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Education Reform

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Hey Everyone!

These last few weeks are killing me. Next week will be the toughest as it will be my last round of exams before finals.  My creative juices have run out and I’m not going to write much.

I just wanted to bring up Education Reform. It’s been a hot topic for a few years now, and I feel as though the movement is gaining more and more momentum with each new day. (Perhaps, this is just a reflection of what’s going on with my own activism toward the cause—who knows?)

I’m sharing 3 videos that I felt were really thought provoking and that brought up some very interesting arguments and predictions as to how education reform will come about.

I like this first video because it provides easy to follow visuals. I saw it on TED.com several months ago.

I also think it’s really important to know the perspective of the founder of a free internet-based educational system, such as the Khan Academy:

Michio Kaku has done so much for me in terms of getting me interested in physics, through several of his videos on YouTube, and through his other media outlets. I look up to this guy and hearing him say the things he says here, really crushes me.  

 

Let me know what you think of these videos. What do you envision as the future of education?

Have a nice weekend! :)

  

I'm Alive

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Hello MC.

Thanksgiving was a week ago today and I hope everyone had an amazing time. I went up to visit family in Baltimore and had a great night of food, conversation, and Wii playing. I don't personally own a Wii at home, so I wasn't great at it, but I held my own. I was able to beat my uncle anyway, but I don't know if that's saying much. =P

So here we are, back in flow of things at school. This was a very busy week for me. 

I had a big illustration due for one class.

Another illustration due for another class.

A 3 page paper to write.

And the Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremony, which was yesterday.

When I told my mom about everything that I had to do this week, she said, "Oh, so this is gonna be one of those 'don't bother me' weeks?"

She knows me so well. She is my mom after all.

But I'm happy to say that the school week is over (for me), everything is done, and I have survived. Speaking of being done, this semester is almost a wrap. You guys and gals hanging in there? I hope so. And again, don't forget to register for classes if you haven't done so already. 

By the way, there's a guy in this cafeteria who looks very much like a young Patrick Swayze. It's remarkable.

Have a great weekend everyone.

happy


~ Jay


Thanksgiving - Thank You For The Music

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 Well, Thanksgiving is over, (how many pounds did you gain?happy ) and it’s time to start worrying about classes.  If you haven’t already.  And by worrying about classes, I mean the upcoming end of semester and finals and registering for classes.

Yipes.

But before I babble about that, Thanksgiving has gotten me all nostalgic.  It’s one of those holidays that I remember celebrating from the time I was a little kid, and there are so many memories.

For instance, how many people made those little handprint turkeys when they were little?  You know, the ones that look something like this:

handturkey

God, I can’t say how many of those things I made.  Watercolor, cut-and-paste, crayons, etc.  It’s ridiculous.

But now, the thing I associate the most with Thanksgiving is music.

Every Thanksgiving, a lot of people come to my family’s house, and we do the whole “big family feast” thing.  The food is marvelous, and it is wonderful to see everyone together.  It’s especially great to see the parts of my family who live further away, because I only ever see them on Thanksgiving and the following weekend.

The thing is that I don’t deal well with crowds of people.  I like corners, and quiet, and being surrounded by talking people tends to make me nervous.  So, my solution to that is music.

I play the piano; I have played the piano since I was six or seven, and it has become a marvelous stress-reliever for me.  I actually have my own piano, but my family also has a piano in the sitting room, right in the midst of everything.  So, on Thanksgiving, while the socializing is in full force, I play piano.

A lot of piano.

Even better, this year, right before Thanksgiving, I got a new piano book full of Broadway Show Tunes.

So Thanksgiving is deeply intertwined with music for me.  Lately, I’ve been focused on Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Cats.

And let me tell you, some of those chord progressions from The Phantom of the Opera are simply exhilarating.

Specifically this one:

So, Thanksgiving, music, sing a song of thanks.  I think I’ll just revel in what I have, be thankful, and freak out about finals and classes next week.

So…

Thank you for the music,

The song I’m singing,

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing

Who could live without it?

I ask in all honesty,

What would I be?

Without a song, or a dance, what are we?

So I say –

Thank You for the Music – For giving it to me.”  Thank You for the Music, ABBA

Thankful

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How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?

