Recently, I was accepted as part of the first cohort of fifty students for the Road to Communication and Media Mentoring Program. It is a new initiative led by Career Services’ Stacey Kohler that pairs a student with a Rutgers alumnus who is working in a communication field. This includes Content Creation and Editing, Digital Marketing (Social Media), Media and Advertising Sales, Media Production, Public and Corporate Relations, and Web and Graphic Design. I am very interested in content creation, or the production and contribution of information to media, and so I was paired up with an awesome mentor, who I will refer to as M. for confidentiality reasons, in that sub-field.
As a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program, this is the first time that I’m in the shoes of a mentee, which is exciting in and of itself! Even more exciting is the journey that I have ahead with M. in this mentoring relationship. Just this past weekend, we had our first ever meeting (of course at Hidden Grounds because why not?!), and I have to admit, I was definitely a little nervous about it, but that quickly changed into a mix of emotions–excitement, happiness, and thankfulness. So here’s just a short list of three reasons why everyone should have a mentor!
I honestly believe that one of the biggest advantages of having a mentor, especially during college, is the support and encouragement that they give you. Treat support like a gift–it’s incredibly precious–because as human beings, that’s a basic necessity. As college students, many of us are at the point where we’re unsure about the future, the steps to take, the path going forward. It’s when we’re overwhelmed by this sense of uncertainty that we need some form of support from others, and a mentor is a perfect source for this. They are there for you.
Support and advice are closely related yet still a bit different. Supporting someone doesn’t necessarily mean giving them advice. Advice, on the other hand, has vital advantages of its own. Words of wisdom from your mentor can primarily provide you with a sense of reassurance. Whether it be on career choices, internships, school projects, time management, friend issues, chances are that your mentor has them covered because they’ve experienced similar obstacles.
Mentors are very valuable people who influence and augment your personal and professional growth. They push you to do your best, but at the same time, urge you to give yourself enough credit for your achievements. Your mentor will give you great feedback on both your successes and failures. Feedback is something that we don’t always get, but your mentor will give you honest suggestions to improve as a person as well as a professional.
Even during my initial meeting with M., I definitely felt supported, got tons of insightful advice, and even grew a little as a result. Mentors like M. have your back on a range of issues and concerns. Most importantly, they’re rooting for YOU. I highly suggest forming relationships like this one at one point in your lives as it is incredibly advantageous. To connect with someone on this level is beautiful, and that relationship is everlasting.
Hi everyone! I hope midterms are not killing you yet! Last week I attended an amazing information session that Mr. Sobol hosted on applying to medical schools. Now, honestly, I have attended a couple of information sessions before that HPO and other organizations hosted, and I found these sessions were repetitive and cursory. However, this one was very detailed and much more insightful! I would like to share with you some important things I gleaned from this information session.
- When it comes to choosing medical colleges, it is important to first go on the HPO website and actually see what medical schools Rutgers students have gotten into. There is a better chance that these colleges will be a good fit for you as well! Also, purchase MSAR because this database of medical schools gives detailed descriptions and statistics on recent matriculating students, curriculum, grading system, financial costs, and more about each medical college.
- Make sure your Facebook and other social media accounts are professional. This includes your email address. I never thought about this until I attended the information session! Mr. Sobol mentioned how some medical colleges can view your social media accounts to learn more about how you present yourself, so just remember to clear up any silly or embarrassing pictures you may have on Instagram or Facebook. In addition, if your email is something like email@example.com, then you may not come off exactly as professional…
- Don’t apply Early Decision if you are not more than 100000% sure you have a good chance getting into the medical college. This is because if the medical school you apply Early Decision to waitlists you, then you might be too late to submit your applications to other medical colleges in which your chance of getting in might have been higher.
- Go to open houses and make connections. When you go to open houses, you will get to meet with the deans and other staff members of the medical schools. It will be a good chance to get to know them so they can put a face to your application. It would be even better to follow up after the open house by emailing them any additional questions or comments you have about the medical school. Using Linkedin to connect with other doctors and deans of medical schools is also good.
Here are some tips I learned for medical school interviews.
