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Blood, Sweat, Tears

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

I sat on my hands to warm them, but shivers still ran through me as I sat surrounded by red balloons and women wearing lab coats.

            “Are you nervous, Sam?” asked one of my friends.

            “Yeah,” I confessed.

            “Is this your first time?” asked another.

            It wasn’t - I had given blood at MC’s October blood drive, and even though I’d been through the procedure once before, I became clammy and jittery as I waited. Alas, I was unable to give blood on Thursday because my iron count was too low. I wasn’t surprised by this result. I have recently become a vegetarian and I’ve been turned away previously for low iron - even when I was a meat-eater. So, when the Red Cross returns to MC in April, I have to make sure I up my iron and vitamin C intake in advance so that my blood will be deemed worthy.

            For many people, giving blood is either not a healthy option or too daunting an ordeal (I understand that perfectly). Fortunately, MC offers a cornucopia of other opportunities for students to make a difference. One such opportunity is the newly formed Immigrants’ Rights Organization (IRO). This group is near and dear to me (although I can never make meetings because they’re held on Fridays from 12:00-1:30 - in the middle of my calculus class!)

 As my fellow bloggers have noted, one of the best things about MC is our diversity; many of my new friends this year are immigrants. Two of them began the IRO, a club that focuses on community-building and political advocacy. Two weeks ago, several of our fellow MC students testified before the Maryland state senate in favor of the Maryland Dream Act and on Monday, March 7, the IRO will participate in Immigrant Action Night. Buses will depart from all over Maryland (including one bus from MC) to take activists to Annapolis to show their support for the Maryland Dream Act. Even if you can’t make it to major events - and even if you’re not an immigrant - the IRO will be happy to see you on Fridays from 12:00 to 1:30 pm. For more information, go to the IRO facebook page or contact the faculty sponsor, Linda Robinson.

            If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, MC has hundreds of other clubs – just pop into the office of Student Life and see what’s happening. Or, if you’re so inspired, start your own club! (And make friends with a blogger who will write all about it.)   


P.S. Another thing I thought was cool, but couldn’t think of a sexy way to link to my topic this week: a month or so ago, our own Dr. Pollard was interviewed on NPR regarding the future for MC. Click here for the podcast.


Back in the Saddle Again (I think)

(Dennis Radomski) Permanent link

I believe I'm at my zaniest at this particular hour. It's after 3 a.m. and I had only 6 hours of sleep last night. Not to  mention I just came home from work after a 12 hour shift. Sound familiar to any of you out there in blog land? Blogland, huh? Sounds like a decrepit amusement park off the jersey turnpike. I lost my Marvin the Martian hat on the jersey turnpike during a poorly conceived Ace Ventura impersonation back in the late 90's. I'm getting off base here.

These past two weeks have been murder. I've missed classes due to the flu, the weather, and oh yes, a power failure on Friday. Let's examine each with a fine-tooth comb. First off, I'm cured of the flu. Not for life, just for now. Secondly, we had some unpleasant weather this past Monday night in the form of icy rain. Hence my Tuesday morning 9:30 tee time at the Rockville campus being canceled. I actually drove to school thinking that my noggin' would get some needed attention but no, the parking lot was empty and a nice man in a RAV4 instructed me of the news. I went home and had not 1, but 2 bagels. Lastly, lets discuss the power failure. Is it not 2011? Have we not solved the ineffectiveness of above ground electric energy during not so perfect weather conditions? You do realize I sound like an idiot now, don't you? My talents are in other departments and in no way can I possibly explain to you the idiosyncrasies of electricity.

What else could I possibly add to the pot that could make life more difficult for yours truly? How about the fact that I'm moving to a new townhouse? Perhaps it's the fact that I have to study for midterms. Have I mentioned that I also must edit a flash fiction piece for the Potomac Review by midnight tomorrow after a 10 hour shift?! (I'm reminded of a certain Beastie Boys lyric right about now: I like my sugar with coffee and cream.) My piece is about a widowed father who goes fishing with his 16 year old son. That's all I'm telling you for now. You'll just have to read MY DEAR MARY for yourself. If I claim the $1,000 winning prize or get an honorable mention, you'll most definitely hear about it. If all goes according to plan I'll be published in the magazine for all the world to see. OK, maybe not in the U.K.

