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

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Write it down!

To start off my first blog of the semester, I just wanted to say welcome new USG students and welcome back to the returning USG students! We’re a few weeks into the school year already and I don’t know about everyone else, but it’s been a struggle trying to get back into the flow of everything.

The main tool I have found to be super helpful is my planner. I’ve developed 3 reasons why my planner has become my new best friend!

  • Organization

I try to tell myself that I can remember everything there is to remember and typically, I’m pretty good at it. But every so often I find myself missing a reading or an assignment that was so easy to do. This semester I made it a point to write everything down!

  • Time management

When I write things down, I’m able to allot time to my studies, school events, leisure time with my friends, and even some alone time for myself. It seems like once it’s on paper it’s official and I tend to take it more seriously.

  • Because #adulting

Truth be told being an adult means being organized, time management, and getting things done when they need to be done. When I have all my things in order and I know when, why, and how they need to be in order; I feel like an accomplished adult!

Whether it’s scheduling things on your phone, through calendars on your email (I do this too, especially at work & it’s amazing!), or buying yourself a planner to hand write it all down; I’m an advocate for using something other than your mind to remember what’s going on. I know we’d all like to think we’re super human but here’s to trying to not miss a thing! If you feel you’re all over the place, maybe it’s time to put a plan in place yourself.



Check out mine! PS. It’s the #LifeAtUSG Planner 😊

Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time.

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Priddy Library Workshops

The Priddy Library is offering workshops where a group of students and professionals engage in thorough discussion and activities on particular subjects. This semester, there will be workshops on DOING DATA! Programs and activities such as Intro to SPSS, infographics and tableau will be covered in the Col-lab area of the library.

The next workshop will take place on September 25 and will cover SPSS, which will help any student learn the basics of data entry, management, analysis and reporting. You can register at http://ter.ps/dodata to let us know if you are coming. You are also encouraged to bring your own laptop to join us from 4:00pm-5:00pm.

Learning how to use SPSS can allow people to make better business decisions and be aware of the risks involved in those decisions through statistical data. This skill could provide you with the information to be effective in customer relations. Strong statistical data offers security for your customers and the ability to detect fraud before it happens.


Photo: ibm.com

The first workshop in October will cover infographics. Students will be able to engage in thoughtful discussion and activities about sharing data through images using simple software. This workshop will improve the impact you have on presenting data by learning about basic design principles. Join us in the Col-lab area of the Priddy Library from 12:30pm-1:30pm on October 4th.

Data is better understood when it is presented in a visual way. Showing statistical data to businessmen and women in the form of infographics can allow them to notice patterns and trends.


The second workshop offered in October will take place on the 10th from 5:00pm-6:00pm. The workshop will inform students how to create charts, maps and dashboards using Tableau Public, a data discovery and business intelligence tool.

Tableau allows users to accurately prepare to analyze data and create data sources and dashboards. Users can also publish and share their content in order to collaborate with others. An important aspect of Tableau is the security and control it offers.


Photo: Tableau.com

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My First Real-life Nursing Job…

unnamedThis summer, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a nurse extern at Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH) in Takoma Park, Maryland. First of all, what the heck is an externship? Apparently, an externship is shorter than an internship and provides “experiential learning opportunities” (thanks, Wikipedia). Personally, I think they call them externships so they aren’t confused with medical interns. Perhaps…

I worked on a cardiac step-down unit (patients who require more specialized care than a regular medical/surgical unit, but less intensive monitoring than an ICU). The nurse I worked with was fantastic. She emigrated from China 20 years ago where she was a medical resident. After getting married and having two children, she decided to go to nursing school and has been at WAH for four years. As an extern, I was not allowed to give meds so I did a lot of following my nurse around, taking copious notes, charting patient vitals and asking a million questions. Here are some observations from the unit:

Twelve-hour (usually 13) shifts are no joke.
To be a floor nurse, your back must be in top shape (mine was not, but am working on it). Needless to say, my heating pad and supply of Advil got a really workout. During each shift, I would walk anywhere from 9,000 to 13,000 steps—usually depending on how many times I walked to the lab. (Turns out putting stool and urine samples in the tube messenger system is a definite no-no…) And being at the hospital by 6:45 in the morning is brutal, but three-day weeks rock, so I guess it all evens out.

