Beginning a New Year!

I am very excited to be starting off a brand new academic year! I am currently a senior at USG and it feels so surreal to me! This past year has gone by so quickly and pretty soon the class of 2021 will be graduating! This last year is a very important one as this will dictate whether or not you graduate on time. For me, this is the year I will be striving to maintain a high GPA and a good academic standing. I’m glad that USG allows us to have a close relationship with professors and classmates as that is something important for everyone’s success. I feel as if we all are working together to ensure that we all succeed whether we are graduating this semester, next semester, or the next year.

That’s why I wanted to show you what some of my classmates and I have done to ensure that we all succeed in our mutual classes. These actions are pretty much I feel most people should do while in school; since your classmates are most likely going through or had been in the same situation as yourself. So here are some tips to help you get by during this semester.

  1. Start a group chat: One of my classmates decided to create a WhatsApp chat for the class I shared with them. Our class meetings are split up between Mondays and Wednesdays so sometimes we’d ask each other about the meetings and what should we be on the lookout for. It also helps that you can share PDF’s so a classmate could send us all a PDF version of the textbook needed for the class which is very helpful.

2. Form groups within classes: A group of classmates can be beneficial to you in the long run. If you miss a class for some reason, you can always contact them and ask if they were in class and ask for notes as well. They can even be your go to group for group projects. I suggest making a group with at least 2-3 people to ensure that someone was in class and can give you notes.

3. Join a club or organization: Joining a club or organization can help you connect with others who can help you achieve your goals Last semester I joined the Undergraduate Communication Association (UCA) to better connect with other students like myself. They help out with networking which is very vital to many students today; they even plan to start study sessions to ensure that we are getting the necessary help for our classes. There’s also going to be days where we just hang out virtually so that we still can interact with each other as friends, not classmates. If you are interested in the UCA you can give them a follow on instagram @usg_uca

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, let me know and I will see you all in the next post!

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

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Preparing for Fall Semester

The Switch to Online Classes: The Many Pathways We Can Take

Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and fall semester is nearing us. As we know, classes and Universities at Shady Grove (USG) events are online and that shouldn’t stop us from participating in activities. Before diving into USG events to participate in, here are some tips on how to prepare for the fall semester during covid-19: https://online.uwc.edu/about/news/college-101-preparing-for-fall-semester

  1. Finalize your enrollment
  2. Get all your class materials
  3. Get familiar with your institution’s online learning platform
  4. Put together a learning schedule
  5. Set Smart Goals-follow the SMART formula: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound.

Let’s also not forget to shout-out to America’s colleges and universities, their professors and staff professionals, and their students.”Collectively, they pulled off a remarkable transition this spring, shifting instruction they had previously been delivering predominantly in person for most students to an almost entirely remote experience for pretty much everybody.”https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/04/01/preparing-quietly-fall-semester-without-person-instruction

As for USG event, here are some upcoming events to look forward to:

UPCOMING EVENTS

In Conversation with Robin DiAngelo, Author of White Fragility
Thursday, August 20th
7:00-8:00pm, Register here! (Free, not USG affiliated)
Race and social justice educator, Robin DiAngelo, helps audiences understand White Fragility and move beyond it toward awareness, accountability, allyship.  Based on her #1 New York Times bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, in this session, DiAngelo will help develop an antiracist framework and accountability practice based on authentic relationships, education, and honest self-reflection. 

Nine-Tea: A Student-Run Podcast at USG
Complete the Survey by Wednesday, August 19th
Nine-Tea will be a student-run podcast led by Psychology Student Association and Student Council member, Henri Maindidze (UMBC student) with the help of the Undergraduate Communication Association where they plan to discuss a diverse range of topics relating to the important things in life. Fill out their survey to help them with ideas and topics!

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End of a Season

Image by Radosław Cieśla from Pixabay

This season has really gone by so fast. One day it’s June and the next it’s August. So much has happened throughout the summer season both good and bad; yet we have still managed to make it to where we are and that is truly something to be thankful for. I had spent some of summer trying to learn some new things and make up time for things I couldn’t finish. I’d hope that I would get some things done before the academic year began so that I could focus on my school work easily than I would if I hadn’t gotten some things done. So here are some things I managed to finish or catch up on during the summer season.

