Student BlogsWelcome to Around the Grove, the official student blog of The Universities at Shady Grove! Students are able to blog about their college experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom. Read about their triumphs, trials and everyday lives that makes being a college student so uniquely life changing — and challenging. Feel free to connect with them by leaving a comment or asking them questions.

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Four it’s a Jolly Good Building

Continuing my guide to USG, it’s time to tour the other most versatile building on campus. That would be the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering building, otherwise known as Building 4 or, most commonly, the BSE.

The entrance of a stone and metal building.
Image Text: Biomedical Sciences and Engineering

The classes in the BSE are a bit more major specific than those in Building 3. As the name implies, the BSE hosts a majority of the STEM majors at USG, including Exercise Science and the UMB dental school. (The primary exception to this would be the nursing program, for which Building 1 is the domain.) However, there are several services and amenities that everyone should know about.

Let’s start with the aforementioned dental hygiene program. Yes, they take clients! In fact, the first elevator in the BSE goes directly to the dental school. Don’t worry; I was guided around by a staff member during my fact-finding mission, and he assured me that the dental students have to prove themselves very skilled before anyone will let them near another person’s mouth.

Anyway, back to the tour. Across from the dental elevator, you’ll find security, and the atrium is just past that. The atrium is a great place to talk about the study spaces that are all over the BSE. They’re these squishy green chairs huddled around tables and they’re perfect for hanging out and getting work done. Oh yeah, and they’re everywhere. There’s at least a couple on every floor of the building.

The BSE is also home to the Center for Academic Success and the Career and Internship Services Center. Conveniently, they’re right next to each other, so they should be easy to find. They’re both on the first floor, just around the atrium.

The Center for Counseling and Consultation is on the third floor. It’s tucked in a weird spot, but if you know the map, you can find it. Exit the elevator, turn left, and head down the hall.

You may have noticed that I’m only giving brief descriptions of where these various amenities are. This is where the most useful aspect of the BSE comes in. Take a look at this video:

A brief video demonstrating how the interactive maps in the BSE work.

You are looking at an electronic, interactive map. If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember this: there are several interactive maps in the BSE. They’re simple to use and awesome: just make selections on the touchscreen. When you choose your destination, a dotted, red line will guide you from where you’re standing to where you wish to end up. Easy-peasy!

I’ll leave you with that, then. If you want to learn more about the BSE’s services and environmental impact, visit the USG website. And, if you’d like to learn more about traversing campus, check out my past blog posts on navigating from building to building and on the ins and outs of Building 3.

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Golden Year

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Recently I had turned 22 years old; yay me! The past year of my life was a difficult one especially since around the time I turned 21 the pandemic was still something very unknown and feared. It still should be as the various variants are still out there and we could still get infected. However, turning 22 has given me some relief; it showed me that despite the difficult year I had, I was able to push on and make it to my next birthday. This year is a special one for me as I had learned that this year is what’s considered to be my golden year. I got a bit confused since I had never heard of a golden year till recently. So I wanted to go ahead and share with you guys what this means for those whoo don’t know what it means.

We all know that each month carries between 28-31 days and we also know when it is our birthday. I would like for you to take a look at the date of your birthday. The main thing you should look at is the day of your birthday(e.g 6/28/56) The number in the middle is considered your golden year. In short, your golden year is when your age is the same as the day you were born. My birthday is July 22 and this year I turned 22 years old. So this year is my golden year. If your birthday happens to be on the first of any month, you already had your golden year when you were a year old.

I would like for the USG community and fellow readers to take a look at your birthdays and see if you had your golden year yet or not. Some of you may even share a golden year which would be pretty awesome for some. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let me know and I’ll back to you on that. Let me know below if you had your golden year yet and I’ll see you all in the next blog! 🙂

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

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Validating Emotions

Two weeks ago I turned 23 years old, which is funny because I still say I’m 21 when people ask how old I am. My birthday has always been one of my favorite days of the year. I feel that a day of celebrating just you is so special and important. Unfortunately, this year my birthday did not feel as special and exciting. With obtaining a fellowship, getting into graduate school, and graduation I felt something similar to a burn out. 

I felt as if we had celebrated myself so much this year that if we celebrated my birthday as well everyone would feel tired of me. I spent the day by myself celebrating with an all day shopping spree and I had an amazing time but a part of me wanted to spend it with my friends. After my birthday I processed how I was feeling and verbalized it to the people around me and they confirmed that they wanted to celebrate with me. If I had validated my feelings to myself and verbalized how I felt I could have enjoyed one of my favorite days. So today let’s talk about validating our emotions. 

