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Wake Me Up When September Ends

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hello everyone,

How are you doing today ? If you follow my blogs, you must have noticed I find it necessary to greet you before I begin writing anything. Aren't I nice ?   biggrin

I had a so-so week. I did OK on the PCAT. It was more difficult than I had expected.. To add to the misery, I fried my Organics Chemistry test >.<

I am someone who loves taking and giving second chances. Prof. Bontems drops the lowest test grade. This means I must work hard on the remaining ones. This is life. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.

I also joined Physics Club this week. My Physics professor encouraged me to join the club, and I happily accepted. The club meets once a week on Tuesdays between 1:00-2:00 pm at SA176. More information is provided on the Physics club brochure. You may contact the club at We generally discuss topics related to physics, and also help each other out with problems. I am looking forward to it. 

Also, I am no longer involved with the Women's Studies Club this semester. Most of my friends have transferred to 4 year colleges, and I think it's now time for the younger clubs to bloom. This doesn't mean I've withdrawn my involvement from community service and fundraisers. Right now, we (I and a friend) are doing a fundraiser to help a combined orphanage and elderly home. So far, we have raised $3446.00 since July 16,2012. Click here to learn more and donate to the fundraiser.

Oh, I forgot to mention....I have been suffering from cough and cold for a week now. I definitely need to sleep ASAP. Wake me up when September ends. Take care and see you guys next month.

"Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends"


Choosing a Major

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I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was eight years old.


In middle school I wanted to be an animator. I started creating ideas for a really cool cartoon show. In high school I got into an art magnet program and spent four years honing my skills in a double period art class. My junior year, I started doing theater, singing, dancing, leadership activities, and a few others things. So by the time my senior year came, I was at a standstill. I didn’t know what schools I wanted to apply to because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I had just discovered an interest in theater, in engineering, in anthropology and I was starting to lose my passion for art.

I remember my art teacher would pin up all the acceptance letters of everyone in the class. I saw so many classmates get into really great art schools. I ended up half-heartedly applying to two liberal arts Universities. I got rejected from one and accepted into another with hardly any scholarship. It was a strange feeling not knowing where I wanted to go. I decided to go to Montgomery College. It was the best place for me to experiment with different majors in the least expensive way.

That summer I considered all my options and narrowed down my majors to three: Studio Art, Engineering, and Anthropology. My first semester, I took an intro course for all of these areas.

In my intro to engineering design course, we worked with a Boe-Bot, and my interest in engineering just soared from there. It was so cool learning how to build and program a robot to do whatever you wanted it to. At the end of that semester, I found my passion for anthropology wasn’t what I had presumed it to be.

I couldn’t yet decide whether I wanted to continue to pursue art so that’s what I focused on in the spring. I was enrolled in the School of Art and Design at the Takoma Park Campus. I ended up with an interest in sculpture from my 3-D Design class. So I knew I didn’t want to completely abandon art.

I was still stuck between art and engineering. But after giving it some serious thought, I decided to pursue Electrical Engineering. I had this vision of someday making sculptures that incorporated some aspect of robotics. The engineering degree would provide the background knowledge necessary for these projects, and would help me get a job to help with the funding. I was going to be an engineer by day and an artist by night.

…which brings me to today.

How did I really choose my major?

I gave myself the opportunity to experiment. I got books on the subjects I was interested in. I spoke to the professors about my interests and most were extremely helpful. And I got involved in several extracurriculars in high school and at MC.



….And that’s how an artist becomes an engineer.

How did you choose your major?

House and Home

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This past weekend, I pulled my first all nighter of the semester. It was long. It was tough. I laughed. I cried. (Not really.) But this wasn't an essay or a report. It was an illustration. As my bio mentions, I'm an illustration major and my first big assignment of the year is complete. You can view it below.


The objective was to create an illustration that would draw a strong contrast between the idea of "House" and "Home." I don't know how successful I was conceptually, but it got good reviews for the most part during class critique, so I guess I did something right. Always room for improvement though. 

I started this assignment two weeks ago in an attempt to prevent procrastination, which I've always had an issue with. By the time Sunday rolled around, about 80% of it was done. Most of the night was spent just adding finishing touches. I have a bit of an obsession with details so that's what kept me up; Details so small and minute that most people will probably over look them, but that's okay. I find satisfaction in just knowing that these details are there. Over all, it was just a nice feeling knowing that timely completion was a sure thing. 

Proactivity > Procrastination

If anyone is interested, you can view more of my artwork by clicking here.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

- Jay

Moving Too Quickly

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I still can’t get over actually having a blog.  I mean, people are actually reading what I write!

Okay, momentary freak-out aside, everyone who has read/reviewed my blog is AWESOME!

So these past few weeks (and upcoming weeks) have been absolutely crazy.  It’s the Jewish New Year, which means at least one day a week missed from classes.  Overall, I’m running myself ragged so that I can keep up to date with all of the classes I’m missing between Rosh HaShana, Yom Kipur, and Succot. 

Last week was Rosh HaShana, (ראש השנה) so I missed Monday and Tuesday the 17th and 18th.  This week it is Yom Kipor, (יום כפור), so I’m missing Wednesday the 26th.  Next week, it’s Succot (סכות) on the 1st and 2nd of October, and then again the week after on the 8th and 9th.

I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy the holidays – I do.  I love being ‘forced’ to relax, and having no choice but to pull myself away from the computer and have a family meal.  The holidays really make me reflect.

We move so quickly.  I mean, there’s email, cell phones, texting, IM, Skype™; so many ways to communicate in under a minute’s time.  Then there are the simple programs we use every day such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.  How many people take notes anymore, instead of simply recording or downloading the lecture?  How many people bother with good, old-fashioned books when there are Kindles, iPads, iPods, and iPhones?

