The Ski Fall

Amidst the first round of exams this month, I decided to go back to a time when I didn’t have to worry, a time where I could learn without the repercussions and fear associated with a bad grade, and especially a time where I wouldn’t feel guilty stepping out of the study zone. This past Winter Break, at one point, met all those qualifications, so that’s where I’m headed.

Two months already into the new year, and my muscles still ache from all the activity of my skiing trip in Seattle which occurred in late December of 2016.

I quickly realized just how intense skiing can be, and that it is no walk in the park, especially since even walking is difficult with the skis on.

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If you were like me and never went skiing before, you probably thought that executing this kind of turn — in the above picture — would be as simple as changing a light bulb.
Fact: It’s not. It’s nowhere near simple.

Even standing on the skis, as said before, proved to be a difficult challenge, since the skis are vertical flat extensions worn on each foot designed to glide you through the snow smoothly. What do you do if you don’t want to move when wearing skis?
You prevent your skis from moving by placing them in a wedge-shaped pizza cut position, where vector forces cancel out in opposite directions (and a whole bunch of physics concepts I’m trying to get away from for the moment) and the friction keeps your skis when you want them in the thick snow. But sometimes, the rain can make the snow melt and turn it into ice. Flat ice with a friction coefficient of near zero.

Excited as I was, I convinced my dad to let me take a three-day course at the Snoqualmie Resort to give me a basic idea of how to get around on the skis. Spoiler Alert: I didn’t stay for all three days. The first day went pretty well, since we learned how to stand on the skis after putting them on, a process which took almost an hour (those boots were so thick I was afraid if I fell over, I’d break my tibia, or shin bone). Once the skis were attached, my instructor guided us onto the Magic Carpet, the simplest ski slope that was almost flat. The bunny slope got its name because of the platform that takes you back up the slope — you don’t have to take your skis off or waddle up like a penguin every time.

First off, we learned how to do the wedge-shaped pizza cut I mentioned earlier. It wasn’t too bad and my skis managed to stay put. Then we learned how to control ourselves while going down the slope — not so easy to maneuver. Even though this was more exciting, having an instructor spot me, me not having “studied” for this moment, and the all-too familiar fear of looking like a fool after screwing up loomed over me like an instructor during an exam. But I was determined to travel down the slope with excitement rather than fear. The first time, of course, didn’t go as planned, and I almost ended up knocking over a 10-year old learning how to snowboard, but managed to stop myself with the pizza cut just in time. The session ended after I practiced going down a few more times, feeling more in control and calmer with each step. I left feeling satisfied with a great first day and determined to make the next day better than the first.

Unfortunately, my childlike optimism was challenged with the course of reality, and I don’t feel the need to say out loud that it was different than what I envisioned it would be.

The second day of the lesson we had a different instructor, one who was much more enthusiastic and ready to teach a group of students like it was his lifelong goal. His excitement was contagious, and I brought the previous day’s determination with me along. I noticed that as I was going down, the snow was a lot flatter and more slippery than it had been the day before, due to the rain that had hit the local area that morning. The Magic Carpet was undoubtedly harder than it had been the day before, but I still managed to keep somewhat in control as I glided down.

After I came back up the bunny slope, my instructor told me and another student that we were ready to do the unthinkable: go up the ski lifts and down the green circle, supposedly the easiest ski slope with not too many sharp turns and hills. But looking back, the green circle might as well have been a red circle with the word “stop” in the middle, because I did not feel the least bit ready to come down one of those slopes, at least not yet. Getting on the ski lifts, according to my cousins, was itself quite a task.

I warily asked my instructor if I was ready for the lift. This is almost exactly how it turned out.

Me: Excuse me, but are you sure I’m ready for the lift? (I try to do the pizza cut to keep from going forward, but slip back and forth each time)

Instructor: Hey man, I wouldn’t be taking you up the lift if I didn’t think you were ready. It’s so easy! You’ll be fine, bro. Hey, where did you go?

