Weekend Adventures

weekend

College can seem like a trap. During the week, you are dragged to the classroom and when you are not in the classroom, you are tied down to a seat with a computer putting you in a trance. The routine of food, class, studying, and sleep becomes robotic, repetitive, and exhausting. That final day of routine breaks the cycle and presents a chance of freedom. Friday finally arrives as your savior and points you toward the sliver of light. The blazing white light that brings tears of joy to your eyes returns once again: the weekend. A supposed time of tranquility and Hakuna Matata. However, the heavenly two days that maintain your sanity can still seem like a drag. Students are either getting ahead or catching up in their school work as the upcoming week presents so much anxiety. Instead of being in a constant state of worry, we students must reclaim the weekend! Here are a variety of ways to have fun and make Rutgers memories you will never forget on the most precious days of the week.

Rutgers offers so many opportunities on campus that students are never far from a great experience. Keep an eye out for events sponsored by RUPA, the Rutgers University Planning Association. RUPA has featured Logic, Chance the Rapper, Khalid, and this year Amine at their once a semester Beats on the Banks shows. Show off your Scarlet Pride and support our very own Scarlet Knights as they take on the Big 10 Conference. Check out their schedules online to see when the Scarlet Knights are battling it out on the field, court, or in the pool. There is an endless number of events at Rutgers so students must keep an eye out. Follow Rutgers accounts on social media that sponsor events you would attend and check out the many bulletin boards featuring upcoming events.

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Off-campus presents just as many opportunities for students to expand their boundaries outside Rutgers. The convenient train station can launch any student into New York City in about an hour. Students can go sightseeing, grab some famous New York pizza, or just explore the city that never sleeps. Back in New Brunswick, downtown George Street has so many venues to try as well. There are some fantastic classics like Chipotle and unique restaurants like Teri Teri and Kasai. Plus, the State Theater of New Jersey and the newly refurbished George Street Playhouse are awesome destinations to catch a play, musical, or concert.

George Street

Clearly, there are so many ways to stay busy on the weekends. Remember that you will not prize those days in the computer lab or library as much as the unforgettable memories made at an event, club, or just a relaxing movie night with your friends. Time management is the key to succeeding in school and allowing spare moments for special memories. Students, learn to balance your school work with your weekend adventures to truly maximize your Rutgers experience.

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The Most Beautiful and Spectaclar Places to Visit During Fall!!

Hi everyone!

It’s finally Fall!!!! Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors; they make every cold day worth the walk outside. I thought this month I would share with you a list of the most beautiful places to see during fall. This is just a short list, so feel free to look up more if you would like. Enjoy!

1. Vermont Green Mountain Byway

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This colorful, scenic drive will absolutely blow your mind. You start the drive in Waterbury and keep driving along Route 100. Stare out your window on both sides, and you will feel as if you are entering a magical wonderland of hues of oranges, reds, and yellows.

2. Colorado Aspen Valley

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This little valley is filled with tall, yellow riverside cottonwoods that are towering over you as you hike through. Aspen Valley has many other activities you can do besides hiking. You can shop, eat, visit museums, go to shows, and much more.

3. Catskills in New York

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This is one is in our neighboring state! Catskills is filled with wooded hillsides and mountain peaks that are painted with vibrant colors in fall. From open-air rides on the Catskill Mountain Railroad to fly fishing, there are many opportunities to be with one with nature.

4. The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

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Established in 1934, this park is one of the most popular national parks in America. If you love a mountain view, then this is the perfect place for you. The Appalachian Mountains are the epitome of mother nature.

While these places are all in America, I wish to fly you across the world for other spectacular fall views.

5. Bieszczady in Poland

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Okay, this is one is pretty cool. This is a Polish cordillera that is one of the rare places in which the night sky is pollution-free. That means you can finally stargaze; as you lay on your back and look up, a million glimmering diamonds are awaiting your gaze.

6.  Eurochocolate in Perugia, Italy

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Alright, this is one is a mouthwatering sweet delight! If you are a chocolate lover (totally me), then drop everything and go to this annual festival in late October! Seriously. This year, it is from October 19 to October 28th.  From chocolate sculptures to free chocolate chips for EVERYONE, things just keep getting better. The events are all free! Tell me a better way to make your sweet tooth tingle. I’ll wait.

7. The Megyer Mountain Tarn in Sarospatak, Hungary

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These mountains seem to be carved by nature herself. The lake meanders around the little islands of mountains. A tarn is a small mountain lake formed from a glacial erosion. Each island is splotched with colorful, vivacious trees. This is a great place for water lovers.

Well, I hope you enjoyed looking at these places. Now, go and actually look at them in person, either with a friend or with your family. These will definitely be on my bucket list (especially the Eurochocolate festival). Feel free to comment on your personal favorites below. Do you know of other places in which autumn manifest its colors (literally)?

Happy Halloween From All Your SASHP Bloggers!

