Festival Time!

Hey there! This week is definitely feeling springy – gives me just a little taste of summer and I know I can’t be the only one who is ready to be done with the semester! We’re still trucking along though. If you’re reading this; know that you’re not alone.

As a COMM major and Director of Social Media and Marketing for the UCA, I think it would be wrong of me not to mention the event that’s going on TOMORROW! We’re hosting our annual UMD COMMpetition: Digital Media & Film Festival on May 3rd at 6pm.


I have practically all of my classes with some of the people that will be presenting their work. From music videos to short films, it’s a time to get to see what the Communication Department has put their hard work into. I will say it’s really interesting to see everyone’s creative style. No one person is the same. Films and any digital media products are all so different. This will be my first time attending so I hope to see you all there!

If this is your first time reading one of my blogs, please feel free to check out the other ones I’ve posted throughout the year here. It’s been a pleasure writing for Around the Grove this past year and I wish everyone a good end of the semester! Finish those papers, individual projects, group projects, and study for those exams. It will pay off.

For the last time this semester: Thanks for reading and enjoy your summer! 🙂

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Student Appreciation Cookout

You feel that? The weather seems to be getting warmer. Which means Summer is almost here. Are you guys excited for the end of the semester? I sure am!

Last Thursday, USG held an exciting event dedicated to us, the students. It was another successful event!The event took place in the central quad. Fortunately the weather was really nice. There were all types of fun things at the event- games, food, music and even animals!


One part of the event that was really popular were the various games. If you walked around the grass, you would have seen Jumbo Jenga, Cornholes, Waterguns and an inflatable Obstacle Course. Not only was it fun to play the games, but you also had the chance to win either a t shirt or a stuffed llama.


Like many events at USG, there had to be food. This event was no exception. When you entered the event, you were given three tickets to use on food. There was popcorn, hamburgers and ice cream. Perfect for a warm sunny day!


Perhaps the most popular part of the event were the different animals students were able to pet. This was actually new this year – there haven’t been animals in previous cookouts. There were different animals – baby goats, ducks, bunnies and llamas. They were all equally soft! Let’s hope they return for next year’s cookout!


If you were lucky to be on campus during the event, you might have heard the music playing. If you didn’t hear about the cookout before it started, the music would have definitely gotten your attention. The DJ picked a nice selection of songs that played throughout the event.

This year’s event was a huge success! It’s special because it honors all the students at USG. This is just one example of how important the students are!

As we reach the last 2 weeks of the semester, be sure to lookout for events that are unique to the end of the semester. Also, be on the lookout for posters advertising the De-Stress Lounge. Make sure to mark your calendars!


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Life After USG

It’s April 30th, which for some of you means less than one month until graduation. Today also happens to be my last blog post for USG. I’ve enjoyed sharing my opinions and tips with the community, and also hearing your feedback on what I’ve written so far.

After graduation some of you may be pursuing more schooling or starting your professional careers. Some of you might not even have anything set just yet. I wanted to share a few things I have learned along the way, post graduation day.

  1. Your first job might not be your dream job
    • …And that’s OK. On your long journey to graduation you had to take classes that you may not have liked or that were “required” by the curriculum. In that same fashion, some of us may end up working jobs that really are not our favorite thing to do. You have to view this as a stepping stone toward something greater. That being said, you also have to know when to move on. This is where your friends and family come in handy.
  2. Do not compare yourself to your friends or peers
    • No two people are exactly alike. If your friend already has a job and you do not, or if your friend was accepted to an excellent graduate program, but you have nothing lined up…well, so what? You are not them and they are not you. Our family, community, and schools all play a part in shaping who we are. Everyone has a different credo they live by. Live by yours and only yours.
  3. Do acknowledge the fact that you have accomplished something great by graduating
    • One year ago in April 2017, the Census revealed that 33.4% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher. You are one of those individuals. You are ahead of the curve! I noticed that a lot of people forget this fact. You have work hard for this. Take it in.
  4. Hard work in school is different than working hard at work
    • Working in the “real world” is different than working or studying at school. Just know you will have to maneuver difficult people and situations more than before. Also, education really doesn’t discrminate in the sense that an older and younger person learning something new for the first time could still be on the same level of understanding of that new topic. At work (at least in my experience) the individual with more years of experience will always have more wisdom working on their side.
  5. The learning never ends   
    • Yes, you are no longer a student in a school, but you are a student on the job. My experiences tell me that companies prefer employees who are willing and able to learn. Expanding your skillset while on the job is vital to being a contributor to the company’s goals. Someone once described this to me as a “student-forever” mentality. Always be humble and acknowledge there is something new you could learn.

Thank you to my readers. Thank you to USG for giving me the opportunity to write on behalf of the most wonderful educational institution. I wish all of the graduates the best in their future endeavors. You made it…cheers!

