Gotta Use ‘Em All: Getting Rid of Meal Swipes

It’s a problem that all on-campus freshman have faced. Anxiously checking their RU express page to see exactly how many they have left. In-depth discussions about how it’s all part of a con for your money. Leaping over the stack of styrofoam containers from takeout so you can flop onto your bed, clutching your aching, overstuffed stomach as you roll over and try to forget about finals.

Meal swipes. If you’re an on-campus freshman lacking an extraordinary appetite, you’re probably begging to give these away at this point.

For starters, if you will be an incoming freshman in the fall, please take note of this link. Within the first week of school, you can go here and switch to a lower meal plan, even lower than the required meal for freshmen.

Now, for those not savvy enough to know this particular trick, like me my freshman year, here are some practical ways to get rid of meal swipes in your last weeks of school:

  1. Woody’s

The medical school cafeteria is probably one of the more popular options. You can use meal swipes for almost anything from grocery-type items (milk, vegetables) to meals to sweets and ice cream. However, the mistake most people make is that they rush through three or four swipes as quickly as possible. The way to maximize this requires patience. Set aside a few hours outside of the rush, bring the some of the overwhelming amount of work you’ve surely been watching grow over the past few weeks, and prep for some back and forth between your seat and the food area. The limit is every twenty minutes, but if you play your cards right you can be like me in December of my freshman year, walking away from Woody’s 20 meal swipes less and with Christmas gifts for both my brothers and all six of my cousins.

2. Kilmer’s Market, Sbarros, Douglass Cafe, Cook Cafe, Rock Cafe, Red Pine Pizza, Take Out

Good places for meals and food for later. And since several of them are located around centralized areas, you can employ the same method as with Woody’s. The only problem is that if you’re not careful you’ll end up with a fridge of individual slices of pizza, stacks of individual cereal packs, and a significant amount of indigestion (because who can resist that much food sitting in front of them?). Which brings us to suggestion number 3.

3. Befriend upperclassmen

If clubs want to promote events, they offer free food. That’s because most students operate on a low budget. Now’s the time to use that to your advantage. Who could refuse your offer a free meal, be it a swipe into the dining hall, an offer for takeout, or a meal swiped from Sbarros? This is a great way to hang out with older friends, thank mentors for help, or generally socialize.

4. Invite your family

This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, if used in conjunction with number 3, you might run out of guest swipes, so be aware.

What are your favorite ways to get rid of meal swipes? Comment below.

Taking a Break

School is stressful: there are constant exams, papers, and projects due, and with the beautiful spring weather it is difficult to concentrate on anything. I’m sure everyone knows this feeling. And so I had no trouble agreeing to take a week off to go on a trip with my family, to Italy nonetheless, as they all had spring break on the same week.

Not gonna lie, the idea of missing a week of school, while taking 19.5 credits, kind of worried me. This is a lot of school work to miss, and I did not want to have to do work throughout vacation. So I made sure to talk to all my professors ahead of time, fill out a self-reported absence form, get some homework out of the way, as well as mentally prepare for cramming that would happen post trip (which in fact, is happening). I only took two notebooks with me on the trip, so I could at least do some HW, but not overdo it. And then, I went on vacation.

Let me tell you, this was exactly the break I needed. Of course, the vacation itself was fun and amazing, but the fact that I was ‘on a break’ with college added even more to it. I think I was able to appreciate it and relax more. Needless to say, I didn’t have to bring those notebooks because once there I did not intend on doing homework. I saw great sights, ate (a lot of) great food, went shopping, hiking, sailing, slept eight hours every night. Essentially, it was as if I ‘recharged’ myself.

Now that I am back, it is back to usual with work and cramming. Truth be told, jet lag is currently my biggest advantage. I woke up at six this morning, feeling like it was one pm, and started to do work. And, since no one is awake yet, there are no distractions and it is easy to concentrate. Now I have a few more hours until I would normally wake up and am able to get more done! I would, without a doubt, urge anyone to take some sort of break every once in a while. You clear your mind and come back refreshed, and we all know weekends are not always enough.