This year the turkey was absolutely the best I’ve ever had! The food was amazing. My mom cooked five hours, making sure every side dish was cooked to perfection. The aroma of the turkey filled the air as I set the table for our guests. We each had a certain chair that was assigned to us. I was able to sit next to Javier. The plate in front of me was filled with food, but the table was also filled with people. I think that was an important aspect I didn’t overlook. Javier was still beside me for our eighth Thanksgiving. Everyone announced one thing they were extremely grateful for. I was grateful for learning CPR.  This wound is still fresh and the event that had occurred (Javier going into cardiac arrest) is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I am forever grateful for the skill that was taught to me along with the mindset the professor told us to have. (Always give the victim hope, never give up, every second counts.) This Thanksgiving is so far the most memorable.

Oh, by the way, thank you all for the birthday wishes! It was a great 22nd birthday. I still find it humorous I am 22 years old and I still am carded at the movie theater. :/ 

To tell you the truth, this is the part of the semester it begins to get difficult for me. My mind is focused on the holiday season. So if you’re anything like me, here are some tips that can assist you and motivate you to stay on track:

1. Divide your days: Decide what days you need to focus on schoolwork and decide what days you should get some shopping done. (Let’s be honest shopping is fun; however, because of the holidays it can become stressful.) For example, I focus on school Monday-Thursday and spend the weekend to shop here and there. 

2. Q-cards: For the most part, we all have finals. So create Q-cards to help you study on the go! 

3. Sleep: Rest at least 8 hours a day to avoid burnouts or (stress attacks) is what I call it. Sometimes we feel this isn’t enough time in the day, so focus on the closest project, paper, exam, etc. 

*I promised to show you this video my partner and I created for our English class. It’s very personal, so I’m asking you to view this with an open mind. It’s about our own interpretation about “When I consider how my light is spent” written by John Milton. This poem was written in the 1600’s. Hope you enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiQ8fqakUmQ&feature=plcp


    


Hanging In There

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hi everyone,

I had a great thanksgiving break with family and friends, and I hope all of you did too. Unfortunately, it went by too fast, and final exams are knocking the door. On the bright side, we will be done in two weeks' time. Let's stay positive; keep our head held high; and hang in there. 

First of all, I'd like to congratulate Prof. John Hamman for being named as "Maryland Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Even though I didn't get a chance to take a class with him, I was truly impressed by his way of teaching when he once substituted for my Calc professor. Moreover, we had exchanged a few emails while I was asked to write a letter of recommendation to nominate a professor for an award. I really appreciate the courteous and prompt response I got from him.

I have been planning to post some pictures before we wrap up this semester's blogging, but I haven't received my camera back from repair yet. However, I decided to take a few random pictures from my iphone, and post it without any post-processing. Let's look at some of them.

Blogger program iphone click

Do you know what this is ? There's an unknown bacteria on the agar plate. We do various biochemical tests to identify the bacteria. It's tough, and it's worth 60 points. (>.<)

Blogger program iphone click

Here is a panoramic picture I tried outside the science center at Rockville campus. I've tried to incorporate at least 270 degrees of view into this photo (180 degrees).

Blogger program iphone click

Since I celebrated the Nepali festival "Tihar" last week, this is what I ate to gain 3 lbs in just two days. I don't even know what they call these in English. Basically, it's all sweet. 

Blogger program iphone click

Height of procrastination: Here is this guy writing this blog at 3:00 am when he had two weeks' time to do it. 

happy

Finding that Motivation to Study

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Hey everyone! Excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving Break?

It has been a CRAZYYYY semester and one that has gone by so fast (we're just finishing week 11 btw).

I’m sitting here looking at my geometry book trying to make sense of these proofs and trying to motivate myself to continue to study. (The 400-level course entitled "Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry," I'm taking at UMD as a degree requirement)

What helps me, is putting things in CONTEXT. I’m currently in the process of writing a research paper on how mathematics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries influenced a sculpture created by Marcel Duchamp in the same period (a REALLY FUN topic for me).  Mathematicians were trying to improve upon the claims made by ancient Greek geometers, like Euclid and several other ideas that came after him from other societies. The discoveries made as a result of this analysis led to so many theories that we accept to be true, today. Some historians claim that these ideas had a great influence on artists in the early modern art movement.

