You’ll Have to Pry My Harry Potter Obsession out of My Cold, Dead Hands

Today I want to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart:

Harry Potter.

I had first read the Harry Potter series when I was around nine or ten years old, definitely before Deathly Hallows was published in 2010 because I have distinct memories of my mother pre-ordering the book for me and then waiting impatiently for it to arrive. I had seen the movies before then, of course, because it was almost impossible not to (though I do know of certain exceptions) but it wasn’t until I read the books that I became, and I’ll admit this, obsessed.

I’m not ashamed to admit this, though I probably should be. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Harry Potter (I frequently wonder what I could be and all the things I would be able to do if 30% of my  brain wasn’t devoted to ‘useless Harry Potter trivia’).  In the weeks leading up to the premiere of the sixth movie, Half-Blood Prince, I’d read the entire series non-stop. A week long cycle of  “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” to “All was well.” I must have read each book ten times that week, but I was twelve so I didn’t really have anything better to do.

I’ve seen the movies more times than I can count and every time I watch them I feel like it’s the first time. My friends and I won a Harry Potter trivia contest after three tie-breakers. I got a Pottermore account as soon as I could and was Sorted (and yes, I used a capital letter for that) into Ravenclaw, just as I knew I would even though I’m terrible at solving riddles.

“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure!”

But it was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who was obsessed. I wasn’t even the most obsessed. Fans have gone on to make three entire musicals, a puppet show, a convention, fan art, fan fiction, cosplay, and countless other things that I probably don’t know about, which is a level of devotion and commitment that kind of scares me, to be honest. 

I loved Harry Potter when I was growing up and if you look at it from a certain perspective I’m still growing up, so I love Harry Potter with all my heart even now, when I haven’t had the time to read the Harry Potter books in an endless loop since I was about fifteen. The books were my childhood.  They were an entire generation’s childhood. We grew up with them and it seemed the books grew up right along with us as we grew up with Harry.  The later books in the series hit on some pretty dark themes, now that I look back on them now that I’m older. They touch on things like death, fascism, racism, war, sacrifice packaged up nearly in a story about wizards and magic. It strikes me now just how young everyone was. Lily and James Potter were only 21 when they died. Harry was 17 when he finally defeated Voldemort for good. I’m three years older than him and I can barely manage feed myself let alone save the world. When you’re nine or ten, 17 and 21 seem ancient, but not really.

I often wonder how Harry Potter grew to be so popular, the science of it, I guess. What exactly was it that caused Harry Potter to hit that thing in our brains that launched it into the cultural juggernaut that it is today (and will continue to be, she thinks hopefully). 

Was it the writing? The part of me that finds hyper-analyzing every little aspect of my life incredibly fun wants to say yes. That the setting, the plot, the style, the tone, the dozens of literary terms that I could shove in this sentence but I won’t because sometimes I forget what the all mean were all so brilliant and well-crafted that they impelled Harry Potter to fame. And  get me wrong, those things are definitely a part of it, but I’m not so besotted to say that the Harry Potter books are the best books ever written. Of all time. It’s a children’s book about wizards and not all well written books achieve this level of…I don’t even know what to call it. Impact? Adoration? Who knows. 

Maybe it was a matter of right place, right time? It hit just at the right time for an entire generation to get hooked.

Maybe the magical world Rowling created hit just the right spot between fantasy and reality. “Harry Potter goes to school just like me but he learns magic. He gets to take classes on charms and how to turn goblets into ravens. They learn about spells and hexes and there are flying cars and talking spiders and dragons! Dragons! That’s so cool! I wish that was me!” I still wish that was me, to be honest.

Still waiting for mine

Maybe it was a combination of both. Maybe it was a lot of other things. Maybe it was magic. Who knows?

But Harry Potter is not without its flaws. It’s been criticized for its LGBT and minority representation. Confirming that Dumbledore is gay in an interview is not the same as confirming it in the books. Rowling’s depiction of Native American culture in Pottermore was tone-deaf.   

But nothing’s perfect and nothing has to be perfect (as long as, of course, you don’t try to pretend that it’s perfect in the first place. It’s important to be critical of the things you love.) 