Happy Halloween everyone! We hope you enjoy our thoughts on Halloween and stay spooky this season!!

5 Easy Halloween Costume Ideas- Nishita Patel

Some people starting planning out their Halloween costume(s) months in advance. The following three ideas are perfect for those who love to participate in Halloween festivities but aren’t invested think about them for longer than a day. These might not be the most brilliant costumes, but they’ll get the job done (especially if you don’t have witch hats, nerd glasses and fake blood lying around and just need to make do with what you have in your closet).

1. Ice cream

Just wear any solid-colored shirt and draw different colored lines all over it. If you don’t want to ruin your shirt, you can just cut out small rectangles out of paper and tape them onto your shirt. Then, just wear brown or tan-colored bottoms.

2. Formal apology

Wear a fancy dress or shirt and tape a piece of paper that reads “I’m sorry” onto your outfit. Done!

3. Cactus

Wear any green shirt and tape small pieces of folded white rectangles onto the shirt.

4. Popcorn

Take a few sheets of paper and color one side yellow. Crumple up the paper and tape the paper balls onto a shirt. Then, wear red pants.

5. Fork in the road

Take a piece of paper, cut out a few rectangles, and tape them to a black shirt to create the dashed lines of a road. Then, tape a plastic fork onto the shirt.

I hope these gave you some inspiration if you need to come up with a last-minute Halloween costume. Have a happy and safe Halloween!

 

Where’s Your Halloween Spirit? -Tanya Banerjee

Keep your spirits high this Halloween! I’m an adult age-wise–but never at heart, which is why I’m a sincerely dedicated, fully costumed trick-or-treater every single Halloween. And I mean this year, too. This will be my last Halloween as an (undergrad) college student, but so what?! There are many more Halloweens to come when I’ll be rocking a costume because who cares what age I am? What I’m trying to tell you is pretty much: never grow up. Embrace what you have loved in your youth and continue to love it. Part of that for me is keeping the Halloween tradition alive and going all out. So in twenty years, if you open your door on Halloween to find a lady dressed up as a witch asking for candy, know that it will probably be me, but ALSO that this woman isn’t afraid to keep her love for Halloween alive–no matter how old she is.

 

Funny Trick-or-Treating Experience- Aishwarya Madhikar

Hi, I thought I would share with you my funniest trick-or-treating experience. It was when I was around 11-12 years old. I went with my best friend, my brother, and my mom. At the time, we used to live in an apartment development, so trick-or-treating was actually quite fun because a lot of the residents who gave out good candy were nearby! As we were going door-to-door, my friend and I got to this one door on the ground floor; it was open just a crack. As I approached it, I could see it was dark. I wondered if anyone was even home. If they were, then why did they leave their door open?? As I knocked lightly (to not push the door completely open with my forceful knocking), I suddenly saw the door swing open and two greyhounds dashed out the door barking. My best friend and I screamed out loud and ran as fast as we could. We literally dispersed in two different directions because we had no clue where we each were going. My baby brother and my mom were shocked behind us. It was the funniest scene. I am pretty sure you could hear us screaming from a mile away. I will never forget that night. P.S. we each got a bucket full of candy.

 

Favorite Festive Fall Recipes- Becky Kowalski

I love cooking, so I figured I’d share a few of my favorite fall time recipes for the spooky season (the alliteration in my title is half the reason I’m writing about this…just so you know). One involves pumpkin, so it’s appropriate for Halloween, one was my favorite from when my family ate meat regularly, and I have such fond memories of it that I’m gonna share it anyway. The pumpkin recipe is a basic pumpkin soup that’s soup-er easy to make. Heat up some oil in a pot, cook garlic, onion, celery, and carrot until it’s soft. Then throw in vegetable stock and a whole can of pureed pumpkin (pls not pumpkin pie filling. You will have sugary soup). A bunch of salt and pepper, then you can throw in thyme, rosemary, a little cinnamon, and a little nutmeg if you want, or not if you don’t. Let that cook for like 20 minutes, then if you want you can add a splash of cream, I don’t usually just because we don’t have cream in our house often, but it’ll make for a more velvety soup. That’s it, easy as pumpkin pie.

The meat recipe is also simple, but obviously more expensive cause it like, has meat in it. It also takes time, but it’s easy and honestly so delicious. In a slow cooker (or like a pot if you don’t have one, you’d just leave your stove on super low for a really long time. Good for heating up the house in the fall) you add onions and apples that you cut up into big chunks, whole cloves of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, some cinnamon, pork chops, a little bit of vegetable or chicken broth for your food to cook in, and a bunch of salt and pepper. Just let that heat for forever, and it’s done when the pork is pulled apart with a spoon tender. It’s honestly really delicious (it’d probably be even better if you included a pat of butter into it), and you can serve it with like, roasted potatoes or orzo or something like that. Those are a few of my favorite fall time meals!  