I swear, I saw a T-shirt with the words “Hungry?  There’s an App for that.”

There is no more use for cursive, so public schools have taken it off of the curriculum.  Why learn standardized writing when you can just standardize the font typed?

We go so fast; (quick, quickly, more quickly!) there is barely any time to breathe!

There is no excuse for late – you can type on your iPhone, you can get libraries full of information on your laptop, and you can even review your notes and assignments on your Kindle!

Sick?  You should have emailed in the assignment.  Your sister in Ohio died?  Show proof of flight.

I mean, what ever happened to hand-written assignments and sick leave?

I took a look at my schedule the other day, and felt the urge to slap myself.  Four classes twice a week, and one class thrice a week.  That’s a lot of homework, especially attached to the amount I’m missing due to the holidays.

Ah, well.  For all of my complaining, I adore our high-speed technology as much as the next person.  I’m as guilty of whiling away my time online as the next person.

I suppose I’m lucky that the holidays come around to whack me over the head with relaxation.

Here’s to better planning next semester!

Anyone else out there groaning under the weight of holidays and classwork?

Blood and Banned Books.

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After this eventful summer, if you read my first post of the semester you would know what I mean by “eventful.”  I have been more involved in the community. Sometimes, noticing how certain events or people can affect you, it can really hit home.

Today, for the first time ever, I donated blood. (Can’t say I was thrilled about the needle, but I made it through without feeling nauseas or faint.) The needle wasn’t the only freighting obstacle I had to overcome, it was the blood. I hate the sight of it and I sure hate it even more when I know it’s mine.  Anyways, red cross was on campus and after my classes I chose to have a positive attitude about it and had the “go for it” kind of outlook. This lasted for a quick five minutes until I was the next one. I had flashbacks to when I was a child kicking, screaming, and trying to get those nurses away from me. Yes, I would say I’m a lot dramatic when it comes to blood. The important aspect is that I did it!

This week I’ll be busy with the two papers I need to write, math test I need to take, and a group project I need to finish. “Bring it on!” I say, but I don’t mean all at once.  “Cough, cough” Professors.

Oh, and for my group project I’ll be making a piano. Yes, a piano, however, it’s going to be made out of cardboard and I’m hoping that it will turn out, looking like a piano. Fingers crossed! I shall post a picture of it. (Not a beautiful and artistic photo like Shas of course.) But I’ll give you, what I can.

Have a great week everyone!

*By the way, did you know it is banned books week? Check out some of these:

*James Joyce’s, Ulysses

*Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in wonderland

 *William Faulker, As I lay dying

* V.C Andrews, Flowers in the attic

* J.D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

I could go all day listing more and more, but these books were once banned in America or challenged. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more intrigued about these books and their past. I wouldn’t mind reading all of them if I had the time.


Playlist for Fall 2012

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hello everyone,

How have you guys been ? I couldn’t post my blog yesterday night as I had a very hectic weekend. I also have my first Organics Chemistry exam this week, and I spent my weekend studying for it.  I am taking my PCAT this Wednesday, and I’m so nervous....NOT. Haha !  Since I am an optimist at all times, I don’t let stuff in life have any monumental impact on my constantly content mental state.  

Last week I got an e-mail (with “”) from a student attending University of Miami, FL. He said he found my blog when he tried to google some information about the pre-pharmacy program at Montgomery College. He had 3-4 questions specific to Montgomery College as he is planning to transfer here. I'm just sitting here thinking about how much I like blogging when I am able to help others through this. Some of my friends have said that google search on topics related to college often takes people to our college blogs.

I am a bit lazy when it comes to syncing songs onto my iphone.  Following the footsteps of Antoine, I am creating my soundtrack for this semester. Although I can’t share you my entire playlist, I’m quickly picking 10 of my favorite songs for this semester (not in order). To hear a song just click on the song title: 

PSY’s “Gangnam Style” – It’s a “caffeine song”.  One healthy song for instant energy!
Jon Bon Jovi’s “It’s my life”– It tells me how important this moment is. You live life here and now.
Michel Teló’s “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” – Even though I don’t understand the language, it’s a beautiful piece of music.
Coldplay’s “Paradise” - Sheer joy listening to this anytime, any day !
Rihanna’s “Umbrella” – I love this song; it never gets old.
Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Old is gold.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Snow” – RHCP was my favorite childhood band, and this song had to be here.
Simple Plan’s “Jump” – When I just want to jump!
MLTR’s “Someday”– A lesson in patience
Céline Dion’s “That's The Way It Is” Her voice makes any song sound good. 

That’s it for this week.  Have a good one guys. Take care and keep reading.  


The First Generation

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I’m a first generation student.

Neither of my parents completed an education past middle school. Both had to work in order to help provide for their families. I can’t imagine what the pressures must have been like, being 13 and having to work to help feed your siblings and parents.

My parents have worked tremendously hard in order to provide a good environment for me, in which I could fully focus on my studies. They wanted to give me everything they never had.

Certain pressures come with being a first generation student. For one, I’m the eldest of two which means I have to be a role model for my younger sister. Second, I’m one of the eldest when it comes to my cousins. My cousins and I are all first-generation students. So, I have to be a role model to my younger cousins, too. Not to mention, you have the pressure of making sure your parent’s efforts don’t go to waste.

