Snowflakes and Stress Balls and String Art, Oh My!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones. With final exams quickly approaching, this is is a pretty stressful time of year for many students. But have no fear, the end is near!

To help students through these last few weeks of the semester, USG is hosting another “De-Stress Lounge Week”. On Monday, the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Montgomery County Regional Operations (MCRO) and the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) chapter at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will be partnering with USG to hold some of the many fun (and free!) activities.

Catch me and my friend Jenn this Monday, outside the rec center in building III from 1-2 pm. We’re excited to decorate cookies and make DIY stress balls with you! We’ll also be handing out booklets that include “Mental Health 101” tips, easy instructions to make a lovely snowflake, and a fancy schmancy coloring page (because ICYMI, adult coloring is in!) So, come hangout with us for a little bit. Hope to see you there, and best of luck on upcoming finals!

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What is the Slight Edge?

In this time of wrapping up classwork and preparing for finals, if you are anything like me, you feel overwhelmed, burned out and well, sick of it all. Don’t take this the wrong way—I love my classes and my nursing buddies, but after a intense semester, I think all of us are ready to give it a rest. But how can we fit in all the studying and final papers in before the end of the semester? I have found one little secret that can make things a bit more manageable and not lose your head in the process.

The-Slight-EdgeA few years ago, I read the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It is all about changing the way you think, or more simply, your philosophy. The author talks about having an attitude of doing a little action every day, and in time, all those little actions add up to something big. I know that you are thinking “But I have five finals and 250 pages to read and two papers to write. I have to do A LOT every day!” I totally get it. But are you going to jam everything into one day, or are you going to divide it up to do some every day? Hopefully the latter. Think about this question:

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Now that’s a lot of pennies!

Would you rather have $1,000,000 today or be given a penny today and the amount would be doubled every day for a month? Hmmm…you may think $1,000,000 today, but if you chose the penny, you would have $5,368,709.12! Kind of mind boggling that a little done every day can make such a big difference.

So what can you do a bit every day to end your semester with a bang? Here are some things that help me:

  • I drive to school three days a week. That’s at least three hours in my car. I use that time to listen to recorded lectures. Over a whole semester, that’s more than 48 hours (2 days!) of on-the-road learning!
  • A week or so before an exam, I learn one piece of information really well before I go to bed. It could be a concept I have been having trouble with or some lab values I will need to know. I don’t spend more than five minutes on it and then hit the hay. I review it again when I wake up. It totals an extra 35 minutes a week of focused studying. I used this method to learn normal electrolyte values and will never forget that potassium should be between 3.5-to-5.0 mEq/L. I know, riveting!

Think of the slight edge as “a simple, positive action, repeated over time”. I liken this concept to when I decided I wanted to go to nursing school. It seemed like the prerequisites would take forever. But two classes every semester—even summer—and I was done in a year and a half. I still look back at that prerequisite list of Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Psychology and Microbiology and I still can’t believe I did it.

So go ahead and figure out what little steps you can take every day to end the semester with gusto. After classes are over, try incorporating it into some non-school aspects of your life. Personally, I started doing 25 squats, 50 sit ups and a 30-second plank five days a week way back in May. It took a whole three minutes every night. Do you think I feel better (and have a less flabby tummy) today having completed 3,750 squats, 7,500 sit ups and an hour and 15 minute plank since then? You bet I do.

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An Evening in Egypt: All Evenings Should Be This Enriching

On Tuesday, November 21st, I arrived at the Universities at Shady Grove’s (USG) multipurpose room for a night of cultural exploration and cuisine. I first saw the event information on the Facebook page of the USG Office of Student Services and after confirming that I was available, I immediately RSVP’d and said a silent prayer hoping that spots were still open. My prayer was answered, and I had the fantastic opportunity of attending so now I wish to spread the good word about the event!

I was immediately interested in the event because I saw that it offered a seated Egyptian dining experience (free food=GOLD for a college student) and that it was hosted in partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.  Which meant that the food was going to be prepared by the amazingly talented students of the program. In all my years at USG, the students in this program have hosted exceptional events so I was confident that skipping breakfast and lunch to able to cover the cost of parking at the event would be totally worth it. And boy oh boy did they go above and beyond for an evening in Egypt!