SAS Core: Why, Why, Why??

Hi everyone! Summer is around the corner. The sun is finally coming out and it is beginning to look a lot like spring! This also means that a new semester will soon befall us. Class registrations have begun, and everyone is out to fulfill those beloved SAS core requirements. Am I right or am I right? We are looking for the classes that hit two birds with one stone, and by that, I mean classes that can fulfill two SAS core requirements in one go! I have been looking for some classes too, and so I thought, why not compile a list and share with you all as well? So here is a list of classes that might seem interesting and fulfill those SAS core requirements! Enjoy!

  1. Looking at 21st Century World History (01:082:118) (3 credits) (21C, HST)

In this class, you will take examine the history of Western Art from antiquity to medieval period. If you like to travel and look at art, then this might be the class for you because you will be seeing a wide array of artwork spanning from Egypt to Rome. This course has two hourly exams, a final, and three to five page paper on a topic chosen by the professor.

2. Global East Asia (01:098:250) (4 credits) (21C, HST, SCL)

This course is about the world’s most influential East Asian nations including China, Korea, and Japan. You will learn about each of the nation’s economy, culture, war, gender, politics, etc. You will have clicker questions and recitation for this class.

3. Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences (01:830:123) (3 credits) (21C, HST)

This is an interesting course about what the consequences of believing in souls are. You will get to explore topics such as self, mind and body dualism, culture, evolution, death, etc. You will have weekly readings. Your grade comprises of two midterms, a take-home final, assignments, and discussion posts.

4. Latino and Caribbean Cultural Studies (01:050:295) (3 credits) (Wcr, AHp)

In this class, you will analyze the culture, politics, society, and more about the Latino and Caribbean cultures. You will examine how these two cultures connect in various aspects such as gender, ethnicity, and populism.

5. Women and Contemporary Chinese Society (01:170:245) (3 credits) (21C, HST, WCr or WCd)

You will unravel the role of Chinese women after 1949 in Chinese economy, politics, entrepreneurship, education, science, social movements, religious revival, and much more! This course is offered in the Fall semesters. Your grade will constitute two term papers (five pages each), a final paper (eight to nine pages), an oral presentation, active attendance, participation, and homework assignments.

6. Introduction to Korean Culture, History and Society (01:574:210)  (3 credits) (HST, AHo, Wcr)

I believe the title speaks for itself. Nonetheless, this course will introduce you to Korean culture and society in a historical perspective. Your grade in this class will encompass quizzes, homework, a presentation, and class participation. You will have two midterms and a final paper.

7. Development of the Labor Movement I (37:575:201) (3 credits) (HST or SCL, WCr or WCd)

This is a course that delves into labor movements throughout the history of Americas. You will see what shaped the American concepts of slavery, work, free labor, industrialization, etc. The class will require two papers, a midterm, a final and also attendance.

Well, I hope that gives you some choices to think about! Good luck on your midterms and finals!

 

The Process ™ (patent pending)

Sometimes Writer’s Block (and yes, those words do deserve Capital Letters) happens and sometimes Writer’s Block happens while you’re trying to write a blog post. In case I’m not being totally clear, sometimes that person who is suffering from Writer’s Block while trying to write a blog post is me. So I thought I would take this time to discuss my writing process in a most likely futile attempt to become inspired to write something less meta. If you are reading this with your eyes, I have failed. So without further ado, here is what I lovingly and hatefully refer to as The Process (note: This Process is applicable to both academic papers, blog posts, and anything in between):  

Step 1: Brainstorm an Idea

Sometimes you have ideas and sometimes you write them on a Post-it note at 4 AM after shaking yourself out of the dream that had given you this glorious idea. In a tired haze of regret over having gone to sleep at 3 AM and with enough frantic energy to get you out of bed, you search for a Post-it note in the post-apocalyptic wasteland you dare to call a “desk” and you jot down whatever brilliant idea the dream goblins had given you. And sometimes you wake up at 10 AM and read that Post-it note and that Post-it note says sometimes along of the lines of “EGGS AREN’T REAL” or “TIME IS FAKE!!!!!” or “If he could’ve he would’ve but he didn’t so he can’t,” the last of which actually being a succinct analysis of Satan’s rationale against the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent God in Book 6 of Paradise Lost so sometimes things work out in the end.

