Student BlogsWelcome to Around the Grove, the official student blog of The Universities at Shady Grove! Students are able to blog about their college experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom. Read about their triumphs, trials and everyday lives that makes being a college student so uniquely life changing — and challenging. Feel free to connect with them by leaving a comment or asking them questions.

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What I Wish I Knew In Undergrad

Anyone else feel like life before 2020 existed in a completely different universe? I look back on memories from my undergraduate career at UMBC and I think “No, that couldn’t have been me, that feels like someone else’s life. So much is different now.” Now that I’m in graduate school (still at UMBC – go Big Dawgs!!) I can reflect on all the lessons I learned during college. Here are some of the main things I wish I knew in undergrad:

  1. Use ALL of your school’s free services.

You may not realize it, but your tuition money is paying for career counseling, mental health counseling, gym facilities, tutoring, and a lot more. Depending on your home institution, you may even be able to use their services, too. You’re paying for these services whether you use them or not, so why not put your tuition money to work?

  1. Get involved both on AND off campus.

I review a lot of student resumes, and they constantly tell me “I haven’t done anything.” Most times we can find experiences to write down, but for some students it seems like all they do is go to class and go home. Don’t be that guy. Find a place to volunteer, join a club, and follow your passions – it makes college more fun, and your resume will write itself!

The day of my 2019 graduation
  1. Take a lot of pictures.

This one is pretty simple, and a little cheesy. I don’t buy in to the fact that these are “the best years of your life”, ESPECIALLY while we’re still in the throws of this pandemic. But, most of us will only be in college once, and documenting the good times will be a gift to yourself that keeps on giving for the rest of your life whenever you feel nostalgic.

  1. Take the wildest electives.

You’re already spending so much of your time and energy learning about your degree, so why not learn about something completely different? Some of my favorite classes were subjects like Classical Mythology, Music of the World, and Creative Non-Fiction Writing – and they had nothing to do with my degree. You might have fun, and even discover a new passion!

  1. Find a mentor, and keep in touch.

Last but most important, I wish I had found myself a mentor. This is someone you trust who is in your desired field and is willing to regularly chat with you and provide guidance. My graduate program matched me with a mentor, and within one semester I had greater clarity in my goals and networking calls with other professionals. Check if your academic department or any organizations in your field have mentor matching programs, and use it. Finally, be sure to keep in touch!

source: memegenerator.net
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Success in Failures

A famous scientist whose name is synonymous with pure genius, where details like his hair or a famous equation will bring a name to mind.

If you thought EINSTEIN, then you are correct!

Source Unknown

Albert Einstein, known for his crazy hair and the equation, E=mc². He was a physicist who developed the general theory of relativity and someone more relatable than we think, because even though he was a genius, he wasn’t the best student or successful for a long time.

Born in 1879 in Germany, Einstein didn’t like school, causing him to drop out. But as an adult, he applied to a physics college, where he finally got in after his first failed entrance exam a year later. During his studies, from youth to adulthood, his professors called him lazy and useless, he graduated bottom of his class at his college with no career. He got a job as a patent clerk afterward, and while working with patents and math, he discovered the general theory of relativity. But, this discovery went unnoticed for years and, his father, who didn’t live to see his success, died believing he was a complete failure, even though he was on the right track.

In 1905, pushing to find success, Einstein wrote his 5th paper where he explained his discovery of the equation, E=mc². He was disregarded by the scientific community but, it wasn’t until 1919, when astronomers studying a solar eclipse verified Einstein’s discoveries, making him an overnight celebrity. He received a Nobel prize in 1921 for physics, and his success continued until his passing on April 18, 1955, at Princeton, New Jersey.

So why is Einstein relatable? 

Einstein had so much determination and perseverance to keep moving forward no matter what he went through. When school wasn’t working out for him and everyone around him disregarded his work, his determination led to his success. We are all worth so much more than what others might believe and as long as we persevere also, we won’t let our failures define us, just as Einstein did.