So there you have it kids, my very own version of Talk Soup. I know I sound like I'm complaining here in Blogland but I consider it more of a venting. For if the price I have to pay for greatness is little sleep, lots of work, and mega studying, so be it. Monty and I are in it to win it.


* For those of you unfamiliar with Monty, please refer to Dennis' first post of the semester in which he coined the term Monty, referring to the college in which we reside.

Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.


One more thing off my To-Do list (thank you MC!)

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be famous. Not really sure why, I just did. Nothing overtly narcissistic - maybe a street named after me, perhaps a holiday in my honor, giant billboards of me plastered know, the usual things kids dream of. 

I figured I had to act in cheesy Bollywood films to realize my dreams. After I moved to the US, I bid goodbye to those dreams. But thanks to Montgomery College, that dream has partially come true. I think I've become partially famous! I'm referring to the first image we're met by when we go to the MC site. Who is that stunningly handsome devil with the smug smile you ask? Why yes, it is yours truly! This has given me quasi-celebrity status within the confines of my class.

Whenever professors open up the MC site (to access myMC or show us something), it makes for great awkward conversation, replacing awkward silence!

"Is that you Sairam?"

I usually respond with a sheepish "...yess Professor" and crawl back into my seat. Turns out I don't have the Lindsay Lohan gene. I'm not all that big on attention.

The picture on the site also makes for a great conversation starter!

"Hey! Are you that kid on the MC website?"

Why yes, yes I am! I am that kid! I went from "that kid who raises his hand everytime!" to "that kid on the MC website". A decent promotion if you ask me. I even hear people saying "Check out that hunk - he's the same kid from the MC website!". Okay, I made up that one...

I'm thinking about using it as a pick up line. "Hey, wanna go out? I'm that kid on the MC website!"

But then again some people have been coming up to me and saying "Dude you look better online!" Haha. Yes, 'tis true! I do! And thank you?

In My Day, Faces Were on People, Not on Books

(Anne Schott) Permanent link

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “What’s it like to be a snarky, computer-illiterate, old lady at Montgomery College?”

Well…not really. I’ve only actually gotten that question once, and it was from a disgruntled family member whose diapers I used to change, so it doesn't count.

However, in case you’re wondering, my experience as a student here at MC is pretty different compared to the last time I was a student lugging a heavy backpack around.

If you read last week’s blog post –thank you for that--you may recall that I grew up a long time ago in a country far away from here: Sweden in the late 1970’s.  In my high school, we were expected to stand up every time a teacher entered the classroom. In fact, we had to stand up any time any adult spoke to us. If you happened to be the kind of kid who teachers felt the need to speak to frequently, you could spend your entire day jumping up and down. Trust me, it could get pretty tiring. And here’s the kicker, when passing a teacher in the hallway, girls were expected to make eye contact, smile, and then curtsy up-and-down quickly while walking by. The boys had to give a quick nod of their heads, and say, “Good day, Sir.”

Yeah, good times.

I haven’t seen a lot of this at MC so far, but I tend to hang out at the Goldenrod Building on the Germantown campus, so maybe things are different in Rockville or Takoma Park.

The most significant difference that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is my classmates’ incredible ability to multitask. As it turns out, you guys really CAN listen to a lecture while simultaneously checking your relationship status on Facebook.  I’m so jealous. On a bad day, I can’t even listen to the car radio when I’m driving.

Something else that’s made a big impression on me is this: many of you are working so hard. On top of your school work, you’re juggling jobs or family responsibilities, and oftentimes both.  Last semester, there were two young women in my computer class at Rockville who, after putting in full, 12-hour night shifts as nurse’s aides at the hospital, would show up at 9 a.m. sharp every Saturday morning, straight from work, prepared for a 3-hour lecture. I really admire that.

Then there are those of you who are giving college a second try. Maybe because the timing wasn’t right the first time around, or maybe you had to put someone else’s needs before your own, or maybe life just got to be too hard. That happens sometimes, and it takes courage to go back to school. I really admire that, too.

So this is what I say when people ask me what it’s like to be a student at MC: I tell them that I love being part of this student body. When I’m in class, or walking down the hallways, or studying in the library, not only do I see people like me, but I also see people of all ages, of all skin colors, and of all ethnicities—a glorious mix of people from every corner of the earth. Yet everyone is here for the same reason: we’re putting in the hours of hard work because we’ve understood the value of a good education. 

