School is Almost Here!!

I know summer is almost over. Long sunny days (actually mostly rainy days) are almost over. Time to get ready for shorter and colder months. And with the end of this summer, it’s time to go back to school! While a lot of you might be sad, I am actually really excited to come back to Rutgers University in a few weeks. As many of you know, this will be my last year at Rutgers. And more importantly, I know a lot of incoming freshmen are even more pumped up to start college at one of the best places in the country.

So let’s talk about some things many of us need to remember and what new students should know very much as well:

  1. Involvement Fair. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! This is the one-stop-place where you can learn and join so many different clubs, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations at Rutgers University. I have attended this every year, not just to manage my own organization haha, but because I love to learn about the different missions I could potentially contribute to at Rutgers. Freshmen: PLEASE COME! Clubs are the best way to connect with people and gain so many unique experiences at college. You do not want to miss this!
  2. Dorms. So as you know, I am a commuter so I don’t have too many tips on this. But I have learned many things since I have many friends who do live on campus. Firstly and most importantly, make preparations ASAP! Clothes, shoes, personal items, supplies, etc. Don’t try to pack more; try to pack smart. Dorm rooms, for the most part, aren’t huge so you can’t bring your entire room from home haha. Another very important thing is to develop confidence as well as a sense of openness. I’m going to be honest. As a commuter, one of the BIGGEST drawbacks is the inability to meet new people and connect with others in places other than in classes, lounges, clubs, and a few other places. As a dormer, keep your doors open, both literally and mentally. Meet new people and make new friends. Trust me, the beginning of school is the best time where people want to meet others and connect.
  3. Commuting. If you’re commuting, don’t worry, you can enjoy college as well! First of all, make sure to buy your parking permits on time. Busch and College Ave sell out really fast!! Also, try to make your schedule work with your commute in mind. You do not want to have an 8 A.M. class and then another class 5 hours later. What about meeting new people? Social psychology says the people who will connect with you best are those in close proximity and similarity to you. I’m talking about the people in your classes, especially sitting right next to you! If you didn’t know, Rutgers has a huge commuting student group. You can find them at the commuter lounges at Busch or even the cafeterias where all the food vendors are.
  4. Add Drop. So you probably will hear about this a lot, remember the first week of college is add-drop period. You can check out classes, see how you like it, and then decide to add or drop them even. This is all done through Webreg. I also recommend using Course Schedule Planner, Schedule of Classes sites and Rate My Professor.
  5. Books. Ok, textbooks are expensive. I really recommend you to try to find used versions or better options through Amazon, eBay, or even Facebook Rutgers groups! And sometimes you can even find PDFs of your textbooks online!
  6. Buses!! One of the things that might have pushed you not to come to Rutgers probably was the bus system. They might be hard to navigate and probably will be so crowded that you won’t get on, but it’s doable. Trust me. Download the Nextbus Rutgers App and it will tell you when the bus will be coming and even where it currently is. That app will literally be your best friend in the beginning months!

The last thing I want to talk about is meeting and talking to new people. This is hard, trust me I’m a bit of an introvert so I know. But honestly, everyone is a bit nervous to talk to someone completely new and a stranger to them. Our minds think, “Oh my gosh, what if I sound weird,” “What if he/she does not like me,” or “What if he/she does not want to even talk to me.”  STOP WITH THE WHAT IFS! Talking to someone new is a risk we CAN afford to take. And what’s the worst that can happen? The person is not interested and leaves. Who cares! There are a million more people you can try talking to next. But now I want you to think of what is possible. You can find someone who is taking the same class as you and from the same town as you. You can find someone who is also interested in a certain TV show. That “someone” can become a friend, and even one of your best friends or more. The pros outweigh the cons trust me! All it takes is 15 seconds of confidence and your life might even change!

I cannot wait to go back to Rutgers this Fall and enjoy every day I have left before I graduate in the spring. I have made some of my favorite memories here and I hope you do too! It’s gonna be a blast, trust me!!


Don’t Be Afraid To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Possibly the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in college is to push my boundaries and explore new opportunities. After all, college is the perfect time to discover yourself! While my first semester, I was more reserved and hesitant to try new things, I decided to make a change for my spring semester. Here are a few ways I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone:

1. Try new classes

Throughout high school, I generally tended to stay away from history and literature classes because I was not a fan of the humanities. I was much better and interested in math and science, so I filled up my schedule with mostly STEM-related classes. Coming into college, I was set on taking classes related to my neuroscience major and pre-med. The thought of having a schedule only filled with classes I wanted was so exciting.

Only biology and genetics and no Spanish and Language Arts and history?!?! 

It was like a dream come true. Only I soon realized it wasn’t the best thing in the world. I missed the balance of STEM and humanities classes that I’d always had in high school and my schedule felt empty. So, I decided to explore outside my interests and take a history class, culture class, and several other humanities courses. And, I’m so glad that I did. I think it’s fantastic that Rutgers and most colleges have core requirements that make you take a few courses in all subject areas. Otherwise, we’d all just stick to our majors and miss the point of a liberal arts education.

