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Service to School and Community

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This week has been a good one for me but I will have to talk more about two things that made me feel happy about the work I do. On Monday, I got the opportunity to attend a meeting with the President and Board of Trustees members of Montgomery College, with some other student representatives.  I liked the informal atmosphere of the meeting and I also felt like everyone one present really cared about the school and they were eager to listen and learn from us. We spoke about different issues including determining the best methods of letting students know about the different opportunities on campus, finding a solution to the problems students face after taking the placement tests, and increasing the student retention and graduation rates. I was happy that I was able to serve my school by attending this meeting as a representative of my Campus and that some solutions that will be made based on that meeting will make better the situation of many students.

This week, I officially began my volunteer work at the Children’s National Hospital in D.C. On Tuesday and Friday, I had to shadow a volunteer to get accustomed to the work.  Whenever I had passed by the hospital when I am in the bus going home, I had always said to myself that I will like to volunteer there one day, to provide company to a child. I am glad that I can finally do it and I know I will have a good time there.

I will like to end this with a quote by Mrs. Marian Wright Eldeman which says “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” Think about it because there is much more to community service than we can imagine.



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Absolutely and completely overwhelmed me. Final exams loom ever closer, and I found myself feeling increasingly anxious. My mind spun as I closed my eyes, trying to recall which one of 10 billion assignments I had to finish before the end of my break. I sighed in exhaustion and fidgeted nervously with the tassel on my coat. When would the insanity end?!

Suddenly, in my periphery, an all-too-welcome sight greeted me. A guy, whom I had affectionately dubbed The Blonde Guy, happily bobbed past me. I always saw him at precisely 11:53 a.m., and like clockwork, he had appeared again. He stopped to talk to his classmate about upcoming exams. Our eyes met as they tended to do, and his warm smile and sparkling blue eyes melted away my present frustrations. Shyly, I returned with a grin of my own. Moments later, his lanky frame ambled off, gleaming golden locks bouncing o'er his shoulders without care. 

For the rest of the day, I could not stop smiling. Even the prospects of a physics exam and research paper did not dampen my spirits. The rest of my day was not all rainbows and cotton candy, but I took it in stride and got through it. All because of a little smile.

Kimberlee's Near-Weekened Music

Combat 2 College (Part I)

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by Greg



            Veteran’s Day was last week, and I feel a little remiss about not writing about a veteran’s issue.  I finally got my act together, and this week I will discuss Combat 2 College (C2C), MC’s program for student veterans.  I had a 45-minute discussion with Joanna Starling, the program’s manager, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality, breadth, and depth of the program.  There is so much to it; I need two posts to cover it. 

            C2C is a multi-faceted program that helps all veterans transition to student and civilian life.  First and foremost, it is well tied into the academic experience.  As soon as veterans arrive at MC, Jackson Trana and Tuyet Jackson at Admissions and Records help them navigate the process of getting money from the often confounding GI Bill, registering for classes, and transferring credits.  They also introduce veterans to C2C, which in turn puts them in touch with both regular MC counselors and disability support services counselors that can tailor degree plans to the unique circumstances of veterans.  Finally, C2C is integrated well with faculty.  In fact, I discovered C2C through a course syllabus! (I didn’t go through the regular admissions process.)

            However, C2C extends well beyond academics.  There is the Student Veterans Club and several college events, such as last week’s Veteran’s Day Luncheons.  There is also meeting space for veterans to get together anytime M-F 9-5 at Rockville CS107, and coming soon at both Germantown and Silver Spring.  C2C has also made the services of health & fitness expert Jason Franklin available to veterans who require wellness services – anything from regular diets to a workout plan that works around an injury a veteran may have sustained in the line-of-duty.  Finally, C2C works with off-campus agencies to support all parts of the transition to civilian life.  These include working directly with the Veteran’s Administration to coordinate medical and educational benefits, employment services (One-Stop), and even a financial planner.

            The services C2C provides change the lives of veterans.  One veteran once involved in C2C is Zach Zimmerman.  He is a Marine Corps veteran that was MC’s valedictorian in 2012, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and now on a full-ride at Georgetown.  More recently, “Tom” returned to MC after a stint in the Marines.  After high school, Tom enrolled at MC, but it was not the right time for him to study. After returning, he was very involved in C2C, which helped him enroll in the Honors program and Phi Beta Kappa.  He was the Veteran’s club president, and this semester he transferred to Columbia University on a partial scholarship (plus GI bill). 

            I salute Joanna for the great job C2C is doing for veterans.  This post was focused on what C2C is and what it does, however, perhaps more interesting is how C2C started at MC and why the program exists.  I will cover that another week. 