And, unless it’s finals week, everyone looks like they’re having a pretty good time. Except for me. I just look snarky.


I think my life needs ironing..

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

Well, Murphy's Law is in force. I wrote some of this early this morning planning to post it and then finish it and amend it before I went to class tonight. (it has been that kind of day and week.) But the log in didn't like me and it turned out that things were cranky in computer-land. But here I am now and I hope that the rest of the evening goes better. I can't even say “It could be worse. It could be raining.” though, because it is and it's going to do it until maybe the morning and it could have some heavy patches. Now, I'm trying to remember where an umbrella is. When you have three kids this can be a question that sometimes doesn't have an answer besides, “I don't know.” or maybe “It broke”.

OK. I know that this isn't Wednesday. Sometimes, when there's a week with a Monday holiday the rest of the days feel like they're off by one. But I made it to class on Tuesday night and here we are at Thursday. Of course, Tuesday got special notice with the ice and snow and the public schools starting 2 hours late and MC at noon. The little side streets over here were rather slippery early in the day, but thank goodness things cleared up.

A new wrinkle in the fabric of my life (I'm not sure if that's a good metaphor, but it's only 7 AM. If life was a cloth I think that it would be narrow corduroy right now: LOTS of little bumps.) this week is a minor bug that the teenagers probably picked up at high school. They're old enough to stay home by themselves when they're mildly ill, thank goodness. I can go to work or off on errands and leave them with a pot of tea and some decongestant, and they can manage. If our youngest had it, either my husband or I would have to stay home as he has mild Down syndrome and needs to have someone around. But his brother and sister can manage. I just hope that I don't get it, but then there's the rule that “Moms can't get sick” so repeating that should keep me going. That and some extra vitamins and hand-washing.

I'm going to have to finish this later today, as I have to get to work. Since the office was closed on Monday for the holiday I need to go in today to get my part-time hours in. Then come home to take care of things and then hare off to Germantown for tonight's class. I hope that things will be less wrinkled err more calm next week.

I found something really neat this week for history geeks. The National Library of Australia has a site called “Trove”  with collections of digitized newspapers and magazines (some 200 years old) and music files and more. A neat look at another country.


7714 Takoma Avenue, Takoma Park, M.D.

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

Geography, those jagged mountain ranges and impossibly straight boundary lines, I have never been good at.

I have a somewhat foggy understanding of where currently exist, the origins of the misty air I breathe. I know, for instance, that I was born in a Central American country between Mexico and El Salvador (goes by the name of Guatemala, and my guess would be that it sounds as foreign to you as it sounds to me): a cement city. My memories of this place mostly revolve around cherished childhood innocence.

I know of the blue I crossed and of the white I flew through on a plane en route to this ambitious American Dream. First stop: Germantown, Maryland. Second: Gaithersburg. Third and fourth did not stray too far from the source. Of the fifth, sixth and seventh moves, I don’t hold much recollection, for they have all blended together into some sort of coming and going song, a testament to my undecided mind perhaps, or certain circumstances.

Washington, D.C. is the current destination of choice for 2011, though how long I will stay here remains questionable. I am writing to you from the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, the third pit stop of my college experience.

It is almost impossible to believe that that I matriculated at Montgomery College about two years ago. It is almost impossible to believe because I don’t seem to remember when I filled out the application or how I signed for classes, though if my experience with this institution holds true, then I’m sure I received the help of a friendly counselor or two.

Working and going to school part-time, dropping out for a semester... this school has been the one constant. I have trekked across all three campuses, back and forth city lines - Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takona Park, D.C. - to the classrooms of mostly inspiring professors, sufficiently rigorous academic programs and the beauty of knowledge.

Desire something hungrily enough, and bold distances become incrementally small.

Imagine my surprise today when I walked into the Student Services building and into a full blown College Fair, proud school colors waving and smiling faces.

I guess that I have subconsciously stopped counting time. I have justified my inability to read my watch with this new mantra of unabashed “no worries” approach to life. In a time when so many deciding factors are out of my control, this idea that things will work out on their own accord. And here, at 10:15 in the morning, when my body has not guzzled enough coffee to wake my mind up yet, the jolting realization that goodbyes exist, and they do for a reason.

Around my shoulders, an American University scarf. At home, some Johns Hopkins gear. In my head, a foggy dream or two but mostly the new question of the geographical coordinates of my next destination.