Step 2: Do Literally Anything But the Thing You are Supposed to Be Doing

There is this thing that I do that I like to call Productive Procrastination (another thing I like to do, apparently, is to arbitrarily capitalize Certain words When i want to assign Them Significance). Productive Procrastination is defined as “the act of doing literally anything but the thing you are supposed to be doing.” I got an entire semester’s worth of homework done while I was trying to avoid writing an 8-page paper. Some examples of Productive Procrastination include:

  • Cleaning your room
  • Doing your dishes
  • Taking out the trash
  • Taking a shower
  • Redecorating
  • Deep cleaning your entire house
  • Doing this week’s psych homework
  • Doing next week’s psych homework
  • Doing the entire semester’s psych homework
  • Making a Spotify playlist with the music that you will write this epic A+++++ paper to
  • Repainting your mother’s bathroom
  • Taking a nap

And so it goes.

Step 3: Stare at Your Empty Document for Five Ten Fifteen Twenty Minutes

Feel the deadline come closer and closer until your anxiety compels you to write something, anything, before it’s too late.

Perfect.

Step 4: Write. Just write. Just get it over with. You know you’re going to write another draft anyway.

Step 5: Think “Hey, this actually isn’t so bad! Why did I wait so long to start this? Why did I go all the way back home to repaint the bathroom???”

Step 6: Realize that it is just as bad as you think. Oh god, why is this happening to me? Dear God, why?

somewhere along the way, this became a Buzzfeed article

Step 7: Scream.

you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain

Step 8: Finish your draft!

It’s terrible. It’s a garbage paper and you are a garbage person. This paper is a sin against both Nature and the English Language, but it exists and, frankly, that’s all it needs to do.

Your thoughts just need to exist somewhere on paper. They could be good thoughts or bad thoughts or right thoughts or wrong thoughts, but you can’t really tell what kind of thoughts they are until you see them.

Step 9: Write It Again

And then when you see them, you can decide what to do from there. No piece of writing exists perfectly the first time. Or the second. Maybe the third. Maybe.

What I’m trying to say is that if you’ve got a paper to write or a blog post or a story or something, honestly the hardest part is just starting.

So just write and write and write and write and somewhere along the way, you’re going to find something you like buried in the mess of your ideas.

So, yeah, anyway this is how I write papers. It’s a miracle I can get anything done. If anything I hope that this shows you that there’s actually no wrong way to write a paper as long as you actually write the paper.

Study Music

I can’t believe it is already April! Exams are just around the corner and finals are coming up faster than I would like. That means that it’s time to log out of Netflix and really get to work!

0pt25s7

I try to get as much work done as possible during the week and on weekends, but sometimes it is just so hard to concentrate when there are so many other things that I would rather be doing. For me, the right study music is essential for me to be able to get anything done. Here is what I listen to while trying to complete specific tasks:

*Disclaimer: I am a Disney fanatic, so most of the music that I use to study are Disney related 🙂

1. While Concentrating or Studying a Difficult Topic: Piano Music

When I am studying for something that requires a lot of concentration, I make sure not to play music with words in it. I also will not listen to music that is really epic or intense since sometimes that can distract me from reading the textbook or concentrating on a difficult topic. Instead, I listen to slow piano music. My personal favorite types to listen to are the Disney Piano instrumentals that you can find by typing in “Disney Piano” on YouTube. I like these because they are songs that both put me in a good mood and at the same time help me to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

If the piano music still seems to be distracting, sometimes I put on an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) video. I like to play Harry Potter white-noise videos that feature a crackling fireplace in the Gryffindor common room or the bubble of a potion boiling in Snape’s classroom. Hearing these noises help to calm me down if I am nervous and worried about an exam while I am trying to study.

