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

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Ode to a Colonoscopy…

Now that I have your attention…

I graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing this past December and feel honored to have been asked to continue writing my blog for this semester. Since then, I have gone on a vacation, baked a lot and have been studying diligently for NCLEX, the exam nursing graduates must pass to become registered. I also have scheduled many doctors appointments to make sure I am all up to date before I start my nursing job in late February. Obviously, the one I (and most everyone else I know) dread is the colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society’s 2018 revised recommendations state that people at average risk of colorectal cancer (most of us) start regular screening at age 45 (previously 50), then every 10 years through age 75. (Click here to review all the guidelines from ACS.)

unnamedSo anyway, back to me…I actually had my colonoscopy last week and it was a painless procedure. Probably the worst part is the preparation I did the day before—only clear liquids all day and then begin a regimen of “colon-cleansing” pills. In other words, you must be all “cleaned out” before the procedure. You have most likely heard of the liquid most doctors prescribe…disgusting. My doctor prescribed pills (32 of them!!!) to take since I have no symptoms of anything going on “down there”. Much easier than the liquid, I imagine.

Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist reviewed my health info and the nurse monitored my heart rate and blood pressure and then inserted an IV for hydration and for the yummy sedation. I fell asleep to the sounds of Pete Townsend and Supertramp (I know, random…) and woke up 30 minutes later with a recovery nurse by my side. Another 30 minutes later and my husband was driving me home.

Fast forward to the results. The doctor removed two polyps and will send them for biopsy but they are tiny and most likely not cancerous. Even if they were, the treatment at this stage of the game is very successful.

In closing, if you are in your 20s and 30s, just file this under “Adulting Stuff I Gotta Do Later”. But since USG is the home of all ages of students, faculty and staff, I thought this would be a good reminder to include this procedure in your self care. Many insurance companies will fully cover it since it comes under the term “Preventive”. I have had a few friends whose lives were most likely saved because of results found during a routine colonoscopy. So if you are 45+ or know someone who should be screened, file this under “Just Do It”.

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Holiday/Winter Break – Vegan Meals

I hope you had a terrific holiday break. I know I needed the break to relax and spend some time with my family and friends. I had such a great time playing computer games with my brothers, cousins, husband, and nephew. I was also super happy that I was able to cook my favorite dishes and binge watch holiday movies.  

Because my two brothers-in-law are vegan, I have been learning about vegan foods and how to prepare them. It was a challenge because I needed to learn about ingredients that did not include any animal products in them. However, it has been fun learning how to make traditional foods vegan by simply switching a few ingredients without breaking the bank! I love food, entertaining with food, and saving money so I thought it would be a great idea for me to learn more about how to prepare vegan foods so that whenever they come by my place, we do not have to order out, which can be pretty expensive. Over the holiday break, I experimented with several recipes including vegan pumpkin pie, different kinds of cheese, and vegan chicken noodle soup.

Although cooking and baking can take a long time, it is my way of de-stressing. I do not know why, but I guess it gives me instant satisfaction compared to writing a paper and waiting days or weeks to know how I did. For those who are curious about the different vegan recipes that I tested over break, I provided the link below. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures (my family ate them before I had the chance to take a picture :)). I was skeptical about vegan foods, but when I started making them, I realized that they can taste the same as any regular foods made with animal products. I highly encourage you to give vegan food a try.

Vegan Cheese

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup (I customized this to my taste, which is adding some type of milk which is a Filipino chicken soup recipe)

Speaking of cooking as a stress reliever, if you want to learn more about nutrition and how to stay healthy, you can visit the Campus Recreation Center to learn more about their group exercises, personal fitness, and other semester events.

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BE. OUR. GUEST. Be Our Guest. Put our service to the test

Finals are over, and a lot of us are certainly in the holiday spirit. Some are probably preparing gifts, food, and making reservations for the upcoming celebrations.
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If you are among the lucky working class individuals, your break starts this Friday and goes on to January 2. We may be off from school, but some of us have work, families, and other commitments, so by the time the break is over,we did not even have time to relax (who knows, this may be what your summer is like too).

Before the time vanishes, and you realize that you did not have any fun, make a to-do list of what you HAVE/NEED to accomplish, and what you’d LIKE to do.

