Tuesday, December 9, 2014

YOU MADE IT…Well, Almost!

Hey you! Yes, you! You officially finished classes for the Fall 2014 semester! Congratulations, you made it through countless lectures, discussions, quizzes, midterms, etc.!

Whether you’re a first year, returning, or even graduating (SHOUT OUT to Hope Arbesman and Alison Pfannenstein), give yourself a giant pat on the back for making it to the homestretch of the semester at UMBC!

Even though this official end of classes can be exciting, it also means you have one last obstacle to conquer……. FINALS WEEK!

Finals week can be very stressful, but if you keep calm, focused, and study A LOT, you can overcome this one last hurdle. And if you need more motivation, just remember, Winter Break is waiting on the horizon right after final exams! J

Off Camus Student Services will still be working during these weeks to help students with any of their concerns. Other organizations are also promoting finals related resources such as in the University Health Services and the Counseling Center’s awesome Mind Spa!

Recently, I was inspired by the karaoke rendition of this Disney song done by my fellow coworkers, and now I think it’s a good theme to get through finals. So during finals week, be like this beloved protagonist and “Let’s get down to business!”

Monday, December 8, 2014

TSN is hiring!

Hi everyone I come with great news! Transfer Student Network (TSN) is hiring two new team leaders for this upcoming spring semester. What is a TSN Team Leader you ask? A TSN Team Leader is a person that advocates for transfer student success here at UMBC. As a TSN Team Leader you will come up with fun fresh ideas for new programs and see your ideas come to life. Every semester TSN does workshops with the transfer students of UMBC in mind. They do workshops anywhere from stress management to healthy living while on campus and so much more. As a TSN Team Leader you will get to know UMBC and it's students in a way that no one else does.  If you're looking for something that is fun and rewarding this is the way to start! Apply for the position today! (More information about the position and the application are on the link below) Good luck with finals everyone!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

De-stress for Finals!

Photo from: http://tropparfait.blogspot.com/2013/08/calm-down.html

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. As you know the semester is ending and finals are coming up. You know what that means, everyone is stressed out!

So while trying to do those last minutes projects, papers (like me!!!), and studying for finals, don't forget to give yourself at least an hour to de-stress.

As that being said, here are some ideas to how to de-stress [:

1. Exercise!
Run, hop, jump, skip, or even have a mini dance party! Exercising or moving your body in general is a great way to relieve some stress! Also it gets the blood flowing to your brain!

2. Snack!
Snack on some brain food such as: almonds, cashews, walnuts, dark chocolate, apples, blueberries, or if you want a bigger meal, salmon!

3. Nap!
Did you know 60 minutes naps are the best for remembering facts, faces, and names? If you got an hour to spare take a nap! Or need a boost of energy in a short amount of time? Take a nap for at least 10-20 minutes.

4. Set a Schedule!
Planning to pull an all nighter? Deciding to procrastinate and study the night or hour before your final? No, don't do that. First that's a bad idea for your brain and your body. Second you need to sleep. So instead of going that route, set a schedule when to study and when to take a break. Your body will thank you later.

5. Treat yourself!
After studying so hard you'll end up feeling burnt out. Treat yourself to some good ol "you" time! Watch some youtube videos, play a games, or catch up on an episode on your favorite TV show! The possibilities are endless!!! (Just don't forget to get back into the groove of studying again)

So with that being said I hope you enjoyed your Fall semester and enjoyed reading my blogs! Good luck to you all with finals and do not stress out too much! We are almost done with this semester!
It was nice writing to yah and I will see you guys in the Spring!

Stay awesome pawsome!
-Angela [:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My last blog

Hi everyone! As always, I hope you have had a wonderful semester. I cannot believe that we are at the end of the semester already. It seems like only yesterday that we started the semester and now it is almost over.

Today, I am writing my last blog as an employee of Off-Campus Student Services, as well as a UMBC student. I am graduating December 18th and I will be continuing my education at Loyola University Maryland. I am super excited, yet anxious at the same time. However, I know that UMBC has prepared me for my future endeavors.

Although I am graduating, I want to give you some tips to succeed at UMBC:

1. Talk to your professors and actually attend their office hours.

Because I attended office hours, one of my papers went from a 85% to a 90% because I talked to my teacher and explained my ideas. She had said that the TA looked over the papers. When I visited her, she reread over my paper and I explained my point of view. She changed my grade because she understood where I was coming from. This would have been difficult if I had talked to her in the beginning or at the end of class. Thus, it is important to visit your professors' office hours. They have them for a reason and not enough students utilize these opportunities for success. Thus, I would suggest attending office hours and getting the help you may need.