 

Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Orlando

I do not like scary movies. Killers that pop out from behind a door, demons haunting a house, or loud shrieking sounds make me scream like a child in the middle of a movie theater. However, there is something so exhilarating about being scared to death in a simulated haunted house. From October 11th until October 14th, I visited Universal Studios Orlando for their annual Halloween Horror Nights where ‘Scare-acters,’ actual actors who were required to audition, are prepared as unimaginable monsters or your favorite horror movie characters to make guests jump. Guests are haunted in scare zones, where ghouls populate a certain walkway of the park, or haunted houses, where guests navigate a dark, narrow trail with loud noises and Scare-acters. Two scare zones were based off the strange 1980’s horror flick Killer Klowns from Outer Space and the famous killer doll Chucky from the original Child’s Play film. On the other hand, haunted houses were mostly based on famous movies or television shows like Stranger Things, Trick r Treat, Halloween, Poltergeist, The Purge, and Happy Death Day.

Halloween Horror Nights was truly a unique and unforgettable experience. The costumes of the Scare-acters, detail of the haunted houses, and the overall Halloween atmosphere was astonishing. Never before have I felt more in the spirit of Halloween than when I was screaming from Michael Myers slashing at me with his infamous knife. As a devoted Stranger Things fan, being scared to death by a Demogorgon in the Upside-Down was a surreal experience. Although I never saw some of the movies that a few haunted houses were based on, they nevertheless frightened me and probably frightened me even more. In the Trick r Treat house, I was clueless and had no idea what to expect. When I saw an entire werewolf pop out of thin air, I knew that I had to see this movie! If I was a huge fan or never even heard of the inspirational film, Halloween Horror Nights never failed to bring the spookies.

 

I’m Celebrating Halloween for the First Time This Year – Melanie Raush

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m nineteen years old, a sophomore in college, and I have never celebrated Halloween before. I’m Jewish, so growing up, my sister and I were never allowed to dress up or go trick-or-treating because my mom felt that the holiday wasn’t secular enough for us to be able to celebrate. Every year, while all of my friends wore their costumes to school and went out at night to trick-or-treat or, as we grew up, go to parties, I sat at home with my family, handing out candy at the door whenever the doorbell rang; my parents’ house is on a cul-de-sac, so we rarely even got to participate in the holiday that way. There’s a Jewish holiday called Purim that usually falls in early March during which we dress up and share junk food with friends (among other traditions), and celebrating that was always fun, but it could never hold a candle to the Halloween festivities.

When I started college last year, I decided that I wanted to dress up and celebrate Halloween. I didn’t end up actually putting together a costume or celebrating in any other way last year for whatever reason, so this year will finally be the year that I get to experience everything I’ve been watching from afar throughout my life. I have my costume all ready to go (I’m dressing up as Christine Canigula from the musical Be More Chill, in case you were curious) and I’m going to wear it all day on Wednesday while listening to Halloween-themed music, hanging out with friends, and simply enjoying the holiday. I can’t wait!! Happy Halloween, everyone : )

 

The Costumes That Made Me – K.C. Wittmaack

Halloween costumes, for a period of about 10 years, were a staple of my childhood. If I put as much effort into school as I did my costumes, I’d be at the top of my class. Every year, most of my time was spent subconsciously plotting my attire for that year, and looking back, each getup seamlessly pinpoints a specific phase of my life (spoiler alert; they’re all embarrassing).

There were three costumes that come to mind the quickest.

One year, I decided to take advantage of my scraggly haircut and be a werewolf, so I greased back my mop of hair and put in a set of fake teeth that gave me this massive underbite. My mom painted my face to look as though I had fur (because in truth, I was not able to grow a beard yet at nine years old), and she glued long stringy sideburns to the edge of my jawline. It was badass at the time, but looking back, I now understand why some moms who opened the door to me holding an outstretched candy bag were actually a bit taken aback; I looked like mid-puberty Chewbacca.

Then, a few years later, my Halloween writer’s block led me to put together a last-minute zombie baseball player. I basically just wore a tattered Yankees jersey and painted my face probably a little bit too pale, and I ended up coming off as a malnourished homeless child who just happened to like the Yankees.

A few years later, I really wanted to go all-out because my school announced that there would be a costume competition with prizes. My mom, who has now become a veteran make-up artist due to all her time spent painting faces every October, whipped out all her kits of face-paint and hairspray and fake teeth and went to work. We settled on Freddie Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. I had the fedora, the gnarly teeth and sweater, and my mom painted my face to really sell that I was some sort of demon with burnt skin– granted, a little dark for sixth grade. We also bought a pair of the Freddie Krueger claws that were spot-on. However, unbeknownst to me, my middle school had updated its costume policy and no “weapons” were allowed to be incorporated in costumes, so the claws sat in the front office while I walked around looking like a burn-victim with horrible fashion sense. I did win “Scariest Costume” though, complete with a piece of printer paper that had the word “Scariest” on it with a spooky font, but perhaps not for the right reasons; I don’t think anybody really knew who I was and was genuinely frightened of me.

