Tips to Make Friends at RU

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Hm, I don’t really think there is a step-by-step guide–that effectively works–to make friends. That’s because making friends is a process. And processes sometimes mean taking steps back to go forward. Now, keeping that in mind, it must be somewhat difficult to make friends in a huge community like Rutgers. Classes constantly change, and so do dormitory arrangements, and if you’re a commuter, it might even seem impossible to find a friend. But it’s not! You can make a big place smaller–forming bonds with people–but you can’t make a small place bigger. So here are some tips to help you build meaningful friendships:

1: Talk!

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Yes, being a chattermouth may work to your advantage at Rutgers! In classes, especially if they’re in lecture halls, you may feel like you’re just another student in the crowd. Simply turning to a person near you and saying “Hi” can really make a difference! Now, I know that introducing yourself to a stranger may not be “simple” at all. But this is one of the first steps of the friend-making process: putting yourself out there. Introducing yourself signals to the other person that you’re willing to be open-minded. Chances are, the people around you are also scared and just looking for someone to chat with and connect to. In smaller classes, such as those that take place in classrooms, talking to someone may be just as intimidating. Something that has helped me make friends is contributing to small group discussions. When we’re done talking about the assigned topic/question, I try introducing a question of my own–“How is everybody doing today?” That gets the conversation started and soon enough, my group members and I are asking each other about where we’re from, what we’re studying, and other “getting-to-know-you” questions. Try it!

2: Make Plans

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So once you’ve established a connection with a new person, how do you go about sustaining it? One way is to pipe up and suggest that y’all do something together. Remember, this doesn’t have to be as lavish as heading to a fancy dinner place! In fact, try inviting them for a cup of coffee or to attend a campus event together. Even asking them if they’d like to study with you for that class is a great way to keep the relationship going. During whatever you guys choose to do, you’ll see that you almost automatically start conversing about several things, sharing details/experiences in your life—things like that. Ultimately, humans like to know that they’re not alone; therefore, we want to make connections and hope they last long. 

3: Keep in Contact

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Oftentimes, when semesters end, the friends you worked hard to make suddenly disappear. Now you guys don’t have classes together, don’t take the same bus routes, don’t live on the same dorm floor. Whatever the case may be, you still both have the ability to keep in touch. This is even more possible nowadays, with all the technology and social media that surround us. Make use of these tools! Once in a while, pop a text to your friend from last semester’s Literature class and ask how they’re doing. How are their new classes? How are their professors and the work load? Would they like to meet up? The last question may be a hard one to type out for some people. What if that friend doesn’t really want to hang out anymore? Of course, there are a lot of What If’s, but if you don’t try asking, how will you know the answer? Challenge yourself; give it a shot! 

***

Undoubtedly, friends you might’ve been close to for years may grow apart, for a number of reasons. That’s something difficult to go through, but it’s not the end of the world. Friends come and go. There are so many people out there for you to befriend. I’m not saying finding new friends will replace the valuable relationship you might’ve had with someone, but it definitely will give you hope that you do have people who care about you. You just gotta find them!

–Tanya B.

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Cool Websites

Hello everyone! It’s finally fall!! Yay! In this cold weather what better thing is there to do besides wrapping yourself in a blanket, sitting on the bed, and surfing the web? I thought this month I would share with you a compilation of websites that are weird, cool, and/or useful. Enjoy and be sure to check out the websites you find interesting!

    1. Brain Pickings

This is a blog run by an MIT Fellow student named Maria Popova. She basically amasses thought-provoking content in pretty much any subject you can think of including philosophy, art, history, politics, anthropology and more! She recently wrote about how the tale of Big Wolf & Little Wolf  teaches us about the importance of friendship and having a sense of belonging. If you would like delve into topics and love to ponder upon things in the world, then this is the site for you!

2. TED


I am sure, or at least I hope, most if not all of you have heard of TED. TED hosts many talks that are truly inspirational and amazing. From the newest breakthroughs in science to how to start a good habit, TED talks will keep you updated on the most innovative and enriching discoveries happening around the world. My personal favorite would be there inspirational videos. In particular, I loved “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” talk given by Mel Robbins, “Why 30 is not the new 20” by Dr. Meg Jay, and “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” given by Celeste Headlee.

