5 Super Simple Changes You Can Make To Get You 5 Steps Closer To That Summer Body

Now that allergy season is coming up, it’s time to address the one thing everyone seems to be allergic to…the gym! If you want those fire Instagram pics but don’t really like going to the gym, or don’t have the time to go with your part-time job, 19 credits, and a multitude of extracurriculars, here are five simple things you can do that’ll slowly but surely pay off in the long run.

Take the stairs.


This might seem like an obvious one, but with Rutgers’ architecture, chances are that even if you live on the first floor of your dorm, all your classes probably are not on the first floor. In that case, take the stairs! Using the stairs can help tone your calves, glutes, and hamstrings. And most importantly, you can avoid that giant group of people crowding the elevator.

Get off one bus stop earlier.


Now that the weather is getting a little warmer (unless there’s another random snow day…who knows at this point?!) It can help to get off one or two bus stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. It’s a great way of adding a little exercise into your commute to class and avoiding some mild claustrophobia on the bus.

Carry around healthy snacks

This one probably requires the most self-control, as every student’s weakness is the dreaded vending machine. You end up caving and getting those sugar-filled Poptarts at absurdly high prices when you know one Costco run could’ve resolved all your problems. A healthy alternative is to carry around a healthy snack like a granola bar, or some yogurt in your backpack or purse so that the next time you’re hungry, you can save some calories and money!

Take a class. They’re free!

If you don’t like going to the gym, you are not alone. But there are plenty of other ways you can get in some activity as Rutgers offers free classes at all of the gyms on campus! Here you can do yoga, pilates, or BodyPump. It is usually only an hour long and available on every campus at many different times. So find a class and time that works for you, bring some friends with you, and start moving!

Drink LOTS of water


This one is the easiest ones to do but for some reason is the one that most college kids struggle with. Dehydration has become a norm for so many college kids despite the abundance of water filters on campus. Make sure to always carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it when you get the chance. Drinking water not only is essential to fitness, but it also improves your skin, and keeps you more awake and alert!

Go ahead and make these simple changes in your life today! You’ll easily see the payoff in time for that summer vacation you’ve had planned.


My First Alternative Break

This winter break I attended my very first service trip through a program called Rutgers University Alternative Breaks. I initially wanted to go on the trip because I had always been very interested in service but also I saw this as a great way for me to meet to people and break out of my comfort zone. It amazing how it ended up turning into one of the most eye opening experience of my life.

Education reform has always been an important topic to me as I believe that education is something that is often treated as a privilege when it is a right.

My trip specifically was in Baltimore and dealt and was through a nonprofit organization called Living Classrooms, which sought to help those in Baltimore with limited access to a good education. We spent most of the days with children in the B.U.G.S. (Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students) program which was an after school program for the underfunded schools in Baltimore. Our group of volunteers got to help the younger kids in activities that they participated in such as STEM class which included doing math or science experiments, gardening, art and cooking. It was a lot of fun and often times I didn’t even realize that I was doing volunteer work. However, seeing the looks on the staffs’ faces after we were able to help them organize the library and paint the new computer room warmed my heart, and made me realize the impact of the small actions that we took. It was also great doing the activities with the kids. We got to play freeze tag as well as just have amazing conversations with them. In an area where so many children struggle to graduate high school, I loved hearing that some of the children aspired to be a coders, teachers, doctors, and scientists.

On one day of our service trip we worked with Project S.E.R.V.E. (Service- Empowerment- Revitalization- Volunteerism- Employment Training) which aids ex-convicts with rehabilitation and reentry into the work force. Not only did it completely change the way that I think about convicts but it also brought attention to the systematic injustices that occur daily in these people’s lives. Hearing the amazing stories of people who got out of jail and spent every day of their lives trying to better themselves and make the most of their second chance of life was truly inspiring for me to hear.

For me, deciding to go on an alternative break was a very spontaneous decision that I am extremely happy I made. I recommend that everyone go on one, or at least try to attend some type of service trip. I was someone who always stayed in my bubble and never really realized the deep rooted issues that go on in this country, and by finally seeing the issues that I hear so often about its made me much more appreciative of the opportunities I have given in my life, and made me value the importance of service.

5 Unconventional Things to be Thankful For

1. Fat Sandwiches

Our wonderful college cuisine is definitely a highlight of Rutgers, and while Tacoria, Stuff Yer Face, and Surf Tacos all contribute to the college experience, there is nothing quite as unique to the Rutgers experience as the fat sandwich. It is a gluttony of cheese, carbs, and sauces. It’s the sandwich where you don’t bother looking at the calories because there’s no point avoiding the truth – you’re about to gain some weight, but more importantly, you’re about to have the best food of your life.

2. The Rutgers Facebook Page

Among the poorly crafted memes, and the tears of students taking Data Structures and Organic Chemistry, there is also the magic that brings people together: losing things. If you were to lose your RUID anywhere on campus, a search by the FBI’s finest could not compete against the powers of the Rutgers Facebook page. Within minutes people will have plastered your lost ID across the Facebook walls, and all your problems – or rather one of your many – will be resolved.