Nurses have an incredible amount of responsibility.
Nurses are the closest person to each patient and are tasked with relaying info to doctors, therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, charge nurses, patient care technicians, food service employees, housekeepers, not to mention the actual patient and their family members. I realized that a lot of time is spent waiting for doctors to call back, anticipating test results, keeping track of patient turn schedules, giving medications multiple times a day, tracking down medication from the pharmacy, making sure NPO patients do not receive meals, calming a nervous patient, explaining procedures, and the list goes on and on. Charting patient progress usually happens after the 12 hours are over.


Wound care nurses are amazing.

If you see something that interests you, ask to participate.
Washington Adventist’s wound-care nurse was on our floor quite regularly. When she arrived, I would always ask my preceptor if I could spend some time with her as she assessed and treated wounds. A few times, I was invited by her to go to other areas of the hospital to see pressure ulcer healing progress, surgical sites, and even a leaking ostomy in the emergency room. Certainly not for everyone, but I am fascinated by how wounds heal, or don’t heal, for that matter. The one disappointment was that I did not get to see maggot therapy. Not for the faint of heart, but sterile maggots are used to help debride wounds that are antibiotic resistant. Nature at its best… I also got to participate in a hospital-wide skin prevalence study in which we looked at every patient in the hospital and reported the incidence of pressure ulcers.

When someone asks you for help, help them.
Even though I spent the most time with my nurse, I worked closely with the patient care technicians (probably the hardest working folks in the hospital) changing beds, emptying bedpans, cleaning and turning patients, and feeding some who could not feed themselves. (Side note: Working with incontinent patients makes you an expert at changing beds while the patients are still in them.) Patients would also ask for things as I passed by their rooms and I tried to help or at least find the person who could help. Did I help because I was the low man on the totem pole? Not at all. My nurse did it too. I hope to be like her and to never say “That’s not my job” or “That’s not my patient”.

Working in a hospital makes concepts covered in class a whole lot clearer.
Learning about chest pains from a lecture or book is a lot different than actually having a patient with chest pains…Get vitals! Check the telemonitor! Administer oxygen and nitroglycerin! Be prepared to call a rapid response! Alert the physician within 10 minutes!

It’s easy to memorize the different kinds of isolation but it’s entirely different putting on and taking off a gown, gloves and mask every time you enter and exit a patient’s room. Need to change an isolated patient’s bed? You better make sure you bring everything with you or you will be yelling into the hall for someone to bring you what you’re missing or else you’ll be taking everything off, getting the item, and then putting it all back on again.


What’s in that tube?

So if you are in nursing school and get the chance to be a nurse extern, take it. It is a bit like a two-month job interview and a great chance to see what it is really like to work in a hospital. And if you are lucky like me, you will meet dedicated nurses who will inspire you and set the bar high for you. And to learn about what you put (and don’t put) in the messenger tube…


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Welcome Back!

To new students, welcome to USG! To returning students, welcome back for another amazing year! I hope you all enjoyed your summer break. I had the most adventurous and busy summer. I had two summer courses within a month as well as planned my wedding and honeymoon while working full time. Now that is what I call organization, time management, and event planning skills at work!

