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

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Get Interested in Uninteresting Topics-Reading Strategies

This past spring, I took a class on Reading Comprehension, which surprisingly I loved (primarily because the professor was great)! Though I am not a fan of reading, this class has helped changed my perspective of reading. It also taught me helpful skills, such as using background knowledge, graphic organizers, collaborating with peers, breaking down the information, and other reading strategies, to help improve my reading comprehension. One topics that intrigued me was how to get interested in uninteresting topics, where we learned how to apply the previously mentioned strategies/skills. Reflecting on that class, I thought I could use the skills that I learned and apply them to my current summer classes. I am currently taking a research method class that focuses on statistical analysis. Many people are not interested in this topic due to its complexity (including me). This situation is typical among college students because there are prerequisite courses that we need to take to pass the class and get that degree. To help me become successful at learning in my statistics class, I plan to use the strategies below. I also thought that would be a great opportunity to share them with you so that you can use these strategies in your future classes. If you are interested in learning more about the strategies below, The Center for Academic Success provides academic coaching regarding this skill. All you need to do is set up an academic coaching appointment with them and you are set!

Reading Strategies

  • Background Knowledge – to ensure that you remember the information that you learned, it is important that you make some type of connection to the text in order to create meaning. For example, I am fortunate enough to have taken several statistic-related classes in undergrad and graduate school so I have some familiarity with the text. There are particular areas that I need help with so I may focus more on those.
  • Graphic Organizer/Effective Notetaking – I am a visual and kinesthetic learner so I need to write things down and have hands-on activities. In this case, with statistics, I would take notes from our texts and lectures, and research videos to provide me with additional information to support what I learned. As long as you have a way to organize the information that you are learning (i.e. typing note, creating diagrams, or handwriting notes), this should help you review especially when you are getting ready for your quizzes or exams.
  • Generating text-based questions – I find this helpful because I can create my own questions that can be answered through the text that I just read. This ensures that I remember the important information that I read. In addition, by creating questions, it helps you realize if you truly understand what you read.
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The Scribe Life

Scribe Life

I hope summer is treating everyone well and you all have visited the beach or pool at least once by now. I wanted to take this post to talk a little about my work as a scribe and how it has changed my way of thinking and what I want to do.

For those unfamiliar with what a medical scribe is, we are essentially notetakers for health providers. We take the patient’s history and current story and chart it into an online system. Medical charts are composed of; History of Present Illness (HPI), Review of Systems (ROS), Physical Exam (PE), Past Medical History (PMHx), any reevaluations, and disposition.

Scribes take on different roles depending on where they are employed. Some locations allow scribes to put in providers’ orders into the system for nurses and techs to fill out. Scribes can work in a variety of settings such as in the emergency department, clinics, other departments in a hospital, and private practices. I work as a ED medical scribe where we are not allowed to put in orders, just chart. The process is relatively straightforward. There is a medical system of some sort that everyone logs onto, nurses, techs, providers, medical scribes, etc. Once logged on, providers sign up for patients and now can place orders for that patient. Scribes can also see the board and see which patients the providers have signed up for, we then sign up for them too. The provider then goes to the patient’s room to talk to them about why they are here (HPI), their history (PMHx), and to conduct a physical exam. Once this is done the providers go back to their computers and the scribe begins putting the information into the system as providers put in orders for IV lines, blood work, imaging, etc. Rinse and repeat many times over in a shift.

Training to become a scribe includes learning medical terminology, mock charting, learning the differential thinking of providers, and learning what clinical signs mean. Basic anatomy is also included in the training. Training is not difficult and is invaluable for those interested in careers in healthcare. You learn a lot being a scribe and can find out if specific specialties are of interest to you. Emergency medicine is hectic but rewarding. Emergency providers know many emergency procedures and are the frontline providers when things go bad fast. They work with other specialist to provide the best care and can handle a lot on their own.