BUT let’s STOP the History lesson right there.

The point is that the research helps me in learning the reasons for the creation of monstrous subjects like spherical geometry. I’m learning the things so many people were excited about challenging in the early 1900s. I’m learning the basis for so many current theories in math, physics, philosophy, and even art! Forgive me, but I find this incredibly exciting! #NERDProblems

The same method of motivation works for my other subjects, too. History used to be a boring subject, until I learned it in the context of art history. Physics used to be dreadful, until I learned about the really cool ideas out there through minute physics (5 minute videos that explain modern physics in a very simple way).

So while you study for Finals, perhaps in one of your breaks, you can search Google or Youtube for the context of the subjects you’re learning. Make it relate to something that interests YOU.

If we understand WHY we do things, then we will be more inclined to do them.

WOOH! MATH!

G’luck! Have a great weekend! ;) 

Stop what you're doing.

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 This blog entry. This post. These words you’re reading right now. Let them serve as an urgent reminder to REGISTER FOR CLASSES. Like….right now.

 Go do it.

Stop reading this. Go register. I’ll wait……

…………..

…………..

…………..

.................

*whistles*

………….

………….

You back? Did you go do it? (Did you really go do it?) Have you carefully picked out classes and chosen a schedule that works for you? Because I have, and I was in for a scare yesterday when I found out that one of the classes I really wanted to be in only had two seats left. Two seats! This was after only 3(ish) days of registration being available. Needless to say, I snatched up one of those seats, and my butt will be safely nestled into it come Spring 2013. But I think if I had waited a day or so later, I’d be out of luck.

And to think, the only reason I even thought to go look at registration stuff was because I overheard someone talking about it. They unintentionally reminded me, and it was a life saver. So now I’m reminding you. Register for your spring classes As. Soon. As. Possible. Don’t wait too long and end up missing your window of opportunity. I also understand there are some circumstances in which an individual may not be able to register right away, such as unmet financial aid obligations. Reasonable excuse. I’ve had that issue myself in the past. So if that’s the case, then be sure to register as soon as you can when you become able to. But I’m sure you knew that already.

(Side note: Two students just sat down a few tables away from me and began talking about this very topic. One of them  admitted he hasn’t registered yet. Tsk tsk…)

So, again, just so we’re clear on what the message is here:

REGISTER! REGISTER! REGISTER! REGISTER! REGISTER!

And have an absolutely fantastic weekend. wink

  

~ Jay

Little Things That Make the World Go 'Round

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 Thank god for brilliant moms who know what they’re doing!

It’s a funny little anecdote, actually. 

I have two backpacks; one for my Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, and oenf or my Tuesday-Thursday classes. 

My Monday-Wednesday-Friday backpack is a new-ish rolling backpack, which is somewhat water-resistant.  Basically, that means that unless it is really coming down, my papers won’t get more than a bit damp. 

My Tuesday-Thursday backpack is what I think of as my “good-old” backpack.  It was my mom’s before it was mine, it’s a traditional on-the-back backpack, it’s sturdy, and it can hold all of my school supplies.  The drawback – it isn’t water resistant at all.

AS a result, whenever it is raining particularly hard on a Tuesday or a Thursday, I have to use an umbrella to protect my backpack.  AS you might guess, it doesn’t work that well.

So yesterday morning, there I was, dithering at the door of my house as the rain came down.  Despairing of the idea of keeping my school stuff dry.

Enter Super-Mom, stage right.  Wielding two plastic garbage bags, my mom wrapped my papers and supplies securely, which managed to keep all of my school things dry throughout my walks through the rain.

Okay, so it might sound trivial to you.  I mean, it was just one rainy day.

The thing is, I feel that it is the little things in life that have the greatest effect.  How often has a day been totally awful, only to turn around just because the right person smiled at you?  What makes my morning every day is the simple fact that my baby sister makes the effort to get up early enough to give me a goodbye hug.

Little things.

It’s sort-of like class credits, which are kind-of important right now, what with registration for spring semester open.  A lot of little things make up a big thing, and if you need that big thing, then the little things are twice as important.  You can’t get sixty-four credits if you never start with a one, two, three, or four credit class.

