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Different Prospectives

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Have you ever read the novel Kite Runner?

Recently, I have finished that book for my reading/anthropology class. If you are interested about Afghanistan, culture or want a better understanding about how the war affected Afghanistan and its people. I highly recommend this novel! Honestly, this story has changed my point of view. Nine eleven, is a sensitive subject nation wide and sometimes people have a habit of pointing their finger (we are human and it is natural to do so,) to a specific culture rather then the people behind it. The story is about a young boy, he describes his life in Afghanistan, before the Taliban was a problem. The author, Khaled Hussein, creates imagery detail about the young boy and how he grows up; only to see his country fall.

It is very powerful and sometimes we all need a different prospective. Oh! I should mention it is also a movie. However, I am more of a book person and I personally think the book is ten times better then the movie. It is just a recommendation; I found this book touching and intense. If you have time give it a chance!

On other note, I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving! This year is my first year I will make the turkey. (Wish me luck on that!) I am nervous I will mess it up somehow. Fingers crossed!     


Making Extra $$$ While In College

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Two things that usually don’t go together: college student and extra money. But it doesn't always have to be that way. There are ways you can save and make extra money while you are in college. Let me share my experience with you!

Get a part-time job - This is the best way to fulfill your basic and additional needs. I worked at Safeway bakery for about two years, and I recently quit my job to focus more on academics and volunteering opportunities. If you can balance studies with your work, make your spare time productive -- and also put some extra $$$ in your pocket.  

Sell on ebay/Amazon - This is my favorite. I consider myself to be a beginner but a good ebayer. I sell few items every month on ebay. I roughly make around 100 bucks without putting much effort into it. For example, a newly released electronic device, which retails for $200, can be sold at around $300 worldwide. As soon as popular electronics come out, I order couple of them, and sell them worldwide. Excluding ebay, paypal and international shipping fees, I can roughly make a profit of $50 per an international sale of device. But it doesn't always work that way. If your item doesn't sell, you can always return it back to the retail store. I've never had to return items so far. I suggest you educate yourself before getting into this. You can grab a few books from the library and learn the tricks, tools and techniques to start your online business.

Make use of coupons - I subscribe to newspapers that contain coupons. I have a separate email address to receive all the online deals. Make use of the coupons that you receive in your mail everyday. But guys, remember not to use coupons when out on a date with your girlfriend  tongueout

 Buy books online - Students buy books at the college bookstores simply because college offers them "book credit." While I have no intention of discouraging the use of our awesome bookstores, I want you guys to make a smart choice. The truth is, a refund check will be sent to you if you don't use the book credit offered by the college. I highly recommend you do all of your book buying over the Internet. 

Get the right credit card - While I don't recommend using too many credit cards, it is always good to own at least one credit card with good benefits. There are some student-friendly credit cards in the market, which give you $200 cash back.  Beware of high interest rates though. 

Bottom line: Make money off your ability as long as it is legal and ethical.

Thanks for reading. Hope you all have a great weekend ahead. I am off to my online sociology class now. 



Phi Theta Kappa Induction Ceremony

(Antoine Battle) Permanent link

Tommorow night, from 6:00 - 8:00 PM, I will be volunteering for the Phi Theta Honors Society Induction Ceremony, which will be held at the TP/SS campus' Cultural Arts Center. I am excited to be volunteering for this event because I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and I would like to like to support other members. 

Congratulations to the MC students who will be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an organization that seeks to "recognize and reward scholarship among two-year college students," according to PTK's website.  Nathalie, my fellow MC  student blogger will be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa tommorow.  Also, Shas, another MC student blogger is Phi Theta Kappa member.

I look foward to attending the ceremony and congratulating MC students on their academic accomplishments.  Please click on the PTK link for more informatiion.

Thank you for reading my blog entry. 

Peace and blessings,





Phi Theta Kappa Induction

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link


I've been so busy this couple of weeks that I almost forgot about an important event tomorrow night.

