How to Study…

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a stuffed Thankgiving. Get it? I am so lame. Anyways, this week I thought I would share with you some of my study tips and methods because, sadly, finals are only a few weeks away! Now, I am aware that not everyone (ahem, me) starts studying for finals until well, a few days before (or the night of). Whenever you study and whatever you study, here are some things I find are helpful to do to ace an exam.

  1. Flashcards

Now before you roll your eyes and say “been there, done that”, hear me out. The key to using flashcards to study is not have a million to flip through when you’re already on the verge of a mental breakdown from studying for twenty hours. I found that it was quite useful to only limit yourself to making a set amount of flashcards; only make flashcards for things you know you will forget. For example, make flashcards for key facts that are pure memorization. This could be pKa values (oh, Orgo), important dates, essential amino acids, enzymes, etc… Also to further minimize the number of flashcards, group terms together. For instance if all the amino acids are non polar, then try to put as many as you can on one card. Try not to write paragraphs or even sentences on flashcards. It also helps if you spend time really categorizing the flashcards so when you nearing the end of your studying (it never really ends), you can go over only the ones you still haven’t memorized by heart. Oh, and when I am saying flashcards, I mean classic WHITE index cards (not the hard-to-see dark colored ones or online Quizlet)!

2. Rewrite notes

I am sure you have heard many professors bring up the point that writing notes with a pen (or pencil) will ingrain the information better in your head. I cannot stress to you how much this is true! Try to take time to just rewrite notes and you will see that half the material is already going in your brain as you write.

3. Colorful pens and white paper

Believe it or not when you make notes in specific colors, and you go over them multiple times, on exam day, you may be able to recall a piece of information because it was in a specific color! No joke! An important thing to remember is not to go crazy when it comes to the colors. Please don’t use ten colors. I personally like using dark colors such as black or blue to write out my main notes. Then, I have a bright red to box, underline or write VERY IMPORTANT information such as key terms or concepts. You might want to use this color to highlight those hints that your professors drop in class about what “might” be on the upcoming exams. I also find it more fun to take notes on a white paper because you have so much more room and you can write however you want! It’s like your study canvas (again, lame I know).

4. Use images or animation videos

In many of my science classes, we talk about complex processes such as protein translation or aldol condensation. When there are a million steps involved, I often find it very helpful to just Google animations or even just images to simplify things. Reading the textbook (who does?) is sometimes harder because I personally find it more difficult to grasp complex processes by mere paragraphs and paragraphs explicating each step. Instead, scan and print out key images from the book or search them online!

5. Talk out loud

This may sound crazy and may be a bit harder to do when other people are around. However, this is also another way I found really helped me get the material in my head. Hearing yourself say the words out loud can further encode the information in your long-term memory (fancy terms but so true). See if you can find a room at the library or find an empty classroom to just……talk to yourself. Become your own study buddy.

6. Put your phone away

Now, I may sound like an annoying parent, but trust me, I get distracted by my phone a lot. It is not even that I am messaging people, but come on, who can resist taking a twenty minute break every five minutes to go on Instagram or play around with the Snapchat dog filter. Turn your Wifi off (and no cellular data!) and just keep your phone out of sight. You can only touch your phone to check the time….occasionally!

7. Don’t study on your bed!

As comfy as your bed may seem, it is not good a place for studying. Try to sit upright on a desk or at a table. Also, make sure you are in a well-lit place  because dim places may even make you a bit drowsy. Temperature is important too. You can’t study if you’re too cold or too hot, so try to study in an area with the right temperature. In addition, I try not to study in my pajamas. Even if I am studying in my room, I try (most of the times) to wear track pants. Be comfortable enough to study but not enough to fall asleep! It also helps if you don’t eat too many carbs or eat so much food that you go into food coma right before studying!

I hope these tips help some of you! Let me know if you have any tips of your own! Happy studying! Good luck on upcoming exams! You’ll do fantastic!

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3 Ways to be Creative

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Helllooooo folks! As we come back (to reality) from our Thanksgiving break, we may be at that point in the semester (or we were already there since Week 1?) when our brains have had enough. Need some me-time? Well, how about you relax and rejuvenate by engaging in fun, creative activities (and give Netflix a rest, maybe)? After all, November is International Creative Child and Adult Month! So here, you’ll find 3 cool ways to be CREATIVE! 

