Random and Cool Facts !!

Hey everyone. Hope everyone is surviving the spring semester! The midterm season may have begun for many of you, so good luck to you all. Now, for this month’s post, I thought of spewing out some random yet cool facts that you may not have known before. Some of these definitely surprised me. I hope you enjoy and learn something new today! These facts are from an app called Facts.

  1. The average raindrop falls at 7 miles per hour.
  2. There are between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers kept as pets in the United States.
  3. The Philippines has about 7,100 islands of which only about 460 are more than 1 square mile in area.
  4. If you could fly a plane to Pluto, the trip would take more than 800 years.
  5. One out of ten children in Europe is conceived on an IKEA bed.
  6. Sponges hold more cold water than hot.
  7. ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine.
  8. The Minneapolis phone book has 21 pages of Andersons.
  9. The Earth weighs around 6,588,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.
  10. If you drop silly putty from high enough, it will shatter like glass when it hits the ground.
  11. For every 230 cars that are made, 1 will be stolen.
  12. Every day is a holiday somewhere in the world.
  13. If you count how many times a cricket chirps in 15 seconds and add 37, you get a rough estimate of the temperature in Fahrenheit.
  14. It has NEVER rained in Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
  15. Bubble gum contains rubber.
  16. Jupiter has the shortest days of all of the planets. It rotates on the axis every 9 hours and 55 minutes.
  17. Oslo, Norway, is the world’s most expensive city. A gallon on gas costs almost $5, and it costs $1.32 to use the public restrooms.
  18. The house fly hums in the middle octave key of F.
  19. The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.
  20. You blink over 20,000,000 times a year.
  21. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump were all born with a 66-day stretch.
  22. Camels have three eyelids.
  23. If done perfectly, a Rubik’s cube combination can be solved in 17 turns.
  24. The “pound” key on your keyboard (#) is called an octothorpe.
  25. Moisture not air, causes super glue to dry.
  26. South Dakota is the only U.S. state which shares no letters with the name of its capital.
  27. It’s against the law in Kansas to catch fish with your bare hands.
  28. Andorra, a tiny country between France & Spain, has the longest average lifespan of 83.49 years.
  29. At birth, Dalmatians are always white.
  30. The word “muscle” comes from Latin term meaning “little mouse” which is what Ancient Romans thought flexed bicep muscles resembled.
  31. The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the king is dead”
  32. Most household dust is made of dead skin cells.
  33. Brushing your teeth regularly has been shown to prevent heart disease.
  34. In the marriage ceremony of the ancient Inca Indians of Ancient Peru, the couple was considered officially wed when they took off their sandals and handed them to each other.
  35. A healthy (non-colorblind) human eye can distinguish between 500 shades of grey.
  36. More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.
  37. Lightning strikes the Earth 100 times every second.
  38. More than 1,000 different languages are spoken on the continent of Africa.
  39. Paraskevidekatriaphobia means the fear of Friday the 13th, which occurs one to three times a year.
  40. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters.

 

WOW! Did you learn something new? Feel free to comment below your favorite fact(s) or share some that you know! Thank you!

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Keeping Up with Hobbies

Every semester, as I get swallowed up by studying and other responsibilities, I always forget about my hobbies (like drawing and writing). And then when I do finally get a break from work, I almost forget how to do them! I think this is a problem that a lot of college students, or just students in general, go through when they are overwhelmed with work. But this semester, I am making it my goal to hold onto my creative side.

This year, I started a new sketchbook. It’s a Moleskine art book, and it is pretty small, so I keep it in my backpack. Since I always have it with me, I am able to pull it out when I am waiting between classes and doodle a little bit. I have already seen a change in my drawing habits, since in previous semesters, I would forget about drawing when I had spare time. Now, it has become somewhat normal for me to reach for the sketchbook when I have a little time.

