Welcome 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.
Life can feel short and long. It’s easy to fall into a mindset that everyone is ahead of you or doing better than you. You must try to understand that everyone is dealt different cards, different circumstances, even different environments. You are where you are supposed to be right now even if it feels otherwise. As we grow into our 20’s it’s easy to get confused about where our life is meant to be because there are people going in so many different directions at different speeds. Some people our age are hitting milestones that we want to hit earlier than us and it can make us feel behind and even as failures. It can make us feel lost. You’re on your own timeline. Let’s talk about how to handle feeling lost and behind in life.
Immerse yourself in the activities you enjoy and bring you happiness and peace. Enjoy the present because the future will always be there. If this means spending more time with friends and family or if it means taking more time for your hobbies. Diving into teaching myself a new baking recipe always makes me feel happy and productive.
Think about where you want to be. This may trigger a feeling of feeling behind a little further in the beginning, but think of using this as a guide. Write down your goals with a reasonable timeframe. Give yourself time to have bumps in the road. When writing down your goals and timeline also write down how you can achieve these goals. If one of the goals is to pay off student loans maybe working more hours over the summer. If the goal is to get straight A’s next semester, make a study schedule that allows you to spend more time on your studies. Maybe you will wake up an hour earlier a few days a week to allow 2-4 more hours a week of study time.
Feed your mind. It’s so comforting to know that you are not the only one who has felt this way or even feels this way. Feed your mind with reassurance from yourself and books about what you are going through. I personally am really enjoy reading books about self building.
Remember that your direction is more important than your speed. If you fall track or hit bumps in the road it’s okay don’t let it compromise your destination. It may take some time, but you will fulfill all your dreams.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network recently published a research paper outlining how colleges can best help autistic students. As an autistic student myself, I decided to see how well USG is doing.
Let’s look at ASAN’s guidelines:
Show that you think disability is important.
Colleges can say they accept autistic people until their mouths go numb, but if nobody implements initiatives to help disabled students or funds the programs we need, then it’s just empty words.
USG offers plenty of services that help all students (workshops for study skills, the Center for Counseling and Consultation), and since those services also help autistic students, I’d call it a win.
Make spaces in college that autistic students can feel welcome to use.
I’ve been a virtual student since I got to USG (yay COVID), so I can’t speak for the accessibility of the campus. However, Zeta Sigma Disability Honor Society and the various USG services have been blessings, even virtual.
Provide appropriate accommodations.
This is trickier at USG, since students have to go through our home institutions to get accommodations. Fortunately, our DSS office collaborates with those home universities so us USG students are taken care of.
Give autistic students the chance to make friends.
USG has loads of clubs, and students can even start their own. It would be nice if clubs had their own page on the USG website, rather than being divided by major, so they’d be easier to find.
Make a place to learn about accommodations.
Thank you, Center for Academic Success.
Make sure autistic students can get what they need to be at college.
Getting support from colleges (tutoring, counseling, resume reviews) shouldn’t cost extra money. USG is fantastic for this; the writing center, counseling center, and career center are all free.
Different college groups should work together.
Intersectionality is so important! Zeta Sigma is always happy to team up with clubs for LGBTQ+ students, groups for students of color, and others. Allies rule, so please feel free to reach out!
Improve services to help autistic students.
Whatever USG does not have in place to help autistic students be independent, let’s do it!
Make sure all autistic people feel welcome.
A lot of autistic people get left out, and it’s important to make sure all autistic students feel welcome, including autistic students of color and nonspeaking students. (I am neither of those things, so I can’t judge how well USG does this, but I’m optimistic.)
Make sure to talk to autistic students.
Nothing about us without us!
Overall, I give USG a A- for autism acceptance, which is amazing. If you want to see USG make it to A+, share your ideas in the comments. And, if you want to see how you can support the autistic community, tune in to Zeta Sigma’s Autism Acceptance Month panel on April 22nd from 12-1 pm. I’ll see you there!
