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All Good Things...

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Hello Friends,

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow.

It seems that the end of this wonderful arrangement has snuck up on me. When I first heard about this opportunity, I was freshly cleared from a debilitating head injury and just getting back into school again. I didn’t even know that blogging for the school was something I could even do.  In an effort to get to know my new school, I did what most young people do these days; I surfed the internet. In doing so, I found a little blurb on the MC home page, saying that applications to become a paid student blogger were being accepted. Little did I know, that a wonderful opportunity had just fallen into my lap.

I was overjoyed to find that the deadline for submitting an application had not passed yet, though it was dangerously close. I’m not sure what possessed me, but I don’t think I have ever put less deliberation into a decision as I did then. I wanted to do this. I was going to. I sat down and filled out the application then and there. A few emails, phone calls, and an interview later, I had a job. 

This has been an amazing experience and has offered me a platform to really think about what I was experiencing. It allowed me to indulge my inner writing bug, while also giving me space to parse out my feelings over what was happening in my life. It allowed me to entertain and be entertained by my classmates and fellow bloggers. It allowed me to share my experiences with others, hopefully aiding some readers in the sharing of my college experience. It allowed me to connect with great and hardworking individuals that I had otherwise would never have met.

I regret absolutely nothing about this decision. It has been a joy to share my life with you this past year. I guess…the moral of this particular story is this: If you suddenly find yourself with a strong desire and passion for something, go for it. The least you can do is try. Otherwise, I never would have been here sharing the college experience with all of you. 

Take care,

Sarah

Like Isaac, I would like to thank my fellow bloggers and everyone who has been involved with the blogging program, especially Jane. One last time, I would also like to encourage you to check out these websites, in honor of fellow blogger Gregory Dash. 

http://www.sarcomahelp.org/donations.htm

http://hinesrinaldi.tributes.com/our_obituaries/Gregory-Nath-Dash-99855258

Last music choice of the year: More Than Fine by Switchfoot 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxiYRx55g1c

This is it.

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Well, this is it, the end of things. It’s been a great year of blogging (for me at least, I’m not so sure about you out there, though I hope at least a few have enjoyed a good read or two) and sharing my thought and experiences of my last year at MC. I want to avoid looking back because it does no good and frankly there’s so much more life ahead. I want to let people know to keep both eyes forward and take on the changes that come. College is so full of experiences and the only regret that I have is not being able to capitalize on all the MC has to offer.

     There’s so much to do here and although the time is brief and fleeting, taking a little of it to better understand yourself is the great first step of growing up, and when you really think about it, that’s what college is really about. We spend our time here growing up, making adult friends (and cementing friendships we have) figuring out that we needn’t deal with those who aren’t worth our time (because there’s only so much of it to go around) and we learn about what makes us who we are as we place the foundation of who we are to become. Will there be variables that shake things up every once in a while? Sure, of course, but dealing with adversity is one of the truest cultivators of adulthood. We will never be children again, but we come to understand ourselves we realize that we wouldn’t want to be (well, most of us anyway).

    I want to reiterate, make the most of your time at MC (and of college as a whole). There is so much to do here (just at MC and our area), so much that can broaden your horizons and broaden your understanding of the world. While here, there’s the chance to take in the beauty of art, music and literature, the tragedy and triumphs in history, the functions of mathematics and science that dictate how the world around us works in ways that our ancestors had no clue of. Take in all there is, not just academically, but also as a traveler of this world. Make friends (and sadly lose friends, such is life), grow connections; understand your parents, your grandparents and your annoying, younger/older siblings. See concerts (on campus and off), talk about what you love, understand who you love, and try, try, try to be the best person that you can possibly be.

Thank you so much and best wishes.

Isaac Weiser

P.S. I want to thank all of my fellow bloggers for helping inform my own blogs, but teaching me what else people are doing, while I live my own little bit of life. Sarah Krejcik, Tiffany Witt, Madonna Enwe, Kimberlee Green. Your own trials, accomplishments and insights have shown me much. Good luck to you all. To the family of Gregory Dash, I feel like having a peer like Greg enlightened all of us. We are so lucky to have our memories. I will forever be grateful for this past year. 

The power of willpower

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    The few weeks leading up to finals are always challenging for me. I have a problem with final exams because I get anxious during the cumulative final exams. I know that they are worth lots of points that will count towards my grade, but I do not like to depend on them. What I decided to do was to work very hard in my last exams and quizzes so that my grade will not depend very much on the final exams. This semester I have two cumulative exams in Statistic and Organic Chemistry. Taking Organic chemistry this semester has taught me a lot about studying. Before I took that class, I had heard a lot of “bad news” related to it. However, as the semester progressed, I came to understand what could be the secret to doing well in organic chemistry. Before I present that secret, I want to mention one important part which involves practicing problems. The practice should not consist of cramming reactions and how they work, but they should involve understanding what you are doing or what is going on in the reaction. Unlike other subjects, cramming will not take you anywhere in Organic chemistry..