Needless to say, I’m sure everyone has a Halloween costume that they can remember– even if they don’t necessarily want to remember it.

 

Halloweenie, Don’t be Scared- Neelay Inamdar

I have always loved horror movies! Who doesn’t want to see a killer clown run after a bunch of kids and portray each of their greatest fears! Today’s horror movies, although good, are not as thrilling as those slasher flicks from the ‘80s, like Friday the 13th or Graduation Day or Halloween. Those were suspenseful because they had actual human killers! Anyway, this year, I thought I would relive my mock fear of horror movies by watching IT. You might be thinking that once you watch a horror movie the first time, you know what to expect if you watch it again. That could not be further from the truth. When I watched IT for the first time, I was alone, and although I was a bit reluctant at first, I decided to give it another go at my friend’s house last week. There were 8 of us, and I was one of a couple who had already seen it but wanted to see it again.

Being with my friends allowed me to re-experience the thrills and horror at those points where I got really scared the first time, but when I watched them again, I could make fun of others who were more scared than me! I could even tickle them and make them jump out of their seat before the actual movie scare came. It’s a different experience watching horror movies with friends than when you are alone because you’re challenged to not be that guy who can’t handle the scare! You could easily turn on the lights or pause the movie if you are alone like I did, but with my friends, I didn’t have that option. They even threatened to rewind and replay the scary scenes! Honestly, though, it was still fun, and what made this Halloween special for me since I could learn to face any other fears in real life, a skill we all can use. Happy Halloween everybody! I can’t wait for the second chapter of IT. Hopefully, I can have my revenge on my friends when I watch that the second time at my house…

 

A Happy Ending Every Halloween- Shrusti Goswami

There are three things that excited me about Halloween when I was a kid: costumes, pumpkins, and candy. Costumes were, naturally, a big deal. Walking around Party City with wide eyes (and my mom reminding me that costumes were expensive) gave me a kind of rush I can’t even try to recreate today. But then October 31st would come and it would be 30 degrees and suddenly my dope ass princess warrior persona came with a jacket or one of those thermal undershirts that my mom pulled out of thin air.

Pumpkins were another big deal. I’d stare out the window on the bus ride home and see them lining houses throughout my neighborhood. Every year I’d wait to pick pumpkins and carve them. I would cut out the top and just stick my hands my hands in pumpkin guts for God knows how long. But nobody tells you that if you do that, you’ll smell like pumpkins for the next three days. And that the pumpkin guts get stuck under your nails and you still feel it even though you know it’s not there anymore. And nobody tells you that if you’re eight years old, your pumpkin is not really going to look okay. The whole process is actually quite morbid too if you really think about it.

Since costumes weren’t really visible and knifing pumpkins quickly became sad, the fate of my Halloween rested on candy. And it never let me down. Every year we’d drive to this huge complex of townhouses and apartments and lose our freakings minds. It didn’t matter if I was a fairy, or candy corn (yes, I was a piece of candy corn), or a ghost (aka a sheet), I could come home at the end of the night with 10 pounds of candy practically falling out of my overused plastic pumpkin basket. My sister and I would sit on the rug in front of our door and dump all our candy onto the ground. Then it was fair trade, and I had enough chocolate to last me the rest of the year. In all seriousness, it’s taught me the life lesson I carry with me every day: chocolate never disappoints.

 

Films That Actually Terrified Me- Rheana Reyes

I don’t really consider myself the type of person who watches or enjoys horror and supernatural films due to my sometimes excessive paranoia, but I admit that I like getting out of my comfort zone and watching a few during Halloween to get in the full spooky vibe for the season. Out of all the films I’ve seen so far, these two have been the only ones that have stuck in my memory for so long because of the fact that I was pretty terrified of dark places the next few nights after watching them.

The Ring (1998)

The Ring most of us all know has nothing on the original Japanese film. The dreary, cold tones of the movie paired with the unsettlingly, calm atmosphere of certain scenes are enough to make the watchers feel uncomfortable and uneasy. The plotline also draws one in to wait in anticipation for what is to come. And if the thought of Sadako Yamamura crawling out of a TV and into your living room doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what does.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Three film students document their search for the legendary Blair Witch in a familiar “vlog-style” format. The film is a bit slow in the beginning, but the suspense gradually builds up as the film crew begins to have disturbing encounters. However, the realistic way the film is shot almost makes it seem like the Blair Witch is coming for you next…

Although I still have a long way to go in the realm of horror and suspense, I definitely recommend these films if you would like to get an actually good scare. And if you’re like me, nothing’s better than watching a good old DCOM like Halloweentown or Twitches after with the lights on in the background.

The Capstone: Tips to Survive

So the Capstone may be in a couple of years for you. Or maybe next year. Or right now. Whatever the case, I’m gonna give you just a few tips on how to basically survive it. 