2. Obtain an on-campus job or join extracurricular activities/clubs.

Working at OCSS was a wonderful opportunity to gain work experience, meet new people, and have fun. I have truly enjoyed working at OCSS and getting to meet new peers, friends, and connections. If I had not worked for OCSS, I feel like my time spent at UMBC would have been totally different. If you have the opportunity to do so, find on-campus job. Many departments are flexible with your school schedule and they understand your main priority is to attend school. It is also a wonderful way just to gain transferable skills that can help you in future employment. Additionally, joining clubs can help you gain new connections and meet people.

3. Lastly, have fun.

School is very important to me and I have worked extremely hard the past year and a half I have been at UMBC. I took both winter and summer classes, along with attending school full-time during the spring and fall semesters. Although we all want to succeed, it is important to take some time and relax or have fun. It is important not to stress out all the time. Take some time for yourself and do something fun. Personally, I feel that sometimes I had compromised having fun in order to succeed. There should be a balance between the two. So, at your time at UMBC, take some time to do something you enjoy. But always remember the reason why you are at UMBC. :)

I have truly enjoyed being apart of the UMBC community and I wish you all continued success now and in the future.

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username George)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reflecting on my PACC Leader experience

This semester is coming to a close. This is my last blog for the semester, and so I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on my journey as a PACC Leader. A fairly new program,  PACC is a necessary program that connects community colleges to four year institutions.

This semester marks my second semester  serving as a PACC Leader, and I believe that my role has helped me to become a better team member, and leader. I was able to see the PACC program develop over the semester as it assisted prospective/current transfer students have a smooth transition. I had the opportunity to organize two events at Montgomery College that were designed to dispense information about the transfer process to prospective transfer students. In the process, I was able to incorporate the skills I acquired from  PACC event programing to organize a large campus event in my cultural organization on campus. I learned the importance of team works, and communication. I spoke to many student at Montgomery College, and connected them to the resources at Montgomery College and UMBC designed to assist them in their transition. I was able to reflect back on my own transfer experience, and actively take a role in making the transition easier for others, so that they do not have to face the same challenges that I had too when I transferred.  I would not change my experience thus far! I was also able to work with an amazing group of people to grow the program.

Thank you for reading my blog, and see you all next semester!

Did you know?

President Obama was also a transfer student.

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Kirsten Jarnling)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Time of reflection

Every now and then you have to take time out of your busy schedule to reflect on the things you've done well so far and the things you need to improve on. Now that the semester is coming to an end this would probably be the best time to sit down and reflect on your accomplishments and short comings of the semester. Think about all the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the semester. Have you accomplished them all? Have you accomplished at lease one of your goals? If you've accomplished them all that's great, but if you haven't accomplished many or any at all that's ok too. It's not about spreading yourself thin trying to accomplish unrealistic goals, it's about making the effort to better yourself overall. Take the time you need to self reflect and think about what you did and what you could do better for the next semester to come. This would also be a great head start in thinking about your new year's resolution and come up with a game plan to achieve your resolution. Now that things are coming to an end, think about all the lessons you have learned along the way and all the things you want to do in your life. Come up with the most doable way to achieve all the goals you want to achieve in your life and think about how you're going to get there. I hope you all had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving break. Good luck with the rest of the semester! 

Best- Chloe

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Tommy Ga-Ken Wa)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


       Hey guys!! The semester is almost over (finally). It has been a productive one I must say personally, and I hope you all share the same feeling too.

       As we go for Thanksgiving today, I want us all to relax, enjoy and celebrate our loved  ones. The season is also a time of reflection as we prepare for finals, and also a mental break for some.

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving season
(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Julie)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Support a Great Cause!!

Hi Everyone!

I know everyone is looking forward to Thanksgiving break and probably winter break as well. I personally can’t wait to have some days off so I can sleep all day!

As we all look forward to this festive period, I will like to share an opportunity everyone can support a great cause. During the next coming Spring Break, a group of about 48 UMBC students will be forfeiting their break to do service and learn about different social problems in Baltimore and neighboring communities at different sites and organizations that addresses those issues. There are four different ASB trips this year focused on Public Health, Homelessness, Alternative health care (Gesundheit), and Developmental Disabilities (Arc trip). I will be co-leading the public health trip with another student.

Your support is needed to help raise money that will go towards the cost of the trip. All donations collected will be used for supplies, lodging, food, and transportation during the week. Here is the direct links to donate money to the public health trip.

You can also choose to donate to any of the other trips that you are passionate about the issue being addressed.

Also please share this with family and friends this thanksgiving and invite them to support this great cause!

Neyo Adekoya

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Imagemakercan-The Len...)

Monday, November 24, 2014

We're almost there!

Thanksgiving break is coming up fast and winter break is creeping up behind it. Next thing you know it'll be finals week and the semester will be done. Here are a few tips on how to get you back on track if your falling behind and how to stay on track during the final weeks of school.