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Another thing that I am doing this semester to boost my creativity, is decorating my planner. Last year, I tried keeping a bullet journal to organize my assignments and other tasks, but it was more stressful than helpful. I am a perfectionist, and trying to make every line perfect really just burned me out. This year, I have a planner with weeks already set up. It is plain though, so it allows me to be creative without making me get tired of it. So I have been stocking up on washi tape and stickers that I am using in my planner. It makes my planner look nice, and doesn’t really require me to spend a lot of energy and time in making it look good.

In terms of writing, I often get writer’s block during the semester. I recently bought this little journal called, The Severed Moon, by one of my favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo. She put quotes from her books as well as other little prompts in the journal. The book itself is quite small, so there isn’t a lot of space to elaborate, but for me this is perfect and allows me to focus for a period of time. These prompts are fun and make you think, and they are great for people who like to have a guide to keep their creativity flowing.

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I think for most hobbies, it is hard to keep up with them during school season. But most of the time, there is a way to include your hobbies in your daily life. I hope my tips can be helpful for anyone who wants to include more drawing/writing in their day. A little creativity can really boost your mood and give your brain a break from the routine!

Staying Sane: What a Rutgers Student Can Do During Free Time

College can be tough. For me, over here on College Avenue, life sometimes feels like a fever dream of last-minute assignments, Academic Building staircases, and Brower’s General Tso’s Chicken. But one of the things I’ve found about college that’s differed drastically from high school is that I’ve gotten a great deal of free time. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone; if you feel like college courses haven’t even left you enough time to breathe, then maaaaybe just disregard this blog post entirely. However, I’ve learned that there are a great many things that you can do in your spare time at Rutgers to keep your life feeling fresh and orderly. And yes, it goes without saying that you should be studying during free time– but sometimes we need a break. So I’ve put together a small list of things that a Rutgers student can do during those breaks to keep us from feeling like we’re melting into insanity.

Enjoy!

1. Hit the gym.

There are no excuses for not getting out there and pumping some iron– Rutgers is practically throwing its gym facilities at us! If you’re a goal-oriented person (like I am), making an effort to get over to the gym is a great feeling– heck, for some people, it’s a walk right across the street! Not to mention, exercise is a fantastic stress-reliever.

2. Check out a movie.

$5 movies?! C’mon people. You literally can’t find a deal like that anywhere else! For someone like me who’s a big movie lover (you can check out my other blog posts for proof), hopping on that LX and seeing a movie for about a third of the price of a typical ticket is a great deal and can make for a fun afternoon. Or, since it’s timely, go support Rutgers students and see something at the Rutgers Film Festival!

3. Meditate.

I know, I know, it may seem a little weird. Meditation seems to be reserved for stoic spiritual nuts nowadays, but in truth, it can really come and handy. Sitting down and focusing on your breathing for say, 15 minutes a day can really lower your stress levels and put you in the right mentality to churn out that research paper.

4. Read!

Reading books is another thing that our current generation has detached from a little bit. I heard my friend say the other day that he hasn’t read a book in nine years. Yikes. But reading has plenty of benefits: mental stimulation, memory improvement, and stress reduction. It isn’t too late to make some amendments to that New Year’s Resolution– try reading a book every month. Give it a go, see what happens.

5. NAP.

Many will tell you that napping during the day is super unhealthy, but as long as you do it right, it can be good for you! A 10 to 20-minute power nap can really be an energy boost if you’re feeling drowsy and have a class coming up, and studies show that a 60 to 90-minute nap can improve memory and creativity. So when those eyelids feel like sandbags and you’ve got a window of time, just set an alarm and give in!

6. Stay off social media.

This isn’t necessarily an activity, but it’s something that I’ve tried lately, and I’ve gotta say, it’s really worked. Social media is great for staying in touch with friends, but it’s also a huge distraction and can get very toxic. Cutting social media out of my life has given me a lot of time to focus and has taken a lot of unnecessary stress out of my life. Who needs streaks?! Stop trying so hard to maintain your digital appearance and focus on the real world! It may not be as bad as it seems.