3. The Useless Web

Okay, so this is when you are so terribly bored that you don’t really care about what website you want to go to. The Useless Web will take you to pointless, but somehow entertaining websites that might just cure your boredom. All you do is click the “Please” button and, voila, you’re directed to a unique site each time. Oh the places you’ll go. You’ll never know where you’ll be directed! Have fun. I definitely thought this site was perfect for when you have just taken a brutal midterm and don’t really want to start that episode of your show you’re obsessed with because you know you’ll end up watching for at least 3 hours

4. Giphy

Please embrace yourself for this one. This is a website filled with GIFs of every possible thing you can imagine. Not only can you search for endless GIFs, but also make one of your own!

5. Unplug the TV!

Even if no one might still watch TV, here is a website that gives you random, but informative videos to watch. The best part is you never know what video you’ll get! If you don’t want to watch something, then you can always skip to next random video. Just to show you the randomness: my first time I got a video about three moons that could be planets, then I got a video about the end of the Arctic, and just now I got one about what Cannabis does to your brain!

6. The Oatmeal

If you are looking to laugh, and who isn’t, then this comic website is your best choice. Matthew Inman’s illustrations are so funny, humorous, and will surely lighten your mood.  Most of the comics are relatively short and sweet, so you don’t have to worry about finishing pages of comics in the little free time you do manage to have. Do check this one out!

LIVING ON BUSCH, CLASSES ON COLLEGE AVE, WORK ON COOK- The Life of A Daily Rutgers Bus Hopper

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Every Tuesday for me starts at 8 AM, as I get ready to catch the 8:30 REX B from Allison Road Classroom to Red Oak Lane. At Red Oak, I switch to either an EE or F bus which will take me to Biel Road (hopefully) in time for me to start work in the Cook Cafe at 9AM. At 1:30, I get on a bus at Biel again to take me to College Hall where I can get back on the REX B to take me back to ARC ( where I usually get on an A OR B bus because at that point I’m to lazy to walk to my apartment). All these buses and it is just about 2 PM, I haven’t yet proceeded to go to class on College Ave.  On Tuesdays, I take an average of 7 buses through the day or more sometimes. That is the life of this daily bus hopper.

I lived in Frelinghuysen hall last year and I didn’t know how much I would miss it till I left. I’m a Journalism a major so therefore all my classes are at SC&I and while living in the river dorm, I took for granted the easy walk to class, the quick power nap I could take before my next class and the way I was able to avoid most of the bus stress. But the great thing about Rutgers is that on every campus there are little spots where you can relax, study and sometimes avoid the stress of the bus. For me, that is the Art Library on College Ave.

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Nestled in between Murray and Voorhees hall, the library is located inside a wide brick building. With the fading gold-lettered sign proclaiming its name, it is easy to ignore and move on with your day, but for those who know it, it is a haven. I first encountered this building, during finals season of the first semester of my freshman year. The study lounges in my dorm were full and Alexandra as always was packed. I hated taking the buses, so going to a library on another campus was not even a possibility. I finally decided to just study in a class, and as I walked to Murray hall, I noticed the building beside it with letters that seemed to say library. Having no other option in mind; I walked in and fell in love because a lot of people didn’t know it existed there were tons of space. My favorite place to study in the library is the couch chairs in front of the big window. The chairs are amazingly comfortable and have a table attached to them so that’s practical and we can’t forget about the wonderful view of voorhees mall ( there also happens to be excellent lighting here for selfies). It has become my sanctuary- where I can relax in between classes and work instead of heading back on the bus to Busch. 

So my advice for my fellow bus hoppers ( and I know there are many) is to find your own space on whatever you campus you are on, that will be your place to rest or study or watch a movie, just where you can feel at home. P.S. I wouldn’t mind sharing mine with you.

Enter the World of Insects

In my last year at Rutgers, I wanted to challenge myself.

Step outside of my comfort zone. Confront my fears. Go WILD. 😎


So what did I do?

I signed up to take a class about insects.