            That little secret of mine is something I repeat to myself everyday which is willpower. The power of will power: I cannot give it any more credit. In organic chemistry and other classes I have taken, this has actually proven to work. If you will for something to happen and you work hard to realize it, you will get a very close result to what you want. It might not always be exactly what you want, but it will be close to it. For a chemistry lab report, I told myself that I will not have any mistake that will cause my teacher to deduct points from it. To realize that dream, I read each sentence of that report like a professor reading the report and I made sure that what I was writing made sense and could be easily understood. At the end, I got two points off out of fifty; it wasn’t what I wanted but was definitely very close to it.

        Today I found out that my research paper on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) was chosen to be presented at the Beacon conference in New York this June. I can’t believe how far this paper has taken me and I will try to do my best in this presentation and spread the story about the incidence of TBI.

On Something...I Think

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Ugh! Seriously? How could I be so stupid?! I can't believe I did that!!

We all probably know how this mental beating goes, though it may sound different in each of our heads. Yeah...you know, that mental beatdown you give yourself after an exam? And not just any exam - the one you thought you'd do okay on, but then you completely blanked and after you finished taking it, you opened your textbook to the covered chapters and you wail mournfully because you realise that you got pretty much everything wrong. That exam. That was my tearful Thursday morning situation. I was up late grading research papers for one of my teaching jobs on Wednesday night, and I planned to study for my Spanish exam afterwards.

My brain, though well-intentioned, underestimated the level of exhaustion of my body, and I drifted off to Dreamland, waking up only 20 minutes before I had to leave for class. Crap. I barely had time to hop in the shower, get dressed and grab a quick breakfast - and I was still late to class! For some odd reason, in my demented, half-awakened stupor, I thought that maybe I'd be okay. I could possibly remember the concepts covered in class for the past couple of weeks without reviewing. Sit down, get an exam, start writing. Page 1 - a breeze; vocab stuff. Page 2 - "Looking at the context, conjugate the following verbs in either the imperfect subjunctive or indicative." Mind freezes. Eyes widen. What were those endings again? Is that the one where you take a verb in the infinitive, conjugate to the 3rd person preterit, chop off the ending and add another? Or was that the pluperfect? Or was that the conditional? Or is conditional even a tense? A mood? I don't remember learning that one! And thus it continued with

page 3.

page 4.

and

page 5.

By the time I finished taking the exam, I was thoroughly befuddled, and I wasn't positive that I was writing the correct words. Some miniscule, hopeful part of my intellect reminded me that I could be wrong; after all, our first instincts are often correct. Why not, I reasoned. I may not be totally and completely wrong.

Ah, naivete.

I practically ran to my car after I turned in my exam, grabbed my Spanish book from my backpack, frantically turned the pages, hoping, praying that I was right about something...anything!

And...my eyes fell upon the part of the chapter titled "The Conditional Tense and Its Uses."

I scanned the page.

Nearly cried.

Scanned again.

Wept bitterly.

Hopes of getting an A dashed against the rocks, ground into powder and sent scattering to the wind.

Now my hope, my life

all lies

in the bane

of my existence

the final exam.

Farewell, my

little

grey

cells.

 

Kimmie's Thursday Tunes:

http://youtu.be/Dd_9Q4gL9Vc  (J.S. Bach | Allemande from French Suite No. 2)

http://youtu.be/pMAtL7n_-rc  (Scott Joplin | Maple Leaf Rag)

 

Nothing profound today...just a couple of my favorite composers - Bach and Joplin. Two short ditties; enjoy!

Was That a Firing Squad?

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Hello Friends,

So, last weekend my family went paint balling at a park in western Maryland. I had never been before, and the rest of my family had never really done organized paint balling, so we really didn’t know what to expect. When we got there…

Oh my.

As we pulled up there were people in full-out combat gear holding their own personalized weapons. A five second warning had just been given for one of the fields that was about to begin playing and when we stepped out of the car, it sounded like someone was being murdered by a firing squad.

Needless to say, this was not what we were expecting. We were assuming this would be a fun family outing with some strategy games mixed in, but this was serious business. My sister immediately was wary and saying that she did not think this was going to be fun and that she did not want to die today, thank you very much.

I’ll be honest, despite our reservations, we jumped right in. And the first game was horrible. No one had explained the rules to us and we had no idea who was on our team or where we should be going or how much it actually hurts to be pelted with a paintball from close range. After that first game, we decided we would play one more, and if it was anything like the first, we would probably leave.

Staying for one more game was the best decision we made.

The second game was set up capture the flag style, and it was soooo much fun. We had finally figured out basic paintball etiquette and now we knew what our goal was. As we looked more comfortable, other players began to include us in their strategy as well, giving us direction and answering our questions when we didn’t know what to do. 

We ended up staying the entire day and playing in several matches. We learned that the firing squad that we heard on the way in was actually a professional match between trained teams, not the recreation games that we participated in. We also learned that not owning camouflage pants and your own gun doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be good at paintball. 

