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LABOR DAY: A DAY OF HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE

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Yes, I did it again. I appeared for two classes that weren’t due to start until after Labor Day. But there I was again, clad in tennis wear, raquet in hand, when the pretty security guard approached, “May I help you?”  Well no says I…I’m going…to tennis class.  The woman’s expression of unqualified pity said it all.  Her day had started with this encounter: an advanced case of Alzheimer’s wandering campus in a fog if dementia. She didn’t utter a word, but that look! I realized. “Sir, you might want to check your schedule,” there wasn’t a hole large enough nearby to stick my entire body within and hide.

“Thank you,” I said as she drove off. I had been so excited at taking advantage of the opportunity to wear white for the last time before Labor Day. Yet there I stood, the lonely duke, wondering what to do with the remainder of that fine blue spirit-thrilling sky. It seems by the look of these continually chilly mornings that the days of shorts and sandals, soft cotton Ts, lapping up rays on the Eastern Shore are over. 

This marks the official end of summer. Labor Day. A holiday created to the memory of the American worker whose interests died years ago,  but a fitting way to commemorate all the men and women (and tragically often children) who actually built something, created something of usefulness while forging our great nation.

Those men and women and children who built most everything we take for granted: roads, bridges, schools, parks, hospitals, and those who later worked under oppressive conditions within the walls of American factories, farmlands, endlessly toiling with dignity, integrity, tenacity and endurance all in honor of making our country great.  And now, an all too often spoiled, thankless nation merely grills up some burgers and opens a cold one whilst defending a freeze in the minimum wage as a threat to consumer prices and boardroom profits.  Or maybe it’s just one more day where to not be inconvenienced by alarm clocks, deadlines and meetings.

Some of you might find it within yourselves today to take a moment to reflect on all the amazing things that the American Worker has created for your benefit, enjoyment or safety. For a brief instant, be genuinely grateful.

Reflect this weekend on how you yourself might make a quantifiable, palpable and worthy contribution in your community, school, local hospital or nursing home. I especially ask this of the luckiest among you, the ones who enjoy a cornucopia of freedom and privilege. There is nothing wrong in celebrating good fortune, good health, the company of friends and family and a shared meal - just remember it is an integral part of life, of living, of character to give something back to your town, state, country.  From our earliest years we are trained to win, to take, to be the best, but so rarely are we taught the things that make victory, success and wealth worthy of us: compassion, kindness, philanthropy, social responsibility.    

Warn-out Wednesdays... the weekday remix

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So far you've been welcomed home by Rene, limbered up for the many stressful months ahead with Katelynn, locked down all of your procrasti..... I mean "studying" problems with Lauren, been invited to share experiences with Anthony and empathized with Matt's post on procrastination. Let me now help you, in as many ways as possible to avoid the first obstacle that I have run into this year. SLEEP DEPRIVATION/ INSOMNIA!!!! *crickets chirp as the dreary eyed student body awaits the follow up* It's 7AM and your alarm has been kind enough to inform you that it's time to drag your ragged body from the womb and tomb that is your bed. Once the most awful series of sounds in the universe are out of our heads we can begin a new day, or at least muster the courage not to crawl back into our wonderfully warm and snuggly caves. Recently I've been having a series of bouts with insomnia resulting in my utter annihilation at the hands of a sleepless night. I found out that the root of this evil was that the pre-workout drink that I was having before running into the gym to do battle with myself was the equivalent of FIVE shots of espresso. The result was my being super stressed out at four in the morning hoping upon hope that the sandman would magically appear and throw me into a coma. For all of you suffering from similar circumstances here are some tips to help you make your way through a more peaceful night.

1. Pick a time to go to sleep every night and stick with it! Routine is everything.

2. Nighttime rituals are key for good sleep. Make nightly habits stick, a cup of tea, good book or relaxing shower before bed can work wonders.

3. Avoid lit screens such as TVs, computers, phones an hour before bed. Studies show that light from screens can cause your brain to stay awake even after you're exhausted.