1: WRITE!!!

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As a Creative Writing minor and just someone who loves writing in general, I guess I’m just a little biased in suggesting that y’all should write if you’d like to be more creative. I’m talking about poems, creative essays (NOT Expos haha), short stories, flash fiction, fan-fiction. Maybe even venture into the realm of writing a NOVEL! It’s definitely not easy to write–or to be creative, to be honest. But I think as soon as you forget what others might think about your writing–the whole judgment thing–writing becomes easier. Journalling helps, too, for expressing your thoughts and feelings. Overall, writing is a cathartic activity that can undoubtedly help you cope with the stress that comes with college–or life!

2: Color!

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Stress-relieving coloring books are quite popular nowadays. Apart from having intricate and eye-catching templates, they also help you hyperfocus on the activity of coloring, allowing your brain and you some breathing space. This type of activity helps you enter a relaxed state of mind and asks you to creatively decorate a picture that is half-done. You’re the other half that completes it, which is something that tells your brain: “This is worthwhile!” Coloring in these books can hone your art skills, too! Ever want to be the next Picasso?

3: Start an Instagram Account!

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It is not uncommon for people around the world to use social media platforms, like Instagram, to showcase their creative talents. So, this is something you can take on to motivate yourself to channel your creativity! What is something your passionate about? Transform that passion into something that you can keep track of and market to the rest of the world. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to attain a certain goal. For example, several individuals out there create an Instagram account to solely track the progress of a project that they’re working on, like a novel. Each day or once a week–how ever many times they choose to post–they may upload quotes or scenes from their writing, or take pictures of objects and people that relate to their work. This is a self-esteem booster, as well as a way to share your talents and passions! Personally, I created an Instagram account–@4linespoetry–in which I can post poetry along with my own hand-drawn sketches or digital representations (using Adobe Illustrator) of the poem. Though it is challenging to manage the account with all of my other activities, it is still worth my time.

So, there you have it! Take risks, try something new! I promise that adding some extra creativity into your inexplicably busy college lives can ease the stress and worries! 

~Tanya B. 

A Month of Writing

November is a really exciting month. Not only is there Thanksgiving to look forward to, but we are also so much closer to winter break! For me, this November is also exciting because of Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month.

Nanowrimo is a writing project where participants attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November. If you sign up on the website, it sends you writing advice, and also allows you to log the amount of words that you write each day. That way, you can see your progress throughout the event, and win some prizes if you reach that goal!

This year, I decided to take part in Nanowrimo. I attempted it two years ago, but could not get past the first few days, because I fell into the trap of worrying that my story was not good. I was also editing as I wrote, which was a horrible idea. This made me feel really discouraged, and it clogged my writing flow. It made me feel stressed out and made writing feel more like a chore rather than something I enjoy. So this year, I am taking a completely different approach to writing than I did in the past.

To combat that writer’s block that I felt in the past, I changed my personal goal for this year. Although the official goal of Nanowrimo is ideally to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, my personal goal is just to make time to write something each day. Of course around exam times, I cannot get much done, but I still try to write at least 600 words per day. Although this number is far from the official 1,667 words per day goal, the way I see it, at the end of the month I will have 18,000 words written that would not have been there at all if I didn’t attempt Nanowrimo.

Writing requires a commitment, but if you have a passion for writing and a story to tell, then you should definitely make the time for it! I thought that I would share some of my tips that are helping me write and could help you too!

1. Write what you know

I am an avid fantasy reader. I just love the feeling of escaping reality and entering a new world full of crazy creatures and ideas that you would never see in real life. For a long time now, I have wanted to write a fantasy novel, and I have had an idea bouncing around in my head, so I thought that it was finally time to sit down and try to transfer my ideas from my head to my Word document. Since I have a pretty good knowledge about the features of a fantasy novel, I know (for the most part) some of the major components that I want to include in my writing.

