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

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Ready to be Back.

Spring break is almost over, it went by so quickly. Next week the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus will be filled again with students going about their business. I am excited for the start of classes next week not only because this means that I only have a few more weeks of classes left before the end of the semester but also because of the many events and activities that are lined up for next week.  Read on below for details of some of the many exciting events planned on the USG campus and be sure to check out the USG weekly for more details here.


Monday, March 26th– Lunch and Lead: Higher Education Leadership

The event title says it all. Free lunch and the opportunity to learn about higher education leadership from the Chief Operating Officer at USG, Nico Washington. Be sure to rsvp using the link here.

Tuesday, March 27th– Meals and Conversation with Dr. Stewart Edelstein.

Yes, you read that right, another event that offers free food! And the opportunity to share your feedback with the Executive Director of USG. I have attended this event several times and can say it is really a rewarding experience. Be sure to rsvp using the link here.

Thursday, March 29th – Pizza Night and Happy Hour

Hopefully, you see the pattern here, another event with food! However, this one does not provide free food but gives you the opportunity to support a worthy cause. The USG Student Council will be hosting this event as part of their fundraising efforts to raise funds for the USG Involvement Scholarship Fund. This is a wonderful opportunity to relax, network and contribute. Be sure to mention “USG Student Council” when ordering.


These are just a few of the many events slated to welcome students back to the USG campus, be sure to check the USG weekly and social media of USG for more events. Although the spring break did go by quickly, I enjoyed the short break and I am eager for the start of classes again. What can I say, I am one of those persons that enjoys learning and one of those persons that actually miss classes during the semester breaks. If you were on spring break I hope you enjoyed it and are as excited as I am to take on the final half of this Spring 2018 semester.

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We All Deserve a Break


Good morning everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your spring break! It is important to relax and recharge your batteries before returning to classes.

After several weeks of classes, homework, projects and exams it’s nice to finally have a week to rest and relax. There are several ways to enjoy the spring break, to get away from anything related to class:


Travel – it is common for college students to travel somewhere out of the state. Although it might get pricey, traveling somewhere with friends, even for a few days, might be just what you need.

Hangout with friends – a lot of times, you sacrifice hanging out with friends to do homework or study. Now that you have a week off, try catching up with them. You now have time to hangout with them.


Go hiking – although this depends heavily on the weather, if the weather is nice, try going on a hike with some people. You get to enjoy the great outdoors, away from technology (for the most part), and simply forget about classwork.

Spend time on a hobby – if you have a hobby that you have to put on pause for school, you can resume it during the break. If you like to write stories, go ahead! You like drawing? Go for it! This week is for you to do what you want!

As a college student myself, in the back of my mind, I am reminded about all the homework and projects I need to work on. Having a break doesn’t mean I forget all that – it just means I put it aside temporarily. If you can’t hold off doing your homework, try to minimize your work. Maybe spend an hour a day doing homework – that way, you feel that you’ve completed something, but still enjoy the break.

Fortunately, if you need to go to USG for anything, the campus is open during the break!

Enjoy the rest of the break!

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Make Community Service a Part of Who You Are

As a child, I was raised in the Catholic religion. My mother taught me about Catholic traditions, and in addition to that I attended Catholic school from pre-K until 12th grade. Something that makes me proud of my faith is the fact that there is an emphasis to treat others with kindness and respect, while giving as much as you can to those in need. The great part about this principle is that you don’t have to be Catholic to live by it. In fact, picture now how much of a better place the world would be if we all chose to treat each other in the way I’ve described above. Seems ideal, doesn’t it?

On my way home a while ago I was listening to 88.5FM, one of my favorite radio stations. At the time when I was listening, a study about spending habits and happiness was being discussed. The study revealed that people are happier when they spend money not on themselves, but on others. So let’s say you were at happiness level 7 and you came into $5 on the sidewalk. If you chose to donate that $5 to a homeless person, then it would raise your happiness level to an 8 (not too much, but still an upward trend). If you had chosen to keep the money instead, you’d feel indifferent, the logic behing this being that you’d spend the $5 on the same cup of Starbucks you’re already very familiar with.

USG is giving students the opportunity to to participate in Community Service Day on March 22 from 8am – 4pm. While this does not entail monetary donations, it does deal with you giving your time back to the community in a hands-on way. Consider participating for the simple fact that you’ll be helping society, but also feeling good about something you did.


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Did someone say photography?

This semester I am taking Advanced Digital Imaging 398J, which is a photography course. This is in conjunction with Digital Imaging, which I took last semester. In this class we shoot in a Raw setting and edit in Camera RAW in Photoshop CC. After each project, we “jury” everyones collection of photos that best fits the theme. We give each set of photos a score from 1-10, 1 being not good and 10 being amazing. Jurying is fun and I love to see everyone else’s projects. I love seeing how talented and creative other people are!