4 hour Disney Piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3j0AdcNJpI

Harry Potter ASMR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyYB-txU6Jg&list=PLjFwUFnGRUqN9pIvCq6TS1FMaJNxX0KEv

2. Tasks that involve practice problems: Upbeat and Intense Soundtracks

If I am studying for a subject that involves doing practice problems, I find that it gets really boring and tedious very quickly. If I listen to slow piano music, that makes me feel tired and I lose motivation during a long study session. That is why I chose to listen to upbeat music instead! The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack or Game of Thrones soundtrack works best for me since they are intense and most of the songs are fast-paced. This helps me to keep up with my work and prevents me from daydreaming or losing interest in the topic I am studying.

Pirates of the Caribbean Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMQh-rhWaz8

Game of Thrones Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRd4ARUQkbQ

3. Getting work done: Various Instrumentals

When I am trying to write a paper or finish projects for my classes, I tend to get distracted quickly and procrastinate, and that leads to the task taking a lot longer than necessary! I need to listen to music that will keep me going and help me not get bored. Personally, I like listening to “themed” music, for lack of a better term. For example, I like to listen to music that transports me to a different place. For me, this music tends to be instrumentals, like Celtic or Japanese instrumentals. I also like listening to the themed Disney World area music, since I really like those themes.

Celtic Instrumental: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiwuQ6UHMQg

Japanese Instrumental: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyieFu7BnHE

Disney’s Expedition Everest Area Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrSWblCsAhk

 

Good luck on exams and finals, and I hope these music suggestions help you to be more productive too!

Rise In Collegiate Knowledge

I know I said I’d never write one of these, but midterms are happening for me (I have one that is literally tomorrow and I’ve barely studied for it beyond doing the homework for the class, but here I am writing an essay for the lovely, probably three total, people who read this. Yay procrastination) and I have literally nothing else to write. So, in the hopes that you won’t be a horrific procrastinator like me, let’s do….. A LIST OF STUDY TIPS!!!! Are ya quaking in your fricken boots from excitement? I know I sure am….. (hahah I’m dead inside let’s just get on with me attempting to tell you how to study).

