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Credit. What’s that?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with the Chairman at my internship. He was asking me about how school was going. Eventually, we got on the topic of post-graduation. He shared some insights of his own life and what he thought was useful for young people to learn once they are out of college.

National Get Smart About Your Credit

I found out that October 18th is National Get Smart About Credit Day so I felt it was perfect to share with you a few points of advice he shared and also some I’ve stumbled upon on my own!

  • Build credit

When I opened my first credit card, I remember my mom continuously asking me if I really wanted to do it. She made it seem like it was a big responsibility – believe me it is. But in the market, whenever you want to obtain assets 9/10 they will be looking into your credit. There are various forms of credit: directly from the bank, department stores have their own credit cards, and even

  • Know your credit score

It’s important to be aware of your credit score. The lower your score, the less opportunities. The higher the score, the greater the opportunities. All they want to see is that you’re reliable in borrowing money and giving it back. Your credit score will demonstrate that.

  • Save, Save, SAVE!

The biggest takeaway I got from the conversation with the Chairman was to save. I know we all know to save and want to save but he told me it would be smart to open different savings accounts for different things. He gave examples like one for traveling, one for that car you want, and one for strictly saving.

So Happy National Get Smart About Credit Day! Go do your research on how to get credit and do it right! I know I’ll make an effort to better my credit. Thanks for reading and ‘til next time! 🙂

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Animal House

On the weekends, isn’t it nice to visit a place you’ve never been before? We live in the DC area, so there is always a museum, concert or festival to attend. Here is a place you have probably never been to as well as a great way to unwind from mid-semester stress…Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 11.30.48 AM

Think of a magical farm where abused and neglected farm animals can go to live in peace and safety—that’s Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland. I first went to the 400-acre farm about 10 years ago and was struck with the beauty of the landscape overlooking the Potomac surrounded by trees and streams. Poplar Spring was founded in 1996 and their mission is to “offer care, rehabilitation, and permanent sanctuary for neglected, abused or abandoned farm animals, as well as providing a protected habitat for wildlife. They also promote compassion and the humane treatment of all animals by educating the public on farm animal and wildlife issues.”

Just who will you meet when you visit? Here are just a few of Poplar Spring’s residents:

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Best buddies…

Let’s start with Clifford and Juliet, two cows who were rescued from a farm in New York in 2014. They were found chained to a tree by a farmer who was raising them for meat. They had been kept chained, with no shelter, since they were one-week old. Neighbors witnessed the calves repeatedly in distress during heavy storms, tangled in their chains and unable to move. We are so glad they are living happily at Poplar Spring now.

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Abbie and her children.

Who doesn’t love piglets! Abbie was rescued from a trailer park in North Carolina where she was being kept without shelter, food, or water. After giving birth to seven piglets (!!!), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stepped in to try to find them all a permanent home and Poplar Spring answered the call by taking them all in.

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Perry was abandoned in a crate at the sanctuary. Now, he loves showing off for all the lady turkeys.

 

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Saturday, November 17 for Thanksgiving with the Turkeys. Come from 12 noon – 4 p.m to celebrate Thanksgiving WITH the turkeys! Poplar Spring’s turkeys and all their friends will celebrate a cruelty-free Thanksgiving potluck. See details here.

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Practicing my chicken whispering a few weeks ago…

If you are interested in visiting anytime, you can contact them and make an appointment for a tour. It is a great way to shake off the stresses of school and is totally great for the soul.

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Cultural Awareness via Traveling

Traveling around the world and exploring different cultures are my part of my life goals. When I was presented with an opportunity to go to Europe for the first time with my husband, I went for it. Being in Europe was so surreal because I never thought that I would be able to travel anywhere in the world. It was truly a dream come true. Traveling through different parts of Europe taught me the value of learning about other people’s cultures. Seeing how they live, the food that they eat, and their way of life helped me reflect on my own life and what I personally value. I realized that I value making my family happy and helping others succeed. Also, living with less material stuff is actually allowing me to enjoy what matters the most to me, which is spending more time with my loved ones and experiencing all that life has to offer. Any who, I am glad that I was able to travel outside the country over the summer. During this experience, I learned some tips on how to make the best of your journey. Below are some tips that I would recommend for you if you are thinking of traveling anywhere.