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Now I should clarify: I am one of the most squeamish people around. I flinch whenever a bug flies near me. My mom worries that one day my reaction to insects will give someone a heart attack. I scream when I spot an insect inside the house.

I think my fear of insects stems from the fact that there are so many different kinds with so many different appearances that it seems impossible to distinguish which kinds are harmful, neutral, or beneficial.


In the past few weeks, however, learning about insect classification, body systems, and behaviors, and even looking at pictures of insects of all shapes and sizes has given me a grudging appreciation for their evolutionary success and abundance, which according to Wikipedia, “potentially represent 90% of the differing animal life forms on Earth”. As much as I would like to ignore them, insects impact fields that include agriculture, medicine, forensics, and ecology. Yes, insects might “bee” creepy and crawly. They “bug” me. They make me want to “flea“. But in spite of all this, I gained a newfound respect for how diverse they are and how important entomology, or the study of insects, is. While my instinct may always to respond to insects with fear, a part of me now also admires how well the group as a whole has flourished over millennia. #respect


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A couple of weeks ago, as I was getting ready for my 8:40AM class, I spotted a beetle like insect about the size of my thumb crawling on the windowsill in the kitchen. I ignored it, because ain’t nobody got time to deal with that at 8:00AM. When I came back from class, it was still there, trying unsuccessfully to climb out of the open window. Now normally, I would have left the creature alone, but this time I saw that it was missing a leg.

I’ve always felt bad for insects that I find inside the house who want to leave but can’t. Because once they’re inside the house, there’s only two routes: survive or die. When I can, I let them outside, but when I can’t, they either inevitably perish, or are killed.

This creature was one of those insects that was trying to escape by crawling on the window, with the outside world so tantalizingly close. After observing it warily for a couple of minutes and seeing that it didn’t fly (flying insects scare me so much more), I enticed it to crawl onto a sheet of paper where I set it free outside. A couple of days later, it happened again, during which I felt a small sense of pride at taking steps to “overcome” my fear.

However, I am currently barricaded in my room due to the presence of two stinkbugs (which can fly 😱) crawling on the living room window of the apartment. So I still have a long way to go before I actually overcome my fear.


Overall, I am glad I made the decision to step outside my comfort zone and take a class on insects. Knowledge is power, and by learning about what may be one of the most abundant groups of organisms on the planet, I am familiarizing myself to creatures that have since become less frightening. Yes the pictures on the slides gross me out sometimes, and my belief that insects can be dangerous has been confirmed, but by challenging myself to learn more about my insects, I not only became more knowledgeable, but also developed a sense of accomplishment at taking steps to overcome my fear. For all the readers out there who are afraid of something, I encourage you all to challenge yourselves and learn more about that something. Who knows? You may end up enjoying it.

The Truth About Freshman 15

I remember the first time I was introduced to Freshman 15 like it was yesterday.  Health class during my junior and senior years of high school, my teachers cautioned us about the dreaded weight gain college students experience in their freshman year.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it.  15 whole pounds?!

But, when I stepped foot into college, I realized how possible it truly was.  The tempting aromas, the endless options in cafeteria buffets, the abundance of cool restaurants everywhere I turned and could not wait to dine at…Freshman 15 almost seemed inevitable.

Also, just think about it.  For many people, college is the first time that they are in complete control of their eating choices.  Students are at liberty to eat whenever they want, wherever they want.  With hours worth of free time between classes and an overload of tasks to stress about, snacking becomes the perfect solution distraction.

After a month of college, I am tempted almost every single day to grab some hot chocolate, delve in ice cream, maybe even treat myself to bubble tea! Being a commuter, I do not have meal swipes, and get home-cooked meals.  Maybe that makes it a little easier for me to avoid unhealthy eating habits, but I can imagine how difficult it is for residents to resist the temptation.

   

So, we all seem doomed, don’t we? Actually, no, we aren’t.  There are several myths floating around about Freshman 15, making it seem more dangerous and unavoidable than it actually is.