1. IT’S NOT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS

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Perspective, perspective! Currently, I am working on an Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis (IHT). An IHT spans more than one discipline and is backed by substantial research–it is a research thesis. With an IHT, you have an option for your final product to be creative. In my case, I’m investigating the representation of mental health, specifically related to grief, in literature. While I’ll be writing a scholarly report of around 20-30 pages, I’ll also be producing at least 50-page-draft of my novel, tentatively entitled Dimension X. This Capstone option, if you think about it, is just a long project. And projects are completely doable! If you approach your Capstone as a never-ending torture, that’s what it’ll seem like. Buuuut…if you adopt a different mindset, that your Capstone has a definitive end and it’s a matter of working on it in small doses, then it’ll automatically seem a lot more manageable and achievable.

*Keep in mind that you can complete your Capstone requirement through other options*

2. SET GOALS FOR YOURSELF

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Goal-setting is crucial when it comes to a long project like a thesis. Before I even started my thesis, I set goals about deciding what my topic would be and asking professors to be potential advisors. I didn’t stay (too) idle over the summer: I began preliminary research and wrote a decent amount for my story. Even then, I set goals on how many articles I wanted to gather or how many pages to complete. 

Goals are often achievable if they are realistic and you have a way to achieve them. For example, I gave myself deadlines throughout the summer and now for the Fall semester. I’m also running on a thesis schedule, in which I’ve outlined how many hours for what days of the week I’ll be working on which part of my thesis, as well as what I’d like to accomplish every week before winter break. This is very helpful because it gives me a structure. 

3. ASK FOR HELP

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No joke–this thesis is incredibly challenging at times. BUT you have many resources available to help you out. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help! Meet with your advisors regularly. Don’t hesitate for one moment to ask them for advice. Chances are they’ve worked with several other thesis students and recognize how difficult it is to do a thesis. Other amazing individuals who can help you include Honors Program faculty and staff. You won’t believe how many times I’ve reached out to Dean Jones about the IHT. Rest assured, every time she was very supportive and cleared up a lot of my confusion. 

So when it’s time for you to think about your Capstone, maybe these tips will come in handy. Whenever that time comes, you’ll be great! And for fellow seniors working on their Capstone right now…KEEP ROCKIN’!

Hunting Prince Dracula Book Review

One of my favorite things to do in October (other than eating apple cider donuts and going pumpkin picking) is reading scary books! I don’t do well with horror movies, so I turn to books to get my scare fill. This month, I read Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, and I think it was the PERFECT autumn read! hpd book cover

Hunting Prince Dracula is the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco (BTW: I will not be spoiling either book in this review, but you definitely should read the first book before picking up this one). Following the events of the first book, the main characters, Audrey and Thomas are both traveling from London to Romania to attend a forensic academy at Bran Castle for four weeks. There they will undergo an assessment to possibly secure a permanent spot in the academy. In the first book, Audrey and Thomas were both working on the case of Jack the Ripper, and in this book, they are investigating the mysterious appearances of bodies drained of blood and/or staked through the heart.

This book is pretty fast paced. From the first chapter, we jump into the mystery and action, and it doesn’t slow down. As the story progresses, we pick up different clues, so that we can formulate our own opinions on who is responsible for the crimes, and what is going on in the academy. I also appreciate the romance sub-plot, as it adds to the story without taking the focus away from the mystery at hand.

The plot is exciting, but my favorite part of this book has to be the characters. Audrey and Thomas are two of the best YA characters I have ever read about. Audrey is intelligent and curious (sometimes too much for her own good), and she does not let anyone try to take control of her life. She is headstrong and funny, and it’s refreshing to read the book through her keen eyes. Thomas is the other main character, and he also happens to be the love interest in this series. I could talk about his character for hours, but I will try to keep my gushing to a minimum 🙂 Thomas is probably the funniest character I have ever read. He is hilarious and provides a perfect dose of humor into the dark mystery of the rest of the book. Like Audrey, he is also very smart and picks out clues from pretty much anything around him. And like any well-fleshed out character, Thomas has his own set of flaws, which we see him try his best to address.

To me, a book can have the most exciting plot, but if the characters don’t feel realistic, then I just can’t lose myself in it. And I personally think that Hunting Prince Dracula has the perfect blend of plot + characters. So if you are looking for some good books to read this season, I definitely suggest picking up Stalking Jack the Ripper and then Hunting Prince Dracula. The first book in the series is also an immersive, dark mystery, that I think will appeal to a lot of readers no matter what genre you favor!