A couple of weeks after the semester began, I received a letter stating that because I had completed 12 credit courses with a 3.67 GPA, I could become a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which recognizes honor students at two years institutions like Montgomery College. 

Of course, I accepted the invitation, and a couple of weeks later I pay the one time fee to become a member.

Two weeks ago, I received the email from the Director of Student Life at the TPSS campus, Jim Walters (who is also the Student Senate adviser) saying that the Induction Ceremony would take place two weeks from that date.

Guess what? The ceremony is tomorrow! 

And I had completely forgotten about it until this afternoon. I was working at the Senate office, and the treasurer of the senate was preparing the programs for the ceremony. I started to help him without noticing the programs until something caught my attention... Yep, there it was... my name printed in the beautiful golden paper... 

So, I guess I have plans for tomorrow night after all! It's always exciting to receive an honor like this, and I am very happy that I am now part of this community!! 


A Replica Of The Earth

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

It's time to say hello once again to my camera. Waking up after two weeks' sleep inside the bag, a sudden idea popped into its head. It wanted some fresh air. So yesterday, I took it to our beautiful Germantown campus. Let's look at some of the pictures.

Student Blogger Program Week 9

11:00 am: Do you see a woman ? Her presence has been pure delight to this picture. This is just one of the many spots at MC, where you get to relax and get intimate with the nature. 

Student Blogger Program Week 9

12:45 pm: As I walked out of my speech class, my eyes directly went towards this beautiful view of our globe. It was just one of those epic feelings I had. The repainting of the map had started. I could already see few continents. 

Student Blogger Program Week 9

3:00 pm: Done with classes for the day -- and saw that they are doing it really fast. I could clearly see more detail. I hope we can see the same old worldly design back soon.  

Student Blogger Program Week 9

5:00pm: I saw this just before I was about to leave. This really made my day. This reminded me that life is a beautiful struggle. Hats off to the hard workers :) 

In the end, just to make my camera happy, I want to share a beautiful quote by Edward Steichen: 

"No photographer is as good as the simplest camera."  

Hope you are enjoying my blog. Please keep the feedback coming. 

Until then, take care, and see you next Friday.

And, once again, don't forget to sign up for the spring semester on Monday, November 14. 



Books and Projects

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  For the past week, I have been deciding whether I should choose Greek or Bolivian culture for my anthropology project. This project is defiantly an exciting one! Considering, I have never interviewed people about their culture or about their experience within that culture. However, I have to interview persons who are 100% Greek or Bolivian.

This can be difficult because America is more like a melting pot. My family has been here for centuries. Not to mention, I am a melting pot mixed with German, Irish, Polish, and Cherokee. Anyways, I have my figures crossed that I will find someone who have a pure Greek or Bolivian bloodline!

So if you are reading this please HELP! Let me know if you are Greek or Bolivian or even if you have a friend that is! Only if you do not mind being interviewed though. I will deeply appreciate your help. Thank you for reading my plea!



On another note, today I went to the book signing of David O. Stewart. I’m not going to lie I’m not exactly thrilled about history books, but his lecture was intriguing and most importantly understandable! I can honestly say I enjoyed it.

The benefits about going to book signing is before you buy a book the author reads from his or her own text what is the plot and the purpose of the story. When I attended the signing, I was able to ask questions about the book and receive answers in person. In addition, I was able to learn about Stewart’s personal experience and the reasons why he wanted to write this book and why it was of such importance to him.

As a student, it’s a great way to learn additional information about the author you enjoy or an author you are unaware of. Next time there’s a book signing consider giving it a try. You might be surprised what you learn! If you have time check one of Stewart’s books out: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, American Emperor, and Impeached. I’m sure there are many more! I am actually going to read The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, just because I am curious about Lincoln. I personally always have been intrigued about Lincoln along with his history.



Acknowledging the good things at MC

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Uff!!!! What a long day this has been...

Normally, I try to write my posts beforehand because on Wednesday I'm usually busy all day. I have to work in the morning, have class in the afternoon, work for a little bit at the senate office, finish some homework, and have another class at night...