My husband and I traveled to Dublin, Ireland, London, England, Paris, France, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands for two weeks. It was an adventure, but we quickly learned that traveling from one place to another every two days was exhausting and not quite enough time to explore every part of each city. One major lesson that I learned is the importance of doing your research about the places that you are traveling to in order to have a better understanding of the people’s culture. For example, in Paris, it is considered polite to try to say “Bonjour” and “Merci” even when you do not know the language. Parisians are more friendly when you show that you are attempting to conversate with them in their language. On another note, though our journey had ups and downs, having had the opportunity to purely explore these places was a great experience. In my future blogs, I will share some travel tips especially if you are thinking of participating in your institution’s Study Abroad program. I would recommend checking with your institution about this opportunity to get more information if you are interested. Here is the link to UMCP’s Education Abroad to give you some ideas about it.   

Speaking of studying, though I had a wonderful summer, now that classes are back in session, I feel a bit anxious and stressed due to all the class assignments that are due. To destress, I started going to kickboxing classes weekly because it helps me lessen the negative emotions brought on by stress and makes me feel healthier 🙂 Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed too? No worries! Did you know that USG’s Campus Recreation Center provides Yoga and Zumba classes for FREE?! Personally, I think that physical activities help with distressing and lowering anxiety. For those who are interested in participating in one of their classes, below is their schedule of classes.

Yoga: Tuesdays- 7:30am & Wednesdays- 2:30pm
Zumba: Tuesdays- 2pm
Maxfit: Wednesdays- 4:30pm

Quick Notes:
You will need to apply for a membership and if you want to bring a guest or non-member, it is $5. Also, you will need to bring a yoga mat, water, and a gym towel.

If you would like more information about the Campus Recreation Center classes, please visit their Group Exercise Classes webpage.

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Back to School

Going back to school is always hard. After all, we just spent a few months doing everything but school. Still it pays to get ready ahead of time and I would like to remind people of what to get for school and where.

Since this is the 21st century the first thing you should focus on is getting a decent laptop. Laptops come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are heavy-weighing gaming laptops which have enough processing power for any video game or engineering majoring. Then we have the Chromebook which offer sleek performance in a light-weight shell. Although the bookstore at USG doesn’t offer laptops, they do offer many useful laptop accessories. Also, for interested students, there are school discounts on laptops purchased online with codes at the USG website. These purchase programs can be found at: https://shadygrove.umd.edu/campus-resources/office-of-information-technology/additional-services/computer-software-purchases. Software is also available for purchase but can be free depending on your school.

Perhaps just as important as laptops can be the mighty pen and paper. In this case, you’ll need notebooks, scrap paper, pens, pencils (or some variant of), highlighters, and folders. Everyone has different preferences and so your ultimate school kit will be filled with whatever helps you most. I recommend at the minimum; pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, highlighters, notecards, 1 subject notebook for each course, and folders. All of these and more can be found at the bookstore.

Of course, any post on school preparation isn’t complete without talking about the dreaded textbooks. The cost of which feel like robbery sometimes. When purchasing or renting your textbooks you have a few options. The bookstore is a solid option when you want to rent and even purchase certain used books. The bookstore also has a website where you can purchase your textbooks and other school materials/apparel. The website can be found at: https://shadygrove.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BNCBHomePage?storeId=39051&catalogId=10001&langId=-1.



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Event Planning-Wedding Bells

Doctor Who Inspired Photoshoot

Kim & Angel

Hello all. I feel that summer break flew by so quickly. We have a couple of weeks until fall semester starts. Can you believe it? I hope you all are getting some relaxation time to help you get ready to start another wonderful academic year. I have had a busy summer due to my two summer courses and wedding/honeymoon planning. In addition, in a couple of days, I will be marrying my better half. (Finally!) It has been a long and stressful process, but it will be all worth it once it is done 🙂 If I learned anything from this summer it would be to stay calm and collected, organized, and of course be thankful for my supportive family and friends during this stressful yet eventful summer.

For those planning a wedding or any event, I thought I would list several tips to help you avoid the last minute stress.

