This entire post came about because I had no idea what to write, and instead scrolled through my emoji keyboard tapping on whatever stood out to me.

I found myself struck by the unexpected art of it. There were moments of complementation created by my chosen emojis that would not be present, had I typed the words out. Placing a purple heart next to a purple-tinged galaxy made perfect sense. A line of spherical emoji globes culminating in a spherical emoji moon gave the line a kind of sharp visual contrast not found in the English language. There was something in this crazy combination of pictographs and punctuation that reminded me of an experimental foray several months ago—a period in my life (read: a single day last year) when I texted some of my friends and family exclusively in emoji, just to see if I could do it.

My friends understood me with relative ease. My parents, who speak English as a second language (and are distantly familiar with emoji at best), often needed me to translate my pictorial messages. My younger brother understood the easy things, such as references to dinner and school, but it was practically impossible to answer his questions about topics in his chemistry class. I highly doubt he would’ve been able to understand the intricacies of electron orbital diagrams through emoji-speak. There are certain things—like the proper illustration of a covalent bond—that cannot be sufficiently explained in cheery little emoticons.

The advent of emojis is extremely reminiscent of logographic languages, several of which are long gone. Hieroglyphics, cuneiform, Japanese kanji and Chinese characters have already “been there, done that” in terms of communicating in pictures. In fact, the word emoji itself isn’t even a reference to the word “emotion”; rather, it’s a portmanteau of two Japanese words: “e” (picture) and “moji” (character). It’s pretty cool that emoji, as a modern extension of the English language, has created this kind of circular timeline. I am continually impressed by how universal emojis are—not everyone speaks the same language, but everyone understands a smiling face as being representative of happiness.

Sometimes, I feel like meaning is lost when too many words get in the way. I have this bad habit of over-explaining things, so much so that it becomes necessary for me to repeat the points I was trying to make. I also tend to digress rather horribly because something I say will trigger a thought that leads me down an entirely different mental path, thus resulting in me talking way too much for way too long. Of course, sometimes the exact opposite happens and I find myself at a complete loss for words, unable to express myself or describe what I’m feeling, and I just wish that the other person could see what I see in my head. In-person, we aren’t restricted to just words or just pictures: the beauty of interpersonal interactions is that they are rife with gestures, body language, expressions, and tone (all elements that are conspicuously absent from texting). However, I feel like the popularity of emojis has exponentially advanced our ability to be understood in writing (@Rutgers let me write an essay in emojis please) and I’m excited to see where the evolution of textual language goes next.

Bee’s and Ox’s & Moron’s: Oh My!!1!!1I

I was trying to decide what to write about, and my sister said something that sparked an idea. It’s gonna sound weird out of context, but the sentence itself was: “…hit me with a tennis.” I think she was talking about how she was afraid she was going to get hit with a tennis racket, but misspoke and just said “tennis”. As she said that, I thought, “Wow, the English language is annoying.” So, enjoy my rant about the English language. (Did you like my awful title? I hope you did, I laughed at that for like five minutes.)

I’m first going to discuss the subject that bothers me the most: spelling rules. Really this is half of what made me want to write this. I hate the “i before e, except after c” rule. That’s like, never true. Okay, it probably is but there are plenty of exceptions. The words “their” and “weird” are the two exceptions I think of, and they’re super common words. They kept me from knowing how to properly spell for ALL OF MY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAREER. I would get C’s in all of my English subjects, right up until high school started, because I couldn’t spell to save my life. Because this “i before e” nonsense doesn’t apply to “their” and I never trusted my own spelling it — the rule basically ruined my life. I might be being slightly dramatic (see, “be being” is awful, but I’m pretty sure it’s grammatically valid. Why? Just cause is why; deal with it) but this rule honestly bothers me this much.

