National Biking Month!

Yes, we’ve all heard: it’s the end of the semester, and for many, this is the last push before a glorious one or two months off of school work, exams, and long hours at the library. This final push can also be exhausting, as we can feel incredibly burnt out by now.

Best way to deal with this? Incorporate something new! Luckily, May is national biking month!

Realistically, it would be hard for me to preach biking to work for the rest of this month or biking to USG from the other side of the county. However, there are several ways to celebrate National Biking Month that can also benefit your worn out mind…

  • That 2-5 minute drive to the grocery store? Why not bike?
  • Yes, a study marathon may be unavoidable. But a 10-15 minute break benefits your mind, body and sanity. Why not take a bike ride? Especially with the beautiful weather.
  • Don’t have a bike? There are Capital Bikeshare stations all over the place! A single 30-minute trip is only 2 dollars; if you wanted to use it for a day and bike to work or class, it’s just 8 dollars! Think of it this way: this would probably be less than the cost of gas and the daily cost for many gyms out there. You get your commute and workout all in one nice bundle.
  • Montgomery has dozens of fantastic bike trails. Take advantage of this! No need to weave in and out of traffic in the city or worry about a driver not seeing you. These trails are both safe and beautiful.
  • If you do have the opportunity to ride to work, National Ride to Work week is next week! If you just don’t have the energy to do it all day, the National Day for it is next Friday, May 17. Though some of us might not work, I’m sure nobody would be on your case for riding to class instead of work 🙂

I’m not an expert in biking. I ride around downtown Silver Spring occasionally and in the trails back at home in Howard County. However, I’ve always envied how my co-worker, who biked to work every day the first half of the year, in heat, rain, or ice (once his brakes froze!), game to work energized. He never seemed quite as tired as the rest of us.

If you are interested in learning more, the League of American Bicyclists has a page all on National Bike Month.

Happy Biking!

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For Happier Days

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With the second half of the semester so busy with exams lined up and papers abound, I lost track of time, and hadn’t even realized it was the end of the semester. Already my junior year here at USG comes to an end, and with it lies my last post for the USG blog. Endings and farewells are always bittersweet – I realize through my posts how much I’ve grown here, how much I’ve learned, and how many experiences I’ve had with both new and familiar faces.

But more than anything, I would like to say thank you. Thank you to the people of the Universities at Shady Grove, the University of Maryland, from my advisors to my classmates who have made my first year here so incredible as it was. During this first year, I had been able to take courses with amazing professors who have taught me so much, had been able to intern at a public accounting firm to gain experience, and grow so much as both a student and person. It’s exciting to know what the second and final year here at USG will bring!

Whether you are currently a student about to transfer to USG, or a student graduating this year, I hope that everyone has had a wonderful experience and will continue to do so! You might be continuing your studies either here or abroad, or you might be taking your first step to a career. There’s no strict timeline or path you must take, as long as you are moving forward at your own pace.

Good luck everyone, and congratulations!

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The Faces of Depression

I work in a suburban hospital emergency room and each and every day, we care for at least two (oftentimes more) individuals who have attempted or are contemplating suicide, what we call “suicidal ideations”. Sometimes these patients come in on their own, sometimes they are brought in by the police or paramedics, and sometimes family or friends bring them in for treatment. They are assessed by the ER team and then see a hospital psychiatrist to see if they need to be admitted to an inpatient facility or can be discharged to outpatient care.

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Why is Sansa Stark here? Keep reading.

It’s a challenge to try to get to the crux of why someone would want to kill themselves. Depression is an insidious disease that will make someone feel worthless and alone. When people say how “selfish” it is for someone to commit suicide, they have no idea how the brain works and how the depths of depression are, well, so deep. Trying to lift the veil of depression can be a struggle for the clinician and patient alike and often requires therapy and perhaps even medication. All good things if they help a person feel better.

Social media has made it easy for us all to think our lives are not as exciting as someone else’s and cause us to compare ourselves to others’ job successes, school achievements, amazing vacations, children’s accomplishments, just to name a few. So when I see a high profile person come out and reveal something private about themselves in a public forum, I pay attention and wonder how their words will affect others.