While I still am not a fan of the humanities, I really appreciate the skills I got to take away from the courses I enrolled in. It’s a nice break from the analytical and abstract science classes I take. It has given me critical thinking skills and helped me form informed perspectives on current political and world issues.

2. Join new clubs.

In high school, I wasn’t much of an “extracurricular” person. Sure, I’d participated in a few clubs, but academics was always my main priority. I wanted to change that in college. The college admission process really opened my eyes because I realized that anyone can have a 4.0 GPA and a 1600 on the SAT. What really matters are your extracurriculars and your unique experiences that set you apart from the rest.

I was excited to get involved on campus, but as a commuter, I wasn’t quite sure how to. I didn’t know if I had the time commitment, I didn’t know if I would be able to socialize well, and I didn’t know if I had the guts to join clubs that I had no prior experience in. After a complete year in college, I can honestly say that all of that is irrelevant as long as you are willing to try something new.

One by one, I started looking up organizations online, reaching out to clubs, and joining organizations. Something that I’d always wanted to do was write and have people actually read my writing, but I was scared to put myself out there. But I finally decided to let go of that fear and I joined two blogs my freshman year. The experience has been so rewarding.  I also joined the Rutgers Commuter Student Association and it was the best decision I made so far! It’s given me a sense of community and family in a big school like Rutgers.

3. Look for leadership opportunities.

College is a great place to get a feel for the real world. There are so many opportunities available to help you gather all the skills you need to succeed, so don’t be afraid to take them!

This past semester, I would always see opportunities to become part of the E-Board for student organizations. At first, I’d think to myself: “This would look great on my resume!” But then I’d back down because I’d think I didn’t have enough experience or ability to apply for such positions. If there is anything I’ve learned so far, it is that you never know what will and can happen.

As Nike would say, JUST DO IT! Even if you don’t get the position, it’s still a great experience applying and interviewing. It refines your writing and public speaking skills.  Even though I didn’t get the first few positions I had applied for, I wasn’t disappointed. I just kept going. Soon enough, opportunities started lining up, and I found myself with five leadership positions just my first year here!

4. Make new friends.

This one is a little personal for me and not everyone might be able to relate. As an introvert and a commuter, I have a hard time making and maintaining new friends on campus. During my first semester, I found myself alone a lot of the time and relying on my high school friends. I came very close to accepting the fact that I’d be alone all of college and have no luck with friends.

But, then something changed. I decided I didn’t want to have that mentality anymore. I wasn’t having any luck because I wasn’t trying at all to meet new people. I had to remember that everyone in some way was struggling and lonely. I had to put myself out there. As soon as I started feeling positive and put a smile on, good things started happening. I started talking to more people, hanging out, going to more events, and letting go of only sticking to my high school friends.

Even though college doesn’t really allow for having constant friends, it’s still great for enjoying the moment with those that are around you and having good conversations. The more I joined clubs and got involved, the more people I got to know.

Freshman year was just the beginning. It was the first step outside my comfort zone in a long flight of stairs of unexplored terrains. I’m so excited about my next three years here at Rutgers and I’m eagerly anticipating what the future holds. College can be the best four years of your life if you are open to letting yourself loose!

How to Get Work Done, Like Actually

A new year and a new semester has begun, so you know what that means. A new you! Just kidding. As someone who doesn’t believe in temporary new year resolutions, I try my best to set long-term goals for myself.  Specifically, I like taking tangible and practical steps to improve myself, rather than creating fluffy and whimsical hopes like “I will work hard this year!” for myself.

Keeping a clear goal of getting working done efficiently and without distraction in mind, I have come up with six ways that are actually effective when it’s time to be productive.  These are things I’ve picked up after years of experimenting which conditions work best for me. Keep in mind that they may not apply to everyone.  Without further ado, I present to you ways to actually get work done.

1. Self Control

The biggest hindrance to being productive is all the distractions that are present around us. Especially if the work involves using a computer or the Internet, social media, YouTube and texts are just waiting to interrupt your work ethic. I know it’s hard, but do yourself a favor and keep your phone on Airplane Mode or your Mac on Do Not Disturb when there’s a big assignment due.  Your notifications can wait. Also, resist the urge to keep checking your email or Facebook so often.  Just attempt to not click on those websites for a certain period of time. Not working? That’s okay.

Possible solutions include:

  • Delete bookmarks of distracting website so it is not so easy to reach them
  • Do not have them open in other tabs. Just close them.
  • If you still cannot control yourself, then the most effective solution is getting a website blocker. If you have a Mac, you can download Self-Control. It is one of the best ones I’ve ever used. Once you block the websites for x amount of time, you cannot undo that action.  You have to wait it out. Instead of crying out of regret, might as well use that time to work!