Me: I’m over here. (near the line for the lift, pushed up against the pole, having been unable to keep myself from slipping)

Instructor: Hey man, the line’s over here!

Me: Coming. (As I attempt to turn around, my left ski comes off and I trip and fall into the cold pile of flat snow)

(My instructor helps me up and helps me get in line. The other student, age 39, shakes his head back and forth, completely dumbfounded by the whole scenario).

In what world did the instructor even begin to think I was ready for the lift? This was the equivalent of learning to drive for the first time and crashing into a tree while backing out of the driveway, and my driving instructor then telling me I was ready for the Garden State Parkway.

Still, I was curious to see what it’s like being on the lifts and coming down one of those slopes, so I didn’t try to forcefully impose onto him my inability to handle even flat ground, so I just did my best to stay put in line.

When it was our turn to get on the lift, I crouched down as instructed and managed to sit down on the chair with the right orientation. However, my right ski was positioned incorrectly and as the lift began its ascent, it came off, and my instructor yelled from behind that he got it and would return it to me once we got to the top.

If getting on the lift was the easy part, all the difficulty was compensated for by getting off. Because I only had one ski on my left foot, as I attempted to get off and slide down the small bank onto the top of the hill, my left ski went more forward than my right foot wanted to and I ended up skiing on only one foot, and falling into the pile of snow yet again. When my instructor finally came with the missing ski, I put it on and as I looked down the slope to the base, my whole body convulsed with fear and all of a sudden, I wished I was back in the safety of the library studying for neurobiology.

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This is how the green circle slope looks.

This was similar to the view I got from the top. While beautiful, at that time beauty was not at the top of my mind. This view seemed more appropriate, for me, to that of the double black diamond, the slope specifically designed for experts only.

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Even worse, my instructor told me and the other 39-year old student to do three turns back and forth as we were going down! We hadn’t even covered turns the previous day and here I was, on top of the world, which is quite terrifying for those who haven’t been there yet, frightened at the thought of going straight down at uncontrollably high speeds with no idea of how to stop.

After the other student completed his three turns, without incident, I was up next. But of course, the stopping problem came back and I almost went over a rather steep edge far on the left side of the slope, which was thankfully guarded by thin red rope, that I almost completely knocked over. The pizza cut seemed to make me go faster instead of slowing me down, and my instructor helped me back onto the track, and told me to try only one turn, seeing as how inexperienced I was. I looked around for the other student, who was nowhere to be found. He was probably long gone at that point, off to another slope that was more of his level, the hardest being the double black diamond. He was probably also wondering how I was ever going to get good at this.

I tried going down another time, but I couldn’t bring myself to look forward, which you’re actually supposed to do instead of looking down at the skis. But with the base of the hill waiting to swallow me up whole at speeds higher than I could even drive at, looking forward just made me more terrified, and I tried the pizza cut, and managed to turn 180 degrees around facing the upside of the hill, then, instead of stopping due to the wet snow, I turned back around to the downside, then back to the upside, then back down like a corkscrew, until I finally accepted my fate and allowed myself to fall over, with the skis coming off. I was thankful the skis could come off so easily. When my instructor again tried to help me up, I knocked him down and we were both tumbling as fellow skiers, elementary schoolers and graduates, glided past us, having the time of their lives, noticing the fiasco. One more time, I tried the pizza cut, which of course failed me yet again and off I was down the hill almost knocking over fellow skiers. At that point, I decided falling was the best, and easiest, course of action I could take. Embarrassed, I finally took my skis off and just walked down the hill, so relieved and thankful for being back in control of my feet. I was so glad when I got back to the base, and turned around and gulped at the sight of the slope. My instructor apologized for taking me up the lift too soon, and offered me a free lesson next time I came (which probably won’t be any time soon). Even though the slope didn’t turn out as well as I’d have hoped, even as a beginner, I still felt an odd thrill and excitement upon having experienced it, and survived. I went back to the beautifully flat Magic Carpet and practiced my turns with more confidence and determination, still falling a few times, but nowhere near scared as I was up on the slope. So, in a way, it all may have worked out for the best.