3. Taco Bell Delivers

2017 may have been a rough year so far but it hasn’t been all bad, Taco Bell started delivering food this year. It just goes to show that miracles do happen. It helps for all those late night exams cramming sessions and 3AM cravings. Sometimes it helps to be thankful for the little things.

4. Being a Student

Being a college kid may be hard sometimes with upcoming deadlines, overwhelming responsibilities and never ending to do lists, but it has its perks. You may not realize this but by being a student you can get a discount on so many different things from great companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, Spotify, and free entry to tons of museums! SO cheer up and be a little thankful that there are companies out there that understand your struggles and are willing to make your Netflix bingeing sessions a lot cheaper.

5. Cold Weather

The upcoming cold weather may make you not want to get out of bed, but there are actually many advantages to the dropping degrees. The first one being of course that winter fashion is the best. I personally love wearing knit scarfs, baggy sweaters, boots, and beanies. It’s comfortable, snuggly, yet chic. Also, colder weather means lazier people, so if you’re a coffee-holic like me that means shorter lines at the Starbucks truck, and buses don’t seem as crowded when the people around you serve as a warm barrier from the harsh winds of the outside world.

Good luck for the Semester and Remember to Stay Thankful!

Why Busy Should Not Be the Word You Are Looking For

My transition from freshman year to sophomore year has really allowed me to redefine the word busy. Last year I was always busy, so I thought I was being successful. I was always at club meetings, taking difficult classes, practically living in the library and constantly overwhelmed. At the end of the semester though, I didn’t have much to show for all my busyness, I had developed horrendous dark circles, developed a coffee addiction, forgot to wish some very important people in my life happy birthday, and had a not so great GPA. This year I am also constantly working, but I drink no more than one cup of coffee every day, I get at least 7 hours of sleep almost every night, I am able to cross off more on my to do list than ever before, and I even make time for the occasional workout. I think the biggest thing I have learned from the stark differences of my freshman year to my sophomore year is that busyness is not equivalent to productivity. I felt as though social media – primarily memes for college students – normalize things like pulling all-nighters, procrastinating, and binge drinking coffee. All these things give off the impression of being busy and feeling busy may make you feel as though your work is important; but staying up till 4 studying after watching Netflix all day does not make you any superior to the kid who finished their work ahead of time and was fast asleep at 11 PM. Another reason why I feel that college students like to pursue the mirage of the overworked teen is because when you’re busy you are pitied. If you see someone show up late to an exam and it’s someone who is always busy you might feel bad for them, but the kid who does the same work but manages his time better and shows up late is called an idiot.


There’s also a maturity to not being busy all the time. When all your work is accounted for and you have time left over, that time is enjoyed much more than the bursts of instant gratification you receive through procrastination.

The biggest thing that I have noticed however, is that when you’re aspiring to be productive you should only hand pick a few necessary priorities and work to achieve them, and the payoff is often much greater than trying to be the best at everything which leaves you overwhelmed, and discouraged from not reaching all your goals.

For me the definition of busy has changed drastically from my freshman to my sophomore year. I no longer aspire to be busy, I aspire to be content. It’s because of this mindset that I have come to love my sophomore year so much more than my freshman year. Am I stressed? Yes, of course. But for the first time my ambitious goals seem attainable rather than impossible and that’s because every day I find myself getting just a little bit closer to my dreams. I encourage everyone to look into their day and realize how much more you can get out of your day when you stop aspiring to be busy.


5 Things I Learned My Freshman Year of College

INDEPENDENCE: there can be too much of a good thing

The biggest change would have to be the sudden increase in independence. The idea that with every meal swipe you have access to unlimited desserts and soda can be overwhelming at first. Usually in the beginning of the year, it’s especially hard to resist stuffing your face when your parents can no longer yell at you for eating ice cream for dinner. You also no longer have a bed time, or a set time you have to wake up at, since deciding if you’re going to class and when you’re going to class is completely your own decision. I’ve learned to never leave any assignment so last-minute that I have to pull an all-nighter, but I have a feeling I’m not quite done with those yet. But as crazy as things seem at the beginning of your first semester, things tend to settle down as the year comes to a close.

Finding what you like and what you don’t like

For your first year of college I would say the best thing is to get involved in everything you find interesting, because as the year goes by you can always drop what you don’t like and become more involved in the things you’re more interested in. I think sometimes it’s hard to find what you’re interested in and deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life can be difficult, so taking part in clubs and even just events around campus can open your eyes.

Bad Grades are Just a Part of Life

For me, I was very surprised by the whole basis behind the grading system and how most of my grade was the result of two or three exams. We had quarterlies in high school and the final grade was the cumulative of a year of tests, quizzes, and homework, so this new system was a little hard for me to get used to, and I got some grades my first year that I was not used to seeing. I think the biggest thing to remember is that the only thing you can do in the face of a bad grade is to just keep working to do better the next time, and to treat every semester as a fresh start, a new you, and a way to improve your study habits. See what worked the last time and what didn’t work, and make adjustments accordingly.