There were also a few problems I had to solve on my own. I couldn’t depend on my parents or an older sibling to help me with my homework. I also wasn’t exposed to many opportunities because my perspective was very limited. I didn’t know what “engineering” was, or that it had existed until about my senior year of high school when some kid mentioned it in class. My parents knew about it, but they never mentioned it because they didn’t fully know what engineers did. They wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer, you know, the usual. This left me at a slight disadvantage when I began my studies because so many of my fellow classmates already had previous knowledge or experience. Were it not for an education I’d be extremely blind to how the world works.

I don’t resent my parents or my disadvantages. Actually, I’m glad I had those disadvantages. They’ve made me who I am and they’ve allowed me develop the skills necessary to make it in this world.

Thanks to the efforts of my parents, I can have dreams of a life with a job I enjoy. Or simply, I can dream of a life I enjoy. One of those dreams is being able to provide my parents with the life they wanted to have.

Are there any other first generation-ers out there who have felt the same way?

Whether you are or aren’t a first generation student, stay strong. Take advantage of your education. It’s one of the best things you could have.


On a related note: I worked as a New Student Orientation leader this Fall. Each semester I work as a leader, I learn something new about the college. This semester I learned that the college has a program to help first-generation students, called “TriO”. Though, I’ve never used these resources, I recommend trying them.  Sometimes we need a little help navigating through school, and the college is there to do what they can.

Universes, and Galaxies, and Solar Systems! Oh my!

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 It's around this time every semester that I realize which class is going to be that class. And by that class, I mean that one class that I can't wait to be over because it drives me insane. Last semester it was 2D-Design. Surprisingly, I ended up getting an A in that class, even if I did spend most of the semester wishing it would just end already.

This semester, Astronomy 101 is looking like it's gonna be the one. It's stepping up to claim the infamous title of that class and I'm going to have to lay the scholastic smackdown on it. Show it who's boss. Now it pains me to complain about this class because Professor Fitzgerald is genuinely a kind, fun, enthusiastic Professor. Her love for the subject brightens up the room and it's refreshing to see that. She's great. No doubt about that. It's the very complicated subject matter, however, that turns my brain to mush. When you think of Astronomy, you think, "Oh look! Pretty stars and planets! Universes, and galaxies, and solar systems! Oh my!"

But the reality is, "use the t-zero and the amplitude of Jupiter's  four moon rotations to calculate Jupiter's mass." Something that took me well over 45 minutes to do by the way. Sounds fun, right?.......

I sometimes find myself struggling to get a firm grasp on what I'm reading or hearing in this class. And while I do manage to understand it eventually, it's long after those around me have moved on to a different problem. As someone who is used to excelling in most of my classes, that bothers me a little. (A lot.)

Now I'll admit, part of me is calling another part of myself a wimp for complaining about a class when we're only one-fifth of the way through the semester. But at least I'm not quitting. At this point in my life, I know that you learn the most from things that you struggle with. No pain no gain, even if the pain is in your brain. That rhymed. I also feel it's worth mentioning that I have never dropped a class and never will. With that said, my time in this course is going to be a battle. One that I shall win with absolute victory!

*insert medieval battle cry*

So, do you guys have that class in your life? Have you had it in the past? Do you have it every semester? How did you over come it? Feel free to share your experience in a comment. And I hope that everyone has an amazing Thursday.

~ Jay

(PS. I met my fellow blogger, Miguel, in person yesterday completely by accident. He's a really nice guy.)

Transportation Troubles

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Have you ever had one of those days, or one of those weeks, where everything seems to just be positively magnificent?

My first two weeks were definitely two of those.  The restart of classes, seeing my friends again, and – oh, people reviewed my blog!

I may be just the slightest bit giddy over my first blog posts.  Can you tell?

Right, so the new school semester seems to be off to a brilliant start, for me.  There is only one dark spot in my happy autumn beginning.


Honestly, transportation is the bane of my life.  I spent most of my childhood with a powerful fear of cars (well, automobiles of any type, really,) so learning to drive was never really at the top of my list.  By the time people started pointing out that I could try for my permit, I was too focused on AP classes and starting college to care about fighting my fear of the driver’s seat.

During my first semester, my marvelous mom drove me to campus almost every day, or at least to the Metro station closest to our house, so that I didn’t have a complicated morning.  Now…

Well, I have five siblings, and they all have school, too, so I’m on my own for transportation.  Temporally and financially, the most sensible route is to take the bus.

For this to work, I have to get up before seven, so that I can make the seven-thirty bus to Wheaton station.  The obvious complaint, here, is lack of sleep.

I’ve never been a particular fan of the obvious.

My morning three buses (Silver Spring to Wheaton, Wheaton to Rockville, Rockville to Campus,) are right at the beginning of the morning rush. 

My afternoon buses (the same, but flipped,) are smack-dab in the middle of the evening rush hour.

Therein lies my problem with transportation.  Crowds.

I have a, well, a problem with crowds. 

Place me in a room full of tight corners and high bookshelves?  No problem.  Place me in a bus with standing-room only?  Hyperventilation begins.

It isn’t like the bus is the only time that I am stuck in a crowd.  Anyone who has seen the cafeteria/student area on the Rockville Campus during the hour or so between 11 and 12 can definitely call that a crowd.

The difference is, in the cafeteria, I can read, or do homework to avoid the chaos.  On the bus, I have to pay attention.  I can’t lose myself in my music or a book, because I have to be ready to get off of the bus at any given moment.  Furthermore, if it is standing-room only, then there are the added variables of my backpack and the bumps of the bus on the road to consider.

With all of that input, combined with people everywhere, the bus is not exactly my favorite place.

Frankly, driving is actually beginning to look tempting, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d still have hours and hours of practice time that simply isn’t available.

I suppose I’ll get used to the bus at some point – either that, or I’ll finally crack and start learning how to drive.