Long story short, this past weekend I learned how to play paintball. More importantly, I learned to not let my first impression of something put me off from trying it anyway. Sometimes, people will be kinder than you think and situations that seemed daunting will actually turn out to be a lot of fun!

Until next week,

Sarah

Music choice for this week! My sister and I have been listening to this so: Journey "Open Arms"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhaZoomfnlE

Mission Monday

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    A while back I decided that I needed to start making a conscious effort to be more adventurous. And, as of lately, I’ve been sticking to that mission. Take this weekend, for example:

    Friday night was inventory night at MOM’s. On inventory nights basically a whole bunch of employees get together and we count everything in the store. Like every single item. As you can imagine it takes a long time—and we can’t even start until all of the customers leave. I came into work at 6 PM and I was scheduled to leave at 2 AM. I didn’t make it out of there until 5:30. I was there so late that the morning crew was coming in, as I was leaving. I’ve never had a sleepover at work before. It was definitely an adventure. 

    Needless to say I slept in until 2 in the afternoon the next day. And I was scheduled to work again at approximately… 2 in the afternoon. Oops. I got off that night and my boyfriend-lover-boo-thang surprised me by taking me out dancing at a Latin club. Definitely adventurous. The people there were crazy with no inhibitions and no judgment. So I let go of the initial culture shock and allowed my little gringa butt to attempt to dance bachata, cumba, and punta. I may have looked like a fool but I sure as heck had a great time.

    Holidays are always an adventure with my family. So after finally getting to bed around four in the morning on Sunday, I woke up, slapped some makeup on my face, and headed on over to my mother’s house. We proceeded to cook and argue and cook and argue and cook and argue some more—with as little cooking being done on my part as possible. And then I saw The Sound of Music for the first time. Nazi’s in a musical? Can you get any more adventurous? I think not!

    I went home after dinner and did homework with a friend. And when I say homework I mean I wrote an essay about The Amazing Spider-Man and researched it by watching the movie. I did homework until 7 at night the next day and then went fishing. Yes, I, the vegetarian-est vegetarian in the whole wide world, went fishing. Kind of. I mostly just sat by the fire and relaxed with Mother Nature all the while pleading for the cute little fish’s lives.

    Now its 8:30 and I’m headed to school smelling like a campfire and eating McDonalds. Funny how adventure’s make you hungry (and daring) enough to order off a dollar menu.

    Well, that’s all folks!

    Happy Monday.

    Love, 

    Tiff:) 

Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection: Quiet Your Mind by the Zac Brown Band

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syTVW8n5Cy0&feature=kp 

Be Cool to Your School

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I’ve got nothing today. . . I can’t believe I’m typing this but it’s a week where I’ve got nothing of interest to myself. . . Even less so anyone else. So, I decided that I want to take a moment to point out some of the good things going on at the Rockville campus in the next week or so. I love out music department and they do not get enough credit for their ongoing series of concerts, performances and workshops.

     I’m particularly looking forward to this Wednesday’s jazz concert with Alvin Trask and his “Krewe’tet.”  Professor Trask teaches trumpet and Jazz History, and leads the Jazz ensemble the Rockville campus. I’ve studied and under him as part of the Jazz Ensemble and have learned much through his insight. He is also a fabulous performer greatly influenced by Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. His Krew’tet plays modern Jazz that swoons, bops and shoots forward with improvisations flourishes.

     I’d be remiss to forget to remind people about the Montgomery College’s Venerable World ensemble. Led by Dawn Avery with help from Leonardo Lucini, the WE without fail puts on one of the most diverse programs semester after semester. Where else can you hear and see African or Middle Easter drumming, Celtic highland music, Native American Dirges, Reggae and Latin Rhythms in one evening? This is what goes on every semester (and if you take part yourself, every week) at the World Ensemble’s end of semester concert. Their concert is next Wednesday. One of my big regrets this semester is that with my busy schedule, I haven’t been able to take part in the ensemble. Do yourself a favor, check these performances out (or really any of the events, bookmark it, set your schedule http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/EDU/Department4.aspx?id=30573). All faculty events are free but there are other low cost musical events that are held at the Parilla performing arts center on campus (http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/pac/).

 Wednesday April 23 Alvin Trask Krewe’tet 7:30PM Music Recital Hall, Music Building, Rockville Campus –Free-

 Wednesday, Mary 7 MC World Ensemble, 7:30PM Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, Rockville Campus.              

 

Endings and Beginings

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    I cannot believe it is just about three weeks left for school to be over. Many things I participate in are already coming to an end. The On Ramp to Stem scholarship program that I have been a part of for about a year now will be ending next week. During the past year, we have been receiving lectures on the incidence of cancer from top scientists working at the National Institute of Health and other universities. In the past weeks, we did our own research on topics related to cancer and the group I belonged to, presented a paper on the over amplification of HER2 protein in certain Breast Cancers. It was an amazing program and I am sorry that it is over.

    This week during the GRAD finale I had a glimpse of what my commencement will be like. I got my robe, my Phi Theta Kappa stole and my honor cord. I was surprised to actually find out that some of my friends will not be attending the commencement ceremony. For me, I am very excited for that day because I will be seeing most of my professors and fellow classmates for the last time.