Here's a link the C2C website: Combat 2 College 




On Knowing Where You Are Going

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Hello Friends,

While thinking about the differences between my experiences at MC and UMD, there was one thing I noticed in particular. There are many ways in which the scales tip towards one school or the other when the comparison is made, but one thing I have to hand to Montgomery College and community colleges in general is the ability to know exactly what you are getting out of it. It’s all structured very heavily towards getting exactly where you want to go with as little detour as possible. Whether you are looking to transfer to a four year university, earn an Associates degree, or simply gain some education, it’s very easy to see the end to the path you have put yourself on.

In today’s economy, getting a degree from a well known college is no longer synonymous with getting a job. At Maryland, I found myself with a lot of general guidelines as to how to accomplish this, but no real solid beacon of light at the end of the tunnel, just a general glow coming from that direction. Take the right classes. Do well in those classes. Do some networking. Get an internship. Graduate. Get a job. 

But…are some classes better to take than others? If I get a B or C in a class should I retake it? Who should I be talking to in order to make the connections I need to get a good internship? What should I be saying to them? Am I really competing with all of my classmates for a few good jobs? What kind of job is my general degree going to actually lead into exactly?

That last question was always the biggest one I had. It seemed like there was always a sort of frenzy to getting the best internships and competing with classmates who should be your friends but are actually your competition, but no one really knows exactly what it is you are competing for. A job. But where? And what kind? There are so many places a business degree can take you. I am a person who needs structure and a specific plan to survive. Otherwise, I stress and stress and stress. I need to know.

What I have found here is that there are very clearly established ways of achieving what you have set out to do. I know that if I follow through with my plan I have a very specific type of job waiting for me on the other side. I know exactly what I need to do to get there and I know exactly what it is I am getting myself into. There is no chance of me getting ¾ of the way there and realizing that this is not turning out like I thought it would. And that really is a better way for me to go about getting my degree and the ever elusive job. Some work better under these circumstances and some don’t. It’s all about doing what works best for you specifically. (And I think this is it for me)

Until next time,


The song for this week is actually kind of random, but I stumbled across it and really liked it. So, I thought I would share it with you: OneRepublic: I Lived

Makeup Monday

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When you look in the mirror what do you see?

If you’re anything like me you’re really hard on yourself; when people give you compliments you toss them out the window. You constantly berate yourself for being imperfect. You hide behind clothes and makeup and anything else you can possibly find.

Whether you’re a girl or a boy, body image is really important. People always talk about how it affects us in grade school. But it’s important in college too—no matter how much we try to deny it. What other people think about us undoubtedly affects the way we think about ourselves. 

For example:

That guy staring at you from across the cafeteria is most definitely thinking about how crooked your teeth are. 


That girl walking up the stairs behind you is giggling because she can hear how breathless you are.


And that friend you’re having a conversation with just cant stop looking at that gigantic zit you have on your face, can they?


I could rant to you all day long about how truly beautiful you are. About how you look doesn't really matter. About how seemingly “ugly” people do the loveliest things. But honestly?

You’ve heard all that BS a thousand times over.

You already know that you’re beautiful. You already know its what’s inside that counts. You already know that you are your biggest critic.

The problem is that you don’t actually believe it.

And hey. I am not judging. I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely believe people when they throw a compliment my way. I’m one of those giggle, blush, thank, run-away-as-fast-as-you-can types.

The thing is, the only person who can make you stop having those self-deprecating thoughts is… well, you. And it’s a really hard thing to do.

So if you’re just not ready to be self-confident that’s totally okay. Maybe this single thought will give you the push you need.  


They. Don’t. Care.

That’s right. That guy isn’t even staring at you, he’s thinking about the test he forgot to study for. That girl? She’s giggling at a text she just got from one of her friends. And the classmate you’re having a conversation with is alternating between staring at your mouth and your eyes because that’s where people look when someone is talking. Duh.

Wasn’t that freeing? Congratulations!

You are now one step closer to coming to terms with your inner beauty (or uh, handsomeness?).

We all have it, trust me. You just have to be willing to acknowledge it first.

Happy Monday!



Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection:


A Little Studification Grows A Long Face

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Ever just need a little sanity, a sanctum . . ? A place to just sit down and . . . study?

Lately it feels nearly impossible for me to get in the right mindset for study. I twist and turn in uncomfortable chairs; I get distracted by housemates and a significant other at home. As such, I’ve been looking for a good place out and about to study and get the mental juices flowing. I’ve been trying to suss out a good study spot. I’ve been to public libraries (closed Sundays, the nice ones like Rockville have prohibitively expensive parking), MC libraries (I find them to be acceptable but a little uncomfortable and I like the option of taking drink/snack breaks during study time), Starbucks (ugh all so small, loud, and too dark . . . and believe me, I like a good Venti such-and-such now and then but I don’t necessarily want to spend hours there). After days of searching high and low and high again though I think I’ve found a couple of decent spots. A few that I wanted to share in case anyone out there in the vast interspheres (of Montgomery County) has been looking as long and hard as I for a few good solid study spots.