Becoming a scribe is fulfilling work and a great step in the right direction for students interested in medicine. Currently the company that holds the most scribing contracts in the area is Scribe America. Private offices have private scribes that are not affiliated with any company. Becoming a scribe starts with expressing interest to private practices or going to the Scribe America website and finding the career link. With contracts at all major hospitals in the area, Scribe America may be worth your while.

Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful to some of you out there. Thanks to those not interested in medicine for being patient and understating. Remember to have a great summer and enjoy yourself before the fall!

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Balancing Act in Grad School

During the Memorial Day weekend, my fiancé and I moved into a new place. For those who have had the experience of moving, you know how draining the moving process can be. You have to pack strategically to ensure that none of your stuff breaks in the process and you know exactly where each box will need to go. I am thrilled that our move happened before my summer courses started because it was something that I did not have to worry about anymore. In the moving process, I was both excited and exhausted. I was excited because I was going to be living closer to work and school, but I was physically exhausted since I was the only one organizing our home (for a very good reason). Fortunately, it was a three-day weekend Memorial Day weekend so I was able to take my time to figure out how I want to arrange our new home. After several days of exhausting work, we finally settled in!

Moving reminded me of time management and planning, which I believe are significant skills to acquire in life. I have learned the importance of these skills early in graduate school due to the multiple projects and papers that we had to do each week on top of my work priorities. As a full-time employee, wedding planner (for me), as well as life manager for my soon-to-be husband and I, life can become very hectic especially when social commitments start coming in. My handy planner, Google calendar, white board (yes I have one at home), and daily task sheets have enabled me to be top of everything that is going on in our life. If you do not already have a planner or somewhere where to remind you of everything that you have to do, I would suggest giving a planner or a calendar a try as well as a daily to do list. These will help you prioritize your daily life and remember any important tasks or events that you need to attend to. If you are taking classes at USG this summer and you have spare time, stop by the Center for Academic Success and schedule an academic coaching for time management. I highly recommend setting up this appointment to get some help in organization/time management strategies that best suits you.

Overall, I was very thankful that this move happened before my classes started. Phew! To all my readers, please take the time to plan things out to avoid any unnecessary stress. We are all busy and we have many roles in life; good balancing and planning skills will take you places in life.

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What Comes Next?

What Comes After

For this blog post, I would like to take the time to focus on what comes after school for those pursuing a career in medicine. If you’re not pursuing a career in medicine, maybe you know someone that is and may be able to learn something that can help them!

There are many careers in medicine, such as becoming; a physician, nurse, nurse practioner, physician assistant, radiology tech, IV therapist, respiratory therapist, nurse tech, etc. Within nursing there are many levels of practice, from an associate’s level education all the way up to a doctorate in nursing. Some of these careers can be in different specialties, such as emergency medicine, family medicine, etc.

I will be focusing on those of us following the path of becoming a physician for this post, as that’s the one I’m on and know best. Becoming a physician starts as early as possible. While in high school, taking advanced classes, taking on extracurricular activities, and volunteering are important activities to see if you are interested in a career in medicine. I volunteered for some time at the Washington Adventist Hospital, where I got my first exposure to medicine, and loved it! Following high school, college will play a very important part on where you pursue of medicine goes. While in college it’s important to be proactive. Above all else, focus on your grades and slowly layer on different things such as volunteering, shadowing, extracurricular activities, and clinical activities. Take it nice and easy, talking from experience taking on too many things at once will cause your grades to suffer or burn you out. Know your limits and expand them over time.