    When I tell people that I will be graduating in May, I always get the same question “Where are you going next fall?” Unfortunately, I do not have the answer now. I have heard back from six of the eight schools I applied to and they have all given me positive answers, but I do not feel ready to give them a reply yet. I know that financial packages are important so I am also waiting to see what they will offer me. Even though I am confused now, I know that in August I will be going to a school that will be best for me. I am always grateful when people tell me that no matter where I go to, I will be able to obtain the best from it. I know that too, so that is why I am patient to see how things will unfold.

On Assistance from my (True) Companions

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I thought that this would be yet another boring week with little inspiration. In some ways, it was - no major events occurred. But in other ways, it was one of the most significant ones to me.

Being an introverted/reserved person, I tend to be an over-thinker (that's putting it mildly) and a worrier. Lately, I've been anxious about my dad's health, homework, transferring, and a host of other issues. I have a hard time not worrying or being concerned about major life stuff, but in the day-to-day, it wears on the mind and spirit.

I was having a particularly difficult time focusing on Wednesday, and it was preventing me from accomplishing what I had to do. I texted a couple of girls from my church and even though they have me some words that I really didn't want to hear, they were necessary. I saw them both later that night (when their sage advice had been able to sink in and I was able to ponder it), and I was able to express my gratefulness. Not only were they able to exhort me, but I was able to encourage them about difficult circumstances going on in their lives, also.

Now, I'm the first to joke about being a loner and not needing people, but the fact remains that we humans are social creatures. In our self-centered, media driven society though, you would hardly believe it. So many of the things we do are alone - texting, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc. While alone time is also great and needed to maintain one's sanity (or lack thereof), there is much to be said for a handful of friends. Not yes-people who make you feel good 100% of the time. Real, true, love-you-in-the-midst-of-your-worst-tantrum, wipe-off-your-snot friends. Just my 2 cents.

 

Kimmie's Thursday Tune:

http://youtu.be/jBDF04fQKtQ (The Beatles | With a Little Help from my Friends)

Racing for the Cure

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Hello Friends,

It’s tax day and the weather is quite gloomy, but hopefully you have still had a good day, despite all that.

As promised, I’m here to tell you all about my weekend at the Susan G. Komen Ocean City Race for the Cure. 

We made it to Ocean City Saturday afternoon and spent some time getting our accommodations worked out and exploring the boardwalk, and the weather was great. Race morning was chilly, but it warmed up fairly quickly. The atmosphere was amazing. Survivors in pink and supporters in white and pink, the entire boardwalk area was a sea of pink shirts and breast cancer ribbons, including the businesses all along the race route. There were also live bands set up at various points while we were running, just playing and cheering for the runners as they went by. There were tons of people there, and everyone was so friendly, even though no one really knew anyone else. There was a survivors parade, the 5k race, and a 5k walk, for those not particularly athletically inclined who still wanted to be involved.

I highly recommend events like these. There's a little bit of something for everyone, even if you just want to volunteer. And, of course, you get to support a great cause. All in all, this Ocean City race raised over $116,000. It’s amazing what we can do when we all band together.

Until next week,

Sarah 

This week, have a go at this: Suvivor, Eye of the Tiger (they always play this on the loudspeakers before races start)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuf_FxpuOGU

 

Murky Monday

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I used to be a black and white thinker. 

There was right and wrong and nothing in between. But the older I get the more liberal and understanding I become.

Among my group of friends I’ve always been known as the motherly figure. I’m nerdy and prudish and I’ve never wanted to change. Especially when it comes to drugs.

But once I crossed the threshold from high school to college I started noticing small changes in my “just say no” mindset. For example:

In high school a lot of my friends started smoking cigarettes. I used to make fun of them and tell them that it was gross. But eventually I became so desensitized to it that it didn’t really bother me anymore. A few months later I was trying them myself. And although today I’m not a smoker by a long shot, my “oh my god smoking is the devil” outlook is less clear. And cigarettes were just the tip of the iceberg.

They always tell you that only a small percentage of kids actually do drugs. Don’t give into peer pressure, they say, you might be surprised to know that it only feels like everyone is doing drugs. But it’s been my experience that the surprise stems from meeting someone who hasn’t

I would say that about 75% of the people I associate with has, does, or is at this very moment smoking marijuana. Out of my five best friends from childhood two of them smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. All of them have drunk alcohol. Nerds take adderall, jocks take steroids, hipsters take ecstasy. Heck, I know people that do cocaine—recreationally. Shamans have been using hallucinogens for years and Native American’s smoked tobacco way before the colonists arrived. Indians brought traditional hookah into mainstream culture. The average American drinks about 3 cups of coffee per day. In recent years, medical marijuana has been legalized in more than 20 states. Anyone can buy things like Ibuprofen and Robitussin over the counter at CVS.