COVID has put a stop or limited a lot of activities we were used to doing. For others, it was their moment to shine; I’m talking about streamers. Streamers have been thriving even before COVID and many of them tend to show themselves play video games live and talk with their audience. I want to share a couple of streamer’s stories and give insight on what being a streamer is like.
I have the pleasure of knowing a couple of streamers myself; MastaSwampking aka Malachi (M) and DeadSoviet935 aka Nikolai(D) have been streaming on Twitch for about a year or so and have some thoughts of what streaming means and has been like for them. So here are their thoughts on streaming.
So what is your definition of streaming?
M: I say streaming is to captivate, entertain, and/or interact with an audience while doing the things you enjoy doing in your everyday life. In a relatively broad sense, it’s to put on an interactive show featuring your passions and hobbies.
D: My definition of streaming would have to be sharing your experiences may it be a video game or a podcast.
What made you start streaming on Twitch?
M: Since around freshman year of high school, I’ve pondered taking to Twitch as I’ve often watched other streamers do it and love it. For the longest time, I’ve had that idea on the back burner thinking I wouldn’t ever get around to it. But over time, I met some really cool streamers and they encouraged me to give it a whirl. The rest is pretty much history!
D: I wanted to start on twitch because of MastaSwampking’s channel; but my main reason is to try and entertain people.
What do you love the most about streaming?
M: Plain and simple, I think the whole concept of entertaining and engaging with others across the globe while doing something you love is the most fun and rewarding part of streaming. I’ve met and befriended so many people who share my interests, hobbies, quirks, etc that I wouldn’t have otherwise; I’ve also been told by some that my streams have helped them a lot through their troubles which is something I never expected to hear. All of that is an incredibly amazing and gratifying feeling.
D: I love the entertainment value and the interaction it can bring you.
What’s some advice you have for anyone who wants to start streaming?
M: Be yourself, and do it for the right reasons. Do it because you find it fun, and/or because you feel you have something great to share with the world. All the right things will fall into place from there.
D: Some advice who wants to start up is that there is no right way to do anything and just to have fun. The followers will come in time and that nothing grows over night, unless it’s a growth spurt. <—(I see what you did there :D)
Making a Twitch account is free and easy and many people are there playing video games. USG has a B.S in Simulation and Game Design and who knows maybe a Twitch streamer will play your game to their audience. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, let me know and I’ll get back to you on it! Thank you for reading my blog and I’ll see you in the next one! If you’re interested in viewing MastaSwampking and DeadSoviet935’s Twitch channels, the link is down below, their content is 18+ however, so if you’re 17 or younger this may not be for you.
I love the spring time! Flowers begin to bloom, days are longer and the temperatures start getting warmer. (Also, people just seem happier:) As it begins to warm up I start to crave lighter and more refreshing snacks and drinks. Smoothies are my go to! I love smoothies either for breakfast or as a snack to carry me over between meals.
The recipes I have included in this post AVOID expensive ingredients, too many ingredients and items that you can only find at fancy grocery stores. But they DO tastes delicious, have affordable ingredients and are healthy and nutritious. These are quick, easy to make recipes for busy college students!
Below are 3 of my go-to smoothie recipes…
Mock Wendy’s Frosty
If you have ever tried a Wendy’s Frosty…this smoothie tastes exactly like it but it is a healthier version!
Yields: 2 frostys
- 4 medium bananas (I would recommend peeling and freezing your bananas – to get a thicker and smoother frosty consistency)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsps milk (almond milk or any milk preference)
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (preferred nut butter)
- 3 tbsps cocoa powder
- Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy
- Add additional milk if the smoothie is too thick or your blender is having a tough time blending
- Optional: top with peanut butter or chocolate shavings
- Pour into two cups and enjoy!
Tropical Pineapple Green Smoothie
Yields: 1 smoothie
- 1/2 cup almond milk (milk of preference)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or nondairy alternative)
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- 1 medium banana (frozen)
- half of a cucumber or a celery stick
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 2 tbsps maple syrup or honey
- Optional: 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 avocado (for healthy fats and creamier consistency)
- Blend all ingredients until smooth
- Optional: top with chia seeds, granola, honey/maple syrup drizzle
- Pour and enjoy!