Now this is a topic that my sister is much more interested in than myself, but I may as well complain about it on her behalf. The “Ox” in the title stands for Oxford comma. It’s the optional comma before the “and” in a list. Now, I find using the Oxford comma in a list of two to be unnecessary. Saying “cheese and hats” seems more simple and just as understandable as “cheese, and hats.” In lists of three or more is where my sister gets heated about this. If one were to write, “my lemons, Sue and Patricia” without the Oxford comma, then they would be saying they named their lemons Sue and Patricia. If they write “my lemons, Sue, and Patricia” then the lemons, Sue, and Patricia are all separate entities that are together in a list. The Oxford comma increases clarity and does not leave someone bewildered as to how the lemons’ names were chosen. Maybe they are Sam and Patrick; do not assume the lemons’ genders.

Finally, oxymorons. Now, I personally enjoy using these because I think they spice up your writing, but they’re ridiculous nonetheless. These are contradictory terms, like jumbo shrimp. A bunch of stuff we say are actually oxymorons: deafening silence,  sweet agony, walking dead, only choice, etc. The Great Depression is an oxymoron. An entire gosh diddly darn era of our history is a gosh diddly dang oxymoron. That’s ridiculous, they make zero sense unless you understand the language. I’m sure if you asked a person who just learned the basics of English “don’t you think that person is pretty ugly,” they’d be super confused and want to cry.

Still don’t care that English is all sorts of confusing? Just look at this picture and you’ll be mad. I guarantee it.

Had Had - Imgur.png

Good luck English majors. Power to ya for dealing with this nonsense.


Day 24: Where Are We Now?

I’ll admit that I had some pretty ambitious new semester resolutions, mostly involving an incredibly aesthetically pleasing study schedule and vague, half-formed plans to go to the gym and eat more salad.

Now I didn’t want to make this claim before the end of the first month (well, 24 days) of the semester, but we’re here now so I can conclusively say that most of those lofty, ambitious new semester resolutions that I made while I laid in bed and stared up at the ceiling at 4:00 AM (because I had wrecked my sleep schedule over the summer) Did Not Work Out.

Let’s go through the list, shall we?

  • Wake up early in the morning so I can get a good breakfast and get some work done!

You don’t really realize just how much you love sleep until it’s 7 AM, you’re staring at the sunrise, and instead of being in awe at the majesty of nature or whatever, you’re angrily and incoherently asking the sun, “How dare you?”  

  • Make an aesthetically pleasing study schedule and stick to it! You’re getting straight A’s this semester!

I can say this because we’re still only a month into this semester, but the straight A’s thing isn’t exactly out of the cards yet. The whole “sticking to the schedule” thing…not so much. The schedule is, however, visually pleasing to look at. So if anything I just made some guilt-inducing wall art.

  • Go to office hours every week!

I consider it enough of an accomplishment when my professors know my name.

  • Go to the gym every day!

Listen, I aspire to be that person who works out and goes to the gym and does yoga and treats their body like a temple. But for now, it will remain an aspiration. But I’ve been eating less ice cream and dessert lately, so I can comfort myself with that…and the free donuts my roommate brought home the other day.


  • Eat salad!

I’m sorry to anyone who likes salad, but salad tastes boring. I’m sure there’s some magical way to make salad appeal to my tastebuds, but I am unwilling to learn.

I don’t mean to sound cynical. That’s not the point here. I’m just saying that everyone has #goals. Everyone has aspirations and ideas about who they want to become and sometimes when they try to become that person, they may bite off more than they can chew. I mean, you ever hear that statistic about how more people go to the gym right after New Year’s and then as the year goes on the number of people going tapers off? It’s sort of like that.

But there’s this person you want to become and you know how to get there. Maybe you just didn’t get there as quickly as you wanted to. That doesn’t mean you should give up. I mean, here’s what I actually did accomplish in the first month of this semester:

  • I’m waking up early enough to get breakfast so I’m not a malnourished zombie during my morning classes.
  • I am doing my work and keeping up with my readings.
  • My professors know my name!
  • And okay, I’m not going to the gym and eating salad, but I’m making a conscious decision to eat better and maybe walk to LSM instead of taking the H bus.

I know this doesn’t seem like much, but I’m closer to being the person I want to be than I was a month ago and that’s really all I can ask for.

I know that maybe you woke up on the first day of the first semester and thought everything would be different. Maybe you wanted to study more and become the model student or maybe you wanted to loosen up and try new things. If you accomplished everything you set out to do this first semester, then more power to you. I’m proud of you and keep going!