And despite all that exposure I’m still pretty anti-drug. My personal views haven’t changed all that much. Drugs aren’t for me—and when they get out of hand I agree that they shouldn’t be for other people either. But until then I feel as if people have the right to make their own decisions (for better or worse). Saying that all “drugs are bad” seems to blame the drug as opposed to the person. It’s not drugs that are ruining lives; it’s the people that abuse them.

Happy Monday.

Tiff:)

 

P.S. I know this is controversial post. Feel free to add your comments below. I’d like to know whether or not your thoughts are lost somewhere in that murky grey area with mine.

 

Tiffany’s Magical Music Selection:

Neon Cathedral by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-gmGiN3Cjk&feature=kp

Gotta Keep Running

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     Man, taking care of business is hard as a student. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to be cut a break. I’m sure many of you out there know the pinch. Do I buy nutritious food and eat well for a couple of weeks or get my oil changed and subsist on an established diet of Slim Jims, 7-11 Pizza and energy drinks and just fight off the jitters? Sometimes it helps to know where you can get a deal or two. As part of one of my ongoing series, I’d like to share a few places that have been a help as far as saving a buck here or there.

     So first let me say this, if you drive, change your oil. Change it regularly, give it a few miles past the “return by” date, but change it on schedule. If there is one thing that you can do for your mode of personal transportation it is the keep it’s fluids fresh. I admit that I sometimes push the limits of reasonable car ownership but a thousand miles or so, but I do change my oil on a very regular basis. The most reliable, honest and affordable place I have found so far has been the Sunoco station right next to the Rockville campus. Taking my car (regardless of which one I may have been driving at the time) has always been a no muss no fuss affair. They also offer a discount for students (10% off with ID as of last time I checked) and their staff is reasonable friendly. I usually take my car in, take a little walk and it’s out in about half an hour. . . Until this past visit.

      Yes, this past visit. I took my car in knowing full well that tis visit is long overdue and during the wait (it was raining) the shop owner pulls me aside and gives me a combination price quote and lecture (I assume he’s a parent) about a few of the issues that my car is experiencing and the likelihood of danger for each of them. Honestly the quote was decent, and pointed out that I had a tire that was particularly dangerous. His insight helped me plan for a few other charges that are bound to come up (great more money out the door), but it also perhaps saved my life. He was gracious and I didn’t pay for anything more than the oil change. His guidance even led me to find a shop with suitable tires within my budget (little to none).

     On that note, I found my way to Mr. Tire on Rockville pike. There are two, one just south of the Rockville campus and one further north just past the Viers Mill Rockville pike split (of course I ended up going to the one farthest from campus). The manger I spoke to (Billy) was more than helpful as he searched his warehouse to check that they still had the tire that I requested (the cheapest they had at $75, $40 cheaper than anywhere else I had checked). I was able to get the tire mounted on the offending wheel and was back on my way.

     As stated, if you drive, take care of your car. It’s so easy to neglect when every single daily purchase feels like a life or death decision, but in this day and age and at a school like MC (they call it a commuter school for a reason) we rely on our cars more than ever and it’s really nice to have a couple of friendly, reliable, affordable places nearby to help keep us buzzing through the school/work/everyday-errand-running week.

My dash

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    This week, we all got the opportunity to read the poem titled “The Dash” by Linda Ellis that one of my fellow bloggers Greg, whom we lost had requested to be read at his funeral. I have suffered from the loss of a few people who were close to me and the only memory of them left in me is that of little instances in which they were there for me or helped me in some way. I am glad that Greg wanted to share that poem with everyone because after reading it at the beginning of the week, I started thinking about what I was doing now that will be part of my “dash.” For now, my education is very important to me but I think that while pursuing that, I can also help others who have a similar goal but have difficulties realizing it. I got an opportunity this week to meet a student, while I was working as a tutor, who had just arrived America from Ethiopia a few months ago. Since she did not know much about the American Educational system, she had taken five classes this semester and she was feeling stressed out. She told me that she had already started the first year of medical school back home and she was doing extremely well, but after her EN 101 professor made a comment that based on her writing, she deserved to be in EN 101A, she lost most of her confidence. I understood how she felt, so I gave her the best advice I could give as someone who was in a similar situation and also helped her on her paper. I am glad that I met her because I might have given her hope that she could survive what she was going through.

    One thing I will miss about Montgomery College when I transfer is the diversity of people I meet, and hearing their stories like that of the girl I met at the writing center. I think that while I tried my best to assist all those I met by telling them all I know, they also helped me to gain a greater appreciation for school and all the opportunities I get. I hope that my “dash” will not only be filled with busy schedules but also the time I took to help others.

On Yawning

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I guess this must be the most uneventful of weeks yet. Like Sarah, my week has been relatively uneventful as well (except for procrastinating on a couple of major assignments that ended in me nearly having heart palpitations); I did my taxes a couple months ago, so no need to freak about those this month. No majorly profound lessons stuck out to me in any particular way. Besides enjoying the gorgeous weather and sniffling pollen daily, it's been rather...dull?

