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Waiting In Line

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

            My mom is in love with Amazon.com. Since everyone else in my family is congenitally incompetent at buying Hanukah/Christmas/birthday gifts, Mom is responsible for choosing gifts for everyone to give everyone else. (This practice results in a great deal of surprise every time someone opens a present, since neither the recipient nor the giver know what it is, and by that time, Mom has forgotten, and therefore doesn’t know either.) Given Mom’s proclivity for incurring stress, she loves the convenience of shopping for everyone without ever having to leave her desk.

            I love Amazon; I love my mom’s love of Amazon. It means I never have to worry about my schoolbooks because within two seconds of me handing her my book list, she’s already found hungry college students pawning their un-opened Linear Algebra books on Amazon.com.

            In accordance, I seldom buy my books at the MC bookstore. On Wednesday night, however, at five o’clock, I found myself staring open-mouthed at the apocryphally long line. Being in need of a geology lab guide, I had to brave the MC bookstore eventually, yet, as I stood on the precipice of the great adventure, I conceded an early defeat, cowed by the length of the line.

            Then, I reasoned with myself. I had an hour and a half before geology class and no matter how scary the line looked, it couldn’t possibly take more than an hour to get through. On the off chance it did, I could just duck out, head to class, and come get the guide later. Only being a week into classes, I didn’t have much homework to occupy myself with anyway.

            Girding myself for the epic wait, I daringly charged in and located the manual. Clutching my prize, I negotiated my way into the line and so it began.

            I can’t recall exactly how, but within a minute I had become involved in a conversation with the man in line behind me about how I usually get all my books on Amazon. I then learned that my fellow student and conversationalist would be transferring to the University of Baltimore to study pharmaceuticals. He told me about going to high school in Africa and only studying biology, chemistry and physics. Nothing else.

            “Where in Africa are you from?” I asked.

            “Tanzania,” he replied.

            This got us talking about the Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation bordering Tanzania. I had done a semester long project on the region last year. (See my past blog: “What Would Sikitele do?”)

            I know that my fellow bloggers have already written about the amazing diversity at MC, but I’m writing about it again. It really is amazing. My enjoyable conversation with my fellow student demonstrates the nature of MC. It is a learning community, where people from all over the world can come together and discuss global issues while waiting in line to buy books.

            All too soon I reached the front of the line and bought my book.

“It was nice talking to you,” I said.

“You too!” he replied.

 I looked at my watch as I left. 5:20. Twenty minutes had passed.

            It felt like two.  

Public Speaking: Why God?... Why???

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Today, I had my first speech in SP108. 

The assignment was interviewing one of my classmates and introducing him to the rest of the class in an interesting and fun speech that lasted one minute. Easy huh?

 The person I introduced has a very exciting life, so I had no problem in putting the information together to write a great speech. The hard part, however, was to actually give the speech in front of the class. 

I am terrified of talking in public, believe or not. 

Although being part of the senate and president of a club means that at some point I have to talk in public, it feels so different to speak in front of my friends and people I know than to speak in front a room full of people I've seen twice in my life. Besides, I'm being graded on my presentation!

I would say that presentations and speeches are the things that I enjoy the least. 

Write a 30 pages research paper? Sure, bring it on! 

Finish all of the MathXL exercises even when I hate math? Yeah, I can do that.

Read 100 pages of my textbook for next class? Oh please, where is the challenge there huh?

But, giving a one minute speech in which I'll get an A by only showing up and standing in front of the podium? Pass!!!!!

I know. It's ridiculous. 

My hands were sweating, and I couldn't breathe normally. I gave the speech, and although apparently went well, I still have chills when I think about it. 

It gets better though. It is always the same in every class. By the end of the semester, I feel more comfortable, and I'm able to talk in public without feeling that I'll pass out the minute I get in front of the room. We'll see how it goes in this class because the main assignments are speeches :/ 

General Studies, what have you done to me? :(

I really don't get it because when I have to talk in front of people like the college's president, faculty, or some other people in important positions, I relax and can do it perfectly. I think that my desire of getting the highest grade interferes with my head or something like that. Who knows... I'm weird...