Here is my to do list for this winter break.
NEED TO DO:
Study from 9AM-8PM every Wednesday to Saturday for the MCAT
Work
Shadow a physician

LIKE TO DO:
Have fun
Watch television (Catch up on The Good Doctor, GoT, etc)

I have a lot to do, but I cannot squeeze it all into a 1 month winter break.
I learned last time at an event here at USG that our goals have to be SMART (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely), so I will stick with the 5 things I need to do.

Anyway….have a happy holidays!

All images from Giphy.com

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Hey Fam! I am back again with things you can do over the winter break! I promise you will rock with my few suggestions 

1. See good movie!

Winter break is just getting started! Relax kick your feet up and eat that popcorn during a new movie! There are some of the best films of the year out right now! Titles like Creed II, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, Robin Hood, and Auqaman!  You now have a lot of free time! Take advantage! Ask a friend, family member or longtime crush to join!

2. Catch up with old friends (and stay in touch with new ones)

Anyone and everyone you went to high school or were in college with will be off school for the holidays. This is the perfect time to catch up! Creating new memories and relive old times by get everybody together! Who doesn’t love to reminisce about the good ol’ days.

3. Exercise

Fight that holiday Gut! stay on board with all your regular exercise regimen. You’ll look and feel better. You can even invite friends and family to tag along!

4. Plan next semester’s schedule

Get the jump start on planning next semester while you have the long and need break time. There’s no time like the present!  Create that plan for next semester now, before the time runs out.

 

5. Apply for scholarships and internships

If there was ever a time to apply, it’s now! You don’t have to spend the entire break applying for scholarships, but even if you devote a few hours to your scholarship applications; it will make a world of difference in your search. After all, it only takes one to win! Here are some great resources to help get you started in your 

6. Revamp your resume, cover letter and/or essays

Updating documents are always good to keep on hand at all times.   You never know when you might need them. Whether it be a job, internship or college application resume, cover letter or essays. Opportunity can always come your way at any moment.  Best idea is to be prepared at a moment’s notice.  Take that extra time during your break to work on all your important documents, adding any extra information you have had since you last updated them. 

Now go out there and seize the day!!!!

 

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Is the holiday season truly the most wonderful time of the year?

Trick question: it is what we make of it. If you want it to be wonderful, you have some say in making it so. For just a few short weeks you’re on break from being a member of USG’s student/faculty population, and I suggest you try to enjoy it before the next semester kicks in.

If anything, the season’s got great music.

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Easing into 2019

For most people, it takes a parent, friend, or simply a colleague to making a comment.

“You look tired.”

“Do you ever have any downtime?”

Or my favorite,

“Are you always working?”

This comment, no matter how many times it’s said, goes in one ear and out the other. They don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s just the hustle! It’s the grind! Everyone has to do it at some point, especially in this day and age.

Suddenly, four months later, you’re exhausted and burnt out, but it’s too late to turn back. You can’t quit the job now. You can’t drop a class in the middle of the semester.

Hopefully, winter break will be a nice relaxing, fun time with family and friends. A break from all the work, studying, and feeling of “man there’s never any time to play or have fun.” However, when we come back from this break, it’s going to be easy to feel overwhelmed with the sudden onslaught of assignments, deadlines, and lack of free time. It’ll feel easy to become swamped again, overworking ourselves.

There are three easy ways to avoid that without feeling like you’ve slacked off, especially if your “typical” is wearing several hats and then some.

    1. Learn to say no. This is something I’ve just recently had to train myself to do. Yes, it’s great to give and do things for others. Sometimes, we have to watch out for ourselves first. Think of it this way: if it’s a favor you know you wouldn’t be hurt by a friend saying “no” to in your situation, then you have to say no yourself.
    2. Listen to your body. It’s funny how so many adults still don’t do this, myself included. There are so many signs of stress and overwork manifesting in itself. There are the obvious ones, like fatigue and headaches. Then there are some things that are unique reactions to each person. One person might get canker sores. The other might start to feel achy. Though it’s common in today’s society to push through, there’s a reason why our bodies are physically reacting. It’s a cry for rest, even if it’s just an extra few hours off.
    3. Ask for help. There are more kind, amazing people out there than selfish people. Asking for help is key. As you’ve probably heard, the worst that can happen is that somebody says no. But even asking for minor favors, like a friend picking up something at a grocery store for you or a colleague giving you extra notes on a day you leave a lecture early because you aren’t feeling well, will make a huge difference in how you feel.

 

 

 

A lot of these ideas aren’t new. They aren’t mind blowing tips. But sometimes you need to hear these things again, even if from a total stranger online.