First, near Silver Spring campus, I’ve found two decent places. Caribou Coffee on East West Highway is nice, if a little crowded. The Staff that I dealt with was really friendly though a little quick to wish me on my way when I thought it clearly felt like I looked like was there for business. The parking is free in the shopping center and if one gets hungry for something other than sugary bakery snacks there is a wealth of food around the corner from Peruvian Chicken to Chinese food to a Giant grocery store. I love their Cinnamon Rooibos tea; it’s a good wintertime tea, spicy and bold. Also in downtown Silver Spring is a neat little Coffee Shop called Kefa Café. It’s a sweet place that specializes in Ethiopian grown coffee. It’s definitely quaint, with solid wood furniture. I will say the table placements are rough if you’re looking for an outlet as all of the seating with available power aren’t necessarily designed for work, but it’s a nice little place to grab a cup of coffee or tea. It’s pretty new and the staff while very nice was also clearly learning the ropes, I guess tea drinkers tend to throw coffee shop staff for a loop from time to time. Parking is metered in the area but not too expensive at $0.65 an hour. I was there for four hours and got a good deal of reading done as well as a little typing and their wi-fi is free and relatively fast.

Near Rockville campus I managed to find another Caribou Coffee (these guys are under the radar coffee shop champs) that has been generally very quiet whenever I’ve been there. There’s no shortage of outlets for battery draining study sessions and the bathroom (or at least the men’s room . . . someone else will have to vouch for the ladies room)  is rustic but very clean; a plus. Again free parking so it’s good for those nine to nine cram sessions. Also in the Rockville area (though off the beaten path sort of) is Kozi Café. . . If you’ll excuse the suuuuuper cheesy name, and the get past the fact that it’s in the Leisure World shopping center, you’ll find a little mom and pop owned café/restaurant that’s got decent food, alright drinks, free wi-fi and a cozy (nope I will not butcher the language for their satisfaction, but I will recommend their salads) atmosphere. Oh and they do sell alcohol. A little celebratory brew at the end of a draining study session is always appreciated.

Having a few good places to get out and go to when I need inspiration (like say for a blog post) has been helpful this semester especially when taking online classes. There’s only so much sitting in the living room in faded, ripped, mysteriously stained, hand-me-down Target sweatpants that a person can do before they start to feel like they’re reaching the last fraying strands of sanity. It’s nice to you know, take a shower and be presentable to simply go out and study. It’s refreshing to look out the picture windows at the bustling of life while trying to grasp a piece of literature, or to read about the history of Civil Rights in America or hell even just while frantically trying to finish up those last online math labs hours before they’re all due.

If anyone’s got anyplace they enjoy studying at and why they love it then please post a comment. . . It’s no fair keeping secrets. Some of these places need all the help they can get. A few group study sessions can go a long way to keeping your favorite little spot from becoming that cool place you used to go to, you know before they had to shut it down.


Friends make it better

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It almost the end of the semester and I guess I can say this because after the thanksgiving break we will all be busy with exams. This semester has been very busy for me and I know that the following semester will be worse than this. I have also had to make choices including deciding what school to transfer to and scholarships to apply for. With such a busy schedule, I always encounter people who ask me what I do in my free time (if I have any at all). I usually chose Friday to be the day that I can spend some time with my friends and participate in my club activities. Taking opportunities of the on campus clubs has been a good decision for me. Since most of the friends I have are part of the clubs I attend, spending time with them during the meetings is always fun for me. This makes me to remember the first day I attended the African Students Association club on campus. I was extremely shy since I did not know anyone, but I was persistent and I attended every meeting they had. Now, two years later, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people who care about me and help enhance my experience at Montgomery College. This Friday after or club meeting, we all decided to go watch the premier of the movie “Best man Holiday.” Another plus to the outings we usually have is that since I do not drive, the members always ensure that I get a ride home and arrive safely.


Spending sometime with these people make things better when I do not feel okay. I hope that even after we all transfer from Montgomery College, we will always remember these memories, stay in contact, and work together to make our dreams come true.


Thoroughly Thankful Thursday

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When I read all that my fellow bloggers had posted this week (before I wrote my post), my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. Not only did they write about what I had been thinking about all week, but they also mentioned many of the same points that I was going to bring up. Great minds think alike so the mantra goes, but I didn't want to make it seem like my mind had plagiarized from their exceptional "little grey cells (any Agatha Christie fans?)." In keeping with my scruples, I decided to take a slightly different approach.