So, to change it up a bit, I've decided to share with you one of my favorite poems by Jack Prelutsky, entitled "Today is Very Boring." http://youtu.be/jG5rjKYkbC4

 

As well as some recent earworms:

Kimberlee's (Supposedly) Thursday Tunes:

http://youtu.be/3MteSlpxCpo (Daft Punk | Pentatonix)

http://youtu.be/-jDR14y19fQ ("Twinkle, Twinkle" Piano Variations - Evolution of Popular Music)

http://youtu.be/lExW80sXsHs (Evolution of Music | Pentatonix)

That's all, folks! What've you been up to recently?

Nothing to Say?

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Hello Friends,

Like Tiffany, the only thing of note that has happened this week is…TAXES. Since, however, frustration regarding that topic has already been covered by my fellow bloggers in a COLORFUL manner, I decided to go a different way with my blog this week. 

It is quite remarkable that with everything going on, good and bad, I can have nothing particularly life changing to share. Strangely enough, I find myself glad that this is the case. I find having nothing to say much better than the alternative. With what’s going on in the Ukraine, plane crashes in Malaysia, and deadly mudslides in Washington State, if taxes are the worst thing I have to worry about this week, I count myself lucky. 

I would like to share my excitement about something that hasn’t happened yet. This weekend, my family and I will be participating in the Susan G. Komen Ocean City Race for the Cure 5k. I’m super excited to drive to the ocean and spend the day at the beach and then go running decked out in pink with my family to raise money for breast cancer research. Exercise, spending time with family, and benefiting a good cause; what could be better? I’ll be sure to tell you all about it next week. Wish me luck!

So, here’s to having nothing drastic to report (in a good way), and hoping your week is the same.

Until next time,

Sarah

This week’s music: Nothing Left to Say by Imagine Dragons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6zqH6qKaTU

For the (dreaded) Taxes Discussion, check out Tiff’s blog from yesterday.

And for a great tribute to fellow blogger Greg, check out Issac’s blog (posted just before Tiff’s).

Lastly, if you find yourself interested in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, you can check that out here: 

http://www.komenmd.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1085924

Mad Monday

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You know what I hate?  

The government! It just makes me so… 

MAD.

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just be an anarchist. Then I remember that I went to public elementary school and middle school and high school. And now here I am attending MC a public government funded college.  

I apologize for the ensuing rant but, honestly, I can’t think about anything else right now. So without further ado here are my current top three reasons why I can’t stand the government right now.  

Taxes

I recently moved and half of my W2s were sent to the wrong address. Yes this is my fault. Stupid me forgot to update my address for that summer job that I haven’t thought about since July of last year. Consequently I need an extension. Do you know how hard they make that process?! File for an extension online. Here’s the form its super easy all you have to do is fill it out and then realize that there’s no submit button. So instead you have to go through a separate tax service and fill out all the information again or print it out manually pay for the postage and wait for it to hopefully arrive on time. Not to mention you have to include your estimated taxes owed. Dear United States Government, how would I know that without my W2s? Obviously if I knew that information I wouldn’t need an extension. Grrrrr.

Medicaid

Yes I have government insurance. I’m an independent at 19 and a full time student. Some things are just difficult to afford. I normally love my insurance. Except when they threaten to cancel me (which happens at least twice a year).  This time I thought they were serious so I scrambled to get some sort of coverage. Two weeks later, after applying for insurance through my job, I got a letter of reinstatement from the “man upstairs”. So I canceled my work insurance, content with never having to dish out money for a copay ever again. Except when I went to pick up my regular prescription they wouldn’t give it to me because I had “secondary insurance”. What?! That was six months ago. After hours of arguing, countless phone calls, and a ridiculous amount of time spent on hold, this problem is still not fixed. So I’ve just been paying for my prescription out of pocket (and avoiding the doctor like the plague).

FAFSA

Speaking of being an independent. Um, why can’t I file for the FAFSA on my own? I’ve gotten through my first two years of MC on a scholarship. But that scholarship ends this semester and I plan on staying here for a third year. So here I am trying to fill out the FAFSA so I can get some aid and I have to use my parents financial information. Until I’m 24. EXCUSE ME?! Newsflash, buddy! I’ve been living on my own since I was 17, ain’t no way I’m letting my mother’s income influence how much money I receive for my college expenses. Thing is, there are three ways to avoid that awful situation. I could join the military (not my forte), get married (ughhh), or be legally emancipated. Well in the state of Maryland once you are 18 you no longer have the option of being emancipated. Because, guess what? In the eyes of the state I already am!

I’m sure there are plenty of things that the government does right (none of which I can think of at this particular moment). So thanks government for those things. But no thanks for the red tape.  

I hate the color red.  

Happy Monday! 

Tiff:)

P.S. Any advice? Can you fix the bureaucracy that is my life please?! 

Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection: 

Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWXazVhlyxQ

In honor/For Greg

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This week, my blog is not focused on me and my life, but rather on a person who motivated all of us to strive to be a better person, a better student and maintain a positive outlook on life. On February 14, 2014, one of our bloggers, Gregory Nath Dash, passed away after a brave battle with Ewings Sarcoma. Greg never gave up hope for the future, as he continued to excel in classes and to never miss a weekly blog. Greg’s blogs, his thirst for learning and Greg’s optimistic outlook continues to inspire all of us.