Anyone else have transportation issues?  Traffic, bus, or metro?

I could talk myself into circles, here –

“There are two of us talking in circles – and one of us who wants to leave –” Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan

Should I learn to drive?

What NOT to do!

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There isn’t a feeling in a world that compares to feeling accomplished and/or proud of yourself!!!

Today, I finally aced my math test with a 90%. This is a huge deal considering math is like a foreign language to me. I spent hours over the weekend dedicated to repetitive math problems. I’m sorry to say, but fighting with my eyes to stay open was a real struggle. Large cups of coffee faithfully sat on my desk over the weekend.  This kept my eyes blood shot, but it was successful on keeping my eyes wide-awake. Most importantly, my hard work and dedication paid off! 

Word of advice: Never watch the food network while you’re studying! While I practiced math problems back to back, I made the choice to watch Diners, Drive in’s, and Dives. Big mistake! My stomach throughout the hours of 1am-3am grew hungry. Of course, I was too stubborn to change the channel and the remote happened to be lost. Oh my! I watched the food network for three hours and my hunger only resulted in me being irritable. I reminded myself of that snickers commercial. 

Here are some studying tips: What to do and what NOT to do.

What to do: Sit at a desk or at a kitchen table. Sit somewhere firm and up right, so you don’t hurt or strain. In addition, sitting in a chair upright can help your body stay awake longer.

What NOT to do: Okay, listen, I know I’ve done this before and more then likely you have too. There’s no shame in this, but I don’t recommend it. Never study on your bed. The bed is a place of comfort and your body will assume you’re getting ready for bed; therefore, you’re body will become tired rather quickly. It’s difficult to stay awake while your eyes are fighting for sleep. 

What to do: Perhaps, music in the background will help you stay forced. (Personally, I’m on of those people who have to have sound in the background.) However, it can’t be any kind of music, I suggest nature sounds such as, sounds of the ocean, or even jazz is soft and calming, and maybe even classical. In addition, this can help ease that extra stress and anxiety you have toward that paper, exam, or presentation. 

What NOT to do: Don’t watch music videos. It’s a distraction and you’ll find yourself procrastinating even more. I don’t suggest listening to mainstream music because once I was listening to Britney Spears, only to find half of her lyrics written in my paper. I hope that I’m not the only person who has done this…

I am still getting used to being back in school. I, too, have to get back into healthily and effective study habits. If you have any more suggestions, please let me know. 

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! 


My MC experiences.... so far.

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

As I have mentioned countless times in this blog, I’m heavily involved with Student Life.


I’m very grateful about all of the opportunities that have been offered to me since I started getting involved in student life, and I realize that I wouldn’t be the person/student I am now if it wasn’t for those opportunities.

So, this is my way to try to reach you once again and encourage you to get involved with student life.

Many of the bloggers have written about their experiences in the different programs and organizations that the Office of Student Life supports, like Miguel who this week talked about his experience during his time at the Student Senate. In the same way, I’ve had an incredible time during my year working at the TPSS senate. Being part of the senate gives you an idea of what it is to work with other people towards a common goal, and it’s pretty satisfactory to get to do things that are of benefit for the whole student body. Student Senate was also my platform to become engaged with the new governance structure and accept the nomination to be part of the Student Council, which so far has been a great way to understand how government works at a college wide level.

Another of my best experiences in college has been working for the newspaper. I’ve learned a lot about management skills and taking different roles when needed. Not only I’ve written about events and news of interest for students, but I’ve worked in the layout as well as selling ads for the newspaper. Now, I’m working as an assistant editor, and I’m really looking forward to apply everything I’ve learned during the past year.

Finally, the blogging program has been very interesting. I get the chance to talk and share with all of you everything I’ve done during my time in MC, and it’s like a record of all of those experiences. I’m very grateful to Ms. Abraham and Ms. Homan for the opportunity they have given me of blogging during the last three semesters because it has been a very enriching experience that I’ve enjoyed a lot.

Even though sometimes it gets overwhelming, I wouldn’t change any of the things I’ve done for the past two semesters. I know that even though it will get stressful hallway the semester, I will look back and everything will be worth it.

Everybody, seriously, get involved in Student Life! You won’t regret it! 

Fall Semester In Alphabetical Order

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

A nd yet the summer is gone
B eloved fall has begun
C lasses have taken a toll
D iligently moving towards my career goal

E xcited to welcome a new semester
F riends made a very welcoming gesture
G roups we formed for study sessions
H elping each other with difficult lessons

I nitially professors sounded altruistic
J oyful mysteries, but I'm optimistic
K nowldege is power, claimed a professor
L ibrary's environment, a place to treasure

M ade a study plan, circled the exam dates
N o time for sports, no facebook updates
O fficially declaring social life's intermission
P ersevering through the semester, my only ambition

Q uickly I always hope, arrives the weekend
R elaxation aside, some mistakes to amend
S urely it's going to be a constant progression
T rying to work hard, reducing procastination

U narguably, hard work leads to success
V ery soon I shall say good bye to stress
W inners come to class without hesitation
X erography should never be my first option

Y ou read the poem, but I guess you knew it better
Z estful be your fall semester......



The Student Senate

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There were only five minutes until the noon deadline of the Rockville Student Senate application. I impatiently stood around, waiting for a student to sign my 200th signature.  As soon as he had finished, I ran to the Office of Student Life and made it just on time.

