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

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A Time to Breathe

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With Thanksgiving break just around the corner, take this time to breathe. You’ve done incredibly well and with hard work comes a break too! Though it is crucial to remember that final papers and exams are approaching rapidly, it is important to take a break when the opportunity presents itself to prevent burnout.

The Priddy Library at USG is here for you in the days before break to finish up assignments and to meet with classmates for last-minute group projects. Don’t forget you can reserve a study room to gather everyone in one place with a board to help you express your ideas. USG is here for you and wants you to succeed and they are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to stop by the Center for Counseling and Consultation on campus if the stress or anxiety becomes too much this exam season. Whether you have a concern on choosing the right career path or feel like you need to talk, the center is here.

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Before break though, make sure to know what assignments are ahead so that if you have any questions or concerns you can meet with your professors. Once it begins, it might be hard to contact someone! Though it may seem like a lot, a break is a time for yourself to use in a way that is right for you. For me, I definitely plan on catching up on sleep and eating a bunch of food, and working on assignments ahead of time to focus on exams when December arrives. But what works for me might not work for others, so be sure to know yourself and understand your individual needs to ace those exams.

Finally, be sure to catch up on sleep and eat a bunch of food! That way you’ll crush your exams and finish the semester proud and successful. Before you know it, it’ll be winter break! I hope that everyone will have an amazing Thanksgiving break and will have a happy rest of the semester. Good luck!

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Friendsgiving

Are you ready for this week’s festivities? Thanksgiving is next week and being a college student for a few years now, I have discovered the annual tradition of ‘Friendsgiving’. Friendsgiving is actually celebrated the weekend or Wednesday before the actual Thanksgiving or after Thanksgiving, and as the name suggests, its celebrated among friends. It is usually a potluck style gathering. Here are some of the ‘rules’ for being a perfect host and a perfect guest for Friendsgiving.

Friends

FRIENDS — “The One with Chandler in a Box” Episode 8 — Pictured: (l-r) Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

  1.  The host makes the Turkey and gravy.
  2. The host sets the table.
  3. The rest of the dishes are divided among friends.
  4. There should be potatoes.
  5. Everyone should bring their favorite drinks.
  6.  The host and friends should be considerate for allergies and food choices.
  7. The guests should bring enough desserts.
  8. Do not bring dishes that needs to be assembled in the host’s kitchen.
  9. Cleanup is for everyone.
  10. Leaving a ‘thank you’ note.

Friendsgiving is becoming more popular among millennials. There could be several reasons for it. Not too long ago, people used to put emphasis on having nuclear families and would make sure that during the holiday season they would spend more time with them. As the current culture evolved, the emphasis is more on building their career, making friends, and getting married late; and so friends became more like family. People are spending more time on their friendships, as this kind of relationship may even be more meaningful than family. Unlike thanksgiving, at the friendsgiving, the host can be very selective on who they invite to ensure a good time.

Friendsgiving would also help avoid expensive air travel time… or just travelling in general. One can spend an afternoon  among friends, and hangout with people who you actually like.  So if you are having a ‘friendsgiving’, it is guaranteed to be a best time.

 

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Let it Snow!

This morning I opened the door, saw it was snowing, and closed the door right back. I had to take a step back to process that it’s actually snowing in the middle of November. So it’s snowing and USG was closed at noon – now what? Here are some things I find helpful on snow days:

  • If you have a car and are able to, try to go out every few hours to scrape off some snow. You’ll thank me tomorrow when the snow isn’t as heavy on your car!
  • If you’re outside: bundle up and drive slow – the roads are a bit rough out there. I slid a few times!
  • Catch up on school work! I know you may want to nap (you can still do it) but take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Stay warm and enjoy some warm foods. Hot chocolate, coffee, or even soup! It’s COLD.Let It Snow

Regardless of what you do today: don’t let the snow ruin your day! Have a great day, stay warm, and be safe. Also if you’re new around here – check out my post from exactly a year ago. Here’s a hint: Today is National Philanthropy Day. Take some time out today to show some love and do good!