1. Asses your progress for the semester. Doing this will give you a good idea of how well you're doing in your class and will also help you come up with a game plan for what you need to change to do better and what is working.
2. Start reviewing for you finals. Getting this done early will be the greatest benefit to you. This will give you more than enough time to review all of the material you have been taught in your classes that has the potential to be on the final. Getting this done earlier rather than later will also give you some extra down time when finals and study day come around.
3.Go to your professors office hours and ask them about the material that will be on the final and ask them to clarify any of the material you struggled with in class. You can also request a class study session with your professor or TA. This is a great way to prepare for finals and also potentially start a relationship with your professors. 

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Evan)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving with UMBC International Education Services!

Hey there Commuters!
This is Safa from the Off Campus Student Services!

I know all of us are tired,stressed and we cant wait to get done with the remaining mid terms so that we can start our thanksgiving break already.Trust me same here!

So to make your thanksgiving break a little more special UMBC International Education Services is working with the English Language Institute to celebrate an early thanksgiving today from 12-2 pm at the UC Second floor lobby!

So come out commuters and end the week by giving thanks around the world with the UMBC International Education Services!Trust me it will be a lot of fun.

And a big shout out to my fellow international students around campus and off campus and also to the UMBC IES for organizing such a wonderful International Education Week 2014!I am proud of all us for making UMBC such a diverse and beautiful place to call our second home!

Hope to see you all there!

Safa Zahangir.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Potential Parking Solution

-Is parking on campus still a problem for you?

-Are you sick of being a parking vulture* on campus?

-Do you always find yourself searching for parking at the most hectic times?

-Are you worried about tackling this obstacle again next semester and subsequent semesters for the rest of your time UMBC?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, then here is a solution for you! Introducing, the BASE APP, an app created by UMBC’s very own Mr. Yaffet Meshesha!

Yaffet is a Computer Engineering major here who is developing his very own app to address the issues with finding parking spaces. His idea involves creating a sensor that would transmit info from a parking space to an app on your smartphone. This lets you know if there are any open parking spots nearby. Such a device would definitely alleviate the stress associated with parking. Finding parking at UMBC has been the bane of existence for many commuter retrievers, including Yaffet and myself! Yaffet has spent a great deal of time researching sensor technology and applying the programming and hardware experience he has gained into creating this masterpiece, all while juggling his classes at the same time. Although he has a lot of work left to do, Yaffet is working hard to make his business legit as he meets with potential clients, who are interested in implementing his product in places like airport garages and even other universities!

So why not introduce this idea right here at UMBC?

Let us know in the comments below if you would be interested in seeing this potential solution carried out in the near future! Also, help support the ambition of one of our fellow retrievers by checking out this awesome video and info about the Base App from the website below:

Please let us know if you're interested in this program by clicking on the link below to take our poll!
*parking vulture –a driver who awkwardly follows other people to their cars to get their parking spot

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hello again... 
This is my third post to UMBC Off-Campus Student Services and hopefully your favorite. 

I have been very active this semester and would like to share my story:

Here's a few snipits from the garden club.

My Fridays consist of implementation of Raspberry Pi components. Below we are establishing communication between two computers via the GPIO ports.  We are documenting for a future workshop for students to understand error correcting codes using Hamming(7,3) matrices.

If you are still unimpressed...Here is a butterfly in a jar

Remember to look back on your life.  Personal reflections and assessments help me develop a better understanding of who I am along my journey and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Thanksgiving Break!

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a great semester! 
The semester is almost over and it's almost time for finals.
The weather hints for a brutal winter and stress is at an all time high 

But don't lose hope yet, we still have Thanksgiving Break!!!! 

A much needed break to get away from the worries of school and get refreshed for the final weeks of school.

Although thanksgiving break is just a few days long, its an opportunity to:
  • Spend time with family
  • Get back on track with school
  • Meet with old friends
  • and most importantly...Get Stuffed!!!

Happy Thanksgiving by ramy

I know you all have different plans for this thanksgiving, so please feel free to share!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Rainy days

The rain has come and it's a miserable day. You may say you hate the rain, but don't fret I have some great tips on how to turn a rainy day into the best day every and here is how you do it! Follow these steps and in no time you'll be having fun on the most miserable of rainy days.

1. Kickback and have a movie day. Having a movie day will ease your mind of the stress of the day and give you some time for you to enjoy yourself and enjoy the little things
2. Get crafty! Make crafts that you haven't made in a while. This is a great way to get lost in a rainy day and spark your creativity.
3. Wind down with a good book and some hot tea. This will not only relax you but can also help ease your mind so that you can be productive later. 

I hope you all enjoy this rainy day!


(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Louk de Leeuw)

Friday, November 14, 2014

What to do next!