However, I decided that I needed a break and wanted to explore other parts of Seattle, and didn’t go back to the ski pass after that, but someday I do hope to ski again, this time with more control and awareness of my abilities and limitations.

Now back in the safety of Rutgers on a nice flat, solid surface, I look back and wonder how things might have turned out had my instructor insisted I go on the double black diamond!

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This is It

(Trigger warning: I talk about death and living alone).

This is it. I’m reaching the edge of my senior year, and I can start to feel the fingers of Henry Rutgers himself begin to push me closer and closer to getting off the campus and graduating.

Somewhere in that energetic pull, there’s a stern reminder that I can always visit and I should obviously bring my future husband and children to the place where I spent 4 years of my life.

I had assumed that once I hit my senior year, I would feel as if I would never want to leave. In a way, part of that is true. I will absolutely miss my freedom here; I’m going back to live with my parents after graduating for I’m not sure how long.

But there’s a few things I learned about myself this year, and I encourage you to figure out where you stand about them as well.

1. I refuse to live alone in the future.

Even living with a pet isn’t enough for me. I need actual human contact.

I learned this point the hard way. I came back a week early from winter break to live at my apartment and work. I spent most of that week alone, and I found out that not having someone around to talk to about my day and hear about theirs in return was excruciatingly lonely. I understood what science meant when stating that we are social creatures.

2. I need something to look forward to as I’m studying or else it seems very pointless.

Having goals is always a good thing; orienting yourself so you follow through to reach your goals is even better; completing goals and forming new ones is the best.

I’ve specifically planned activities for myself every single weekend at Rutgers. These activities range from snowboarding (which I just did this past weekend and have fallen absolutely in LOVE with), to the SASHP Winter Formal, to going home to hang out with my parents.

Yes, you heard that right. I hang out with my parents. This leads me to my next point.

3. Realize that you have a very short window of time here, and that you really should make the best of it.

I don’t entirely mean at Rutgers. I mean that all of life is very short. My parents never expected that their entire lives would pass in the blink of an eye, but it has and now they have three quite capable kids ready to take on the world.

And somewhere along the way, I realized that my parents had gotten old. Their habits started melting into habits I’d expect from the elderly, their faces changed, and they started laughing more and teasing each other more.

It’s like they fell into a pattern with each other that was different from their earlier pattern. They embraced life as it is and began focusing on the positive.

I’m not going to lie, so I’m going to tell you that I’m deathly afraid of losing them. I know death is part of life, but I realized the world lied, or at least, it didn’t clarify when it talked about death.

When the world talks about about the fear of death, the world is talking about living through the death of other people, not the death of yourself.

If you yourself die, things are easy. You’re gone. But watching someone else pass? That, that’s really hard. That’s where the fear comes from.

Many of you might know this intimately and I’m truly sorry you do at such a young age. But it also is what is. I wish I could offer more support (CAPS can always help!)

 

So do yourself a favor and force yourself out of bed to get to that Rutgers event you weren’t sure about going to. Go and buy that polaroid camera, bro. Go and call up that old friend you’ve been wanting to talk to for years. Just do it.

There’s a good chance you won’t regret it.

i grow old i grow old

It has recently come to my attention that I am aging.

Tragic, I know.

And, cognitively, you know, I’m aware that I’m not old and depending on who you ask you can’t even say that I’m not young. College students all seem in that hazy in between state of “I probably should have my life together more than I do,” not necessarily young, far removed from old, but definitely older than the Good ‘Ol Days when snack time was government mandated, you could nap pretty much any time you wanted with no repercussions, and bills were something you didn’t have to worry about.

Good times, good times.  