As always, thanks for reading! ‘Til next time! 🙂

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Being Grateful in an Ungracious World…

16707579_10212369163006947_3509091078021761813_oWhy do we forget about being grateful? I think it is because it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have or where we are lacking. I also think it is normal to think that we always need to be improving ourselves and to not be happy with the status quo. But how would it be to make a list of EVERYTHING you are grateful for? I urge you to try it on for size. Here is my current list:

  • Family, family, family: Most of us would probably put family first. But remember that some people don’t have loving and close-knit families. Taking family for granted is often a mistake that we regret later in life. Why didn’t we spend more time with family? Why didn’t we call or visit more often? Yes, every family has their own set of “dynamics”, but like any relationship, it must be nurtured. So in the words of Michael J. Fox “Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”friends-become-our-chosen-family-2-800x800
  • Friends: So what if you weren’t blessed with a loving family? Well, although you can’t choose your biological family,  you can choose your circle of friends. Some friends just feel like family. Before starting at USG, I had no clue that I would meet so many people who I now consider family. Some of us are even going to be working at the same hospitals after graduation so those relationships will definitely grow stronger.
  • Freedom: Talk to some of the students at USG who are from other countries and they can tell you stories about how they do not experience the same kind of freedom at home as we do in the United States. Those of use who have grown up here can take our freedoms for granted because it’s all we have ever known. Take the time to speak to fellow students about their experiences in their home countries and it will most likely strengthen your appreciation of living in the United States.

So during this Thanksgiving season, take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Need a reminder? Consider using a gratitude rock to remember to be grateful. Click here to see what that’s all about. Here’s wishing everyone at USG a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Writing Tips – Short on Time or Lacking Motivation?

Can you believe that we have about a month left of the fall semester? Most of you are probably working on your final papers and, studying for mid-terms and/or finals, and some may even be thinking about graduate school application. I can imagine the anxiety and panic that you may be feeling due to the amount of school work that you have to finish. I am in the same boat as you. Though I only have two classes this semester, our term papers are very long and our projects are cumulative of everything that we learned this semester. Plus, we have a seminar paper that we have to get approved by our department in order to graduate. This means that in addition to our semesterly classwork/projects and papers, my peers and I are also independently working on a LONG intervention paper.

Though I have been in school for a while, I still struggle with procrastination. This is especially true when I have to write long comprehensive research papers. Fortunately, due to my academic experiences, I have learned how to counter my procrastination to be able to accomplish my tasks. This semester, I am taking a motivation course and my professor taught us a few strategies to help us write our paper when we are either running out of time or lacking energy or motivation to do our paper. She told us that the key is to break down our paper to small manageable pieces. Thank you Dr. McRae!   

Short on Time?
I recently learned this from one of my current professors who learned about it at the end of her doctoral program.

Step One: Breakdown the different parts of your paper.
Step Two: determine how much time it takes to work on each of the parts and categorize them. You can sort them by coding how much time each section would typically take you (i.e. 1-5-15 minutes, 2-30 minutes to an hour, 3- more than an hour)
Below are some examples of how you can break down a research paper based on how much time it will take.

Outline – 2
Research articles for paper – 2
Annotating articles – 3
References – 1
Revising paper – 2
Step Three: Always take your materials with you or ensure that you have access to them so you can use any spare time you have to work on any components of your paper.

Lacking Motivation or Energy?

Step One: Breakdown the different parts of your paper.
Step Two: Determine how much energy it takes to work on them. You can sort them by coding how much time each section would typically take you (i.e. 1-minimum, 2-medium, 3-maximum)
Below are some examples of how you can break down a research paper.
Outline – 1
Research articles for paper – 2
Annotating articles – 3
Drafting – 3
References – 1
Revising paper -2
Step Three: Always have access to your paper (either hard copies or electronic copies). Whenever you have energy, do those specific parts of the paper according to the level of energy you have that day. That way, you are able to complete even small tasks that will help you complete your research paper.

Notice that all steps for writing a research paper for “short on time” and “lack of energy/motivation” are similar? The only difference is if you are short on time or if you are lacking energy level. As a result, when you are trying to accomplish a big task and you notice that you have been either procrastinating or just do not have a lot of time, it is easier to accomplish any task when you break them down into smaller pieces. This helps you not to become too overwhelmed and anxious. When you break down big tasks in smaller and manageable pieces, you become more motivated to do them because you have higher self-efficacy (your view of how you will be able to do the task) in being able to accomplish them.

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I’m scared.

I’m scared to make decisions. Specifically, I am scared to make the wrong decision. I do not think that I am ready to make a decision NOW about my future. Things change. Feelings change. People change.

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The 4 Decisions by M. Weiss

If this sounds like you, then the both of us have Analysis Paralysis. Analysis paralysis is when you do not make a choice because you’re scared to make the wrong choice. Its ok to be scared. You’re not the only one. I am scared too.

On Thursday, October 11, I went to a Lunch and Lead: Leading your Career workshop hosted by Julie Neill, and during the workshop, I learned so much about how to take ownership of your career.