  1. Completing a summer course: As I’ve said before I took a summer course during the beginning of the summer so I could make up for a lost course in the spring semester; but I managed to learn a lot within those six weeks. Like how to be respectful of non conforming people and that asking what pronouns someone prefers is very important. It has helped me stay engaged and to make use of my summer. It helped add more knowledge to my current knowledge of the subject.

2. Catching up on video games: Something that I can’t really do because of school is play video games. About a year ago I was gifted an Xbox One so I had been experimenting with it so I can step out of my comfort zone (Nintendo games and consoles were my go to). I had began playing games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto 5(GTA V), and Dark Souls 3. I had recently finished my first walk though of Dark Souls 3 with the help of my significant other because that game is very hard and not for beginners; yet it’s a good game but it comes with a lot of frustration but if you persist, the end results are very satisfying.

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

3. Continue watching shows: I often wouldn’t have time to catch up on shows so I took some of the summer to catch up on shows like Lucifer, The Seven Deadly Sins, and a nine day series presented by Investigation Discovery. Now I’m all caught up on most of the shows I watch so I can focus more on school work.

However, this summer break is nearing it’s end. Some students will continue their courses online while others have to come back to campus. For those coming back to campus, USG will make sure to have hand sanitizer stations and ensure that social distancing is enforced. Masks will be required. Thus concludes my final blog for the summer. Thank you all for taking some time to read my blogs. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, let me know! I hope to continue this path of blogging so I will see you all in the next one! 🙂

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Celebrating Eid Ul-Adha During Covid-19

From Friday to Sunday, Muslims around the world celebrated a religious holiday called Eid Ul-Adha. It is a holiday that celebrates Abraham’s sacrifice to God and follows the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, at the time of Qurbani (sacrifice). Traditionally, the day is spent celebrating with family, friends and loved ones, often wearing new or best attire and the giving of gifts. But due to Covid-19, Muslims had to adjust to celebrating Eid, as many of them were not able to visit mosques or family members. My family and I were only able to visit one family member but enjoyed food and Eid celebration. My aunt even gave me a gift and I got my henna done and dressed up in fancy clothes.

But what is Eid Ul Adha and what’s its significanc? According to https://www.muslimaid.org/media-centre/blog/what-is-eid-ul-adha/

“The day of Eid-ul-Adha falls on the tenth day in the final (twelfth) month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar; Dhu-al-Hijjah. The day that celebrations fall on is dependent on a legitimate sighting of the moon, following the completion of the annual Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj –  which is an obligation for all Muslim’s who fit specific criteria, one of the important Five Pillars of Islam.

The celebration of Eid-ul-Adhais to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah SWT and his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail. At the very point of sacrifice, Allah SWT replaced Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered in place of his son. This command from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness and commitment to obey his Lord’s command, without question. Therefore, Eid-ul-Adha means the festival of sacrifice.

Depending on the country, the celebrations of Eid-ul-Adha can last anywhere between two and four days. The act of Qurbani(sacrifice) is carried out following the Eid Salaah (Eid Prayers), which are performed in congregation at the nearest Mosque on the morning of Eid.

The act of Qurbaniconsists of slaughtering an animal as a sacrifice to mark this occasion in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice for Allah SWT. This is also known as Udhiya. The days of animal sacrifice total three days, from the 10th to the 12th of Dhu-al-Hijjah.

The sacrificial animal must be a sheep, lamb, goat, cow, bull or a camel; the sheep, lamb or goat consist of one Qurbani share, whereas a bull, cow or camel consist of seven shares per animal. The animal must be in good health and over a certain age in order to be slaughtered, in a “halal” friendly, Islamic way.

The Qurbanimeat can then divided into three equal portions per share; one-third is for you and your family, one-third is for friends, and the final third is to be donated to those in need.”