2. Get inspired

A lot of the inspiration that I get for my writing comes from Pinterest or Tumblr. Whenever I need ideas about a landscape, characters, or fashion, I go to Pinterest and scroll through pictures until I find something that fits with what I am looking for. On Pinterest, I also create boards to separate and organize those little bits of inspiration, so they are easy to find later when I need them.

3. Take advantage of any extra time in the day

Writing consistently is easier said than done. I know how difficult it can be to get time to write when there is so much work to do and when we are always so tired. Most people say that the best way to get writing done is to set aside a time to write, but unfortunately this method doesn’t always work for me. Instead, I get most of my writing done before classes or when I am taking a break in between studying. I usually write in small bursts where I write down what I am picturing in my head. For me, this “less-structured” style of writing allows me to get my ideas down without feeling pressured or burnt-out.

I know my post was about Nanowrimo, but really any day of any month is perfect for writing. There are always going to be distractions and other things to do in life, but as long as you have a story to tell, you should give it a go! Grab a cup of tea, turn off the phone and break out the pen and paper–you will be surprised with what ideas start flowing out of your mind!

 

 

Why Humans Love Negativity

Whether it is in the news or social media, negativity seems to be everywhere these days. Tragic incidents, accidents, celebrity bashing, roast challenges, you name it. While exposure to negative content is important and inevitable, it is the fact that humans love it that is interesting. We know it is bad, yet we cannot stay away from capturing or consuming it. Why?

It has been reported that there are about seventeen negative news reports for every positive one in the media. Evolutionary psychologists and neurologists say that because our brains evolved in hunter-gatherer environments, we immediately attend to anything dramatic and threatening for the sake of our survival.

Another explanation is the probability theory which suggests that the probability of unusual/tragic events happening in large cities compared to local neighborhoods is higher.  Becuase the media focuses on large-scale cities, the prevalence and distribution of negative content increase greatly.

Researchers find that a negativity bias exists in which people have a desire to hear bad news.  This bias exists mainly because people tend to believe that they are “above-average” and that the world is a much better place than it actually is.  Thus, when bad news comes out, they give it more attention.

The brain has increased sensitivity to bad news as opposed to good news. In other words, an insult stings more than a compliment, unpleasant feelings linger longer than positive/neutral ones, and bad news overshadows good news. Thus, despite the presence of all the good in this world, the negativity sticks out like a sore thumb.

In specific, I want to focus on the vastness of negative content online, mainly Youtube. Whether it roasting other Youtubers, hating on celebrities, or capturing another person’s pain, there is plenty of negativity out there. What is concerning is that these are the videos that trend and gain the most attention.  If a video is circulated rapidly on the Internet, it is defined to be viral.

In April 2016, a 16-year-old girl named Amy Joyner-Francis was beaten to death by three girls in a high school bathroom.  Dozens of other girls simply stood by and watched the violent encounter unfold.  Some even chose to record it, rather than intervene. Click here to read more about this incident.

How sad is that?! Is the chance to create a viral video worth risking someone else’s life?

Research shows that negative videos can become viral because they trigger high arousal emotions like anger and disgust. Videos bashing celebrities and capturing accidents/fights gain attention because of the immediate response the viewer experiences.

However, there is an incentive for positive videos as well. Another component in virality is dominance- when you feel in control of your emotions. For example, a high dominance emotion is happiness, whereas a low dominance emotion is fear. Thus, videos that elicit high dominance feelings, such as happiness, admiration, and love have been proven to trend.  Trending videos like “In A Heartbeat” and “Grace VanderWaal: 12-Year-Old Ukulele Player Gets Golden Buzzer – America’s Got Talent 2016” promote positivity and inspiration.

In the long run, creating positive content is far more impactful.  Think about it.  Once the short-lived relevance of a negative video dies out, it is quickly forgotten.  This is because negative content is solely remembered for its content, whereas positive content has a lasting impression.

And the misconception that it is impossible to trend without negativity is just false.  Whether it is #DamnDaniel, Gangnam Style, Watch Me Whip or Carpool Karaoke, these videos have managed to become viral without promoting any negativity.

It is impractical to hope that negative content will cease to exist because there will always be an audience for it. However, if people make an effort to resist watching and sharing these types of videos, then people will be less encouraged to record such content.  So, while it is tempting and difficult to focus on negativity, do not bash what you hate.  Instead, promote what you love.