Lets say for example, you live in an apartment by yourself. You have bills to pay, but you also want to go to school. How do you make a decision to go to school full time when you can lose your apartment and be unable to take care of yourself?

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From LOL Tribe

First of all, I salute you. You”re adulting hard. If you’re scared to make a decision at this point, its ok! Really.

 

If you feel blocked in a binary choice (its either work and pay apartment and no full time school, or full time school and lose everything), look at things differently. What are you not considering? Get a broader view. We get locked into only 1 possibility and develop tunnel vision. So, DE-ESCALATE. See 3rd person point of view.

Instead of being trapped, be like Nike and “Just Do It!” Perhaps you can go to school part time during Fall or Spring and full time in summer.  Address what is real and what is not real.

But………

What if you’re like me, and you do not even know what to do.

Consider these quotations:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”-Lewis Carroll

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one waiting for us”-Joseph Campbell

In life, you do not have all the answers, and when thinking about something, it is not always linear. Remember, No Risk, No Reward. So first, start with a small risk, and see its repercussions whether good or bad. Lead yourself to whatever you wanna be. You have a choice in each action, and your actions lead to a particular outcome. Do not feel dis-empowered. Fear holds people back from dreams. Embrace your failure and learn from it. Remember the African proverb: You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win.

Leadership is all about emotional intelligence. You do not have to be at the top. You can lead wherever you are . It begins with making that choice. So, what do you want to emanate?

Also, whiles you’re adulting, take this blog as an advice and remember:

  • Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~Malagasy Proverb

Also, network:

  • Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. ~ Hema (DRC) proverb
  • In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams. ~ Nigerian proverb

BTW….before you do all that. Take a break

Image result for adulting images

From TeePublic

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Direct Examination

Can you all recollect the part oh in our favorite crime shows where they ask the witness questions on the stand in court? The prosecution side and defense both get turns to ask questions to the witness. In continuation of my previous post, today I bring to you direct examination. What is direct examination? Direct examination is the questioning of a witness by the party that has called that witness to give evidence, in order to support the case that is being made. I will be keying in on some tips on being effective when doing a direct examination. What is an effective direct examination? As the attorney want to ask simple questions, you don’t want your questions to be too much for the witness to understand and respond to. The rules to this are very simple:  1. Structure your questioning, 2. Ask focused questions that follow a logical train of thought.  3.“Argue” on direct examination.  4. handle the difficult witnesses.  5. Eliminate self-inflicted distractions.  Structure is key. If you have everything ordered chronologically everything will flow and you will not lose track of where you going with your questioning. Your first questions should introduce the witness to the jury. Basic stuff like “Would you state you name for the jury?”. Next ask questions about their background in order to kind of shade in the picture of who this witness is. An example would be “What do you do for a living?”. Then proceed to ask the witness questions pertaining to the scene like “What was the weather that day?”, “Was it hot that day?”,”Was there debris?”. Then ask questions relating to whatever action that took place in the incident. “How did he move his hand?” or “What did you do when you X and Y fight?”.

You want the witness to be involved to really show how what happened when down.  If you have any exhibits if live evidence, make questions tying into the evidence. You want to be demonstrative. For example “What did the gang member do with the gun?” ,”What did the gang member say when he held the gun up to you?”, “Are you able to demonstrate how the robber held the gun to your friend and told her he would kill her?”. Finally make questions about the aftermath or ending of the incident. Ask non-leading questions.  Rule 611(a) provides: “leading questions should not be used on direct examination except as necessary to develop the witness’s testimony”.  Things that can cause objections during direct exams: leading questions, Compound questions ,Calling for speculation ,Assuming fact not in evidence ,Irrelevant testimony ,and hearsay. Don’t be afraid to loop some questions. Looping is a great way of memory.  Make sure to have some transitions when going onto other questions. Phrase like “Not I want to ask you about…”, “I’d like to go back to…”, “Now you said…”. Not all witnesses will be smooth and easy going.  handle the difficult witnesses.  try to keep them on track.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is objective based gaming, and why is it a great model for achieving goals in real life?

I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I can guess – gaming, the same thing that drives people to stay up all night shouting expletives in foreign languages into their headsets, being relevant to productivity? Sounds ridiculous. Well, it is ridiculous – but it’s also true.

You may or may not have heard the term “objective based gaming” before, but I’ll assume you haven’t. There are several types of multiplayer team-based games, and two of the most predominant are deathmatch and objective based gaming (OBG). You can read an article about this stuff on GiantBomb.