TDLWTSD: To Do List for When Things Settle Down

Hey everyone,

I know you missed me, seeing as I posted last in July I believe! It’s great to be back writing, despite the loads of writing I did for my primary and secondary med school applications. I will spare you all the details, seeing as it was mostly

  1. Write an essay
  2. Pay for the essay
  3. Write another essay
  4. Pay for that essay
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 at least 15 times

I have a better list now, one that will allow me to do the fun activities I have always wanted to do but never got around to due to schools and extracurriculars. This list is called a “To Do List for When Things Settle Down” (TDLWTSD). I would recommend everyone to have a TDLWTSD, to keep your spirits and motivation up during the hardest times of the semester, especially during exams and for pre-meds, the interviews, as well as that time when you’re waiting for a response from any of the schools. Most importantly, a TDLWTSD will allow you to remember what you said you would do once the exams are over, or once Thanksgiving or Winter Break hits. If you were like me, during those times, you just wanted to sleep and forgot many of the things you promised yourself you would get around to doing. This disappointed me when I was in my room studying at 3 AM thinking “Wow, I just let that opportunity slip by and now I want to do those activities I suddenly remember”. Thus, the TDLWTSD was born.

Keep in mind that this is different from a traditional bucket list, which simply describes the activities you want to do before you die. But why does everything have to focus on before you die? Just focus on the short run for now. We’re all young. The TDLWTSD will get smaller and smaller as we get older, but will still allow us to push forward, even if there is only one thing on the list. A TDLWTSD should be constantly updated, rather than a bucket list, which one simply makes and then forgets about. I may still make a bucket list eventually, but starting out as a college senior, I believe it’s a bit early, so here is my first TDLWTSD, which I probably should have started during my hectic organic chemistry classes of my sophomore year. Hopefully this should inspire some of you to begin thinking about the (fun) things you want to do in between the times you are working hard during winter or summer break. Because I don’t want to bore you guys with unnecessary details (congrats on even getting this far in my post), I will only list 4 of the things I really want to do on my TDLWTSD.

 

1. Catch up on Game of Thrones

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This one I am sure relates with many. I am only on Season 5, and I try to close my ears off to any spoilers, but unfortunately, I do know of some unexpected deaths that occur later on, which will ruin the experience when I am watching it for the first time. How I wish my ears had a mute button…

2. Go on a road trip with friends

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Having missed my Costa Rica trip with my closest friends this past summer because of my applications, I have sought vengeance against this goal, as it has become personal. There is nothing like the horrible feeling that you missed out on a fun experience that your friends had. Ever since, I have clung onto the desire to go on a fun trip out of the country the next time break rolled around. If I let the stresses of my previous semester tire me out to the point where I would miss the opportunity to embark on such an incredible journey, I would not forgive myself. It does not even have to be a road trip, it just has to be somewhere else other than New Jersey. The best part about being busy is that when things settle down, I will make any effort to have fun in whatever I experience, with no expectations or inhibitions.

3. Read Sherlock Holmes books

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As a huge fan of mysteries, I had heard so much about the Netflix series about London’s greatest detective (which I should also add on this list) and am interested in the original character’s adventures created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and how the cultural and historical roots of Victorian-era England contributed to the establishment of such a profound and inquisitive fellow. Taking me back to that time period will be an interesting experience to see how crimes were solved and what logical deductions Sir Doyle had in mind for Mr. Holmes beneath that detached and stoic exterior, and how this never ceases to amaze his partner in crime, Dr. John Watson. The best way to go about it: crack open A Study in Scarlet, which marks the debut of the great detective that remains popular worldwide to this very day. Here is a fun fact: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a doctor before he became a writer. I’m starting to get ideas here.

4. Play games on Steam

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Haha! Pre-meds who play video games! Such babies! Shouldn’t you be studying!?

I had long thought I outgrew video games, which I stopped playing regularly after middle school. Everyone plays Fortnite, Heartstone, PokemonGo, the ones you find on your phone or console, but for me, the gaming journey was a bit different. This past summer, I was curious to know of the online platformer, Steam, that would allow me to download many PC games, including the ones I always wanted to play back when I was a regular gamer. After I finished my primary med school application, I downloaded the platform, which had no subscription fee, and bought the first game I had on my mind: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.

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I originally had this game for XBox, but the game kept freezing at one point and so I never got around to finishing it. But that was 6 years ago, so I’m ready to start the game over and hopefully get past it this time. This RPG is so relaxing, where you get to play a Jedi (or Sith) and go around completing fun mini-quests while simultaneously building up your skill set to defeat the Dark Lords of the Sith, or the Jedi. It’s similar to other games like Fable and Witcher. With many plot twists, unexpected allies, and unforeseen betrayals, this game I am saving for the end of the semester, with all my willpower, because once I start, I know I won’t be able to stop. For those of you wondering how I could possibly get hooked onto a Star Wars game, if you’re not a fan, think about what you really like, and how it is difficult to get off once you get hooked on. By the power unleashed in my four years here at Rutgers, I have resurrected my interest in video games! After I knock this one down, more will follow. Don’t worry, this will die down again, possibly permanently, once I enter med school…

The best part about platformer games is that the game won’t stop working if the CD has a scratch on it, or if I accidentally press the home button on my computer. For Steam games to stop, the internet has to stop.