 

The day before he died, Greg read a poem called ‘The Dash’ to his family. He first read the poem when he visited Harvard to research MBA programs a few years ago. He liked that it shared the same name as his last name and he was so impressed by the words that he requested that his friend read it at his memorial service. I would like for you to take a moment to read the poem and in honor of Greg, make the most of your dash.

 

The poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis:

 

http://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html

 

To hear the words, please click here

When things don't go the way you planned

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This semester has been very busy for me as it progresses. I knew that with my load of classes, it is going to be very challenging for me, but I thought I will try to carry on fewer activities outside of class. From what has been going on this semester, I do not think it is wise to make such restrictions because you never know what opportunities might come your way during that time. For example, I am a member of the African Students Association on the Takoma Park campus and each year, on May 2nd, we hold a cultural night to raise funds for scholarships designated for international students. Normally each year, since I love dancing, I teach a dance for a song and perform in about 5-6 other dances. This year I said I will only do 1 or 2 dances but after seeing the dances other members were bringing to teach us, I thought it will be a waste of time for me to come for the meetings every week and end up performing only one song on that night. Now I will be performing in about four dances and I think that after that I will feel I have accomplished something.

            Apart from extracurricular activities, some of my classes too are not going the way I planned. As we progress into the semester, everything is getting more difficult and I feel I have to put in twice the number of hours I study. However, no matter the effort I put in, my grades in the second exam dropped from the previous one. It is not that bad but I take it as a boost for me to analyze my study habits and do better in the next exams.

            Another issue that also seems to be going out of plan is my transfer plan. Till now, I have only heard back from three schools that gave positive responses and I am still waiting for four more schools. Two of the schools I am still waiting on expect me to get a reply early in June. This is unfortunate because those that have accepted me expect me to reply with an answer by May 1st. I really do not know what to do now but maybe as days go by, I will get some insight on what I should do. All I know is that in Fall 2014, I will be in a good school as a 3rd year transfer student. 

On Great Expectations

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Since the first few days of April have graced us with their presence (where did the interminable, dreary days of February go?!), I thought it appropriate to talk about something that many current MC students are familiar with: transferring! It's kind of the end-all be-all of Montgomery College; transfer with the right amount of credits or your AA/AS/AAT/AAS to a 4-year institution's program. I, too, am currently in this stage of my MC career. This is my last semester here, and I've already been accepted to my university of choice. I am now rushing about like a chicken who met Mme. Guillotine gathering information for scholarships, financial aid, orientation, registration (O_O), and housing. I was actually blessed to meet a woman through a friend at my church who lives close to my "Uni," and I plan to live with her and a few other girls off-campus. The aforementioned has been the bane of so many people's existence. For some reason, it irks their souls to know that I will likely never have the full "college experience." 

Take last Friday, for example. I was at a meeting at my church, and afterwards was kind of like the "milling-about-to-awkwardly-talk-and-pretending-not-to-be-hungry-whilst-greedily-eyeing-that-luscious-chocolate-cake" time. I was more laughing inwardly at the conversations I saw going on, and suddenly I was thrown into the middle of a conversation with a girl that I had kind of met but she didn't really remember me or realize that I had been there the first time I saw her. Awkward. But we pushed past that, and I was asking my reacquainted acquaintance about college and whatnot (she graduated). She then proceeded to ask me, and she gave me a pursed lip kind of "Oh....well that's nice" smile when I mentioned that I attended MC. But I'd grown accustomed to that when I was homeschooled, so I paid it no mind. She then proceeded to ask me if I was going to be staying on campus when I transferred. I cheerily explained the housing situation and how I was excited to be off-campus. She looked appalled.

"Oh...well...you're going to have to work really extra hard to make friends, then. Since you won't be staying on campus and all. Like, you won't really be able to be involved with campus life and stuff, and me staying on campus was how I made a LOT of my friends when I was in college. You should stay on campus!"

I looked appalled. Double super extra hard blink. Prim smile. Head tilt. Tongue bite to prevent a slew of angry words from spilling out.

Now, unbeknownst to many who have read my mouthy writing and meet me at some type of social function, I am actually a pretty quiet, shy and introverted (no, those are not synonyms or the result of my home education) person. If I know somebody well, I can sometimes gab for days, but for the most part, I'd prefer to observe the dynamics of a group or room full of people before thrusting myself into it headlong. And if talking is necessary, I prefer a deep, one-on-one conversation. Just always been that way. I didn't expect this girl to know this about me, but I did not appreciate being told what to do and why. I futilely explained that I was an introvert; being around too many people drained my energy, and I liked having my own space to go to without being around 10 million souls. Still she insisted, saying that I wasn't going to get the full "college experience." Hey, I've worked at making friends before, and I can do it again. It can be awkward, but what about being a young adult in this phase of life isn't?