- Research each medical school before going to your interview. Really get to know what they have to offer; look into their programs, curriculum, affiliated hospitals, clubs, etc. Pick few aspects that really stand out to you and be prepared to discuss why you like these aspects.
- Have sell points. Be prepared to talk about what makes you a strong applicant. Remember, instead of saying how you are better than other applicants, focus more on what makes YOU a good fit.
- Talk about failures and hardships to show what lessons they have taught you.
- When they tell you, “tell me about yourself”, don’t freak out. Try to talk about your background, education, clinical experiences, leadership roles, a couple of fun facts and end it firmly by asking whether there is anything else the interviewers would like you to explain further.
- Prepare questions for the interviewer. These could be about any of the aspects you researched on while looking up the medical school (curriculum, clubs, unique programs, etc.).
- Make sure you are well versed in the current health topics that are spurring in the medical fields. Try to go to depts.Washington.edu/bioethics to see what ethical topics medical professionals might deal with! Read the health and medicine section of news websites!
- Good posture, maintaining eye contact, and a firm handshake can go a long way!
College is a completely new experience and for us students who have freshly graduated from twelve years of schooling, it’s a huge transition. After a few rough weeks of figuring things out, I’m pretty much in sync with the grading system in college. I know that as a high school senior, it seems pretty terrifying to say goodbye to regular assignments and routine chapter-by-chapter tests. Fear not, I’m here to help you out!
This is the biggest difference between high school and college. You no longer have year-long classes that are slow paced and in-depth. College courses are fast-paced, extremely well planned out and comprehensive. Time flies in college. Why? Because classes end within a semester — that’s 15 weeks. If you take away holidays and breaks in between, a semester is pretty much finished in 3 months.
Because colleges offer so many courses at different levels and concentrations, it makes sense for them to be split into semester-long courses. In high school, you gain an overview and a general introduction of history, biology, chemistry, and math. Once you get to college, you choose what you want to focus on depending on your interests, and for each topic that you indulge in, a semester is more than enough.
Because everything is compressed into a semester, college courses have fixed syllabi with little flexibility, but it’s nice being able to visualize exactly how the course is organized and which assignments are due every week. Even your dates for midterms and finals are announced early on! This is a blessing to everyone who loves calendars.
MIDTERMS AND FINALS
Ah, thinking about having only two exams for an entire course was my biggest fear coming into college. But, trust me, it’s not that bad. You have to remember that courses are only one semester long, so having two to three exams in that time span is entirely appropriate. It is stressful to imagine that the majority of your grade depends on these exams, but keep in mind that there will be other assignments to boost up your grade. Extra credit is rare, but attendance, participation, and/or weekly assignments can each account for about 10% of your grade.
Midterms and finals take preparation and work, so do not bring along your procrastination tendencies from high school to college. They will not work here. There is no way you can prepare for exams in one night. Give yourself a week or at least an entire weekend to prepare for exams. They’re really not that bad, even if they are cumulative.
Letter grades are all that matter in college. In high school, everyone is caught up in their percent and number grades, but in college, as long as it’s an A, no one cares if it’s a 90 or 98. Another huge difference is that some classes won’t regularly post grades on assignments. There might not always be a portal to view all of your grades, so a lot of your time is spent keeping track of your grades and making estimations of where it may lie.
A lot of classes in college use curves. So basically, your grade is dependent on how others perform in the class. At times, this is great because even when your average is a B (or even a C!), you can still end up with an A. But other times, this is a huge drawback because your grade can be lower than what you expect depending on the class grade distribution.
College homework is a lot easier than high school homework. Even though the work may take longer, it is definitely easy. Most of my work is comprised of readings, online assignments, and preparing for exams. It’s nice to not have loads of busy work and daily assignments anymore. Also, classes don’t meet every day, so this gives me time to space out work and keep stress levels down.
NUMBER OF CLASSES
Whereas taking around 8 classes was the norm in high school, that’s a lot in college. In college, most students take around 15-18 credits per semester which adds up to about 5-6 classes. Also, you no longer have relaxer classes like P.E. and study hall! Each class you take will have a purpose- either for your major, minor or core requirements. You might throw in a few for personal interest, but you have to be wise in time management and organization. Each class is about an hour and 20 minutes (labs are 3 hours), so create your schedule wisely.