Little things.

Little things like the campus-wide recycling cans.

Little things like an “I love you” text.

Little things like an A on a quiz.

Little things like a smile.

People are awesome.  Sometimes, we just need to remember that, and keep adding to the little things.

One small voice

Can teach the world a song,

Start with one small voice,

Till another joins along,

And if you hear the music –

Growing full and sure and strong –

One small voice can teach the world a song.”  One Small Voice, Sesame Street

Start small.  With the little things.  Things like my mom rescuing my schoolwork from the rain.

Grateful (The Reported Incident)

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I do not know if any of you have seen the news or checked your email to hear about the scare we had on campus yesterday. An Individual made threats toward the safety of others. I witnessed the police approaching the college while I was just enjoying a hotdog with some chips. I chose to eat right outside the Paul Peck Art Building. I wanted to take advantaged of the fresh air since it was a beautiful day. I was at peace of mind wondering how the video for my English class is going to pan out. (Still in the making) Staring at the passing cars while I’m waiting for my ride. Then suddenly, I heard sirens from the distance. Not thinking anything of it, I continued to eat. Then I saw them turned into the campus and approach the building in which I was sitting right outside. Guns were drawn and my heart sank.

I am forever grateful for the people who made security aware of this issue because it could have played out differently. I’m grateful they handled the situation with such care and I don’t know who you are, but thank you for keeping the campus safe. It isn’t always easy to do that to a friend, but what you did is noticed and greatly appreciated! 

On another note, it’s almost Thanksgiving, but before this awesome holiday, it’s my birthday! Therefore, it seems I will be presenting on my birthday.(Not sure, how I feel about it, but hopefully that birthday vibe will assist with my performance.)  I get a cheery extra pep in my step on my birthday, so hopefully this will benefit my presentation.

redlips

You know, it’s ironic because I cannot wait for this semester to end; however, I don’t want it too. I think it’s more like I cannot wait for the homework and studying to end, but I am not looking forward to parting with the new personalities I’ve met. Sigh* I seem to go through this every semester I met great people and they’re either transferring or we never seem to see each other again which is kind of humorous considering Rockville isn’t that big. My point is appreciate the time you have now because winter break will be here soon.    

Once again, special thank you for the individuals who reported the situation! Thanks for keeping all of your peers, professors, staff members, etc safe! 

Hope everyone has a great week! Hang in there we’ll get that break soon! (I think I need to hang in there more because procrastinating is becoming easier.)   


Attendance

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hi everyone,

How are you? I think all of us are done with our mid-terms, and are eagerly awaiting the Thanksgiving break. I had an exam today, and have one more left before the break.

First of all, I am very happy that President Obama won re-election. In a victory for human rights, the state of Maryland also passed the DREAM act and same-sex marriage by popular vote. It's good to see our state is adapting well to 21st century needs. I stayed up watching TV all night, and couldn't wake up for the morning class. It definitely doesn't feel good to skip a class even though I know I can get away with it.

Talking about attendance, according to college's policy, "excessive absences" is defined as "one more absence than the number of classes per week." Let's say if your class meets twice a week, you are not allowed to be absent more than twice during the semester. A professor can drop you from the course if you violate this rule, but I haven't seen it happen to anyone. From my two and a half year experience at Montgomery College, I can tell you that professors don't particularly care for attendance. Professors assume that we are adults and attending class is our choice. However, they make it clear that attendance is directly proportional to academic success. People tend to take advantage of professors' leniency, but they fail to realize that they are doing themselves more harm.

I have had professors say, "I don't care if you come to class or not. I am not going to drop anybody. You get what you earned." Even though professors might tell us they don't care for attendance, I kind of believe they certainly favor students who attend classes. Professors are good, intelligent humans; most of them are genuinely interested in students' success. It takes me to a conclusion that professors take attendance into account if a student's final grade average is at the borderline. 

happy

 

Math Help

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Earlier this week a friend was telling me how he was trying to advance in his engineering studies, but his struggle with mathematics courses were delaying his plans. So, I gave him a few resources that my friends have highly recommended and I thought I’d share them with you all.