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups frozen mixed berries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- Optional: 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder, 1 cup spinach
- Blend on high speed for 30 to 60 seconds until the smoothie has no lumps
- Pour and enjoy!
Source: I found this recipe on FoodJoySunshine recipe blog! I have also found some great dinner recipes on the site.
Smoothie Making Tips:
- Freeze your bananas! It makes for a smoother and creamier smoothie
- Add healthy fats (nut butters, avocados, chia seeds) for a more satiating/filling smoothie
- Add more milk if your smoothie is too thick or won’t blend
- Blend in ice for a chilled smoothie
- Use ingredients that you have! You can substitute ingredients to make your own smoothie creation. For the berry smoothie I have used frozen strawberries instead of berries to make a strawberry, banana smoothie. Make it your own!
Happy smoothie making!
Loving and caring for yourself is difficult, it’s truly a journey. It’s not as simple as deciding you know what I love myself, and that’s it. You don’t get to just think it and automatically feel and treat yourself with the love and care you deserve. Self-care is an essential part of the journey to loving yourself.
One of my favorite concepts to teach people is love languages. Love languages are often perceived as how one feels love from another person, but it’s important to love yourself through your love language. Today we are going to learn how to practice self-care through our love language.
Physical Touch self-care can be performed in a few ways such as taking a warm bath or shower, doing a face mask, giving yourself a manicure or pedicure, or giving yourself a massage. One special technique I would like to emphasize for those whose love language is physical touch is Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This relaxation technique helps relieve the tension you are holding throughout your body. It is practiced by focusing on releasing tension in one muscle group at a time working throughout your entire body. This technique is helpful for immediate stress relief and also can be practiced regularly to lower your overall stress and tension.
Acts of Service self-care is personally one of my favorites because it is my love language, but to be honest this is where I tend to fall behind when things become stressful. Acts of service self-care can be performed as simply taking care of yourself, being productive. Some of my favorite acts of service self-care are planning my week, making to-do lists, and going to the gym. Cleaning my room and car or doing laundry are other self-care practices that I feel instant self-gratification after doing but tend to fall behind on when I am in a stressful time.
Quality Time self-care is one area I am grateful for becoming a master of. I truly enjoy my time to myself and believe because I have learned to love spending time with myself I learned to love myself to a great extent. Quality time self-care can be as simple as taking a drive by yourself. Going out for a drive with the windows down playing my favorite songs on the full volume after a long day is one of my favorite things! I know it can feel unpleasant at first to be alone and you may not be ready to go out for a meal at a restaurant alone but taking yourself on dates is important. Take it slow, make it a goal to go for a picnic date alone, and enjoy this great spring weather! Quality time self-care can also be as simple as reading a good book alone in your room with a nice candlelit. Take a nap, dance it out alone in your room, just enjoy hanging out with yourself. You have you for life, be your best friend.
Receiving Gifts self-care might be the most fun but we have to be careful we don’t want to overload and become harmful to ourselves or our wallet. Everyone deserves treats whether you’ve been doing well or not. Reminding yourself you are worthy of good things is important. Take yourself to get an iced coffee or go shopping with a budget and just enjoy something special for yourself. Last week was an abnormally stressful week for me so I let myself go to Ross with a budget to get some new spring clothes. I treated myself without harming myself financially.
Words of Affirmation self-care is another favorite of mine because it is my second love language! A happy mind and heart allow a happy life. You are going to encounter so many negative, mean, and judgemental people in your life and you are only going to have so much control over it. What you can control is what you think and say to yourself. If you know and love who you are you will develop a great shield against the hate in the world. Love notes have always been one of my favorite things to receive from others so I write my own. I have little encouraging notes up in my room that say positive things about myself such as “I am strong”, “You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again”, and “Gorgeous” next to my bathroom mirror. One key contributor to my confidence and self-love was the reassurance I give myself. Remind yourself of your amazing and unique qualities, you deserve to be proud of them.