My Summer (A story told a little late)

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, because life has been a little crazy (when isn’t it?). However, this one summer experience I had is one I’ve been meaning to share and now seems as good a time as any.

The Rutgers Institute of Women’s Leadership has many programs throughout the year to help female college students develop leadership skills they can bring to their careers and communities. This summer I took part in one of them,  the Community Leadership, Action and Service Program, otherwise known as CLASP. Through the program, students work in internships at local non-profits for five weeks. During that time, they also take a seminar on women’s leadership and responsible ways to help a community. For me, the experience was eye-opening and amazing.

The program placed me with the Sanar Wellness Institute, a non-profit in Newark that works with survivors of human trafficking. Specifically, they provide psychological support to survivors, mostly through yoga and art therapy.

Now, I didn’t work with clients, because I’m not a social work major, but I still learned a lot. My job consisted primarily of two things: social media and curriculum development. For the social media aspect, I managed their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. However, the more meaningful part came from the curriculum development.

The Institute had been chosen by Rutgers to rework the curriculum used to teach social workers about how to deal with survivors of human trafficking. My job was a combination of fact-checking, lesson arrangement, and secretarial duties(see: type, copy, paste). As far as the fact-checking went, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. For example, just this year Polaris published a new typology (see: listing different categories) of human trafficking: There are 21 types of Human Trafficking. Also, that big deal the news usually makes about human trafficking increasing around wherever the Super Bowl is happening? False. If you want more details, just ask and I can go through the PowerPoint.

In addition to this, the seminar also taught me a lot. It was an odd combo of Intro Race and Gender studies, Social Justice, and Community Building with the other volunteers from the program. Everyone there was really amazing and worked with organizations across New Brunswick like Unity Square, Youth Empowerment Services, and New Labor. If you’re interested in Women’s Leadership and/or helping out the community, be sure to check this out, as the applications will probably open soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Last of Many WebRegs, First of Many Tears

Guys, it’s happening. The G-word is upon us…. Don’t make me say it. I’m not going to say it. I’ll just find a meme that says it for me instead.

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Last Sunday, I registered for the last time. It was such a bittersweet moment because I thought about the first time I scheduled and how I was in tears because as a freshman, I registered last, and believe it or not, I got none of the classes I wanted. But now, three years later, I changed my major twice, changed my minor twice, took classes that had nothing to do with my major just to explore different topics, and I am still finishing on time having completed every requirement from all 3 schools I am in (SAS, Bloustein, and SCI) on top of finishing my SAS Honors requirements. On top of it, I am interning at Robert Wood, working part-time, and reading….for fun… so listen up underclassmen, you can do it all, I promise you. Want to know how? Just breathe, prioritize, and plan. I’m not kidding. (And yes, in that order).

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BREATHE. 

One of the most important lessons I have learned from my last seven semesters here at Rutgers has been to always take a step back, breathe, and remember that it will all work out. Whatever that it is, I promise you, it will work out. I am an extremely busy person – I take 18 credits a semester, I intern, I work, I am a research assistant, I am a peer instructor, and I am very up-to-date on all my TV shows (yes, I know what I said). Sometimes, I feel like I am on a hamster wheel, never being able to get off. But I make sure I make time every single day to unwind, whether it be by napping, by FaceTiming my little brother, or just hanging out in the kitchen with my housemates. When I feel anxious about a deadline or an upcoming presentation, I forget about it. And by that I mean I literally forget about. I step away from whatever is making me nervous or anxious or worried and I do something else until I am ready to come back to it. Sometimes, you just need a little breather for you to look at something with fresh eyes. Whatever that breather is, yoga, ice-cream, Netflix, going on a run, a nice bubble bath, napping, or writing – take that breather. You can do anything you want if you remember to take care of your own sanity and health first. You come first.