Annoyed as I was by her, she gave me pause. I am not a traditional person when it comes to education; I don't see the merit in doing what everybody else does just because that's what's always been done. I'll take a class simply for the irony of it or do things differently just because that's not what's done or mainstream (does that make me an edu-hipster??). And for some reason, that bothers people. It irritates them. They can't wait to tell me how I won't "get" to do what "everybody else" does/did/will do.

Honestly, I could care less. But, what I want to know is, what is this vague "full college experience" that people keep saying I'll miss? And why does it matter that I get it? What if I don't give two fur balls about it? What if I want to do something else? The sky hasn't fallen. Lightning hasn't struck me. My insides haven't turned inside-out on me. The Earth is still spinning on its axis and going round the Sun. Some people are trying to figure out where to get their next meal, how to get another job to feed their family, or just stay warm.

But yet, somewhere, somebody is worried that I won't be living in uncomfortably close quarters with 5,000+ students my age? Huh.

What's your take on this whole "college experience" thing? Please leave your thoughts below; I'd love to read them!

 

Kimmie's Thursday Tunes:

http://youtu.be/uT3SBzmDxGk 2CELLOS | Thunderstruck

http://youtu.be/U4SPzmpjG7U 2CELLOS | Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

I love these guys! I can't remember if I've shared their work before, but they are amazing absolutely! I love anybody who can take classical and weld it seamlessly with contemporary music and create a glorious aural mishmash of wonderment. But, I digress. Let their talent speak for itself (themselves?)!

Teaching to Learn

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Hello Friends,

My, my, my…today has been a looong day.

My older sister recently got a job as a coach for a high school lacrosse team. She played D1 at UNC and she really knows her stuff. Since I also played for many years, I have been traveling up to Pennsylvania occasionally to help coach and to keep stats at their games. I have found that, even though I have not played for many years, when I teach and coach others in the basics of the game, I pick them right back up much easier than I would if I had just thrown myself back into competitive playing. The same can also be said for when I used to coach soccer to younger children. I ended up with a better grasp of the basics myself after I had spent a large amount of time teaching them to others. My game really improved.

What does this have to do with school?

Well, with this knowledge, I have taken to following around various family members and telling them everything they never wanted to know about how their body works. Awkward poking an prodding while naming bones and bone markings, long-winded stories about why this body part was named that and how your skin is actually an organ and did you know that this is how your muscles use energy?

Now, they have no idea whether what I’m telling them is right or wrong, for the most part, but I have found that it is really helping me to remember the large amounts of information that I need to learn and memorize for my Anatomy and Physiology class. 

Long story short, if you want to really solidify information in your brain, teach it to someone else (sometimes whether they want to be taught or not!). It really works for me for some reason, so maybe it will work for you too!

Until next week,

Sarah

Hmmmmm…this week, let’s go with Moveonday by Lifehouse. Which can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D2bI84fpWI

Mayhem Monday

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Oh plans.

I’m a planner. Type A, all the way—I need organization to survive.

I plan out my outfits. I plan out my schedule. I plan out my college career and the order I do my homework in and the layout of my room. I plan my meals. I plan my future. I plan... well, just about everything. 

Because without plans there will surely be mayhem. Except… when do I ever actually stick to my plans?

Take yesterday for example:

I had the entire day off from both work and school. So I planned to write three essays, study for two tests, and post my blog. Instead I woke up at ten went out for brunch with my girlfriend, spent the day running errands, and crashed in my bed (without showering or brushing my teeth) at six o’clock. Now it’s 5 AM I have studied for nothing, those essays have been pushed back at least two more days, and here I am writing my blog.

The thing about planning is that you can never account for everything. Sometimes I even like it when my plans get messed up. It adds a little much needed spice to my life. Sure, that feeling of “everything going according to plan” is nice but pleasant surprises are even better.

The problem that I’ve found with planning is that when you don’t do it correctly it turns into a disappointment (Why didn’t I at least try to study?!) instead of an accomplishment (Yay! I did everything on my list.).

What makes my plans so disappointing is that I over do it. EVERY TIME.

I mean I could theoretically write three essays, one blog, and study for two tests in the span of 20 hours. I could probably do it in less time than that in fact because the Montgomery County public school system has trained me so well in the art of procrastination. But is it really plausible?

Uh, no.

Don’t get me wrong, as a student in college it’s important to plan. But just as perfect practice makes perfect, planning wisely is the way to go.

A better idea would have been to break the things up over this weekend. Like hey, dear self, get your first essay started Friday, finish it and start the second one on Saturday, finish that and start the third on Sunday, finish that and write your blog on Monday and study for your tests Monday night and Tuesday morning. That is much more reasonable and still heavily planned.

Would I have accomplished that? Probably not. But I would’ve felt a lot better about skipping one day than I feel right now with only enough time to study for one test.

Speaking of… time to cram for Sociology. Sorry Prof Hernandez, don’t hate me!

Happy Monday everyone!

Love,

Tiff:)

 

Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection:

Makin' Plans by Miranda Lambert 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewg393qymRo

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