Tips to Make Friends at RU

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

1: Talk!

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

2: Make Plans

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

3: Keep in Contact

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

***

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

–Tanya B.

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Why We Love Rutgers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Life of a Commuter

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

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

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

There are a lot of plus sides of commuting:

You get to live at home.  

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

You can come and leave whenever you want. 

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

You can avoid taking buses. 

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

You have access to better food options. 

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

It’s cheaper. 

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

You get more alone time. 

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

 

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

It’s hard to get involved on campus. 

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

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

It’s hard to make friends. 

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

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

It’s hard to reach out for help. 

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

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

Getting to your parking lot can become a hassle.

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

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

Traffic and gas.

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

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

You wish you could have that dorm experience.

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

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

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

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

RU Top 4 Eats

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

#4: Henry’s Diner ~ Livingston Plaza

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

#3: Moe’s ~ Busch Campus Center

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

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

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

#1: Hidden Grounds ~ College Ave; Easton

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

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

A Summer-Suspense-Must-Read!

Hi there everyone! Summer has officially (I mean the actual season) kick-started. For some of us that means days of contemplating  what to do, while for others it means research, volunteering, internships, etc. Either way, I think it is very important to consecrate a little bit of your time each day for reading. Therefore, I thought I would encourage you to read this really awesome book I have read this past month!

The book is titled Memory Man and is written by David Baldacci. If you are a sleuth and love unraveling mysteries, then this is definitely a book for you. The story is about an extraordinary man named Amos Decker who, after a gruesome concussion on the football field, suffers from a peculiar brain condition called hyperthemia and synesthesia. Hyperthemia is the ability to never, and this is no exaggeration, forget a single thing that has happened to the person. Synesthesia is the ability to use one sense of the body with another seemingly unconnected sense. For example, Amos is able to see everything in colors and numbers.

The story commences with Amos walking right into the murder of his entire family one night. Horrified and absolutely devestated, he doesn’t know what to do. The grisly murder scene leaves him abashed and grieving. He thinks about killing himself, but the police come just in time and talk him out of shooting himself. He later vows to find the killers and avenge his family and himself. Amos’ journey is one filled with countless shocks and surprises that will leave you ardent to find out what happens on the next page.

Amos, a retired detective, definitely has the brains to solve this case, and this is evident in every step of the story. With a little more help from a former partner named Lancaster, a journalist named Jamison, and an FBI agent named Bogart, Amos sets out to catch the merciless killer. To everyone’s, but Amos of course, surprise, the killer is no less intelligent than Amos himself.

A huge twist in the story comes when a shooting at Mansfield High School leaves few students and adults dead. At first, you may think that this may be an entire new mystery in itself, however, it turns out that the shooter was no other than the one who had shot Amos’ wife, strangled his daughter, and slit the throat of Amos’ brother-in-law.  These two interconnected cases elucidate that the killer has no boundaries. Why? Why is the killer is doing all of this? What did the shooting have to do with Amos and his family?

You will discover that each clue that Amos uncovers is carefully crafted to fit into the final puzzle. In the beginning, it may seem that the pieces are all random, but believe me, you will be awestruck as to how the entire mystery unfolds itself at the end.

I really hope you all take time this summer to definitely give this book a go. I promise you that it will not be a disappointment at all. Baldacci is an impeccable author who is meticulous in his vivid imagery; don’t be surprised if you get so engulfed in the words that you soon find yourself alongside Amos, deciphering the murder’s clever clues.

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!

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!

Great Short Reads: A Colloquium Alternative

So as members of the SAS Honors Program, we need to do two Honors Colloquiums or an alternative. And there are a lot of alternatives. This past semester I took part in a relatively new one: a one credit Pass/Fail course called Great Short Reads.

So, you ask, how was it? Should I take it?

The answer to the first question is highly enjoyable and to the second, as with much advice, is it really depends on you and your situation.

In short: If you have the time to read three novellas/short novels and enjoy not only reading but discussing and briefly writing about literary fiction, then yes this is a great alternative to another colloquium that has all your favorite things and free pizza.