The three most recommended Math websites are:

 

 

They provide free resources that help you understand several subjects. The last two teach mainly through videos. These are great for MC because they cover math from Algebra to Calculus to Linear Algebra. Khan Academy has some videos for science, too (I searched “Organic Chemistry” and found several videos).

The Math/Science Center at the Rockville Campus:

Three things I always tell students at the “New Student Orientation” about the center:

 

  • You can borrow a calculator (TI-84, TI-89, etc.) for the entire semester or for the day.
  • They usually have the textbook for your math or science course, sometimes the solutions manuals, and you can use them within the center.
  • They offer FREE tutoring, even on Saturdays

 

All of this is accessible as long as you have a valid MC ID (with a current semester sticker).

Free Lectures and Courses:

I also really recommend searching for free online lectures offered through MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and several other reputable schools.

Here’s the one for MIT: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

 

Isn’t it amazing that we’re living in the age of free information? It’s almost as if our generation has no excuse to fail anything, because, if our professor doesn’t teach the material in a way that we can understand or if the textbook isn’t clear, then there are several more books we can find in libraries and several online resources to consult. It’s almost as if we can sift through hundreds of teachers via the internet until we find one that teaches in way that is effective for own way of learning. It’s incredible! It’s definitely something that's caused a reevaluation of educational institutions and their necessity (but that’s a huge topic of debate I dare not tackle in a single blog post).   

I hope you share the same enthusiasm for such easy access to information! Hope this helps!

 

Melting Pot

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What’s happening, MC?

I recently lost my internet at home, meaning I can’t post my blog entry in the late comfortable hours of the evening like I normally do. So instead, I have 16 minutes before my next class to do it here and now. So what’s new?  I’m sure that more than one of us bloggers has mentioned the fact that we are in the wake of a very tight election. Congrats to President Obama for retaining his position as leader of the free world. Regardless of who you voted for, you can't deny that this past year was a very exciting time to be a registered voter and an American. And thank GOODNESS these campaign attacks ads are gone.

I’m in the campus center right now, in the cafeteria. I tend to be a bit of an introvert, so I’m rarely spending much time in this area. I usually take my laptop to the library in between classes and pass the time there. But I chose to venture into unfamiliar territory today. And to be honest, it’s quite nice. I guess you could call what I’m doing “people watching.” One advantage of MC is that it’s a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups. Watching people come, and go, and congregate. It all gives you a nice perspective into what makes the student body here such a unique thing to be a part of.

And this is a bit of a side note, but I’d like to give a genuine thank you to the four strangers who have shared this cafeteria table with me at various times over the past hour or so. Despite not saying a word other than “is anyone sitting here?” you’ve made me look like less of an introvert, and I appreciate that.

Sincerely.

 

~ Jay

Packed November (and packing after November)

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 It’s November already!

November… elections, midterms just past, finals coming up, planning for next semester, Winter Hols around the corner…

And Thanksgiving!  (Also known as the American excuse to eat a lot of delicious food starting in the afternoon and heading towards midnight.)

I feel like the semester just started, and now I’m cramming things in “last minute,” and planning for the end of the semester.  And planning for next semester.

I’m going to avoid elections as a subject because; 1, it’s a sensitive subject, 2, we’ve been inundated with elections-elections-elections-vote-vote-vote for weeks, and 3, because I actually am too young to vote.

Midterms just past – thank The Higher Powers, I did well on all of my exams.

Finals coming up – yipe!  I’ve got a bunch of assignments and lab hours to complete for French, assignments for my English class, a test in Psychology, and that is all not including the finals. 

Planning for spring semester – I always say one thing, and then eat my words.  After the first few weeks of this semester, I told myself to take only four classes next semester.  Looking at my plans… I think I’m taking at least five classes again.  Oops.

Winter holidays!  Well, it’s gotten chilly, so we might actually see some snow before February this year!  And it’s always nice to look forward to Chanukah (begins on the night of December 8th, this year).  And also –

I’m going to France!  I’m a hometown girl, never left the East Coast of the good-ole US of A, never been on a plane, the furthest from home I’ve ever been was New York City.  And now I’m going to France!  I can barely wait until winter vacation begins!