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

The first step to validating our emotions is acknowledging the emotions you are feeling. You can feel more than one feeling at a time. For example, I was feeling scared, upset, and lonely. The next step is allowing yourself to feel the emotions without judgement and with self-validating statements. This would look like “I can cry if I need to” or “it makes sense why I feel this way”. The next step would be to try to process why you are feeling these emotions. In my situation I felt that if I celebrate myself and my accomplishments people would be tired of me because I have had people in the past tell me I receive praise too often. One person was unable to handle my personal achievements and I led myself to believe others wouldn’t be able to as well. Validating emotions is difficult when it is your own, but learning to comfort yourself is essential. When I took the time to validate my feelings it made it easier for me to communicate them. When I was able to communicate them well others were able to understand how I was feeling as well.

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The 411 on Building 3

Continuing the tour of the USG campus, I went exploring this week to discover what was inside the buildings. Today, we’ll take a brief look at Building Three: the Clifford and Camille Kendall Academic Center, or B3 for short.

Let’s start at the first floor. The first thing you’ll see when you enter B3 is the security desk. This desk is staffed around the grove—I mean, around the clock. Well, security is staffed around the Grove, too, because there are plenty of other security checkpoints around campus if needed. To the right of this particular security desk is the Green Grove Café. To the left, you’ll find the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources. If you’re interested in scholarships, clubs or campus events CSEF is your friend. Behind security, you’ll find Priddy Library. If you need a study space, a meeting point for a group project, or help with an assignment, you know where to go.

When you walk toward the library and turn left, you’ll find the elevators. As we head up, let’s discuss study spaces! Namely, they’re everywhere. There are clusters of chairs and tables all over each building and breakout rooms on several floors. Pre-pandemic, larger classrooms were kept open when not in use, and students could just walk in and get to work. (Post-pandemic regulations might change that slightly, but we’ll see, and there’s plenty of space either way.)

A wall with "Office of Information Technology" written in silver letters
The OIT. Image Text: Office of Information Technology

To the left of the elevator, you’ll find the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Make sure that you find OIT as soon as possible; you’ll want to know how to reach them before you need their help. But the second floor isn’t all about school. To the right of the elevators, down the hall, you’ll find the Campus Rec Center (CRC) and the Student Lounge. These places are great for students who need more activity in their day. The Student Lounge is outfitted with ping-pong tables and a rock wall, and of course the CRC offers exercise equipment of all stripes.

A large climbing wall with multicolored footholds
The rock wall in the USG student lounge

The third floor is where you’ll find the veterans lounge (next to the elevators) and the Florence and Sterling Crockett Teaching Theatre (down the hall). The Teaching Theatre is essentially a lecture hall, and you might need to find it if your professor brings in a guest lecturer.

Finally, floors four and five host offices. These are where you’re likely to find the administrators, advisors, and faculty for your major. If you’re getting your degree from UMBC or UMGC, check the fourth floor. If your major is under UMD, UB, Towson, or Bowie State, check the fifth. The exceptions to this rule are the Robert H. Smith business school (Building 2) and the science programs (Building 4).

That’s all from me. If you’d like a more in-depth campus tour, click on this link for the official USG virtual tour, and click on this link for the student ambassador version. I hope this helps someone, and I’ll see you in Building Three!

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Penmanship Practice

I have been planning out what I want to do for this summer since many places have been reducing restrictions everywhere due to the increasing percentage of people getting vaccinated. However, one thing that I’ve neglected to give attention to was my penmanship. Penmanship is basically writing with your hands and whatever object you write with (pencil, pen, etc) My mother is the reason why I started focusing on my penmanship because I’ve always had a problem with that so I decided to take some time this summer to practice my penmanship.

Writing guide I followed

I followed this manuscript when it came to writing out the letters of the alphabet. For the most part it seemed pretty straight forward.

Day 1 of practice (Don’t mind the ripped part! XD)

I’ll admit that there were some days that I struggled to keep some of the letters in line or mimic how the manuscript says it should be written. I mainly struggled with the letters D, G, O, Q, S, T, and Y to name a few. These letters often got too big or too uneven when I wrote them out and it got me a bit annoyed at myself for not getting it right. I didn’t let it stop me from practicing. I would take a couple of days to write out the letters and then take a couple of days to rest on that. When I started getting comfortable with most of the letters, I begin writing all the letters of the alphabet like I did below.