Loving yourself is a journey, it doesn’t happen overnight. But you will fall in love with the process and every inch of growth you see and feel. Remember nothing worth having comes easy, and self-love is worth having.
It’s almost April, and that means life is about to get more dangerous for autistic people than it already is.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s break this down.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a type of disability that affects how the brain develops. It affects how autistic people see the world and interact with it. The “spectrum” part comes from the fact that every autistic person is different. Some of us can speak, some of us need Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to talk. Some of us struggle to empathize with people and need them to tell us how they feel, while some of us are highly tuned to others and can guess their feelings. Some of us are problem-solvers, but some of us struggle to make decisions. Actually, many autistic people don’t even consider Autism a disability because they see it as just how their brains work. All people are different, autistic people are people; therefore, all autistic people are different. So—
Why does Autism have a whole month?
I doubt it will surprise many of my readers that the world was not built by or for autistic people.
How would you feel if everyone with power over you called you damaged? If people thought of teaching you life skills as an “intervention,” but didn’t believe you could ever be independent? If your thoughts on important topics were dismissed or ignored, because nobody believed that you understood what was going on? Even when those issues affected you directly? If bullies, teachers, police and so-called caregivers alike could torment and torture you, even kill you, and then claim you deserved it?
Yeah. Terrible right? I thought so. And that’s just the beginning.
So, people become more aware of that in April. Isn’t that good?
Well, without context, “awareness” is a neutral word. It means that people are aware autism exists, just as they might be aware that tomatoes are fruits. Unfortunately, that vagueness left room for toxic narratives that perpetuate the ableist behavior listed above. By now, “Autism Awareness” and “light it up blue” don’t mean, “Hey, Autism exists!” They mean, “Hey, Autism exists, but it shouldn’t, because people who have it are broken!”
We don’t need awareness. We need acceptance. We need laws that protect our civil rights and liberties, we need people to understand our natural body movements instead of treating us as threats. We need access to better supports. And none of that is going to come without our communities treating us like whole, competent people who just need a little help sometimes, like everyone else.
This Autism Acceptance Month, instead of lighting it up blue, go for #RedInstead, or shine in gold! Listen to autistic people to see what we really need. If you can afford it, maybe donate to autism organizations lead by autistic people. And keep an eye out for Zeta Sigma’s Autism Acceptance Day event, coming soon to USG.
A lot of people might have experienced what I’m experiencing right now; wearing braces. I’ve had braces on for the past 2-3 years now and I’ve learned how to live with them and what they do to my teeth. So here are somethings you should know about wearing braces.
There are various types of braces: When people hear the word “braces” they most likely think of the braces that are made of metal; you are partially correct, however, there are other types of braces like Invisalign, Ceramic, Lingual, and the braces that come with the headgear to name a few. The traditional braces are the ones made of metal which that’s the type I currently have. I don’t mind it but I can understand how it can make people uncomfortable but don’t worry, it won’t be a permanent thing.
They’re very fragile: Unfortunately I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Sometimes I would be eating something and then all of a sudden *crack* a bracket got displaced. You don’t know how many times this has occurred to me and every single time, I’d always get into a state of panic since I want these braces off but sometimes they’d actually break off on their own which doesn’t my state of mind. I’ve been trying to be careful of what I eat since sometimes some foods are just hard and I have to carefully make sure I don’t take in a lot or else the brackets will crack.
People who have braces still go get their cleaning done: I’m surprised that I have to explain this…but we still go to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned. The last time I went to my orthodontist appointment, the nurse told me that some people believe that people with braces don’t go get their six month cleaning. We still do our six month cleaning, sometimes we’d go every three months instead. We don’t avoid it, it’s just a bit harder for dentists as they don’t want to break the brackets at all.
Still use floss: Flossing is important for dental health. I wasn’t one who flossed before but now I do it every night. I’d recommend threader floss for those who have braces so that you’re able to get to your gums. My gums are a lot more healthier now than they were before. So don’t forget to floss, even when you got braces on, your gums will thank you.