7. Study a new subject.

Okay, this may be the deal-breaker for those who feel like they’ve got enough on their plate, but we have the whole Internet, people! There’s so much to learn at our fingertips! If there’s something you find really interesting that you haven’t been able to fit into your schedule, put your curiosity to work and do some research! It’ll be like having your own personal class, without having to worry about making it to class (or homework!). Looking into something online that I find truly interesting and beneficial makes me feel a whole lot better than re-binging the Office for the third time or watching YouTube all day.

8. Learn a new language.

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve wanted to learn a new language but have never been able to fit it into your schedule, there’s plenty of places to learn. Alongside Italian courses at school, I’ve been using the app Duolingo (which is free) to learn Italian; all I have to do is take 10 minutes out of every day to study, and it’s super helpful and easy.

9. Listen to some new music.

Music is the greatest escape of them all, and can flip your mood in seconds (well, it can for me at least). Try a new genre and expand your artistic horizons! There’s a lot of great music out there, from mumble-rap to Beethoven. I’m constantly listening to music and it’s a big mood-changer for me.

Well, I hope this list was helpful to any of my fellow Rutgers students. If it wasn’t, no worries! These activities don’t work for everyone. But we’re in this together– I’m here to help! Don’t make life difficult for yourself; college is stressful enough sometimes! There are so many things to do that are entertaining and healthy at the same time.

 

Let’s Practice Self-Love!

February is that month. The newness of January has worn off and break is just a little too far away. I find myself just letting days pass by, either throwing myself into work or scrolling endlessly on my phone until 2 a.m. So this month, I have decided to prioritize self-care, relaxing, and mental health.

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1. FOCUSING ON THE SIMPLE THINGS

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the simple things that make us happy and it’s hard to make time for those things when so much else is going on. There can be a few approaches to making hobbies a habit but I’ve started implementing them at the beginning of my day. During the weekdays, I sleep a little earlier so I can wake up around a half hour earlier in the morning. I am not, and never will be, a morning person, but honestly, this makes the mornings a little more bearable (don’t get me wrong though, coffee always helps)! For me, reading is the best way to take a break from the world and makes me instantly happy. I find that when I decided to start reading in the morning, I actually stay true to my word. At night I’d be too tired and would just opt for scrolling down my Instagram feed for an hour before falling asleep with my phone on my face. By starting my mornings by doing what makes me happy, I feel like my day goes better as well. (And this doesn’t just apply to just reading a chapter! It can work with exercise, a face mask, watching a video or show etc.)

fc12666f7edf9fc4baaaca38e6e86bf02. LISTENING TO RELAXING MUSIC

I listen to music almost all day and it has always affected my mood, as I’m sure it does for many people. Recently, and quite randomly, I’ve started listening to a lot of “Lo-fi” music, which is basically music with no real lyrics and just calming beats. It is super easy to focus when it’s playing and a complete mood-booster. I only use one playlist on my Spotify (sorry, I’m too far gone and I don’t have the heart to change that now) so every other song is a different genre. In the last week though, I’ve added tons of lo-fi music to my playlist and play it in the background when I’m studying, getting ready, or before I sleep. When that chunk of my playlist is over, I can listen to my other music or turn it off. But I like that I’ve almost “built-in” a break so naturally in my life. Some of my favorites are “Proud of You” by A L E X and Alicks, “hello, it’s me” and “please, say something” by j’san, and “falling asleep at 3:37am” by Idealism and Alex Szotak. I hope you’ll give them a listen!

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3. SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK !!!