And obviously I know I’ve gotten older, chronologically, but maturity is something that’s hard to pin down and quantify. Everyone knows that feeling you get on your birthday. The clock ticks forward, you’re another year older, but nothing feels different, nothing ever feels different, but you always expect it to. So it’s a little harder to figure out when you “grew up.”

This whole “Oh no, I’ve gotten older, everything’s changed” thing hit me over the summer, actually, so not really all that recent depending on how you look at it.

Now, I really wasn’t doing anything over the summer, which did make me feel kind of useless, but that’s a whole other issue entirely, so I spent the most of my time going to the library and playing Pokemon Go when that was still a thing.

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Very early on in the summer I had determined that I was getting tired of reading “smart people books” which, as an English major, I felt obligated to do. So after a week of reading said smart people books,  I said a quick apology in my head to my English professors and went downstairs to my library’s Young Adult section.

I’m a young adult, I said in my head, it’s totally socially acceptable for me to be here. Besides, I could totally pass as a high schooler and no one will judge me and okay the person checking out my books went to my high school, just don’t make eye contact. Why are you making small talk?? We barely ever talked to each other! When did you get engaged???

I spent a shameful amount of time reading cheesy teen romance books and, I’ll admit, I loved every second of it and have no regrets.

this was really good

And then, maybe a month into summer break, it happened.

I used to be in love with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I loved Greek mythology, I loved the characters, I loved the story, and most of all I loved the writing. It was so clever and hilarious to me and I thought If I ever become a writer, I want to write like that.

we don’t talk about the movie

So anyway, as I was walking through the YA section, I spotted a new book written by Rick Riordan, set in the same Percy Jackson universe, and I decided Well, I’ve got nothing better to do and I borrowed it along with Wink, Poppy, Midnight (which was meh) and The Raven Boys (10/10 would recommend).

also pretty good

When I got back home, I made myself cozy in my bed and cracked open The Hidden Oracle, excited to read another adventure from a series that I had loved so much.

I couldn’t make it through two pages and dropped it to my bedroom floor, where it stayed until its due date.

It’s not that the author had lost the ability to write, if anything he’s gotten better since the first book. I know for a fact that if I had read this five years ago I would have finished all 400 pages in 4 hours and loved every hour, every minute, every second of it. The fact that I couldn’t read this book kind of felt like a betrayal to my younger self. I wanted to like this book, for nostalgia’s sake if anything, but I just had no interest in it.

It was just kind of meh.

I’m not torn up about it. I didn’t cry over the fact that I don’t like books written for middle schoolers, but I was…I don’t know. The closest word I can think of is “disappointed” and even that’s not quite right.

It’s like finishing a book or TV show or movie. The story’s ended, you’ve got your closure, you’ve got another book or TV show or movie waiting for you, but you’re still kind of sad that the last one is over. That adventure’s done, it’s time to move on.  

And I guess that’s where we all are in our lives right now, that old adventure’s over. It’s time to move on to the next one. But it’s okay to miss the old adventure from time to time.

Documentary Recommendation: 13TH

Powerful, infuriating and at times overwhelming, Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH will get your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking.” -Manohla Dargis, New York Times

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It is not a secret that the United States of America, despite having only 5% of the entire world’s population, is home to 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. And, despite only making up only about a quarter of the country’s population, black and hispanic men combined make up 58% of all prisoners in the US (NAACP, 2017). Ava DuVernay explores why that is the case in her award-winning documentary, 13TH.

Found on Netflix, the documentary is a powerful and important one. DuVernay exposes the oft-overlooked loophole in the 13th Amendment, which states: “Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States” (United States Constitution, 1865). Though the 13th Amendment freed the slaves on paper, the loophole it created through the phrase “except as punishment for a crime” has, as DuVernay explores in her documentary, contributed to the mass-incarceration of black men, something that, as author Michelle Alexander describes, is just a new form of slavery and racism.

