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

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

My First Semester at USG

For many, our time at a university/college defines us. It dictates who we become and what we will do with our lives. We learn who we truly are during the hardships we face while completing our higher education. We, who call ourselves college students, come from all walks of life. Some of us are parents with children of our own at home. Some of us have had accomplished careers but decided to walk a different path later on in life. Some of us are still trying to figure out what life means and what we want to do with it. These are the students that call the Universities at Shady Grove their home campus.

No matter where we come from, we all arrive at USG with aspirations and the determination to accomplish them. As a campus, USG has many resources that all but guarantee success and a unique student culture that allows diversity and the exchange of ideas to thrive.

This first semester at USG was rough for me, having made the transition with a lot on my plate, but the resources available here have made my transition as easy as possible. I aspire to become a family physician and one day work with Doctors Without Borders, providing healthcare to those in need globally. I am a medical scribe, a volunteer member of the Takoma Park Fire Department, a blogger, a Student Ambassador, and most importantly, a Biological Sciences student at USG.

During my short time here at USG, I have met many amazing people whose determination parallels my own. While they may have different dreams, they have the same desire to succeed and move forward. I have met Criminal Justice majors, Communication majors, Business majors, Nursing majors, and so many more who are all at USG to work hard for a bright future. I have utilized countless resources here such as the library course reserves, the study rooms, the classrooms, the writing evaluation through CAS, and much more.

Whether a prospective student, or a student already at USG, you can rest assured that there is something for everyone here. The Universities at Shady Grove was created as a campus for the students, and continues to be so. There are many experiences waiting to be had, and USG is the best place to have them in my opinion.

Happy Holidays to All!!

Thanks for taking a moment to ponder.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tips for using Adobe Illustrator CC

The second part of my series is here! Tips for using Adobe Illustrator CC. You can check out the first post I made about Tips for using Adobe Photoshop CC here.

Illustrator is another component of Adobe Creative Suite. This is the software you want to use if you are creating art for a single page. For example, if you want to design a flyer or poster, using Illustrator.

  1. The Layers panel will become your best friend. In Layers, this allows you to put each individual piece onto it’s own layer, that you can toggle to and from. Make it a habit to put each new piece onto a new layer. It would also be helpful to label each layer so that they are easier to locate when you are trying to delete or edit a layer. Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 12.18.15 PM
  2. Use shapes! In the tools panel, there are different shaped tools that allow you to create abstract pieces of people, buildings, and other images. Use shapes like triangles, squares, and circles. Below you  can see where I used a triangle to act as an eye shape for my person.

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 12.20.03 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 12.20.14 PM

3. When creating shapes and images, use the Group tool to move the piece together as one. Once you finish creating something and want to rotate or move it across the page, press Command+G, which will combine the images into one. You can always ungroup the pieces by pressing, Shift+Command+G.

4. Play around with fonts! This might be my favorite part. Adobe has a pre-set list of fonts that are in the program. But, you are not limited to just these! There are thousands of fonts that are on the internet for free download. A website I frequent is DaFont.com. Once you find a cool font you like, click Download. This will then allow you to Download the font in FontBook (if on a Mac). Once you have the font downloaded in FontBook it will then appear in the Adobe program.

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 12.29.41 PM.png


Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 12.30.19 PM.png

5. Play around will all of the tools. This may be self-explanatory, but once you get familiar with the tools, they become easier to use. For example, the the curvature tool excellent in curving straight lines you make with the line segment tool. Give it a go!

Still lost? Try watching a Lynda Tutorials video. This website has step by step tutorials if you are lost in an Adobe program like Illustrator, After Effects, etc. (If you are a UMD student, you have free access to these tutorials! UMD students also have free download access to Adobe Creative Suite through TERPWare.)

Check back here in January for another part to my series! Happy Holidays!

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Work Experience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wondering When You Will Be Trying That Breathing Thing Again?

Strange title, I know. My friend Jessica has seen me in my most stressful moments this semester. So she told me “Just breathe, you can do it.” I responded “Is that a thing I should be doing regularly? Because I’m not sure if I am anymore!” We laughed and proceeded to throw myself into my final assignments for school. THANKFULLY, we all made it through Fall 2017! My first semester at USG has been amazing! Needless to say, I am BEYOND ready for winter break! And I think this time that we have during break, it is important to just help yourself and others before next semester.