Result of practicing my penmanship! Pt 1
Result of practicing my penmanship! Pt 2

I feel that I’ve been improving for the last month and I plan to continue practicing my penmanship before I head to grad school. I recommend everyone at USG and those reading my blogs to take time and practice your penmanship! There are many ways for you to get started. I know penmanship is not a huge deal since we have technology but I feel it’s still important to have, especially if something goes wrong with our technology and we need to write things out for a time. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let me know and I’ll get back to you on that! Thank you for reading my blog and I’ll see you in the next one! 🙂

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Thrown off by Summer

The one thing I looked forward to the most for summer was having more time. During the school year, I felt so overwhelmed and so overbooked. I felt all I had time for was for what could fit in my planner. Now that I’ve been on summer vacation for about a month now, having much more time feels uncomfortable. After my last final assignment, I promised myself to make sure I felt less stressed and overwhelmed. But the lack of planning, assignments, and structure lately has been causing me to feel uncomfortable and some anxiety. For some, this situation may seem impossible or weird but for those who may be experiencing the same feeling here are some things I plan to do to ease the unpleasantness. 

  1. Going back to the basics: Beginning next week I am going to start using a planner again. I have not been using my planner, whiteboard calendars, or alarms. I thought that letting myself take things day by day and not excessively planning would make me feel free, but it’s led to too much freedom. Before I used to use color-coding excessively, in an attempt to still feel some ease, I am going to hold off on this technique. 
  2. Routines and structure: I like structure. I thought that routines and structure kept me from feeling relaxed and having fun but the lack of is causing me to feel anxiety. I have decided I am going to adjust my work schedule to be the same every week. I have had open availability which has left me to my job’s disposal of their needs when my needs are the priority. 
  3. Allowing some freedom: To allow me to still feel some freedom I’ve decided when adjusting my work availability will include taking one more day off a week. Two days off a week doesn’t allow me enough time to feel well-rested and have the social life I feel I deserve. 
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

For my fellow Type A personalities going through this similar feeling please comment and share your experience and thoughts!

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Outdoor Tour

Recently, Montgomery County lifted most mask mandates for vaccinated residents. As such, I’m optimistic that (at least some) classes will be on campus in Fall. However, when we do return, many students will not know how to get around. So, I developed a guided tour to make the eventual adjustment period a bit easier.

Please note that the location of your classes depends on your home campus and major, so this is not an exhaustive list.

Let’s begin at Building 4, the Biomedical Science and Engineering building. This is the newest building on campus and has lots of outdoor seating. According to the USG map, the Biomedical Science and Engineering building is home to:

A gray stone building surrounded by a gray brick walkway, black chairs, and round, black tables. The entry reads, "Biomedical Sciences and Engineering."
Building 4, surrounded by bricks in varying grays and outdoor chairs and tables. Image Text: Biomedical Sciences and Engineering.

Let’s say you’re at the main entrance to Building 4, facing the parking lot. If you walk left for a few yards, there is more outdoor seating around the corner. If you walk to your right instead, you should walk directly to Building 3, the Clifford and Camille Kendall Academic Center. Almost everything is in this building, including:

A modern looking building with lots of windows and a striped concrete entryway. Image Text: "Clifford and Camille Kendall Academic Center."
The entrance to Building 3. The name is slightly cut off by trees, but the building is the Clifford and Camille Kendall Academic Center.

If you keep walking straight, you’ll reach Building 2, ideal for administrative needs:

Building 2 also hosts the Marriott Teaching Kitchen and programs from University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

A building entryway with a blue door and horizontal stripes made of brick. Image Text: "Shady Grove Center, University of Maryland System."
The main entrance to Building 2. Image Text: “Shady Grove Center, University of Maryland System.”

I find that the best way to get to Building 1 is to pass Building 2, cut through the campus relaxation area (recognizable by its rock sculpture and decorative arches), and follow the sidewalk. You’ll know you’re going the right way when you pass the outdoor amphitheater. The entrance to this building is yellow-ish and reads, “The Shady Grove Center, University of Maryland System.” It is across from a side door to Building 4, just past a collection of hexagonal picnic tables.

A yellowish stone entryway. The entry reads, "Shady Grove Center, University of Maryland System."
The entrance to Building 1. Image Text: “Shady Grove Center, University of Maryland System.”

From this point, if you cross to Building 4 and turn left, you should see a wooden bridge. Follow the wooden bridge past the campus pond and a red brick building. The red building is the UMD Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, also known as Building 5. At the end of the bridge, turn left, keep following the sidewalk, and the entrance to Building 5 will be on your left. Watch for geese!

That’s all I have today! Remember, if you lose your bearings on campus, look for the sundial in the center of campus and you should see most buildings. Plus, don’t be afraid to ask a security officer, staff member, or fellow student for help. Chances are, someone is going to the same place as you.

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Graduation Experience

Graduation Cap I wore for graduation! Shout out to my sister for decorating the cap for me!

May 21st, 2021 marked the end of my undergraduate studies. I got excited when UMD announced that their graduation ceremony would be in person. That meant I could have somewhat of the graduation I expected and also finally see my friends in person after not seeing them in so long. My seat happened to be in the field of the stadium and many of us know that it was very hot that day and I could feel myself getting hotter by the minute. However, it didn’t bother me too much as I was more excited to finish my studies and begin something new.