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The documentary looks farther into the theory Alexander presents in her book, The New Jim Crow. She argues that the idea of black men and women as slaves in the United States has never really gone away, despite the 13th Amendment. She charts the development of Jim Crow, from restrictive voting laws to the idea of “separate, but equal,” and follows these ideas to their role in today’s society, what she calls “The New Jim Crow.” She focuses specifically on the “War on Drugs” waged by the federal government through the late twentieth century, described as backlash against the gains that were made during the Civil Rights movement and the ways in which longer sentencing, the privatization of the prison industry, and general racism has contributed to the extremely high number of incarcerated black men.

I watched the documentary last semester as part of my Gender, Culture, and Representation class, and it was highly recommended by my Gender and Human Rights professor this semester. Though it had been on my list for a few months, I am grateful that I had a class that finally forced me to sit down and watch the film. To call it eye-opening would be an understatement. Prior to watching the film, I was relatively confident in my historical knowledge, at least in terms of the history of the United States. However, 13TH showed me just how many important topics my high school history classes left out, topics that, though they expose the “uglier” side of American history, are essential to the understanding of the racial divide in the United States today. I highly recommend 13TH to anyone interested in the topic of the construction and application of “race” in American society, as well as to anyone interested in general US history following the Civil Rights movement. Additionally, 13TH has a powerful soundtrack, and is visually interesting to view. Next time you’re looking for something to watch, try 13TH. Here’s a link to the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5895028/videoplayer/vi1201321497?ref_=tt_ov_vi

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MOMA

This past Sunday, the wonderful, always energetic Dean Nazario took a group of Honors Students to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. An art enthusiast, Dean Nazario wanted students to participate on this trip to see the Francis Picabia exhibit. For those of you in colloquium, you missed out on a fun, HP-sponsored event which counts as one of the needed colloquium events.

Here’s a description of the exhibit from the MOMA’s website:

Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction is a comprehensive survey of Picabia’s audacious, irreverent, and profoundly influential work across mediums. This will be the first exhibition in the United States to chart his entire career.

Among the great modern artists of the past century, Francis Picabia (French, 1879–1953) also remains one of the most elusive. He vigorously avoided any singular style, and his work encompassed painting, poetry, publishing, performance and film. Though he is best known as one of the leaders of the Dada movement, his career ranged widely—and wildly—from Impressionism to radical abstraction, from Dadaist provocation to pseudo-classicism, and from photo-based realism to art informel. Picabia’s consistent inconsistencies, his appropriative strategies, and his stylistic eclecticism, along with his skeptical attitude, make him especially relevant for contemporary artists, and his career as a whole challenges familiar narratives of the avant-garde.

Francis Picabia features over 200 works, including some 125 paintings, key works on paper, periodicals and printed matter, illustrated letters, and one film. The exhibition aims to advance the understanding of Picabia’s relentless shape-shifting, and how his persistent questioning of the meaning and purpose of art ensured his iconoclastic legacy’s lasting influence.

I am not in colloquium, but I have not been to the MOMA since my freshman year, so I decided to go for the fun of it. The night before, I watched a brief video of the exhibit curator describing the artwork and the artist. I found this very helpful for when I went to the museum for I understood a little more about what I was going to look at.

As we get older, we go through different phases of life in terms of our perspectives on things, our jobs, our relationships, etc. And in the Francis Picabia exhibit, I loved how we could see how his perspectives and what he found important and focused on changed over the years through his artwork. Sometimes when we think of an artist, we think of their particular style, mistakenly forgetting that they may have experimented with a variety of styles over the course of their lifetime. Witnessing Picabia’s different styles, his growth, his transformation, was most enjoyable for me.

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Other exhibits in the museum included a floor dedicated to artwork from the ’60s. Fun, funky, and full of color, my eye was constantly darting around the room. This floor had a few activities for little kids to work their imagination and creativity skills, which I found incredibly adorable and heartwarming.