So a few months ago I did my first real “social media break.” I’m sure you’ve heard about it, maybe know a person that’s done it (or is doing it right now) but it was one of the best things I ever did! Currently, I’m still mostly on a break from Snapchat (sometimes I’ll post on my story or send my close friends something but that’s about it). My first “break” was about 3 months long and I didn’t use Instagram or Snapchat pretty much at all (if I used Instagram to post for something, I wouldn’t scroll down my feed/ explore and I would log out almost immediately). My sister or friends would talk to me enough about certain things so I wasn’t completely out of the loop (but not being totally aware and “on” all the time wasn’t such a bad thing). The break I went on wasn’t super extreme but it really did make me so much happier, made me more productive, and made me focus on the life that was actually right in front of me. Even if you log out for a few days or a week, I believe you’ll feel the same effects. My habits and mentality regarding social media use are definitely much healthier now as well, so that’s a major plus!
I hope you’ll take some of my suggestions and implement them in your daily life too! And I just thought I’d share what my Intro to Gender, Race, and Sexuality professor, Dr. MisirHiralall, sent out in an email earlier today. In the end, she wrote “Remember to practice self-love. It is not selfish. It is an act of self-care.” I don’t think anything could be truer than that.

Planning Ahead

Year after year, day after day, I tend to hear this advice: plan ahead. Sounds easy enough, no? After all, it really comes down to the question of what to do after you’re done with something. Sometimes, the answer is easy, like if you have an exam coming up after you just finished one. But other times, when all stress is done, that feeling just never shows up. Last semester, I had no plan after I finished. I got good grades and was excited for my family trip to India. But then what? I look back and realize that a lot of the times as we were growing up, our parents planned for us. As I discussed previously, it was a lot easier for my parents to guide me on a certain path given as I was the only child of the family. But at college, things are different. We attempt to be taught independence as soon as we come in, but it never really settles down on us until we actually come in contact with it.

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For a lot of the time, I hoped someone else would guide me during the difficult times, like trying to have a social life when caught up in academics. However, I realized that doing this only makes you more reliant on other people, and then you start to worry about what they think of you. Instead, try to weigh all the possible options, form your own plan, and stick to it. Your mind will wander and will resist all attempts to follow through with a difficult decision, but let me tell you from personal experience, it pays to persevere. You don’t always have to be excited or feel good about a choice when you first face it. Tell yourself that you made the right choice, and the feeling will eventually come because it will. And that’s all there is to it, really.

When I was in India over the break, I noticed that my role in the family had changed from my last visit. I was no longer the excitable kid who looked forward to going to the grocery store in the busy streets or could get away with watching TV while my aunties and uncles helped around the house. I was now an adult with many household responsibilities, expected to participate in more adult conversations, and constantly asked what my next plan in life was. I was a bit hesitant but told them I did not know, and that was okay. Just because I know I want to be a doctor someday doesn’t mean I have every step to help me get there figured out, and I know I must plan ahead if things are to progress. As graduation nears, so does my necessity to plan ahead.

Well, that’s all the preaching I can do for one night. Happy new year, even though the first month is already almost over. I am sure things will work out, but having a plan, no matter the pain and resistance I face will surely help. I promise the next post will be a lighthearted one. That’s my plan!

Tips for Medical School Interviews

Hi everyone! Happy new year! I hope your winter break went stupendously. I am currently applying to medical schools and going to interviews, so I thought I could share some tips that I have gleaned from these experiences for those of who might be thinking of going into the medical field. Even if you are not, some of these tips will surely help you with other types of interviews as well. So let us begin!

1. Attire

You may know this already, but I will still say it. Make sure that you are in business formal attire. Although many may think that it doesn’t quite matter whether your attire is black or another neutral color, I think it may make a slight difference. I personally avoid black suits because in my point of view it is so generic that you are lost in a sea of interviewers. If you go for, on the other hand, a very slight hue of dark blue or even gray, you may stick out. The shirt you wear on inside also applies to this!

2. Getting there

Try not to drive on the day of your interview. You want to relax and not be tired from driving. Know how far the exact location is at least the night before. There has been an instance in which the address of the medical school is not the same as the place of your interview, so do make sure you double check the directions to your interview location.

3. Eat

Make sure to eat the morning of your interview no matter how stressed you feel. Going to an interview while you are hungry is never a good idea.