  1. People typically 10-15 pounds of weight gain. The truth is that the average weight gain 2 to 5 pounds.  Some studies show the average to be around 7 pounds.  Of course, it is difficult to compute a mathematical average because every individual is unique, and different factors, including metabolism, family history, medical history and environment, influence one’s chances of weight gain.  Although 15 pounds is an exaggeration, it is not impossible–about 10% of students gain that much.
  2. Weight gain only affects freshmen. Changes in eating habits and lifestyles are constant throughout adulthood.  Metabolism slows down as people approach their 20s. While most weight gain is said to occur during a student’s first year in college, it is possible in any year.  In freshman year, most students are in the transition phase.  They are prone to experience homesickness, elevated anxiety levels, sadness and loneliness.  All of these responses can trigger stress-eating.
  3. Weight gain is due to partying and drinking.  The truth is that Freshman 15 is the result of a combination of different factors. Large meal plans, excess snacking, lack of exercise, binge drinking and increased stress can contribute.  Although partying and drinking are unhealthy, it is a jump to conclude that they are the cause of Freshman 15. The overall changes in eating behaviors, such as irregular eating times and large portions are more likely to cause weight gain.
  4. Weight loss is impossible. Sometimes, just the fear of Freshman 15 can put students at risk of body dissatisfaction and potential eating disorders.  The paranoia can lead to unhealthy dieting and habits.  Instead of skipping meals, the best way to avoid weight gain is to adopt healthy practices. Rather than making drastic changes to diet, it is far better to make small adjustments and set attainable goals.  If you feel guilty or over conscious about your food intake, talk to your doctor or seek counseling at Rutgers (CAPS).

Putting on a couple of pounds is not something to fear. As our bodies continue to develop, changes in weight are expected and completely healthy.  However, increased weight gain is problematic.  Many health risks, including high cholesterol, blood pressure and joint problems are likely.  A poor lifestyle can pave the path for future problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Even if some students do not gain significant weight, they should not continue to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors. They most likely do not have a balanced nutrient intake.  Their concentration, memory and performance, in general, can lag behind.

Here are a few tips to avoid Freshman 15:

  • Stick to an eating schedule to avoid unnecessary snacking
  • Avoid eating late night
  • Do not skip meals
  • Keep a watch on your meal portions
  • Avoid vending machines
  • Replace soda with water/milk/juice
  • Treat yourself occasionally 🙂
  • Do not eat while doing other tasks- watching TV, studying, etc
  • Work out for a minimum of 30 minutes daily (gym, fitness group activities, dance, jogging)
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours each night
    • Avoid caffeine or watching TV before sleeping (I know it’s hard!)

With a little bit of control and moderate efforts to maintain an active lifestyle, Freshman 15 is yet another challenge in college that can be conquered.

So I Lost My Phone…

I’ve got four exams next week so let’s make this quick.

I’ve always meant to talk about this whole incident, I just never got around to it for whatever reason. Maybe I was just blocking it out of my memory.

Looking backing on this, I’m the biggest idiot to ever live on the face of this earth, but never mind that! On to reliving horrible, stressful memories!

I had just come back from dinner with my roommates and I was looking for my phone. I couldn’t find it, but I wasn’t too worried because I’d misplace it all the time. It was in a white  case, I had a white bedspread, and my eyes are awful even when I’m wearing my glasses (I should probably get that checked out) so at this point not knowing where my phone is was part of the normal routine.

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I asked my roommate to call my phone and I didn’t hear anything, which made me incredibly Uneasy. Then roommate says that instead of ringing, she went straight to voicemail, which made me quite Nervous, because I knew my phone wasn’t dead so it had to be off.

So I ran back to the dining hall and asked very calmly and collectedly to be let back in so I can see if I left my phone at the table and therefore be set free from this swirling vortex of fear, anxiety, and self-hatred. I didn’t just lose my phone. I had lost my debit card and my Rutgers ID and my state ID and whatever tenuous control I had over my life.

I spent the next four days obsessively checking Find My iPhone just in case the heinous thief who had stolen my phone and turned it off suddenly became wildly incompetent at stealing phones. No such luck.

Let me just say that this story has a happy ending. My phone, debit card, Rutgers ID, and state ID turned up eventually.

But for the phone days I was phone-less, life was very difficult in ways I didn’t expect.