We all know that spring registration opens on Monday 18 November (why it's the same week that I have 2.3 trillion assignments due, who knows?), and many of us (like Tiffany and myself) have likely been fretting over what classes to take. For once, though, I am happy to be anxious for the next semester.

Many of you know about the difficult time I had during my first full time year here at MC. Because of those emotional and academic struggles, I fully expected to be a year behind and stay at MC for another year beyond the spring 2014 semester. Honestly, the thought depressed me. I looked around at all of the friends my age talking about being juniors and/or transferring, and I felt my heart twinge with jealousy. The end to my MC career felt like an eternity away!

Yesterday, however, I met with my academic counselor, Prof. Kelly Kleine (I highly recommend her; she is personable and very helpful). I expressed to her my frustrations about my current major (Elementary Ed.) and about not being able to transfer when I really wanted to, etc. She calmly listened to my flying tongue, and guided me through all of the classes I had taken, encouraging me to go the General Studies route instead. After all that, I found out that I only need two (!!!!!!!) classes to graduate with my A.A. degree in General Studies - next semester! I was (and still am) ecstatic!

I rushed home to look at the spring 2014 schedule, and promptly found what I wanted to take next semester (yes, I am a nerd). This may seem trivial to some (and maybe it is), but for me, it was a momentous occasion. I still have to change my major, remember to apply for graduation, and worry myself to death about scholarships (eeeeep!), transfer applications, activity resumes, paying tuition and financial aid. But I do it with a lighter heart. I may not leave with the 4.0 GPA I always dreamed of, but the girl on this side of the 3 point whatever is a much wiser and more humble individual than her straight "A" self ever was. For that, and so much more, I am truly thankful.

Happy Thursday!

Kimberlee's Triple Threat Thursday Musical Selections:

Get a General Education

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by Greg


           Over the last week there has been a lot of discussion on this blog about picking classes and majors.  With spring registration upon us, I thought I would add my 2 cents to this very important topic.  Adding impetus was a thought provoking column (linked below) in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, entitled “Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire.”

           The gist of the article is that students should avoid picking a specific major as long as possible.  Instead, it encourages a well-rounded education, even to the point of getting a liberal arts degree.  This is counter to a lot of the advice out there today.  The conventional wisdom is that specific majors make graduates more employable because companies don’t have to train them.  This is supported by unemployment rates on recent college graduates – the fact is that more liberal arts majors are unemployed.  That said – I AGREE with the article. 

           Realize my experience colors my opinion.  I have an engineering degree.  It was a huge pain in the @$! and I used very little of it in my military career.  It probably helped me solve some technical problems, but I’m sure I could’ve picked up those skills without taking an entire course on “Heat Transfer and Viscous Flow.”  Thankfully, the Air Force Academy’s core curriculum is huge – full of both technical and liberal arts classes.  Looking back, I got much more out of the general courses.  What exactly did I get?

            First, liberal arts classes more than any others teach students to think critically and communicate those thoughts clearly.  There is nothing more important than these two skills in a quality employee.  Social sciences teach how people behave, and this is also critical because ultimately, every job exists to satisfy the needs of a person, not to mention almost every job requires working with human beings to achieve goals.

            I’m not saying that technical courses aren’t important, they are very important in today’s STEM driven world.  I think the problem with many liberal arts majors is that they majored in the liberal arts to avoid difficult STEM classes.  This has led to a generalization among employers that equates a liberal arts degree to technical incompetence and/or lack of work ethic.  However, this generalization can be proven untrue through electives, minors, and GPA.  It’s possible to be a Psychology, Philosophy, or Physics major and still be familiar with the other two subjects or any other subject, or follow a passion like music.

            If I had to do it again, I would major in one of the three Ps I mentioned above, depending on my strengths and passions (probably Physics) but use my electives or minor in opposite subjects and other passions.  I choose these three, because all subjects in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM derive from them.  They are the most general subjects.  Following this plan will best prepare you for the job twenty years down the road (the one with the high salary).  The same goes for course selection; given a choice, pick the more general course, unless of course, the specific one REALLY turns you on.  Remember that life is full of surprises, uncertainty, and change… what prepares us better – general or specific knowledge?

            A couple caveats… I wrote this with a preliminary degree in mind.  Your last degree earned, whether AA or PhD, should be specific enough for your target job.  For example, a Physics BS will get you in any STEM graduate program but not all STEM jobs (but still most). Moreover, certain jobs require a specific degree (like nursing). Even then, you can still use your electives wisely.  Second, get as specific an internship or work experience as possible.  As the linked WSJ article points out, this is the golden key to a specific job.  Internships usually select applicants based on grades and extracurricular activities.  Certain courses are usually required, but not entire majors.  The point of an internship is to teach specific job skills and recruit talent, not put a fully trained person to work..  BL:  Get the most general degree with the most general courses that will still get you in the door at the job that will make you happiest.  By the way, your definition of happy will probably change… so prepare for that with a general education!       