  1. Set a budget
    1. This is a MUST especially when you are on a tight budget. I love food so we searched for places that had good food, great ratings, and affordable prices.
  2. Plan where you want to go and explore well-known places
    1. Though my husband and I were not very familiar with the cities that we visited, we put together an excel sheet to gather information about places that we wanted to visit. Also, since we had only a few days in each place, we wanted to spend our time wisely. (I posted a picture so you can get an idea of what information we gathered.)Trip Planning
  3.  Pack smart
    1. I packed only a carry on for two weeks. How did I do it? I actually did multiple searches for packing hacks on YouTube. Here is one of the Travel Packing Tips vlog that I thought was very interesting.  
  4. ENJOY!
    1. Enjoy your time at wherever you are traveling to. Whether something went wrong with your hotel reservation or lost a luggage, always remember that life is full of obstacles, but it is up to you how you handle them. I always remind myself that life is short. Like what my old professors said, “Enjoy life or life will enjoy you!”

Did you know that you can learn about other cultures without leaving the USG campus? Yes, it is true. The USG Center for Student Engagement & 

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Financial Resources (CSEF) hosts a monthly Cultural Tea Time where students, faculty, and staff can learn about different countries and cultures while they enjoy tea/coffee and some yummy treats from the featured country. You can also check out my older post about the Cultural Tea Time to learn more about which countries we had represented last year and drinking tea.

Lastly, USG’s International Club typically host the annual International Night event in the spring. Check out their Facebook page to see what we had last year!

 Source:
Lavendaire. (29 March 2017). Travel Packing Tips | How to Pack a Carry-On + Packing Checklist Download. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQefqx7rAS4

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There’s something in my shoe!

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Credit via WikiVisual

You know that awful painful feeling you get when you’re walking and all of a sudden it feels like something has magically appeared in your shoe / sock? Well that happened to me today, I was walking through the USG campus from Parking Lot 2 to the Barnes & Noble inside Building III. I wave to a friend and then, out of the blue, I feel an unsettling pinch in my right foot. As I walk I try to shake it off and readjust my foot when I realize its not going away. The thoughts then occur… is it a rock, a pebble, a splint, a figment of my imagination?! Well, guess what?

I still don’t know what it is. BUT my psych professor gave us some good ideas. She thinks it has to do with our pain and sensory nerves triggering themselves due to an abnormal stitching in our socks or shoes. This will apparently cause a momentary pinch-like feeling in our shoe. But sometimes it feels like it moves around the shoe to the top of your foot or the side. So that begs the question, if it is a momentary glitch in the relevant symbiosis between our foot and what encases it, why does it randomly go away and why can we never find what it is? Some things aren’t meant to be answered. But have no fear, we all go through it and all wonder the same thing.

Personally, I think its the gravitational pull of excess dirt flying around the bottom of our feet. Or it really could be our mind playing tricks on us.

Top 5 Explanations

  1. Its a random piece of debris
  2. A psychological trigger that is connected to a nerve ending in our foot
  3. Poor shoe/sock manufacturing
  4. Stress that is caused by homework, exams, and not enough free brownies every other Friday in the cafeteria at USG
  5. Something entirely different

Either way heres a silly song about this strange psychological and physical phenomenon.

 

              Credit to Raffi via Youtube

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Return of the Cloak

Before I go into the details of how USG will handle a school shooting when it occurs, I just wanted to comment on an occurrence that graced the UMBC campus this past couple of days. Back in September, 2 UMBC students were sexually assaulted on the main campus. Those 2 students entrusted the school with their safety, however, they were still assaulted. Though the specifics of this event is rather unclear, and there are lots of pieces missing to the public, sexual assault here at USG is something that can happen. As a member of the USG-SC (USG student council), we collectively work together to promote student involvement and safety. After hearing about this event, the student council is acting to provide to students, a flyer and a discussion about what happened in UMBC and how we can all be safe.

Even though we have Mr. Brandt and security staff protecting us, we, as students, can also do a lot more to protect ourselves. These are just a few recommendations when it comes to being safe in safe:

  • Walk in groups

    Image from Kristen Aldridge

  • Trust your instincts
  • Know your surroundings
  • When in doubt or unsafe, tell security and ask them to accompany you anywhere you go;
  • and lastly, RUN, FIGHT and SCREAM for help

These are just a few recommendations. More will be coming from the student council so stay tuned.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog. USG has in place, a Behavioural Assessment Team (BAT) that track and help students and staff with mental issues and difficulties. To know more about the B.A.T click here, but it consists of Andrea Milo, John Brandt, and Jonathan Kandell. They work with staff, administrators to promote campus safety. So, If you see something, say something.