The lack of contact with my friends was strange. My friends and family were kind enough to switch all conversations to Facebook now that texting wasn’t an option (My dad just emailed me, but he did that anyway so there wasn’t much adjustment there), but I could only interact with them while I had access to a computer, which wasn’t always. So that was a bit odd.

without-my-cell-phone-i-wont-be-able-toYou also never realize how much you appreciate being able know anything at any time. How did people in the olden times do it? We have the power to find out breaking news in a country thousands of miles and also how tall Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is whenever we want. Appreciate that, kids. You’ll never know when that power will go away.

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I never knew when the buses were coming. I never knew what time it was. What if one of my professors suddenly sends out an email canceling class while I was on my way to that class? That never happens, but what if? Not having my phone felt oddly isolating. It was like I was cut off from the rest of the world and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.  

Anyway, on Monday I got an email saying that my lost property had been found and I could pick it up from Public Safety Building. Thank the Lord! I almost left in the middle of class to go get it, but there were only twenty people there so I figured it would be kind of obvious if I left.

So as soon as I could, I go to Public Safety Building and wait a good half-hour for the guy who returns lost items (AKA The Most Wonderful Man In The World) to get back from his lunch break and then my phone was returned to me, my debit card and IDs perfectly intact.

“So where was it?” I asked, turning over my phone in my hands to make sure that it was real. I could hear choirs singing in my head.

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“Oh, on the bus,” said The Greatest Man Who Has Ever Lived Or Will Live.  “Have a good one!”

“Thank you, kind sir! I shall name my firstborn after you!”

(I didn’t say that. That’d be weird.)

I was a little confused about how my phone ended up on a bus because I am 100% sure I left it at the dining hall. I’m pretty sure someone took it, but did they have a change of heart? Did they look at my ID picture and think, “No, the world has done enough to this unfortunate soul”? Was my phone just really easy to lose? I may never know.

It was definitely an interesting experience living without my phone for a few days. Would I repeat it? No. (Have I? Yes, against my will.) And I’m sure one could say all sorts of insightful things about technology’s effects on society and how people experience the world. How connected everything is these days, friends and strangers and information.

But like I said, I have four exam next week, so I guess you guys can think about it. Maybe leave your phone and go on a walk and you’ll see what I mean. But make sure you know where you leave your phone and not leave it up to the will of the universe whether or not you get it back.

 

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.

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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

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The Life of a Commuter

Whether it comes up in daily conversation or classroom icebreakers, a common question is “What campus do you live on?!” Us commuters are left responding, “I commute.”

In a school as big as Rutgers, it’s easy to feel excluded or alone, especially when your time spent on campus is limited compared to other students.  It becomes easy to forget the wonderful perks of living off-campus when a large portion of the college experience revolves around being a resident.

So, is it worth it? As a reminder to myself and other commuters around, I decided to explore the life of a commuter. Thus, I’ve made a list of pros and cons as I often do in conflicting moments when I need to sort my ideas.

There are a lot of plus sides of commuting:

You get to live at home.  

Something that’s easy to forget to appreciate because we take it for granted. Living at home and being around your family is a huge bonus! Being a freshman, I am still trying to figure my way around and it can get lonely.  Coming back home everyday is both refreshing and comforting.  After hearing my resident friends complain about missing home, I feel lucky to still have that around.

You can come and leave whenever you want. 

Depending on your schedule, you can sleep in and leave right when your classes end.  I catered my schedule timings to my preferences- no early morning or late night classes.  I do not want to drive at night, especially during the winter months.  Nor do I want to spend hours in between classes in the library or wandering around campus.  I wanted to keep my classes close together, so I could just leave after the last one.  Rutgers has great flexibility for picking classes and timings.

You can avoid taking buses. 

You do not have to take buses going from and back to your dorm.  If you drive to campus, it is best to pick parking in the campus that is a) close to your house and b) where most of your classes are.  Plus, if you live close to campus, then the drive back home is often quicker than taking a bus back!

You have access to better food options. 

Let’s be real, dining hall food isn’t the most appetizing food around.  Meal plans can get expensive.  Thus, home cooked food is pleasant and most of the time, healthier.  Plus, there is always the option of eating out whenever you feel like it! To be completely honest, there are so many options for food at Rutgers and the wonderful smells can make it very tempting.  Having homemade food almost makes is easier to avoid Freshman 15!