4. Practice and Rehearse

While you may think you are apt at answering questions about your own experiences, you should still dedicate time to go over some possible sample questions.  A simple Google search will do the job. For medical schools, I have found the Student Doctor Network blogs quite helpful. These blogs have students who have undergone the same type of interview and post the questions they have been asked. I am so glad I checked this out because at least 3-4 questions my interviewers have asked me were from these blogs. Try to spend a few days rehearsing it out loud. On the day of the interview, you will be much more fluid in your responses if you have thought about and spoke it out loud before. Make sure you research about the school/programs/etc. COME UP WITH QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER/OTHER FACULTY ABOUT THE SCHOOL/PROGRAMS/ETC. However, my only caveat to this tip would be to try to avoid over-rehearsing on the day of the interview itself. Leave the day of the interview to relaxation by preparing days before.

5. Be Present in the Moment

TURN YOUR PHONE OFF!

6. Bring a notepad

Bring a small notebook or notepad with you (along with a pen) to jot down key things that you may learn about the school and programs proffered. This way you look engaged. Try to ask questions and participate during faculty presentations about the school, curriculum, etc. Note down any important emails/phone numbers of people with whom you want to ask more questions or just talk to.

7. Converse

Whether it is with your fellow interviewees or the faculty members, you should be actively conversing with them. This will further show your engagement and interpersonal skills. I personally found this helpful because I learned about a lot of opportunities (about extracurriculars and jobs) from my fellow peers as well as connected with faculty who will now remember my name and face because of our conversations.

8. Be Attentive

 Not all interviewers are comfortable with handshakes, so read the body language and greet wisely. If the interviewer extends his or her hand out for a handshake then you must follow up with a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. During the interview (and throughout the day), pay attention to details. Really listen to what the interviewer is asking you. Sit up straight. Maintain eye contact while talking. Try to avoid rambling or talking in circles. However, it is okay to give your answer and elaborate upon it a bit. If you are unsure of what the question is asking, just politely ask the interviewer to repeat it.  End the conversation by thanking them and wishing them a good day. Walk out and do not look back.

9. Thank You Note

DO NOT FORGET to email your interviewer(s) saying what you got from the interview, how you think it went, what your favorites point(s) of the conversation was, how your interview experience changed (or strengthen your interests in) your view of the school/career/programs etc…

10. Be Patient

Don’t keep emailing the admissions office or the interviewer about when you will hear back. It takes time for this process so be patient. You have done your hard work so give yourself some downtime!

I hope this was helpful! Thank you for reading! Have a great rest of the month!

Why ‘Black Panther’ and the Films of 2018 Will Completely Change the Oscars

2018 was a bad year for movies. There, I said it.

In my last blog post, I listed some movies that came out last year that I felt were worth a watch. None of them were really masterpieces. After making that post, I watched Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which has proven itself to be the only Oscar-caliber movie of the year. And what do I mean by “Oscar-caliber?” I’m talking about a movie that doesn’t boast a high production budget, grand special effects, or even an epic plot, but still manages to pack the emotional punch that the old white men of the Academy are hungry for. That’s what Roma did for me. I found meaning and beauty in a rather simple story, as most others also will. But other than Cuaron’s black-and-white foreign drama, there was pretty much nothing else of note movie-wise in 2018. A Star is Born? A solid film, but any other year, it wouldn’t get as much recognition. What about The Favourite? BlackkKlansmen? Green Book? Once again, great movies, but not necessarily typical “Oscar-caliber.” I’ll give Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther a pass for changing the course of cinema culture, but there weren’t really any other standouts. How ‘bout Adam McKay’s Vice? Eh. Bohemian Rhapsody? Certainly wasn’t deserving of any awards buzz, in my opinion; I found it to be a mostly-stale imitation of any other biopic, and it didn’t bring anything new or transformative to the table.

But what do all of these films have in common?