Eid Mubarak to all my USG Friends and Community!!! If anyone is interested in wanting to learn more about Islamic traditions and holidays, you can message me @mimi2491

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Book Review: Saintsville by Brittani Louise Taylor

Saintsville; This was a book I have been waiting for since March of this year. This month I was finally able to get my copy of the book and let me just say, it. was. AMAZING! This book had come out better than I had expected. It’s different from other books that I have read in the past but I still managed to enjoy the entire book. So here are somethings I enjoyed about the book.

The author: Brittani Louise Taylor is a YouTuber I often watch. She’s a very wonderful person despite going through a dark moment in her life, she continued to stay positive and loving towards others and coped by making a book called “A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After.” Saintsville is her second book and it shows her creativity and shows that she really put in so much effort towards the book and that is very admirable.

Addictiveness: I had planned to read Saintsville in two days so that I could have something to do during that span of time; instead I finished that book within five hours due to me wanting to know what was next. Was there going to be more fighting, more heart ache, or more secrets? “Well, time to keep on reading!” was my mentality at the time.

Novelty: Saintsville does have some of the topical romantic teen portions within it, however, it doesn’t follow a typical path of what could be going after the main characters, Eve and Maggie Abbotts. It doesn’t contain things like demons, vampires, etc like most books would. It did have a lot of plot twists I wasn’t expecting which ties back to reading the book within five hours instead of two days. I won’t spoil it for you all in case you’d like to read it yourselves.

Front Cover of Saintsville

I’d recommend this book to USG’s Community book club as this book is amazing to read and can be a conversation starter for those who’ve finished the book. If you’re interested in the book, it’s available on Amazon, Audible, and Barnes&Noble. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, let me know and I’ll get back to you when I can! Hope you all enjoyed this blog. Go on and show Brittani some loving and I’ll see you all in the next blog!!

Saintsville on Amazon http://permuted.to/1682619109

Sainstville on Audible https://rb.gy/txxalo

Saintville on Barnes & Noble https://rb.gy/ruoqsa

Back cover of Saintsville
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Studying the Art of Byzantine Civilization

John Komnenos and Piroshka (Irene) of Hungary
Source: http://www.peraair.com/hagia-sophia-in-istanbul

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer break and staying safe in this humid weather. For today’s blog, I will be discussing my summer class by giving my analysis on Byzantine art history. I am taking an online summer course titled, “Byzantine Civilization.” It is a history course that could be taken by any majors within UMBC. But as a history major, it is an important course for me because I get to learn about a specialized history that I am not familiar with and that I gain the opportunity to learn history from the European perspective as well as the Asian perspective. For example, I get to learn the voices from the Ottomans, Romans, Christian and Muslims from 332 CE to 1453 . This course as noted by my professor, is the study of the Roman Empire, but known to us as Byzantium. For example, Dr. Birkenmeier argues that,”The Roman Empire did not ‘fall’ in 476 CE, but continued for another 1000 years as a vital civilization in the eastern Mediterranean. Byzantium, or more properly, ‘The Eastern Roman Empire’ is the civilization of Eastern Christianity, of Russia, of the Balkans, and of most of the middle East throughout the Middle Ages and today. While the Byzantine Empire no longer exists as a political entity, the imperial double-headed eagle still flies over the Monastic Republic of Athos (Agion Oros), which has maintained a precarious autonomy for over 1000 years.”

One of the artwork that I found the most fascinating is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2000/mummy-portraits

The artwork of the mummies as seen above are beautiful and enchanting. The mask is a representation of both ancient Egyptians and Roman features. The mask is adorned with traditional Egyptian hair accessories, makeup as well as Roman jewelry and headdress. Based on the features, the mummy mask portrays both the Egyptian and Roman elements and that makes it unique and profound. The mummy mask also seems to suggest its importance to an individual who had a high social status. The maker is unknown, and the materials are probably made from clay or the resources that are unique to Egypt. It was produced to honor someone who had died and were preparing their death through creating a mummy mask and honoring the Egyptian gods. The characteristics of this artwork demonstrates not only the social status of the individual who is to be mummified, but the diversity of the Roman Empire. Under the Roman empire, many Roman emperors aimed to renew and take care of their neighbors and the regions they colonized. For example,“Under Trajan, along with consolidation of the empire, great efforts were expended on wars of conquest in Dacia and Parthia. His accession ushered in an era of confidence unattested since the reign of Augustus. Trade and commerce flourished between the Roman empire and its northern and eastern neighbors. The provinces thrived and local aristocrats spent lavish sums on their cities.”[5] Indeed Roman emperors were making sure that their regions flourished in terms of economic, social, culture, religion, art and politics. Therefore, these artifacts are crucial to understanding the Roman empire and their history.