4. Cut caffeine intake by noon if you can and by early evening if you can't. For obvious reasons caffeine can cause serious problems when you're trying to give your body and brain a break.

5. Keep naps, when you can achieve such blissful wonders, to a maximum of 30 minutes or you risk being unable to sleep later and in my experience longer naps will cause you to wake up extremely groggy and once you are awake you cannot get to sleep until far too late later on.

I hope these tips will help you find peace when it comes time for you to enjoy a well-deserved slumber. In the meantime if you'd like a lot more tips and ways to improve sleep check out this article.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/better-sleep-tips-best_n_4958036.html

your friend in sleepless nights, Will C

Procrastination 101

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The first week of classes are nearly behind us all. If you are like me and took classes over summer then really there wasn’t much of a break from study. I’m not complaining though, taking classes over summer was essential for me to be able to complete the 68 credits required for my degree in two years. I am so glad that Montgomery College offers these summer classes to make it possible. I don’t know about you, but I still get a bit apprehensive at the beginning of a new semester. With each semester I have become more confident I can comprehend the content in class. However I still get anxious about the make-up of my class, and most importantly, my professor. The professor can have a profound effect on my ability to achieve the grade I am aiming for. I think everyone wants the same things out of a professor; someone relatable and that we feel we can build a rapport with over the semester. Personally, I also want a professor to clearly explain the class requirements during the first meeting, so there are no surprises during the semester. Luckily at Montgomery College, I have never really had any major issues and I appear to have hit the jackpot again in regards to professors this semester. Once again my apprehensions have proven to be unfounded.

My biggest fear going into this semester is my ability to manage my workload. This semester is going to be very different for me to the others I have had so far. The reason for this is I am now working as well as studying. It’s not that I didn’t want to work before, but I had some complications with my visa when I first arrived from New Zealand, meaning the process of getting my work visa took 13 months instead of 3 months. I am now taking all my classes at night, along with an online class. I have thought about how I am going to maintain my current GPA while working and studying, and there are two key words I am focusing on this semester, organization and procrastination. The first, organization, is pretty straight forward. I am planning to write a list of dates when all my assignments and exams are due, so I know what I need to do as each one comes up. Procrastination is much harder for me to combat, especially at the start of the semester and I find this particularly hard during fall semester. The weather outside is beautiful this time of year and it’s just so easy to be doing something else! My aim this semester is to focus on not leaving things until the last minute. This is a challenge for someone who would usually get an ‘A’ in any “Procrastination 101” class. If anyone has any ideas on how I can effectively manage my time, and how I can juggle my work/school life then I would love to hear some.

Each week on my blog I am going to write an interesting fact about New Zealand just to give everyone an idea of life there compared to here in Maryland. First up, I will start with a pretty simple fact. There are 4.4 million people living in New Zealand compared to 5.8 million in Maryland. When you consider the fact New Zealand is about 8 times bigger than Maryland in terms of area, you can really imagine how my life is different here.

Thirsty Thursday: MC's Digest

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What's going on guys? I wanted to throw it back with this first post and talk a little bit about my first year here at Montgomery College. I had just transferred from Bowie State University and I was still without direction as to what I was doing in college. I came to MC for the opportunity to transfer to another 4 year institution of higher regard.

My initial thoughts of MC was "wow, so this is a community college..?" MC wasn't as established as it is now. There weren't as many people per class, the buildings seemed old, and the vibe around campus seemed dim. Although I already had a year of college under my belt I still came to MC with so much uncertainty yet I'm still here thriving with the college. The college is thriving now, the student body has grown at a high rate and buildings have been renovated.

I like seeing the changes I'm seeing and I would like hear your initial thoughts of MC..whether you're a first year student or have been here for a few years I'd like to hear your viewpoints.

- Ant.