I love the Harry Potter books and will continue to do so for the rest of my life (probably). So I’ll read the supplemental material on Pottermore, I’ll read the play, I’ll watch the Fantastic Beasts movies, I’ll go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter someday, and do or buy whatever other thing corporate executives come up with to suck money from poor, innocent millennials who love Harry Potter.

Just take my money

I know it may seem weird to still be so obsessed, but isn’t it nice when a lot of people love something this much?

 

Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum

I recently found myself in Philadelphia with my boyfriend on an unseasonably warm day, without any real plans of what we would see or do in the city. Due to the high heat, we didn’t want to just pick a neighborhood and wander, which is usually my go-to activity in any large city. We settled on the Mutter Museum, mostly because of the awesome student discount, its central location in the city, and the promise of a few uninterrupted hours of air conditioning.

The interior of the main section of the Museum

The Mutter Museum is a medical museum that contains hundreds of historical medical instruments, wax representations of different diseases and samples of mutations and “oddities.” The museum is named for Dr. Thomas Mutter, who collected many of the specimen now in the museum throughout his career in the middle of the 19th century, keeping many of the skeletal and wet samples for his own biomedical research purposes. Dr. Mutter greatly improved the surgical techniques of his time and expanded the understanding of the ways in which the human body works and heals. With the student discount, a ticket to the museum is only $13, which grants access to every single exhibition, collection, and the garden full of medicinal plants in the museum’s courtyard.

At first, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy or even “get” the museum. I am not very fluent in medical terminology, and haven’t taken any biology-related science since my freshman year of high school. I also usually favor art museums over any other type of museum when I am traveling. That being said, I recommend the Mutter Museum to everyone, regardless of their interest in or knowledge of science and medicine. As someone who is more humanities-inclined, I appreciated the historical approach taken by the museum towards medicine. I can honestly say that the Mutter museum is equal parts science and history. There are many specimen that are completely unique to the museum such as slides of Albert Einstein’s brain, the full skeleton of an “American giant,” and the connected livers of Chang and Eng Bunker, a set of Siamese twins born in 1811. The collections allowed me to reflect on the ways in which the practice of medicine has drastically changed in the last 200 years or so, and better appreciate the fact that I am alive in a time of modern medicine, anesthesia, and better acceptance and understanding of genetic mutations and birth defects.

The skull collection, containing 139 skulls from various people throughout the world.

Personally, my favorite part of the museum was a permanent exhibition focusing specifically on medical care and access during the Civil War in the hospitals of Philadelphia. This collection included surgical instruments and horrific descriptions of common medical practices such as amputation. I also appreciated the focus on the important role of women as nurses in the Civil War hospitals, and the use of Walt Whitman quotes throughout the exhibition, which further combined science with the humanities.

Just one of the many interesting skeletal specimen you can check out in the museum!

After visiting, I can truly say the Mutter Museum has something for everyone, regardless of personal interests and prior knowledge. I highly recommend taking advantage of our university’s proximity to Philadelphia and visiting the fascinating museum for yourself!

How to NOT Get Bored Over the Summer

It has been just a little more than a week since Summer 2017 started, and chances are, you’re already starting to feel slightly bored. “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THIS FREE TIME? UGHHH!” might be something that’s going through yoor mind (or maybe not, but whatever, read this anyway). “OH PLEASE, SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM MY BOREDOM!!”

WELL, you’ve come to the right place to prevent yourself from staring at a wall all day, and maybe even becoming a wall. Here are some steps to take to NOT get bored over this summer:

Set Goals for Yourself!

Y’all ever finish finals and say to yourself, “Man, I really deserve this three-month break from life!” And then after the first week, “Man, I really am not doing anything in my life right now,” until it gets to, “Man, I’ve literally been like Patrick under his rock all summer.” Folks, you do NOT want to feel like Patrick by the time September rolls around (sadness). To combat that, you need to come up with goals that you’d like to work on over these three months. Personally, I’ve come up with around nine goals for the summer. But goal-setting doesn’t end there. Nope. Next, you must plan HOW you want to go about achieving those goals. This means coming up with sub-goals, schedules, dates and times, and even deadlines. Yes, I know, this sounds tedious, but trust me, it’s the only way to actually be productive. Once you give yourself a timeline or schedule to work with, you’ll feel motivated to go ahead and stick to it as you will feel driven to fulfill that goal. And then, when September does roll around (sadness), you’ll feel proud of yourself for achieving your goals, regardless of how many you set up for yourself!