They’ve all recently received arguably the highest honor in film: a nomination for the Academy Award for “Best Picture.”

And as I mentioned, of the eight nominees, Roma is truly the only film deserving of that shiny golden statue. The seven others are just kinda… there.

But that isn’t a bad thing.

Sure, movies were lacking in overall quality this year, so atypical movies received nominations.

But this year’s group of “Best Picture” nominees actually represents something much greater for filmmakers: a break from the creative limitations which the Academy has been imposing upon the film industry.

There has always been “Oscar bait” throughout the history of film; in other words, there has always been a specific genre or style of film that the Academy is more likely to nominate for its largest awards. In the past few years or so, there has been a tendency for the Academy to pick both small-budget dramas (Call Me By Your Name, Room, Phantom Thread, The Artist) and large-scale biopic dramas involving a great historical figure (Lincoln, Darkest Hour, Selma) as nominees, but this pattern has been mostly consistent since the very first Academy Awards. Only three times has a film labeled “science fiction” or “horror” actually won the “Best Picture” award in the history of film, and each of them stray from the genre just enough to fit the Oscar formula and catch the eye of the Academy (The Silence of the Lambs, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The Shape of Water).

But a Marvel movie being nominated for “Best Picture?”

To some, this may not be a big deal, or even a surprise. But to me, it was. Regardless of Black Panther’s cultural impact and the fact that I love Marvel’s superhero films, I never thought the Academy would actually nominate a superhero movie for its highest award.

But it did. And it’s a big deal.

The nomination of Black Panther and the lack of impressive small drama films that came out of 2018 represents a change in “Best Picture” nominee selections, and thus a break from the “Oscar-bait” formula. For a moviegoer like me who wants to see more awards and recognition across genres, this is a huge deal. For example, I felt like Mission: Impossible – Fallout deserved some Oscar nominations this year, just like how last year I thought Blade Runner 2049 and Baby Driver deserved more recognition, but seeing that a movie like Black Panther can get a number of big nominations restores my faith that a great action or science-fiction movie can get more recognition in the future. And not only will this change in formula simply satisfy movie-lovers like me– it will also provide more incentive for production companies to put more effort and talent into films that wouldn’t traditionally even be up for a “Best Picture” nod. We as consumers will hopefully start to see a slew of better-quality action and superhero movies as a result of the critical success of Black Panther, just as Jordan Peele’s Get Out did for the horror genre last year with its own success.

Even though 2018 hasn’t necessarily been a standout year for cinema, it marks a great change in opportunity for creators to expand their imaginations, and it weakens the harshly-imposed genre stereotypes which have limited creativity and plagued the Academy Awards for generations.

Who knows what next year’s “Best Picture” ballot will look like?

It’s an exciting time for movies.

Traveling Around Israel in Ten Days with Rutgers Birthright

I’m not much of an international traveler. I’ve only ever left the country twice, three times if you count a Disney cruise to the Bahamas. Airplanes make me very nervous, and it certainly doesn’t help that it’s very expensive to travel. But, an opportunity to go to Israel for ten days for free over winter break? Even I could never pass that up.

For those who don’t know, Birthright Israel is an organization that provides free ten-day group trips to Israel for people between the ages of 18-32. In order to be eligible, you have to identify as Jewish and have a least one Jewish parent, and you can’t have lived in Israel beyond a certain age or visited for longer than three months at a time. It’s an incredible opportunity for Jewish people to visit their homeland and find a connection to it while making new friends along the way.

I’ve visited Israel once before, back in 2013 when I was in eighth grade; in the five years since that last trip, I learned a lot about myself and the world around me, so I was looking forward to seeing Israel through new eyes. Though many of the sites we visited on this trip were the same as the ones I visited on my last trip, it didn’t feel repetitive to me; it felt as if I were seeing these famous places for the first time all over again. The main thing that set this trip apart from my last trip, besides being five years older, was the fact that we had seven Israelis around our age join us for the majority of the trip. I really enjoyed getting to know them and learning about Israel from their perspective, from their opinions on Israeli politics to where the best place to get Hummus is. I’m so glad they got to be part of our trip for so long because touring Israel would not have been the same without them. I was sad to see them go, and I really miss them.