The course is led by Professor Paul Blaney, who also teaches that course that goes to Ireland every spring. For the past semester, he picked our first novella, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, then the class voted on our second and third pieces, which ended up being Slaughterhouse Five and A Clockwork Orange, three incredibly different pieces in terms of style, topic, and genre that were fantastic, if somewhat depressing, reads.

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For each of these, we read them, watched a movie adapting them, and wrote a short piece on the Sakai forums. Then, at the end of the semester, we had to write a short piece imitating the novels that could fit into the novel (essentially, we were told to write canon-compliant fanfiction for class). At each of the five meetings we held over the course of the semester, there was free pizza and everyone was generally into discussing the books. Overall, I liked it a lot more than colloquium and found the reading to be very rewarding and to be a nice change of pace from my other classwork. If you’re looking for summer reading, I would recommend any of these books (though maybe spread it out and read things that are maybe a little more optimistic in between each).

If you have any questions about the course or any summer reading recommendations, leave a comment 🙂

Have a great summer!

Also, since my last final is today at 4, enjoy this meme:

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Being a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program

JUST DO IT.

This year was my first time as a Peer Mentor, through SASHP, for a first-year student, who I was paired up with based on similar academic studies and interests. We first met each other at the Peer Mentor/Mentee Summer Kick-Off event last June, which was really just the very beginning of our adventure together. As a Peer Mentor, I received the opportunity to guide my mentee through her first year here at Rutgers, helping her adjust to the transition from high school to a large university and to the many changes. We met at least once a month, and soon enough, we were friends! Here are my top three moments with my mentee, who we’ll call Melodia for this post:

3. The Awkward First Meeting

It’s always super awkward when you meet someone for the first time, isn’t it? Same case for when I had my first, official meeting of the year with Melodia! We met at Busch Campus Center, and even our initial greeting was awkward:

“Hiii!”

“Hiii!”

We walked to some couches in silence and then marched towards Moe’s to get Melodia some food. After we overcame the initial awkwardness, we proceeded to Phase 2: More Awkwardness. Most of this phase consisted of silence…awkward silence, during which we smiled at each other while carefully chewing on food. Phase 3: Some Conversation, began when we both realized that “people usually talk”; therefore, we…TALKED. We conversed about the first week of classes, our already busy schedules, the different classes we were registered for, and how we were liking them and our professors. It was clear that Melodia was sharp, excellent at time management, and adjusting well to the Rutgers environment. Our meeting ended with, “See you soon!” Overall, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be–not too much blood, sweat, or tears at all! Folks, here’s a lesson I learned from this first meeting: AWKWARD is NORMAL.

2. Session of Connection

For probably our second or third meeting, we decided to talk with each other at the new Starbucks at the Yard across from Scott Hall. This, my friends, was when we truly CONNECTED. By this time, the awkwardness had vanished, and we were already talking to each other with ease. That day, we were discussing how Melodia’s classes were coming along and any challenges she was facing. Somehow, we switched to the wonderful world of art and passionately lectured each other on literature, films, and creativity. Interesting lectures from both sides, I must say. Melodia exclaimed, “We have so much in common!” To that, I responded, “Can you believe that a whole hour has passed by?!” After some more chatting, I finished sipping my cappuccino (with three sugars) and we said, “See you soon!” I made my way to the train station, thinking to myself how awesome the day turned out to be. 

1. Never Say Goodbye

All stories come to an end. All things have an end. But still, “Never Say Goodbye,” as a Hayley Westenra (one of my most favorite singers in this world) song title indicates. Although that song describes a romantic relationship, I can say that it applies to friendships as well. Just last week, I had my last, official meeting with Melodia, this time in three places–we were moving around a lot–including the Livingston Student Center, the Livingston Starbucks, and Sixteen Handles. I congratulated her on finishing an entire year at Rutgers. Freshman year: done. In this meeting, we talked about how Melodia had grown and changed for the better. I told her how I was proud of her for beginning to overcome her fear of sharing her work with others, specifically in a Creative Writing class workshop, during which she bravely listened to her classmates’ critiques and constructive feedback. I also congratulated her on something else…

SHE GOT ACCEPTED TO BE A PEER MENTOR FOR THE HONORS PROGRAM FOR NEXT YEAR!