The next week, while waiting for the call to schedule an interview, I focused on getting comfortable with my status as a newly declared Electrical Engineering major and the workload that came with it. Fall 2011 looked promising. Finally, and after the third rescheduling of my interview, I was on my way to the Student Senate Office. I arrived ten minutes early and waited patiently. While seated, I kept rubbing my hands on the black slacks covering my thighs. I couldn’t get my hands to stop sweating. I was so nervous. After being interviewed by the bad cop and good cop senators, I left the office feeling fairly confident, but I had a few doubts because the senator playing bad cop looked unimpressed. A few days later I received the call that would forever change my experience at Montgomery College. I was a new member of the Student Senate. I soon became the Chairman of the Events Committee.

I spent that year surrounded by twenty amazing students who shared a common interest in representing the student body. I went crazy attempting to manage my classes and trying organize the three major Student Senate Events: The Fall Festival, the Red Masquerade, and MC’s Got Talent. We wanted to enliven the campus and, though we had our obstacles, we made it through and accomplished what we needed to. We ended up raising more than $6,000 for scholarships, most of which went to the top three winners of the Talent Show. I learned so much about myself in terms of my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, student, and friend.

Even though it was the most stressful year of my life, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Maybe I need professional help, but I prefer to think that I enjoyed the year because of the growth I experienced. :P The biggest lesson I had learned was that if you want something, you have to go after it with persistence. In events planning, there is no time to be passive about anything. You can’t wait for things to happen or for opportunities to show up.

I am telling you this because YOU CANNOT wait for the student senate application to show up at your door. It’s here! In a link in this blog post! Apply! Start now!

Have a great week y’all!



Other campus senates:

TakomaPark/SilverSpring: *(this link is outdated. I would contact Nathalie, the current president, or James Walter. Their conact info is in the link)


Senators and Performers in the Talent Show Spring 2011:

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Opportunities Abound

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Hello MC.

It’s the second official week of classes and I hope things are going smoothly for you guys. I've had a great week and I'm starting to notice something very different about this year compared to a year ago. For some reason, a number of opportunities have opened up to me recently and I’m very excited to take part in them. 

First, there was my acceptance into the blogger program. And of course I am very grateful that you all even care enough to read what I have to say on a weekly basis. Someone in my Illustrator class told me that they enjoyed my first blog entry. That caught me by surprise because I didn’t know this person, but if strangers are enjoying the thoughts that I choose to share, then I’m glad we’re all getting something positive out of this. To that person and everyone else who read our entries last week, thank you. Also, when you google my full name, this blog is the first thing that pops up. How awesome is that?

And don’t pretend you’ve never googled yourself before.

Another thing that I’m excited about is the Advocate. It’s the Montgomery College Rockville Student Newspaper, which I admittedly didn’t even know existed until a few nights ago. See, I read Nathalie's blog entry earlier this week and saw that she was inviting people to join The Excalibur, which is another student run newspaper. For a second I was all for it, but then I realized that the Excalibur was the Silver Spring/Takoma Park campus paper. I don’t attend that campus, so joining that paper's staff might be a bit difficult. However, it got me thinking. Does the Rockville campus have a paper? Yes it does. It’s called the MC Advocate. And coincidentally enough, the student Editor-in-Chief happens to be in one of my classes. What are the odds? So I spoke to him yesterday and got some contact info. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I obviously enjoy writing and I think this would be a good avenue. We’ll see.

Thirdly, and lastly, I got some interesting mail today. It’s probably been in my mailbox for a long time now, to be honest. But it was a letter from Phi Theta Kappa. At first glance, I thought this was some community college fraternity I’ve never heard of. (Do those even exist?) I was wrong though. Phi Theta Kappa is actually the International Honor Society of two-year colleges. They send out invitations to students who have a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher and 15 or more credits earned. I won’t list all the benefits that come with membership, but there are plenty, and something like that obviously can’t hurt your resume. So if you get a letter from Phi Theta Kappa, don’t ignore it like I almost did. Read it, and strongly consider it. I’ll be attending an orientation session for Phi Theta Kappa at Rockville campus next week, and I’ll let you all know how that goes.

So that’s it. The year is looking up right now and it’s a good feeling. I’m trying my best not to count my chickens before they hatch. I’ve had several experiences in life where I got my hopes for nothing. Haven't we all? But look at us. We're still here, and as I mentioned last week, life will always move forward. New opportunities and all.

Stay tuned.

~ Jay


Unity and Remembrance

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It’s the day that I listen to Lee Greenwood on repeat and try to avoid the knowing gazes of photographs.  That day that I spend playing sad songs on the piano.

The day that I can barely remember, but it means so much.

9-11. September 11, 2001. 

You know, there was a time, a distant time, when 9-11 just meant the number that you called to reach the Emergency Line.

There’s a sort of disgusting irony, there.

The thing about a day that commemorates a tragedy, like September 11, is that it causes a sense of unity.

Unity is powerful.

When I was in high school, unity was a rare thing, exhibited by students against teachers, and by the school only at sports events.

There was something marvelous, the first day I came to Montgomery College, to see the diversity contained within a single banner of unity.  Montgomery College stretches from Germantown to Rockville to Takoma Park/Silver Spring, and yet it encompasses so much more.   

To have people from all over the world, people who may or may not speak English, who may or may not have ever lived in the USA before this point, who may or may not have been to college before, and to gather them all under one name –

It’s magnificent.

The barriers are thinner, at MC.  People from all walks of life, from every situation imaginable, sit in classrooms together and commiserate over homework.  The gender barriers, the age barriers, the social stratification that has overtaken the world, all faded to nearly nothing at all.

I think that it’s incredible, we’re incredible, for taking something that occurs so rarely and making it a part of life.

I came from a school of uniforms, where students are encouraged to be bland clones of each other, and into a world where diversity and unity are celebrated.  A place where unity really only ever showed up on Yom Ha’Shoah, the day of remembrance for the Holocaust.