Most importantly: When?

Good books and breaks.

(Danielle Francis) Permanent link

Wow, it's Tuesday already! 

It's been sort of an uneventful week, and I enjoyed it. I feel like I'm drowning in homework, and thanks to the ever relentless flu, I have some make up work to do. Homework can be comforting at times; it makes me feel like I'm getting something done. Right now, I'm finishing up my international relations paper, which required me to read a book called, "Escape from Slavery" and the paper relates some of the material to the current situation in Sudan. The book is a captivating story of a man who was enslaved at the age of 7 in Northern Sudan, and he is forced to work for a family for 10 years. What sets this novel apart from other books I've read on slavery is that this book is discussing a present day issue (Not to say that slavery in the past is not having an affect on anyone today). I think we usually speak of slavery as having taken place in the past, but we are forgetting the other parts of the world that still enslave people and treat them terribly. If anyone is interested in this book, I posted a link, and I know that it is also available at the MC Rockville bookstore. 

 Something else I'd like to discuss is Spring break. It feels oh so far away with the fresh snow we have, but it's actually coming up soon. Does anyone have any fun plans? I'm interested in some of the community service trips that I've been hearing about lately, called alternative Spring Breaks. I know that MC had planned a trip with Habitat for Humanity and applications were due quite a while ago, but I want to find out if there is anything else going on. If anyone reading this has any suggestions, whether it be an MC trip or not, please let me know!

What would Sikitele do?

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

Before this blog proceeds any further, I feel it my duty to introduce you to Sikitele, as he has recently become an important part of my life. Before you start getting jealous, allow me to explain that Sikitele is imaginary. He is the central character in a semester-long class project.

            For our “Twentieth Century Journal” project, each of the Montgomery Scholars were given a country – in my case, the Belgian Congo – and charged to document what life might have been like for someone living in that country during the twentieth century. Our research is to be presented as a multi-installment narrative starring a fictitious character.

            When I describe this project to people, their initial response is frequently “Why don’t you just kill off your character in World War I?” My professors (there are four who review this project) are too wily for this - the project was assigned with the proviso that our characters be born no later than 1901 and die no earlier than 1990. Other suggestions for Sikitele have been more creative – including the hope voiced by one of my friends that he immigrate to America and be abducted by aliens in the 1950s.

            I began my quest by doing background studies on the gory colonial history of the Belgian Congo. In an incident that has rekindled my rapturous love of libraries, I serendipitously stumbled upon King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild at the MC library. (If you are interested, I highly recommend this book. I know for a fact that there are two copies of it at the Rockville campus library.) The book gave me a detailed – but highly disturbing – foundation for my story. From there, I followed Hochschild’s paper trail to other sources about the Congo, becoming cozy with the hundreds of volumes in Macklin Tower in the process.

            I’ll keep the details of the Sikitele’s life story to myself for now, because I may turn this into a full-length novel someday and I don’t want any spoilers floating around the Internet. I’m only on the third of eight entries, but already, Sikitele has become a domineering presence in my overpopulated imagination (where innumerable other characters constantly battle for my attention).

 Although the project is challenging and time consuming (to say the least) it is a truly rewarding and enriching experience. My history professor has been telling me for months that history is unfathomably layered, but the realization has become far more visceral this semester as I continue my research on some of the most complex cases of human corruption. As I sit in bed buried in conflicting accounts of what happened in the Congo (also known as Zaire), I find myself wondering: what would Sikitele do? 

Milk Was a Bad Choice

 Permanent link

What do you get when you cross a six foot three 36 year old second-time round freshman with a 12 oz. glass of 1% milk after a 10 hour shift at midnight this past Wednesday night?

Answer: The beginning of a 3 day exclusion from society.

Oh, to be young. I can recall the days when I could go out drinking after work, sleep for 5 hours, and return to the time-clock 4 minutes before my scheduled shift the next day. Actually, that would be the same day seeing as I most likely would enjoy an after midnight burrito in my friend's pick-up (REMEMBER: designated driver kids). I have such a hard time dealing with the Dennis of now, more specifically Dennis' body. The minor aches and pains I receive today due to the most leisurely exercise as opposed to freely climbing trees in my youth with that ole' spring in my step. I need to start a steady exercise regimen. Certainly, time has taken its toll on my joints.