Source Psychology Today

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3 Food Bloggers You Should Follow For Easy At-Home Meals

If you’re like me, there never seems to be enough hours in a day, and the weekend seems to fly by like a 30-minute lunch break. The fall semester is in full swing and time management is key. With homework, study groups, work, and making time for a social life, it can be easy to forget about other important things.

One thing that I always make time for during the week is cooking. I like to cook at home because I like how my food tastes, I can control what goes in it, and I am in the midst of purchasing a home and planning a wedding. In other words, I need to keep as much of my coins in my bank account as possible. Cooking at home allows me to budget my food spending so that I am not frivolously throwing away money at restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat out a few times a month, but I budget for those special times as well.

I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know how to cook,” or “I always end up making the same things and I get tired of my cooking.” I am going to share my favorite food bloggers. I have made recipes from each of them and they have come out deliciously.

  1. Scherise focuses on quick and simple meals that everyone can make. She makes reels, IGTV videos, and even posts written recipes. She also has a home care line called YourHomeBeis, where she sells salt-free seasonings and other kitchenware.

2. Alex also makes simple recipes and is a self-taught cook. She has a food blog under the same moniker, where she posts recipes along with vibrant pictures of each dish to go along. Just scrolling through her site makes me hungry. I have made her Peruvian Chicken recipe and it was *chef’s kiss* delicious.

3. Lastly, but certainly not least, Maria is another home-chef that delivers mouth-watering, easy recipes. I will say, her recipes are a go-to when you want to indulge. As her Instagram handle suggests, you can expect lots of fried food from her and lots of butter. Her recipes are perfect for a Friday night at home. She also has a blog where she posts recipes with the same name, DeepFriedHoney.com.

I hope this lists inspires you to make at least one more meal-a-week at home than you were making before. Feel free to share any recipes that you’ve tried in the comments!

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Fresh Air and Fallen Leaves

Image by Chelsea Little; Fall Hike 2020

Legally speaking, I am an adult now; I have to pay taxes, and worry about getting nails in my tires, and other such adult things. Recently, I bought myself a new dresser, and honestly there is nothing in my mind more able to solidify the idea of being an adult than building IKEA furniture on your own. No matter how much the thought disgruntles me, I find myself having to admit just how much of an adult I have become. Yet, the other morning, when I stepped out of my car and felt the cool chill of autumn in the air, with it, the all too familiar memories of football games and leaf piles and costume hunting came rushing back. I had to hold myself from skipping into work as my mind dazed to what fall always brings with it; a sense, for me, of returning home.

People have been so upset recently about how early Target has put out their Halloween displays, and how quickly Starbucks released their pumpkin-themed beverages. Not a day goes by without word bombarding me; summer isn’t over yet! September just started! All around, I find people angry and sad with this fated passage of time, and I am a little shocked at how upset people are about autumn peeking its head through the record breaking heat waves that this summer had, just to remind everyone that cooler, merrier times are to come.

I would imagine that at this point, you might have assumed fall is my favorite season, and while you aren’t wrong, there is more to this, at least for me. Yes, nothing brings me, a girl from rural Maryland, more joy than knowing that flannel season is coming; that the farm markets and apple picking festivals are just around the corner. But that is not the purpose of my writing. I find myself confused at those longing to hold onto this summer as hard as I find those around me doing. I see people grasping at the final straws of the weather as if it were a lifeline; a raft in rough waters. For me, the approach of fall signifies an escape from the fevers of yet another Covid summer. For me, this turning of the time brings with it a change, a future, or maybe even a possible finish line to the awful of the pandemic-filled world we have found ourselves wishing for normal life in.