In case of a school shooting, USG has in place a RUN. HIDE. FIGHT active shooter video that addresses how you can keep yourself as well as others safe during an active shooter instance. The 6-minute video (here RUN. HIDE. FIGHT ) is funded by the homeland safety, and it provides clear instructions on how to keep yourself alive until help arrives. Mr. Brandt, goes around each semester, educating students everyone on how they can be safe, so please make sure to give it a quick look.

When there is an active shooter on campus, stay away from the campus and run to safety. Barricade the nearest door, so that the shooter will not be able to enter, and hide. BTW Keep your phones on silent, so you don’t alert the shooter to your location. And finally, be prepared to fight for your life.

There is still more to talk about, so stay tuned.

To find out about what happened in UMBC, click here. Continue reading

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Camille Kendall Academic Center (Building 3) A.K.A. the library!

usg Hello Everyone! Our library in building III is vast and has enough space for all of us and more. I’ve been in the library a few time and it was just amazing. The most recent time this past Tuesday around the hours of 12 and 1. I walked in and there were a lot of people, yet I was till able to find a spot to sit and study. There are also many outlets in the the library for everyone to plug their own devices without roaming around for a another spot. The library has these cool little rooms with a table, chairs, and dry boards. These rooms are for groups of students that many want to discuss and work as a group louder than the volumes of the library may permit. My favorite area is the area in the back with these sofas that have the little mini table arms. These have to be the most comfortable sofa around! If you have time,kill, study, or whatever. Spend it in the USG Library in building III!

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White Noise Resources – for studying, writing and gaming

The Universities at Shady Grove is a place focused on academic achievement. You’re here to study and learn – but sometimes you just can’t force yourself to stare at your textbook for hours on end, not without some help.

Some people – myself included – have difficulty focusing on their work without a background track. There have been some studies on the subject, with intriguing results.

Here’s a brief summary – got Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Chances are that steady background noise – music, or custom generated on a website like this one – will help you focus. Don’t have ADHD? You might find white noise beneficial, or you might not – it’s up in the air for each individual.

As someone who frequently makes use of white noise for studying, I have some recommendations based on personal preferences.

  1. I’ve found white noise generators to be hit or miss – typically I’ll just loop a song on repeat, because white noise generators can be…well, noisy. Because of the high variety of the generated sound, it can be hard to zone out of it – unless you just pick one sound like “rain” or “wind.” Picking a single song and looping it allows your brain to shove the sound into the background after a while.
  2. You might think that songs without lyrics would be the best – lyrics could be distracting, after all. You’re right – I’ve found instrumental tracks pretty reliable. Like this one, or this one, or this one.
  3. Of course there are some songs with lyrics that are just as good for white noise as instrumentals – but there are some stringent qualifications. I’ve found links between lyrical density and complexity to how helpful the loop is – rap songs tend to be pretty bad for zoning out, based on their verbosity. There are exceptions, and these tend to be based on how “nonsense” the lyrics are and how strong the background groove of the song is. Examples one, two, three.
  4. Songs in other languages, regardless of lyrical complexity, tend to be good all around. An absolute classic is Plastic Love, but there is also Bay City – pretty much every song from the Japanese 80’s city-pop era is a great choice. Another example, an entire album that’s pretty good, and a Japanese instrumental but nonetheless fantastic performance. Or this.
  5. There are a few great picks in English that are just…right. Like this one, or this one, or this one. Or this one. I think it’s because the songs tend to be consistent throughout – they hold steady, and the words aren’t too distracting.

You may or may not have found any of these songs optimal for your own personal white noise use, and that’s alright. It’s up to you to find that special song you can play for three hours while cramming for that test, or that one track that keeps you awake while trying to write that chapter for your book.

As a last resort, you can always try this.

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Graduate students vs. 5th graders

There are clear differences to how teaching and learning differ at the elementary to graduate level, the biggest one being that in my class at night, we’re functional human beings with a sense of logic and hesitancy. However, there’s actually plenty of similarities between an adult graduate student and 5th grader. These are equally laughable, relatable, and ultimately, a testament to what makes learning both fun and a challenge.