If you found this interesting and want to learn more about the history of Byzantine Civilization, I recommend researching using our own Priddy library and its data base for peer reviewed sources. Here is the link to finding resources at: https://shadygrove.umd.edu/library You can also email me @mimi2491 if you want to learn more about Byzantine history.

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Mid Summer Plans

Well folks, summer has truly begun; the weather has gotten hotter, humidity follows suit, and cold drinks are needed. Some people may even want a nice cold ice cream or milkshake to cool them off from the sun’s rays which really sounds good at the moment(kinda craving a milkshake myself right now :D) which makes sense with how hot it’s gotten.This season would usually be when people would go out to beaches, parks, trails, etc; but we still should practice social distancing and continue wearing our masks; I get that it can be a bit uncomfortable to wear a mask during this season but it will be very helpful in the long run.

So what plans do I have in mind? Well I plan on staying home for the most part due to the pandemic. I also wanted to catch up on a book I’ve been wanting to read called “Saintsville” by Brittani Louise Taylor; I’ll make a review on it the next time I post. I have been waiting for this book since March of this year and it arrived in the mail last Friday. It’s release date was July 7th so I plan on reading it and relaxing while doing so. So be on the look out for the book review because I plan on making one! 🙂

This time of year is actually pretty special to me because it’s when my birthday takes place. Yes I know, I was born during the mid summer heat which can be annoying to most but I’ve somewhat gotten used to it. My birthday is about a week from when this post becomes public and I do plan on celebrating it safely. In case you were wondering, I will be turning 21 this year. For those who aren’t in the US, turning 21 is a huge deal for most people since it means that they can legally drink alcoholic beverages and smoke as well; the last part about smoking used to be 18 but it changed sometime this year to 21 as well.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

I’m guessing some will think that I’ll go and get my first alcoholic drink when my birthday arrives, well that’s where you’d be wrong. I actually don’t like drinking or doing drugs; it never appealed to me so I don’t intend to drink once I turn 21 or even after that. All I’d want for my birthday is spend time with those who care about me and at least have either a cake or a cupcake(both sound nice). USG wouldn’t be a place for anyone to drink or do drugs as it is a drug free campus and they do take that rule seriously.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, let me know and I’ll answer them as soon as I can. Happy early birthday to me and I will see you all in the next post!

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Summer Break Continued…..

Summer break — Blog — Smarten Up

It is July and we are half way through the summer. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer heat and their Fourth of July Weekend. I have recently applied for two internship opportunities and they include, the Smithsonian International Relations and the Virtual Internship with National Cemetery Administration History Program. These two programs are open to all majors and the deadline is July 31st. There is no recommendation of letters required and is fairly easy to do. If you are looking for internship opportunities over the summer, it is a great time to find online or virtual internships and reach out to your home campuses. For me, I have been searching for internships since May and truthfully it has been somewhat challenging but nonetheless it is vital to continue to research and seek out internship positions. I also have been seeking out job opportunities such as applying for retail jobs in my area. But did you know that the Universities at Shady Grove has resources to help students find jobs and internship opportunities. For example, Career and Internship Services Center helps you find jobs, careers, and internships positions and plus they are virtually open currently and have upcoming events. https://shadygrove.umd.edu/student-services/CISC.

On the other hand, I have been relaxing over the summer break and working on puzzles and doing embroidery. I have come to appreciate the arts and crafts and work on art projects with myself and friends. Here are some pictures of what I have accomplished and you too can do as well. I would love to hear about what you guys have been doing over the summer and what your plans are for the remainder of the summer. Reach out to me @mimi2491

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Halfway Through The Year!