In scrolling through my Facebook feed (while trying not to compare myself to others, of course), I came across this Dr. Phil podcast in which Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, reveals her depression diagnosis and that she once thought about committing suicide. Even I had these thoughts: Doesn’t she have it all? Isn’t she engaged to Joe Jonas? Isn’t she slim and beautiful? How could SHE be depressed? Even me. Me who has struggled with depression and knows that there is no rhyme or reason to how it makes a person feel.

Please take a few minutes (6 to be exact) to watch this portion of the podcast. I could not love Sophie Turner any more and am sure that she will help many by coming forward with her own struggles. And remember that there is always someone to reach out to. If you are depressed or have thoughts of killing yourself, please reach out to a friend, family member, doctor, nurse or call the hotline below. There IS help and it DOES get better. And if someone tells you they are feeling suicidal, please listen closely, provide the phone number below, and know how hard for them it was to share their personal struggle with you.

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Thank you and Good Luck!

I cannot believe that next month is May already! Also, since this is my last post, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you and congratulations to all. For those graduating next month, congratulations on finishing your program! For those who are finishing your first year, you did it! You are half way through your program! We are all at a point of our programs where we should celebrate because we accomplished something. Whether you transferred from a community college or returning to school to obtain your master’s or doctorate degree, we all know that this transition is never easy. Luckily, USG is a well-equip campus and the different student services are dedicated to helping students achieve success. It has been a pleasure being a graduate student blogger for the last two years. I enjoyed sharing some of my stories and tips to help you during your time at USG. I hope you enjoyed my blog posts as much as I enjoyed writing them. Attending my graduate and undergraduate programs at USG was a decision that I am glad that I made. I was able to be part of the USG community and give back to the community at large. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my experiences as a graduate student at USG.

If you missed any of my blog posts or would like to revisit any of them, below are the links to all of them.

Fall 2017
Mind and Body Wellness
Life of a Graduate Student: Time Management and Organization
Work and Life Balance
Old Habits Die Hard: Procrastination and Tips to Overcome It
Grad School Application
Writing & Study Tips
Career Planning

Spring 2018
Holiday and Winter Break Highlights
Giving Back to the Community
Cultural Tea Time
Spring Break Ideas & ASB
Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week
Benefits of Having a LinkedIn Account
Owl Hours & Study Tips
Attention Soon-to-be Alumni!
Minimalism & Zero Trash Lifestyle Change

Summer 2018
Balancing Act in Grad School
Get Interested in Uninteresting Topics-Reading Strategies 
Welcome, New Students! 
Questions to Ask in Grad School
Garden of Unity and Peace
Event Planning-Wedding Bells

Fall 2018
Welcome Back!
USG Mobile Market
Cultural Awareness via Traveling
Be the Voice – GSA
Writing Tips – Short on Time or Lacking Motivation?
Customized Gifts for the Holidays
Finals Week & GSA Raffle

Spring 2019
Holiday/Winter Break – Vegan Meals
Reflective Thinking
Spread the Love
Goal Setting and Motivation 
Stress Management
Spring 2019 Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week
Overcoming Procrastination

Again, thank you and good luck to all!

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Less than a month away

For those of us graduating this spring, reality is starting to set in for us.
What am I going to do after graduation?
Where can I find a job after graduation?
Should I pursue a master’s degree?
What have I been doing before now?
What now?

As a senior, these questions are starting to look too real. I have asked myself these questions over and over, and if this is you, don’t worry, you are not alone.
If anything, here are some things that I learned. Hopefully, it might benefit you juniors and seniors before it is your time to leave.
1. Apply to jobs early, its hard.
2. Network! People you know may get you to places you never thought you can get
3. Don’t be discouraged.
4. You will fail, but that is ok.

My teacher once said, “reach for the stars and you might touch the ceiling. If you reach for the ceiling, you will never leave the ground.” Seniors, make the most of the time you have left. Start looking into your future now,and use your experiences to help people below you. You may never know what is in store for you. Become an advocate for others, and use your experiences to help someone.

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Watch and learn!

Being a Communications major, I am learning about social media. The big five of social media sites i.e Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, Youtube are something we cannot live without. Social media has given its users a voice, and existence that they could never think of. Lets not forget the sites that started it all i.e. MySpace, Orkut? Friendster? Napster? As the time is passing social media is becoming more sophisticated and have more options to integrate with their users lifestyle. Social media is informing us, educating us, and also entertaining us. Where else would we get our daily doses for ‘memes’ if it wasn’t for Facebook and Instagram? Where else would we see our latest sports highlights? or our favorite recipes for pie if it wasn’t for YouTube. I, myself could not help but think that besides Netflix,  YouTube, plays a huge part in providing me various mode of entertainment according to me mood. It could vary from my favorite music artists, to a cooking recipe or latest review on new technology. Over the years I have subscribed to various vloggers (video bloggers) and entertainers. I love watching dance videos. There are some Youtube channels and stars that I think are the best and most fun to watch.