2. Organization

It is so important to keep your life organized to get work done.  This includes everything. Keep your work environment clean: a clean desk, a desktop with minimal apps and a clear state of mind. Most importantly, having a schedule and to-do list is a must. I never understood the point of planning out my day and writing down what assignments I have to complete in one place. I’d think it’s too tedious and extra. But, trust me- it helps so much. Instead of trying to memorize your tasks or logging them in ten different places on your phone, have a homework or reminder app that keeps it all in one place. I recommend iStudiez, myHomework Student Planner, and The Homework App. You can upload your entire schedule and class times on it. It’s a great way to mark your due dates and set priority for your assignments.

3. Determination

No matter how distraction-free and organized you become, it’s all useless if you don’t like what you are doing. And I get it, sometimes the task is mundane and uninteresting. So, if you have a list of tasks to complete, save the one you are most excited about until the end.  This way, you have something to look forward to.  Most often, the boring assignments are the ones that are the most time-consuming and take the most effort. Get them done first when you have the most energy. Leave the fun stuff for later.

4. Rewards

If you are doing something that takes a long time to complete, break it down into sections.  For example, if you have to read 50 pages, reward yourself after every 10-15 pages with a YouTube video.  If you have been working for 2 hours at a stretch, watch an episode of Parks and Rec on Netflix.  If you have a lot of tasks to complete, take a break after finishing two.  Try to manage your time well by either giving complete focus to your work or truly relaxing during your break time. Do not attempt to do both because it just slows everything down.

5. Be Excited

Time flies when you have fun, doesn’t it? Well, guess what? Work can actually be fun when you like what you are doing. Just think about. Say you are really passionate about biology. Anytime you do biology homework, you give it your complete attention and finish quickly. So, even if you are doing work that doesn’t excite you, try to find things that are exciting about it. For example, if you have to write a research paper to complete, and you hate finding sources, but love writing, look forward to that. If you are reading a history textbook and find it boring, try to formulate it as a story in your head to connect ideas and events. If you don’t understand a concept and are more of a visual learner, find videos and graphics online to clear your doubts. Even the dullest things become exciting when you understand them well!

6. Just do it.

Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” is pretty motivational. The best way to stop stressing about a task is to just do it and get it over with. Procrastination makes things worse. Instead of worrying about your workload and complaining about how much you are not looking forward to doing work, actually being productive is much more efficient. Once you start working, it becomes easy and you feel a burden lifted off of your shoulder.

Remember kids, it’s all about your motivation and prioritization. With just a little bit of self-control and a few rewards along the way, nothing can stop you from hustling hard.


Why We Love Rutgers!

Happy October! With leaves falling, colors changing, sweatshirts finally coming out of the closet, and pumpkin-flavored everything, it’s hard to believe we were just in the lull of the lazy, hot days of summer. But now, we have finished one whole month of surviving classes and surviving the dining halls, so let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. We wanted to take some time today to share with you our favorite things from this past month at Rutgers as well as what we think makes Rutgers, well Rutgers.


One of my favorite thing about Rutgers, especially the first semester, is FOOTBALL!!!! Yes, I know we do not win games. Yes, I also know I don’t know the first thing about football. And yes, I know I can no longer get meal-swipe chicken nuggets because I no longer have meal swipes (It’s a tough life to be an off-campus senior). BUT, there is nothing that makes me feel more like part of the student body, more like a Rutgers Scarlet Knight than standing on the bleachers every Saturday game, chanting and singing and cheering along with the sea of scarlet and black around me. It is such a fun experience being surrounded by people who are so passionate about your school, whether they be your roommates, or those friends that you haven’t seen since freshman year, or the alumni who come back with their kids at least one game a season just because they just love it too. If you haven’t gone to a football game yet, I highly encourage it. It is 100% a REVOLUTIONARY experience (ha ha get it?) – Fairooz K.

I commute, and I take pretty credit-intensive course loads just due to the nature of my physics major. So, I don’t actually do a lot of activities and such on campus. However, because of one of my jobs, the events I really like are Rutgers’ Day, which is the school-wide event in the spring, and an event that’s pretty specific to my job, which are the annual Faraday Shows. One of my jobs is working in the Physics Lecture Hall building, if any of you guy’s have classes there; I set up demonstrations and help maintain stuff in that building. For Rutgers’ Day, our boss hosts a show where he does physics demonstrations, which may not sound that exciting, but he really is an amazing showman. So he does a physics show that mostly younger kids attend, but anyone is welcome to come, and before that show starts, his workers (me included) stand outside the building and do a few physics demonstrations ourselves, which is pretty neat actually getting to teach a concept, makes ya feel smart. The same thing is done around the December holiday season for the Faraday Shows, and it’s fun seeing all the little kids get excited for these demos. It’s cool seeing kids actually get excited by physics (I try to talk to my family about this stuff and they get annoyed with me in like a matter of minutes I’m so insulted). – Becky K.