I’ve always had a very strong connection to my Judaism so going on this trip didn’t change that for me at all, but seeing my new friends discover their own connections to Judaism and Israel for the first time reminded me how special Birthright is and how proud I am to be part of the Jewish community. I’m so grateful for this incredible opportunity and for the friends and memories I made, and I’m looking forward to spending time with the people on my trip now that I’m back at Rutgers.

If you are interested in Birthright and you think you may be eligible, feel free to contact me, visit the Center for Israel Engagement at Rutgers Hillel (70 College Avenue), and/or visit www.birthrightisrael.com for more information!

10 Movies from 2018 to Check Out

Hey, would you look at that! 2018, the year we never thought would end, is finally coming to a close. Although the cash cow that is Hollywood still insists on hastily spewing out reboot after reboot, an abundance of great films came out of this year, both big and small. A preface to this list is that no film is objectively better than others (in most cases; pitting The Godfather up against The Emoji Movie is another discussion), so they won’t be in any order or ranked in anyway. Also, these aren’t necessarily the “best” movies of the year, but rather movies that came out of this year that are definitely worth a watch. This list is based on my own personal preferences and not just which films received the most critical acclaim. Enjoy!

 

Avengers: Infinity War – Arguably the biggest movie of 2018, the third Avengers installment and like, 7,000th Marvel movie brought together a ridiculous ensemble of comic book characters and mashed together a big steaming heap of Hollywood talent pretty seamlessly. An abundance of great and surprisingly long-lasting memes arose out of this movie (which obviously has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself, but I thought I’d mention it). Coming from a huge nerd, Infinity War defied my expectations and proved itself to be extremely rewatchable.

 

Hereditary – I’d like to specifically give this film credit for reinvigorating my love for the horror genre, after a slew of trashy, jump-scare filled flicks have stunk up the box office for such a long time. Hereditary is a great movie for both general film-lovers and for horror-lovers (though it may not be for general audiences). Toni Collette certainly deserves more recognition for her frighteningly-good performance (I’m looking at you, Academy!), and Milly Shapiro turned in a terrifying performance as well.

 

A Star is Born – Probably the biggest surprise on this list, A Star is Born had everything working against it. An A-list actor’s directorial debut, a Grammy-award winning artist in her first leading film role, and the fact that this movie had been literally made three times already apparently had no effect on the power and emotion that this film brought us. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga demonstrate a raw and intense chemistry that is one for the ages, and the music is quite memorable as well. And for those of you who felt too manly to go see a romance movie with singing in it, go check it out– it’s worth a watch.

 

Mission Impossible: Fallout – For some weird reason, this series just keeps getting better. The sixth Mission: Impossible movie ended up being quite possibly the greatest action movie I’ve ever seen. Loaded with twists and turns and mindblowing set pieces, this film defied the notion that a grand finale must be saved for the end of a movie. Tom Cruise once again puts his life in danger (literally, the man does his own stunts) as Ethan Hunt in this spy-thriller action flick.

 

Beautiful Boy: A slow burn, this movie gets a slot on this list because of the fact that it’s stayed in my mind months after having watched it. While this movie may not go down as one of the best of this year, it contains two fantastic performances (Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet) and expresses a raw and important message about drug abuse and addiction.

 

Sorry to Bother You: Somehow, the marketing for this movie managed to advertise it as something completely different than it is. I don’t want to spoil it either. Just go check it out, it’s a wild ride.

 

Upgrade: Another crazy action movie, Upgrade follows discount-Tom Hardy (Logan Marshall-Green) as he’s followed by some bionically-enhanced super-assassins in a dystopian world. This movie contains some stunning camera work, impressive choreography, a super-cool soundtrack, and a plethora of moments that will leave you in shock. You’ll have to get past some cheesy dialogue, but this movie is a great pick if you’re ever bored and want to watch something with your friends.