Deathmatch games such as Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Halo are classically simple in their design. You have two – or more – teams. These teams duke it out. Whoever reaches X kills first, or gets more kills before the timer runs out, wins. This is the kind of game that tends to reward individual skill more than collaborative play, as one good player can carry a bad team to victory.

OBG games such as League of Legends, DotA 2, and World of Warcraft are very different. You’re on a team, and you have to work together to accomplish a task or series of tasks. If you are exceptionally skilled, you may be able to pull a bad team to victory, but if even one person decides they aren’t interested in contributing or does not pull their weight, you are almost certainly doomed to fail.

You can think of an objective-based game as a hyper-condensed version of life. In your life you have to manage resources, work with currency, and complete tasks. If you can improve your efficiency in-game and then extrapolate the strategies you learned by doing so to the rest of your life, then you will be better prepared to accomplish your objectives.

The patience, persistence, and action/time management that participating in a 25-man raid requires makes working with a group for a classic project seem like nothing. Successfully organizing and leading an unruly raid group requires graduate levels of management skills.The ability to not tilt, even when your teammates make the worst decisions possible, can be vital when dealing with that one coworker who you just can’t do anything about.

At USG, we’re all trying to get the skills we need to succeed. Why not get some from video games, and have some fun while we’re at it?

I’m definitely not trying to use this blog post as a platform to validate and legitimize the countless hours I’ve spent playing video games – I would never do such a thing.

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Virtual Reality

When I was a kid, I believed virtual reality would be a part of the future that I would get to experience. Did I realize it would be something I could experience in my 20s? Not at all. The unbelievable advancement of technology, thanks to things like Moore’s law, has given us accessibility and capabilities beyond our imagination just a few years ago. I had heard about virtual reality becoming a real “thing” just a few years ago, with the rise of Oculus Rift. However, I largely ignored most of the hype around the Rift because, well, a $400 dollar investment was not really in my budget. I have a feeling that is true for many students at USG.

Honestly, it broke my heart a little, seeing all the cool things the Rift could do (thanks to endless YouTube and Twitch videos), but realizing it was not really for me.

We had a tech “deep-dive” assignment in class this semester, with most of my cohort presenting on various online platforms for assessing, videos, or just making learning more interactive. However, I had one close friend present on VR. I knew he was doing this, but was really not as excited as I thought it would be, thinking the presentation would end with “this is the potential of the technology! Too bad it costs hundreds of dollars per set.”

I was pleasantly surprised when he brought in two VR sets he bought himself (around 30 dollars each), and had a slide later in his presentation referring us to the cardboard headsets that were only about 15 dollars each!

We had a chance to try them out at the end of the presentation, which only required a two-minute set-up consisting of snapping in an iTouch (iTouch! We now have a use for those old things) into the headset and making sure the app was loaded. I was expecting a laggy, not-so-immersive “prototype” of VR. If this thing was less than $50 dollars, it wasn’t even 1/8 of the price of the Rift–there was no way it could be a decent quality.

I was so wrong. I was happy I was wrong. Though our class centered around how this could be used educationally in grade level classrooms, the opportunities are limitless. Next week, I hope to do some extra research on how VR can enrich and increase the efficiency of day to day life as a student.

 

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Photos for the Homepage

collective-abundance

Photo from LivingNow

When you open the USG Homepage have you noticed photos of fellow students? USG is incredible at allowing students from each university to share their stories.

What motivated you to come to USG? What decisions and sacrifices did you have to make to come this far, and what are you dreams for the future? Although all of us have come from different backgrounds, our decisions and aspirations led us onto this path where we can meet and reach our dreams through hard work and effort. It’s almost mind-blowing to think that the specific combination of choices we have made throughout our lives have brought us here. Otherwise, none of us might have even met each other! But instead we are here on the same campus, all studying day and night to graduate with a degree of our passion.

When I transferred to USG in August of this year, I saw student stories on the homepage and thought they were all amazing. I had not even thought of the possibility that I could be one of them! However, about a week ago, I was extremely fortunate to have been able to have photos taken and be able to tell my story. I hope that by telling my story, I will be able to encourage fellow students who are thinking of applying to USG to come with confidence and a hope in their hearts.

Remember to take the time to read the stories of fellow students when you can! I found their individual stories to be so inspiring and made me realize that USG really is a campus where so many people from different countries and lifestyles could come together and become one with the same goal – to succeed. When you are walking through the hallways, when you are sitting in the middle of class, the people around you all have a goal in mind and a story to tell. And one day, you might be on the USG homepage too! So make sure to continue to work hard like you have to have gotten to this point, and never give up. Your drive will inspire others to do the same.

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