After college comes the moment of truth, you have a two of choices at this stage which include, applying to medical school and taking a gap year (or two) off. Applying right away is a good fit for some people but for others, taking some time before applying is a better option. You may need the break before more school, or you may need to spice up your application for the next rounds of applications. I happen to fall in that latter. So, what can you do in your gap year to boast your chances of success in applying? You can volunteer, shadow, do some research, gain clinical experience, complete a SMP, or obtain a Master’s in a related interested field. Essentially the same as you were doing while in college but with two extra options, a SMP or a Master’s. A SMP stands for a Special Master’s Program, usually a Master’s in Medical Science, where students take advanced science courses and even some medical school courses with actual medical school students and gain a boast to their applications when applying to medical school. These programs are designed for students who need a little help before applying to medical school. A SMP takes about 4 semesters, 1 year in some cases, to complete and can cause as much as 1 year of medical school education so take that into account. By some school accounts, about 80% of students go on to successfully entering medical school following completion of this program. A Master’s program is another path to medical school, although it is important not to think of it as such. Unlike a SMP, a Master’s can be a double edge sword. While obtaining one shows that you can handle higher level of education, it also shows that you used the degree primarily as a stepping stone towards a medical education. Be careful, a research how many students entered the medical school you’re interested in with a Master’s.  Thank you for your time and I wish you well!!

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Minimalism & Zero Trash Lifestyle Change

First, I wanted to congratulate those who are graduating this month! You did it! Do not forget to check out my previous (Attention Soon-to-be-Alumni) post regarding the different services that you can still use as USG alumni.

Second, to those who finished their first year at USG, you did it! You are halfway through your program. Can you believe it that spring semester already ended? Although spring semester had ended for me, summer break is not yet within my grasp because I am taking two summer courses in the span of a month. Yikes! Fortunately, I have two class-free weeks. Yay! As a former member of UMBC’s Peer Advisory Team (PAT), I learned the significance of taking the time to reflect (i.e. life in general, self-development, career-path etc.)

Reflection in Life
Since the semester ended and I finished up my projects/papers, I had some time to think about my lifestyle. Due to my vegan soon-to-be brothers and experience living in a one bedroom condominium with four other people (it was crowded and cluttered), I found myself thinking about how I live my life. I have always cared about animals and the environment, but I never thought about how to be more conscious of how I affects my environment. I also wanted to learn to live with the necessities in life to avoid having a cluttered home. I have been watching YouTube videos on minimalism and trash-free lifestyles, which inspired me to start my journey in minimizing the trash that I produce and de-clutter my home. It has been a struggle since I tend to collect lots of stuff. However, since I started this journey, I learned to let go of tons of my stuff. The questions that I always ask are: Do I love this item? Will it bring meaning or happiness into my life?  

For those who would like to learn more about minimalism, I would recommend watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which is a documentary on the minimalism life style.

Benefits: Less clutter in your home, control over your shopping habits (more money saved)

Zero Waste Lifestyle
For those interested in learning more about zero-waste lifestyle, I would recommend to watch 10 Ways to Reduce Waste, which is a YouTube video that provides ways you can reduce trash in your daily life. I like this particular video because the YouTuber also talked about Ecosia, which is a search engine that you can use. For every 45 searches, Ecosia will plan a tree!

Benefit: Conscious about your food purchases (you’re more likely to purchase foods that are not packaged; therefore, less junk food consumptions),

Since I started this journey, I felt like I am living a better life. I am helping reduce trash in my own way and have control over my spending habits. Below, I compiled some tips for those who are interested in reducing trash in your daily life.

Switching to package-free products, such as shampoo bar  (I LOVE Lush beauty products because they are package-free and the ingredients are all natural)
Buying package-free produce and using reusable produce bags
Using reusable grocery bags when you go shopping & wrapping presents in cloth
Using biodegradable products (i.e. toothbrush, bees wax wraps to replace plastic wraps, trash bags)
Making handmade/homemade products that you use everyday (i.e toothbrush, cleaning products, sunscreen, soap)

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and helped you consider living a minimalistic and zero (minimal) trash lifestyle.


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Finally: Summer

Summer greetings everyone!!


As you may know, final exams are blocking our paths to a great summer vacation. For this final blog post for the semester, I want to take the time to explore fun options for enjoying your summer as well as ways to prepare for your finals that have worked well for me in the past. (Please be warned that not everyone learns the same way and what may work for me, may not work for you.)