Well folks, we have made it! We have crossed the midway point of 2020 and have entered the summer season. This decade did not start off how many of us wanted it to but we should continue going on the paths we have started and make do with what we have. A lot of distressful news has been circulating around all of us and of course it can bring us all down from time to time; trust me, I sometimes get too caught in the negativity but I keep my spirit and hope up so I can continue going forward in life. Writing and learning are a couple of ways I keep myself busy if I get too caught in negativity.

I have mentioned that I want to be a Journalist or have a career like this when I get out of university; this is something that I enjoy a lot and it connects me to the major I am studying, Communication. Communication truly is something deep within every culture whether we talk to our relatives through the phone or if someone asks for directions and we gesture where they need to go. Ever since humanity started, we have created different forms of communication over time; I say this because History is becoming a huge topic these days.

Now there are some people who really don’t like History class and all that which is understandable since a lot of events did happen before our time. I personally like learning a bit of history as there are somethings that interest me about older civilizations. Like with the Incas using a device called a Quipu to keep mostly numerical information but hopefully we can make out other uses that they used the Quipu for. I encourage you all to do some research of past civilizations or of your home country as it appears that this is something many people in the US are doing due to everything that has happened.

If you happen to be a History lover, you can come to USG to get your B.A in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). There are main focuses on Policy History, Public History, and International Historical Perspectives. If this interests you, here is a link to their website to learn more information.

Hopefully you all enjoy the summer and if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions let me know and I will take them into thought! I will see you all in the next blog!

Image by Dung Tran from Pixabay
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Why Study History?

Growing up in the Montgomery County Public Schools, I always had a passion for social studies and reading. I had learned about history from ancient civilizations to European and American History. But one thing that always struck me was the perspectives of minorities was lacking and underrepresented. Not until college did I learn about marginalized history of Africans, Asians and indigenous groups and what their place meant in our world. Now, as a History major with a minor in Public History, I am able to appreciate history as a profession and the perks it comes with it. For example, as a well-trained student of history with UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), I can analyze primary and secondary sources; develop historical arguments; make historical connections; and utilize reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. Indeed, these skill sets demonstrate my ability to not just read and write historical papers but also think critically.

Picture of Me with the Author of the Book titled, “From Slave Ship to Harvard

My understanding of history began to change when my history classes were no longer about memorization of facts and dates, but were focused on critical thinking. History is more than just memorization of facts and dates, it is thinking analytically and understanding how historical events and people changed over time.

British Empire map. The Graphic. Supplement. July 24th 1886. London; 1886. Source: Colindale,.

So why do historians study history and why is history so important especially in this day of age? These questions can be summed up by Peter N. Stearns, author of “Why Study History.” Stearns lists seven reasons why one should study history:

https://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-history-and-archives/historical-archives/why-study-history-(1998)

  1. History Helps Us Understand People and Societies
  2. History Helps Us Understand Change and How the Society We Live in Came to Be
  3. The Importance of History in Our Own Lives
  4. History Contributes to Moral Understanding
  5. History Provides Identity
  6. Studying History Is Essential for Good Citizenship
  7. History Is Useful in the World of Work
Source: Google Images/Amazon.com

Indeed, “History is more than just the living record of nations, leaders, and wars. It’s also the story of us. It’s packed with tales of how someone stood up for what they believed in, or died for love, or worked hard to make their dreams come true. All of those things are concepts we can relate to; it’s enriching to know that so could the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, or Martin Luther King. Plus, history is just plain interesting. Everything you like about your favorite movies, television shows, and fiction novels is yours to experience right here in reality when you study history.”

Source: https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Navigation/Community/Arcadia-and-THP-Blog/June-2016/Why-It%E2%80%99s-Important-That-We-Study-History

If you are interested in history and want to learn how you can be a historian, I would check out the History Student Association (HSA) or hear from your very own historian at USG with Dr. Nolan, the Director of the UMBC History Program: https://shadygrove.umbc.edu/history.php. I would also encourage reading our very own history journal at the Priddy Library or checking online through this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz9D6o1gHBBbcUF6bVFIZEdZVlk/view. You can also email me at Mariam8@umbc.edu

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