Hey Everyone!!

I can't believe the end of the semester is approaching! Its already class registration..its crazy! I am sure everyone has a ton of work to do and I know my teachers are definitely pounding on all the work on us now because they realize the semester is almost over.

Since its registration time I wanted to share some helpful tips for signing up for classes!

First: If you have not yet made a meeting with your advisor, go and make a meeting with your advisor right now!! Close this blog and make an appointment because you can't sign up for classes with out having your advisor clear you.

Second: While your chatting with your advisor ask her any questions about classes and if you don't know what classes you have left, go to your degree audit which tells you what requirements you have filled and what you still need..It is under myUMBC then press start and academic advising and you click on degree audit. (It will tell you everything you need to know, its awesome!)

Third: Check out all the awesome classes UMBC has to offer. There are some really cool classes and incredible teachers.

Fourth: If your overwhelmed by all the classes and times make a schedule and calendar on a piece of paper. Lay it out and draw the week and see how everything fits! It really helps!

Fifth: If you want to see how awesome…or not so awesome a teacher may be go to ratemyprofessor.com. Type your teacher in and see what students have to say! It can really help sometimes..but don't always believe whats on there.

Sixth: Don't forget to check out how many credits you have and what day and time you are able to sign up!

Seventh: Okay!! I think I am done talking but I hope this was helpful and GOOD LUCK!

Keep going strong guys! We are almost there and its almost thanksgiving =)

--Keep smiling!


(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Class Registration)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Keep active during the cold weather!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying your semester! I know that I am excited for this semester to be over since I am graduating in December. It is an exciting, yet scary, feeling but I am ready for it!

With Thanksgiving and the end of the semester quickly approaching, it is important that you take the time to take care of yourself. We sometimes tend to overeat during the holidays or when we are stressed, but my blog for today focuses on how you can stay active -- physically and mentally -- during the cold weather!

Since many people enjoy going for walks or runs outside, it is very difficult to do so in the cold weather. Here are some tips on staying active during these cold months:

1. Take advantage of the fitness classes in the Retrievers Activities Center (RAC).

The RAC offers plenty of FREE classes for students, faculty, and staff to take. These classes take place throughout the day and evening, so there should be a time for you to make it! There are a variety of classes for all expertise levels, so do not fret! Some classes include: yoga, pilates, ab crunch, zumba, and many more!

2. Just go to the RAC!

The RAC is the perfect place to work out! With cardio machines, basketball hoops, an INDOOR POOL, and a weightlifting room, there is something for everyone! Do not be afraid to hop on in and get your workout on -- even if its only for 15 minutes! Staying physically healthy is not only good for your body, but your mind too!

3. Stay hydrated.

Keeping hydrated is very important. You need it to function! Keep drinking that water, and cut down on the caffeinated beverages because they only work for so long! Water is vital.

4. Just turn on some music and clean!

If you cannot make it to the gym, just turn on your iPod or Pandora and clean up your place! Although you are not getting a heavy duty workout session, you are moving around which IS important! You are also getting some cleaning done, which declutters your working space and makes you feel more organized!

5. And lastly, pull up some workout YouTube videos.

It is very easy to stay home and exercise. Find a workout video on YouTube and get moving! There are plenty of exercises and workout routines that you can do right in your own home!

I hope this list has helped you! Staying physically healthy will also help your mind stay focused and help you toward that finish line of the end of the semester, graduating, or any other obstacles you are facing!

Good luck and stay active!!

(Photo taken from Flickr C.C. 2.0 under username Alm Alzahrani)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Keep calm. It's almost winter break!

Hi, everyone!

It's amazing how fast time flies when there is so much to do! We have less than six weeks left until the fall semester ends, and winter break starts. I guess at this point in time, some students are starting to plan out what they will be doing over the long winter break.  Winter break is a little more than a month long, and it is the perfect opportunity to partake in many activities that are productive. I use the winter break as a time to recharge, volunteer, catch up with friends, spend time with my family, and get a head start on the spring semester. I enjoy the deadline free atmosphere winter break comes with, so I am doing things at my own pace.

In addition, winter break is the perfect opportunity  to submit your application to various internship sites for the summer. Many summer internships have deadlines that are around the first two months of the year, and completing your application near the deadline might be in conflict with your spring class schedule.

Other ideas for winter break productivity:
  • Travel Abroad
  • Make a super awesome music playlist
  • Read a book: Yes, they still exist!
  • Zoo, Museum, Symphony Orchestra, Theatre: Living near the capital is an advantage. Most museums are free in DC!
  • Watch old movies with friends: My all time favorite!  
  • Get a handle on your sleep schedule: readjust your sleep schedule, no more all nighters.
What will you be doing this winter break? Please share!

Megidelawit Yirefu
PACC leader