And now, a school where a world of people identify each other as belonging to the same name.

It really hit me, today, looking up the walk between the Student Services Building and the Theater Arts Building, and seeing the flags at half-mast in commemoration.


We’re all a part of One World; we all can share the same dream.  And if you reach out to me, then you will find, deep down inside, I’m just like you.”  Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman

I’m normally a very cynical person in terms of the world in general and people in particular, but MC – it makes me hope.  If one school can really bring home One World, what can we do outside of this college?

An extra musical quote for everyone remembering September 11 –

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.  And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.  And I'd gladly stand up, next to you, and defend her still today – 'Cause there ain't no doubt, I love this land, God bless the USA!”  The Definitive Collection, Lee Greenwood

Old vs. New.

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Hello everyone,

Last week was surely a brand new adventure for all of us! 

The first day of school makes me fretful. For some reason, I find myself filled with anxiety, yet I feel proud and ambitious. Strong emotions that clash inside my petite body that cause to feel dubious.  Why am I nervous I ask myself, as my face appears to be calm and relaxed. The image in the mirror appears to be confident and not at all timid. Back to the question as to why I am I nervous. 

The future is a step into the unknown. “It is just school Mandy!”, my friends say as they chuckle. Yes, they are right, it is just school; however, school is what you make of it. Anyone can become well educated, but the power of education is what you can do with it. I become nervous because I realize life changes. That knot in my stomach is not a bad feeling, but a feeling of encouragement. I am nervous to leave be hide the “old Mandy” because I do not know who the “new Mandy” might be like.

Am I the only one who thinks like this? I wonder that to myself quite often. 

One thing for sure, after meeting my new classmates last week, I feel inspired. Here at Montgomery College, we are not just students; we are people that come from unique backgrounds. This college is made up of a variety of ethnics, religion, and life challenges that has led us here. All of us chose this path in front of our very own feet. 

Change is different and sometimes I might have to leave pieces of the “old me” behind. I am ready to embrace the new school year and most importantly, I plan to embrace my peers openly. A classroom can teach us so much, but learning from each other is powerful and humbling. I suggest taking time and actually get to know your neighbor sitting next to you at that desk. They might teach you something new about yourself.  

Goodbye “old me” and hello to the unknown.   

This time I will welcome the future with open arms.

I am not the only person who thinks that way, and I have my classmates to thank for that. In addition, Professor Hernandez simply said, “Don’t rush through college trying to get to that life you want. Live life now; enjoy the various roads that lead you to be you want to be. Life starts now, in college, enjoy it.” Indeed, I shall enjoy life as it comes instead of waiting for it to happen.

Moral of the story: Embrace change and accept the change within you. Also, don’t allow life to slip though your finger tips. Life starts now, school is that life long journey, and someday we will sit back and remember stories starting off with “I remember when…” to our children.

Someday this will become a distant memory.

First week of classes.... So far, so good.

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Hello everybody! 

I hope you had a relaxing weekend and have a good upcoming week and are excited about your classes as I am with mine!

I can confidently say that I had a pretty good first week.

I'm really enjoying my classes so far. All of them are great, including my Math class. Shocking! considering that I would prefer taking 10 writing classes instead of math or science haha... Kudos to those taking more than one math class required for their major (Sam and Stephanie, I'm looking at you ;))

My professors are awesome which makes easier for me to go to class and stay focused even if I'm tired or with a load of homework for the next class. Overall, I think I did a great job choosing classes and arranging my schedule in a way that allows me focusing on school first and my extra curricular activities second.

I had a very productive three-days week. Besides my classes, my extra curricular activities and duties started right away.

On Thursday, we had the first Student Council meeting. Because the council is conformed by students in the three campuses and the Work Force & Continuing Education, it is very difficult for all of us to be in the same room at the same time when we have our meetings, so we had a video conference in which all of us (9 in total so far) saw and talked to each other and discussed our first official agenda. It was a very interesting meeting in which we came up with the four goals that we will focus on during the upcoming year. Then, technology messed with us, and we lost contact with the Rockville campus which meant we had to end the meeting through call conference. Good thing we were in the closing remarks before that happened. I'm looking forward to our next meeting and how we are going to achieve our goals and represent MC students the best way.

That same day, the TPSS campus had it first Student Senate meeting. We had around 22 people coming to the meeting which is great considering it was the second day of class. We discussed the senate's work plan for the upcoming semester, and I had the chance of lead the meeting for the first time as the Student Senate's President which was a great experience which I enjoyed it a lot!

Finally, on Friday, we had the first Excalibur meeting. I've been involved with the college newspaper for the last three semesters, and this time I'm acting as Assistant Editor which pretty much means that I'll be helping our new Editor-in-Chief to get used to the process of managing and publishing the newspaper. We had a couple of new people coming to the meeting and hopefully they will stay with us for a while, which also reminds me that if any of you are interested in writing or getting involved with the newspaper, you can always let me know and I'll put you in contact with the right person. We are always looking to get students engaged with the newspaper :)

Overall, I had a very exciting and promising first week. I'm looking forward to see what the rest of the semester will bring, and how I'll handle the stress that comes with it.

Thanks for reading guys, and good luck in your semester!!!! 

A Trip To West Virginia

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hello everyone,

I remember sharing this a long time ago, but I’m sharing this again because it’s a special day today. On this day in 1971, John Lennon's album "Imagine" was released. Click here to listen to one of the greatest songs ever sung.

How was your first week of school? I had a pretty exciting week. I made some new friends, and formed study groups for the semester. Study groups compel me to study during the weekend as I know I have to be able to involve myself during group meetings. 