Truthful Tuesday #1 : Study Skills

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Here's to diving headfirst into Video Blogging, AKA - Vlogging.  I promise to improve the quality of these videos as we move along the weeks here, but I'm a firm believer in starting with what you have- and this morning I had a little time, an idea, and my smart phone.

Let's kick off the semester with better study skills than we've ever had before and get better at  it over the course of the semester!  In this video, I go over the 3-step process to learning- the basics of study skills.

 

If this video was helpful - give it a THUMBS UP! And if you have any study skills to share, comment them below!

Many Thanks

Namaste

Lauren

MC SOCCER DOES: YOGA

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This summer my teammates and I have spent our time a little different than other summers. When not working, we have spent all our time training. Ever since losing in the regional finals last year, we have been dedicated to ending this season with a National’s title. Part of this journey for us was to bond and come closer together off the field. In getting to know my new and old teammates better we have found some fun ways to keep ourselves active and productive while not playing soccer. One of my teammates and I have particularly enjoyed trying out yoga. We wanted to get some others involved.

 While everyone has been school shopping, we have been playing two a days for the past two weeks. This gave us a lot of alone, on campus, time. In between practices we decided to show our teammates some of our cool moves. We are no professionals, but we are trying :)

 Enjoy the link below and maybe even try some yoga of your own!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvENYSLWMd0

Happy First Day of School MC Raptors!

 

Love always,

Katelynn Suzanne

 

 

THE OLD MAN AND THE IVY

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THE OLD MAN AND THE IVY

I am, perhaps, the world’s oldest undergraduate. I walk among you, a prodigal son, the long banished duke returned from exile, tired and older, if still in quest of his Golden Fleece, becoming a college graduate before death!  Indeed, I took the road less traveled, chasing countless fast-receding rainbows, but I’m still here.  Surely other elders here endure as tenaciously as a dogged English Ivy climbing ever higher, but more often than not I find I’m the oldest person in class.  On day one students regard me in deference when passing in the hall; some even offer, “Good afternoon, Professor,” a mistaken if natural first impression I correct them of  immediately.

Last Monday, the eighteenth, I awoke convinced it was the first day of classes. Not feeling well I marshaled on, determined to not miss the first day I showered my ripe middle-aged body, blindly dressed and drove myself to campus progressively intoxicated by the potency of my strong Cuban coffee.  True, I am becoming absent-minded of late, but even for me, this took the cake.  As I turned off Mannakee it was obvious I was still dreaming or in the twilight zone, for before me lay nothing but an empty sea of blacktop and endless parking spaces.  I took a deep breath. Yes, I suppose I am trying to outrun the clock like Alice’s White Rabbit. I took a moment to reflect on my first visit as a returning adult student, which ambition was thwarted by a terrible car accident in 2009, and how I came back to Montgomery to finish what I had started, this time as a Veteran under a wonderful program for Veterans, the VRAP (Veterans Retraining) that our Congress sadly felt was unworthy of further funding.

Luckily, in my time here, I have worked as hard as possible to give my earnest best and take from this tardy experience the greatest value possible.  As It turns out MC yet offers me so many amazing opportunities to exploit before I move on come Fall 2015.  I’ve known the great reward of reaping honors for my discipline and determination.  Recently I became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Society and was also accepted into The Renaissance Scholar’s Program.  I don’t wish to applaud myself but to inspire all you younger, far brighter, wondrous young people, that you realize the remarkable opportunities Montgomery offers those who give themselves over to its challenges with pure intention, self-governance, perseverance, patience, and, naturally, a lot of hard work.

From the day I set foot on the Rockville Campus I’ve been guided and supported by innumerable professors and individual’s of remarkable depth, professionalism and passion. These men and women have shared something incredibly invaluable with me and to them I thus devote these final months of my ongoing academic journey here. The leaves are about to change and soon shall we all. Welcome incoming students to our Fall 2014. I wish everyone the very best. Carpe Diem!

 

 

RENE PEDRAZA AUTUMNhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCeV0DfQgNw

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