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

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My busiest week

Next week, I am super busy.

I have 2 exams, and 2 interviews. I will be doing what I have always been doing, study 2 weeks ahead of time for both exams, and prepare for my interview.

If you were me, how would you prepare for your interview?
I have decided to go to CISC for some interviewing tips that can make me successful.

Wish me luck. I will let you know how it goes on my next blog.

#LastSemester #TimeToMakeMoves #DressToImpress #SpeakToImpress

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Looking through rose colored glasses!

Valentine’s Day! the most romantic day of  the year! spring in the air, smiles on faces, and young lovers uniting over the most fragrance filled day wearing their rosy colored glasses. Okay STOP!


This is  is how we think its like. In reality, the day is kindaa.. just like any other day! especially if its a random Thursday, like today. You’re off to your work/classes, and had made plans with your significant other. If you don’t have one, you shop, take advantage of all the ‘deals’ out there. If you have plans for dining you are planning way ahead to make reservations. Leave early as the traffic is gonna get you. If you have kids, like I do, you have already done a trip to Target and had bought all kinds of cards to be distributed for your kids class. Random Valentine’s day party that needed to be attended by you, or you have already attended, are not necessarily are happening on the Valentine’s day. You…. rushing everywhere, to be everywhere.

Valentine’s day as materialistic as it has become, sometimes makes us forget what it is actually about. This day is to love and honor your soulmates and this is the day when one gets to honor their significant others. Relationships are not easy and one can only understand that, when one is in it. I saw a lot of my classmates prepping for today, and it was more evident for me that today, they are trying their best to keep their messy relationships aside, over come their long distances and plan ahead to they can beat their schedules and spend time with each other. Its all in the small things!


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A brief list of tips for school laptop usage/preparation

Congratulations – you’ve just acquired a laptop to use for your studies. You may have bought it at a store like Microcenter or Best Buy, you may have gotten it as a hand-me-down from a sibling, or you might have borrowed it indefinitely from someone else – regardless of how you got it, it’s yours now, and it’s time to make sure both you and it are ready for school. Here’s some tips.

  1. Keep drinks away from your fancy new folding computer. The last thing you want to do is spill coffee into the laptop’s integrated keyboard and make it explode. If you’re going to have drinks near it, have them in seal-able containers like bottles or those fancy Starbucks drink cylinders.
  2. Eliminate the extra. If there’s preloaded programs on the laptop, whether it’s the previous owner’s video game collection or some factory distributed bloatware, get rid of it. If there’s a bunch of junk files – like a forgotten family photo collection – delete them, anything taking up surplus storage is cluttering your virtual workspace.
  3. Get Microsoft programs. Whether you want to buy the student 4pack (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) from the Microsoft website or just use a student Office365 account, it doesn’t matter – get Word on your computer at the very least. Google Drive is great, but it isn’t perfect and it lacks a lot of functions you’ll find through trial and error to be essential to specific projects. Also, it never indents properly for some reason.
  4. Organize your files. Lets say you’re in a two year program at USG. Make a folder in your documents that says “School,” or something like that, and then within it make individual folders for each semester. In each semester folder, as you go through them, make folders for each class you’re taking. Within those folders, make folders for each week of material. Most of the class schedules/syllabi tend to be organized by week content so you’ll be able to label each week something specific and be able to refer to your notes more easily.
  5. Other essential programs: If you’re doing photo editing at all, GIMP is a good – and free – choice. If you’re doing basic audio editing, Audacity is a good – and free – choice. Are you seeing a trend here? We’re in college, we have to keep things cheap. Adobe Reader is honestly the best way to read PDFs on your computer – it’s much cleaner than using a browser window and allows for more interactivity. Speaking of browsers – I recommend Firefox Quantum instead of Google Chrome, and I say that as someone who used Chrome for years. It’s just faster, plain and simple. What else – Kindle is good if you’re using virtual textbooks, like the Nurses’ Pocket Guide, Discord and Skype are both good for group projects and making conference calls, and the Twitch client can be good if you like to watch streams in the background of studying or while taking a break from studying.
  6. Programs you SHOULD NOT GET ON A LAPTOP: Anything that is Adobe that isn’t Adobe Reader. I’m not kidding, folks – Adobe Photoshop works best with enormous excess storage space and your laptop likely isn’t going to have that unless you’re using an external drive which can be quite expensive. If you want to use Photoshop, use a desktop. The same goes for things like FLStudio9 – it’s just best to do any heavy editing on desktop computers instead of laptops. I know I mentioned Gimp and Audacity – that’s lightweight stuff compared to Photoshop and FLStudio.

With those general tips out of the way, here’s a brief list about how to take notes during class – some different methods of doing so.

  1. The “OneNote” method. OneNote is literally made to take notes. If you need some help figuring out how to use it to the fullest, make an appointment with OIT or CAS and they’ll help you figure it out. I typically find it best to use OneNote for things that do not have accompanying documents like PowerPoints, although it will still work for those things.
  2. The “Word+PowerPoint” method. This is my go-to method for anything that involves a PowerPoint. You open PowerPoint on one side of your screen, and Word on the other.
    1. Then you just bullet point notes down and down the word document.
      1. With subsections for individual topics of interest.
        1. Typically I just have one long list of numbers that match each slide number with a title, and then off of that I branch into the topics within that slide and have it all contained slide by slide.
  3. The “Word Only” method. A classic – you just have word open and you just bullet point notes without having the PowerPoint on the screen to refer to. This can work if you’re just watching some presentation without a PowerPoint, or if you just prefer to have Word be the big thing on your screen.
  4. The “Photosynthesis” method. You close your computer and stare at the presentation until it burns into your eyes and imprints on your brain. This method tends to fail.

In all seriousness, with all jokes tossed by the wayside, if you want to get your laptop working the best it can then OIT is your best bet in making that happen. The people behind the desk in the OIT know what they’re doing – and they’re there to help you for as long as they’re open. Just walk in.


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“What’s your five-year plan?”

I hadn’t heard that question much since I started teaching three years ago. Back then, I could answer pretty confidently.

Fast forward about two years into my teaching career. This summer,  I took five post-its and laid out my new five-year plan. I put it on the wall, right in front of my work-space. It included professional goals and personal goals.

Just six months later, last weekend, I took down those post-its. It honestly takes me 5 to 10 minutes if I were to explain all the possibilities. This time next year, I’ll be applying to several different jobs, both in and out of the classroom, and several different Ph.D. programs. I have no idea what comes next, where I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing.

It’s moderately terrifying. It’s not just having a plan and a back-up plan. It’s kind of like that scene in the last Avengers when *SPOILERS* Dr. Strange is floating around, overwhelmed with all the possible outcomes for the fight against Thanos. There are so many different possibilities–none of which I favor over the other. This cross-roads felt so much more overwhelming

As a teacher, I know that from an early age, we are taught to have goals. By high school, we are encouraged to have careers picked. As adults, people constantly ask us when a child, marriage, or the next step of your life is coming up. We are always asked to think ahead. Last night was the first time I managed to feel okay about the predicament I’m in. I managed to give myself three reasons why this was totally okay.


  • So much less stress. I no longer have to worry about larger decisions in some “grand scheme” of things. There’s no wondering “but will x affect y and change my five-year plan?” There’s no anxiety with actions or reactions because there is no plan to worry about having to re-write.
  • More productivity. In the last 24 hours, I’ve found myself way more focused on my weekly/daily to-do list at work and at home than I have in recent weeks. Before, I’d kind of stop and get side-tracked, going down a rabbit hole of research about option A or option G. Now, I’m letting it go because I realize there’s really no need to know everything about one option or another as I don’t need to plan it all out.
  • Truly enjoying time with my friends. This was a big one. Catching up with friends a month or two ago started with them asking how I’m doing, eventually asking about plans for the future. It’d either send me into a rant or force me to awkwardly change subjects while my brain persisted on thinking about that five-year-plan the rest of the day.



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Staying on Track

Hello everyone! I hope this new semester has been treating you well. Though it may feel like we’re in a lull right now at the beginning of the semester, this is a time to make sure to plan ahead.

A new semester means another semester of tuition to pay. Maybe you are paying through loans, or maybe a scholarship or two. Make sure to keep an eye on deadlines and payment plans that may be available! For instance, as a UMCP student, there is a Terp Payment Plan for students where you can make monthly payments for tuition. Currently I am working and taking classes at the same time, so a monthly payment plan has been a great help! It’s not late to still enroll in the plan, the deadline being February 20th. So if you are also a UMCP student, I definitely recommend taking a look at it and visiting the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources if you have any questions.


A college education is an investment for the future, a privilege we are able to have as students aiming for a goal, a dream. Though a college education can be extremely expensive, there are many scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial aid available. Please make sure to explore all your options, USG is here to help you succeed!

USG also has scholarships for the fall/spring, so make sure to always check the homepage during summer/winter breaks to not miss the priority deadlines. And outside of USG  you can check your respective school’s website for scholarships as well as external websites such as Fastweb.

School can be expensive, but there are many ways to fund it! Best of luck, USG is here for you at every step.

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Improving Lives With Physical Therapy at MMA & Sports Rehab

Located in Arlington, Virginia, MMA & Sports Rehab has been serving the surrounding community for over five years. Originally from Nepal, Dr. Ujjwal Shakya, PT, DPT, DMT, SCS, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the owner of the clinic. A practicing martial artist, he also is a Doctor of Manual Therapy and Board Certified Sports Specialist. Last year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) prominently featured MMA & Sports Rehab and their work with mixed martial artists. In the April 2018 edition of the professional magazine, PT In Motion, Dr. Ujjwal was highlighted in an article entitled Working With Combat Athletes.

Photo: Dr. Ujjwal of MMA & Sports Rehab

Photo: Dr. Ujjwal of MMA & Sports Rehab

Blending Martial Arts and Physical Therapy

With an emphasis on treating sports injuries, chronic pain, and various facets of rehabilitation, MMA & Sports Rehab provides a variety of different treatment options for patients. While spending a day observing at the clinic, Dr. Ujjwal utilized specific techniques, including manual therapy, dry needling, IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) and myofascial release therapy. I was able to see how these techniques and accompanying assessments were implemented in a real-life setting during a day of observation. MMA & Sports Rehab encompasses a unique niche, including treating different populations, active individuals, and mixed martial artists.

Photo Courtesy of MMA & Sports Rehab

Photo Courtesy of MMA & Sports Rehab

Observations and History

Throughout the day, I was able to see a variety of different upper and lower extremity injuries from all across the spectrum. Each week, many patients from various walks of life step through the doors, including younger athletes, older patients, active adults, and MMA fighters. In the early stage of his career, Dr. Ujjwal offered physical therapy services at a mobile clinic located two doors down, right inside the gym of Pentagon MMA. To date, Dr. Ujjwal continues to offer extensive treatment for mixed martial arts fighters and also sports rehabilitation for active individuals. In 2017, Dr. Ujjwal opened his own clinic, conveniently located steps away from Pentagon MMA, where he continues to provide exceptional physical therapy treatment.

Dr. Ujjwal Shakya of MMA & Sports Rehab

Dr. Ujjwal Shakya of MMA & Sports Rehab

Balancing PT and Martial Arts

Working as a physical therapist leads to a busy lifestyle, and Dr. Ujjwal often trains at the gym during his lunch break. With a full schedule of weekly classes, including Muay Thai (Kickboxing/Thai Boxing), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo, it’s clear that Pentagon MMA certainly means business. Having a martial arts background of my own, including growing up studying tae kwon do, and later Filipino Martial Arts, and capoeira, I was eager to learn more from Dr. Ujjwal regarding his diverse experience. While some may not be familiar with the movement patterns of various martial art forms, Dr. Ujjwal has practiced Muay Thai for many years. His understanding of Muay Thai and other martial art forms help to create a unique perspective for his method of treatment as both a Doctor in Physical Therapy and an martial artist. By actively training in martial arts, Dr. Ujjwal is better able to serve the surrounding community with his comprehensive ability to understand movement as a whole. Dr. Ujjwal also shared that he provides injury prevention seminars at Pentagon MMA several times a year, to help with prerehabilitation techniques for the fighters. These community outreach seminars help explain thorough prevention strategies and exercises for injuries related to combat athletes.


Photo Courtesy of MMA & Sports Rehab

Treating Mixed Martial Artists

Some of the most common injuries for mixed martial arts fighters involve the knee, hip, and shoulder joints. Dr. Ujjwal explained that many joint injuries can occur from overuse. For example, Dr. Ujjwal explained that many jiujitsu fighters and grapplers often experience neck, upper back, wrist and shoulder injuries due to the rolling motions that they perform. Over the years, he has also treated many varieties of fractures, herniations and labrum tears. For the knee injuries, in particular, Dr. Ujjwal frequently helps treat medical collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior collateral ligament injuries (ACL) related injuries.

MMA & Sports Rehab in Arlington, VA

MMA & Sports Rehab in Arlington, VA

Promoting A Healthy Lifestyle

Dr. Ujjwal has years of experience in the field of physical therapy, and his patients were always smiling upon arriving to the clinic. A true educator, Dr. Ujjwal generously shared his extensive knowledge about various treatment methods. Whether he was explaining dermatomes or the purpose of IATSM, he was always patient and willing to answer any questions. Throughout the course of the day, the patients who arrived all had such positive testimonials to say about Dr. Ujjwal and his team. The focus of MMA & Sports Rehab is to help educate patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and to offer extensive physical therapy options. Patients left the clinic glowing from ear to ear, and shared many words of gratitude from their personal experiences at the clinic.


During the day, I also learned from observing Jamie, a licensed PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) on staff. She explained about some of the treatment options available, including cupping. I never experienced the treatment myself, and Jamie applied one to my forearm so I could try it out. Although it may look like it could cause some significant discomfort, it was actually not as bad as I expected. If I had to describe it, the feeling was sort of a pulling sensation, like someone grabbing a bit of your skin firmly, and then gently letting go.


Thank you, Dr. Ujjwal, Jamie, and MMA & Sports Rehab!

Looking Ahead

Overall, it was a very informative observational experience, and it made me eager to learn more as I continue on with my professional journey. I felt grateful for the opportunity, and it was a fascinating learning experience. I was also exposed to a lot of concepts related to physical therapy, such as dry needling, cupping and IATSM. I learned a lot regarding treatment options for mixed martial artists, in particular. After completing my previous coursework in Exercise Science and Health through Montgomery College and Salisbury University, and it was especially exciting to see the assessments and treatment options performed in a real-life setting.

I have such a strong passion for martial arts and to pursue my career in physical therapy. I am currently finishing up my last semester here at The Universities of Shady Grove, and I am thankful I was able to observe and learn from Dr. Ujjwal and his team. For more information about MMA & Sports Rehab, please visit their website and Facebook page.

Written by Jade Esmeralda

All photos were used with permission from Dr. Ujjwal and MMA & Sports Rehab.

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February is…

February is known for being the shortest month of the year. February is known to be the month of love. February is known to celebrate all Presidents of the United States. February is also known for Black History Month. I wanted to take the time to celebrate a few brilliant African Americans that have made their mark in American History.

  1. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” – Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut
  2. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”
    – Langston Hughes, poet
  3. “Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it.” – Earl G. Graves, Sr., Entrepreneur
  4. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey, Political Leader
  5. You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou, author and poet
  6. “If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money.” – Russell Simmons, Entrepreneur
  7. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” 
    Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court member
  8. Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama, first African American President
  9. It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts. – Ella Fitzgerald, American singer & first African American Female Grammy Award winner
  10. There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made – Michelle Obama, first African American First Lady

Happy Black History Month, everyone! As always, thanks for reading & ‘til next time! 🙂

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Nursing Walk-In Hours

The Universities at Shady Grove are having nursing walk-in hours for the University of Maryland. The event is for anyone interested in attending a walk-in appointment to speak with an admissions representative about certain nursing programs. The Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing that is offered by the University of Maryland, Baltimore is available after completing two years of undergraduate education at an accredited college or university. The University of Maryland School of Nursing is among the 10 best nursing schools in the country according to the U.S. News & World Report. What makes the University of Maryland Schools of Nursing one of the best in the nation are the leaders in the field that the school collaborates with. Scientists and expert clinicians that have decades of experience create relationships with the students that attend. The program will prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. These options are great for those who wish to be prepared to succeed in a wide range of health care environments. If those who apply for this program wish to pursue a graduate degree, they will have the qualifications they need to pursue graduate studies.

Another academic program that is offered is the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This is beneficial for registered nurses who wish to pursue their career opportunities. If there are advanced practice nurses who are seeking to be primary health care providers for individuals of all ages and their families, the Family Nurse Practitioner program is the plan of study for them. This will help nurses who have a Bacherlor of Science in Nursing, have their master’s in nursing or a related field or are looking to change their specialty.

The nursing event will take place at the Universities at Shady Grove on Friday, February 8thfrom 10:00am to 3:00pm in building 1, room 314.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock Image

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How Resilient Are You?

I am sure you have heard the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Recently, I have had a few friends and acquaintances who have experienced major life events that have tested their emotional and mental strength. Whether someone experiences a death, goes through a divorce or separation, or suffers a financial setback, the level of resilience a person has can help or hinder their recovery from a serious life event.

resilience-Eppel-Siegel-1024x1011I am certainly not saying that one should not grieve a loss. Grieving is an important part of navigating through a major loss, but an article in Psychology Today notes that it’s resilience that seems to help a person regulate their emotions more effectively, therefore reducing the stress on the mind and body. That regulation can then allow the mind to tune in to cognitive resources that can help figure out what productive action can occur next. They also note that there are tell-tale signs whether a person is resilient including a positive attitude and optimism. Check out the full article here.

If you are having trouble sorting out a major life event and need some help, the Center for Counseling and Consultation can help. This service is free for USG students. I visited them last fall to sift through some issues I was having and they were quite helpful. They offer individual psychotherapy, career counseling, couples counseling as well as crisis management and emergency services. It is inevitable that we will all experience serious events that will require us to reach deep inside ourselves and find the tools to heal from our loss. It’s just nice to know that you don’t have to do it alone.


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Reflective Thinking

Since it is technically still the beginning of the year, I thought I would share something very useful that I learned in undergrad and graduate school: reflective thinking. For those who are not familiar with reflective thinking, this is when you are conscious about your own thinking and analyze them. Typically, you think through your past learning experiences then evaluate them and make decisions on how you want to change the way you respond to new experiences or situations; this is to help you with future planning or better decision making. The most important aspect of reflective thinking is being aware of your own biases, knowledge, and previous experiences. For instance, from my previous experience training as a school counselor, I learned that I was too concerned with obtaining high grades (performance-based learner). Therefore, in my current program, I made it my goal to have a mastery goal orientation (learning because I want to learn) and be able to apply my learned knowledge into my personal life. I wanted to internalize the information that I was learning so it will stay in my long-term memory and apply to daily situations. Through this experience, I learned that by following my curiosity about how to help students succeed better, I was able to identify other potential career paths where I can be an effective agent of age. Reflective thinking is easier said than done because of our hectic schedules. However, if you are able to incorporate this practice into your life, it could help you make informed decisions and appreciate the small things in life.

Why reflective thinking?

Taking the time to think and be more conscious of our actions helps us make better-informed decisions. I believe this is a great tool especially if you are trying to decide which road to take in life. This tool is also useful if you are considering or in the process of switching career fields because thinking about the skills and knowledge that you already possess could help you identify the new career that could meet your needs. For example, when I finished my first graduate program and could not find a school counseling position. I had to really think about what was important to me and what role I can play in my field to help me achieve my goal of helping students achieve their goals in life. I thought about the skills that I learned as a school counselor and a researcher. I also thought about skills that I already possess and my ultimate goal of making a difference in people’s lives (either direct service or contributing to the research field). I realized that where I am in higher education or working with K-12 students, I can use my skills to impact students’ lives. As a result, no matter where you are in life, stopping to think is extremely helpful not only in decision making but also helping you see the great things in life.   

For those who are interested in adapting reflective thinking into your lives, below are a few strategies that I tried and loved.

  1. Reflection Journal – I did this reflection journal in undergrad for a student organization that I was a member of. The goal was to reflect on my abilities and capabilities as a student leader in my campus. Ultimately, journaling every week helped me realize the type of leader I am and the skills that make me an effective leader in the community. I would suggest this for anyone because this acts as a diary and you can write entries however you want. Plus, you can practice your writing skills.
  2. Passion Planner – I loved my passion planner because it was designed to help people identify their long-term and short-term goal and how to track them. At the end of each month, there is a reflection section where they ask you questions about how you felt you did during the past month. I have about six or more of these planners from undergrad and grad school. My favorite part of the planner is that they have a weekly section where they provide you by the hour breakdown. I like this feature because it helps visually see what my schedule looks will look like. This is a great planner for organization and reflective thinking. I highly recommend this especially if you have a busy schedule and prefer a physical planner.

Need some help with organization or time management? The Center for Academic Success (CAS) provides academic coaching (including time management and organization), writing consultation, and workshops to help students become successful during their time at USG. I used their services as a student. I definitely recommend using their services.

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