  1. Create a budget – This was a hard process for us, but we eventually agreed on a number. For any event you are planning, this is an essential first step to give you an idea of your set limit when you go shopping for supplies or looking for a vendor.
  2. Create a timeline – This was a critical step for me to stay ahead. Knowing when anything is due (this goes the same in school) could help you avoid stress and stay on top of your responsibilities.
  3. Create a plan – My soon-to-be husband and I knew our strengths in event planning so we divided the responsibilities according to that. Having a partner or a group of people helping you with event planning is important so you can designate the responsibilities. This could help you not to be as stressed as when you do everything on your own.

Although there may be more steps that you can add to my list above, I highly believe in focusing on these three tips especially when you are getting started with the planning process. Speaking of planning process, guess what! We are going to Europe for our honeymoon! Yay! I am super excited because I have wanted to do this for a long time. If any of you have been to Europe and have any tips, please let me know by commenting on this blog. I would greatly appreciate any suggestion you may have to make our time there worth it. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. See you all around!

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Around the Grove

Hello all and welcome back! This post, I would like to talk about what goes on around the grove and let you know about opportunities that can change your time at USG. 

Whether you’re new to the Universities at Shady Grove campus or a veteran, there are many opportunities on campus that you may not know about. There are a large number of clubs on campus that cater to nearly every cause, belief, or hobby. A sample list of clubs include;


  • Accounting & Business Association (ABA)
  • Business Management Association (BMA)
  • Care Package Club (CPC)
  • Christ Centered Life (CCL)
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice Student Association (CRIMSA)
  • Film Club (FB)
  • History Student Association (HSA)
  • International Club (IC)
  • Nurses for Global Health (NGH)
  • Political Science Student Organization (PSSO)
  • Psychology Student Association (PSA)
  • Social Work Student Association (SWSA)
  • Students Engaged in Public Health (SEIPH)
  • Terps Without Borders (TWB)
  • University of Maryland Association of Nursing Students (UMANS)
  • Undergraduate Communication Association (UCA)


There are clubs outside of this list and so it is important to visit the portal for extracurricular clubs and organizations and see what interests you. The link is: https://shadygrove.campuslabs.com/engage/


The second opportunity is becoming a student blogger!! The application can be found at: https://uatshadygrove.org/application/ and is due 8/24/2018. Students are paid $15 a blog post and will post bi-weekly on a particular day if accepted. For more information feel free to contact, Kristen Koehler at KKoehler@umd.edu. It’s a great opportunity to fine tune your writing skills and share your experience at USG with the world!


The third opportunity I would like to discuss would be the Student Ambassadors. The Student Ambassadors are students who exemplify the spirit and mission of USG. Ambassadors work at undergraduate and graduate orientations, work at information sessions at different high schools and middle schools, and give tours to interested individuals on campus. The application for student ambassadors can be found at: https://www.shadygrove.umd.edu/sites/default/files/u194/Student%20Ambassador%20Application%20Fall%202018.pdf and is due 9/7/2018. For more information, please contact Jennifer Riehl at jcohen80@umd.edu.


Finally, there is the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) which offers many services and opportunities. The center has a gym which contains cardio and strength training equipment, free for student use. The center also hosts Yoga and Zumba classes which are offered at economic costs to students. There are also many intramural sports that students can take part in, including soccer, flag football, and ping-pong. The center is complete with separate male and female locker rooms with showers. More information about the center can be found at https://www.shadygrove.umd.edu/campus-resources/campus-recreation-center.

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Garden of Unity and Peace

I hope you all are enjoying your summer break. I love the fact that I have free time to relax at home and catch up with family and friends. In addition, since I have my wedding in a few weeks, I NEED the time to make sure everything is ready. Anyway, I am a huge fan of relaxation so I thought I would share about the Garden of Unity and Peace located between building I and II. If you have not seen the space, I would suggest visiting it. The space has a fountain, a book exchange section, a swing, and plenty of seating areas. I love it! If I was not working, I would spend most of my time there. I think that it is the best place to study (or just sit) because of the calm environment as long as it is not humid or raining outside. I like that we have a space like the Garden of Unity and Peace where we can collect our thoughts and relax.