The number of people at Rutgers initially made me nervous, but it has easily become my favorite thing about this school. There are many perks to going to such a large college. I see new people every single place that I go, which is nice because I can potentially make new friends every day, but at the same time I don’t get sick of seeing the same people all the time. I think it would be a little overwhelming to never see familiar faces, so the splitting of the campus into five smaller ones allows me to run into people that I already know when I am on home on College Ave. As annoying as it can sometimes be to take a bus everywhere, having five different campuses means that I get to experience going to school in urban, suburban, and rural environments, and there is an always event with free food happening somewhere. Because Rutgers has so many people to cater to, there are enough clubs, activities, majors, and classes to interest every person. School spirit is very important to me, so I love knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of students and alumni walking around who are equally as proud to be Scarlet Knights as I am. – Nishita Patel

What I love most about Rutgers, in addition to all the games and the food, is the overall sense of belonging one achieves through spending time here. I dorm, but at the same time I don’t live too far from home, and I go home on most weekends, but while at Rutgers, I try to find the clubs, the classes, and the opportunities that make me go “Yes, that is me in the vision I see of this.” So far, over these past three years, I’ve been feeling more and more like I fit in perfectly with the enormous community here. There are so many opportunities to get involved, and many ways for everyone to tailor their own schedules, and at the same time, if new things feel a bit overwhelming, I can always turn to close by old friends and family to keep me motivated. Out of any other college, Rutgers is enormous, inclusive, and is the happy medium between my growing community at Rutgers and my past existing community back home in Edison. Of course, the fat sandwiches don’t disappoint, but one day will come where I can finish a full one without feeling like I ate an elephant. Maybe my sense of belonging is with those who can’t finish one no matter how hard they try… – Neelay Inamdar

When I got my schedule, I was initially disappointed to see that most of my classes were on Douglass.  Douglass. The campus that no one wants to be on.  I’d heard that it was boring, lonely, etc… Yet, when I first got off the REX B bus onto College Hall, I was pleasantly surprised.  I liked it.  Now, I cannot speak for everyone, but I absolutely loved the peaceful, rural vibe of Douglass. It was full of trees and quiet- perfect for studying! Some of my favorite spots to study on Douglass include the Mabel Smith Douglass Library and the Douglass Student Center.  The Douglass Library is one of the best ones in Rutgers.  It’s small and aesthetic.  Also, side fact, I was amazed that students gets $30 worth of free printing money which equates up to 750 pages! The student center has great study spots, including a commuter lounge.  Plus, there’s a Dunkin Donuts inside as well! While College Ave and Livingston seem like the life of Rutgers, Douglass is beautiful in its own way, and I’m glad I got a chance to experience it – Raaga Rambhatla

One of my favorite things about Rutgers, other than the people and the things to do, is the size. While going from campus to campus on the buses is sometimes a struggle (7 LX buses and 2 B buses passed before a REXL came), to me there’s something reassuring in knowing that I have four campuses to choose from, whether it’s visiting the Geology Museum or eating out on College Ave, or visiting Passion Puddle and the farm on Cook Douglass. Each campus is unique in its own way, yes, even Busch, who I have heard referred to as an “industrial wasteland” with the construction. But even then, the leaves of the ginkgo trees by the medical school continue to turn bright yellow in the fall year after year, while on Livingston, there’s the ecological preserve to gawk at trees and the Cinema to watch the latest movies. In addition to the whole host of study nooks and crannies on each campus, there’s so many opportunities out there and so many wonderful people to meet! – Jenny X.

My biggest fear about Rutgers was not being able to get my fresh start in college because so many people from my high school would be coming to Rutgers as well. However, I was still able to start fresh and find a group of people that where I felt I belonged. What I love about Rutgers is the opportunities. Regardless of what your interests may be whether it be singing, Irish dancing, debating, there is a niche for everyone here at Rutgers, and despite what you may think everyone comes to Rutgers with the hopes of a clean slate, so you can always be completely yourself and find a group of like-minded people where you belong! – Aarohi Apte

So in college, many people tend to gain weight. There are so many changes that is going on in your life such as lack of sleep, stress, and diet changes. With all these changes, I think that it’s very important to maintain a healthy diet to maintain a healthy life. In my opinion the dining hall food here is really good (shout out to Neilson), however I initially found it hard to eat healthy. There was so much pasta and pizza and the lettuce did not look appetizing at first. I didn’t notice that changes immediately, but I wasn’t as active and alert as I used to be and I never really felt satisfied. After freshmen year, I decided that I need a change in my diet. So at the start of this semester, I forced myself to make salad every time I went to the dining hall and it was surprisingly good. If you had some chicken or beans (if you are a vegetarian), then it gets really good with a little bit of pasta then you get a wholesome meal. I usually have this everyday, and I honestly feel fuller and a lot of energetic (although I am exercising more than I did last year). There are so many benefits to maintaining a healthy diet such as increase in academic scores, more energy, and less depression. – Akhila M