The other thing I want to inform you guys is that you can leave comments on our blogs without having to use your MyMC login. A friend of mine told me that he didn't feel comfortable exposing his real name. Feel free to comment anonymously because your feedback matters!

So, last week I met up with two of my friends from college, and we went to “The Palace of Gold” located in Moundsville, WV. I don’t happen to follow a certain religion, but I appreciate positive parts of all religions. Although this place carries some religious significance, it was more of a recreational and spiritual journey for me.

Here are some pictures that I want to share from our wonderful trip:










Take care, and see you guys next week! 



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I arrived on campus at 5 in the afternoon on Wednesday and was welcomed by decently full parking lots and a lively environment. I once again stepped on to campus with the sense of contentedness. All I saw in front of me were the “endless possibilities” that the college likes to advertise. It’s been a fantastic two years and I’m ready for just one more.

I have difficulty letting go of things, even when I know it’s time for change. The year after I graduated high school, I continued to go back and visit my teachers and help with the Latin Dance Team that I was once a part of. Some teachers thought I got held back. And here I am in the same situation. I had to find reasons to stay another year at MC, so I did.

But enough about the beginning. I’m also attending UMCP this semester, and some of you might be curious about my initial impressions. Before reading, you should know I have a very limited perspective of the campus with being a new transfer student and an electrical engineering major.

Classes-The class sizes are significantly larger. Most of my classes are in lecture halls which hold perhaps between 50 and 70 students (a very rough estimate).  I prefer the small class sizes at MC.

TA’s (Teaching Assistants)-They’re usually graduate students and they basically teach or lead the discussion and lab of a course. All of them have been amazing, and they really know the material.

Money- I had to pay about $100 for a mandatory transfer student orientation and parking permits are near $300 for the school year. In comparing the tuition, the full time in-state tuition for MC is close to about half of the full time in-state tuition at UMD (that’s excluding room and board). So start saving now!

Parking- Upperclassmen get priority over which parking lot they would like for the semester or year. The parking lots are at the very edge of campus so if you have classes near the middle, you have to walk a lot. The engineering buildings are close to my lot, so I don’t have much of an issue. It’s just that one History class that’s about a half a mile away, that gets me. Yes, literally, half a mile.

That's all I have so far. There’s more to come as the year progresses, but I hope this was helpful as some of you are thinking about transferring soon.

A side note: Auditions for one of MC’s Fall shows go until, tomorrow, Saturday. I did a show last Spring and had a great time! The link:

I’m really excited about being a Rapterp this semester (Raptor+Terp=Rapterp). Good luck to everyone! Whether you succeed or fail in reaching your goals, you’ll come out having learned something. It’s truly an honor to be blogging for MC. Feel free to leave questions, comments, or suggestions.


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In high school, I used to have this running joke with my mom. Each summer, just as the break was coming to a close, she would ask me, “Are you ready for the new school year?” And with unwavering confidence, I’d always produce the same reply.

“Mom, the real question is, is the new school year ready for me?” 

I think it’s a healthy attitude to have. It’s the notion of viewing one’s self as an unstoppable academic force, the likes of which your teachers have never encountered before. Every assignment will be completed. Every deadline will be met. Every test will be aced!

If anything, it gives you something to laugh about at the end of the year once you realize that none of it worked out that way. But of course, by that point you’re just happy that you made it through another year of academia. 

And three months later, it begins again.

As I arrived on campus Wednesday morning and took that all too familiar stroll down the sidewalk, I tried to get a feel of the attitudes around me. Which of my fellow students were happy to be back, eager to feed their brains with a world of new and exciting knowledge? Who among them was determined to prove themselves and their intellect unstoppable? And on the flip side, who among them was reluctantly dragging themselves down that same sidewalk, wishing the blissful freedom of summer break could last just a little longer. 

Oddly enough, I find myself somewhere in the middle. The urge to get back into the swing of things is combated by my fond, nostalgic memories of the past few months. I went on my first date in years. I attended the Gay Pride Parade. I spent long summer nights with friends in DC. Does it all really have to end? The obvious answer is yes. Life is always moving forward, never stopping, and therefore we have no choice but to move forward with it. There’s an entire semester ahead of us, so we might as well go into it with all the optimism that our souls can muster, right? And besides, I’m pretty sure summer break comes around every 9 months, so fear not! There will be more summers. Until then, unstoppable is the word.

My mom and I don’t do the “are you ready” joke anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up, or maybe I’ve had enough all-nighters to know that good grades don’t come easy. The optimism is still there though. It’s a little jaded, but it’s definitely there.

Let’s have a great semester, everyone!

- Jay


Beginning Again

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Beginnings are not my forte.  But inevitably, time turns its face and tells me that it’s time for a beginning again.  Like now.

It’s the first week of the fall semester of 2012, and the first week means starting over.  New teachers, new classrooms, new classes, new schedules – the only things that seem to have remained the same are the campus and transportation.  (Rockville and buses, respectively.) 

It is the nature of college, I suppose, that new things continue to jump out at you.  A more spontaneous person than myself might even find it the best way to live.

I am not exactly a spontaneous person, more a creature of habit.  I live in the same house that I’ve lived in for 191 of the 206 months of my life, and I habitually create the same messes and piles in my room that I have already cleaned up.  I make the same mistakes due to distraction that I did four years ago, and I am definitely the type of person to wear a hole in the floor from pacing.

So, new classes and teachers and schedules are more than a bit frightening.

When I was still in high school, beginnings came precisely once a year, the week before Labor Day.  Without fail, the tiny high school that I attended began the week before Labor Day, and ended the week of my birthday.

Last year, that all changed.  I began at Montgomery College during the spring semester of 2012, and began a pattern of beginnings.