May Freedom Forever Fly

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Hello Friends!

As I walked around campus yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice all of the Veterans Day signs and tributes. So, because yesterday was Veterans Day, I’d like to dedicate this blog to all of our servicemen, both active and retired. This country wouldn’t be what it is without you and I am so thankful for everything you do and have done for us. Thank you.

In case you are interested, I did a little research on Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, as it was originally named. According to

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.”

And it’s not only the US that celebrates this holiday:

“Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.”

I know I have a few veterans in my family, and there are probably a few in most of yours as well. I’ve met a few on this very campus. Take a moment to thank them if you can. And, please, don’t forget our active service men and women. They will always need and deserve our support.

Until next time,


Music for this week: Zac Brown Band- Chicken Fried

Also here’s the article that those quotes came from: Veterans Day-

Manic Monday

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 Hiya guys!

Sign up for spring semester is just around the corner and all I can think about is what classes I want to take. Well, not really.

But I am currently finishing up my general studies degree here at MC. Having gotten all my required credits out of the way, all that’s left are electives. Butttt, with MC offering so many classes (and, of course, my poor decision making skills) I am lost in a sea of education.

So I have done what you may have noticed is one of my favorite things--I have compiled a list.



Human Evolution/Archeology Regular or Honors- AN105 (three credits)

This anthropology course sounds like a blast. I plan on taking it with Professor Pfanstiehl. I had her before for AN101 and she was the absolute best. Her readily available pep talks and power bars always manage to make you feel better.




A World Something: World Philosophy, World Culture, World Religions, World Music, World Literature (three credits)

Any “world” class will have underlying emphasis on globalization—a topic that I find extremely complex. Taking any one of these classes will help you to become a global thinker, a necessary step in today’s ever growing world.



Introduction to Women’s Studies Regular or Honors- WS 101 (three credits)

I’d recommend taking this class with Professor Mary T. Furgol. She’s a handful but boy is she entertaining. Plus, just by taking a women’s studies class you can qualify for a Women’s Studies Scholarship.




A Gym Class: Yoga, Self defense, Weight Training, Dance, Swimming, Scuba Diving?!

We so often forget to exercise because of our busy lives. Taking a class just might be the extra push we need to do it. Plus working out with a larger group of people can sometimes be so much more inspiring and (don’t you laugh!) fun.



A Human Sexuality Course (three credits)

We all do it/were involved in it at some time. Chances are if you are breathing you were the product of a sexual relationship. Why not take a class on it? There’s a general Sex Ed. course and one with more of a psychologist’s twist. Is it weird that I think that’s cool?



Environmental Biology- BI105 (three credits)

Whether you’re a passionate environmentalist (me) or completely indifferent (my brother), I recommend you take this class. No matter who you are you will manage to learn something that will better our world. I have been lucky enough to have already taken this class so I’m considering Marine Environmental Biology instead. It’s basically the same thing just focused on the preservation of the oceanic ecosystem. It can satisfy both your science with lab credits and your regular science requisite.




Intro to World Mythology- EN122 (three credits)

If you’re anything like me you obsess over Gods and Goddesses. From Disney’s Hercules to Gerard Butler in 300—absolutely any mythical romanticism makes me drool. This class is a must have.



Creative Writing (three credits)

Pick your poison. Whether you’re interested in basic fiction, short stories, poetry, or novel writing, MC has got it all. Let off a little creative steam by taking one of these classes. Who knows, you might create the next Christian Grey.





Well there you have it people. I’m a humanities girl so the science classes are scarce. But what do you think? Can you recommend any professors? Have any classes to add? Drop ‘em in the comments section below.


Happy Monday!



P.S. Here’s a link to the school's class catalog. It’s magical. As magical as...

Tiffany (and Alina)’s Magical Monday Music Selection!

(you knew it was coming eventually)



Juggling and Balancing

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Sometimes it feels like everything is a balancing act. Unless you’re absolutely lucky or supremely gifted life is spent balancing what we want to do and what we need to do. Sometimes we’re just juggling multiple tasks that are less than ideal. It feels like everything we do is just another task to complete in order to simply subsist. No time for pleasures.

Isn’t it great? My current job is contingent on being a student (and graduating) and at the same time they have been piling what essentially amounts to more homework in order to send me through the ringer and test whether or not I will still have a job in six months . . . Yeah no pressure. It feels especially great when thinking about the concessions I made for this job (time spent, options not taken, roads not travelled). To be fair the job has been good to me but the reliability and the comforts have made me a bit complacent. That being said it feel like having my feet pulled out from under myself if things don’t work out with my job.