That is all for my TDLWTSD, and stay tuned for more as the semester progresses. Life is short, and many things you wish you did will go past you if you don’t actively take the opportunity. So get on and make that list. Start off small, of course. The last thing you want is another checklist you can just cross off once you get one thing done and move onto the next like you would do with academics, exams, or applications.

 

 

Firsts and Lasts

IT IS HERE, FOLKS. IT HAS ARRIVED: MY LAST YEAR AT RUTGERS.

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I honestly don’t know how to feel. But I can tell you that I’m feeling a mixture of emotions–excited, happy, relieved, nervous, scared. I guess the best way to put it is nervous excitement. It’s almost October and there are so many things that need to be done namely graduate school applications. And there are things I haven’t done yet in my four years as a Rutgers student. So, I think this year will be full of not only lasts, but also firsts!

Lasts

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Sadly, there will be lasts as a Rutgers student. To start off, I’ll have to bid adieu to my position as a writer for the Honors Blog. I’ll no longer have a peer mentee to guide through their first year as part of the Honors Peer Mentoring program. (Although I can assure you the mentees I’ve had have been phenomenal!) I’ll soon give my last tour as a Red Pine Ambassador (RPA) through Douglass Residential College for Women (DRC). I wonder what my last blog post will be about. I wonder what the last memory I’ll make with my mentee this year. I wonder who will be on my last RPA tour. I wonder about all the lasts I’ll experience at Rutgers and what they’ll be. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

Instead of wondering and anticipating the lasts, I want to live them. Rather than thinking, This will be my last _____!, I want to experience it with no judgement, no expectations. I want to say to myself, I’m going to make the best of this and cherish the moment. Folks, let go of your lamenting and live it for what it is! This is not solely relevant for seniors–this is applicable for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors as well. That’s because there are lasts regardless of which year you’re in. It’s what you make of these lasts that matters.

Firsts

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Believe it or not, even as a senior, you’ll experience a bunch of firsts. Take me for example–my best friend and I recently got smoothies from Playa Bowls for the first time! (They were really good!) You’d think by now, I’d have gone to every place on campus and know everything about Rutgers to the point of rote. Actually, that is a load of rubbish, at least in my case! Even though, yes, I have gone to a number of locations throughout Rutgers, there is still a plethora of places I haven’t discovered yet! Playa Bowls is just a start of that list of firsts. (Next stop is Stuff Yer Face.)

I’m looking forward to other firsts I’ll encounter. Whether it’s with my friends or by myself, I hope to immortalize these firsts in my memory. And I’d like to approach them the same way as lasts–no judgment or expectations. This will be easier knowing that I’ll continue to experience firsts wherever I go and whatever I choose to do after Rutgers. 

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So, friends, I hope that from reading my last first post for the Honors blog this year (see what I did there?), you can think about your firsts and lasts, whether in a Rutgers or any other context!

Must-Watch TED Talks

Hey everyone! The fall 2018 semester has officially started and time is flying! I already have at least 4 midterms by November 1st. It is getting crazy, but one thing that I love doing when taking a break is watching a TED Talk. While many of you may know about these, I will give a brief background for those that are unfamiliar.

TED talks are talks hosted by influential and innovative individuals from around the world. The topics range from Architecture to Psychology and much, much more. What I like about TED talks is that they always present new perspectives on common issues and breakthroughs that you would have never imagined. I have compiled a list of all my favorite (thus far) TED talks, so watch these or ones that personally interest you! Have fun!

1. How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins

This talk is for everyone who has answered “I am fine” whenever someone has asked them how they were doing. Robbins discusses how life may seem boring because of the routine we put ourselves into. Just as we have basic needs to breathe, eat, and drink, perhaps, we also have a basic need to explore. When this need doesn’t get met then, we feel unfulfilled in life.  Note: if the link is not working, then try searching it directly on Youtube!

2. 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee

This is a talk that I really urge all of you to watch because it gives you a condensed list of ten small and easy tricks to help you speak and listen better. Whether it is during interviews or being pulled into a conversation about drama by your best friend, everyone can definitely glean at least one thing from the video on how to improve conversational skills.

3. How to Design a Library that Makes Kids Want to Read by Michael Bierut

Bierut talks about how the key to inspiring children in public schools to read is through the design of the library. See how Bierut brings one library to life by infusing its design with the very readers who will use it.

4. How do You Build a Sacred Place by Siamak Hariri

Here, Hariri is part of an architecture team who is building a temple in South America. The reasons and philosophy behind the different components of the design are profound and truly riveting.

5. How Augmented Reality Could Change the Future of Surgery by Nadine Hachach-Haram

All you technology and science lovers better buckle up because this talk is about to blow your mind. This talk discusses how we can tackle the issue of a low surgeon-to-population ratio using remote surgery. A senior, experienced surgeon can supervise surgery from thousands of miles away. In addition to supervising, he or she can also train future surgeons!

6.  The Urgency of Intersectionality by Kimberle Crenshaw

This is a much-needed talk on the struggles of overlapping oppression and how the policies must change in order to talk into account such intersectionality. Crenshaw gives the powerful and terrifying example of the racism AND genderism that Black woman face daily. NOTE: there is graphic content so please pay attention to the warning label in the video.

