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Thank you for visiting DiscoverUSG, the official news blog for The Universities at Shady Grove.
Hi, my name is Mandi Mader and I work as a Counselor in USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) located inside of the Priddy Library. I have over 20 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, couples and families with a variety of concerns related to ADHD management, relationship problems, parenting skills, and insomnia. But today, I would like to focus on an area that is so common to college students, and that is lack of sleep.
Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes. Sleep deprivation is also linked to a greater risk for anxiety and depression.
A common myth is that people can learn to get by on little sleep with no negative effects. However, research shows that getting enough quality sleep at the right times is crucial for mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
Ok, now that I have your attention, here are some important tips for getting better sleep:
Remember, we do not need to try to sleep. Our body is designed to sleep. If we increase exercise, keep a schedule, and learn to relax, great sleep is possible. Only YOU can prioritize your health and remember — the only thing that replaces sleep is SLEEP.
If you have trouble a) staying asleep, b) falling asleep, or c) repeatedly waking up too early, three or more times a week for more than one month, you might have insomnia. If you are not sure, and you do not get relief from the above tips, I encourage you to make an appointment at the USG Center for Counseling and Consultation for a free insomnia assessment. To set-up an appointment call 301-738-6273.
Mandi Mader, LCSW-C
You might be surprised to hear that the most common sentence I hear from students when working with them as a writing consultant is “I’m sorry.” Some students have apologized over 20 times in an appointment. I didn’t even get that many sorrys when my sister broke my Super Nintendo.
Other common statements: my writing is terrible, uhh…this is so bad, I know this is wrong, I’m not a writer.
I hate to break it to you, but we’re all writers. And none of us are bad (unless you’re reading this blog post out there, Darth Vader).
My name is Adam Binkley, and I am the senior coordinator at the Center for Academic Success. In addition to leading workshops and coordinating academic support programs, one of my primary responsibilities is working with students on their writing. Believe it or not, though, I didn’t always consider myself a good writer.
When I was an undergraduate, the same professor that ended up being my mentor and greatest ally, once told me to literally (and I do mean literally) throw away a paper I had written and gave me my first shiny, red “F”.
It turns out, I didn’t have enough experience with or understanding of academic writing. I had to learn what was expected of me and, more importantly, that criticism of my work and less than stellar grades weren’t meant as put downs, but as a guidance.
So where does this negativity come from? For many students, it’s coping with a new environment of writing with bigger and scarier expectations. For others, it could be about a bad past experience, like mine.
Maybe you’re a student who is coming back to school after a few years out and don’t remember how to even begin to write a paper. Maybe you’re a student who learned English as a second, third, fourth language and the benefits of multilingualism feel less immediate than the challenges of English grammar, where rules are made to be broken.
It’s easy to let these challenges cloud our views of ourselves as writers.
That’s why I love this part of my job, I can help clear those gray skies up by empowering students to find confidence in their writing. That is a vital part of our mission at the Center for Academic Success.
We have one-on-one support for students through writing consultations. We also have awesome programs like Writing Fellows and the Multilingual Writing Mentors—where your peers can act as sounding boards to better your work. We even have a new peer writing consultant working in the Priddy Library. His name is Joey, he’s there from 1-4pm every day, and he gives awesome feedback. Stop by and see him.
So the next time you’re staring at that blank Word document with the clock ticking towards assignment due o’clock with feelings of self-doubt starting to creep up, maybe even feeling like your writing is ba…
You’re a writer. You’re good. And you’ve got this.
In 2013, the partnership of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Montgomery College (MC), and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) launched the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program to provide a college pathway for high school students who are part of populations that are underrepresented in higher education. The ACES program at USG is designed to support these students as they complete the final two years of their baccalaureate degree.
When the ACES students arrive on the USG campus they meet me. My name is Tia Dolet and I am the ACES Success Coordinator in the Center for Recruitment and Transfer Access (CRTA). I work directly with the ACES students to provide one-on-one coaching and conduct workshops that support academic and professional development. This past August, we welcomed our first class of 12 students from the first ACES cohort, representing five of our university partners and nine different majors. The students are nearing completion of their junior year, and I asked them to reflect upon what their experience has been like through the ACES program. One central theme emerged, all of the students wanted to find ways to help support high school students and give them their guidance.
This led to ACES students taking an active role in talking to high school students and sharing their stories in order to motivate and inspire a new generation of college students. In just one semester, five ACES students attended various USG informational presentations at Montgomery County high schools. During these presentations, high school students learned about the benefits of attending a program at USG while also getting the opportunity to hear ACES students describe their experience within the MCPS > MC > USG pathway. ACES students openly shared their struggles, triumphs and lessons learned with high school youth who were eager to hear from individuals with whom they could relate.
One of the most memorable moments, is when two ACES juniors, Evelyn Solis (UMCP, Biological Sciences) and Ariel Blanco (Salisbury University, Exercise Science) gave a bilingual presentation for participants in Liberty’s Promise at Wheaton High School. Liberty’s Promise is an organization that supports immigrant students in Montgomery County. Having once been in their shoes, Ariel and Evelyn shared their stories on what it was like not only being in a new high school, but also being in a new country. They talked about the influential experiences and people that inspired them to continue their education and pursue their field of study. When Ariel came to the U.S., he thought that after high school he would just find a “good paying job.” But he realized that finding a good paying job with just a high school diploma would not be that easy. While at MC he started to excel and kept a 4.0 GPA, he said education “started to feel more satisfying.” Like most students, transitioning from high school to college can be tough, but Ariel shared how connecting his passions to a major kept him engaged and motivated to confront those challenges head on. As an avid soccer player, one of his main reasons for going to college was to pursue a career in sports. Nevertheless, as he started his coursework, he realized he had a new passion for human sciences and learning how the body works. He ended his speech by encouraging students to “never give up on their dreams and to take advantage of every opportunity presented.”