So…What Goals?

You might be thinking, “I have no life; therefore, I have no goals.” Guess what, Descartes will tell you otherwise: “I think, therefore I am.” YOU think, therefore you ARE, and therefore, you are also very capable of setting goals for yourself. These can be small goals and do not have to be numerous: you can even set just one or two goals for yourself. Or, they can be long-term goals that you want to begin working on over the summer and can be nine (like mine) or ten or more! The amount and type does not really matter, as long as you think you can handle what you are planning for. For example, one of my goals for Summer 2017 is to write. I’ve come up with sub-goals: What do I want to write? Next, I’ve scheduled time for these writing projects. Finally, I’m in the process of rationalizing just how many of these projects I would ideally like to complete by September. For instance, if we’re talking about the fantasy fiction novel I want to write, then I’m allotting six hours per week towards that and aiming to finish 10-14 chapters of it!

JUST DO IT!

Listen to the words of Shia: JUST DO IT! Why would you not do the goals, which should be meaningful and purposeful, that you’ve planned to do? Aim for better. Strive for the stars. But most importantly, feel proud of yourself, and use the above GIF of Shia as motivation!

So set some goals for yourself; plan them out; and start working on them for a better, not boring, and productive Summer 2017! 🙂 

Commuting….

Hi everyone! I can’t believe summer is already here (even though the past few days have been a bit rainy and muggy). I thought I would share my past academic year’s commuting experience with you all because next year I will be back to living on-campus!

To be honest, the first few days, and even weeks, were very tough. Because getting to the train station was a problem, my dad would drop me off on his way to work in the morning. This meant that even though my earliest classes were around 11 a.m., I had to wake up at 8 a.m. to be dropped off at the train station. In addition, the past few weeks NJ Transit has not been in its best shape with the derailments and power outages. As a result, there have been at least two or three days on which I was so ecstatic to be coming home on time, but the trains were delayed by a good 30 minutes to over an hour. I remember such an instance, specifically the Friday before winter break, when everyone at the New Brunswick station were carrying suitcases back to their homes. We were all covered in jackets and hats because it was quite windy and chilly. I was fervent to go home to a semi-relaxing break (I had midterms coming up after break as usual). The lady on the speaker came up, and I was hoping she would say in her monotonous voice “The next train to stop on track 4 is the 5:29 train to Trenton stopping at..” blah, blah, and blah. Unfortunately, she started to say the one thing all commuters feared the most: “The 5:29 train is now operating 65 minutes late.” My heart dropped. Everyone sighed. They opened their apps and starting tracking the train down. There were several times when the train would just “disappear”, which indicated that it would not hit all of its designated stops on the app. Nonetheless, I didn’t lose hope. After almost an hour and a half, the bright lights of the train nearing the curve of the track 4 (my track) was visible. I shouted to my friend “Look! It’s here” and I saw her eyes gleam with joy.  I saw the happiness in everyone’s eyes. We were all just glad to be on our way home. I realized how peculiar it was that a train coming on time felt so precious and was capable of bringing so much happiness. I had never experienced this before in my life prior to commuting. This holds true to the platitude of being grateful for those little things you take for granted each day because you never know how much they mean to you until they are gone.

Another important thing I learned from commuting is time management. The days on which I was waiting for the bus (I took a bus home from the station after college) or the train, I was trying to make up the studying time I would lose to commuting. Whether it was just looking over organic chemistry notes or re-reading my essay, I would try to get some work done to save some time. Commuting took nearly three to fours hours out of my day every week, so these “in-between-studying” times were kind of important for me.

For those of you planning to commute or are commuting right now, here are some tips I would like to share with you.

  1. Be at least 10 minutes early before your planned train/bus time.
  2. Always carry work with you (notes, laptop, a book, etc…)
  3. Pack lots of snacks (you never can be 100% sure of when the train/bus will arrive or depart)!
  4. Double check for your tickets and headphones (especially your headphones because who doesn’t want to listen to songs while traveling?)

I hope you have a great summer!