Need a place to chillax, rejuvenate, and/or study and work? Well, dear reader, I propose Hidden Grounds! One of my favorite places on Rutgers (and on Earth), Hidden Grounds is a coffee and tea café with a friendly, inviting atmosphere I certainly vibe with. Enjoy a warm, delicious Nutella Mocha or a calming, refreshing Rose Iced Chai with perhaps a famous Bombay Sandwich, while you work on assignments—or chat with friends—surrounded by some mellow tunes. I’ve never had coffee THIS good in an environment that’s filled with SUPER-AWESOME energy. My metaphorical home is located at 106 Easton Ave. Give it a shot—and get some espresso shots while you’re at it! 😉 – Tanya B.

One of my favorite things about Rutgers is the countless opportunities there are for everything! You have literally hundreds of choices for everything. For example, if you want to join a club, then there are over a hundred clubs. If you are looking for a place to study, then I will guarantee you that you will find a place that will cater to your needs. For instance, if you like to study in quiet places, then you have the third floor of Library of Science of Medicine on Busch, Alexander library’s beautiful lounges, and even Douglass’ artsy study areas. If you like it bright and not terribly quiet, then the Academic Building on College Avenue campus is probably the place for you! Now, let’s not forget about how many food choices we have! From Burger King, and Chipotle, and Popeyes in New Brunswick downtown to Qdoba, Henry’s Diner, and Asian Fusion on Livingston, food variety is not a concern. Don’t forget the multiple Starbucks on College Avenue and Moe’s on Busch campus as well! Whatever you are thinking of doing, you can find a way to do it here at Rutgers. It is crazy and so amazing. There’s never a dull moment! – Aishwarya Madhikar

A lot of the time, my schedule includes a class in the morning and a class in the evening. Being a commuter student, I don’t have a dorm room to go to in between classes. I have to find other places that I can spend my time and be productive. Of course it is always nice to go to the library to get work done, but sometimes I get bored and need a change. One of my favorite places is the Starbucks on Livingston. I personally really like the “coffee-shop” ambiance, so I don’t mind the noise level. I also like to study at the Academic Buildings on College Ave. They have really comfortable couches and the view from the huge windows is really beautiful! On Busch, I sometimes go to the learning center at the SERC, which is a really great place to study if you don’t feel like going to the library! If you are like me and frequently need a change of atmosphere to be more productive, there are a ton of great places to check out on each campus! – Amanda Siriram

One of the few things that I wish I knew about when I came to Rutgers was where to
get the best food. As a commuter, I tried to save money by not buying a meal plan.
Instead, I opted to get food from the food vendors around and in the student centers
whenever I needed to. So here are some of my favorite places:
1. Woody’s – A secret deli located deep within the Busch campus. Here you will not
only find RWJ medical students and pharmacy kids, but also you will find a fantastic
deli, salad bar, and convenience store.
2. Busch Campus Center – Moe’s Bar, Gerlanda’s, Szechwan Ichiban, and the
convenience store. Great diversity of foods. From sushi to burritos to pizza to wraps,
Busch campus center offers one of the best student center food options!
3. College Ave Student Center –  Just like the BCC, the CA student center also offers
many choices of food options. King Pita, Gerlanda’s (again lol), Subway, Wendys.
There are so many choices that you will be wondering what you wanna eat! – Saad Mansuri


RU Top 4 Eats

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I’m a commuter, and I’m hungry. ALL the time. And I spend most of my time (and money) at my top 4 favorite RU food destinations (when my lunchbox from home is empty, but my pockets aren’t). What are they? Read to find out, of course.

#4: Henry’s Diner ~ Livingston Plaza

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I honestly couldn’t decide if I wanted to place Henry’s at a tie with #3 (which shall remain unnamed for now). Apart from offering an aesthetic atmosphere, Henry’s also provides what seems like an unlimited amount of meals to choose from on the menu (that’s designed to look and feel like a newspaper, by the way!). You want eggs? Well, there’ll probably be more than twenty ways to have them. You want chicken? Prepare yourself to choose from a variety of chicken dish combinations. Orrrr, do you want to have pasta? Then you can Build Your Own Pasta Bowl!! What I’m saying here is that there’s a lot you can choose from when it comes to Henry’s. And the food itself? It won’t let you down. I usually have Chicken Marsala or Chicken Parm, which comes with a side of veggies and your choice of starch–rice or pasta. And the pasta bowls are so creamy and definitely exceed expectations. These dishes are super delish and extremely filling. Last time, my friend and I left with a food coma because there was so much “GOOD” to eat. Alas, Henry’s falls on the expensive spectrum for us college students, but hey, if you want a nice lunch out once in a while, this is the place to go!