The other 100 attendees and I gathered in the multipurpose room and were greeted by the most beautifully decorated dining tables. We were seated promptly at 5:30 pm and the waitress assigned to my table immediately greeted us with a friendly welcome. I also received a parking validation, so the fears of my credit card being declined were alleviated.  My waitress was eager to take my beverage order, and while I appreciated her enthusiasm, I had to request a moment to take a selfie. 

After I got the necessary documenting (posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and group chats) of my attendance at the event taken care of so that my followers could live, I learned a bit more about what the night would entail. In addition to the seated Egyptian dining experience, there was going to be a presentation of Egypt’s rich history and culture by award-winning author and Chef Amy Riolo, dancing demonstrations and more. The event was also hosted in partnership with the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau and the USG Office of Student Services.

Throughout the delicious three course meal, Chef Amy Riolo and several representatives of the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau shared extraordinary stories and information about Egypt’s rich history. The attendees at my table paid keen attention to the information being provided while managing to savor the delicious flavors that most were having a hard time believing came from our very own students. A podcast of the event can be seen here, please be sure to check it out to learn some fascinating facts and below are a few photos of the meals that I managed to take before this heavenly goodness were devoured.

At the conclusion of the event, attendees were invited to participate in a silent raffle to help fundraise for students in the program. There was quite a variety of items available ranging from spa treatments to a basket filled with USG branded swag. I placed my bid on the item I wanted and continued to enjoy the remainder of the event which included energetic dance demonstrations. I eventually was the winning bidder for an adult coloring book and have successfully managed to color within the lines on two pages so far!

My evening in Egypt was genuinely fantastic. Not only was the event fun, but it was also very educational. I loved seeing the relationships being built amongst the attendees; the food was superb, the venue looked beautiful; the students in the UMES program excelled; the representatives from the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau enriched the minds of members of our community, and the staff of USG’s Office of Student Services pulled off another successful event. If you attended and would like to share your take on the event please be sure to comment below, like this post or share.

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Let Me Tell You A Little About Myself

Hey readers! So as I was thinking what I wanted to talk to you all about this week, I figured why not talk about me. Okay, it’s not really about me but more so what I’m a part of.

Just this past month, I became Director of Marketing and Social Media for the UCA. The UCA is the Undergraduate Communication Association for the University of Maryland, College Park but on the Shady Grove Campus. Since USG’s undergraduate programs run for only two years they tend to have to recruit every few years once people graduate. Along with 2 other boards members we are taking charge of the UCA!

Our goals are to essentially provide one with opportunities outside of the classroom that enrich the communication experience at USG. We want to be able to network and build lasting relationships throughout our program. Networking is always beneficial because they can always go beyond their initial purpose and that’s what we want to instill in our members! We also want to be able to be a part of the Shady Grove community. We want to be involved on campus and make a name for ourselves. This will help us stay relevant to our fellow peers. Our ultimate goal though is to potentially get a communication scholarship fund running for the coming years.

So you’re probably thinking: okay so why are you writing about this? Because if any of this interests you, I invite you on the behalf of the UCA to join us Monday Dec 4th @ 12:30 pm for our meeting. It will be held in the Green Grove Café and we will be discussing our next steps going forward into this school year. UCA flyer dec 4-page-001

Maybe you aren’t interested by reading this right now but if you find yourself looking for something to do this coming Monday, stop by and hear what we have to say! Don’t wait for a formal invitation. You are all welcome, so come.

Hope to see some of you readers there. Like always: thanks for reading and ‘til next time!

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Getting Close to Finals

Good morning everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family and friends!

Now that the break is over, it is time to realize the semester is about to end. That’s great! It means we have only a few weeks left until Winter Break. It also means that finals are coming.

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This is the time where students will spend long nights preparing for final exams or presentations. Many of you will be stressed out – but there is something you can do about it!

One piece of advice I learned from the Center for Academic Success (CAS) is to start studying early. The sooner you begin studying, the less studying you need to do the night before the exam. Taking time each day to study the material will help you remember the material better. That way, you won’t stress out the night before the exam.

If you prefer study groups, then join one or create one. If you can arrange a group of you and your classmates to take time to study for an exam, you will help each other remember the material. Having more students to study with will increase the chances that the material you are studying for is correct.