I'll keep you all posted about the class, and hopefully I won't embarrass myself during my next assignment. 

Thank God I still have a couple of months to prepare it!

The last ride

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

One of the promises I made to myself when I started attending Montgomery College involved taking classes outside my comfort zone. Meaning I wouldn't only take philosophy, history, and political science courses. And I've definitely lived up to that promise, taking literature, english, and foreign language courses over the years. And this semester, I decided to take Calculus II. Why? I don't remember my logic exactly. I registered at something like 3 am in the morning because I was having trouble sleeping that night (yes my life is very exciting). I think I felt guilty that I'd only taken 1 math class at MC (Calc I - way back when I was during my first semester). Though I intended to take Calc II the following semester, somehow my schedule never accommodated it.  I also wanted to stop feeling so hollow on the inside. I was only half-kidding there. Without Calc II, my knowledge of single-variable calculus just felt so incomplete :P

And when I was registering for Spring classes last semester, I remember thinking that this would be a relatively easy semester. I mean there's nothing easy about conducting original research in development economics and writing a 20 page paper or pouring out your heart in college essays or balancing new leadership roles within the Student Senate with a full-time schedule. But 1.5 years in the Scholars program coupled with other honors courses along the way, I felt as if I could take on any new challenges - even if the challenge was taking Calc II a year after I took Calc I. Unfortunately, in that year it seems as if the left hemisphere of my brain has developed cobwebs while my right hemisphere has been trained to crank out 10 page papers on a whim. That's a shame because I still vaguely remember a time when I was quite good at Math.

So I've been worried ever since our professor told us Calc II is widely considered the hardest Math class. I'm hoping I figure out what made me fall in love with Calc I. In the mean time, I'm going to be in the Math-Science Center :)

If there's one thing I learned here it's that plans you make at the beginning of the semester never work out. You just have to take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride. The class that everyone told would be a blowoff turns out to be the most engaging class you had in a while and the class that looked really interesting on paper turns out to be a snooze-fest. So I look forward to my last semester at Montgomery College with misty eyes. It really is bitter-sweet. 

Hello everyone !

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Do you guys remember last semester I started my first blog with a few pictures of the Germantown Campus ? This time I was prepared to start with some good shots of the Rockville Campus...but....all my efforts went in vain. 

So here's what happened...

I went to the Rockville Campus on Tuesday and took some good photos to share with you all. I was just about to transfer the photos to my laptop. But unfortunately, I got a memory card error, and now I can't access the pictures. After doing some google research, I found out that many people have encountered this issue.

Lesson learnt: "Always format your memory card using your camera before a new shoot."

Since I generally don't tend to be irascible (PCAT word of the day lol), I will retake the pictures with great enthusiasm (hopefully) and share with you guys next week. On the bright side, I do have some pictures for you guys. Have a look at this website I created during this winter break: www.shaswatkoirala.com

This is my personal website I created so that I can keep all of my photos in one central place.  Let me know what you think of it.

So let's discuss about the Spring semester of blogging. 

With the return of Sairam and Sam, two excellent writers, the bar has been raised. It's going to be challenging for all of us to keep the quality work coming, especially for Nathalie, who will be blogging twice a week. I am very glad to know that our blog reached 12000 hits last semester. Thank you for your continued feedback, love and support.

I am thinking about adding few things to my blog this semester. I'll end each of my blog posts with a quote of my choice. Ms. Jane has encouraged me to do some videos this semester. I am not really good at it, but I am willing to spend some time learning video editing techniques, and hopefully I might be able to do couple videos this semester. Other than that, you will mostly see pictures and a few informative blogs. 

Before I leave, I wish you all good luck for this Spring semester. 

Enjoy my favorite song by John Lennon, and an interesting quote by him.

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

Take care and hope to see you next Friday 

happy

 

Goodbye Winter Break, Hello New School Year.

 Permanent link

  Waking up to the sound of the alarm that rested on my bookcase startled me. I couldn’t believe it was January 23rd already. My eyes were heavy due to the lack of hours of sleep I had. To be honest, I looked forward to school, but getting back on that daily routine again made me cringe. That met it was time to change my sleeping habits, eating habits, and learning how to balance school, work, and my personal life all over again. The idea itself sounded exhausting. Am I ready for school again? Or am I still on winter break mode? It doesn’t matter what the answer is because ready or not school is open and here I come.