#3: Moe’s ~ Busch Campus Center

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Moe’s: my go-to place to eat with my best friend! After a long lecture, this is the food we choose to dig in to cool off and rejuvenate. It’s quite healthy–a salad-like bowl that you build, with free tortilla chips and salsa in your bag (that’s designed like Mad Libs, by the way!) It’s a lot like Chipotle, so if you’re looking for something similar without taking the A or H bus to College Ave, then this is for you!

#2: Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant ~ College Ave; Easton

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Ever wonder what Middle Eastern food tastes like? After going to Mamoun’s, you will definitely know. Mamoun’s offers authentic Middle Eastern dishes, along with some beautiful Middle Eastern music! The chicken kebob sandwich is. AMAZING. That’s what I have every single time I go there, because I truly can never get enough of it. It’s  marinated cubes of juicy chicken with lettuce and tomatoes stuffed inside soft, fluffy pita bread. Tahini sauce, made from tahini paste (crushed sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic, and water, is generously added inside this sandwich. I always ask for feta cheese in that sandwich as well, because why not? (Remember, folks, there is never “too much cheese” in this world.) Aaaand, of course, Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant proffers the best and real falafel on the East Coast. Falafel, or deep-fried balls of finely ground chickpeas, onions, parsley, garlic, and spices, also comes in a sandwich option at Mamoun’s. Try this restaurant–you won’t be disappointed!

#1: Hidden Grounds ~ College Ave; Easton


This, my friends, is only one of the many pictures of my coffee from Hidden Grounds. Not only does this fantastic coffee shop have stunning latte art, but it also has one of the best coffee concoctions ever. EVER. That up there is a cup of Nutella Mocha–coffee, but with the perfect amount of chocolate sweetness drizzled in. Every cup I have at Hidden Grounds is steamed, stirred, and served with actual perfection. The atmosphere of this place will make you want to whip out your notebook and just start scribbling away. The suave wooden surfaces of the tables, chairs, stools, and counters are simple, but just so soothing, and they also make an ideal setting for a date. 😉 There’s also food available here, from the Bombay Sandwich to Vegan Cookie Brittle! I just adore Hidden Grounds, and it’s my favorite place at Rutgers, not to mention on Earth.

Hope y’all visit these excellent places for a bite–or drink–at one point!

Economical Entertainment: Cheap things to do as a Student

So this spring break I’ve been taking advantage of a lot of student discounts. However, I think the best deal I got was at RU Cinema. I got to see MoonlightLogan, and Get Out all on the same day for just $17. So I thought I’d list here some of the available cheap versions of entertainment available to Rutgers students.

  1. RU Cinema

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This is a really good deal, particularly if you bring your own snacks. It’s $5 per movie before 6 and $7 after 6, which is insane when considering how much tickets at a normal movie theater cost. Now granted, they only show 2-3 movies at a time, so you’re limited to what they have, but they’re mostly the good or popular movies, so it’ll satisfy most people.

2. Zimmerli Art Museum

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This is a great art gallery and admission is free! There’s always Art After Hours the first Tuesday of every month. My personal favorite is when, during the last reading day before finals, they stay open all night so you can study in the Art exhibits. It’s always really empty and is a really good change of scenery.

3. Performance Groups

Be it the many choirs on campus, dance groups, or theater companies, there’s always some sort of performance going on on campus. Not all are free, but a lot have free tickets available through the Honors Program if you keep your eye on the newsletter.

3. Honors Program Trips

People should really check the newsletters because there seems to be boundless opportunities for free entertainment, be it tickets to the symphony, trips to museums in NYC, or film screenings around campus.

4. RUPA Events

One of my favorite memories from my freshman year is of a friend and I going to a Mystery Dinner Theater run by RUPA. One person at every table was assigned a role and they had everyone go around introducing their character. When they go to the last table, they asked the character to stand up and this six foot guy just shouted back at the host, “I can’t stand, I’m Teddy Roosevelt,” leading to an uproar of laughter from everyone else in the room while his friend explained this was the other President Roosevelt. Outside of that they have a bunch of events every week ranging from quiz nights to broadway shows, it’s just a matter of signing up quickly enough to get a seat.

3. Rutgers Radio Stations

Available from Rutgers Radio and the Core both online and free, my favorite combination. They also provide a really diverse set of programming

4. The Library

I’m kind of mad at myself for not realizing this sooner, but you can borrow DVDs from the library. Not a lot, but as the kind of person who spent three months out of their childhood watching Rear Window every night, it’s nice to have access to them without having to pay for them on Amazon. Not to mention the number of films and plays that are available to stream from the libraries website. It’s useful for some classes and it’s just fun to see what they have if I can’t find it anywhere online that doesn’t cost money/is legal.