Never before then had I regularly taken the bus anywhere on my own.  Never before then had I regularly spent money on my own.  Never before then had I spent such extended periods of time outside of the small community in which I grew up.

Now a new beginning comes every few months, depending on the semester.  I finished spring semester, and dove right into another with the first summer semester.  That only lasted a handful of weeks before my real summer vacation started, and I had to get used to being around my (incredibly) annoying siblings all the time. 

Today was the first day of another beginning, this time of the 2012-2013 school year.

Oddly, I think I’m getting used to it, somehow.  Can you get used to the sheer terror of not knowing what is coming next?  Food for thought, at least.

So, now a musical quote that describes my life quite well right now –

And the seasons, they go ‘round and ‘round, and the painted ponies go up and down; we’re all captive on a carousel of time.  We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came – And go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in the Circle Game.” – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell

Well, ‘round and ‘round I’ve gone.  The question, I guess, is whether I’ll get dizzy.

I think I’m going to take a breath, mix metaphors, dive into the new school year, and hopefully not drown.

How about you?  Any dizziness at the thought of the oncoming semester?  Good luck!

CPR Class Saved his Life!

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Goodbye summer!

For many, it is time to buckle down and study. Those beach days are over. The waves that crashed on shore are now distant memories. The hot summer days have drifted out of our sights. Ice cream once satisfied dry tongues, but now diets are strictly followed to lose that weight.  

Goodbye summer of 2012! 

Surprisingly, I am ready to embrace the fall and forget the summer. Honestly, I am glad summer is over and the fall semester has begun! (Is this girl crazy? Why is she so happy summer is over?) Some of you might be wondering this because not many people; especially, students say that and actually mean it. In the same breath, I have learned a great deal about my skills and abilities. 

I want to share my summer story: 

Occasionally, students will complain about what classes they need to take in order to graduate or transfer to a different school. Well, spring semester I needed a health credit, so I decided to obtain a certificate to become CPR certified; in addition, I would have two health credits. I took the class in Tokoma Park campus where I practiced on dummies to provided safe and effective CPR. I took this class assuming I would never need it.

June 7th 2012, was the day I saved my best friend’s life. My boyfriend Javier fell due to cardiac arrest. He collapsed face first. Luckily, I was there along with my step dad. I demanded my step dad to flip Javier over, so I could perform CPR. My step dad, John, struggled to flip Javier’s body over. After a few seconds, he was able to have Javier lying on his back.  

The dispatcher on the phone kept me calm. I put all my body weight into chest compressions.  His heart was not beating and he was not breathing, but I refused to give up.  The CPR course taught me to keep going no matter what the circumstances are. I kept thrusting on his chest as I watched his mouth gasp for air a few times. The coloration on his face was once blue, but now it was fading back into his normal skin tone. I preformed CPR for seven minutes. The time felt slow as the adrenalin rushed through my veins.  

The Emergency Medical Services finally arrived. They shocked his heart back into rhythm and Holy Cross put him in a medically induced coma to save his brain from any damage.

Three days later, he awoke from the coma as if nothing ever happened. He is alive and he did not have any brain damage. I am extremely grateful that I took that course. I strongly urge students to take a CPR course!  It can indeed save a life and it is surreal this event had occurred. Javier is here today because of the skills I attained.

This skill is useful and necessary! Take a CPR class! You never know when it might come in handy. 

Embrace classes that are essential because in order to transfer or graduate those classes can help you succeeded or perhaps save a life. 

Hope everyone else’s summer was fantastic and fun! Time to get into that school mindset and maybe my story can motivate you and your goals.


And here we go again :)

(Keren Nathalie Urrutia) Permanent link

Hello everyone!

I hope you enjoyed your summer and are ready for a new semester which I’m sure will be very successful and interesting as always.

What did you guys do for the summer?

Well, I had a very busy and entertaining summer. I went to El Salvador to visit my parents, brother, and dog for a couple of weeks and also went to a one-week vacation in Florida. Vacation that I really needed!!! But now, summer is gone…. and classes and all of the other extracurricular activities I’m involved in at school are going to take its place.

This semester, I’ll be taking Political Sciences classes, Creative Writing, Math, and a Renaissance class… full load academically speaking, but I’m happy with my choices and I’m looking forward to spend my weeks learning about things that I’m passionate about…. Except math of course haha. Not a big fan.

Additionally, I’m now the President of the Student Senate at the TP/SS campus and I’m looking forward to that experience. I’m also serving as one of the secretaries in the Student Council part of the new Governance Structure that is being implemented in the college. This will be a one in a lifetime experience.  I am impressed with the other students part of the council, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with them and address issues that impact student life in the three campuses.

Also, I’m still working with the college newspaper at the TP/SS campus, The Excalibur, and preparing the semester goals for the Writing Club also at the TP/SS campus….. and of course, I’m blogging for another semester :)

It’s going to be a very busy semester for me, but I’m looking forward to it.

I hope you guys enjoyed your summer and are ready for another four months of learning and new experiences that will contribute to your personal and academic growth. And remember to check the other students blogs!! We have a couple of new bloggers, and I’m looking forward to see their fresh perspectives about student life in Montgomery College, and you should too!!! 

Washington, DC In A Video

(Shaswat Koirala) Permanent link

Hello friends,

I hope you are all having a nice summer so far. I'm glad it's almost over NOT. I had to prepare for the PCAT (Pharmacy College Application Test), and also complete my applications for pharmacy schools. I didn't have much time to travel, but I went to Washington, DC last week with few friends.I decided to try my hand at some video editing. May I ask you to watch the video I have created for the small trip ?



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