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Roy Lichtenstein knows what’s up

 

Some forms of modern art I just don’t understand. It’s message often flies over my head and I just don’t understand how or why it was able to secure and exhibition room in the museum. It is because of my inability to comprehend and truly appreciate some forms of the more contemporary modern art that I find myself drawn to the more “traditional” paintings of the artists I grew up learning about in elementary/middle/high school art class such as Picasso, Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh, et al.

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I got the stink eye from one of the workers there for getting too close to the Picasso painting

I was so jazzed to see these artists and more in an ongoing exhibit on the 5th floor. To see paintings such as Starry Night right before my eyes was unreal. I’ve seen this piece in every year of art class since I was 5; I’ve seen someone do their own version of it by swirling paint in a container of water; I’ve even seen a cake’s attempt to mimic this famous painting.

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Photo Creds: Me, because I was actually there in front of this beauty

I’ve never been so excited to be at the MOMA. I think it has something to do with being older — I appreciate it more.

Whenever you get the chance, I recommend going to the Museum of Modern Art because it is a great place. You will have a good time, perhaps not as good of a time as Francis Picabia riding a little cart.

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Francis Picabia: Road Racer

 

A Semester of Shakespeare

If you’re in the honors program, you may or may not have heard about interdisciplinary honors seminars (if it doesn’t come across clearly, that is meant to be sarcastic). They’re really good for exploring different topics, interacting with interesting professors, and/or meeting honors requirements.

For a combination of the first and last reasons, I signed up to take ‘Shakespeare in the Now‘ this semester (though Professor Bartels is really awesome too!).

In regard to the first reason, I’ve always been really into Literary Inspired Web Series (LIWS), series on youtube that adapt works of classic literature. The trend started in 2012 with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and since then, many groups, almost all small clusters of passionate book nerds with cameras, have given it a try, adapting everything from Peter Pan to Jane Eyre to The Importance of Being Earnest, with mixed results (see a full list here). One of my favorite of these groups is The Candle Wasters, a group out of New Zealand. So far they’ve adapted Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour Lost, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, using the plays as a framework to explore many issues including sexism, gender identity, sexuality, dependency on technology, and climate change, all while still being incredibly entertaining and remaining surprisingly faithful to Shakespeare’s works. Because of this group, the idea of discussing the way Shakespeare can still be relevant today seems even more fascinating to me than it normally would.

As for the second reason: I need 3 more honors credits to stay in the program.

Anyway, the class is really interesting since we get to go and talk about reading and adapting Shakespeare for three hours every week and, even if LIWSes haven’t entered the conversation, it’s still an interesting way to frame discussions about modern issues.

Part of this is seeing different productions of Shakespeare’s works. In addition to assigned readings, we’re also supposed to watch different adaptations that are available from Rutgers’ Libraries, like Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. In addition to this, we got to go see a live performance of Hamlet at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, tickets and transportation paid for by the Honors Program.

And it was brilliant, fantastic, molto bene!

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The performance was by a group from NYC called the Bedlam Theater Troupe. In the production, 4 actors play all the roles in Hamlet. If you’re unaware, that’s 20+ roles, one of which has the largest number of lines for a role out there, bouncing between 4 people. Still, they managed to make it work with minimal sets and some audience participation. All the actors were amazing and their interpretation managed to make a tragedy seem comedic for a large majority of the time. It provided us with a lot of things to discuss in class the next day.

Beyond the performances, the class also gained a new dimension last week when we discussed King Richard III and fake news. This week we’re going to discuss Measure for Measure, which will definitely be an interesting discussion about power, surveillance, and forgiveness.

Towards the end of the semester, we’re supposed to do a group project where we use Shakespeare to explore a social issue that interests us. I’m hoping my group will find the idea of something like a LIWS as interesting as I do, because, while this class is great so far, making one of those series would be a dream come true.

What if I can’t get an internship?