Summer offers a lot of opportunities and as much as you deserve to do nothing and relax, it’s a good idea to do something with your time. The list is long, there’s;

  • Volunteering at an animal shelter
  • Working more hours at your job
  • Taking summer courses
  • Vacationing
  • Reading new books
  • Traveling the world
  • Learning a new skill
  • Exercising
  • Swimming
  • Cookouts


This summer I plan to take a summer course, physics for life sciences II, and take part in Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones is a program at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital that allows college students with an interest in the healthcare field the opportunity to shadow physicians and physician assistants from different specialties. You’ll spend time in the emergency department, surgery room, and pediatric department. I’m hoping to find out tons about different specialties and see where I may end up someday in the future.  Just wanted to give a quick shout out to the program for anyone who may be interested. To apply simply call the volunteer office at 240-826-6111. Applications open in April and interviews are conducted in May, with the actual shadowing occurring in June. A good way experience for anyone pursuing a career in healthcare, or unsure of what career to pursue.


Preparing for finals isn’t something new for us by now. Some of us have taken them since high school. Preparing for them comes down to a few simple steps.

  • Study – will be different for the type of material that you’ve covering. Cards may work for a course on anatomy but not on an art course.
    • Repetition
    • Cards
    • Re-writing notes
    • Reading over old notes
    • Reading over textbook and answering problems in the book
    • Using Quizlet or any other learning software
    • Studying with a group
    • Working on any study guides provided
  • Break – Take a short break, anywhere from 10-30 minutes. You’re not a machine.
    • Eat snacks
    • Drink water
    • Listen to music
    • Read a book (if it relaxes you)
    • Take a nap
    • Watch YouTube videos (Personal Favorite)
  • Repeat – Begin studying again and repeat the cycle for 1-2 hours max. After that take an extended break for 1 hour or so. You don’t want to burn out before the exam has even begun.


Hope you all have a great summer!! And congrats to anyone graduating!!

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Congratulations to all! + Thank you!

Hello to all! Congratulations to all seniors who are graduating and to juniors who finished the semester strong! I will be walking across the stage next Saturday at the Reckord Armory at College Park to receive my B.A. in Communication. I’m so excited!

To wrap up my blog posts this semester I wanted to reflect on some of my best moments at USG this past year. This semester I served as a Student Ambassador for my second year, and also a tour trainer. I also got to train some of the UMBC PAT members, which allowed me to meet even more people here at USG. I worked in the Advancement Department here on campus and gained valuable experience helping with events like the Skilled for Success: Building an Entrepreneurial Mindset event. I served spring semester as a teaching assistant for COMM 398W- Website design, where I got to help students in the lab with creating websites. I successfully completed the USG Emerging Leader Digital Badge, which allowed me to reflect on experiences that allowed me to be a better leader.


Working a Student Ambassador event for Transfer Access Night

Aside from academic related things, I became closer with one of the best people I’ve ever met, my best friend, Jenni. Although this past semester has been tough, she has gotten me through stressful times by supporting me with friendship and laughter. We attended the same high school but drifted away during our time at MC, but I am so happy USG brought us back together.


Jenni served as an intern for the CSEF office this semester.

Some of you might not know this but In October I suffered a knee injury where I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and meniscus. I was required to have surgery to repair this so I went in for surgery right before Thanksgiving. I was extremely worried that I would fall behind in my class work and being able to manage a job. Luckily, my professors here at USG were more than accommodating to my injury and need to have surgery in the middle of the semester. I am so grateful that I had such caring professors and advisors.

This has been a crazy semester and year in general, but I am thankful to say that I will be continuing my education and earning a masters degree. This coming August I will begin taking classes at the University of Maryland College Park to earn a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Technology Entrepreneurship. I’m going to be a Terp for at least another year and a half! Go Terps!