Swamped with school work, club meetings, sports meets, social outings–the list goes on–it can be really hard to just sit down and relax. For those of you who are bookworms, do you find it sort of impossible to do what you love? Read? When’s the last time you’ve honestly opened up a glorious book that wasn’t for your courses?
Speaking from my own experiences as a current junior, I can say that yes, it’s incredibly difficult to find time to read for relaxation, especially during the semester. However, it’s not impossible! In fact, I’m doing it right now. Even as the spring semester is kicking in hard as we enter our third week, I’m reading a couple of fiction books! (If you’re interested, I’m reading: Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson; The Name of the Star also by Maureen Johnson, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.) How am I doing it? Well, do what you do best and read on to find out!
1. In Between
You might be surprised with how much time we can find in between classes, meetings, or particularly, when you’re just waiting. Don’t let the wait time for getting your Hidden Grounds Nutella Mocha go to waste: whip out your book and start reading! Considering you carry around a book at all times, like I do (don’t laugh at me). During these times, we may become aimless and restless, so what better way to quench our boredom than read?! The minutes add up, you know.
2. Before Sleeping
Reading before you go to sleep can be quite a calming activity. It helps you de-stress from your hectic day. It may even help you sleep better! There are several scientific benefits of reading, actually. Find out more about them here. Don’t underestimate the reading you can get in before your eyes start to droop!
3. Keep Motivated
You were so busy that you didn’t even have time to breathe? Well, guess what? You’re in luck. Why? Because you can attempt to read–even if it’s just a few paragraphs for just a few minutes–the next day, or the day after that! Don’t lose hope, fellow avid reader. I aim for at least fifteen minutes of reading per day, and I have to admit, that doesn’t sound like much time at all, but 1) Even that is a challenge but 2) It’s doable. Try to not set a goal to read for an amount of time that will be difficult to achieve. It’s all about setting goals that are attainable, anyway! And of course, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Rejoice in those precious moments you are able to feast your eyes on the intricate words of a story. Take pride in the fact that you read for even a minute while waiting for your coffee amidst your busy schedule. Remember, it’s not about finding time to read; it’s making it!
So, my fellow readers, carry around a book, stay calm, and READ!
This winter break, I participated in a Rutgers Alternative Break trip, where my group and I volunteered at the GMHC, a “New York City–based non-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based AIDS service organization” (Wikipedia). 💪
Throughout the week, as we interacted with clients, heard stories, learned about HIV/AIDS and activism, participated in meal service, and helped with departmental projects, I kept thinking about courage, time, and youth.
I thought about how quickly young people with their whole lives ahead of them passed away at the start of the epidemic. I thought about how hard activists like Larry Kramer and members of ACT UP had to fight to spur drug development. I thought about how brave people were at confronting an unknown disease while losing friends, lovers, and family.
I also thought about how much our knowledge of HIV/AIDS has advanced due to the combined efforts of strangers who care. Now, with antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV/AIDS can not only live a normal lifespan, but also can suppress levels of the virus to the point where they cannot transmit the disease (CDC).
Although I learned about HIV/AIDS before in context of biology, this service trip helped me better understand HIV/AIDS from the perspective of social justice, history, and public health. From sorting files for the legal department, where I encountered last wills and testaments as well as bank, immigration, and eviction notices, to participating in meal service and learning about activism and safe sex, I was reminded of why I chose to study biology. While it may be difficult to memorize cell signaling mechanisms and pathways, ultimately, overcoming challenges like this is worth it for the people I someday may help.
One story in particular that left an impression on me was given by a member of ACT UP, ” international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS… to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies” (Wikipedia), who told us about his experience with HIV/AIDS.