Hi there! Spring semester is swooshing by, and before we know it, summer will be here! Many of you, including me, probably are looking for an internship. Many of the internships are very competitive. What happens when one doesn’t get an internship? Does that mean they have their whole summer free? Does it mean boredom will be their only company for four whole months? Fear not. Here are a few other things to keep you busy and your summer productive.

  1. Study Abroad

This is a great opportunity to travel and learn while earning college credit at the same time! Rutgers has amazing study abroad options that you can explore! From studying art history in Rome to wildlife ecology in Kenya, there is something for everyone! Granted, these trips can be quite expensive, but there are various National Study Abroad Scholarships students can apply to! For funding information or more financial aid options, the Office of Financial Aid is always happy to help. Now go out there and explore! Do be aware that the deadlines for most summer study abroad options are around March 3rd.

Here is the website with all the study abroad information:

http://globaleducation.rutgers.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Abroad.ViewLink&Parent_ID=0&Link_ID=D35DF441-5056-9B67-E4B89064D3BDB3A4&pID=1&lID=1

2. Undergraduate Research

Instead of applying for a formal summer research internship, maybe it will be more fun and unique if you went out and looked for research that fits just what your interests are. For example, if you are someone who has always wondered about how stem cells play a role in spinal cord injuries, then you can find a couple of professors who are conducting research in that very field. Rutgers is an excellent research hub. I am sure you will find exactly what you want! A good way to look for professors who are doing research in the area of your choosing is to go to the specific department (i.e. Life Sciences) and examine the tab they have just for research. Find a few professors whose work interests you, and then write thoughtful emails to them showing your genuine interests. It really helps if you read their research and mention points from it that really stood out and intrigued you. Be sure to ask them if they are available to meet with you to further discuss their research. Good Luck!

3. Learn New Skills

There are a plethora of useful skills that one can master over the summer! From learning how to code to learning how to sew, there are many life skills that everyone can try to learn. Here is a list of few skills that you can get started on if you’d like:

  • Writing a book
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Cooking
  • Keeping a Daily Journal
  • Fixing a Leaky Faucet
  • Inventing an app
  • Reading a Map
  • Fixing a Flat Tire
  • Performing CPR and Heimlich Maneuver

Learning new skills exercises the brain. Plus, it is so much fun! What will you learn this summer?

Well, I hope these give you few ideas on how to be busy this summer. Make this summer memorable and fun! Four months is a lot of time! Have fun!

More Music Rambling

I never have anything exciting to write about on here. I don’t do anything, man. Like, I could get into the topic of that March for Life thing that’s happening this weekend, that I didn’t even know was a thing until two days ago, but frankly that sounds like a can of worms I don’t want to open because I’m not great at dealing with sensitive topics. (I mean if someone waaaants me to talk about a topic like that, tell me, because I do enjoy lively debates. It’s just I’d need to be cautious, and I doubt you care about my opinions on abortion anyway, cause why would you. But let me know, we got freedom of speech, yay ‘murica). SO I’m just gonna talk about music again, except less like a set list of recommendations, but more free form because I haven’t heard anything specific and new that I love (and I’m a lazy child).

This stems from me realizing you have to like, actually study for classes??? Shocking, I know. In high school I literally didn’t do anything outside of school and got A’s. College is harder apparently. I heard a statistic somewhere that even though the average IQ is 100, you need at least an IQ of 110 to do well in college. Don’t quote me because I very much could be wrong, I don’t even remember where I heard that fact, but if it’s true, how dare they set us up to fail like this; I’m personally offended. Anyway, my initial point in bringing up studying was: listening to music helps people study. Or it helps me at least. Took me two years to figure that out but we got here eventually, which is better than not getting there at all.

What do I listen to when I study you ask? For some reason it depends on the subject. Which I find ridiculous, because literally all my subjects are physics, but even between physics subjects I need to listen to different things, which is like, strange. But so be it, here’s how I break it down:

Mechanics (study of like, motion and stuff in physics. A lot of torque, a lot of things rolling down ramps)- death metal. I don’t listen to specific bands in particular, I usually google death metal compilations. Though if you want a band name, Dawn of Demise is usually decent for studying purposes. I don’t know why, it just works. Perhaps it’s a way to relieve the aggression I have for not understanding the physics of a wheel rolling down a ramp.