I am not just excited for the return of my favorite season, but rather, I am excited for the return of my favorite things, for the life I had before the world went sideways. I know this is still well away off, but the turn of temperature shows we are moving forward in time, away from that forlorn February day, rather than stuck in the blistering heat of reward-less stagnation. This summer has felt endless, filled with bad news and worse happenings, and fall brings with it the opportunity to step out of the humid heat of hard times. A gentle crisp of air, baptized with cinnamon and cider, to clear the mind of rattling old wrongs. While I know fall will not solve the problems we have found ourselves stuck inside of, it at a very minimum, like the turn of all seasons, it is a step forward, a fresh start, however small or childish it may seem.

I may be one of few so excited to see the first leaf of the season turn its amber, but at least, for those who anger at my excitement for fall, please know my premature celebrating is not a vengeful or silly one. Its a final celebration for me and my kin; one that will bring with it a joyous beginning, as every season before has done.

Image by Chelsea Little; Fall Hike 2020

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Signing Off

About this time last year I was preparing for my senior year of my undergrad when an Ad to become a blogger for USG popped up on my instagram. I remember scrolling past quickly thinking “no way”. Less than a minute later I scrolled to look for the Ad again thinking “well…?”. I have always felt my writing was not to the standards I desired and told myself blogging may be a fun incentive to work on it. It’s public, it would be interesting, and it’s something I’ve never done before. With doubt that I would be offered the position I applied and I am so thankful I was selected. 

Becoming a blogger for Around the Grove has opened so many opportunities for me to grow. I have improved my writing, I learned interesting topics to write about, and I grew more confidence. I am very sad that this will be my last post on Around the Grove, but I don’t think it will be my last blog post ever. The best thing that came out of this experience was realizing that I may want to pursue blogging in the future about behavioral health. So for my last post here is everything I want to say and leave for my readers:

  1. Listen to the “maybe I should do it” voice in your head. Take the chance! I rather fail trying than wonder what could have happened if I never tried at all. 
  2. You are the most valuable investment you will ever make so take the chance on you. Take the leap of faith for yourself because when it works in your favor it’s the most rewarding feeling.
  3. Do not stop until you are proud. Being satisfied has never been enough for me. One thing that really keeps me pushing is thinking what my younger self would think of me. I know that my younger self would think I have overcame too much to stop. So even when it feels like the universe has to be working against you and it’s a sign you should give up, take a breath, shed the tears, and get back at it. 
  4. Be someone who makes you happy. Simple as that.
Photo by Wout Vanacker on Unsplash

My next chapter consists of finishing my MSW specializing in Behavioral Health at UMB. After that, take my licensure exam and find my first social work job. It feels surreal that the future I have dreamed of for so long is than a year away. I am so thankful my readers have been able to be apart of some of the journey. Take care and thank you!

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Final Goodbye

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As the summer comes to end, so will my time as a blogger for Around the Grove. It truly was an amazing experience to have written these blogs for all of you and I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve given me and to my fellow bloggers. I will be preparing to start my new chapter with the University of Maryland College Park after this blog is posted and spend the last bit of my summer vacation reflecting on the past four years that have passed. I’m glad I could share my journey with all of you who’ve read my blogs so I wanted to leave some advice for you all to hopefully assist you during your journeys.

Have a back up plan: Life happens, especially in ways you don’t want it to. Your original plan might not work out how you want it to; so it’s best to have a back up plan to fall back on so that you can have another stable path to continue on. We always have to expect the unexpected.

Learn something new: It’s always nice to learn a new skill and it helps expand your interests on different topics. A bit after this blog is posted, I’m going to be creating a Terrapin keychain craft using beads. I’ve never done something like this before so I’m excited to see how it turns out!

Be yourself: One of the reasons why I managed to get this far in my life is by me being myself and no one else. I’ve learned that you just got to be who you are to be happier in life; so I just kept being myself and it landed me great opportunities in life like writing for Around the Grove and my fellowship with the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at UMD. Always be real with people because no one likes someone who isn’t being their true self.