Today, besides all of this, I attended a meeting with student leaders, so I didn't really had time to write my post earlier in the day...

Given that thanksgiving is around the corner, I decided to post about things at MC I am grateful for... and I have a lot of those...

So here is my list of things I'm grateful for at MC...

1. Classes I truly enjoy and are contributing, directly and indirectly, to my personal and academic development. I can mention a couple of them, but it is not fair to the others, so I'll keep it as many many classes :)

2. Faculty who really care about their students. I love most of my professors, and I'm sure the rest of them are very nice too. Unfortunately, sometimes I don't have the time to really get to know my professors.

3. Friends who help to make the days better and more fun. I have a lot of those too :) Guys... you know who you are... 

4. Extracurricular activities, such as the clubs, student senate, and The Excalibur ;)

5. Great infrastructure because, let's face it, classes in a nice classroom are more enjoyable than classes in a place you don't like.

6.Great services and programs that help me to keep my focus. Library, Writing Center, and Service Learning, I'm talking about you ;)

7. People ready to help in anything I need. From the counselors who help me to choose my classes to the nice security guy who opens the door of the Student Senate for me when I need to get in.

8. Many opportunities to prove myself like the Renaissance Program and the Strategic Planning Committee which have led me to truly understand leadership to a whole new level.

and finally...

9. Coffee at Munchies!!!! This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the best coffee on campus. Delicious! 

I have a lot of other things I'm grateful for, but for now, I'll leave one thing for each November day that had already passed...

Have a great rest of the week and think about the things you are grateful for this year :)

Archaeology Site: Falling Green Farm

(Antoine Battle) Permanent link

On Saturday, November 6, 2011, I had the opportunity to excavate artifacts at a archaeology site, Falling Green Farm (Olney, Maryland).  The excavation was for my class, AN105HM

sadSorry, I did not discover gold, diamonds, or any other valuable natural resouces , but if, in the future, I happen to make some profound discovery, I  will be sure to split the money with YOUbiggrin

I had an excellent time, however, participating in the excavation and documentation.  My group members and I, had to classify the color of the soil based on the Munsell Soil Color Chart. In addition, we examined our artifacts (coal, brick, glass, and pottery) closely, and then we put them in a brown bag that we labeled with the site number, our names, and other important information.

The best part about the archaeological experience, I would have to say, was interacting with my group members.  My group members were diligent, cooperative, energetic, and comical. 

On Thursday, November 10, 2011, I have to turn in an archaelogy site report.  The report will include site information, methods and techniques, interpretations, and a one-page paper relating provided census data to the artifacts discovered.

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry.  I hope that you an excellent week. 

Peace and blessings,

Antoine Battle

Why Take An Online Class ?

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Amidst the hectic schedule I’ve had for school, my blog has successfully managed to pop up on your screen. Hope you are doing well, and geared up for this informative blog session. The fall is almost gone, and the winter is knocking on our door.  Colder days will come--sometimes with snow as a bonus—and we get a chance to skip our classes. During cold mornings, we want to sleep a wee bit longer, and we all love to stay inside. We absolutely don’t want to go to an 8 a.m. class! 

Of course, if you're reading this, you'll probably have to face a similar situation this semester.  Better luck next semester!

Today, I am here to discuss an alternative way of staying at home without missing any classes. I am talking about taking online classes at Montgomery College. Officially, it is called “Distance learning.” So far, I’ve completed 5 online classes worth 15 credits. I have thoroughly enjoyed them.  I want to share a little about how it works, and why you should take online classes.

How do online classes operate in general?