It’s cheaper. 

You don’t have to pay for room and board which is huge.  And you’re living with your family, you don’t even have to worry about rent! Saving money is so important as a college student.

You get more alone time. 

You don’t have to deal with roommates or get distracted by loud parties close by. You can choose when you want to hang and socialize with others.

 

That being said, there are a few drawbacks as well.

It’s hard to get involved on campus. 

Most clubs meet late night, so getting involved can be difficult.  Many events held on campus can be hard to attend as well.  It sometimes feels like residents are getting a better college experience.

SOLUTION: Some clubs are flexible with timings- they’ll allow you to leave earlier or not meet regularly.  If necessary, you can always crash at a friend’s dorm! The Rutgers Commuter Student Association is a great student organization to join if you are a commuter!

It’s hard to make friends. 

Most likely, your high school friends are not around you in college.  Making new friends seems difficult, especially when you do not already have a roommate or dormmates to rely on.  Making friends in classes isn’t easy either- mainly because classes are huge and running into the same people is unlikely.

SOLUTION: Meeting new people everyday isn’t so bad.  Even though you miss that sense of familiarity that you had in high school, it’s fun to talk to different people everyday! But, as people say, college is the time when you make your greatest friends. Joining extracurriculars and organizations is the best way to meet new people and make long-lasting friends.

It’s hard to reach out for help. 

Many opportunities and resources available feel distant as a commuter.  Whether it’s tutoring services or asking friends for help, it’s hard to do that sitting at home.

SOLUTION: While some resources may be held back from you, there are plenty of others available at Rutgers.  Noting down a friend’s number from each of your classes is helpful if you ever have questions while doing homework.  Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!

Getting to your parking lot can become a hassle.

Especially if you have to go around to different campuses, getting back to your parking lot can require many bus changes.  It’s pretty annoying.

SOLUTION: Don’t worry, you’re not the only one!  Getting around by buses is annoying at Rutgers, for commuters and resident alike, especially when you are in a time scrunch.

Traffic and gas.

If you take the train, timings can seem pretty inflexible.  If you drive, traffic, especially during peak hours, will be a pain.  You might have to leave home an hour earlier just to make it to your classes.  Also, driving back and forth every day to college will use up gas.

SOLUTION: This is a good time management skill. Really! You never know what can go wrong, so it’s not a bad idea to get to campus earlier than your class time. Gas money is expensive, but at least you’re not paying for room and dorm, right?

You wish you could have that dorm experience.

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Hearing you friends talk about how they will decorate their dorms and seeing pictures of their completed rooms makes you wish you could have that experience too.  Seeing people be able to roam around campus and do whatever they want, whenever they want seems awesome.

SOLUTION: You get to do one thing that they don’t: come and leave campus whenever you want.  That’s its own freedom in a way.

So, what have I concluded? Is there an end to this dilemma? 

Personally for me, commuting has been a great experience thus far.  While being a resident has its perks, being a commuter is definitely a rewarding experience as well.  There will be a few hurdles along the way, but they are not impossible to overcome when you realize that you are not alone. If you want to join the Rutgers commuter group chat, here is the link.

It’s that time of the year again

If you are the type of person who likes to go through the posts of individual bloggers and search from recurring themes in their lives, then you might have noticed that I have a Thing about growing older and also the subjective nature of time. Therefore, it must be no surprise to you that I am once again writing a blog post about growing older and the subjective nature of time.
ongoing crisis

It’s probably the beginning of the year getting to me. I’m a junior, you know, which means all sorts of things such as the beginning of the end of “I’m an adult but I’m not a real adult” portion of my life. Which is terrifying to think about, let alone experience.

I know that one day I’m going to have the benefit of hindsight and I’ll be able to see that I was freaking out over nothing. Everything turned out fine and my best years were ahead of me.