And Thanksgiving – my family always has a bit of a get-together for Thanksgiving.  My mom cooks; believe me, you’ve never tasted food-that-is-heaven unless you’ve tasted my mom’s cooking.  It’s also pretty much the only chance I get to see some parts of the family, like my cousins from Tennessee.

In honor of my upcoming trip to France –

Au secours

Dites-moi au moins qu'un jour

Les gens feront la paix entre eux et pour toujours

Plus de distance

Entre les pays du monde

Plus de frontières, plus de méfiance

Plus de douleur

Un seul but dans le cœur

Entre amis, entre frères.”  Au Secours, La Voix du Bon Dieu (1981), Céline Dion

In English :

Help

Tell me that at least someday

People will make peace with each other forever

No more distance

Between countries of the world

No more borders, no more distrust

No more pain

One single goal in the heart

Between friends, between brothers.”

À semaine!

Election Day!!!

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Today is officially the very first time that I voted! Today I am proud to say I got to exercise my rights as a woman. I woke up as the sun gently peered into my blinds. I usually began my day around 8:30 with a nice hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Today, however, I woke up much earlier to claim my place in line. The bags under my eyes indicated that the changing of the time wasn’t in my favor. I dragged myself out of bed on my only day off and left my warm house into the cold.Today is officially the very first day I voted! Today I am proud to say I got to exercise my rights as a woman. I woke up as the sun gently peered into my blinds. I usually began my day around 8:30 with a nice hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Today, however, I woke up much earlier to claim my place in line. The bags under my eyes indicated that the changing of the time wasn’t in my favor. I dragged myself out of bed on my only day off and left my warm house into the cold. 

I could see my breath, but still couldn’t see America’s future. Honestly, at some moments I didn’t think my vote would count. Nevertheless, in the end after I turned in my ballot, I felt empowered and very much accomplished! 

See this week in my sociology class, we are discussing about gender equality. We’ve discussed and acknowledged women are still struggling with rights. The amount of money we tend to make is always less compared to our male counterpart. Although, compared to the past we have many more opportunities then before, this issue continues to be unresolved. 

I think this topic was quite appropriate considering Election Day is today! Throughout history, women have fought to become a productive member of society. I can’t even image not having that right to vote. Today, I am proud to say I exercised my right! I was able to participate when before woman demanded those rights. This sticker on my chest, I wore that proudly! 

biggrin
Hope everyone voted today! 

 

I am happy that I am finally home and I could start focusing on my poetry project for literature! Another presentation this time it has be ten minutes long:/ For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know how much I hate presentations. I cannot seem to be comfortable with those attentive eyes on me. On a good note: I am sharing a poem that I feel connected and comfortable with.  

Here is the poem: By John Milton: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174016

Love this poem! I can really connect with the author. Does it have any connections with you? The beauty about poetry is that anyone can interpret it.

Anyways, my partner and I are going to make a video on what this poem means to us. In a few weeks, I will post it up so you can see it for yourselves. 

Take care everyone! Hang in there we’ll get a break very soon for Thanksgiving! 

    


NaNoWriMo V.2.0

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Hello all!

I hope you are ready for a new week. I'm not looking forward to the cold, but it is what it is :( ... Don't get sick! I think I'm already catching a cold unfortunately. 

As you know, I'm an aspiring writer. I really love to write papers, short stories, novels, blogs, anything! And I have taken English classes each semester since I started taking credit classes at MC. During the summer, I took a Creative Writing class, and currently, I'm taking an Honors Creative Writing Tutorial, which have contributed to my writing greatly.

Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while (hey bestie <3) know that last year I participated in the National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) competition. This competition is designed to help writers to finish a complete novel during the month of November. The basis of the contest is that you have to write daily without worrying about the details of your novel but the quantity of words that you write daily. The goal is to write a 50,000 words novel in a month. 

Last year, I participated in the contest for the first time, and I wrote a grand total of 45,500 words. I was short on the final goal, but I was having a million other things going on (as usual) and was unable to achieve the goal. My novel was really good though. I have actually made great advances since then and what I've learned in my classes have helped me to make it more interesting. I had a huge motivation on finishing the novel in a month thanks to the contest (they would send me reminders every day and week to keep me on track), and even though I didn't write the 50,000 words, my novel was better than I expected.