Being able to turn my tassel from one side of my cap to the other symbolized the finish line to one race and the start line of another. After the ceremony, I finally could reunite with my friends which was an amazing feeling after not seeing them face to face in over a year! I managed to find many of my fellow classmates and have a good time with them. After that, I got to take some nice photos with UMD’s Mascot, Testudo. It’s still a shock to me that I finally graduated and will start school again in August! I have said before that I will continue going forward with my higher education; I’ll finally be a part of UMD’s main campus while I study for my Master’s in Journalism! These four years of my life have come and gone and now it’s time for me to begin anew once again.

Hopefully in about two years from now, I’d actually be crossing a stage to receive my Master’s in Journalism and proceed forward in life. I’m proud to have earned my Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees within the four years of my undergraduate studies; so earning my Master’s Degree will be the third degree I receive! I want to thank everyone who was involved in my journey for always being a support system to me, I wouldn’t have made it without all of you by my side! If you got any questions, concerns, or suggestions on what you want to see soon, let me know! I wish you all a nice few weeks and I’ll see you in the next blog!

Photo with me and two of my friends I made while at USG!
Photo with UMD’s Mascot Testudo!
Another photo with Testudo!
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Top Podcast Suggestions

Image by PourquoiPas on pixabay.com

I am a big fan of listening to podcasts. You can get great advice on the go! Listen while you are at the pool, doing the dishes, on a road trip, etc. (great for multi-tasking!). Below are just a few podcasts I have gotten into and would recommend. Each are inspiring, informational, and great for college students!

The American Life

The American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week a theme is selected and stories are presented on that particular theme. It’s journalism, but in a story telling format. The podcast has a variety of interesting, funny, emotional, and compelling stories and speakers.

WorkLife With Adam Grant

Adam Grant is a organizational psychologist, TED talk speaker, and best selling author of 5 books. He gives advice on how we can find motivation and meaning, and how we can all live more creative and generous lives. Adam is the host of WorkLife, a TED original podcasts. How To Love Criticism is one of my favorites!

Millennial Money

If you are looking for a quick, digestible podcast about how to save money, start a side hustle, invest intelligently and reach financial independence… Millennial Money with host Grant Sabatier is what you are looking for. Millennial Money’s episodes are under 10 minutes, straight to the point, and super useful.

The Good Life Podcast

“We’re on a quest to help you live a more meaningful, connected and vital life.” (GLP) I have listened to The Good Life Podcast since high school. The speakers – husband and wife team – Stephanie and Jonathan Fields, bring on deeply-authentic and inspiring teachers and people who are living extraordinary lives. On the The Good Life Podcast their guest speakers share their inspirational stories, experiences, and ideas. I would definitely recommend!

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Changing your Mindset

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

My final semester at USG is this fall 2021 semester. Woo!! Most the time I feel excited to finally graduate and thrilled for what’s to come post college. There are some moments of fear… that I am not ready for this next step in life. Often I think I confuse my excitement for fear.

Learning and growing doesn’t end after traditional school is done. I will always keep learning and growing – I think it is valuable to keep this in mind coming close to graduating. I won’t be completely prepared for the changes that are coming and that’s okay.

These are some things to keep in mind as we are all approaching big life changes (whether that’s graduating, starting a new job, or moving).

  • Focus on the positive aspects. Don’t focus on the negatives. If you don’t get that dream job… then there’s a job that’s better suited for you with a company that will value your strengths and see that you are amazing!
  • Prepare. Solid preparation will help you take on change with stride and confidence. You can only prepare so much… but do what you can to make changes less stressful.
  • Change your mindset. See change as an opportunity to grow. Whether or not this new phase or change works out – it’s an opportunity to learn something about yourself.
  • Failure is apart of success. No one was successful without failure. Fear of failure has been one of my biggest weakness and a tough one to overcome. Being fearful about changes or starting something new will only hinder you. So let that go and remember that failure is apart of success so minds well not be fearful of it.
  • Find people who will support you and celebrate yours wins with you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support your goals and aspirations. My support group is my parents and boyfriend. My parents supported me playing soccer in college and deciding to take time off school to work full-time. My boyfriend has supported me when I’ve questioned myself or the path I have chosen in college. Whether it’s family, friends, or a counselor – find someone you can lean on or go to when you are going through big changes.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. Things may not work out in a change or new life phase. It’s okay to feel upset and down but remember to see the positives – eg. how can you approach a job interview better next time?
  • Trust in your abilities. Trust that you are prepared and focus on your strengths. Changes can be scary. Trust that after graduating USG your skills and your education will help you in this new phase of life post college!

“Change is the only constant”

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