Here is a list of some things I’m trying to do during winter break, and some that we should all try:

-establishing a healthy sleep pattern (at least for a bit)

-trying to eat better (my diet consisted of fries this semester)

-coloring (its proven to relieve stress)


-giving to those in need

-smiling more

-spend time with loved ones

-find ways to get involved on campus

-start thinking about goals for next year

-make sure you have school supplies for next semester (books, notebooks, pencils, etc.)

-send thank you cards to the people who have made the biggest impact in your life

-catch up on your favorite tv shows

And last but not least, breathe. Because the journey is just getting started!Enjoy your break everyone! And thank you for taking the time to read my posts this semester!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Career Planning

You did it! You survived and conquered the fall semester. Wuhu! I bet you are looking forward to the winter break because I know I am 🙂 I love the holiday season because in the Filipino culture, Christmas and New Year are huge holiday celebrations. The other reason why I love the holidays is because I finally have some time to catch up with my family and friends. This is also the time when I start to think about my plans for the new year. I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some things that can help you build your resume and credentials as you get ready to graduate.


I believe that obtaining an internship in your field of interest is very important because it will provide your with an opportunity to determine your career path. As an undergrad, I knew that I was interested in psychology, but I was not sure which area so I interned at a head start program through the Montgomery County Mental Health Association. I discovered that working with infants was not for me, but I did enjoy learning about interventions on how to help children become successful. Therefore, I realized that I enjoyed working in schools and helping older students.


As a high school student, I accumulated over 450 hours of community service in two years. My volunteer experience as a teacher’s assistant and tutor helped me realize my passion for education and helping students succeed. If you cannot obtain an internship, organizations are typically happy to get volunteers especially if they are understaffed.

Leadership Involvement

Aside from internship and volunteer work to show employers that you are the best candidate for the position, your leadership involvement inside and/or outside the campus is important. It will show employers that you can take initiative and lead others. This experience can also help you discover your strengths and weaknesses; you can work on your areas of weakness to make them one of your strengths.

Overall, it is important to get your feet wet in the industry or field that you are seeking. Getting an internship or volunteering will enable you to discover your interest in the field that will narrow your focus or specialty. You can also reflect on your current employment to see what you enjoy most out of the experience. When I worked at the writing center at USG, I discovered that I enjoyed working with college-age students rather than with K-12. Also, through my undergraduate and graduate internships, I learned that I prefer to work with non-traditional, transfer college students in higher education setting where I can utilize my personal experience as a first generation transfer college student. I can also use my passion for education by helping students discover their career path and become successful both in academics and their career field.

The suggestions above are a great place to start especially if you are about to graduate in the upcoming year. I hope this post helped you think about how to be proactive as you embark on your academic and career journey.  

Happy Holidays!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Difference a Day Makes

Cozy Winter Fireplace Saturday Lounging Relaxing

Now that finals are over, we have some time to relax and take the steps to make our future’s are the best they can be. Here are some things you can do that will go a long way in making your life easier.

1) Shady Grove Scholarship deadline is December 30.

You still have 11 days to finish the scholarship application. Don’t let your GPA stop you from taking this opportunity. The scholarship committee is concerned about where a students head is at. What are your academic and career goals and how are those going to shape you into who you hope to become? Who are the most important people in your life and how have they assisted you into become who are you today? Your values, goals and work ethic are the topics that the Shady Grove scholarship department are interested in.  If you know who you are and you speak from the heart, there’s a good chance you will surprise yourself.

2) FAFSA Priority Deadline is January 1st

If you’re in need of finishing the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 year, make sure you complete it by the priority deadline.

3) Internships

With the few weeks leading up to 2018, is a good idea to look for internship and job opportunities on the Universities at Shady Grove websites. It’s never too early or too late to take a chance on gaining experience and learning more about where you want your career to go.


The USG Career Connector is the CISC’s online employment and internship database.

4) Shady Grove Resources

The free time can also be used to have your resume checked by a professional. The office of Student Services can let you know what time is best to meet with someone.

The Priddy Library and the Student Services department will close on Thursday December 21st at 5pm and reopen on Tuesday January 2nd at 9:00am.

4) Don’t forget to relax and spend time with those that mean the most to us.

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Faculty & Staff, Fitness & Wellness, Life at USG, Work Experience | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Academics, Life at USG | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Academics, Fitness & Wellness, Life at USG, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.”

Posted in Academics, Life at USG, Work Experience | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment