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

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A Picture is Worth…

…to be honest, it is worth giving me more time to study. Since we are all in the throes of studying for one of the last pushes of the semester, I thought I would treat you all with some photos of what “hitting the books” really looks like around the USG campus along with some tips for succeeding and still keeping your sanity. And black & white makes everything look so much more glamorous, don’t you think? And thanks to my nursing school peeps who shared their studying secrets. Enjoy!


Set up a study area that is organized and quiet, like at the Priddy Library at USG…late at night. Shhh…


Effective studying means being comfy…and having copious amounts of snacks.

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Even the wee ones can help you study. Yes, I know that’s a stretch, but he’s so darn cute!


Remind yourself how you will get to relax over the holiday break. This mermaid reminds the author of this blog that she will be in Florida for Christmas…after she finishes learning about brain surgery, of course.

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A hot beverage and school spirit. It’s a winning combination!

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Disarray is a sign of genius, I think…


I could either study or tuck myself in…Hmmm….


It’s risky to stay this toasty warm as you might just doze off, but the fashion statement is totally worth it.


And all work and no play…you know the rest. Love the ping pong tables in Building III!

Cheers to the hours (and hours, and hours, and hours) that students at USG commit to studying to reach their next big goal. Because that’s why we’re here, right? Make it happen, USG!

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Victories you made possible.

The recently held Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Hunger Banquet along with the other events in USG’s 2017 Civic Engagement series were awesome. Although I didn’t personally attend each event, I attended one and was either working at the others or knew at least two students that attended. I am extremely excited to share more with you about the series so here’s what you missed.


Civic Engagement

The Universities at Shady Grove’s Civic Engagement series are a demonstration of how students can take an active role in meaningful civic engagement. Stemming from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents establishment of a civic engagement workgroup that made recommendations for system-wide initiatives to help students graduate as more active and effective students. Read more about the workgroup at this link.

USG’s Civic Engagement Series

Each semester students at the USG campus and the community members engage in conversations aimed to educate and make positives impacts. The Office of Student Services, in collaboration with student organizations, hosts a series of events that bring attention to critical issues of interest to the community. Past events have focused on issues such as domestic violence and human trafficking.

Fall 2017 USG Civic Engagement Series

For this semester the civic engagement series included many impactful events all held on the beautiful USG campus. The first was the Political Science Student Organization and Social Work Student Associations’ “Making laws, making a difference” event held on October 24th. Then there was “The Good, The Bad, & The Resistant: hosted by the Students Engaged in Public Health on November 1st.  And just last week the final event “Hunger Banquet” was hosted by the USG Student Council and the UMES Campus Kitchen Projects.

 I can say with certainty that USG’s strategy is working, and they couldn’t have come this far without the tireless efforts of the many supporters.

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Spread the Love Today!

On November 15, National Philanthropy Day is observed as a holiday. It’s a day to recognize giving for a greater cause. Some may even say it’s spreading the love throughout the world. I personally feel like USG is a perfect example of a philanthropically recognized school. From the events we host to the way our school is designed, it is a point to make significant contributions in our community.

There are various signs all over that show that we are a school that is dedicated to giving. Just this week we had an Hunger Banquet which was meant to help spread awareness on poverty and hunger. Also, tomorrow November 16 is the last day to donate canned goods for Manna Food Center so be sure to give what you can!

Another reason I feel we qualify is because of the various designs on campus. We have a Green Garage which has LED lights with motion sensors and photo voltaic panels that generate renewable energy. During construction, a lot of the waste was recycled or reused in the garage. It’s even Parksmart Certified!

USG makes it a point that the community is growing and as it continues to grow, we should make sure that we are giving back to our environment in order to ensure that it is helping and not hindering it. Shady Grove has even taken initiative to sign the White House’s pledge in support for climate change.  For more information on the sustainability of the campus visit here.

I found it super interesting that today is National Philanthropy Day and it made me look at my own actions to make sure that I am taking initiative in my life to make a change and give back to others in the community. So, I ask you all, how are you giving back?

Thanks for reading! Like I always say: ‘til next time! 🙂

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United We Dream

On Thursday, November 9th, USG student organizations hosted a panel titled “United We Dream”. There was a  USG student who spoke about her experience being a DACA recipient and her struggles since the recent DACA decision was made. The panel  also introduced several professionals that included state delegates, community advocates, and immigration attorneys to speak about their views on the current situation.

The purpose of the event was to spread awareness of the issues immigrants face today. The panel introduced ways we can get involved in the fight, to protect people from being deported from this country.

What is DACA?

DACA stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It was introduced by Obama back in 2012 to protect eligible immigrant youth that entered the country when they were children, from deportation. It gives immigrant youth protection from deportation and a work permit.

Why is DACA important for immigrants?

Emely Garcia, a student at UMBC and a DACA recipient shared her story during the event. When she was very young, she moved to the United States with her family. As she grew up, she began wondering why she can’t visit El Salvador, her home country. As it turns out, her family was worried that if Emely were to travel abroad, she would not be able to return home. When Obama passed the DACA policy in 2012, Emely was able to obtain a social security number and a work permit.

Emely has built a life of her own in the United States, and now that the DACA policy is on the line, she is worried about her future. Being a DACA recipient means that Emely can continue her life in the country that she calls home.

How did react to the panel?

Being an official US citizen, I wasn’t entirely aware of the situations many immigrants face today. I was moved by Emely’s speech and felt that there needs to be some change. With the information I was given I feel a strong will to help these people in need, in any way that I can. I can start by spreading the word.

What can YOU do to support immigrants?

With immigrants being harassed by ICE, it is up to non-immigrant citizens to help protect them. There are many ways you can help make a difference:

  • Check on people for mental support – you might not know it, but people in your community may be affected by the recent changes to DACA. Try to reach out to them and ask if they need support
  • Start a fund – if you have any money lying around, start a fund to help
  • Volunteer – check out different ways you can volunteer. There are centers for immigrant resources – maybe you can volunteer your time to help out there
  • Stay informed – do what you can to stay up to date on the current DACA situation. This will help you gain perspective on immigrants’ struggles

Immigrant Resources

There are resources available to immigrants in Montgomery County:

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County has English classes for adults

The Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center has different centers in Montgomery County, for supporting the growing number of immigrants in Montgomery County. The various centers offer free English classes and computer classes to adult immigrants.

The Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy also offers free English classes for adult immigrants.



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Get Help Managing Relationships – FOR FREE & FOR ALL!

In all aspects of our lives we find ourselves inevitably interacting with others. In the workforce or at school we must sometimes have difficult conversations with our colleagues/peers or supervisors/professors. At home, we might struggle to strike a balance between spending time with our parents and/or our siblings. In our personal lives, carving out time for friends might be nearly impossible.

Whether you like building relationships or not, it is essential to improve communication skills with your peers, colleagues, and even friends and family (two groups we might take for granted in terms of using skills to manage conflict or improve communication).

What is a healthy relationship? I see a healthy relationship as one where people can exist harmoniously despite any conflicting views or ideas. In my eyes, empathy is present in a healthy relationship. Strong understanding combined with strong communication leads to stronger relationships.

USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation is offering a Psychological Wellness Workshop that tackles this topic. The workshop is free and open to all – students, faculty, staff, community, and prospective students. The purpose of a workshop is to introduce you to a new concept, help create a sense of community among participants, and also teach you something realistic you can practice in your life.

Where: Building 3, Room 2220

Time: Tuesday, Nov 14 2017 – 12pm-1:30pm

Click the link in the paragraph above for more information!


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Sometimes We All Need to Lean On Someone

Stress. Chances are you are very familiar with the concept. For college students, stress seems to be everywhere you look. From the battery of tests, quizzes, and classwork to the stress of life in general, it seems impossible to escape it.

For many of us, school is not our only source of stress. So then what’s to be done about it? While there is no cure for stress just yet, we can find ways to manage it. USG helps makes this easier.

For instance, the Center for Counseling and Consultation at USG offers;

  • Intake and Emergency Services
  • Individual/Couples Counseling
  • Career/Major Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Workshops
  • Bystander Training for Students, Faculty, and Staff

Free of charge to students and their significant others in the case of couples counseling. While many people may be hesitant when it comes to seeking out help for their issues, it is important to understand that there are people ready and willing to help you out in your time of need. Plus, all this help is CONFIDENTIAL.

As stated by the CCC staff themselves, “The mission of the Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) is to foster learning, growth, wellness, and success in the Universities at Shady Grove community…”

USG may be a small campus, but it has many big ideas that are put to work for the students. Whether a current student, a prospective student, an incoming student, or a member of the community, USG offers everyone something. I hope to be able to show everyone why USG is the place to be.

To find out more about the CCC or make your own appointment, please visit their website at: https://shadygrove.umd.edu/student-services/center-for-counseling-and-consultation/about-the-ccc



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Big things are coming!

Get excited because big things are coming! The Universities at Shady Grove is going to be launching an app, USG Mobile, very soon! Smartphone apps infographics

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the app before its release. I was able to test the app and play around with the features. The first awesome perk I learned was that this app is available for both iPhone and Android users. It will be compatible for smartphones and also tablets. This is great, especially so everyone can experience the app.

The home page consists of shortcuts to take you to various places in regards to hours of operation of places on campus, dining information on the Green Grove Cafe, and campus maps. Another thing that caught my eye was that the app features the menu of the week at the Green Grove Cafe. The Cafe posts weekly menus of what they are cooking, featuring gluten free, vegetarian, and even vegan options. I found it super convenient that the app has the weekly menu on it. This will save me a trip downstairs to look at the menu. It’s nice to also plan out when I should bring lunch or grab lunch from the Cafe. Also saves paper too!

I also liked how the app had the capability for students to schedule meetings with the Career and Internship Center and the Center for Academic Success. Two centers that offer free services to students, like resume review and career coaching. The app is nice because it allows you to directly go to the calendar to schedule an appointment. This is convenient for me allowing me to spend less time looking for where to schedule on the website.

The app also has a really cool 3D map/model of campus, which includes what the new building is going to look like. It is really neat to see how campus will look differently! A view I had never seen before. Near the map section, also lists the calendar of events happening here on campus. I will definitely be using this feature because I love attending events at USG, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of when they are happening just by the posters in the hallways. So it’s nice that all of the events are in one place and lists them day by day.

Being a Communication student, I have learned that apps are a vital tool to communicate information. I think this first version of the USG app is a good starting point, and over time will incorporate more of what is happening at USG as we grow as a campus. I believe this app will be useful for students to have to look up quick information about campus events or hours of operation of the bookstore! It will also be useful for me, as a Student Ambassador, to quickly look up information to tell potential students on tours of campus.

Be on the lookout for the app dropping very soon!

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My Footsteps as a Kendall Scholar

I have gone to MCPS my entire life, from elementary school to high school. In my classes now, I realize how I may have been classified as a child “at-risk” of failing. Many of the socioeconomic indicators were present in my childhood. I assume some of my teachers did not believe I could make it. Then high school happened, I got to take advantage of all the opportunities offered at my high school (Gaithersburg High School.) I knew my family has a tough financial situation, but I wanted to go to college. So I applied and did all my requirements to begin classes fall of 2015 at Montgomery College on the Rockville campus, knowing it was the more financially appropriate choice. I talked to the professors in School of Education and was able to be apart of the first ever CREATE (Culturally Responsive Educators Aspiring for Teaching Excellence) Cohort. This rigorous program had me taking 6 classes my first semester. Not only was that going to be a ton of coursework, but it was going to be very time consuming, therefore, making it impossible to work a part-time job. A scholarship was the only outlet I could look forward to.

I began applying for the Montgomery College Foundation Scholarships. Thankfully, I received a letter from MC stating I was chosen to be interviewed for a scholarship. I thought it was strange, but of course, I went. I raced from my summer job to MC Rockville and was interviewed by the scholarship coordinator there and Gloria from OSS at USG (who is now my best friend.) I did not fully understand the scholarship until Gloria explained this scholarship. Along with Towson information, she explained this was a full-tuition scholarship at MC for two years and at USG for two years. Shortly after, the interview started and I was telling them about my goal to become Secretary of Education for the United States, and how I want to graduate debt free that way I can make my own scholarship fund for students, things like that. A couple days later while I was at work, I received a call saying I won the scholarship. I called my mom and told her that she did not have to worry so much anymore. Then, I went back to work with the biggest smile on my face.

It is thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Kendall that I will be the first ever to graduate with a Bachelors in my entire family. They are such an inspiration and really care to help students achieve their dreams.


This is a picture of the Kendall’s and I last year at the MC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon.

This is true of all scholarship donors.  They give many students the chance at something that may have never been a thought, to begin with. To them, we thank you, and will definitely do so at Scholarship Luncheon, Friday the 17th. If you have not yet applied for the USG Scholarships for spring, do so. There are people out there who have set aside time and money to help you continue your education. The deadline is the 30th meaning there is still plenty of time to complete the 5-10 minute application for the many scholarship opportunities.

Continue to dream big and do your best with all your assignments everyone! The end of the semester is closer than we think!

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Old Habits Die Hard: Procrastination and Tips to Overcome It

Growing up, my mother used to tell me “if you did that when I asked you to do it, then you could have had more time to do whatever you want” every time I put off my chores. As a child, I did not understand what she meant. However, as I approach adulthood, I have a better understanding of why she said that to me: it is better to finish your responsibilities now so you do not have to worry about it later. Now that I have my own place, I live by my mom’s believe of not putting off tasks that can be accomplished now.

As I completed one of my papers this week, I did not realize that it is November already, which means that final papers and exams are coming up! Yikes! Like other students, I do admit that I tend to procrastinate; it is an old habit that dies hard. I believe that it is something that students often encounter in both their career and academic life. Fortunately, I have some tips to help you to overcome procrastination.

Before I talk about my tips, what is procrastination? According to Psychology Today, it is when we put off a task because we view it as unpleasant. It is also called “task aversion.” It is difficult to AVOID procrastination, but it is possible to OVERCOME it.

Tips to Overcome Procrastination

  • Recognize & Resolve

Recognize when you procrastinate and why are the first steps. By doing so, you can stop yourself from going down the procrastination wormhole.

  • Organize & Plan

Time Management and Organization are not only important skills as a student but also as a professional. By organizing and planning your priorities, you can have more time to do fun things. Set up your own realistic deadline to give yourself enough time to effectively complete your tasks.

Below are some blog posts that I wrote as an undergrad at USG that may interest you regarding how to be more organized, goal setting, time management, and how to prepare for exams.


Time Management

Midterm Prep

  • Get Ahead & Prioritize!

I am a fan of getting ahead because I can get the small things out of the way and focus on the big tasks that I need to do. When you start planning your week, see if there are any tasks that you can complete in advanced so you do not forget them.

Resources to Overcome Procrastination

Below are several websites that I found that might interest you if you want to know more about how to overcome procrastination.

 Ebberg, H. (2009). How to stop procrastinating: 7 timeless tips. The Positivity Blog. Retrieved from https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating-7-timeless-tips/

Lombardo, E. (2017). 11 ways to overcome procrastination. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/better-perfect/201703/11-ways-overcome-procrastination

Mind Tools. How to stop procrastinating. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_96.htm

Rodriguez, A. (2013). No pressure. Retrieved from https://nopressur.blogspot.com/?m=0

I hope my post this week will be helpful to you as you move forward in your academic and career path. Comment below to let me know what you think or any additional tips you may have to overcome procrastination.

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The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has a rigorous college course in sustainability in homes where college students must compete as a team to determine a winner. Teams from universities all around the world focus on sustainability in different ways. All of the team’s efforts go towards an environmental cause that is significant to them and their region. While some focus on the challenging drought that has riveted California in recent years, others attention are on rebuilding the Southern communities that have been devastated by the 2011 tornado outbreak in Alabama. The teams have spent years designing energy-efficient households that utilize solar panels and other innovations.

There are a total of 10 competitions in which the committee looks at breakthroughs in the sustainability field, methods of re-using water and the ability to intelligently power the houses. The committee takes into account the cost-effectiveness and the heating/cooling appliances of the models being introduced.

36672206080_289f0f37deThis year, the University of Maryland has a team named reACT, titled after their goal to integrate ‘Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology’ into their home. The teams passion and development came from a desire to create a home in which energy is harnessed from the sun, water and food. This enables living conditions to be in harmony with nature. From these values came the idea to build the home for a married couple from the Nanticoke Indian Tribe in Denver, Colorado. The home includes essential features of self-reliant living such as a composting system, a hydroponic garden, a vegetable garden and movable walls covered in plants.

For the first time in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon’s history, the teams that are competing for the win are eligible for at least $100,000. The competition requires that each team builds their solar house at the competition site.


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