5. Cheap transportation

Now if you want to do something in NYC outside of a planned group trip, there are discount bus tickets available for $17(for reference a typical round trip train ticket from New Brunswick costs $28). If you’re going regularly, it’s probably better to get the monthly pass from NJ Transit, but I went to the Met Opera for the first time last week (in the cheap $27 seats on the top floor) and that was a real money saver.

The End is Near

This is my last month as a sophomore. Yes, I know it’s not very dramatic; I’m not graduating or starting a new chapter of my life or anything of that tear-inducing, life-changing sort. But I am terrified. This designates that I will have finished half of my undergraduate college experience and will have to start preparing for internships, jobs, career choices, and post-undergraduate plans. That’s all extremely scary to me, so rather than thinking about that, I think I’ll just focus on something a little less scary – finals.

We’re in the middle of reading days. And right after that we have finals after finals after finals. Whether that means staying up all night to finish a 15 page paper or trying to figure out whether to tackle Orgo first or Physics or Chemistry, one of the biggest parts of finals is learning how to best prepare for these essential two weeks.


So rather than being like our buddy Spongebob here, here are some tips on how to organize yourself for finals so you’re not staring at a blank word document for five hours straight and calling it “progress”.

  1. Calendar Calendar Calendar.

I cannot emphasize how near and dear I hold Google Calendar to my heart. I have all of my finals color-coded red so I know right away when a final is while final papers, group project submissions, or review sessions are different colors so I can look at it super quickly and know what to expect. I also have a physical desk calendar with important dates on it as well, and that may seem a little excessive, but when I sit down at my desk ready to prop open my laptop and binge-watch Gilmore Girls, my little calendar on my desk menacingly mocks me. So I stop, hide my laptop, and pull out my Management textbook instead.


Sample Google Calendar

2.  Don’t try to tackle everything together.

You will just end up looking like the above picture. Instead, using your newly picked-up organizational skills via your calendar, divide your week and divide your day into sections. Maybe designate the first reading day to studying your hardest subject and figure out your weaknesses in that topic so you can hone in on those areas later. Break up the next day into working on a paper or a project, taking a mid-day break, and then studying from a textbook. Change it up a little so you’re not just staring at a book the whole day, but make sure you have a plan, and more importantly, make sure you stick to that plan.

3. Change up the scenery.


Freshman year, I used to think that if I exiled myself into my dorm’s silent lounge for the entire day, I would be my most productive. Boy, was I wrong. Rather than focusing for hours straight, I would start counting the holes in the ceiling or wonder how many years the carpet had been there. Being in a monotonous room for hours just made me unfocused and desperate to leave, so my mind would always be elsewhere. So I started switching up my study places. First of all, I chose to leave the dorm because it was so close to my bed, to my friends, and to my food: all very tempting distractions. I ended up studying often at Sage Library, the Zimmerli Art Museum, and Starbucks. Starbucks was a clear winner for me because I am someone who cannot study in complete silence; I need a little bit of bustle. And coffee. If you’ve met me, you know my blood is mostly composed of caffeine.

But try out new places, ask your friends for suggestions, and see what kind of environment works best for you. Some people need to be in complete silence when working–for that I recommend finding a library on your campus or even going home for the weekend/week to study. But if you need a little bit of noise, find a coffee store or go to the dining hall. I personally studied for every Physics exam at Livingston Dining Hall, with a calculator in one hand and a burger in the other. No regrets.

4.  If available, take practice tests.


If your professor has given you practice tests or you have quizzes in a class or even if you were able to keep your old exams, I highly recommend going through them. Not only will they help you figure out what to expect, but they will let you hone in on your weak spots so you’ll know how to manage spending your time.

5. Get plenty of rest.

All-nighters are not a study technique. Look up any article or any study done on all-nighters and they will all tell you the same thing: they’re not effective. In fact, your brain retains information best when sleeping. So get sleep, stay hydrated, and don’t hurt your body. If you follow all of the tips above, pulling an all-nighter should not even be an option.

With that, I wish you all the best of luck as we approach the last of our finals. You can do this, I believe in you!brace-yourselves-1gzq5me

Hidden Tunnels ‘Round Busch Campus

So… I lied. They’re not actually hidden nor are they tunnels, but they do escape most people’s notice. And they’re perfect to use if it’s cold or raining and you really don’t want to walk outside. This pathway that I’ve managed to carve out–with the help of various others–is what I use when I really don’t want to brave anything in the wilderness that is Busch Campus (and outside). Admittedly, it’s not helpful to get you to ARC (Allison Road Classrooms, for those who don’t know what building this is), but it’ll lead you to the Hill Center bus stop, Physics Lecture Hall, and SERC (Science and Engineering Resource Center).

If you walk around Busch campus, you’ll notice that there are some connecting hallways between buildings; these are key to the pathway. Below, I’ve put together a slideshow that’ll lead you through the maze. I hope it helps!