Whether you prefer studying alone or with classmates, it is crucial that you get a good night’s rest before the final exam. Your mind will work better during the exam, and you won’t have that moment where you forget some of the material.

One more thing about stress – the Office of Student Services (OSS) will open the De-Stress Lounge. There will be different events going on from December 4th the 7th, where students can participate in. These events are dedicated to all the students at USG, for relaxing before finals. Make sure to check out the lounge while it’s open!

Good luck on these last few weeks of the semester!

 

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USG Scholarship: Only Three More Days Left…

Only three days left until the priority deadline for the USG scholarship is here! 

Welcome back to school from a nice Thanksgiving break. I’m sure the holiday season has you spending money on food, flowers, drinks, and gifts for your family and friends. Money is something we all need to survive (and to finance our education too). We’ve all heard the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” time and time again…while this is true, you can get money by applying to scholarships online!

Currently available is the Spring 2018 USG Scholarship. While you are able to submit your scholarship application by December 31, the priority deadline is this week – Thursday, November 30! Scholarships are a great way to help yourselves or your parents finance your education. You should not disqualify yourself from this opportunity due to your age, income, ethnicity, or gender. Give it a shot!

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

Just a friendly reminder to take a chance (more specifically, a few minutes or so) and apply to the USG Scholarship while you still can!

 

 

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How To Give The Best Presentation Ever

Finals are coming…and you know what that means. Final projects and presentations. Giving a presentation to a whole class can be nerve-wracking, I totally understand. I am a Communication student and fall subject to giving at least five presentations per semester. I am no expert, but these tips are what I have learned over the years. Here are my tips to elevating and delivering a great final presentation.

  1. Get creative. – Easier said than done. We have all seen every layout and format there is for a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. To make your slideshow extra stylish and impress your professor, use a site like Slides Carnival. This website allows you to download themes to amplify your slideshow with cool graphics and colors. Way better than the boring, pre-loaded ones.
  2. Talk louder. – Often times, people talk so quietly during presentations that it is hard to understand what they are saying (I have definitely fallen victim to this). So talk much louder than you think you need to! It will project power and confidence.
  3. Look presentable. – You would think this would be a no brainer, but dressing the part is important. Analyze the audience and professor you are giving the presentation to. Do they care if I am dressed business casual or business formal? Figure this out before the day of your presentation. Dressing in nicer clothes can give you more confidence and can reflect your message as if you really do know what you are talking about.
  4. Slow down. – Often we feel like we need to speed through presentations so they are finished sooner. Taking a few pauses to breathe and collect yourself is a good strategy. You may accidentally skip parts if you rush through it.
  5. Use visual aids. – When you do create your PowerPoint, there should not be paragraphs of text on each slide! Instead, use pictures or a short video. Instead of placing text in the slideshow, incorporate it into your verbal speech. No one will listen to what you are saying if they are trying to read your slides the whole time!
  6. Get moving. – Don’t stand behind the podium the whole time. Although we all tend to do this, it’s great when presenters move throughout the classroom and change the focal attention of the audience. Practice this!

I hope these tips were helpful for everyone preparing to deliver their speeches at the closing of this semester. Don’t stress, you got this!

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That Awkward Moment When You Have to Post a Blog on Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving everyone! No matter what political view, religious view, personal view you have about Thanksgiving, I hope today you have to chance to sit down at the dinner table with some loved ones and be thankful for all the things you do have.

My family had never been about going around the table and saying what we are thankful for. Therefore, a couple years ago, I started it and it has become something we do every year. Today, I want to share a couple of those things with you guys, who are my USG family. I will keep these all USG oriented because this is one of the biggest parts of me now.

I am thankful for:

-USG’s doors being open for me, especially, when I need a space of my own to focus

-the friends I have made this semester. My TU Cohort friends (C/O 2019), my coworkers for the student bloggers, in the SAS Suite, and in Student Ambassadors

Some of my peers in my cohort!

Some of my coworkers in the SAS Suite! (We were coming from the Scholarship Luncheon)

Some of my fellow Student Ambassadors

-the amazing professors and bosses I have gotten a chance to know and work with.

Just two of my bosses (I have so many!)