  1. Never let yourself be caught by surprise by your exams. I’ve heard stories about people just, not knowing they had an exam until the day before. Don’t be like these people. That’s how stress happens. Also, make sure all of your equipment is with you for the actual exam. Pencils, calculators, formula sheets if you’re allowed them (again, I heard a story of a kid who forgot his formula sheet, went all the way back to his dorm to get it, then took the test in the remaining half period he had. #yolftch. (You only live for the cheat sheet, m8).
    spongegar
  2. Gonna give yourself rewards for jobs well done. If I manage to focus on something for a full hour, I’ll  watch a youtube video. It makes life seem less depressing. You could reward yourself with food too; I’ll eat candy or something. The only reason I don’t usually reward myself with food is because I already eat like garbage anyway, so it’s really not much incentive to just eat more candy. Though a youtube video may be counter-productive, because then you get caught in the hell-hole that is youtube, never to be seen again until 10 minutes before your exam, but OH WELL.
    Fry.jpg
  3. Give yourself ample time to actually study. Maybe this is similar to bullet one, but I think it’s different in the sense that you know your exams are happening, yet you willingly let yourself procrastinate cause “Oh, I can make it.” My calculus grades may be questionable, but I’ve gotten so good at that crunch time study arithmetic, involving logarithms designed to take the time I have to get homework and studying done, plus time I have to ignore responsibilities — which increases exponentially as the day wears on — then again as the days (plural) pass. And I’ve calculated to the second the amount of sleep I can get if I study solidly through a few hours (plus goofing off on the internet time), at 3am the night before an exam. It’s honestly an art that only a college student (and possibly the particularly stressed out AP high school student) can perfect.
    math.jpgMy point: DON’T DO THIS. This is no way to live I hate myself when I’m taking an exam on exactly 1.5 hours of sleep, fueled only by my self-loathing (as caffeine doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried plenty.)  Just… just actually plan out your studying, please.
  4. You gotta be prepared for oddballs. My last intro level physics exam was weirdly hard. It wasn’t actually all that difficult (as I begrudgingly learned after I took the exam and realized a lot of stupid errors I made), but much harder than all the practice exams we were provided with prepared me for. So, I gritted my teeth during the exam, then whined like a child to my friends after the exam. What I SHOULD’VE DONE was plan for harder stuff. That way easy material would just come naturally. Don’t let yourself get shot in the foot, like my home boi harambe was shot down. He didn’t deserve it, he wasn’t ready. But you should be ready. After my pro tip article prepares you.
  5. Up-hold yourself to a high standard. I always tell my friends: aim super high. That way when you fall short, you haven’t plummeted into a ditch. Merely… face planted at ground level. Or the nicer saying: reach for the moon; if you miss you’ll still land among the stars (or something like that, though that honestly doesn’t sound that great as stars don’t seem all that comfortable to be on, no matter how glamorous they sound). If you can aim high and reach that high standard, power to you, you are a better person than I. However, I’m perfectly happy wallowing in the mud, so long as I haven’t dug myself into too deep a hole. I can always pick myself back up so long as I haven’t fallen too far.

fallen.jpg

Or not.

So, there ya go. Study tips, a la Becky. Helpful? Possibly. Hopefully. If anything, I hope you hearing my failures and stories to try to study were at least amusing, and you can get a good “ahaha at least I’m not as bad as her” out of it. By the way….. notice anything about this post? Wanna….. read the first word of each of my pro-tips back for me?

rickroll-dance_1573670_GIFSoup.com

APRIL FOOLS, SUCKERS! While I do hope the post has been helpful, or comical at least, I have honestly been planning this elaborate Rick Roll for my April blog since, legit, I joined the blog. So…. since the summer I guess. I wanted to insert more memes in here but I honestly do have an exam I should study for, and therefore ran out of time to find the highest of quality memes to spam you with, but I hope this will do. Notice the title of this article, each first letter spells out RICK. That was my sister’s idea. Ah, foreshadowing. While you’re not reading this on April fools, let it be known I wrote this on April fools day, so I’m counting it. (If you’re interested, the best April Fools I received today was a friend telling me he loved me. What made it entertaining was my response, which I thought was solidly funny with a “#yikes.” Honestly, I’m a riot). Well, enjoy your day guys; safe studying.

Six Classes I Think Everyone Should Take

After having been in school for a while, I can tell you this: there are certain classes I’ve taken that have changed my understanding of a wide variety of things.

I think this is why the core curriculum honestly exists. It fills in the gaps of your knowledge about specific things and helps you link together seemingly disparate phenomena or ideas. That is the basis of creativity, of groundbreaking research, inventions, etc.!

I never, ever understood why people would say things in school like, “Why are we learning this? It’s not going to help us in the future.” (Sometimes, though, I can honestly understand their point of views).

But, buddy.

That depends on what you want to get out of your future.

Some people are after the money, and that’s fine if that’s your thing. But I know what I’m after. And I know that a lot of you in the SAS Honors Program are after the same sort of thing: to be either a master or well-regarded in your field.

So to open up your mind, I suggest a few classes that I’ve taken here at Rutgers that honestly changed my outlook on things. Sometimes, you end up finding a career in a class you thought was completely unrelated. Sometimes, it makes you a healthier person. Sometimes, it’s just plain fun.