Moreover, having a relaxed and calm mind are important to me especially when life becomes hectic. Having these skills help me become more productive and focus on my goals. I highly believe that if you are able to calm yourself during stressful situations, you are more able to think critically and be resourceful in figure out a solution to your problem(s). This is useful not only in school but also at work. Many of us become overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork and job work that we start to panic. Next time this happens, remember to breath.

Below, I provided a list of potential activities that you might like to relieve stress.

  • Yoga
  • Working out/sports
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Coloring/painting*
  • Playing with clay*
  • Sleeping
  • Hiking
  • Cooking/baking *
  • Arts & crafts/DIY projects*

*Hands-on activities help relieve stress because they help take you mind off your worries. I love cooking when I am stressed because one, I love food and two, I am doing something with my hands.

Speaking of relaxing, what do you do to relax? Comment below about what helps you relieve stress.


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Having grown up where I have, I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all corners of the world. Diversity is as normal to me as birds in the sky and fish in water. From my time in Montgomery County Public schools to Montgomery College and finally to the Universities at Shady Grove, I have been immersed in diversity.

During these trying times, diversity is often seen as a double-edged blade. To some, opening ourselves to diversity may lead to dangers. Politics aside, the fear of the unknown is perfectly natural. There’s a reason most of us learned to crawl and walk before we ran. Why we have flashlights to venture into the dark and why information is seen as invaluable as gold in our society. Diversity, however, is not something to be feared but instead embraced. USG does exactly that with its multi-cultural-bilingual, diverse student population. USG is host to a wide array of clubs, organizations, and events that seek to embrace the diversity that makes USG a wonderful representation of what Montgomery County is all about. Personally, I have taken part in Terps Without Borders and have witnessed the work done by the Care package club. Both are organizations on USG that seek to give back to our local and global community by sharing information and resources with places all over. Events like Cultural Tea Time and International Night invites students to come together and share what is so great about their own cultures.

At USG, we grow and learn together, inside and outside the classroom. This type of diversity is quickly becoming the truth of the country and even the world. As global populations continue to become more mobile and fluid, we can expect greater diversity in the years to come, despite the efforts of the fearful.

As a MCPS, MC, and UMD student, I cannot recommend USG enough.  Here you encouraged to be an individual while learning about the world around you as well. Thanks for reading and remember to be open-minded in your interactions with others!

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Questions to Ask in Grad School

This week marks my first week of summer break! Yay! I officially finished my first year and I am excited to finish my last year in my graduate program. Some of you who are entering your last year in your program are probably thinking about what you will be doing next. I know the feeling because I was a bit lost during my last year in undergrad. I often wondered what career would suit me and if were to apply to graduate school, which program would I apply to? Although I am uncertain about which career path I should follow, I use my love of learning and exploring the different possibilities in my career field (education). I am glad that I applied to graduate school because I believe it is the perfect opportunity to explore what I truly enjoy and passionate about, which could help me identify my potential careers. Through my previous and current graduate programs, I have learned that I want to get involved in research in the field of education. I believe that using research can help influence policy making for minority students and help open more doors to endless possibilities in higher education. As a first generation college student, I could understand the struggle in navigating college (i.e. financial aid, academic success, and career exploration). I have always been passionate about helping others, hence, why I want to help students, like myself, to succeed in higher education. I also want to become a role model and want to see more representation that is diverse in higher education to encourage young students to be in the field of education.

Below are some questions that I often use to help me figure out my next steps. (FYI – I use these every day to help remind me of my goals and my next steps in my career field).

  1. What is am I passionate about?
  2. What do I eventually what to do? / What are my career aspirations?
  3. What can I do to gain more knowledge about what I want to do in my career?
  4. What cause is important to me?
  5. What are my life goals and how can my education help achieve my life goals?
  6. How can I improve my skills to make me more marketable?
  7. How can I become a better leader and role model to others?
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