But if things didn’t turn out the way you planned, then you shouldn’t be discouraged and you shouldn’t quit entirely. Things take time. You take time. I say this word a lot, mostly to justify my own procrastination, but you’ll get there – wherever there is – eventually. Just, and this sounds so saccharine and cheesy I can’t stand it, keep working and be patient.

You’ll get there eventually.




Say Cheese!

Hey everyone! Do you like to eat cheese? If so, you will definitely be salivating while reading this post. Before you start reading about the cheeses below, you should know that there are twelve families of cheese.

a. Fresh: unripened, young cheeses with short shelf life.

b. Swiss: slow-ripening, free of bacteria or washed rind cheeses

c. Cheddar: largest production in US and Canada

d. English: buttermilk, crumbly texture

e. Dutch: medium-ripening cheeses with natural rinds and are waxed

f. Port-Salut: medium-ripening cheese

g. Tilsit: cheese have small holes and release pungent odors while aging

h. Hard: well-aged, pressed, and very salted

i. Soft-Ripening: cheese sprayed with white mold, and as it ripens, it softens from outside in.

j. Washed Rind: cheese sprayed with white bloomy mold, are orange colored, and ripen very fast

h. Goat and Sheep: milk of these two animals mixed

Now go ahead and read below! I have compiled a  list of cheeses which I think you should taste! Happy Cheesin’…. 🙂

Baladi cheese is very common in the Middle East. It is white, soft and very creamy. It is made in Lebanon from a mixture of goat, cow, and sheep’s milk. You can eat it with crackers or spread it over bread and make a sandwich. In Arabic, this cheese is known as Jibnah Khadra or Jibnah Baladi.  To locals this cheese means “local cheese made from a flock of Baladi goats.” On the other hand, some locals also call this cheese “cheese of mountains” because it is made on top of mountains by shepherds. However, keep in mind you have only three days to devour this piece of art.


Appalachian cheese is made in Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Virginia. It is made from raw milk of Jersey cows. You have 60 days to eat this until it goes bad. It is semi-soft and firm. The taste might remind you of lemons, butter, and even a bit of mushroom!


Mango Rebel is a seasonal cheese. It is made in Austria. It is 100% GMO free and “allergy-friendly.” It is made from the purest hay-milk of cows. These cows are fed hay, grains, and herbs, and not any industry concentrates, so it is guaranteed to be organic! It has a tint of mango and a dash of dark chocolate for a mouth-watering collision of sweetness.


The Huntsman cheese is made in Southwest England. It is actually a combination of two cheeses: a soft yellow cheese and a blue cheese. It almost looks like a slice of cake, right? It has a crumbly, firm, and smooth texture, and it belongs to the family of blue cheeses. It has a strong sweet fragrance, but can taste spicy and tangy.


Holiday Brie is another seasonal cheese that is  available from October through December. This cheese is made from cashews and cold pressed organic coconut oil. It is made in Canada and is considered vegetarian. Artisans may even embellish its taste further by adding cranberries, lemon zest, and crushed pistachio nuts. This is a must-have for the holidays!


Il Boschetto al Tartufo (I know, what a mouthful) is a semi-soft cheese from Tuscany, Italy. It has a very creamy texture and is made from the milk of cows and sheep. This cheese is ingrained with shavings of rare white truffles. As a result,  its taste is a harmony between pungency and sweetness.


Red Windsor is a cheese that originated in England. It belongs to the cheddar family. As you can see from the picture, it has almost a pink and white marble look to it. Made from cow’s milk, it tastes very creamy and fruity.

Review of Rutgers Philosophy Class

Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s already the third week of classes! In this post, I wanted to talk to you about a rather interesting class I am taking this semester. I am a biological sciences major, so I certainly have a plethora of science to trudge through. However, I wanted to explore other realms. I, for one, have always wanted to explore philosophy. It is a subject in which one widens horizons of the mind and learns to look at the world with a new perspective. You discover who you are and what your own philosophy of living life is. As a result, I am considering minoring in philosophy. I registered for the Intro to Ethics class this semester, and let me just tell you, it is quite fascinating already!