Thermal (study of temperature relating to heat/energy exchange and stuff)- dubstep. I can’t listen to metal for thermal. I have no clue why. But dubstep works weirdly well, and I focus on my textbook a lot more listening to it. I’ve been listening to compilations by the YouTuber Alex MTCH if you’re interested. I’m praying that now that I have the right music to help me focus on studying, I’ll end the semester with an A (hahaha… ha…. pls. I need the grade).

Literature classes- classical music. I feel like this is a common one. The way I got through my colloquium book (which wasn’t even a bad book, I just have a horrifically short attention span and with every sentence I read in 30 seconds, another 5 minutes was spent doing nothing but staring at a wall) was listening to stuff like Bach and Mozart.  All the reading core classes I took were spent listening to classical music, too. It’s always nice to listen to these types of pieces anyway.

Really, what’s most important is I can’t study with music that I can understand the words to. Cause then I’ll start singing along, and I lose all motivation of actually doing work. That’s why instrumental pieces or really fast screaming metal works the best. But that’s just me. Do y’all listen to anything while studying? Any suggestions? I don’t even know if you guys CAN comment, but if you can, suggestions are always nice.

Quick side note, my post became a list. Gosh darn. Here’s a physics pick up line to apologize for going against my word of this post not being a list (I thought I made the pick up line myself, but someone told me they heard it before me, and I don’t even know if it makes the most sense in regards to actual physics, but use it anyway. If you have non science friends they won’t know the difference): “Hey baby, are you the event horizon? ‘Cause it’s tearing me up that I can’t get close to you.” Have a good day, now.

Facts Matter. Our Planet Matters.

No matter what side you are on in any debate, on any topic, facts do matter. Whether you are against something or for something or if you have truly no opinion, it is still vital to know why you stand for a particular position. For me, understanding the reality behind climate change is essential, and that is what I want to bring to your attention today.

So what is climate change? As the phrase itself indicates, it is the process of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons (elements of climate) shifting. Monitoring climate change is important as it shapes natural ecosystems, which in turns, shapes us humans and the way we live. While some changes in the climate are expected, the current problem lies in the rate at which those changes have been progressing. The most important shift we are currently concerned with is the warming of the planet, known as global warming. According to Washington state’s Department of Ecology, “rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere have warmed the Earth and are causing wide-ranging impacts, including rising sea levels; melting snow and ice; more extreme heat events, fires and drought; and more extreme storms, rainfall and floods”. To better understand the shifts in not just the temperature, but also the climate as a whole, here is a visual indicating climate change trends in the U.S.A.

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On a broader level, here is how global warming is predicted to impact the entirety of the world:

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These trends are projected to not only continue but to also accelerate, and they will pose significant risks to both humans and to our planet. Global warming impacts our health, our agriculture, our freshwater supplies, our coastlines, and natural resources that are vital for the survival of the human race. But we’re not responsible for this, correct? This is an environmental problem, not a us problem, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. Humans are very much so responsible for climate change; just take a look at this visual explanation.

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To sum up some facts and numbers, let’s look at data provided by both NASA and the U.N. (this information is readily available on their websites).

  • The current warming rate of the planet is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.
  • Increased levels of greenhouse gases causes the Earth to warm in response.
  • Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.
  • Most of the warming of the earth’s surface occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.
  • The year 2015 was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average.
  • Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland has lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans.
And for you visual learners, here are some data-driven images that I believe hit the nail on the head:
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Let’s be the generation that recognizes climate change as a detrimental issue. It affects us today, it will affect us tomorrow, and it will continue shaping how we live on this planet. We survive as long as Mother Earth survives, so let’s remember that it is our responsibility to take steps to halt global warming.
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