Father Time has not only weakened my sore bones from doing something that requires physical activity, which brings me to that glass of milk introduced above. Behold the stomach. The anticipation that my stomach has for his well-deserved "after-work" meal is bar none his favorite meal of the day. However, this past Wednesday night I was so tired I opted for just a glass of milk in my favorite glass: Beatles for Sale. I felt a bit funny after I drank. Not to mention I was feeling a bit funny to begin with on the car ride home. If I would have known that a simple glass of Trader Joe's GRADE A finest would make me miss 3 days of work and 2 days of class, I would have left my stomach pissed off at me not just because of his missing nightly bagel but of his absent beverage as well. The homogenization must have put me over the edge.

I hate missing class, especially since I haven't truly been to school in ages. I want to soak everything up. I summed up enough energy in my fingertips to write to my professors and ask any classmates for notes. Gotta love technology. Laptops are all the craze hence the document I received via student e-mail from one of my cohorts. I even got a couple of "Get Better Soons" from my professors. And so I did just that. Today, at approximately 4pm I left my 3rd. story apartment for the first time since Wednesday. And now I'm sitting on my plush couch writing to you about past day's events that adversely affected my daily routine. Soon hereafter I shall catch up with my fellow students as I prepare the game plan for my comeback, a minor one if you will but a comeback nonetheless. Now that I am healed perhaps I'll give my stomach a gift in the form of Assignment #3 for my Introduction to Nutrition class: Trying New Whole Foods.

Then again, maybe I should wait 'til tomorrow.


Student Senate Adventures

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

Clipboard in hand, I set out on a march across MC. My goal – get 200 signatures for the Student Senate application. I had been planning on getting involved with extracurricular activities on campus since day one. But I held myself back to gauge the level of work the Scholars program required. Other than the sporadic involvement in SIFE (which increasingly clashed with my schedule), my first Semester at MC consisted mostly of hanging out with the Scholars, Scholar Ball, Philo Cafes and little else. While that may sound like a lot, I’m used to juggling multiple extracurricular activities and academics from my high school days.

            So anyway I got the Student Senate application and have been soliciting signatures. Generally getting 200 signatures shouldn’t be too hard considering MC has a lot of students. I assume most people meet at least a 100 people through the 4-5 classes they take each semester. But alas the Scholars program is a double-edged sword as I found out. Since I only take two classes outside of the Scholars program, getting to 200 seemed like a challenge. Though I usually make an effort to get to know people in my classes, 200 interactions seemed as if it would take a while. And as the application was due in a few weeks, I figured I better start asking people for their signatures. So there I was in the library, convincing people that they should help me be a candidate for the Student Senate.

It was a rather interesting experience as many people weren’t aware what the Student Senate was or that Montgomery College had a student government. After explaining how student government works to a few people with limited English skills, a perfected 30-second pitch, and lots of exercise I finally had the 200 signatures. I turned in the application today and look forward to being more active on campus!

Saunas and Snow

(Anne Schott) Permanent link

I am a first generation American. Maybe you are, too. Although I was born here, I spent much of my childhood in Sweden where my family started from. If you’ve never been to Sweden, I can probably save you a trip by telling you that it closely resembles any TV program you may have seen about Alaska, minus Sarah Palin and her noisy snow scooters. We didn’t have snow scooters. We had acre upon acre of quiet, mossy forests and lakes the color of dark green ink. My childhood was pretty much what you’d expect of a childhood spent in a logging community located a day’s car ride from the Arctic Circle: the winters were beautiful, dark, and cold, and the summers were always too short. 

One of several uniquely Scandinavien skills that I acquired during those years is the ability to run naked out into the chill night air from the heat of a 200° F, log-fueled sauna and then throw myself, eyes shut tight, into a circle of dark, unknown lake water carved with a saw into the frozen ice. This was considered a real treat for a teenager on a slow evening, this dodging of chunks of ice while shrieking, so it obviously pre-dates Facebook. 

Another skill which I spent quite a lot of time mastering is Swedish stenography, a type of shorthand. Yes, that’s right. I’ve spent many an hour hunched over the kitchen table in the 3 p.m. semi-darkness of a winter afternoon practicing the graceful flourishes required of a competent Swedish stenographer. At that time, I believed that this skill would one day open doors for me career-wise. But you’d be surprised—I know I was—at how seldom anyone posts a want ad on seeking someone fluent in Swedish stenography. It turns out that employers today are far more interested in job applicants who are familiar with ….oh, I don’t know…. Microsoft Word and desktop publishing, that kind of thing.