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The Last Stretch!

Lately all I have been thinking about was studying, studying, and…more studying. It almost seems endless during this time, but finally the last stretch is here! This week final exams will be over, papers will be due, and we will be able to get ready for Christmas and New Years if you celebrate it. If not, it is still a wonderful time to be able to relax and catch up on much needed sleep. Since it’s the last stretch, it’s easy to let your guard down. It can become hard to stay focused when the end is so near, and you might find yourself becoming lethargic and mind elsewhere. Sometimes I’ll look at my textbook,  and have no idea what I just looked at for the past thirty minutes! So as a final note before the end of the semester, I wanted to write about a few tips that have helped me focus and be energized, as well as a few ways to relax.

  • Exercise – Yoga

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At USG, the Campus Recreation Center is a wonderful place to start if you are looking to exercise with cardio or if you need to relax through yoga and group sessions. The center even holds events like the end of the semester ping pong tournament, and all you need is your USG ID!

For me, exercising is a great way to relieve stress and to focus on the present. By visiting the center you can find out what type of exercise you like. You could stay for ten minutes or for an hour, by yourself or with others, with music or conversations. The possibilities are endless, so make sure to visit!

  • Phone – Off

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Turning your phone off and away from you is definitely not easy. But once you have it away from you, you realize just how much time you might have been spending on it. I tried to make my screen gray scale at first, then decided just to turn it off and shove it into a corner. At first not having it by your side might make you feel distracted, but give it an hour or so. When I didn’t have a device to look at, the only thing left was to hit the books and study. Not checking your phone every now and then can really help you to retain focus, and hopefully you can keep the momentum going until you’re all done!

  • And when break finally comes – Fun!

Beautiful holiday fireworks

What do you like to do in your free time? What makes you happy? Do you have something you’ve been wanting to try as a new hobby or a simple curiosity? Break is a time for you to find yourself and explore your interests in ways you couldn’t during the semester. The semester is a time for focus and studying, but you have to relax and loosen yourself a little during the break to prevent burnout. A steady momentum is important, but nothing can continue forever. Remember to breathe and relax, to put the books away for a day or two, and dive into hobbies.

Maybe you will meet with family and friends, or maybe you’ll find solace in the quiet with your thoughts. Either one works as long as it is what makes you happy and content. Relax this break, you deserved it! No matter the grades you received, it doesn’t change the fact that you worked hard and deserve to relax.

Happy holidays! I hope everyone has wonderful days ahead this break.

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Definitely binge worthy!

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Fall semester is wrapping up and like the last few years it is that time of the year where the joy of finishing up exams, merges with the happiness, anxiety, excitement, traffic jams, nostalgia, failing family recipes, pumpkin spice latte and a combination of a different kind of stresses for the holidays. I know.. I talked about a lot of emotions! Basically at the end of the semester I am not just wrapping up my semester, I am dealing with flight schedules for my incoming relatives for the holidays, grocery lists, planning a strategic random trip to Costco when there are only 50 people there on a random Tuesday morning (have you ever been to Gaithersburg Costco?). In addition to not just receiving my results, the kids results are also coming in. Their re-tests are un-wantingly treated like my own. Their Sunday school exams are my own and their final soccer match, or swimming class or whatever imaginable extra curricular activities they are in, are wrapping up so I do have to make them my own. In all this chaos of my life, something becomes a beacon of hope!  The never failing app called Netflix! Since my first subscription year of Netflix 4 years ago, I still make a mental list of shows to watch… WHEN MY SEMESTER ENDS! A girl can at least dream, right?!

Here are list of the shows that are currently on my fav list, and I am looking forward to watch them.

  1. House of Cards — The political drama is getting darker as the protagonist, Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey, was caught under fire amidst #metoo movement, and was let go due to allegations against him. The show was already turning its direction, as the female lead role of  the drama, Clair Underwood  played by Robin Wright  would be shown as the first female president of United States.
  2. The American Meme — Being a communications major, the documentary will be something I am looking forward to watching. Co-produced by Paris Hilton, this documentary catches my attention as it features one of the famous stars of social media.
  3. Ozark — A suburban family is getting into all kinds of trouble, while laundering money for the mafia. How are they keeping one step ahead with the law, while dealing with some of the darkest secrets.
  4. Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj — Not really a tickling in to my funny bones kinda stand up comedy , but would be a continuation of what Hassan does best! A good political satire!
  5. The Marvelous Mrs, Maisel — This one is on Amazon prime, not on Netflix. Its the only show I watch on Amazon. I saw the first season, I could not wait for the second one. A home maker of the 50’s, turning into a stand up comedian. A show with all its glamour of the 50’s era and some light comedy.