The worst part, of course, was dragging myself out of bed. I got out of bed with the covers wrapped around me because I have a habit of sleeping with my window open and you probably can imagine how freezing it was. However, after I got dressed I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and that’s when I finally felt awake. Can you believe it? It took me over an hour to get ready? Maybe, there are girls out there who take longer then me, but I highly doubt it.

Anyways, on the up side, once I actually made it to school I was motivated and determined to make this semester successful. I look forward to meeting new people as new memories are created.

On other note, WELCOME BACK MC STUDENTS! This is OUR year and I hope everyone is excited to be back at school. Hopefully, we can keep our news years resolution and get that GPA we wanted. Speaking about GPAs, any tips as to how you will be able to achieve your goals?

Let me know your thoughts or experiences that have helped you achieve an academic goal. Next week, I’ll talk about a few personal tips that have helped me to achieve my dreams and goals.

Have a wonderful week back!biggrin

-AM

 

First Week of Classes

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

 

Hello again!!!

Yes, I know I already posted this week, but guess what? I'll be blogging twice a week this semester :) 

Hope you don't get bored of me! And to ensure you will not, one of my posts per week will be a photo blog. I don't think my pictures will be as great as Shas', but I'll do my best :) 

This week unfortunately, you will have to read because I didn't have time to take decent pictures, and given that I want to do my best, you'll have to wait for next week.

This first week of classes has been great so far. I'm taking classes that I love, and my professors and classmates are great. 

I'm taking three honor classes which I've enjoyed so far. They require extra work of course, but at the end all of the effort is worth it when you get a good grade and present your final paper at the Honor's Colloquium. The other two classes I'm taking, although regular classes, will require a lot of my time and effort because I'm not good with numbers, and these classes require math at some extent. Hopefully, I'll pass all of my classes without dropping my GPA.

In addition, I'm still working with The Excalibur (TPSS campus newspaper), the Student Senate, and the Writing club at the TPSS campus. Although my friends think I'm crazy for taking all of those classes and extra activities besides my part time job, I enjoy doing all of them, and with good time management, I'm sure I'll get everything done. 

So far, the semester looks promising. How are you guys enjoying your first week? Let me know in the comments section. 

I'll have pretty pictures next week :) I promise. And don't forget about reading the other student's blogs:

Amanda, Shas, Sairam, and Sam

 

The Malty Falcon

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

I turned up the collar of my coat, and shoved my hands deeper into my pockets. I trudged on through the fog, looking over my shoulder, but I was unobserved. Only the jog-aholics had braved the early morning gloom, and they were too fixated on their aerobic binging to heed me. Before even the local squirrels were aware of my presence, I ducked into the building that can only be found by those who already know where it is.

            I flashed my badge to the guard on duty, and hurried down the dim, spiral staircase, disentangling myself from coat, scarf and gloves on the way. I drummed my fingers on the escalator railing as I descended into the bowels of the city. I breathed deeply, contemplating my undertaking.

            Then, suddenly, I was there: the place where it all happened. I stepped off the escalator and walked cautiously amongst the art exhibits, alone with my echoing footsteps. I was now three stories under the National Mall, in the heart of the Smithsonian.

            … OK, so, maybe I should leave the Phillip Marlowe act to Humphrey Bogart, but, I do have a totally sweet badge that transforms me into the “authorized personnel” allowed through a legion of otherwise forbidden doors at the Smithsonian. How did I get this badge? That’s all thanks to MC.

            Last semester, I decided to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Paul Peck Humanities Institute (PPHI) here at MC.  PPHI helps MC students apply for, and in many cases, obtain, internships at the Library of Congress, the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian. The PPHI board supported me throughout the application process, and by Thanksgiving, I proudly surprised my family with the news that I had been offered an internship at the Discovery Theatre within the Smithsonian.

            The Discovery Theatre’s mission is to present educational, interactive performances for elementary and middle school students. As a technical theatre intern, my duties range from locating sound bites, to organizing contracts, to scouting out performance space in the museums, to finding out how to dispose of an empty Helium canister.