My professor’s name is David Rose. He is really great. The class I am in meets once a week on Wednesdays from 9:50 am to 12:50 pm. Each week, a reading is assigned and students are asked to write a brief one page, double-spaced, summary. In class, Mr. Rose further elaborates on the reading to emphasize the key points and clear any doubts. Afterwards, we have discussions about the reading, like professional philosophers, which can get fairly intense.

One interesting discussion we recently had involves moral relativism. Moral relativism is a concept that states that there is no single true morality; something that is “wrong” according to one person moral standards might be right in standards of another. A very controversial question arose in this week’s reading titled, “Who’s to Judge,” by Louis Pojman: if in fact everything is relative to context and person, then can’t one say that Adolf Hitler was not wrong according to his own moral principles? Of course, then Pojman counters the following question by claiming that every society has a set of ubiquitous moral standards such as nonviolence, respect, and honesty that people are expected to abide by.

Another intriguing arena my class delved into this week was regarding meat consumption. Three scenarios were presented in a video: 1) people in Iceland have no idea that they are fed rotten shark meat in a restaurant; 2) a tribe violently abuses dogs and eat its meat; and 3) another tribe in New Guinea kills other humans for revenge and eats their meat. The question was whether it was ethical to consume these meats. After seeing the first scenario, most students said it was the peoples personal choice what meat they preferred to consume. However, after watching the following two scenarios, you can imagine how the relative morality was challenged because the question became “is it actually still personal preference if dog meat and human meat are involved?”

I discovered that the great part about philosophy is that every argument or statement you make has many facets. Your opponents can and will find a million ways to counter your points, and the strange thing is that you can also find a million ways to fight back because there is always a philosophical theory to support a point. The fun lies in finding ways to twist and turn the points for the argument. Philosophical discussions are very unpredictable and energized.

I really suggest taking at least one introductory philosophy course here at Rutgers! It’s very enlightening, and I guarantee it will play a vital role in shaping your beliefs and view of yourself and your surroundings.


“Falling” Into a More Productive Life

Each and every fall my friends and I find ourselves joking that it’s finally the perfect opportunity to get our lives together. The refreshing weather that comes with the changing of the seasons, as well as the prospects of a brand new school year, always make me feel as though I should make some changes for the better in terms of my academic life. As a junior, this also means beginning to make long-term plans regarding what I want to achieve after I graduate.

On a day-to-day basis, I have a very specific planner system that I use to stay organized and keep on top of the work I have to do. If you feel as though you are in a rut, productivity-wise, I suggest experimenting with different planners or combinations of planners to stay on track. Personally, I use three different tools:

– Google Calendar: This is where I keep track of my class and work schedule, as well as important meetings and events that I have going on around campus. It conveniently syncs my phone and my computer so that I am sure not to miss any essential moments of my life.

-Weekly Planner: This is where I write down more specific, short-term assignments and readings. I update it after every class to stay on top of all of my assignments. I almost make sure to get a planner with a “notes” section on each week’s spread because I like to keep a basic workout log.

-Daily To-Do list: Every morning (or the night before if I’m feeling extra productive) I write down all of the tasks I need to complete during the day. This gives me an opportunity to break larger assignments into smaller pieces, as well as have everything I need to achieve during the day in an accessible place. I always write the list on a Post-it note, and then I either stick it to my desk or inside of my weekly planner, depending on the day.

It sounds complicated, but trust me, my life would be in shambles without it. It took about three semesters to find the perfect system for my life, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel as though whatever planner/calendar you use is not working for you.

As I look ahead at the major things I want to achieve between now and graduation, as well as after graduation, I keep a goals list in an old notebook. I always have it close (usually in my top desk drawer) so that my goals are always in the back of my mind. The list not only contains goals such as “Write an Honors English Thesis”, but long-term to-do items such as “Take a GRE-prep class” and “Research graduate school programs.” Though these are goals that have always been on my mind, I feel as though now is the best time to start to plan how I will feasibly go after them.