 

So, one last exam and yes, then feet up and binge! Enjoy and happy holidays!

 

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Overcoming Barriers to Exercise

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Whether you’re a student, working professional, or juggling multiple roles, finding the time to exercise and sticking to a plan is often tough to do. In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers decided to take a closer look at the different amounts of resistance training for two groups of men. In the 2018 study, “Training Volume, Not Frequency, Indicative of Maximal Strength Adaptations to Resistance Training”, Colquhoun et. al examined the effects of maximal strength and body composition with a training program featuring a total of 6-days compared to 3-days per week.

Twenty-eight males were tested in two groups, with one group training three days per week, and another group training six days per week. The individuals had previous experience with resistance training, and they each had performed resistance training programs for a minimum of 3 days a week for at least 6 months prior. The participants were assessed for baseline measurements and re-tested for results after completing a total of 6 weeks of training.

Researchers measured the participant’s squat 1RM, bench press 1RM, deadlift 1RM, powerlifting total, Wilk’s coefficient, fat-free mass and fat mass. Upon completion of the study, these researchers discovered that after 6 weeks of resistance training, there were significant increases in maximal amounts of strength and fat free mass. Also, researchers found that an increased training frequency of 6 days did not result in additional strength improvements when the participants trained at the same volume and intensity. In the study, the group of participants who exercised 6 days per week did not have any enhanced strength or hypertrophy benefits, especially when compared to the group that trained 3 days per week with the same volume and intensity. In a practical environment, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and personal trainers can note from this study that there were an equal amount of increases in strength and lean body mass measurements with both 3-day and 6-day weekly sessions, comprised of the same volume and intensity.

One might think that if you exercised six days per week, you might be better off, but in this study, there were no increased amounts of strength benefits in comparison to the group who only trained three days a week with the same volume and intensity. In terms of the results, there was an increase in the maximal squat, bench press, deadlift 1RMs, PLT, WC and fat-free mass for both groups after testing. These results confirm that volume is an important factor with strength adaptations and resistance training, and may even be more influential than frequency.

When creating an exercise prescription, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and personal trainers should focus on volume and intensity. The results from this study imply that individuals will not benefit from an increase in training frequency without also increasing training volume and/or intensity. Some major barriers for individuals with exercise include time constraints, personal exercise preferences and physical response to weekly training volume.

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Based on the results of this study, fitness professionals can choose to prescribe a set amount of days per week for resistance training, such as three days per week, and it will produce the same effects as a program of 6-days per week with the same amount of volume and intensity. These findings are important for patients who may not adhere to a weekly program of 6-day resistance training, but instead will be able to commit to a weekly 3-day program. In further studies, researchers will need to examine the effects of increased training frequency, along with an increase in training volume and intensity, to aid with exercise prescription for fitness professionals.

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Winter Break is Loading …

How is it already December and how are we really in the middle of finals? This semester was so long yet so fast all in one. I don’t know how that is possible, but I don’t think I’m the only one to feel this way!I had various topics I wanted to talk about before the semester ends but I decided on talking about what’s on everyone’s mind – winter break!

There are some holidays over the break and there’s a New Year to bring in! Whether you’re taking winter classes, working, or going on vacations; I wanted to provide a few things you should try to do over this break. 

  1. Sleep

This is probably obvious, but I know the semester has eaten up my sleep time and especially now that we are in finals mode. Whatever your form of catching up on sleep is – do it! Along with enjoying the break, nothing’s wrong with sleeping in a bit or taking that midday nap if you can.

2. Me Time

Have a self-care day(s) to help you relax. This may be doing face masks or getting a haircut. Eat some good food and take care of yourself. Winter break should be a time to unwind and let go of any possible negative energy you had due to school stresses.

3. Try something NEW!

This could be a new type of cuisine, a new restaurant you’ve been dying to try, going to a different city (in or out of state), or maybe starting a new hobby!  Whatever the case may be, trying something new never hurt anyone so let loose and who knows, maybe you’ll find something you grow to love.

Winter break should be a time to enjoy yourself! Regardless of your busy schedule,  I hope you take this time to recharge. As always, thank you for reading & ‘til next time! 🙂 

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