Our college recently switched from “WebCT” to “Blackboard Learning System” for online classes.  Like a classroom environment, online classes have significant number of members (20-30) in each class. Generally, an online class consists of four major components:

i. Discussions:  Since there are no face to face class meetings, discussion board is used to facilitate class discussion. Students are supposed to read a chapter every week.  Then students are required to interact about the chapter with other students.  Professors specify the number of posts a student has to make every week.

ii. Assignments:  This includes papers and other homework. Since discussion boards can be time consuming, professors tend to give very few assignments.

iii. Quizzes: Most online classes have multiple choice quizzes on a weekly basis. Since you will be doing quizzes at home, they will be open-book.  Yayy !

iv. Exams: All my online classes had a mid-term and a final. They are also open-book most of the time. However, some professors require you to go to the assessment center for mid-terms and finals.

Positives of online classes:

So far I've gotten straight A's in all my online classes. Since you mostly have open book quizzes and exams, it should be easy.  You have plenty of time to work. You have your own “me” time. Due dates are easily manageable. For a 3 credit class, I’ve never had to invest more than 5 hours every week.

Negatives of online classes:

Your texts are your primary sources of information in an online class. You have to set your own pace, and pay close attention to course deadlines. There is a chance you might become less social. I haven’t even met my professors yet. I don’t know who my classmates are, and what they look like. This is quite a negative aspect of an online class. However, you can make friends in other on-campus classes. So, it shouldn’t really bother you for not being able to make friends in one specific class.

On the whole, I prefer to keep a fair balance between on-campus and online classes. This has worked well for me. Try a one-credit online class, and check if it works for you. 

Thank you, and please keep the feedback coming.

Hope to see you next Friday 



The Rough Life of A College Student and A Pet Owner

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I am relieved to say the semester is more than half way over! Staying consistent with homework, projects, and work is defiantly a challenge. I think most of us (probably all of us) cannot wait for winter break!

Not to mention, my room needs some attention. I’m way over due on cleaning it, but every time I reach my bed, I fall fast asleep. Even, my ferret has been acting a little more crazy then usual. I am starting to think she notices I’m not home as much.

Last week, I was writing a comparison and contrast paper for my English class as I was doing that my ferret decided to climb up on the couch and walk all over my laptop. I swear, the three years in which I have had her, she has never done something like this. The funny part (well to me it wasn’t funny at all), she erased my work. My advice to every student: ALWAYS SAVE YOUR WORK! Usually, I go by that rule, but I was in the zone. When I left my laptop to grab a drink, I didn’t see the ferret in sight. I wasn’t worried; however, I was wrong! It took two hours to write three pages, which no longer existed as the ferret’s curiosity, and her tiny little paws pressed the delete button. All my work took a second to disappear. confused

A few days later, I sat in my room proofreading my final draft. (Again, the ferret wasn’t anywhere to be seen.) The time was eleven o’clock p.m. and I was getting sleepy. Instead, of going to bed I decided to go grab a snack. After all, studying and papers can make anyone hungry. I left the paper on my desk and closed the laptop so; I could avoid the deleted document situation. This time I was thinking! (Not that there’s anyway the ferret can get up onto my desk.) Wishful thinking! I walked down the stairs into the kitchen just to stare at the refrigerator. I was hungry, but too lazy to make anything. As I reached for the salsa, I heard a loud BOOM! I ignored it because my hunger seemed more important then the mysterious boom. I sat at the kitchen table with chips and salsa in front of me ready to eat. Then it hit me! Where’s my can of soda? Before, I could finish asking myself that question, I jolted upstairs. I opened my bedroom door to find my split soda all over my paper and laptop! Every student’s worst nightmare! The culprit? Yep, the ferret. She seriously has an addition problem when it comes to coke-a-cola. I was so exhausted I completely forgot. Thankfully, my laptop is okay and I did save the final draft. I was scared half to death though.

Yesterday, I was on my way to school. I carry around this huge bag for my books, binders, and laptop. I pulled up to the Montgomery College parking lot. I had a few more minutes before class, so I relaxed listened to music and called to talk to my friend. I hung up the phone; picked up my bag. I got out of the car and I felt movement in my bag. Oh no I thought. Yes, again it was the ferret. She had made her way to the bottom of the bag and was sleeping. I had to drive all the way home and returned to class twenty minutes late.