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Prioritize. What do you want? When do you want it done by? First, figure out what you want. When it comes to your classes, explore different subject matters your freshman year. Just because you think you’re pre-med, it doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for Intro to Computer Science or Art History. Join clubs. Go to your professor’s office hours. Talk to someone on a different floor in your residence hall. When you explore, you broaden your horizons. And when you broaden your horizons, you learn what it is you really love. My freshman year, I took Biology, Computer Science, Calculus II, Greek Civilization, and a Public Health class. Some classes stuck…some didn’t. But I learned by taking those classes what I never wanted to do again (I’m talking about you partial derivatives) and what I could see myself spending the rest of my life learning about (Public Health).  So I prioritized. I had three priorities scheduled for myself second semester of freshman year: graduate with a B.S. in Public Health, complete all of my requirements, and get involved in the health care industry through internships and/or research. And that is exactly what I did. By focusing on what I wanted to do first, I was able to better plan the other aspects of my life… which brings me to….

plans

One tip I highly recommend is to plan out your next four years now in regards to classes. Open up Excel and create a schedule for all of the semesters you have left. I did this my sophomore year and I really wish I did it sooner because it really helped me figure out what classes were offered and when (as some classes are only Fall or Spring) or if two requirements overlapped in class meeting times, what was the best way to handle that. And best thing is, since it’s Excel, if you change your mind or change your major, you can just readjust your schedule and see if you’re still on track with your goals. Use Degree Navigator, the Honors Program website, Course Schedule planner, and your Honors advisors to figure out what classes you want to take and when. This will help you make sure you finish your requirements as well as give you opportunity to plan for studying abroad or internships.

You should also plan your future after college. No, I don’t mean you need to know exactly which graduate school you are going to go to or exactly what career path you want. Rather, I mean you should take advantage of the career-planning resources that are all over campus such as University Career Services or the Career Fair. Drop in and have your resume critiqued or sit with an advisor and learn about different post-grad options. Go to the career fair with an open mind and a pen – just expose yourself to the outside world, because unfortunately, we all have to face the G-word sooner or later.

 

Boo to You!

Halloween is just around the corner, and I can feel the excitement in the air! This year, I celebrated Halloween early in September when I went to Disney World. I attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for the first time, and it was amazing! Since it is almost Halloween, I thought that I would share my experience with all of you.

Disney is known for its elaborate holiday events. They have the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring, The Food and Wine Festival in the Fall, the Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party during September and October, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party during November and December. I have been to the Flower and Garden Festival many times and I have also been to Disney around Christmas multiple times, so I can confidently say that Disney goes all out when it comes to events. It has always been mine and my sister’s dream to attend the Halloween party, but we never visited Disney during that time period. This summer, we were there at the start of September, and Disney held their Halloween parties early, so we jumped at the opportunity to attend! And let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

The decorations in Magic Kingdom are truly beautiful. During the party, there were fog machines at the front of the park, and loud Halloween music was playing to set the mood. Also, most of the visitors and cast members are dressed in creative and elaborate costumes. It felt nothing like a normal day at the parks!

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At the Halloween party, there are many characters that you can line up to take pictures with that you normally cannot find at the parks: Jack and Sally, the Seven Dwarfs, Jack Sparrow and more! I have always wanted to meet Jack Sparrow, so that was the highlight of my night.

Since it is a Halloween party, I also got to trick-or-treat! I personally haven’t been trick or treating since middle school days, and it is something that I missed a lot! At Disney, they encourage everyone (yes, even the adults) to trick-or-treat! As soon as you get there, you are given a bag and a list of all of the candy stations around the park, where you can pick up some treats (and you can go back as many times as you’d like!).

Of course, Disney wouldn’t be Disney without a special parade and firework show. The parade is called “Boo to You” and the fireworks show is “Hallowishes”. During the firework show, there were projections on the castle that went went along with the music. It was so much fun to sing and scream along. The fireworks were great, but I think that the parade was even better. During the parade, you see characters that are not in the daytime parades, such as the hyenas from the lion king, Oogie boogie, a whole float full of villains, and so many ghouls from the Haunted Mansion!

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The Haunted Mansion performers had really beautiful costumes and their dancing was really good!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an experience that I highly recommend to people of all ages. It’s so much fun to get dressed and see other people’s costumes. Also there are so many different things to do like meeting special characters, going trick-or-treating, and eating special treats that are only available during the party. It is something that I will never forget, and I really hope that I will be able to attend again one day!

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! 

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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.

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.

Image result for dorm decor

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.