This past week we were tasked with doing shadows and silhouettes in black and white. And this week, I actually won the jury! When your photos to win, you earn automatic ‘A’ on the project. Our Professor also prints out your best photo(s) as a keepsake, how nice?! Below are my two photos that I got to take home.


Photography is definitely not a natural born talent of mine. Though, I have found that the more I practice, and more time I spend on a project, the better my results are. I have discovered that I am most inspired when I go out somewhere new and take photos. The two photos above were taken at the National Portrait Museum in Washington, DC. This museum is only a block away from the Chinatown Metro stop, making it easily accessible and free. If you yourself are interested in photography or need to take photos for a class, I recommend trekking down to DC.

Some other cool spots for photography or just sight seeing!

I have recently created an online portfolio of my own personal work, and one page I have dedicated to photography. Since being in the Communication program here at USG, I have developed a liking of photography and developing different skills.

Have a great weekend!

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Is Spring Break Really a Break?

I can tell you that from the beginning of the semester, I have been waiting for Spring Break! The moment my professors laid out the assignments, I knew spring break couldn’t have come at a better time. Now that it’s pretty much here, I can tell you I am not as excited.

I was really hoping this would be the break to regroup my thoughts and get my mindset to be focused on the end. Now, I just have long term assignments. Even though it sucks for that to be the case, I’m sure I’m going to appreciate not having class. I truly believe my assignments that I’m going to be turning it are going to be some of my better ones.

When I become a teacher, and quite possibly Secretary of Education, I hope to make spring break different. But for now, I just have to put forth my best effort and keep on keeping on.

As always, thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoy your breaks as well!

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Spring Break Ideas & ASB

Hello all! I hope you are looking forward to the upcoming spring break. I know that I am looking forward to getting some R&R. I thought this is a great opportunity to share some suggestions on how you can take advantage of your spring break.

For those who are looking for ideas on what to do during your spring break, below are some suggestions that will help you feel productive.

  • Get ahead of your classes by finishing your school work
  • Organize your schedule
  • Plan exciting activities (have a goal of what you what to accomplish)
  • Catch up with families and friends
  • Participate in your institution’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB)
    • For those who are not familiar with ASB, this is usually when students participate in week-long activities dedicated to community service.

I love giving back to the community so whenever spring break comes around, I cannot help but think about the wonderful opportunity that I had during my last year at UMBC Shady Grove. I was very fortunate to participate in UMBC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB). I was super excited because I was going to be able to live on-campus (even if it was only for a week), get to know other students from UMBC main campus, feel like a main campus student, and volunteer at Baltimore City. UMBC’s ASB divided students into groups depending on their volunteer interest. We had a group helping the homeless, while my group was interested in learning about the refugees, asylees, and immigrant population. Our group was called “Through the Eyes of a Refugee” or TEAR. During the week, we volunteered at different community agencies in Baltimore City, who were dedicated to providing assistance to the refugees, asylees, and immigrants communities. We volunteered at IFC (International Rescue Committee) – Baltimore Resettlement Center, Esperanza Center, and RYP (Refugee Youth Project). It was an eye opening experience for me because I was not aware of the different procedures that they (the population that we were working with) had to go through, such as the immigration procedure of obtaining permanent residence, how to obtain daily necessities, preparing for job interviews, and learning the basics of how to use a computer. Because of this experience, I learned the value of community service and how it is a great way to not only give back to the community but also learn about the different issues in our community.


Alternative Spring Break



I highly encourage you to participate in ASB especially as students at USG. This opportunity does not only enables you to give back to the community, but also experience being part of main campus. Even though you attend a satellite campus, you are still part of your institution and free to participate in any activities and programs that they have at main campus. I highly believe that I made the right decision to participate in UMBC’s ASB. I hope to participate in something similar in the future, but for now, I will be working and volunteering during my spring break 🙂


How about you? What do you have planned for your Spring Break?



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Women’s History Month

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This annual declared month was chosen to honor and inspire the study, observance and celebration of women’s essential role in American history. The women’s march that took place in Washington D.C. on January 21st of last year showed that the fight for equality and reform is not over. While the largest single-day protest in history was aimed at Donald Trump and his statements that were regarded as anti-woman, the outcry had much more to do about the progress that still needs to be made. However, the statements that were made served as a reminder that words still hold a great deal of power and can evoke sentiments that were prevalent in the 1920’s.

Just a century ago, women cried out when no one wanted to listen. Women were not able to make their own decisions. Women were not able to vote or work. Women’s bodies were controlled by the laws made by male politicians. If a woman was mistreated, they were not allowed to defend themselves or their families.

These women saw a future in their efforts to change the status quo when there was no resolution in sight. There were women who fought for their right to vote, right to work, right to receive prenatal care, rights for fair working conditions, for their ability to share political office with men, to legalize birth control, reproductive healthcare rights and equal education.

These rights belong to our mothers and grandmothers because our great-grandmothers fought for change.