Friends are everywhere

In college, you tend to make friends in the weirdest places. I have made friends in the bathroom of my hall. Other friends, I’ve met while getting off at the wrong bus stop and wandering around trying to find my class. Others I’ve met while loudly complaining about a class only to have someone come over and say “same”. The truth is almost everyone is always trying to find new people and make new friends: all you have to do is open your eyes because potential friends are always milling around.

High school is ALL in the past

At first,  I was worried that I wouldn’t get my fresh start because there were so many people from New Jersey and specifically, my high school, at Rutgers. But one thing I realized was that everyone comes into college with the same mindset and that everyone wants their fresh start. There are also around 30,000 undergraduates at Rutgers, so meeting new people is not an issue. So don’t worry about any remaining high school awkwardness or seeing the same people. Be the person you’ve always wanted to be!


My Very First Dance Marathon

Two weeks ago, I got to experience my very first Rutgers Dance Marathon as a member of the Brett Hall team. I had heard a lot of people say it was the highlight of their college experience and that it was something every Rutgers student had to experience, so of course, I was excited. The event itself was nothing like I expected though, it was one of those moments where I saw Rutgers in a whole new light.


The Unity

The line dance was one of my favorite parts, people came from the basketball courts, the food stations, and the arts and crafts section just to learn a dance. There were some people who were amazing dancers and others who seemed to struggle a lot with some of the most basic steps, but everyone had fun. Here I saw frat brothers, sorority sisters, sports teams, and residence halls all come together in the spirit of giving, and I was amazed by the level of excitement and involvement. It was a shock to me, especially when compared to a lot of high school events where there was always a palpable awkwardness to just let go and dance due to a fear of judgment. At Dance Marathon, no one cared because everyone was there to have fun and of course for the kids (#ftk).

The Pep

I knew a lot of friends who were obligated to do Dance Marathon due to their respective organizations so I was expecting a few reluctant faces or some people not caring and sitting on the ground, but nope — not one person looked like they didn’t want to be there. The football team showed off their rehearsed choreography, the girls swim team showed off their gymnastics, the acapella team showed off their vocals. It was amazing to see the abundance of talent at Rutgers.

This was a level of school spirit I had never witnessed before in my entire life, even at the RU vs Penn State game, I did not see people express so much pride. People took whatever color team they were a part of and took it to a whole new level. Shreya Sethi, another member of the Brett Hall team said, “I liked how committed everyone was to the cause and how they really wanted to be there for the kids.” And people really were committed: they wore tutus, and ribbons and bandanas, (and bananas) and the color war events themselves were creative and brought out the healthy competition in all of us. I personally got to participate in hungry hungry hippos game which was a LOT of fun and probably one of the highlights of my night.

The Emotions

For a lot of people, seeing the families, especially the video towards the end of the night, served as a true reminder of why we had all gathered together for 24 hours and danced so long. Hearing the stories of the families whose lives had been changed for the better due to Embrace Kids, and Rutgers donations made me feel a pride for this college. Nishita Patel, a member of the Brett hall team who also experienced her very first dance Marathon this year said, “My favorite part was the family hour because it allowed us to see how appreciative the families were and how much they loved the event. I will definitely be doing it again next year.”
When the seniors came on to the stage and teared up as they spoke of their experiences with the Dance Marathon I felt myself becoming emotional as well because of how passionate they were about the event and how upset they were that it was their last one as a Rutgers University student.
The most defining moment was at the very end of the closing ceremony, as one by one the numbers were held up, and the exact moment that everyone realized that this year the number was going to surpass 1 million dollars the crowd roared, people started cheering, and screaming, and crying, and as the confetti dispersed through the stadium, my heart beamed with pride, and I realized I have never been prouder to be a Scarlet Knight.

5 Things You’ll Only Find At the Honors Program Formal

1. A Button Making Station
Often times, a lot of Rutgers events will have dorky little arts and crafts type activities for people to do that no one usually ever does. At this event it seemed to be the button making station, or so everyone thought. At the formal, however, there was a long line of students all equally giddy to make buttons.

2. Guy in the horse head
During the dance, a random guy showed up on the dance floor wearing a horse head and had some pretty awesome dance moves. He definitely made the night a lot more interesting.

3. A whole new environment
The honors kids that you have seen hiding behind books at the library, staring at their laptops, and furiously entering numbers on their calculator all finally came out of their shell. I saw the people usually in Rutgers sweats and t-shirts with perfectly contoured cheekbones and crisply ironed dress shirts, all showing off their amazing dance moves.

4. Good Food
I’m not saying that the dining hall doesn’t have great food ;), but the food at the Heldrich was extraordinary. There were 3 types of dessert and all of them were amazing.

5. Dancing Deans
I think the best part was watching the Honors Deans bust a move. They all seemed so genuinely into it and were having a great time. They were also sweet enough to spare time to take cute Polaroids of us.

All in all, it was a classy event with some great food, great music, and great people. If you couldn’t make it this year I highly recommend you check it out next year!