It’s never too late to get organized! Though the systems and tips I’ve explained may not work for everyone, I hope they’ve at least inspired you to use the changing of the seasons and the new academic year as a way to rethink and maximize your productivity!

Do you have any organization tips and tricks? Leave a comment and share them!

Y U No premed?!

I’ve had many, many long discussions with myself and my fellow friends about this, and I’ve had a lot of overwhelming support from an innumerable amount of people for switching away from being premed. So many people liked my status when I said it was the best decision that I had ever made that it almost made tears come to my eyes. And people also asked me what changed my mind. I think this post sums it up pretty well.

It’s crazy because I’m starting my senior year, and by this point, if I followed the med school route properly, I should have already applied to med schools and taken the MCATs forever ago. Right now, I should be awaiting interviews. And secondary applications.

But I’m not.

I’m not doing any of that. Instead, I’ve joined a zumba class. And perhaps a pilates class. I’ve taken on a role as movie reviewer for the The Targum (and I’ll soon be reviewing Sausage Party so look out for it!) I’ve applied to be Event Coordinator for Hall Government for Livingston Apartments. I’ve gone to all of my classes (many of them science) and actually enjoyed myself. I bought myself a Polaroid camera. I’ve started scrapbooking. I’ve started writing more. I’ve started waking up in the morning without dreading the rest of the day.

Basically, I have done everything that I refused to allow myself to do while I was on the premed path.

Being premed comes with so many pressures and structures that don’t exist in other professions. There’s collecting letters of recommendation and being on your best behavior 24/7 (which you should do anyway, but it’s just another pressure). There’s filling up your resume so you look balanced but accomplished. That means having lab work, clinical work (whether volunteer or paid), and high involvement in student activities. There’s shadowing doctors. There’s making sure you do well in all your classes (for the high GPA – a 3.5 is just barely competitive) and learn the material thoroughly so reviewing it later for MCATs won’t be difficult. There’s studying for MCATs, and researching which are the best books to prepare for it. There’s actually taking the MCATs, which is about seven hours long. There’s writing a personal statement for med schools. There’s filling out the rest of the application for med schools. There’s taking all the courses required (they added sociology, psychology, and statistics). And then, if you’re accepted, med schools will send you a secondary application to fill out. Oh, and let’s not forget the extreme competition.

The last picture was literally me:


These are all just checkpoints in college. IN COLLEGE. Then, when you apply, only about 50% of students actually make it into med school. Even if you’re well-qualified.

This route, obviously, is not for the faint of heart. It’s also not for those who have no heart for it. And I did have heart for it, for a long time. I enjoyed the community that came with premed. Everyone was suffering, and everyone joked about it. I also wanted to change things, and I assumed that the best way to do so was what came after med school and residency. But it’s not the best way; it just IS a way.

It took me years to learn that.

And I realized that it wasn’t making me happy, or content. There were red flags everywhere: I didn’t enjoy volunteering clinically after a while. Shadowing was helpful, but a lot of doctors I saw didn’t look content with themselves, or, unfortunately, were very pompous. My science classes were stressful because of all the pressure, even though I knew I could excel.

I followed this path for a combination of reasons. The main one I mentioned above. The other reason was a a faint, gentle push from my parents, who gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted, but also wanted me to be truly successful. Immigrant parents often want the best for their children. It’s a dialogue that needs to be discussed, that we first-generationers are pushed toward a few options more than others because those are the only fields our parents have learned as truly successful: medicine, engineering, and computer science. And it takes a toll on us, even if nudging us there was done–in our parents’ eyes–with our best interests in mind. But success has numerous different meanings.

No matter how you got to the premed path, you have to think carefully about how much time you want to put in this profession. It’s a lot of work, and it takes a toll. It can burn you out. I’ve seen some of the best people get scrubbed away by this profession. I’ve seen people shine the more they get into this profession.

This post isn’t to discourage you. It’s to truly show you the reality of what it is you signed up for. You want to change the world through becoming a doctor? Or physician’s assistant? Or nurse? Great. Make sure you’ve got the time and energy for it. And make sure that you’re doing this path for YOU, not for your parents, not just for the income, and not just for the prestige. There are other ways to gain all of that.