1. Physics

Oh, I can already hear the groans! I had to take this back when I was still a pre-med student, but I really don’t regret it. I made a lot of great friends in this class, but besides that, I learned about the concepts that govern our universe and learned about some concepts that don’t apply in the reality we exist in. Does it not make sense to understand the basics of the world we live in? I honestly think it does. You might think you’ll never need physics, but physics can be applied to everything from chemistry to fashion (density of a fabric may be responsible for how a fabric hangs on someone’s frame, etc). Learn about how the world you operate in works.

2. Sociology/Psychology

Both of these are an understanding of human nature and the bureaucracy or structure of that human nature works. This is just another way to understand the world we live in. This time, you’re learning how people operate here and, if you extrapolate,  you can learn how to operate to get ahead.

3. An Ethics Course

I was speaking to someone the other day–Tyler Farnsworth, our Assistant Director of Honors Media–about the importance of ethics. He told me how we all think we know the difference between right and wrong. I’m not going to lie; I thought I knew it pretty well. Then he said that that the ethical conundrums he was presented with were very difficult to answer. The right thing was very difficult or the line was very blurred. An ethics class will help you think about that difference between right and wrong, and where you stand morally. This is useful to know going into your career into the future.

4. A History Course

The usefulness of a history course has almost no bounds. This is where you get to learn what leaders and people in the past did when they were up against problems that were difficult to solve. It’s also a practical understanding of how people react to specific things. A history course provides examples for the principles you learn in sociology and psychology. It also gives you ideas for how to solve your own problems in the future. Life will never be a smooth boat ride; you’re going to hit rough waters at some point. Wouldn’t it be useful to know how to react to the water that’s about to come up and swallow your boat whole? I certainly think so!

5. Exercise Physiology and Exercise Physiology Lab

You know, we all learn that we should eat healthily and exercise. But we’re not always taught how to do it well. Our high school classes may have taught us a little, but health, as a class, is unfortunately never taken too seriously. Taking a class specifically about health is ideal.

I learned a lot about how the body uses energy and what systems of the body interact with what. This I mostly learned in class. I also learned when to eat what kinds of foods if I wanted to gain muscle or become toned or honestly just be healthy.

What was most useful for me was the lab. I learned how to perform tests to find out how fit I was and learned how I could improve my body that way.

These two classes made me start exercising a lot more. And I realized that I really enjoy working out.

6. Last but not least: An Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar

I honestly love the idea of an interdisciplinary class, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it until I took Politics of Art and Poetry with Dean Nazario and Paul Blaney this past semester. I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life and learned so much about an intersection between two disparate fields. I also made a lot of great friends.

We did group projects, skits, readings aloud, and went on many field trips. The class had a very discussion-heavy focus. That’s where ideas are born: out of discussions.

 

It’s classes like all of these that help you make all those connections. It’s classes like these that make you think. There’s a lot of things you can do on this planet. There’s absolutely no way that everything has been invented or discovered. What if you were the person that discovered the next big thing? And what if it was a class like one of these that got you there?

I guess we’ll all find out on the Internet when you write a book, be a guest on a talk show, or just create something better than the Internet. Who knows?

Making Time for Reading

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my first semester, it is that college is really hectic. Every day you have to get up, eat, run to catch the bus, and attend class. Then after studying and doing homework, it feels like you have no energy to do anything else! Last semester, I got caught up in that busy lifestyle, and I lost track of something that is really important to me–reading.

Although school may get really busy at times, and it might be hard to find time for fun, I have learned that it is really possible to make time for a hobby like reading! Here are some of the techniques that I have started using to incorporate reading into my daily schedule:

  1. Read an e-Book

Today, there are so many phone apps such as Nook, Kindle, or iBooks that make it really easy to take books with you wherever you go. I use these apps to add some reading into my day, either while I am either waiting for a class to start, waiting for a friend at the dining hall, or even while I am on the bus! Using a phone app means that there is a book waiting for you and it is literally a tap away. It is easy to use, and makes reading more convenient for the busy student and eager reader.