This year, I submitted my second novel and started writing already. I doubt I'll be able to get as many as 40,000 words as I have way too many things going on this semester, but I do want to attempt to write something worth it. The NaNoWriMo competition allows me to ask fellow writers for feedback and their tips are very helpful. I also get to interact with people that like to write, so that helps to keep me motivated and write even when I don't have time or energy to do it. It's great to know that so many other people are attempting to finish their novels, and it is comforting to know that there are people that can offer their help when I'm struggling. 

So, we'll see how my novel goes this year. I'll do my best, but school is my main focus so far. People who like to write should definitely consider this competition. Let me tell you, it really helps with your writing!

See ya next week :) 

Montgomery College Is The Way To Go

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hi everyone,

I hope you all are doing fine. Last week, my family and I celebrated Nepal's biggest festival "Dashain." Basically, it's like Thanksgiving, where we meet, greet, and eat together. I met my cousins, who are high school students. They had a few misconceptions about community colleges, which I thought I'd clear up through this blog.

From my one year of experience in American high school system, I found out that most high school seniors were not keeping Montgomery College as their first-choice college. In fact, a significant number of students thought that Montgomery College is for those who fail to get into a 4 year college. I didn't seem to care about all these opinions during that time, as I was new to the country. I kept being an observer, and I didn't find myself qualified enough to criticize the claim. 

Now that I have completed 2 years and 58 credits at Montgomery College, I want to reject the prejudicial hypothesis prevalent in high school environment.

Montgomery college provides an affordable solution for students to get general education classes out of the way. Why would you want to pay more elsewhere for completing general  education classes which have nothing (or very less) to do with your major ?

If anyone says to you that the professors at universities are better than the professors at community college, they are being prejudicial. It really depends on a case-by-case basis.I have taken classes with 11 professors so far (multiple courses with each), and 7 of them have doctorate degrees (Phd or MD). I can proudly say that Montgomery College has excellent faculty, which strives for students' success. Moreover, we have smaller classes. This means professors are easily accessible, and we can get prompt assistance. Even though we receive a close assistance, we do all our works independently and take care of our grades by ourselves. This shows how Montgomery College can provide a solid foundation to ensure a smooth transition into the new platform.  

Bottom Line: Montgomery College is the way to go.

happy


The Night Walkers

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Hello Everyone! I hope you all got through the storm okay!

 

I haven’t given you guys much insight into my Montgomery College experience this semester. I’ve told you what I’ve done in the past, but not much about the current semester.

I’ve mentioned that I’m attending the University of Maryland, College Park and Montgomery College. I’m at UMD during the day and at MC during the evening and online. This is why I haven’t been involved with any campus clubs this semester.

My classes at UMD focus on my engineering degree, while my MC classes are geared more towards biology, because I might be interested in combining electrical engineering and biology at some point in the future.

I’m experiencing MC and what it’s like to take classes online and in the evening. It’s a perspective of the college that I haven’t experienced before and there are a few noticeable differences.  For one, there are more working adults in my classes.

It was also difficult getting used to being in class all day. I go from being in class and studying all day at UMD, then I sometimes work for two hours, and after that I get to MC for 3 hour block classes. I do most of my online homework somewhere in between. I can relate a lot more to the working adult population of the college. I’m used to the schedule now, but it was exhausting near the beginning.

Most of campus events and activities occur during the day, so I’ve missed out on a lot. If an event occurs in the evening, I’m usually in class or have something due at midnight.

I can definitely understand why most people, with this schedule, feel as though they just want to come to MC and leave, without experiencing anything outside of classes. There’s nothing wrong with this attitude, but I can better understand where they’re coming from.

I did manage to squeeze in some fun this semester. Outside of MC I’m in a Latin Dance Team and I recently joined a caricature/face-painting company, which have both been huge stress relievers. I attend the occasional artsy event, too, like MC’s musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” which was great, by the way!

This one goes out to all you “Night Walkers” at MC. I know your schedules are packed, but I hope you make it through!

“Night Walkers” = my little name for the students that take evening classes.