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The Universities at Shady Grove will be screening a documentary called Miss Representation that expresses how the media skews the ideals and values of women. The screening will take place on Wednesday, March 14 from 4:00pm-6:00pm in the Crockett theater

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Secret to adding 1-2 hours in your day!

CaptureWhat if I told you that you could potentially find more hours in your day- not by waking up early or by sleeping late, but by using social media wisely? Sounds intriguing right?

I am not a social media junkie; I don’t even have Facebook. I do however have Pinterest that satisfies my love for crafts, décor and farmhouse homes. I read online that the average time a person spends on social media per day is roughly two hours. As a graduate student, those two hours can translate into doing a test, reading a paper, researching or writing a paper, etc. In short, two hours = precious time!

Here are some tips that may help you get back on track with social media in graduate school:

  1. Track how much time you spend on social media

Yes, there is an app for that! You may not think that logging onto social media eight times a day is a lot, but if you multiply that by the length of time you spend scrolling around, you will be surprised!

  1. Setting a limit on how much time you have

Yes, another app for that! You can set a limit as to how long you want to access social media.  Some apps will send you annoying messages that tell you when you go over your time. The key is to stick to the allotted time- DO NOT EXTEND IT!

  1. Taking a break

During the last month of each semester, I typically un-install my Pinterest app or deactivate my account temporarily. This gives me more time to focus on my finals without any distractions.

Happy Monday!

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March For Our Lives

On February 14, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida resulted in 17 people killed and 17 more wounded. My heart goes out to the victims’ loved ones. I am both deeply saddened and sickened that so many innocent lives have been lost due, once again, to gun violence.

Along with many other Americans, I am astonished that our government has allowed history to repeat itself over and over again. How many more massacres are needed before new, substantial gun safety legislation is passed? Given that tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year from gun violence, we are facing nothing less than a public health crisis.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal agency charged with conducting research and developing plans to solve the nation’s most serious public health issues, the 1996 Dickey Amendment, perpetually lobbied for by the National Rifle Association (NRA), prevents the CDC from using its funds to do so with respect to gun violence.

I often find myself speaking passionately about this topic – whether it’s at the dinner table with my parents or in the car with my friends. I believe that each and every student, staff, and faculty member has an undeniable right to safety when they enter their school each day. But as long as lax gun regulations remain the status quo, we cannot take for granted our safety while in school.

Venting my frustrations is not enough — it’s time to take action. On Saturday, March 24, I plan to take to the streets of Washington, D.C. to participate in the March For Our Lives. USG peers, I urge you to join me that day in demanding an end to gun violence and mass shootings in our schools once and for all.


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Is Sitting the New Smoking?

I am sure you have heard the saying “Sitting is the New Smoking”. But is it really the new smoking, and if so, why? The phrase was coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative—but is he just saying this to sell more of the treadmill desks he invented or is there science behind it? And yes, he did invent a treadmill desk…

I remember when I was about 10 and would spend hours on Saturday mornings watching cartoons and my mom would tell my sisters and me that if we didn’t get up and move, we would get “secretarial spread”. No one wanted a wide derriere from sitting too much. (And yes, it was the 1970s so saying that was perfectly acceptable.) Little did I know that equating health concerns to inactivity was actually a thing.


The New Evolution of Man…perfect for the 21st Century

Dr. Levine, the aforementioned inventor of the treadmill desk, points to real health problems caused by too much sitting and not enough moving. He says, “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Yikes, Doc!


Is anyone else saying this besides Dr. Treadmill? As it turns out, yes. In 2015, Canadian researchers looked at 47 studies that highlighted the health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. In a nutshell, the participants who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes—even those who were regular exercisers. The results were even worse for people who did little or no exercise. Commenting on the research, Dr. Joanne Foody, Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston says, “While we often think of the dangers of inactivity in terms of worsening cardiovascular health, there are a myriad of negative effects”. The Canadian study noted higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. Another study has linked inactivity with an increased risk of developing dementia. (It’s sounding more futile as I continue writing this…who picked this downer of a topic anyway?)


What not to do, Homer…

What to do, what to do. I have thought about this a lot, especially on Tuesdays when I am basically sitting in class from 10 am to 5 pm. And from the looks of this information, the non-stop running around I do on my clinical days does not counteract the long-term sitting. Dr. Levine does have some tips besides a treadmill desk (which I am sure I’m not coordinated enough to try…):

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk—or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.

And my own suggestions:

  • Do stretches with your classmates on breaks.
  • If you are someone who learns by writing, stand and write at a whiteboard instead of sitting down and writing on paper. There are study rooms with white boards that can be reserved at The Priddy Library.
  • Stand in the back of the lecture room during class for a few minutes every so often.

So, let’s look on the bright side and try to incorporate a little more standing, a bit more moving, and a lot more stretching. Who is game in joining me to take a “stand”? I just came up with that…clever, right?


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