  1. Superwoman  If you don’t know who ‘Lilly Singh’ is, you must be living under a rock. A Youtube-er from Canada, now living in LA. She got her popularity from making satirical and most entertaining videos of her Punjabi, Indian background. One can see her later acting and production work in many cameos and  music videos. She is going to be the host of much awaited talk show ‘A little late with Lilly’ on NBC.  Lilly-Singh-1200x675
  2. 5-Minute Crafts  I know  that I, myself is watching it,  my kids are watching it, and my friends are sharing it on Facebook. From learning how to  recycle old bottles and turning them into plant pots, or hot glue created cell phone cover or 5 different ways to make chocolate desserts this lifestyle changing channel is helpful to all. It only takes 5 minutes!
  3. T-Series  If you grew up watching Bollywood movies (Indian Movies) like me, you probably are already subscribed to it. It’s the most subscribed channel on You-Tube on 2019. You can get the latest  Indian movie trailers, and musical dance numbers here.
  4. The Ellen Show  The day time talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres, will give you a daily dose of snippets of her show on her YouTube channel, One does not have to worry about missing her show on t.v. Her interviews, games and philanthropic work are showcased in her show in the most ‘Ellen’ way and one can watch it all in YouTube.
  5. Buzz Feed  It started out as a channel that would cover news and topics that no one else would cover. It still does the same. It follows all viral trends and more.

Universities at Shady Grove have their own YouTube channel which you can visit and subscribe here.  Universities at Shady Grove is also hosting its annual Film Festival, which will showcase the work on Communication students in Building 1, Auditorium on May 2nd,2019. If you want to catch previous work from past film festival movies, created by students, you can catch all of them here and don’t forget to subscribe!

Film Festival

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The Value in Arts

While I’m tired, groggy, and in a consistent haze due to allergies, here we are, back in the classroom from our short-lived spring break. In all honesty, some days, it takes careful thinking and mindfulness to remember the positives that come from working in a classroom filled with 5th graders who have their own version of senioritis. This morning I got an email from a man who came to our school to work with our students as an author-in-residence…even though he was really a playwright. Turns out the play my class wrote was chosen to be performed by Best Medicine Rep, a local nonprofit professional theater company, at the Gaithersburg Books Festival.

Ironically, just two weeks ago, I received a very different email from the same playwright, detailing how funding and grants for opportunities like the one my class had would be cut.

While I’m in a STEM-focused program, you may have heard “STEM” being broadened to include the arts, with the new name “STEAM.” With all the complications and nuances with education policy right now, the struggle to close gaps and understand how to best structure a classroom and school so that every student can succeed…I can understand why decision makers feel a need to push aside the arts in order to prioritize things like math and reading. However, this decision is without it’s faults and detriments to students.

I had never seen my kids collaborate as well as they did when they were working on writing this play. I had never seen certain students break out of their shell all year….until they had the opportunity to audition for the role of Mercy Otis Warren. It’s such a wonderful opportunity, and it would be a shame to see opportunities like that go away.

 

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Final Presentations and Anxiety

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In most courses, a final exam will consist of multiple choice questions and a few problems to solve. Other courses may have pages upon pages of writing, showing what you have learned throughout this semester all in one paper to read. Both have their merits based upon the course taken. For instance, as an accounting major, most, if not all my final exams consist of multiple choice questions – conceptual and mathematical – and the rest being a series of problems.

But outside of these two formats, a final exam could be a presentation. Currently, I am taking a course called Strategic Management (BMGT495) where a final presentation is the bulk of where we are able to show what we have learned throughout the course along with our classmates as a group.

In the beginning, I had been so worried since giving presentations can be incredibly anxiety-inducing, and groups can be with people you have never met before. But fortunately, the course with my professor had been amazing at fighting this nervousness. We began the course with learning the concepts found in the textbook, and then applying those concepts to case studies and then eventually to presenting our thoughts and findings to the class in our groups. What had started off as something worrying became almost natural to do!