At one point, when he told us about a protest he participated in that resulted in negotiations for affordable life-saving medication, it seemed to me almost as if he was reliving the past. The way he told the story, with his voice excited and gestures uncharacteristically animated, made it seem like I was with him, planning the protest (which could never have happened today due to security), entering the elevator the day of, speaking to the secretary, and holding the phone with a reporter on the other end…
As I watched this person seemingly relive such a meaningful moment in his life, I could not help but think back to a BTS song called Young Forever, in which the lyrics speak to the singers’ realization and acceptance at how one day, a new chapter in their lives will begin as the old one ends. 📖
The lyrics state something along the lines of:
“The thundering applause, I can’t own it forever
I tell myself, so shameless
Raise your voice higher
Even if the attention isn’t forever,
I’ll keep singing
I want to stay this way for life
I want to stay young forever…
Forever we are young
Even when I fall and hurt myself
I keep running toward my dream”
Hearing the speaker share the bitter and the sweet moments of his life, I was reminded of Young Forever, and its message of how even though nothing lasts forever, we can keep striving for our dreams. His story, along with the other stories I heard, inspire me to value the time I have, and to use it to help others while pursuing something I love.
This Alternative Break trip helped me gain a new appreciation for the importance of finding, joining, and creating communities whose members support each other, as well as the necessity of overcoming the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, safe sex, and HIV testing to decrease infection rates. Although it will take time to normalize topics like these, from this service learning trip I learned more about not only prevention efforts, but also about public health.
Overall, I had an amazing week volunteering at the GMHC, learning about HIV/AIDS and bonding with the other members of the trip. ❤️ The group reflections led by the site leaders and staff partner helped me get more out of this experience, whether by listening to others’ opinions or by sharing my thoughts with the group.
Whether through a service learning trip, or through weekly volunteering, I hope you readers take the time to become involved in an area of service you’re passionate about! 🤓
Hey guys! Happy New Year! Wow! It is already 2018! I thought I would share with you some tips and tricks to make this semester a GPA booster. Enjoy and be sure to leave any other tips you have down below!
- Try to make at least one friend in each of your class.
This may seem a bit crazy, but trust me, with all those due dates and imminent exams, you will be glad you have a friend to contact. I found this was very helpful because instead of emailing professors or TA’s once a day about assignments or exam formats because I was too busy zoning out in class, I could just text that friend and ask him or her.
2. Keep the syllabus and due dates handy.
This is a really important one because when you have a million things due, small assignment dates can easily be overlooked. Even for procrastinators, if you suddenly realize a three-page paper is due tomorrow at 12pm, it might be a bit late. I find it helpful to print out syllabi for all the classes, and the real trick is to keep them all in one place (e.g in the same folder). This way, you have a lower chance of misplacing them, and it will be much easier to just peruse through all your classes beginning of the week and see what is due when.
3. Before buying all the textbooks, see if they are actually needed.
Every professor, or at least most of them, are obligated to encourage students to get a textbook as part of the course material for their classes. However, this does not necessarily mean that you need the textbook. There are plenty of classes in which the professors’ lecture notes alone will suffice and are actually much more coherent with the material that will be on the exams. Most likely, if you do the required assignments and attend the lectures, you may just get around not buying the textbook. I usually think of textbooks as supplementary material; if I find particular topics rather abstruse, then I turn to the textbook.
4. If you don’t want to fall asleep, sit up close.
There is nothing wrong with sitting up front. It will coerce you to pay attention a bit more, and prevent you from going on your phone every 20 minutes, or chit-chatting with your friend next to you.
5. Try to print readings out.
This may seem a little cumbersome at first, but come on, you have $30 to use up in printing, and we all know it is not that easy of a task to do that when it is the last day of the semester, so why not start using that money to print those pdf readings? By reading it on paper, and physically making notes and highlighting key points, you glean much more from the readings.
6. Keep course notes organized from now.
Now, the beginning of classes is the BEST time to start to take notes in an organized manner, so that in the last week of finals, you won’t be scouring your fat notes-folder of five different subjects for that one particular chart of useful equations. When taking notes on the laptop or on paper, try to have separate folders for the classes or at least limit a folder to maximum two subjects. This goes for taking notes in composition notebooks too.
Thank you! Have a GPA-boosting semester! Good luck!