Thank you all for joining me and my fellow bloggers on our journeys with Around the Grove! I deeply encourage you all to go on and read the blogs the new bloggers will write this upcoming year and the years to come! I know they will do just as an amazing job as we have! I wish everyone the best on their journeys and to continue pushing yourselves to achieving the goals you’ve made for your lives. Although my blogging has come to an end, I won’t be far! Soon enough, I’ll be writing articles instead and having them placed on newspapers or in video format!

Once again, thank you all for reading my blogs and feel free to read them again as much times as you want! Leave any questions, concerns, or suggestions down below! I hope you all enjoyed the blogs and you’ll be seeing me on the newspaper, on the NEWS, on a podcast or maybe on another blog site soon! Goodbye and good luck to all of you! 🙂

Small message for everyone!
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The Library: a Priddy Nice Place to Visit

Now that some of us have in-person classes again, we also have an in-person library. Some of you may be familiar with Priddy library protocols, but others may not, so let’s have a quick crash course in what Priddy Library has to offer.

What do you need to access the library?

Masks are required in the library. You also need a USG ID to get in. Due to COVID-19, the USG library will not be open to the whole, non-USG community in fall 2021.

That said, if you attend classes on your university’s home campus and just need to make a return, you’re welcome to use the library book drop just outside the building. Home campus community members are also welcome to schedule a curbside pickup.

An open space full of tables, chairs, and students of all races and genders.
The Priddy Library Core Area, complete with people. Photo credit: DiscoverUSG

How loud is the library?

It depends. Priddy Library is divided into several sections, and you can pick where you want to work based on what type of study environment works best for you. The list goes like this:

  • Col-Lab: suitable for partner projects. Heads up! At the time of this post, the col-lab is closed.
  • Core Area: the main section of the library, suitable for group work or people who need background noise to think.
  • Study Rooms: private cubicles for group projects. Once fall semester starts, you’ll need to reserve one of these rooms in advance. This is the space to work on a group project when you crave privacy and quiet.
  • Quiet Area: suitable for individual work. Please keep voices to a whisper here. The Quiet Area is separated from the rest of the library by white noise machines, but there may be some residual noise anyway because Priddy Library is small.
  • Silent Study Room: this one is self-explanatory.
  • Reading Area: suitable for individual work, but that’s mostly because of how the tables are arranged. This section of the library uses similar tables to the Library of Congress.
  • Garden Lounge: suitable for group work. You’ll recognize this section because it’s chock full of plants.
  • Study Gallery: suitable for individual work. If you need to use an iMac, get to this section early.

Who can answer my questions?

The student assistants can help with basic answers. For more detailed questions, find the subject guides online or ask a friendly librarian. If you need to learn something specific (like PowerPoint or time management), check out the library workshops. Everyone in Priddy Library is happy to help as best they can, and if someone who doesn’t know the answer, they’ll be happy to find someone who does.

How can I contact the library?

Head to the Priddy Library website, where you can find hours and the online chat service. When the library is open, you can also call (301) 738-6020.

To learn more, check out the library website. There, you’ll find more useful information than I could possibly cover here. Enjoy, and best wishes for fall!

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New Chapters and Habits

August has always felt more like a new start than January. August brings the new school year and a new chapter. As I begin graduate school in just two weeks this new chapter has been anxiety-provoking, to say the least. As much as I am excited to be where I dreamed of getting to I feel an immense amount of nervous feelings. One thing that has eased the not-so-pleasant feelings is preparing for the semester. 

Preparation has been shopping for school supplies which has anyone noticed the further you get in school you need fewer items? Preparation has also included the great joy of clothes shopping. Which has also changed as we progressed through school. Five years ago I wanted Ugg boots for back to school and now I have to get slacks and heels because I have internships. One big preparation that has felt more like work than fun is getting back into a routine. Learning to not sleep past noon and lay in bed until the last minute before work. Learning to eat three meals a day again and start planning lunches. Learning to get back into using my calendars and planners and keep up on my laundry and cleaning schedules. 