A few tips I found that were helpful before a presentation were –

  • Meeting with your group to discuss what topics will be covered (also when, and by whom). Building synchronicity with your group will go a long way.
  • Practice! More than anything, practicing what I was going to say in front of a mirror was extremely helpful. In front of a mirror you are able to see your own facial expressions, your hand gestures, and any other aspects you want to know.
  • Controlling your breathing was also substantial. Sometimes, when the nervousness creeps in I feel my breath become shallow and suddenly your chest feels tight. I forced myself to breathe in and out in a steady pace, and it becomes so much easier to talk in front of an audience. But make sure to practice at home first, to find a rhythm that matches your tone.

Good luck everyone!

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What I Learned This Week…

56935309_417666175677099_5917609930453417984_nLast week was my first full week in the emergency department. What a wild ride! In reflecting on the 36 hours, there are certain things that bubbled up to the surface. Here they are:

  • I love the ER;
  • The more IVs you do, the better you get;
  • My mentors are amazing;
  • The sign of a great employer is one who wants you to be successful and will help you get there;
  • Putting a catheter in a real person is different than a mannequin;
  • ER unicorns may show up on the same day (pneumothorax and cardioversion, anyone?);
  • If you are doing a skill for the first time, don’t tell the patient;
  • Agitated psych patients use up lots of ER resources;
  • Techs are some kick-ass teachers;
  • With a choice of a 30-year old doctor, a 25-year old tech and a 55-year old new nurse, most patients will look to the oldest person in the room to answer their questions (that would be inexperienced me);
  • ODs are no joke;
  • There’s always lots of food;
  • Code grey is when someone escapes from the hospital (don’t ask…);
  • Sometimes it’s best to give someone a shower before you treat them (really don’t ask…);
  • And the best advice from my manager: “Your job is to do the next thing the patient needs to move along to discharge, admission, pain relief, or diagnosis and when none of those things seem like they are happening, your job is the assure them they are safe and taken care of.”
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Overcoming Procrastination 

Most of you are probably starting to study for your final exams and working on your final papers. Some of you are probably starting to feel the pressure and stress of finishing up your assignment. I am also in the same situation. Unfortunately, sometimes, we get lost in our busy schedule trying to finish up projects for school and working that we tend to forget why we decided to go to school in the first place. For this post, I thought I would share some strategies to help you maintain your motivation to finish this semester with a bang! Finding and maintaining your motivation to finish any tasks is always a challenge, BUT there are ways to overcome this. Below is a sample problem that I often encounter each semester which tends to prevent me from accomplishing my tasks. I thought that I would share how I typically approach this problem because I know that other students tend to encounter the same issue.

Problem: Procrastination
My Strategies: Time management (dividing a huge task into smaller tasks), taking breaks, providing incentives to yourself for each accomplishment

Procrastination is and will always be my number one challenge especially when I am required to read multiple reading materials to write a research paper. This tends to happen when I have to write a long and comprehensive research paper that requires me to read 15 or more research articles (typically for class). To counter this issue, I would divide my large project into smaller parts so that the reading and writing portions would not overwhelm me. With the smaller parts, I would set goals and provide an incentive (break and watch TV for 30 minutes to an hour) for me to help me maintain my motivation level. Recently, I learned about a strategy of using literature table via excel sheet to record relevant information (to my paper) in an excel file. The goal of this strategy is to pick out relevant information from each article and put them in a category in your excel sheet that will help you when you start writing your paper; this is to have a visual summary of your articles so you will not have to reread them to search for the information that you need. I liked this strategy because it does not require me to reread all of my articles just to extract the information that I needed. If you are curious about this method, below is a screenshot of my Literature Table from my seminar paper to give you an idea of what it is.

lit table

 Previous Blog Post to Help: Old Habits Die Hard: Procrastination and Tips to Overcome It, Writing & Study Tips, Get Interested in Uninteresting Topics-Reading Strategies

Overall, self-awareness is key to overcoming any challenges. In my case, I know that procrastination can hinder my performance especially with writing long papers. However, because I know this problem can happen, I have the tools to overcome it. No matter what challenge you face, always know that you have the resources to problem solve these issues. If you struggle with procrastination, like me, and would like some help identifying your own strategies to overcome it, I would suggest stopping by the Center for Academic Success and schedule an academic coaching session for time management.

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