If you’re interested in dentistry, the University of Maryland Baltimore has a Dual Degree Clinical Dental Hygiene Leader Track which allows you to get your B.S and M.S in Dental Hygiene at the same time. For more information here is the link to their page. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, let me know and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading my blog and I’ll see you in the next one!
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely” -Roy T. Bennet, The Light in the Heart
Affirmations are defined as positive words, phrases or statements that you repeat to yourself to describe how you want to be or feel. They challenge your existing negative thoughts or beliefs that may be holding you back and are self-sabotaging. The idea is when you repeat them frequently, you begin to believe them and live by them. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy and become true. Our thoughts dictate how we are in the world, how we make decisions, how think of ourselves and how we think of others – so you minds-well have good ones (thoughts)! Its super empowering when you realize you can take control of your thoughts and use them to make positive changes.
How to use affirmations:
- Raise your confidence before interviews or class presentations
- Improve your self-esteem
- Improve your productivity
- Change your mindset
- Stay motivated and achieve a goal
- Overcome a bad habit
- Control your feelings and emotions
I have compiled a list of positive affirmations below!
FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
- I am doing my very best.
- I am exactly where I need to be.
- I choose to see obstacles as opportunities.
- I choose not to worry about the future.
- I am on my way to my dream job.
- [My] perspective is unique. It’s important and it counts. -Glenn Clouse
- I do not need validation from others.
- I am enough.
- I believe in my abilities.
- I am strong.
- I will never give up on my goals and dreams.
- I choose prosperity over failure.
- The world is working in my favor.
- I trust I have the capability to to achieve.
- My mind is clear of self-doubt, and I am ready to embrace every challenge that comes my way.
- I am successful.
FOR DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY
- I am safe.
- I choose happiness of this moment, and not pain of the past.
- I attract energies and situations that fill me with joy.
- Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. -Maya Angelou
- [My] life is about to be incredible. -Tim Storey
International Women’s Day was last Monday, but it’s never too late to celebrate incredible people! So, today, I’d like to introduce you to someone. Meet Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte.
Dr. Susan, as her patients called her, was born in 1865 on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. At age eight, Dr. Susan stayed with an elderly Omaha woman, watching her die a slow, painful death. The white doctor never came to treat the woman, despite insisting that he would be there eventually. This episode terrified Dr. Susan (naturally), but it also inspired her to become a doctor and provide her community the care they needed.
After fourteen years of schooling on the Omaha reservation, Dr. Susan spent a few years at the Elizabeth Institute for Young Ladies in New Jersey. When she returned home, she taught at the reservation’s Quaker Mission School, where she met ethnologist Alice Fletcher, who encouraged her to enroll in what is now the Hampton Institute. Dr. Susan later enrolled in the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and became the first Native American to earn a medical degree. But she did not just earn her degree. Dr. Susan graduated as her class valedictorian.
She took this degree back to the Omaha reservation with her, where she treated her tribe members for tuberculosis, cholera, and everything else you could think of. When her white counterpart quit, upon seeing how many patients preferred Dr. Susan, she found herself the only physician on a 1,350 square mile reservation. Dr. Susan would travel for miles and risk her life to treat her patients, even if they dismissed her diagnosis because she earned her degree from a distant school.
Among several other accomplishments, Dr. Susan led a temperance campaign on the reservation, advocated for proper hygiene, and opened a private practice in Bancroft, Nebraska. She even helped her patients with legal and political matters. Her greatest accomplishment was when she realized her dream of building a hospital on the reservation in 1913. The hospital was in Walthill, Nebraska, and it was the first modern hospital in Thurston County. Dr. Susan was, simply put, the champion of the Omaha tribe.
There is much more to Dr. Susan’s story than that, but I have to cap it here. If you want to learn more about women in S.T.E.M.M., check out the Ladies in Technology (L.I.T.) club at U.S.G. You can find the details on U.S.G. OrgLife through the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources. Also, my colleague, Marianeli, wrote a fantastic post about more women worth celebrating, so feel free to check that out if you haven’t already. And, happy Women’s History Month, everyone!
All biographical information presented here is courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine and the NIH’s “Changing the Face of Medicine” exhibition.