  1. When you make an agenda, add in reading time

As I make a list of all the tasks that I want to tackle for the day, I also make sure to include “Reading time” as one of them. Whether it be 10 mins, 30 mins or an hour, I make sure to remind myself to read each day so I don’t fall behind on my reading goals. Writing it down as a part of a daily schedule means that every time you look at your task list, you are reminded that reading is a part of your daily goals!

  1. Choose shorter books

During the semester, I choose short and exciting reads (mostly YA books). These books grab your attention very quickly and are usually very fast-paced, making it easier for you to stay interested in the book even while your head might be thinking about other things. Personally, I have noticed that if I try to start reading a long and dense book during the semester, I usually do not finish it. Sometimes I would forget what took place, or sometimes I would lose my emotional attachment to the characters and then have no motivation to continue reading the book. Also, reading shorter books means that you finish them more quickly. The more books I finish reading, the more motivated I get to read more!

books

A hefty book like the Hamilton biography might be harder to read during school since it is so long and dense. A smaller book like Throne of Glass is a quick read and captures interest quickly!

 

I hope these tips are helpful for anyone who wants to incorporate a little more reading in their daily lives. At school, it is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of homework, exams, and extracurriculars, but it is always worthwhile to add in some “me-time” for something relaxing and fun!

March New Book Releases!

Here are few books that just got released and you should take time to read them over break!

  1. The Night Ocean

This is a fictional story of Marina Willett’s husband named Charlie. He becomes obsessed with a famous 20th century horror writer named H.P. Lovecraft. Charlie is caught in one particular story of Lovecraft. This story is about a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow who lives with an “old gent” for two months. No one knows whether they were just friends or something more. Charlie think he solves this puzzle but something terrible happens and Charlie disappears. The police keep saying that he committed suicide, but Marina, a psychiatrist, doesn’t believe this. This story is filled with suspense, scandals, and much more.

2. One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter

This is a nonfictional story of an author named Saachi Koul. She is the daughter of two Indian immigrant parents who move to Canada. This is a compilation of satiric and fierce short stories of her growing up in Canada. She talks about the challenges of being an “outsider.” Not only this, but she also addresses other crucial issues faced by a woman of color. These issues include gender stereotypes of Western and Indian culture and racial tensions. This is book is a mixture of jokes and serious content.

3. Strange the Dreamer

This an epic fantasy novel about how a dream chooses the dreamer. The dreamer in this case is an orphan a junior librarian named Lazlo Strange. He has always wanted to be part of a dream about a mythical, lost city of Weep. However, this dream wants someone much braver than Strange. Fortunately, an opportunity comes knocking on Strange’s door: a hero with the name Godslayer and group of warriors are after the land of Weep. Strange must uncover the mystery behind how Weep even got into this deep trouble.

4. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit 

This is a true story of a twenty-year-old man named Christopher Knight. Knight leaves his home in Massachusetts and disappears into a forest. The shocking part is that Knight actually lives in the forest for 27 years! Knight uses his wits and courage to survive the brutal winter. Discover how he manages to arrange food, clothing, and other provisions as he struggles to keep himself alive for nearly three decades. It is a riveting story of solitude, tenacity, and self-exploration.

5. The Illusionist’s Apprentice 

You must have heard of the great magician Harry Houdini, but did you know about his one-time apprentice? It was a woman full of marvelous secrets. She was named Jenny “Wren” Lockhart. She gets entangled into the murder of Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini for his phony and treacherous tricks. When one of Stapleton’s acts goes wrong and a man is murdered,  Wren must do the unthinkable: defend Stapleton by forming an alliance with the FBI to prove Stapleton’s innocence. If you like magic, mystery, and illusions, then this is the story for you!

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.