This is what has brought me to Montgomery College. Now that my kids are in school and I’m able to return to work, I’m fortunate to have MC just around the corner, both willing and able to help me update my rusty set of skills. After meeting with a student counselor last summer, I realized that I could earn a certificate in technical writing in a fairly short time by taking courses in subjects I’m genuinely interested in studying--MS Office, Photoshop, marketing, writing, and editing—courses that will prepare me for an actual job with an actual paycheck.

So now you know my story. Maybe one day, you’ll let me hear yours.


Mars Needs Coffee, or at Least I Do...

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link


I'm very glad that I was born after coffee became widely available. Some people, like my husband, prefer tea in the morning or some thing else to drink, but right now I'm here with a nice cup of coffee at about 6:45 A.M. Yes, it's early to be writing, but today is going to be busy and I wanted to get my first blog post of the semester taken care of .

Things have gotten more complicated since the last time I posted here. I still have the part time job and I go to that most weeks on M-W-F mornings as soon as the rest of the family has left and get home in the afternoons around the time that my kids (two high schoolers and one in his first year of middle school) are getting home from school. Then I have my double class at the Germantown campus on T-Th evenings from 7-9:40 AND it has a lab on Saturday mornings from 9-11:40. Even on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have to be up at the crack of dawn to get the children going and the youngest down to his bus so I'm feeling a bit tired around the edges. It's also six days a week that I'm chugging back and forth across the county for at least 40 minutes or more one way and some days it can be a good deal longer if there's an accident or ICC construction or such like. (From over here in the eastern part of Montgomery County there's no really practical way to use public transportation to get to school, particularly at night.).

A friend has suggested that I could listen to books and lectures on tape or CD while I'm driving and I think that's a good idea. WTOP is good for finding out if there's a traffic problem and the news, but I think I'd like to have something else as well. Right now, I have a dramatization of The Lord of the Rings that the BBC did (I think) in the 80s. I remember hearing it on public radio then but it was a long time ago so it's fresh again. Do any of you listen to books while commuting to school? I think I might see if the Friends of the Library book stores have any. I've gotten some great books incredibly cheaply there. I usually go to the one in the basement of the Wheaton branch but there are two others in Rockville and Gaithersburg. Here's a link to their locations:

At least we've only had one bout of snow and closings so far. I remember last year when MC was closed for about a week and the maintenance people had to deal with so much snow on the campus parking lots just for starters.

I sorry this post is a bit rambling. I think I'll go have my second cup of coffee and then it's time to get going on the day


Nice to be posting my first blog

(Danielle Francis) Permanent link

 Dear Winter,

Please go away. 

Having been raised in gorgeous HOT Florida, I just can't seem to adjust to this cold weather. Upon arrival, with all my packed boxes, in Maryland, it was summer time. At night, it would cool down to about 65 degrees, and I would wear a heavy winter coat, which got me a few weird looks. Up until now, I've been taking the bus to MC (I just bought a car Saturday so I drive now), and waiting for the bus is horrible in the arctic weather. Well, standing out in the cold is no worse than trying to park at the Rockville campus. I feel like the subject of parking is a typical one, since everyone has probably hassled with it at some point. But seriously, no one should not be 7 minutes late to class when they arrive to school 20 minutes before class. I learned a valuable lesson on Monday- show up SUPER early. On a brighter note, I'm really thankful that the Rockville campus has a Starbucks. Coffee drinking is a new habit for me, I just started drinking it maybe 2 or 3 months ago. It suits the cold weather well though, and you can stay alert for class after a late night. 

Another reason I'm excited for Spring, aside from the weather itself, is that I'm looking forward to some of the field trips coming up. I'm in the Renaissance Scholar's program, and there are Saturday morning labs for the course. About 5 or 6 of these lab sessions are actually field trips. I'm particularly looking forward to our trip to Sugarloaf Mountain. This past saturday we went to the Covanta Resource Recovery Facility , which is the place where our trash is sent from the dump to be burned. The energy created by the process in which the garbage is burned creates power for 50,000 homes in Montgomery County. Many people think garbage and they immediately think pollution, but this is a really green facility; the pollution is significantly less than you would expect. The trash is transported by train to the facility and the ash is transported by train away from the facility; this saves a lot of dump truck traffic and emissions.The link I've posted leads you right to the place page, where you can learn more about the process. To any fellow MC student, I would definitely recommend that you get involved in activities whether it be a scholarly program or and after school club. MC truly offers unique experiences that I don't think most people would typically expect from a community college. There all kinds of fun things to get into, like blogging. Just remember to show up extra early for your activities if you're parking at Rockville!