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Home Stretch

Home Stretch

As we stand at the end of the semester with only 2 weeks of instruction left and 1 week of finals after that, we can now focus our attention on our summers and the next semester. Summer means many different things for all of us. Summer can mean; more time at work to make more money, summer courses, vacation/travel, relaxing at home, and internships. So, what is a good way to spend your summer? Unfortunately, the answer is usually not, “Do nothing.”

Depending on where you are in life and in school, there are optimal ways to spend your summer. For instance, if, like me, you dropped a course over the semester due to overload syndrome, then summer is time to take that course and make sure I (you) graduate on time. How about if you’re a senior getting ready to graduate? Then you have a whole host of options. You can take a gap year before any type of professional or graduate education where you work, relax, study, travel, or complete research. If you are just arriving to the Universities at Shady Grove, maybe it’s best to familiarize yourself more with the resources offered here. Reflecting on your past semester is a good way for all of us to spend our summer. We can learn from our mistakes and see what worked for us, and what didn’t.

Volunteering is another popular and beneficial option for this summer. Volunteering in different fields can teach you a lot about an area of study and whether it’s for you or not. Volunteering can also strengthen your resume and give you lots to talk about when those professional school interviews come around. Also, volunteering at a location where you have fun is always an option. Helping others is never a bad way to spend your time.

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Drones Pt. 2 + Film Festival!

Check out my last blog post where I talked about how I got a cool opportunity to try out a DJI Mavic Drone! I was able to piece together another drone video with some different shots. Check it out down below!

I made this quick video with skills I learned while taking film classes here at USG. Being in the Communication program, we have classes every semester that are based in film, screen writing, video editing, and more. Our awesome professor who teaches these courses is Dr. Adam Nixon. He has vast experience in film production and editing.

That being said, USG is hosting our annual UMD COMMpetition: Digital Media & Film Festival on May 3rd at 6pm. Come check out student music videos, documentaries, and stop motion films! This is a great showcase of student film and photography. Hope to see you there!


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Don’t Get Lost in the Sauce!

Get it, because “Lost in the sauce, can’t ketchup”. No? okay. Anyways! I feel like it has been forever since I have been able to discuss my life here on this blog.

The Joy of Giving Back was a huge success for everyone. We all got to give our messages to Mrs. Kendall and remember Mr. Kendall for the amazing person that he was.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 9.27.52 PM

My friends and I at the Joy of Giving Back! (Familiar faces, I know).

Last week was also the first every USG Talent Show. The CSEF office twisted my arm, and I decided to participate. I was thinking of putting some type of slideshow together to show the different chalkboard I have made. But that’s not interesting. I decided my only talent that was not a slideshow, was dancing. Therefore, I performed the traditional Mexican Dance.

Talent Show 2018

The skirt is actually the best part of this photo


Everyone who was there and performed for the Talent Show

This Monday, I brought in muffins to work. I completed my #MuffinsForMuffins campaign for Student Council. Even though not everyone can vote for anyone. It was still a way for me to get my face and name out there. Towson actually does not have much competition. It is actually me and another friend in my program running, therefore, the competition for us is EXTREMELY friendly.

Aside from that friends, you know me, just doing homework and sleeping when I finally get the chance to. I am very happy the semester is almost over.

Since part of my jobs is to voice upcoming events.

Student Appreciation Cookout is today at 5! There will be food and llamas (so long as it doesn’t rain).

Don’t forget to vote for Student Council! I know I said Towson’s competition isn’t tough, but other institutions need those votes! So please do so when you get the chance!

Last but not least, breathe! I know the end of the semester bring crazy big assignments and such. But it will get done. We will all make it!

Feel free to comment any of your special talents or hopes for the end of the semester! Til next time, friends!

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Owl Hours & Study Tips

Can you believe it? It is the end of April already, which means that final exams are around the corner. Some of you are probably too excited about graduation that it is getting hard to concentrate. Remember, you have to pass you current classes to get your diploma in May. To help you ace those exams, I thought I would share some study tips to get your started in preparing to study (even bit by bit) for finals week.

Below are some study tips for you:

  • Schedule study time – Scheduling study time will help you make a habit of studying even if it is just for 15 or 30 minutes. Before you know it, studying will be an automatic behavior for you.
  • Organization – I would assume that your instructor(s) have already provided you an idea of what will be in the final exam, which is critical to how you organize your notes. By organizing your notes, it will be easier for your brain to organize or connect the information that you are trying to learn. Therefore, it will be easier for you to understand and recall.
    • Here are some ideas on how to organize your notes:
      • Use different Colored Highlighters or pens
      • Create acronyms
      • Use flow charts or diagrams for visual representation of your notes
      • Use flashcards
      • Create a study group where you practice explaining concepts to each other
  • Take Breaks – I highly recommend taking breaks, maybe every 20 minutes, to help your brain remember the information that you are studying. By taking breaks, you do not feel too overwhelmed by the mass number of information. Remember, you have been learning about the different concepts from your classes that your notes are simply there to remind you of what you learned throughout the semester.
  • Ask for Help – If you find yourself lost or do not understand something, ask either your instructor(s) or peers for help. Someone is bound to have a better understanding of the concept who could help explain it to you. I typically put together a list of my questions and ask the instructor directly since he/she would know better.   