 

Unsane: The fact that this movie was allegedly filmed entirely on a smartphone just makes it that much more creepy. Unsettling close-ups and fuzzy, dimly lit cinematography make for a pretty great combination. This film is a weird hybrid of The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and a bunch of other B-list horror films. Claire Foy hands in a great performance as someone who literally never has things go her way. And the guy who plays the stalker in this movie will give you nightmares.

 

Game Night: This is another film that would be a great choice for someone who’s looking for something On-Demand at 11:00 on a Saturday night (that’s how I found this movie). Game Night is the perfect blend of comedy, action, and thriller, and it took a number of risks that impressed and surprised me the whole way through.
Mid90s: This movie was chock-full of child performances that just aren’t seen in Hollywood today. Sunny Suljic leads a pack of skater kids in this nostalgia-filled coming-of-age movie. With a great soundtrack and some fun moments, Mid90s was a blast.

Two Diverse Endeavors

I can’t believe it’s almost becoming time for me to graduate! I hardly even feel like a college student right now, so I am in serious wonder of how I will feel when I finally leave. One of the things I will miss about college is the ability to socialize and quickly make friends with people of different cultures and backgrounds. I’m not saying you won’t meet people of diverse upbringings after college, but it will not be as new and fresh an environment to make friends as in college, since later in life people start worrying about their work, how to start families, and other personal commitments. In college, basically everyone is trying to figure out where they are going, and a huge part of that journey entails meeting new people.

I myself have gotten to appreciate other cultures over the years, and below I list two of the ways I have explored backgrounds different from, but also including, my own.

One of my endeavors is attending cultural events at Marathi Vishwa Professional Association with my family during the fall season. Here, I travel with my parents on a weekend to any local NJ high school where the event is sponsored and get to socialize with family friends and make new ones, almost entirely in my first language, Marathi. There is great food (always the best part), dance performances, theatrical skits, and a great chance for me to stay connected to my Indian heritage. Best of all, it’s a great break from the academically stressful environment of the weekdays. Even if I have an exam to study for later in the day, I at least find it relaxing that I got to go to one of these events. Of course, the event is not only exclusive to people who speak Marathi, so it’s also nice to see people from all over India dressing up in traditional Marathi attire and connecting with their culture.

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Another way is that I spent two of my summers interning at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, in which I described my experience volunteering in the waiting room of the pediatric clinics, almost entirely in Spanish. I had described my experience in a previous post titled “The NYPD – New York Presbyterian Department“, and I had the privilege of doing it again this past summer, this time as a paid intern! I even got academic credit for it at the Rutgers Internship and Co-op Program! I am glad to know that the initiative to address patients’ social determinants of health (non-biological factors such as occupation, education, and housing) is gaining ground at NYP, and I do hope it grows out to other healthcare institutions as well. The best part about this experience was that it introduced me firsthand to the Dominican culture in the Washington Heights region of New York City, and it thrilled me knowing I was part of an initiative to help the children and their families adjust to their living situations with support from local government-funded and private community resources. The sooner the problems are addressed, the better the lives of the family improves and the less of a chance they have of developing unhealthy eating habits or building up risk factors for chronic disorders. Speaking Spanish to these patients really made me feel like part of their lives and able to communicate what they may have been anxious or had not known about.

Those were two of the experiences I had that I considered as being the most diverse. One was for clinical experience, and the other was for pure family enjoyment. I am sure I have many more that I will talk about in my future posts, and I am sure many of my peers also have something to share regarding their diverse experiences. Whether you realize it or not, each one of us really does have an interesting experience that is worth writing or talking about. Engaging in free discussion was one of the ways I was able to build relationships in college and connect with other cultures. At the end of the day, nothing makes me feel more satisfied than walking away from a conversation where I learned something new about the person, the culture, or myself.