We go around telling ourselves that we’re balancing who we are and what we want to be but oftentimes and for a good many of us we are simply balancing who we are currently and who it is we are slowly becoming.         

I know that I have given in to complacency way too often. It feels as though, with the home stretch of this semester in sight I won’t be able to turn in half-baked work and hope for the best. Sometimes when the stress clamps down and the pressures of life intermingle with the duties of a student, it takes working at full intensity to simply keep all of the balls in the air and to avoid letting anyone (or oneself) down.       








Scheduling your dreams

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On Sundays, I usually endeavor to write down a schedule for the following week.  I do it based on hours and I often include my class times, meetings with professors, replying to emails or calling a friend. By the end of the schedule, all my hours of the day are full. Obviously I may not be able to do everything on the list on time, but I still try to write a schedule because I feel that it enables me to manage my time effectively. There are so many things I want to do in one day, but there is no time to do everything and it is always hard for me to filter out what is most important.

              I recently participated in a leadership program “Project Lead” where we were taught about “beginning with an end in mind.” This end can be a dream or a goal you want to achieve. We were also taught that instead of letting our schedule organize us, we should use our goals to organize our schedule. Just like most people, I have wild dreams which might seem impossible to achieve when we tell people around us. However, I have come to understand that the only way I can make this dream possible is by making my schedule reflect this dream, so that most of what I do in a day will lead me one step closer to this dream. This might mean cutting off some activities that might seem urgent but are not important for our bigger goal. I tell you it is hard but only those who do this are able to achieve those wildly impossible dreams.


On Being a Musician...of Sorts

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Sarah's post about changing her perspective about science got a few of my creative juices flowing. Oddly enough, an almost opposite change is occurring in my academic life. I have always been a generally all-around intelligent person - I liked every subject (for the most part) and did some music on the side as an extracurricular activity. I started teaching piano on the side when I was 12, but it was always just a little extra thing that I did on top of school. Fast forward to seven years later, and my enthusiasm for my education classes is quickly waning (I know that I want to teach, but the path to get there is laborious). Additionally, my little roster of music pupils has "swelled" to five, with several others waiting for space in my schedule to clear.

I didn't realise it before this year, but I actually love music. I listen to it almost 24/7; it streams through my head like a river; I'm always humming or singing or dancing to something when I do homework, drive places, clean my room, etc. I know a lot of musical people. I still practice old repertoire for at least 30-60 minutes a day. I'm interning with a music teacher at an elementary school. I teach piano privately. And...I love every minute of it! The longer I am at MC, it seems the more I am dependent upon the soothing qualities of harmonic and melodic intervals and Alberti bass (this study explains why music can be so addictive - dopamine). I practically live in the Music & Arts store in Germantown - every associate there can recognize me by sight. It has made me contemplate forgoing my dreams of being a regular classroom teachers, and becoming a music educator instead. Part of me wonders if I have a problem. My practical self argues down the thought of majoring in music - the practice hours, what on earth I'll do once I graduate. And yet, still another part of me thinks that I can - no, should - do it. 

Several  formidable mental obstacles - not having taken formal lessons for four years, easily exhausted wrists, the many hours of required practice, auditioning in front of faculty - still feel as though they have a grip on me. The thought of getting back to memorizing repertoire and perfecting technique - it all seems dizzying and unreal and overwhelming. But music has almost become a lifeline for me this year. How could I refuse? Here's to hoping I can audition without fainting! 

Thanks, Sarah, for your inspiration!

My Thor's Day (Thursday) Musical Must-Haves:

Don't Stop Believin'  (my mantra until I get this audition over with)

Thneedville (my absolute most favorite dance-in-the-kitchen song!)

On Forgetting

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by Greg

       My fiancé and I have already had two conversations this morning about forgetting things.  The first was this morning when she asked me if I did my blog this week… Oops totally spaced it out of mind!  The second was about her schoolwork.  She is aspiring to become a therapist and is taking psychology now.  She is very worried that she’ll forget what she is learning now and a) struggle in future psychology courses and b) be a terrible therapist.  I took these two conversations as a message from the universe that I should blog about forgetting today, or at least blog about something!

             First,  the type of forgetting that I did is very different than the type my fiancé is worried about.  I had other things on my mind yesterday, like going to the MVA (ugh!), calculus homework, and The Walking Dead episode I DVR’d and didn’t watch yet.  Honestly, I subconsciously prioritized other things and the post didn’t even come to mind.  That’s why we should keep calendars and to-do lists.  We can’t trust our conscious minds to remember things we have to do.  I actually use a calendar which has “Write Blog” written on every Wednesday, except yesterday I even forgot to look at it.  The moral of the story is to write things down and then remember to look at what you wrote.  This becomes increasingly important when we have more responsibilities and freedom – i.e. when you are out of finally out of school and less people tell you what to do.  In addition, I have found that many times micromanagement is caused by inability of workers to organize themselves, and not just by control-freak bosses.  Do yourself a favor; do as I say and not as I do, and keep yourself organized if you aren’t already doing so. 