For more study tips, please visit my Writing and & Study Tips post.

Need a place to study? Did you know that the Priddy library has late night hours? They are open Sunday-Thursday from 10pm-3am! Remember to bring you student ID with you.

Owl Hours

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Productivity for Stress Management

As students enter the week before finals, it is important to manage stress as effectively as possible.  It’s important to note that stress is not something you feel. Stress is not a temporary state of mind that you experience. It’s important that you do not treat stress in this way because it makes it harder to actually manage it. Stress is a physical reaction that your body has when there are too many things that you need to do. It’s your reaction to your mind telling you, you have to take care of things. Stress has many physical manifestations such as losing out on sleep, gaining weight, getting acne and losing hair.

Many things that people do to manage stress is related to feeling better. They go to a yoga class, go to the gym, go for a run or meditate. While these things might offer a clear head and a new perspective, it’s not the most effective way to deal with stress. It’s almost as if these things are distracting us from the important things that need to be done. Unless the thing you are doing to manage your stress brings about a solution to what you are stressed about, it won’t be effective.

A fresh perspective to think about stress is a box with the opening at the top being the point where you experience stress. Life throws things into the box such as relationship trouble, family challenges, financial issues and academic deadlines. Anything that you have to take care of is a stress block. If you let the box pile up above the top and you do not take care of your obligations, you enter into a form of depression where hope is no longer a factor. The way to deal with stress is to completely remove the things that are filling up your box. Since stress isn’t a feeling, it won’t make you feel better. It will make you better.

Learn how to act with awareness at the Center for Consultation in the Priddy library. There is a workshop on the 25th of April that students are invited to in order to live successfully.

SHSL Spring 18 Flyer - v3

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The art of effective class presentation

131192_e733_3Presentations are an essential part of graduate school as well as life after school! Most of our future careers may involve presenting in front of parents, schools, clients, governing bodies, institutions, etc. Therefore, presentations in graduate school should not be frowned upon. It may be helpful to view graduate presentations as a training platform for the future.

This semester has by far been the most presentation heavy semester thus far. I have had a couple of classmates from both of my classes stop me and commend me for effective class presentations. I typically smile and modestly say, “Thank you!”. Most of my classmates believe that it came naturally and without any effort. I tell you, this is far from the truth.

I am a reserved individual, and I have always been comfortable around people I know, not large crowds. My desire to improve my public speaking came when I presented in a research hospital, and I realized that I needed more practice. I joined a club at work that offered employees the opportunity to practice public speaking. The audience at the club provided critic on how to improve on my presentations. This made me hone my strengths and try to diminish my weaknesses.

If there is any piece of advice I would give to students at USG is practice! There are so many activities that are on campus as well as in class. Make sure you take every presentation that you are provided seriously. Also, try to keep improving. Do not see the class presentation as a chore or just a task you want to “get over and done with.” It is likely that in our line of work, you will be called upon to take the stand. Well, let us not only take the stand- but also let us own it!


Future world class speaker!

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Suicide Prevention Awareness

True or False?

  • Among 10-24 year olds in the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death.
  • The rates of suicide attempts and deaths from suicide can be described by the phrase “girls try, boys die”.
  • In talking to someone contemplating suicide, it is important not to lecture them on the value of life or debate with them about whether suicide is right or wrong.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 to those in need of emotional support.

As Shady Grove Liaison for my school’s chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP), I am collaborating  with USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) and the Culture of Care Network (CCN) to organize a four day event on suicide prevention, a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

On Monday 4/30 through Wednesday 5/1 from 1-2 PM, pharmacy and nursing student volunteers will be tabling in Building III to educate the USG community on suicide facts and figures, warning signs, ways to ask someone who may be contemplating suicide, what to do when you know someone who plans to commit suicide, and helpful resources. If you answered true to all of the statements at the beginning of this post, you are already quite knowledgeable about suicide.

Then, on Thursday 5/3 at 1PM, we will be having a short Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk that goes around the Courtyard and ends at the Garden of Unity and Peace. Participants will all receive a “Be the Voice” T-shirt, and a ribbon to tie around the Arch as a visual statement of the extent to which suicide affects our community and how we can all take an action, no matter how small, to help prevent suicide.

The Garden, funded by a grant awarded to CCC by the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network (MD-SPIN), will at this time be officially dedicated as a place for reflection, expression, education, and community. There will be several speakers at the Dedication, including the USG Executive Director, Dr. Stewart Edelstein.

My hope is that this event will help to close some gaps in knowledge about suicide and promote a commitment among the USG community to prevent suicide. If you’re interested in helping with either tabling or the Walk/Dedication, please sign-up here and see the flyer for more details. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions – I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Walk-Dedication Flyer

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