If Music Be the Food of Love...

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

Friday was a musical day for me. I began my day on an ironic note by listening to The Beatles’

A Hard Day's Night. The Fab Four serenaded me all the way to Rockville Campus with the album ending just as I arrived. (That should give you some idea of the daily commute).

            That evening, my friends (Callie and Nat) and I took a trip to the Takoma Park campus for a concert of contemporary Native American music. On the way, we listened to Pink Floyd’s Echoes  – a 22-minute song that positively rocks!

            Those of you who read last semester, might recall the episode in which Callie and I took a trip to Poolesville and got lost. Our foray to Takoma Park was less traumatic, but we did drive around campus at least three times before we figured out where the parking garage was. (And we felt a little stupid). The concert began at 7:30 and at 7:30, where were we? In the Student Services building, trying to figure out where the performing arts center was.

            A friendly girl explained to us that we had to walk across the pedestrian bridge in order to get there. Imagine our dismay when we danced across the bridge and discovered that there was another parking garage adjacent to the performing arts center. Despite our frustration, we persevered and walked into the performance only a wee bit late.

The concert was a part of the MC World Arts Festival, arranged by Professor Dawn Avery. Professor Avery herself was the featured performer of the evening playing her cello alongside Grammy Award wining producer and guitarist, Larry Mitchell.

Professor Avery is of Mohawk heritage and so her compositions blended elements of various kinds of Native American music with rock and Western classical music. Avery employed some unusual cello techniques, including some “slide cello”. Her lyrics combined Mohawk words with English. Speaking in one’s native tongue, Avery explained, stirs “collective memory” and so, during an instrumental piece, she invited members of the audience to stand before a floor mic and speak a few words in their native languages.

The piece that absolutely blew me away, however, was the last song. Avery taught the audience a refrain from a Mohawk lullaby (in Mohawk) and instructed us to sing it continuously as she played. In the repetitive chanting, Callie and I both fell into a meditative trance from which we awoke at complete peace.

But it wasn’t too long before we were back to our bubbly hyperactive selves, singing loudly along to the original cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera

The Full Monty

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Aaaaahhhhhhh Valentine's Day: A day to give some loving to your significant other in the form of flowers, candies, or poetry. Or perhaps you receive an annual card from your 86 year old grandmother wishing you all the best. Being a newlywed (2 years this upcoming March) I tend to make every day Valentine's Day. And so for Valentine's Day 2011 I would like to pose the following question: Will you be my valentine Montgomery College?

From here on out I'll be referring to our school as Monty. Yes, Monty. I have a crush on Monty! I'll never forget the first time I laid eyes on Monty. I was cruising down 355 in Rockville eating and searching for an apartment and I noticed Monty's entrance sign. I clearly remember raising an eyebrow as if my mind was placing this occurrence in a safe and that one day I would be unlocking the mental key to the beginning of my future. If my lips had to say anything at the time it might have sounded like "Hhhhmmm, Montgomery College. That's good to know."

It wasn't long before I made my first visit to the campus. I came specifically to talk to an academic advisor regarding my course of study and possible transfer credits. After a long absence from any college experience I tentatively waited for my name to be called in the counseling office. I was sure lucky enough to be called by Jessica Present. Not only was she engaging and had a genuine interest in my future but she completely put my mind at ease and made me feel right at home, if as though I was never on hiatus from my scholarly adventure. As I strolled to Winston (that's my Jeep) with an extra hop in my step I began to draw up blueprints for my master plan.

And then, there I was sitting at home eagerly waiting to see my dear Monty again. Over the next couple of weeks I would drive down Rockville Pike and Monty would send me a small 'wink' every single time. How nice I thought. I began to think that we were meant to be. This is my first semester at Monty Rockville where I am getting a second chance: a second chance to achieve, a second chance to believe, a second chance at life. Monty has without a doubt been quite the rush of newfound love.

Happy Valentine's Day Monty.



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