             Writing things down will also help with my fiancé’s type of forgetfulness.  I keep a journal, where among other personal thoughts, I write down new ideas I may have or things that I learn that I am worried I may forget.  It really helps, and often I find that the act of just writing something down commits it to my longer-term memory.  If there is class content you are interested in retaining, write it down somewhere.  If it’s an entire course, know before the class that you will want to keep your notes, and then make really great notes.


             Next, know what your goal is for a certain class.  Is it to just check a box for a graduation requirement?  Is it to get a good grade? Or is it to use the material one-day?  If your goal is one of the first two, then, except for the basic concepts, you will likely not remember what you learned for the long-term. However, if you want to use what you learn your interest alone will help you remember the material.  Still, you should add other memory techniques.  First, you can save your notes, or recreate the highlights in a journal as I mentioned above.  Second, imagine yourself applying the material in the real world.  For example, if you want to be a therapist, and you are learning about a certain personality type, think about how you would counsel someone with that personality.  Third, connect new material to old material you already know.  This reinforces both the old and the new.  In my case, today I learned about overthrowing governments in my political philosophy class.  I connected that to my experience in Iraq, world events in Egypt and Syria, and what I learned in international relations class.  Then I thought about what I would do if I was a policy maker armed with this knowledge.  Certainly, it will be easier for me to remember John Locke’s theories about revolution and dissolving governments.  Finally, don’t confuse trying to get a good grade with applying the material one-day.  People sometimes get locked into successful study habits that result in good grades, but then flush the material right after the test.  The result is an ignorant person with a high GPA.  Know when a class interests you and tailor your studying.  By the way, if you are interested in a class, the best possible grade will come.    


The Scientist

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Hello again Friends!

Happy Tuesday! There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this specific Tuesday, but I have been in a really good mood today and I wanted to share that cheer with you as well. So, here’s hoping that today was great for you as well. If it wasn’t, here’s to hoping next Tuesday is better!

This week I have been ruminating on how different schools allow you to succeed in different ways. For example, here’s a scenario in which I have recently found myself:

I have taken many, many, maaaany science classes in my career as a student. It all began with high school biology, chemistry, physics, and forensic science classes. My career taking science classes culminated (or so I thought) with UMD’s astronomy and energy sources of the future courses. With my sciences credits earned, I never expected to take another science class again, and I was glad for it. For some reason, science just never really stuck with me. It didn’t matter what school I was attending, or what teacher had command of the classroom, I was just never genuinely interested. I invested enough to get a good grade and then put it out of my mind.

Because of this, I was quite worried when I made the decision to come to Montgomery College in pursuit of a degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. If you look at the list of required classes, it’s pretty much all science (as only makes sense given the nature of the profession). I figured I’d give it a try anyway and immersed myself fully into the introductory curriculum. 

The strangest thing happened.

My entire life, I have been a History/English kind of brain and, correspondingly, I chose to focus on those kinds of classes. Suddenly, I found myself in a Biology course, and actually looking forward to attending class. I realized that, by the time class was over, I had not checked the time once. I was not bored to tears, but actually genuinely interested in the material. And that has made all the difference in my success in that class, I’m sure.

I don’t know what it is, whether it’s the specific curriculum or the professor or my classmates, but Montgomery college has done something for me that 3 grade schools and 1 major university could not. I have somehow fostered an interest in science. So, whatever it is you are doing MC, keep on doing it!

Until next time,


Music for this week is (as is only appropriate) "The Scientist" by Coldplay:

The Scientist by Coldplay

Mourning Monday

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On this particular Monday I had to skip school to attend a funeral. It was terrible. 

Wipe that shocked look off your face. What am I supposed to say?

It was nice?

Girl. Puh-lease.

Let’s be real. Funerals suck. You have to wear drab conservative colors, you have to wear uncomfortable shoes, you have to be quiet, you have to—cringe—mourn. Someone tried to tell me today that funerals are a sign of respect for the dead. Sure, maybe. Doesn’t change the fact that I cant stand ‘em. 

In fact, I would never like to go to a funeral again. And really, who does? So when I die show me some respect and don’t have a funeral—throw a party.

I have compiled a list of things that I'd like to happen at said party. 


Tiffany’s Last (Dying) Wishes:

1. From here on out the funeral will not be called and/or considered a “funeral”. It will henceforth be referred to as a “party”. 