Gotta Use ‘Em All: Getting Rid of Meal Swipes

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

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

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

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

  1. Woody’s

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

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

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

3. Befriend upperclassmen

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

4. Invite your family

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

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

Reactions I Get to Being a Black Belt

So, if you couldn’t tell from the title, I’m a black belt. More specifically, I’m a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I started in first grade, took a hiatus in high school, and started up again by joining the Rutgers Tae Kwon Do team and their demonstration team. It’s definitely built up my strength, both physical and mental, from breaking cinder blocks to dealing with the frustration of mastering tricky kicks. Movies like The Karate Kid portray martial artists as total badass warriors, so naturally, when I, a short, Starbucks-drinking girl, reveal this fact about myself, people have some interesting reactions.

1. You can totally beat someone up!

Yeah, I know the right kicks to land depending on the way someone attacks me. Especially having sparred, I know how to defend myself. But a coached sparring match and an unexpected street fight are two totally different things. Believe me, I’d be just as scared to fight someone who messes with my squad as someone with absolutely no martial arts experience.

2. You’re so tough!

I’ve learned a lot through Tae Kwon Do, like demonstrating good sportsmanship and high spinning hook kicks. But even though I learned all that, I’m just like any other person, with fears, sensitivities, and even weaknesses. Being involved in Tae Kwon Do, for as long as I have been, has made me learn to overcome those things effectively, but has not necessarily eradicated them. So yeah, sometimes (a lot of times) I really need a night like this:

Noreen’s Top 10 List of Books I Wanted to Read Over Break but Didn’t

In an epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. Demons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes–if it isn’t destroyed first.

I always have such ambitious plans going into breaks and honestly they’re not even really that ambitious.

As an English major, I read a lot of stuff and while I went into break wanting to read more stuff, I quickly realized that my brain wanted a break, rejecting any attempt to open a book that was written pre-1950 or had received some kind of literary award. Instead, my soul desired mindless entertainment and to consume internet garbage. It was spring break. I deserved this.

“But, Noreen” cry the people who know me in real life, “All you do is consume internet garbage.”

Fools! Never underestimate the amount of internet garbage I can welcome into my life, especially when I had one week of unlimited free time (which, now that I say it, isn’t really unlimited at all).

I spent the majority of my break sitting around my house watching TV shows on my laptop, having brief, yet intense moments of panic as I searched for a summer job, and being a general useless blob. I regret nothing.

So anyway, here is, in no particular order, my top ten list of books I wanted to read over break but didn’t:

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.”

I like Greek mythology. I like LGBT themes. I find the ongoing debate over whether or not Achilles and Patroclus were lovers both fascinating and kind of hilarious.

2. The Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany or Any book from the Harry Potter Series

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

You’ll have to pry my at-times-illogical-desire to hold on to the Harry Potter series out of my cold dead hands.

3. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.”

I’ve heard good things about this book and got it for free like a year ago and by God do I love things that are free.

4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by  Douglas Adams

“The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

I read this quote somewhere I can’t remember and it hit every single one of my sense of humor bones and I decided I needed to read this series. This was five years ago.

5. Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children–two boys and two girls–succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete.”

In my last blog post I talked about how I started to actually feel like I was growing older because I no longer like stuff I used to like when I was a kid. Well The Mysterious Benedict Society is a thing I used to like when I was a kid and I read a few pages of it and it looks like it holds up. I sure hope it holds up.

6. His Dark Materials series  by Philip Pullman

“In an epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. Demons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes–if it isn’t destroyed first. “

So apparently the movie adaptation of this was terrible, an insult to the original series, and a blight upon this world as all book-to-movie adaptations tend to be, but I watched it and I enjoyed it. To be fair it came out when I was nine and nine year old me had terrible taste in everything. I’ve heard good things about the series though from Actual AdultsTM so I’m hoping this holds up too.

7. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore.” 

I’ve read this before, but I wanted to read it again.If you like not knowing whether or not the narrator is time traveling or has PTSD, then this is the book for you. I love Kurt Vonnegut.

8. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

A storm is coming…

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.”

I read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett so I know I like this guy’s style, I like the premise, and there’s a TV adaptation of it coming out at some point so I thought that I’d finally read it. Nope.

9. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. ” – Goodreads 

I got this as a Christmas present and at the moment it has been sitting on my desk in my dorm room as decoration since then. Oops.

10. Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?” – Melissa de la Cruz 

Okay so I actually did go outside a couple times during break, you know, once the streets were no longer covered in snow and I ended up at the library, which I would say is typical me if I hadn’t just written 500+ words about how I didn’t read anything over break. I saw this, thought it was cool, realized I’d never actually seen a book with a Filipino protagonist, then put it on this list.

 

Anyway, I hope you take a page out of my book (hehehehe, I’m so funny) and add some of these books to your to-read list but, unlike me, actually read them.

 

 

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 5.53.05 PM

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.

Applying for Internships: A Modern Symphony in Five Movements

I. The Search

LinkedIn, Internship, Indeed, LookSharp

They’re called the Dot-Coms (Doo-wop)

Honors Newsletter, Professors suggestions, family friends

Taking suggestions like a DJ (You can reach us at 732 . . .).

You bring them together, listen to their sounds, then list out their chords, harmonious and otherwise.

Go through deadlines. (Vader’s ominous boom)

Go through what is important. (A hopefully Hedwig’s tune)

List them out, heart beating out sixteenths. These aren’t everything (for the future, they’re everything).

Look at it again, think my qualifications are(so begins the motif).

My experiences show.

My interest in this is.

This will benefit me by (that last one’s mostly for you).

II. The Application

Look at descriptions again (They’re either Doo-wop or a random mix. The tunes all are opening deja vu).

Your heart is beating sixteenths. Closing your eyes, breathe. Start them one by one.

Fingers on the keys, start typing out a hybrid tune

My qualifications are (This always feels a little flat).

My experiences show (A memory of clarinet duck. Maybe it’ll be a swan).

My interest in this is (Bring in more flute, some viola, try to sound sweet).

This will benefit me by (that last one’s still mostly for you).

Each one’s a little different than the last, refined to match the specific memory (A little more bass here some more strings there).

The resume follows fast (or some days it comes first, depends on the audience).

Think again.My qualifications are. My experiences gave them to me.

Then the send-off (Sometimes hold out the last note, it give you time to add your samples or clips).

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

III.  The Wait

Keep sending out apps and searching for new (Doo-wop, calls to 732).

Search. Write. Send. The tunes now comforting, no longer new. (Softening each time, sinking into a lull).

Then you think: what about the others from before. You hear no no noise, no deja vu from them anymore.

You check again, maybe there you’ll see (No, it’s John Campbell, 4’33”).

All is still.

IV.

Then an offer: an interview (The cymbals give a celebratory boom)

Look at the descriptions again (This is doo-wop, but with more urgency, since they want you too!)

Now look more at the group. Where’d they start? What do they say? (Play it like you believe- like you have the knowledge to do so).

Once you’ve learned all you can, take it to the same things again.

My qualifications are (Tuned to a T).

My experiences show (Be prepared for small modifications based on the show).

My interest in this is (Short and sweet, with a little brass).

This will benefit me by (Now they want to hear it too).

Prep, then dress (Each note precise).

Make sure it’s all nice.

Quick, trip, done. Nice to meet you, thank you for your interest, thank you for your time, should hear from us in a couple weeks. (A short ferocious dream)

What’s done is done. Good or bad, can’t change the past.

So just continue on. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Search. Write. Send. Pray to hear back.

V. Wait (Reprise)

Keep sending out apps and searching for new (Doo-wop, calls to 732).

Search. Write. Send. Prep Interview. Some in person, on screen, over the phone. Nice to meet you, thank you for your interest, thank you for your time, should hear from us in a couple weeks. Pray to hear back. The tunes now comforting, no longer new. (Softening each time, sinking into a lull).

The tune feels like nothing now, another routine (The melody is rising though, because it must).

Some nights you lay awake, heart beating out sixteenths, trying to tell yourself these aren’t everything (they feel like everything).

Look at your email once more or the dashboard on the sight (The music’s been stretched out too long, when will it be done?)

You reassure yourself. Someone will want you, they must.

My qualifications are (A dreaded refrain).

My experiences show (One more verse of the same).

My interest in this is (A catchy tune, now stuck to your core).

This will benefit me by (Bringing this to an end).

You check again, maybe there you’ll see (No, it’s John Campbell, 4’33”).

All is still.

An acceptance will come.

It will.

This is It

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

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

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

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

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

1. I refuse to live alone in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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