Because in the end, it’s your life you’re living. Not your parents’, not your friends’, not your relatives’.

So I encourage all of you to sit down and truly think. Bring all those red flags to mind about whatever profession you’re seeking. Is this profession something you like to do, even with the red flags? Will it make you content? And if not, what will?

If anyone has any of their stories to share, comment below! I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts!

Why Talk to People When you Can Listen to Music?

I could talk about the start of the new school year, because that’s like, a major event that has happened in all our lives and would be super #relatable and yada yada yada, but thinking about studying and exams is stressing me out. So, I figured I’d write about some of the new music that’s been released in recent months! Everyone listens to music; I love just watching everybody walk by on campus with earbuds or headphones on, because I’m always so interested in what music they could be listening to. The thing is, you can never ask what someone is listening to because it’s common etiquette to not disturb someone with earbuds in. So, if I can’t ask what other people are listening to, I’m just going to talk about the music I like because music is still awesome regardless.

First up, The Greatest by Sia. This song was released on September 6th, as was the video on YouTube. I actually didn’t know she released a new song until someone told me that this video was a tribute to the Orlando Shootings from earlier this summer. Whether or not people approve of the video (I personally see no harm in it, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone, so please forgive me if this is a sensitive topic) it was a nice thing of her to do, to try to recognize the tragedy and pay tribute to the 49 victims. The song itself was well done: Sia’s voice is always beautiful, and the light percussion in the background was a nice compliment to it. 

If you’re not so into pop (as is described by her Wikipedia page, I personally don’t know what any genre of music is, what I think is metal my sister would call emo based on the name of their band. If anyone listens to Dying Fetus, just settle this argument for me, they’re metal right? My sister thinks the name of the band is too emo to be metal) then let’s talk about Metallica. Hardwired was released on August 18th, from their new album surprisingly titled… Hardwired. Now I’m usually not a big Metallica fan, because I typically want something that sounds heavier (I don’t actually know much technical in the way of music, so forgive me if I use adjectives like “heavy” to describe things) like Bloodspot or 1999 Slipknot. Not that Metallica isn’t heavy, as they play heavy metal, but I usually go for something a tad bit more aggressive. This song is actually very good though. The drums are usually my favorite part in a song, and Lars Ulrich did a great job on this song, with a nice, steady, and super fast beat, and a lot of crash cymbals. If you like fast paced metal, I’d suggest this song.  

Now the real reason I wanted to talk about music: Twenty One Pilots did a cover of My Chemical Romance’s Cancer. I know I know, call me emo trash all you want, but I love these bands. My emo phase in high school never wore out, sue me. Anyway, this cover was released on YouTube on September 14th, and I’ve been listening to it non stop. The original song was slow paced, with a sad piano part, and Gerard Way singing emotionally but still screaming every so often. Twenty One Pilots completely redid it: all the emotion but remixed. Tyler Joseph took parts of the song and repeated them, in such a soft sounding way, with breathy bits and high notes. And Josh Dun took the drumming from the original song and added a bit to it, which fit in with the slightly more modern sound of the cover. All in all very beautiful, 10/10 would recommend.

I figure I should talk about music a tad because it’s important to not study 24/7. You’ll go insane. Music is a pretty universal way to avoid insanity. So, listen to some music, maybe one of these three songs, maybe something else, have fun. The Spotify is your oyster.

Feel free to comment and let me know what music you are currently listening to!


No Prague-blems here!

Welcome back Rutgers! If you couldn’t tell by my attempt at a clever title, this week I’m going to be sharing with you highlights of my summer trip to Prague. For those of you who have never heard of Prague, let me introduce you to this gem of a city with a quick history lesson. Prague is the capital and the largest city in the Czech Republic, which once used to be a part of Czechoslovakia. A communist-ruled state in 1948 until 1989, Czechoslovakia split into what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Currently, Prague is home to over 1.2 million people and hosts about 6 million tourists every year. I am so grateful to have been one of those 6 million this summer.