This has been a crazy week for me! If you have pets, I suggest you do not ignore them! Even if you are busy find time or else!

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!wink





The Excalibur needs you...

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

This is my third semester working for The Excalibur, which is the TPSS campus' newspaper.

Last semester, I had a lot of fun writing articles for the newspaper, and I learned a lot about journalism, which is one of the majors I'm interested in. It was stressful sometimes, but I had a lot of fun overall. We published three editions which were very informative and interesting, and students at our campus were very interested in reading the newspaper. We had a great quality newspaper, and we had more articles than what we could publish at times.

This semester, however, we haven't been able to publish yet.

One of the main problems the newspaper is facing right now is that there are not enough students interested in writing articles or reporting events or getting involved in the editing and production process. It is frustrating at times because there are only eight to ten people involved with the production of the newspaper, and we can't do everything ourselves. We try but it is very difficult because there are so many things going on this semester, so many events happening, and so many things positively (and negatively sometimes like the pay for print) affecting students that we need more people to cover these issues to inform our peers about what is going on around campus.

Unfortunately, the people working for the newspaper right now cannot take the responsibility of covering all of these events because we have other things on our plates like school homework and personal lives. The newspaper is in danger of only publishing one edition this semester, which is sad for all of us working on it now because all our efforts are not enough :(

So, I wanted to reach for you :)

You my dear friend are needed to work for The Excalibur!!!

We need reporters, editors, photographers, illustrators, art design people, business managers, administrators, poets, etc. We need people who are interested in making the newspaper a success and that want to get involved with what is going on in the college.

You can write a poem, review a movie, video game, music album, book… anything you’re interested in. You don’t have to write a long article or cover a lot of events. You don’t need to have a lot of experience in writing because the editors and the newspaper adviser are ready to help with anything you need.

If you’re an art major, you can submit pictures, illustrations, art work, etc. If you’re an art design major, you can help us with the layout of the newspaper (which will look great in your resume!) If you’re a business major, you can help with the administrative part of the newspaper like getting advertisement or keep in touch with the printers. The idea is that you contribute in any way you can and that you get some experience related with your major in the process.

Let me tell you, even if you’re not interested in a journalism degree or anything related with it, working for a newspaper is a great experience. I, personally, have developed a lot of skill that are helping me in my classes and work.

So, if you’re interested in working for The Excalibur, you can directly contact me, the editor, or the newspaper adviser (Contact Information below.) We are waiting for you!!!!





Speaking Engagement: First-Year Experience (FYE) Program

(Antoine Battle) Permanent link
DS107 Flyer

As an FYE Student Ambassador, one of my responsibilities, in addition to participating in New Student Orientation, promoting campus activities/events, and serving as an overall leader and positive role model for new student students,  is assisting with FYE classes.  Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to speak to two DS107 (student development) classes (which were held in one classroom) , sharing my experiences and lessons I have learned while attending MC.

My former professor, Dr. Chambers, and FYE coordinator, Dr. Marciano, whom both teach DS107, gave me a warm introduction.  Dr. Chambers, thinking about when I was in her class, told the students how focused and involved I have been on campus, telling the students that I took advantage of the academic and extracurricular opportunities that Montgomery College has to offer.  Dr. Marciano,  knowing the responsibilities that I have to juggle, spoke to the students about my about my work ethic and drive. 

After being introduced, I began discussing how I have been molded through my experiences and answering questions about academics at MC.  One aspect of  my classroom visit that I think connected with the students the most is the when I told them how much I study (and how many courses I am taking (six courses, three of which are honors angry).  I felt like the students got inspired by knowing that I was in DS107 before and seeing how far I have come.  In addition, I encouraged the students to take challenging courses, visit tutoring centers, and seek out help from Student Employment Services. 

I had an excellent time speaking to the DS107 classes, and I wish the best for all MC students (first-year and beyond).  happy

Peace and blessings,




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