CC is a great tool for photo editing. In my major, Communication at the University of Maryland College Park, we do a lot of work with digital media. My courses focus in Adobe Creative Suite which includes, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and more. If you are a UMD student, we have access for free downloads of this software through TerpWare. If you are a student from another university, check with your school because you may also be able to download these programs! Here are some easy tips for using Adobe Photoshop CC. (My tips are for using a Mac, when using a PC, use Control instead of Command button.)

  1. Learn keyboard shortcuts. This is going to save you a ton of time. The ones that I use the most are:

Command + Z = Undo

Command + S = Save

Command + A = Select all

Command + V = Paste

Command + C = Copy

  1. The most important feature in Photoshop is using layers. Layers allow you to stack things on top of one another. You will be able to view each layer in the layers tab. You can also lock layers and hide them. Layers will be your best friend when using Photoshop.

Shift + Command + N = New layer

  1. If your photo has straight edges, check to make sure it is straight. Often times they need a bit of tweaking. Click on the crop tool on the left sidebar. This will then pop up a bar at the top of the screen with a small ruler tool. Click on the ruler and pick two points of where to straighten in the image. You can also go ahead and crop the photo if you’d like.
  1. Blur tool. This a great tool for blurring the edges of a photo or trying to conceal something. Be sure that you create a new layer before doing this! Simply click on the blur tool in the left side panel and use the cursor to blur the area. You can also increase the size and opacity of the blur.
  1. Now let’s talk adjustments. The way that I find to be the best is to go to Image – Adjustments – Curves. An axis will appear with a line going from the bottom left corner to the top right. Click on this line at the three points where it intersects with the graph. Then adjust the curve to your liking. Usually this turns out best with an S curve.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 7.34.40 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-06 at 7.35.03 PM

  1. Black and White. This is very simple and can be done in different ways. The easiest and fastest way to apply black and white to a photo is going to Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White. This will then allow you to adjust the hues of the blues, reds, and yellows of the original photo.

Photoshop is easy right?! Give it a go! Try it out if you need a photo for a project or want to slightly edit your headshot for LinkedIn. Check out this awesome music video that uses Photoshop to edit and manipulate photos. Check out how the artist uses layers and curves!

Spoon – Do I Have To Talk You Into It? from Brook Linder on Vimeo.


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It’s the Holiday season!

To be honest, I’m not sure if I can get excited about the holidays or winter break until finals are over. BUT nevertheless, today I tried to be as cheerful as possible.

Today was the Holiday Bazaar at USG! There was plenty of student organization selling cute little gifts to students, a station to make holiday cards, and best of all FREE HOT COCOA! Destress lounge has literally come at the best time of the year! There was also an ugly sweater contest.

Now, I went to Target Tuesday afternoon to find a sweater, and they were a bit pricey, so I found an elf pj set to wear that was basically half price. I attached little ornaments to my pj top and called it my ugly outfit for the day. I was in the library, doing some work and I could feel the judgement or laughter I was causing. However, my good friend and coworker Jessica (she works in the OSS office with me) unofficially entered me in the sweater contest. Therefore, I attended the judging round and gave my speech to other managers and coworkers as to why my sweater is ugly and spirited. And for the first time, in what seems like ever, I won!

A coworker (Emily C.) and I looking cute in our outfits! Jessica and I at the BazaarThis is me in class, trying to be as normal as possible.

To be completely honest, I guess winning the ugly sweater contest can go both ways. It could be an offense or a compliment! Given where I am at in the semester, emotionally, today was a day to accept any and all comments I received!

On that note, thank you for reading and good luck on finals, everyone!

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