2. There will be dancing. Especially of the freak variety.

3. Not one person is allowed to wear black to this party. I expect to be gazing down at a rainbow.

4. Other than color there is no dress code. You can wear sweatpants or prom dresses. I could give a hoot.

5. If you decide to come naked wear shoes. You know how much I hate feet.

6. I expect at least one person to come dressed as Spiderman. I love a man in tights.

7. There will be food. Lots of it. And booze. Especially tequila.

8. Are strippers taking it too far? I’d like them too.

9. Only fun music will be played at this party. This includes (but is not limited to) One Direction, my girl Tay Swift, and Miley Cyrus.

10. Upon entry every person will be forced to say one thing they love about me. No repeats. Hey, I’m dead. Appease me.

11. There will be animals there. Lots of them. Dogs, cats, platypuses, you name it!

12. It will take place in a forest. I like trees. Please accommodate the platypuses.

13. Each attendee will be required to donate at least one dollar to a charity of their choice. Personal bank accounts do not count as charities. If you don’t have a dollar start saving now. I’m sure you’ll get there eventually.

14. All of my money and material possessions will be donated to charity.

15. I will be cremated and then carried across the world. One eighth of me will end up on each and every continent. Make it happen people.

16. And for god’s sake, no one, not one single person is allowed to mourn. You need to celebrate life. Party now, cry later. Ya feels me?



All jokes aside, when people pass away it can really influence your school life. If you are having any issues in class I encourage you to talk to your teachers. I spoke with all of mine and they can be surprisingly understanding. You might even find that they are emotionally supportive. You're in college now. You're teachers can sometimes wind up being your friends too. 

Happy Monday!


P.S. Have any ideas to add to my “party requirements”? Share them in the comment section below. Or make your own last wishes list. We could start a trend. It’ll be funnnn.

Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection:



The Job of Family

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Sometimes it’s good to feel loved and sometimes it’s good to feel needed. . .

I write this post seated in a typical uncomfortable chair; the type that generally line the waiting room of an emergency healthcare provider. From the looks and feel of this lobby one would think that they’re trying to shame, annoy, and scare a patient from getting sick again therefore keeping them from having to deal with these less than comfortable conditions. What a way to treat the infirm.

So my little sister is not feeling particularly well and as big brother and the only one in driving distance I “volunteered” to take her to get looked at. Good thing I charged my phone for a change. Ok, so I can be a bit prickly about being dragged out of my comfort zone (and comfortable bed) because as someone who lives on the edge of (clinical) anxiety all of the time, I enjoy my few comforts, but I’m done kvetching, I’m glad to help out every once in a while.

Sometimes, it feels good to know you’re still part of something both outside of your everyday life and very much a part of who you are. If we forget where we come from and who and what has shaped us for better or for worse? Worse . . . like why I’m sitting here typing about my sister and her trials and all that I want to do is shake the vending machine in the lobby free of all of its snickers.

It’s good to know that you’re still driven to help your family when they’re in distress because even if you don’t want to say travel to Hagerstown for Thanksgiving/Christmas, or eat another terrible green bean casserole and ambrosia “salad,” when it comes down to real family needs (driving a sister to the emergency room, advising a brother on personal emotional issues or cleaning out parents’ house) it feels good to be able to say you were there, even if it pushes other things to the back burner for a day or two.

It’s easy to forget about family when you’re all caught up in the rigors of school, work and personal drama, but when it comes down to it, family has the power to give you strength when other areas of life might be dragging you down (or at least miring you in drudgery). Sometimes we need reminding of our ability to help and be there for somebody and sometimes that’s the job of family.         


College Visit

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I am sorry I am doing this blog late. I just returned from my first transfer college visit of Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. It is a private liberal Arts college that has made a partnership with Montgomery College to accept students who are enrolled in its Honors program. I have been visiting their website for quite a long time now so when I was told about this trip, I could not miss the opportunity. Though it was hard to wake up at 4 am to meet my professor at 6:30 am in the Rockville Campus, it was all worth it. The highlight of the visit was the fact that I was able to sit in a class and I chose a Developmental Neurobiology Class. Big name right! (I did not understand most of the information but I liked the small class structure with lots of teacher student interactions).

/uploadedImages/EDU/Student_Blogs/Student_Bloggers_test/photo (2).JPGThey have a study abroad program to Yaoundé, Cameroon, which is the country I am from. (The only African country I on that tree)


 There were already about five former Montgomery College students there so I got a lot of questions answered. The school is pretty pricey but these former students all got a good financial aid package. I am saying this story because I want to encourage students if possible, to look for schools outside of their comfort zone. As the admission officer told us “there is a whole new world out there,” I would love to see more hardworking students apply to competitive schools where there is a good chance that their financial meet will be met. You never know till you try, that’s what college is all about.



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