I was thrilled and so very proud that she chose to apply. It warmed my heart when she said she gave it a shot because I was an inspiration for her, and that she also wanted to help an incoming first-year just as I had helped her. After about an hour, before I hurried off to Tillett to tutor and Melodia crossed the street to the Plaza bus stop, we, of course, agreed to definitely meet up throughout next year, because the end of my official role as a mentor for Melodia didn’t mean the end of my friendship with her. We told each other, “See you soon!”

So folks, if you’re looking for a rewarding experience, choosing to be an Honors Peer Mentor is absolutely the way to go!

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–The Doctor

 

Sweet Release

Friday was the first-ever Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis (IHT) Conference, where seniors who have completed an IHT presented it to faculty and peers. After a year of researching and writing my thesis, I can proudly say that the conference marked the end of a long, long process.

As honor students, you all have the Capstone requirement to fulfill. I’d like to give you 3 big tips to consider as you prepare to complete it, whether you are graduating next year or in a few years.

1. Take the time to look at all the Capstone options.

The Honors Program now offers 5 different options for students to complete this requirement.

Option A: Completion of a senior honors thesis through Departmental Honors within the major department

Option B: Completion of the SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis

Option C: Completion of two graduate level courses in the same department or program; requires prior permission of instructor and approval of department graduate director, and clearance by an Honors Program dean. The student must complete a scholarly report detailing their experience.

Option D: Completion of two graduate level courses offered in professional tracks such as five-year programs of the Graduate School of Education, or the seven-year BA/MD; these courses must be taken in consecutive semesters. The student must complete a scholarly report detailing their experience.

Option E: Completion of a two-semester professional, certificate, or service learning experience, field placement, or internship under the supervision of a sponsoring department or academic unit. Only coursework completed through approved programs run by academic departments and university centers, bureaus, and institutes will be recognized. The total credits earned must be at least 6The student must complete a scholarly report detailing their experience.

Because of the variety of options, looking into all of them will be helpful to ensure you do not get stuck writing a 40-page thesis on a topic you have no interest in.

If you are currently deciding which option to choose, please do not hesitate to visit 35 College Ave to talk to one of the deans about choosing.

2. Start planning and preparing as soon as you can. 

I had been thinking about my thesis since the beginning of Junior year. I studied abroad during the spring semester of Junior year and the deans recommended that I have a rough topic and advisors before I left. While it is possible to change topics at the beginning of senior year, keep in mind that it is a huge endeavor, so the sooner you have an idea, the sooner you can begin researching. That being said, make sure that you choose a topic that you are very interested in pursuing. You will be spending at least a year researching and writing about your topic, and if you begin to hate it halfway through the school year, then the rest of the project will be torturous.

Once again, do not hesitate to chat with the deans about potential topics. Dean Nazario helped me come up with the basis for my thesis. The deans are treasures and are resources in an of themselves, so I encourage you to seek their guidance, especially for help with the Capstone requirement.

3. Create a schedule with certain deadlines.

The first two tips are kind of obvious and can apply to any project or assignment. However, this third one is the most important tip I can give you, in my opinion. What do I mean by this? Before I explain, I want to briefly talk about my thesis process. I started researching late, probably around the middle of the fall semester. I also started writing late. I didn’t have a full draft until the end of March. My procrastination and last-minute everything created quite a bit of stress (although I am happy to say that everything turned out well in the end). I only got stuff done when my advisor (bless her patience with me) gave me a bunch of dates and told me what was due on each of them. For example, at the end of Thanksgiving Break, I owed her an annotated bibliography of the sources I was going to use for the first half of my thesis; on February x I owed her the first half of my paper; at the end of March I needed to email her a final draft.

This scheduling is the reason I completed my thesis and I wish I had set such goals for myself. So I encourage all of you to create a schedule with certain deadlines to help you complete your Capstone on time, organized, and with as little stress as possible.

I hope this helps a bit. If you want to talk more about my personal experience with the thesis, please feel free to leave a comment!