    1. We get distracted by technology.
      I spend about 30% of my day telling students to get off Buzzfeed or stop repeatedly clicking the trackpad just because the Chromebook is frozen. However, I sit in class almost every week watching my classmates browse Instagram,  answer parent emails, and shop for extra supplies online instead. Technology is both a blessing and a curse. It’s provided so many different avenues for both groups to learn and discover….but at the same time, it’s incredibly difficult to stay focused when one click can get us on something slightly more fascinating than what we may be assigned to do.

    2. We will not stick to our own Google Slides.
      I distinctly remember an activity last year where students shared a Google Slides between them to present about a roller coaster they built. There was no shortage of arguing, crying, and tantrum-throwing over a teammate changing someone else’s font color, adding an unwanted picture, or typing on a slide that wasn’t delegated to them. Then again, in class last week, we were all supposed to be on our own slide for a presentation on preferred technology rubrics and, lo and behold, we ended up on each other’s slides several times. At least in my graduate class, there were no tantrums, just laughs.
    3. We get off topic.
      One rule I’ve made for myself is to never mention anything related to memes or pop culture with a group of 5th graders. It will start a conversation within the class that will be incredibly hard to stop. With a group of graduate teachers, we have our own topics that trigger a discussion no matter what we’re doing: data, overbearing parents, or PARCC.
    4. We question the world and let our minds be blown.
      Most of my students think that I know everything just because I’m an adult. Each group that I’ve told I’m still in school has responded with shock and confusion. How can I still have to learn when I’m already an adult with a job? I try to tell them that I have moments similar to the ones that they do. There’s nobody out there that completely understands how or why the world works the way it does. However, whether you’re ten or thirty, when a just part of the world makes sense than it did before, it feels quite satisfying.

 

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After the Exams

studying

Photo From Flickr

For many, exams are just around the corner or have just finished. To everyone, congratulations! Whether you are in the middle of studying or are finally able to relax, you have worked incredibly hard.

For me, this week had been the first week of exams here at the Universities at Shady Grove, and they were incredibly hectic! I was studying accounting one moment and trying to make sense of finance the next, and I felt my mind was a jumbled mess by the time exams were here. But I survived, and I’m sure everyone will too!

If exams are ahead, I recommend sticking to the study plan that has worked for you so far, and staying persistent. Whether that be through highlighting the textbook or making flashcards, if the method works for you, then go right at it!

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Photo From USG Campus Map

As for location, I found the Priddy Library an amazing place to study because it was so charged with an energy of fellow students working so hard. The hours are also accessible, even offering night owl hours if that is what works for you. The library offers many computer spaces as well as rooms to reserve for groups, so there is a perfect fit for everyone.

And while studying, make sure to eat and drink plenty! Building III offers both the library and the Green Grove Cafe where you can grab a bite to eat and a drink to go with. There are plenty of seats as well, so feel free to move around from the library to the cafe for a change of pace. For me, walking around a little during breaks definitely helped to focus better later on!

If exams are over now, make sure to get enough rest if time allows during the weekend. I was able to sleep a bunch and the difference a good night’s sleep can make is amazing! You can focus and retain more information, and overall be able to stay more positive and motivated. As a fellow student, I completely understand how impossible it seems some days to get enough sleep. So when the opportunity arises, please take it with open arms!

Best of luck to everyone who has exams ahead, and congratulations to everyone who has completed them! Eat lots and get enough sleep, and then let’s get going for the next round of exams ahead!

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Meditation and the Brain

Did you know that meditation is good for the brain? According to the EOC Institute, meditation affects the brain in such a way that it essentially gets rewired – for the better. As you can observe in the image below, meditation initiates several distinct changes in the types of waves the brain is engaged in.

Brain waves meditation

The deeper one goes into a meditative state, the less vulnerable they become to certain negative states of mind such as loneliness. And the great thing about meditation is that you don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged with your eyes closed, saying “Ommmm” to achieve the benefits.

In fact, you can meditate even when you are doing simple things like taking an elevator ride or waiting in line to pay for your lunch. Instead of listening to whatever is going on around you, try taking your attention inward, to your breath.

Another meditation technique is to head to YouTube and find a “sound therapy” type of video like this. Put in on a low volume as you lie down to sleep one evening. Enjoy the sounds as you drift off to sleep in a peaceful state of mind.

Some really smart people at USG decided it would be a good idea to provide a space for people to be able to recharge their batteries. If you happen to be on campus and need a quiet space to breathe or meditate, be sure to check out the meditation space in Building III, fourth floor.

 

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