I wish everyone good luck in their future endeavours and I thank you SO much for reading my blog!

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Just Because I’m Leaving…

That’s right! This will be my last ever blog post 😦  It has an honor and a pleasure to be able to bring you guys some type of news and information. I know many times it seemed like it was me just ranting about my school work. But that was why I wanted to join in the first place, to share those experiences with everyone.

Blogging has definitely enhanced my communication skills and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I definitely think my voice, as a writer, has gotten strong. I am very grateful to myself and Kristen Koehler for this opportunity. I would stay on and continue to tell everyone about my life. However, my senior year is expected to be crazy busy. With student teaching, actual classes, working at CSEF, Student Council (yes! I made it on to the Council), and the Council for Exceptional Children, I will be a busy body. That being said, since I am quite active on campus, I plan to make the most out of my senior year at USG.

I am not sure when the Student Blogger Application is going to be pushed out. If and when it does, please apply and give yourself a chance to let your stories be heard and read. It is an amazing opportunity and you get to work with amazing individuals.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and all my previous blogs. Please feel free to stop me in the hallway and say hi, if you can catch me. Just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean we aren’t friends anymore 🙂 


Just a nice picture for you guys to remember me by.

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Attention Soon-to-be Alumni!


You made it! It is the end of the spring semester. While most of you are finishing up your final exams and getting ready for graduation, I wanted to say thank you so much for providing me the opportunity to share my experiences here at USG with you. It was truly a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog posts as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. I have always wanted to blog, so I was really excited when I found out that I was going to be one of the bloggers USG. I wanted to provide some insights from the perspective of someone who attended USG as an undergrad and grad.

Additionally, I wanted to take this time to remind those who are graduating this month that as USG alumni, you can still use certain services at USG. Below, I provided you with the list of student services and which services they can provide you as an alumnus.

Center for Academic Success (CAS)

If you are planning on applying to graduate school, you can schedule writing consultation appointments with CAS to review your personal statement for graduate school. They also have summer Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) workshops to help you prepare to take the GRE exam. If you are interested in this workshop, stop by CAS or call them to ask about it.

Career and Internship Services Center (CISC)

If you are in the process of looking for jobs, I highly recommend using CISC. As an alumnus, you can still come to them to get your resume reviewed and use their USG Career Connector to search for jobs. Also, there some USG events that alumni are welcome to attend so stay tuned.

Lastly, USG has an Alumni Ambassador at USG Facebook page. Please like the page to get updates about any upcoming alumni events at USG. Also visit USG’s Power of 9 page to read about other alumni’s stories.

Graduate School at USG

Will you be returning to USG for graduate school? If so, do not forget to participate in the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and help be the voice of graduate students at USG.

What do you have planned for the summer?

I will be taking two summer courses for a month then I have the rest of July and August available! Wuhuu!! PLUS, I’m getting married in August so having July and August free is great. I wish you all the best!

Have a great summer!

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Gaithersburg Book Festival

The Universities at Shady Grove is looking for volunteers that speak a diverse array of languages. Our institution is hosting a multilingual story time tent at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Anyone who is fluent in Spanish, Korean, French, Amharic, Farsi, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian or any foreign language can apply to read to children. Families will come together to listen to children’s stories in a variety of different languages including American Sign language.

The Gaitherburg Book Festival will include writing workshops and a wide variety of fun activities, arts and crafts workshops and a chance for children to play games. The event will feature games in the Children’s Village, which also includes a meeting space for the most talented children and young adult writers. The festival will be an opportunity for book signings, presentations and readings.

Among the award-winning and best-selling authors and illustrators coming to the Gaithersburg Book Festival this year are:

The event will take place on Saturday, May 19th from 10AM-5PM in 20 minute slots. If you are interested contact Emily Spangler or Iris Schauerman.

Emily Spangler – espangl1@umd.edu

Iris Schauerman – ischauer@umd.edu

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