Throughout the semester, Ariel continued to present to other students. I later asked him why it was so important for him volunteer his time to reach out to others and he replied:
“Day after day I realize that if I want to see a change in the world, the best thing I can do is change my own world, my day-to-day events, and the people I come across with. The main reason why I want to help others is that it is necessary. I want to give to someone who is in need, even if that person does not accept that fact, it is important that society helps without the necessity of individuals to ask for the help, like my teachers and ACES have done for me.”
ACES students at USG have truly made the most of the ACES program and are now paving the way for the next wave of young scholars. Their triumphant narratives of grit and perseverance are truly encouraging to every ear reached—mine included. We are so proud of all of the ACES students’ commitment to the Montgomery County community and we look forward to celebrating their future accomplishments!
No, I’m not talking about some B-movie knockoff of Terminator. What I am talking about is how the smartphone is the ultimate (at least for now) technological gadget, our dependence on it, and its impact on how we deal with others and ourselves.
My name is Jonathan Kandell, a psychologist and Director of USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC). Before coming to USG I worked at the UMCP Counseling Center for 22 years. During the mid- to late-90s, I became known for my expertise in the area of Internet Addiction. The funny thing was, that I wasn’t really an expert; just someone interested enough to notice what was occurring and ask the right questions.
I first became aware of this phenomenon when I was a Graduate Assistant. As part of my Assistantship, I did some computer programming (in BASIC!). I noticed when writing code and staring into the screen, time seemed to disappear. I would look up from my work, and it was three hours later! Clearly, something was going on.
While at UMCP, a colleague and I recognized that some clients coming in for other issues (e.g., depression, loneliness, poor academic performance) were spending an awful lot of time on their computers. We realized that there must be some connection and decided to offer a support group. As you can probably guess, no one showed up!
Similar to other addictive behaviors, the first symptom is denial. The students probably were too busy online, and their “real life” difficulties with others pushed them even further into cyberspace. It’s a whole lot easier to interact with someone you can’t see or hear! It’s also not nearly as satisfying. Interestingly, despite everyone having 8 zillion friends on Facebook, a major symptom today over 15 years ago is loneliness. If people have so many “friends,” then why are they so lonely?
Communicating via text or e-mail is very different than face-to-face, or even on the phone. Online interactions are “asynchronous,” not taking place in real-time. If I’m having a face-to-face conversation with you, and I go silent for two minutes, you’re going to start wondering if there’s something wrong with me! When texting, that’s normal.
It’s easy to come up with the “right” response when you have time to think. The problem is, when you actually have to be in a face-to-face conversation, you don’t have that time. You have to do your best and deal with the consequences. Then there’s those messy non-verbals (e.g., facial expression, tone of voice, loudness, posture), all the things that can make communication so rich and interesting. To understand their impact, just think how difficult it is to tell a joke online (sarcasm, anyone?) without someone misinterpreting it, or even being offended. I believe too much online interaction actually reduces a person’s ability to cope with the enormous amount of (often-ambiguous) information one receives when talking face-to-face. It’s no surprise that ongoing difficulties in face-to-face interactions can lead one to seek the refuge of the online world.
Well, my smartphone has been nagging at me to pay it some attention, so I must stop here. If this blog post hits a little too close to home, and you’re wondering if you may have a problem controlling your online behavior, the CCC can help. The CCC offers individual couples, and group counseling to help you directly address behavioral and emotional issues. Call 301-738-6273 to set up an appointment, or stop by and see us in Room 1134 in the Priddy Library.
As the Financial Aid and Scholarship Specialist at USG, my goal is to help students make the best choice when it comes to funding their education. With State and institution deadlines right around the corner, I want students to have access to all of their available resources. During the month of February, students have the opportunity to get assistance with completing their FAFSA, attend workshops, and learn about the financial assistance options that will work best for them!
On February 23rd, I will be hosting a Financial Vision Board Workshop. What does a vision board have anything to do with financial aid awareness? Well, a lot! From speaking with students, I have learned that the thought of student loans after graduation can be extremely daunting. While planning workshops for Financial Aid Awareness Month, I want to incorporate workshops that will benefit students long after graduation. I think that creating vision boards can be an innovative way to get students thinking about their financial goals well before they finish school. Plus, it’s fun and easy!
The main benefit of setting these goals is to motivate students to set priorities and keep them on track with overall financial management. In many instances, student loans are the first time individuals are managing debt. I try to encourage students to borrow responsibly and to start thinking about repayment options early so that they can keep their payments affordable and avoid paying extra interest cost. From experience, I know how overwhelming it can be, I want to help alleviate any confusion and prepare students in advance!
I encourage you to attend all of our Financial Aid workshops this month:
Financial Aid Awareness Month Events and Workshops:
Financial Aid Q&A: Tuesday, February 21st 5:30-6:30pm Building III-2125
Financial Aid Vision Board Workshop: Thursday, February 23rd 3:00-4:00pm Building III-2131
Check out #TweetTuesdays! Each week we will cover topics including: Financial Aid, Scholarships, Loan Repayment options and much more! @USGStudentLife