Thank you! Good luck in all your classes!

The Napoleons

In this world, we have homophones. Present and present. New and knew. Napoleon and Napoleon. The two main Napoleons of the world, Bonaparte and Dynamite, were both enigmatic leaders but symbolized two different things. While they both overcame their obstacles to success, one symbolizes strength and bravery turned corrupt, while the other symbolizes awkward lankiness turned into strength. In this list, I will tell you other differences between Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon Dynamite.

  1. The Hair- Bonaparte was a leader of a country and a military man, so he kept his hair short and neatly quaffed.  Contrarily, Dynamite only had to worry about how his peers saw him, so he decided to keep his natural beautiful, bushy locks.
  2. The Time Period- Bonaparte was the emperor of France from 1804 to 1814. He had a brief comeback in 1815 before he was exiled. Dynamite was a high school student in a movie that came out in 2004. For all intents and purposes, we can say that Dynamite is a bit more modern than Bonaparte.
  3. The Ambition- Bonaparte worked up the ranks in France from a starting point of being considered an invader by some because he was raised in Corsica, a French territory not of mainland France. When he was first exiled, he managed to come back for his “100 Day Reign” with sheer force of will and cunning. As for Dynamite, everything that happened to him was by happenstance, and not really will.
  4. The Corruption- Bonaparte became thirsty with power. He started manipulating the press and murdering the opposition. He also most likely rigged elections. He probably would have won anyway, but there was an election in which more people voted for him than the population in France! Dynamite never obtained much power, and remained rather humble, relatively speaking. Good for him.
  5. The Vision- I am talking about literal vision. It is hard to say for sure if Bonaparte had 20/20 vision, but he never died in battle, so I am going to say his vision was pretty good. Dynamite, on the other hand, wore some pretty thick glasses. I’m not saying that is a weakness, but if those fall off during a zombie apocalypse, he’ll be on thin ice.
  6. The Looks- One of them was much hotter than the other. I am not going to tell you which. I’ll leave it up to you. 😉
  7. The Height- Bonaparte, it has been found, was not actually that short.  He was always surrounded by guards taller than him, so he looked comparatively short. He was also listed as 5 foot 2 at the time of his death, but these were in French units. Dynamite was a little above 6 feet, so he has a lot more height on him. Imagine a tree and a smaller tree. This difference is a prime example of why this list needs to exist in the first place. When you hear “Napoleon Complex,” you may wonder which Napoleon in the world. It refers to Bonaparte, who some claim worked so hard his whole life as a complex, kind of like people who buy muscle cars to compensate.

I am glad I could clear this all up for the reader. I would have hated it if you had wondered your whole life, aimlessly wandering, “Which Napoleon?” Now you can make the most important distinctions, so put a little pep in your step.

Trying New Classes

If I could give any new student advice, it would be to not be afraid to try new classes in college. I learned this the hard way. You never know what you’re good at until you try it yourself!

I went to a biology/research oriented high school. And after four years of being surrounded by life sciences, I felt like that was what I was good at and what I should continue studying in college. To be honest, I never really had a passion for biology. I liked it because I got good grades, but I wasn’t excited about it. When I first came to Rutgers and we had to choose the classes we would be taking, I wanted to jump right into classes for a biology major. I was afraid to try new classes, mostly because I am a person who likes familiarity. Classes like chemistry and biology were familiar and felt safe to me.

So for my first year of college, I persuaded myself that Cell Biology and Neuroscience was the major for me and the one I would be most successful with. But during my second semester, I realized that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t look forward to any of my classes, and I kept questioning why I chose to be a bio major. So I talked to my dean and I decided that the next semester (the first one of sophomore year), I would take a mix of classes and just try them out.

And by trying a mix of classes, I learned that psychology is where my passion lies.

One of the classes I took that semester was Cognition, and it is probably the best class I have ever taken at Rutgers. It was so interesting, and I was just so excited to go to every class. I attended the office hour discussions to learn more about the subject, and I even went to some of the events that were related to the class. I had never felt so excited about a class, and I honestly didn’t know it was possible to like a subject that much.

That’s when I realized that I would be a lot more successful (and happier) if I continued studied psychology. I do feel like my first year was a bit of a waste, and I wish that I was more open-minded and let myself try new classes during my first year of college. But it’s too late for those regrets. I am just thankful that I was able to find a subject that I really enjoy and look forward to learning.

Anyways, I feel like I am rambling a bit, but the point that I am trying to make is that it is good to try new things. You will never know what you are good at or what is calling out to you until you explore what Rutgers has to offer. I have heard countless times from deans and professors that most students change their majors at least once. And I totally understand why. College is so different from high school. Not only do you change, but your interests might too, and you will never be sure what you are passionate about until you try it yourself! So don’t be afraid to try new things!