            My job isn’t exactly what comes to mind when most people think of the Smithsonian. Flashy badge aside, it’s really nothing like being a PI or secret agent either. I am, nevertheless, ecstatic to be spending my Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester working in the greatest museum system in the world – and getting to see the museums too!

            It’s easy to forget that we go to school only a short metro ride from the FREE museums. Be sure to treat yourself this semester to a fun-filled excursion to your favorite Smithsonian Museum. Who knows: you might learn something.

            (Oh, and if you hear someone whistling the Mission: Impossible theme song…it’s probably me.) 

/uploadedImages/EDU/Student_Blogs/Student_Bloggers_test/Malty.jpg

And the semester begins...

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

We are back to school once again...

I had the most fun and great break ever. I had the chance to visit my family in El Salvador and spent my whole break doing nothing more than enjoying the nice weather back home and spending time with my family and friends over there. The greatest four weeks ever. Other than my flight getting delayed thanks to this wonderful weather *sarcasm,* I had a great trip, and I just came back on saturday night ready to start school.

The only drawback about my trip is that my sleep patterns change every time I go home. This time wasn't the exception, and my first day of school became the most chaotic day of this new year thanks to it. 

Besides being unable of going to bed at a reasonable time last night, my alarm decided that it would be great to forget about its duties.Of course, I didn't wake up at the time I was supposed to, and by the time I did, I started to freak out when I saw that it was 8 am already. My class starts at 9, and I live pretty far away from school.... and I have to take the bus. I started running around the house, thanks to high levels of adrenaline I suppose, and getting ready in less than I expected in order to leave the house. 

Normally, I check my email, Facebook, and text messages when I'm on my way to school in the bus, but I didn't follow my routine today of course, so I checked my phone right before leaving the house... There it was... the email informing me that school would be closed and would open till 11 pm. I cannot even begin to explain how relieved I was after reading the email. I thanked God cause I wouldn't be late for my class, and returned to bed for an extra hour. It was a crazy way of starting school.

Now, energy recharged, I'm ready for another successful semester. With new resolutions, such as stop procrastinating and adding extra work to my already full schedule, I'm sure this semester will be great.

Hope all of you enjoyed your break and are ready to start school!!! 

It feels good to be back :)

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

I'm back :) I got an email from Ms. Abraham, the Blogging program's coordinator, a few weeks ago asking if I would be interested in blogging for one more semester. Obviously, I said yes! This is going to be my last semester at Montgomery College and I just felt it was appropriate to blog again since I began my first semester at MC by becoming a Student Blogger.

Of course, it wasn't just an issue of personal continuity for me. Blogging provided me a great opportunity for me to sit back, relax, and reflect on the proceedings of the past week. I missed doing that in a formal way last semester. Yes even my frustrated grumblings about stress and sleep deprivation were in their own way interesting because I tend to forget how hard I worked in past :) So partly, it was selfish. Sorry :(

I'm also surprised by how many people read these experiences. Apparently there were 12,000 views for the fall semester. Isn't that incredible? On a personal note, I know someone in the Student Senate who said he only found out that we had a Student Senate after reading my blog post about it!

In other ways I think I will enjoy looking back on this whole "documenting my college experience online" deal when my memory fails me. I'm sure I will have a pleasant smile on my face as I realize how much fun I had at Montgomery College and how naive/silly/stupid I might seem to older Sairam from my future (Hello!!).

But ya, the gist of the post is I will be blogging every Sunday evening. So definitely tune in if you don't mind my sometimes incoherent ramblings.


Random Thought: I think I have some sort of "last week of Winter Break curse". Last year, I was without power the entire week (Thank you Pepco!) and this week I'm without heat. Initially I wasn't sure what to make of this "curse". I assumed it was the universe's ploy to get me out of my room (which happens to be the coldest in the house) and do something constructive with my final week. Once the anger over the cold weather subsided, I realized how much we take a lot of basic things for granted.  I feel like things have slowed down a little this week and it's definitely a whole new experience to walk around the house with something like 5 layers on :)

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