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There Is No Finish Line

Over the past three years, I have occasionally made it out for a run, but most of the time it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Or an attractive one. I did enjoy trips to the “river path” (Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail), where I took a few snapshots of the seasons. I am ashamed to say that I put more effort into taking these pictures than I did into the actual runs. Despite my effort, they did not even come out that well, but they should give you an idea of how beautiful the tow path is.

IMG_7665 IMG_7666My whole life I have been of the opinion that nobody “actually” likes running. I am a distance swimmer at heart. Running always seemed painful and sweaty and never really appealed to me. I think that Parks and Rec adequately summarized this point of view, which was undoubtedly shared by many of us.


That being said, I have always wanted to finish a triathlon. I have also always been impressed by people that can just go out and enjoy a run everyday. For these reasons, I made it my goal this summer to learn to tolerate running–I challenged myself to thirty days of what I thought would be endless torture. Not for distance, not for time, but to become comfortable with the idea of huffing and puffing while moving my legs really fast on the ground. For me, this was a big step. I would like to share what I’ve learned, in case anybody else is interested in doing something similar.

After my 30 days, I continue to go out on runs several times a week. I feel great, I incidentally lost “finals weight” (no thanks to you, Hansel and Griddle banana flip smoothies), I am madly in love with our beautiful school and community, and I find that I look forward to my runs. When I run I clear my head and relax. Even just 20-30 minutes between my job and homework is immensely satisfying and improves my mood. Now I look forward to increasing my speed and distance! It took a few weeks to form the habit and now I can’t get enough.

There are so many things you can experience if you just get out the door. You become conscious of the community you’re living in. You become a part of this new mysterious group of people- the “runners” that “actually” like running. If you run through parks, you start to notice the animals. Turtles, deer, beavers, foxes, turkeys… You watch the seasons bloom. You start to plan to see sunsets and sunrises. Not to mention that this is the only body you have–you might as well nourish it, take care of it and challenge it.


  1. Sometimes it feels like your life is spinning out of control. Maybe you’ve got too much to balance, too much to handle, too much to study. I find that even a half hour run in the middle of my day relaxes me, helps me think and motivates me to study harder, work harder, get more stuff done!
  2. Running strengthens your immune system, prevents high blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, and improves your sleep quality. Running is also linked to neurogenesis–neuronal cell formation–which is important in memory formation and learning. Instead of pulling an all nighter and cramming all day during finals, get a full night of sleep and take breaks to exercise. You’ll be more efficient while studying.
  3. Unfortunately life isn’t a pool and you can’t swim to class. But you can run just about anywhere and you don’t need any equipment (except good sneakers that won’t hurt your feet). This is a form of exercise that you can do anywhere at any time–free of charge.
  4. Fun 5ks. Rutgers has many of these throughout the year–color run, mud run, big chill, glow in the dark…
  5. There is no reason that you can’t fit in half an hour of exercise in your day. There is no excuse. Your brain, your body and your future self will thank you.
  6. Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins. Running makes you happy. This is the science of happiness. Go and grab some for yourself. It will also boost your confidence and every time you achieve a new goal you’ll feel a surge of pride!


  • Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail (you won’t get enough of this place, I promise)

River Path

  • Buccleugh Park


  • Johnson Park


  • Cook/Douglass


  • Ecological Preserve
  • Explore, explore, explore!


  • Find a friend to run with. Running with my best friend made an average day into one of the best I’ve had at Rutgers.
  • Make it an adventure–for example, run to the zoo in Johnson Park to feed the friendly pony a snack. Then you’re stuck because you’ve got not choice but to run back. (Yes, Rutgers has a little zoo)

My New Friend

  • Go to sleep in your running clothes (not sneakers). I thought this was ridiculous at first, but when you wake up in your running shorts man do you feel motivated.
  • Make it a date… unless you’d rather not present yourself in that way in which case you can…
  • … make it a bet. Challenge yourself. Challenge your friends. Hold each other accountable.
  • Follow a bunch of fitness Instagrams, Tumblrs and blogs for extra motivation!
  • Make a delicious meal before you go running, so you can eat it as soon as you get back. Hopefully your housemates won’t eat it… =(
  • Buy new running clothes. Break them in.
  • Remember that you won’t ever regret exercising. What you do today will add to your progress. A week from now you’ll be happy that you started today.
  • Create running playlists… listen to audiobooks… listen to lectures… (or the new Alesso album, to each his own). I’m always motivated to go on longer runs when I’m listening to an amazing new album.
  • Plan to watch sunsets and sunrises.
  • Watch House of Cards, be motivated by Claire Underwood’s morning runs, get your life together.
  • Even if it’s the last thing in the world you want to do, put on your running gear and sneakers. Go outside. I find that the motivation to get out of the house is the hardest part. Take it a small step at a time. Most of the time when you’re already outside, the motivation will follow.
  • Most importantly, exercise because you love your body, because you want to nourish it and take care of it. Exercise to challenge yourself and to keep your heart and brain healthy and happy.