Prague is a beautiful, beautiful city. It is split into different areas, such as “Lesser Town”, “Prague Castle”, and “Old Town”, each with its own individual histories and marvels. My favorite part of Prague was definitely Old Town, which is home to many beautiful, rich-in-history buildings, most dating back to the 13th century. One attraction that this area is best known for is the Astronomical Clock. First installed in 1410, it is the oldest astronomical clock still operating today.  Every hour, the clock draws hundreds of tourists and locals alike as they all gather around to watch the changing of the hands to a new hour. I was actually able to climb to the top of the Clock Tower, and along the way, I received a little history lesson in what the four figures on the clock represent. From left to right in the following picture I took of the clock, the first figure is Vanity, the second figure represents Greed, the skeleton represents Death, and the final figure represents Lust and earthly pleasures. These representations were chosen based on the ideas that were despised most in the 13th century. On the hour, every hour, the skeleton rings the bell, and all of the other figures shake their heads, signifying that they are not yet ready to go.


Another beauty of Old Town is the Charles Bridge. This bridge connects Old Town with the Prague Castle area and is over 2,000 feet long. Dispersed on both sides of the Charles Bridge are 30 baroque-style statues of various saints and patron saints. All along the bridge are vendors and street artists and performers that make the long walk entertaining…and expensive for your wallet! But my favorite part about the bridge was definitely the view of the city and the water. Hopefully, you can see what I’m talking about through this photo!


And last but not least, the Prague Castle. Considered to be the largest ancient castle in the world, the entire Prague Castle complex is a sight for sore eyes. Consisting of multiple cathedrals, basilicas, quarters, and gardens, this castle compound took me quite a few hours to explore. The best part about the Prague Castle was the view. As it is situated pretty high up, you get to look down on the whole city from the castle gardens. And let me tell you, that view left me absolutely breathless.


And with that, fellow Scarlet Knights, I now have to force myself to stop thinking of this beautiful city and start thinking about my 9 am Statistics class tomorrow morning. Have a great rest of the week and I can’t wait to share the rest of my summer travels with you guys!



Tech in Ancient Greek

On the first day of my Intermediate Ancient Greek class, I arrived at the classroom a half hour early with some friends because the new Academic Building is a maze, and we overestimated the time it would take to find the classroom. Thankfully, the tech guy working in the room let us in.

Prior to this first class, our teacher had sent us several emails, some of which were addressed ‘to the students in Illinois’. We speculated the reason for this and were granted an answer as soon as we walked into the classroom. 

There were two screens in the front of the class, which isn’t that unusual. The small touchscreen control panel to the side of them could be mistaken for some kind of replacement for a podium. However, the three large cameras in the room were a bit off-putting and have limited use in a course on Ancient Greek. Two were stationed in the front of the room, directly between the two screens, moving whenever they sensed someone speaking to focus on the source of noise. This was made creepier by the way you can see the output in a window on one of the screens. Say more than a sentence and one of the cameras would swivel its blank stare onto you, providing all with a closeup of your face. Fortunately, the third camera, perched high against the wall, is the only one in use for most of the class and focuses on the instructor.

See, this year Intermediate Ancient Greek is being taught both at Rutgers and the University of Illinois, by the same teacher, at the same time. The four Ancient Greek students in Illinois will be video conferencing into the Rutgers class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3. This is exciting not only because of the technological aspect of the class, but also because as the professor, Emily Allen Hornblower, paused to take note of before we started, “9 Rutgers students and 4 students in Illinois, that’s 13 students. This is the biggest Ancient Greek class I’ve ever taught.”

She’s been teaching Ancient Greek for seven years.

This isn’t the only cross school class offered through the Rutgers classics department. This semester those interested could also learn Sanskrit by conferencing into the class at Penn State. It’s part of being in the Big Ten. Hopefully over the next few years it will help students majoring in areas that have small departments, like Classics, have more class options so they can focus on areas of interest.

But, for the present, we’re working out the glitches in Intermediate Ancient Greek. With all the new tech, we keep having problems like the call dropping mid class period or the sound dropping out. Hopefully these issues will be fixed by the end of the semester. In the meantime, I still have a Greek quiz on Monday that I should review for.