As much as I have been working to get back into habits, I’ve been trying to make some changes as well. My senior year of undergrad was the most amazing but also hectic time. I accomplished so many things but great mental health was not one of them. I was overworking myself and it led to a huge burnout. I want graduate school to be different. I want to finish graduate school with accomplishments of not only awards and achievements but also accomplishing a happy mental state. In preparation to reach this goal, I’ve been making sure to spend more of my free time on myself. Using my free time to practice self-love through all of the love languages and doing things my body and mental need. 

My next and last blog post will be about two weeks after I have begun grad school. I look forward to letting you all know how all this preparation has done for me!

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Four it’s a Jolly Good Building

Continuing my guide to USG, it’s time to tour the other most versatile building on campus. That would be the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering building, otherwise known as Building 4 or, most commonly, the BSE.

The entrance of a stone and metal building.
Image Text: Biomedical Sciences and Engineering

The classes in the BSE are a bit more major specific than those in Building 3. As the name implies, the BSE hosts a majority of the STEM majors at USG, including Exercise Science and the UMB dental school. (The primary exception to this would be the nursing program, for which Building 1 is the domain.) However, there are several services and amenities that everyone should know about.

Let’s start with the aforementioned dental hygiene program. Yes, they take clients! In fact, the first elevator in the BSE goes directly to the dental school. Don’t worry; I was guided around by a staff member during my fact-finding mission, and he assured me that the dental students have to prove themselves very skilled before anyone will let them near another person’s mouth.

Anyway, back to the tour. Across from the dental elevator, you’ll find security, and the atrium is just past that. The atrium is a great place to talk about the study spaces that are all over the BSE. They’re these squishy green chairs huddled around tables and they’re perfect for hanging out and getting work done. Oh yeah, and they’re everywhere. There’s at least a couple on every floor of the building.

The BSE is also home to the Center for Academic Success and the Career and Internship Services Center. Conveniently, they’re right next to each other, so they should be easy to find. They’re both on the first floor, just around the atrium.

The Center for Counseling and Consultation is on the third floor. It’s tucked in a weird spot, but if you know the map, you can find it. Exit the elevator, turn left, and head down the hall.

You may have noticed that I’m only giving brief descriptions of where these various amenities are. This is where the most useful aspect of the BSE comes in. Take a look at this video:

A brief video demonstrating how the interactive maps in the BSE work.

You are looking at an electronic, interactive map. If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember this: there are several interactive maps in the BSE. They’re simple to use and awesome: just make selections on the touchscreen. When you choose your destination, a dotted, red line will guide you from where you’re standing to where you wish to end up. Easy-peasy!

I’ll leave you with that, then. If you want to learn more about the BSE’s services and environmental impact, visit the USG website. And, if you’d like to learn more about traversing campus, check out my past blog posts on navigating from building to building and on the ins and outs of Building 3.

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Golden Year

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Recently I had turned 22 years old; yay me! The past year of my life was a difficult one especially since around the time I turned 21 the pandemic was still something very unknown and feared. It still should be as the various variants are still out there and we could still get infected. However, turning 22 has given me some relief; it showed me that despite the difficult year I had, I was able to push on and make it to my next birthday. This year is a special one for me as I had learned that this year is what’s considered to be my golden year. I got a bit confused since I had never heard of a golden year till recently. So I wanted to go ahead and share with you guys what this means for those whoo don’t know what it means.

We all know that each month carries between 28-31 days and we also know when it is our birthday. I would like for you to take a look at the date of your birthday. The main thing you should look at is the day of your birthday(e.g 6/28/56) The number in the middle is considered your golden year. In short, your golden year is when your age is the same as the day you were born. My birthday is July 22 and this year I turned 22 years old. So this year is my golden year. If your birthday happens to be on the first of any month, you already had your golden year when you were a year old.

I would like for the USG community and fellow readers to take a look at your birthdays and see if you had your golden year yet or not. Some of you may even share a golden year which would be pretty awesome for some. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let me know and I’ll back to you on that. Let me know below if you had your golden year yet and I’ll see you all in the next blog! 🙂

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

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