DREAM Act Referendum

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Considering the fact that elections are coming up next week and that I recently changed my major to Political Sciences/International Studies, I've been thinking a lot about how politics influence life so much that we don't even notice anymore.

One of the things that have made me think about it lately is the fact that many of my friends are becoming more interested in the outcomes of the elections because they will be affected by them. Specifically, some of my friends, who unfortunately don't have the documentation to live and work legally in this country, have been greatly affected by the fact that they have to pay higher tuition (out of state tuition) even if they live within the county and graduated from MCPS high schools, which puts a burden on their pockets and lives. 

The election ballot in Maryland is going to contain a series of referendums that relate to certain aspects of the daily life of people living in this state. Among those questions, there is Question 4, which has been more commonly referred as the Dream Act Referendum.

This referendum, in case of getting enough votes, will allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at MC and other Maryland colleges and universities making their lives a lot easier and college education more affordable.

The Montgomery College's Board of Trustees actually voted to support the DREAM act back on September, and the college has had many activities to support the referendum.

For example, the Latin Student Union at the TPSS campus set up a table for the past four weeks in which members of the club approached students and urged them to vote and support the question number 4.

Yesterday, the LSU hosted a performance at the Cultural Arts Center, in which Salvadorian poet, actor, and activist Quique Aviles and Musician Manuel Sanchez narrate the story of a DREAMer who came to the US as a teenager and had to struggle to finish high school and attend college. The monologue was based on a real story, and it was a very enjoyable performance that actually made the audience realize of the struggles that young undocumented people have to suffer because they are lacking the legal documentation to succeed in this country. One of my best friends, Karina Velasco, addressed and explained to the audience what the DREAM Act was and how it would help people just like her. I’m so proud of her because she has been one of the people who had done a lot for this cause at the college. I really admire her courage to fight for something that will be part of history, and she’s one of the reasons why I feel so passionate about getting people to vote in favor of this referendum. (Love you Karina!!! <3)

So, I’m using this blog entry, in the name of my friends and other students who would be benefited by this law, to ask you that if you’re qualified to vote during these elections, please vote yes to the Maryland In State Tuition Referendum (QUESTION 4)

 It’s a very important issue and a big part of the student body in MC will actually be impacted by the outcomes of this election.

See you next week!

 

Let's Talk Art.

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 Hello MC.

 Last week, I promised you guys art, and this week I shall deliver. I’ve made quite a lot recently for various reasons and felt like sharing. So here we go.

This first piece was for my Illustrator/Vector Graphics class. I call it “Tag.”

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The objective was to illustrate a writing tool. Some people chose to illustrate a pencil. Some chose pens. One guy did a keyboard. People got very creative with it. As you can see, I chose a spray can. I wanted to do something that had a lot of highlights on the surface so I can put that good old mesh tool to work and try to make it look as realistic as possible. Here is the original (reference) photo.

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The next piece is the logo that I mentioned I was making for a friend a few weeks ago. This was my first draft.

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 She said it was beautiful, but expressed that she wanted something different. I understood that, considering it was a women’s health magazine and the logo I sent looked like it belonged on a sports fitness magazine. So I revised it and sent her something a little more simplistic. This one she was a lot more happy with.

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 Not too bad for my first graphic design gig.

 This next piece was for my Illustration class. It’s a sequential narrative (or “comic” as they are often called) for a short story called “The Open Window.”

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 I ran out of time and didn’t get to do all I wanted to do with this illustration, but that’s okay. Now that it’s turned in, I can always go back and work on it more as a personal project. (In other words, many many more details!!!!!!) I cannot stress enough that if you are an artist and are working against a deadline, start early and save yourself the stress. The good news is that my class critique went well, as I got both positive comments and tips on how this could be better.

 The next assignment I’ll be tackling is a theater poster for a play that’s coming here to MC called “Big Love.” Everyone in class has to make a poster, but only one will be picked. On a side note, it sounds like a very interesting play from what I’ve heard. I might fork over the cash to go see it when it starts here.

 Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoyed the art. We can have our own little critique session here if you guys have any opinions regarding my work. I love comments and all critique is welcome. Hope everyone is doing okay after the storm, and you all have a great weekend.

 Take care.

 

~ Jay

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