But this isn’t hindsight yet. This is just plain old sight and I don’t like what I’m seeing. At least I can be comforted by the fact that I’m not the only one going through this at the moment. Every time I try bring this up to my friends they tell me to shut up. Instead of hurting my poor, delicate feelings, this comforts me. It’s one thing to freak out about the future, it’s a whole other thing to freak out about the future alone.

Besides the beginning of the year, I have another thing to blame for this acute sense of impending doom. I was cleaning my room the other day because the mess had finally become unbearable and I couldn’t walk through my room without stepping on something that may have been important once before it had met the bottom of my foot. While I was finding yet another missing sock, I had spotted my high school yearbook underneath a layer of dust.

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First of all, I didn’t realize that high school was so long ago it had time to accumulate dust. I also didn’t realize that three years is long enough to forget half of the people in your graduating class existed.

I remember,though,  very clearly the teacher who had run the yearbook going on this whole spiel about how important the yearbook was and I sort of half-listened while she was doing it, but I guess enough time has passed for me to get what she was trying to say. It was kind of like holding a little bit of my history in my hands and I hadn’t realized enough time had passed for it to become history.

High school didn’t feel all that long ago, but it was. Neither did my first year of college, but enough time has passed for me to change and stay the same. How is it that the first two weeks of school can feel like they lasted three years, but three years can feel like they happened two seconds ago?

I don’t know.  

But it doesn’t matter how time feels, because time will pass whether you feel like it should or not.

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this was my actual yearbook quote in case you were wondering how far back this whole time Thing goes

And now I walk forward into the great unknown (this feels like I’m referencing something, but if I am, I have no idea what it is) and I know I spent the majority of this post sounding terrified, and I am, but I’m also kind of excited. I wonder how that can be too.

 

Fun Rutgers Things To Do This Fall!

This Friday is  finally the first day of fall! I say finally because I am excited for the changing leaves and cooler temperatures that await us! However, after a summer full of lazy beach days and outdoor activities, it can sometimes be difficult to find things to do as the weather begins to break! I’ve gathered a list of events and activities on and around campus that can fill your free time and help you get the most out of my absolute favorite season!

  1. Football games!! (and tailgates!)- What better way to enjoy the weather and celebrate Rutgers? Though our football team may not have the best record, it is still fun to cheer on the Scarlet Knights! Some of my favorite moments from my years here at Rutgers come from the Student Section of High Point Solutions Stadium! Even better than going to the game (in my opinion)? Enjoying all the food and fun that is tailgating! From burgers to mac and cheese to fruit and veggie trays, there’s something that everyone can enjoy!
  2. Scarlet Day of Service- Did you know that Scarlet Day of Service is the BIGGEST single day of community service in the entire state of New Jersey? Every fall semester, RUPA plans an incredible day of giving back to the community that so many of us as Rutgers students get to call home! Through Scarlet Day of Service, students will have the opportunity to help clean up New Brunswick, revitalize outdoor spaces, and work with youth and senior citizens, and more! Each and every person can make a difference in the community through this very special Rutgers event!
  3. Explore Rutgers Gardens! Or the Ecological Preserve!- Rutgers Gardens, located on the far side of Cook Campus, and the Ecological Preserve on Livingston are some of the best places to get outdoors as a Rutgers Student! There are many events throughout the Fall semester in the Gardens, from farmer’s markets to the Fall Festival on October 15th. It’s a beautiful place to explore and a great way to learn more about plants! The Ecological Preserve is also something I think all students should take advantage of! As the leaves begin to change, walks through the preserve will only grow more beautiful!
  4. Scarlet Harvest!- Scarlet Harvest takes places on Douglass Campus every year, and is another fun event planned by RUPA! There are a number of different events going on all afternoon, from pie eating contests to mechanical bull riding! There will also be live music and free food! This year the event will be happening on October 4th of Woodbine Lawn on Douglass!
  5. Get off campus and go hiking!!- Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors and go hiking! Though this activity is a little less accessible (you’ll need a car to get to a good spot), it’s still a lot of fun! As the leaves change the trails just get more beautiful and the dropping temperature means it’s a lot less sweaty outside! Some of the closest/best spots for hiking? Delaware Water Gap and Mt. Tammany, Buttermilk Falls, and Hacklebarney State Park, all under two hours away from campus!