– the opportunities USG has to express myself

– the Café ladies who give me my chicken tenders with such love and care

– the people who have been there to hear me complain and answer questions for me

– the people who have been able to put a smile on my face, even in the worst of days.

–my scholarship donors, Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, for helping me meet some amazing new people and pursue my dreams.

-Dr. E because he always shares such inspiring words with everyone to help us persevere!

Thank you USG for everything! I am also really thankful that on this busy day, YOU took the time to read this post!

Thank you. Eat well, and enjoy your day!

P.S. feel free to comment anything you are thankful for in the comments below!

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Grad School Application

It is never too early to think about graduate school. In fact, it is always a great idea to start early so you can identify which program and school will meet your career aspirations. It was around this time when I started thinking about my next steps after undergrad because I knew that there were applications due in December. I could vividly recall feeling panicked because one, I did not have any money for school and two, I was not sure what career path was right for me. There was only one thing I was certain of; I needed to plan ahead. When applying to graduate school, you should definitely plan ahead of time because it requires a great deal of self-reflection, research, and constant communication between you, the program that you are applying to, and your potential references.

Self-reflection

You need to think about why you want to be in a certain career and if that career path makes you happy. For me, I knew that I wanted to help students become successful. Therefore, I the career path that I decided to take was the path to become an advisor within higher education. I also realized that I enjoyed helping transfer students because I could empathize and relate to their transitional experience. Hence, the reason why I wanted to work at a place like the Universities at Shady Grove.

Research

“There are a great number of wonderful graduate schools, but which one is the right one for me?” was my question. Knowing where to start your graduate school research is always frustrating. However, I provided you with some ideas to keep in mind to help you start your process. Below are some of my suggestions to ask yourself.

  • Location – determine the area of where you want to go to school (some prefer closer to home and some prefer out-of-state)
  • Do they offer your program and if so, does their program meet what you want to accomplish and do they provide opportunities that will allow you to do internships?
  • What types of financial aid do they offer? Can you work while you are in school?
  • What is the faculty to student ratio?
  • What resources are provided to students to ensure that they become successful?
  • Will their program provide you some type of certification or licensure that you will need once you are ready to apply for jobs in your field?

Communication

It is important to maintain contact with your academic adviser and professors who can become one of your references. Many graduate schools do require letters of recommendations from their applicants because this is a testament of your potential success in the program and what you can contribute to the program as well.

Personally, I had to do quite a number of self-reflection to determine my interest and what will help me accomplish my goals of helping students succeed and giving back to the community. One of my long-term goals is to establish a scholarship for students like myself. By being involved in the community, I can meet individuals who may share the same goal and may be able to help make this goal come true (you never know). I have been very fortunate to have had many opportunities that helped me get to where I am today. Therefore, it will be life fulfilling for me knowing that I have made an impact in someone’s life.

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Scholarship & Donor Recognition

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On November 17th 2017, the Universities at Shady Grove celebrated the Eighth Annual Scholarships & Donor Recognition Luncheon.  The event was dedicated to honoring the scholarship recipients and donors. There was over $900,000 donated to the students at shady grove. Out of over 700 applicants, 350 scholarship recipients were chosen. Being a Kendall Scholarship recipient is an honor and a blessing. The event revolved around the donors and coordinators expressing their deepest thanks for the hard work and determination that they saw in the students. They truly believe that the students at the universities at shady grove are the future of this country. It was an incredibly humbling experience seeing the student body express their thanks and appreciation.

Every student has a story to tell. I’ve met students whose parents have been working their entire lives to give their kids an opportunity at a better life. Waitresses and grocery store cashiers who have children that will grow up to be nurses and accountants. Whether we realize it or not, every student has moments that test who they really are. Students lose loved ones and face financial hardships that might cause them to give up. We have all been there but the adversity that we face mold who we become in the future. There is no growth without pressure. As our guest speaker Shanice Morris mentioned, we grow through what you go through.

The scholarship donors are aware of the challenges that life throws at students and aim to change lives. They believe that they empower the future of this country by empowering us. A central theme at the luncheon was how inspired the donors and coordinators of the event are when they see the variety of students that attend the Universities at Shady Grove who want to succeed. Through their generosity they build careers and create opportunities for thousands of families. The success that the we experience is not only owed to ourselves, but to the community they will impact in the future.

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