My Top Three Class Recommendations from Freshman Year!

I took some great classes during my freshman year! Even though I am decided on my major, Journalism & Media Studies, some of my favorite classes expanded my interests and filled up some of my core requirements! None of my favorites particularly filled a bunch of core, but they were beyond interesting and filled some of the harder ones for me.

1. Our World: Social Justice and the Environment (01:195:220) fills CCD and AHo, Honors Section, with Professor Marcone

Our World was my favorite class during my second semester! The class mainly explores environmentalism as a movement in fourth world countries but also focuses on the West’s history with the environment, human and animal relations, and climate change. This class was reading heavy but there are no exams, only 3 papers based on the reading and a few forum posts! The class is four credits and has a lecture/recitation format. Participation is important but not difficult.

Although it is officially a Comparative Literature class, I believe it applies to practically any major. Also, a huge bonus is that if you take the H1 recitation section it counts as an Honors course! This means that it will fill one of your honors requirements for a seminar course!

Overall, I got a completely new perspective on the environment and why our actions matter, as well as how corporations should be held accountable. Also, Professor Marcone was a great professor who was always willing to help anyone with questions.

2. Writing for Media (04:567:200) fills WCr, with Professor Fitzpatrick

I needed to take this class for my major but later found out that it filled a core! This class focuses on writing in different journalistic styles, such as broadcast, print, web, etc. There are a few professors who teach this course but, in general, most of the course focuses on your major assignments for each style of writing. There are also short online quizzes and shorter assignments. I took this class with Professor Fitzpatrick, but I know that a lot of professors, including him, have drafts before the final assignments and in-class, ungraded assignments. Attendance is definitely important for this class, mostly because of the in-class assignments. 

I’d definitely recommend this class because the work was manageable and there were a lot of “practice” drafts before each final graded assignment. There is also no final exam for this class, just a final project! Additionally, I feel like this class would be great for someone who isn’t that interested in writing because there are no essays and you are taught each style of writing in class! (And if you get a chance to take it with Professor Fitzpatrick, do it! His teaching style and feedback are extremely effective!)

3. Astronomy (01:750:110) fills NS, with Professor Jha

I’m not really a science person so this class was perfect for me! It does only fill one core (now I know that there are other science classes which do fill more than one!) but if you only need one NS, this class was intriguing and pretty easy (and there was practically no math either!) You’ll need to read the textbook but there’s essentially no graded homework and all lecture participation is based on clicker questions. There is a midterm and a final but both are short and definitely based on lecture slides and the readings. 

The reason why I’d recommend this class is because of how interesting it was. Like I said before, science isn’t really my thing. But even though some lectures felt a little slow, the actual topics we were covering were amazing. I’ve never really learned anything about astronomy before so absorbing all this new information was exactly what I wanted to get out of my first college science class. And Professor Jha is very passionate and knowledgable about all things astronomy (and did a good job of including exciting and easy to understand demonstrations too!)

I know deciding what classes to take can be confusing if you have a lot of interests (and a lot of core to fill) but I hope I helped you find something exciting to take next semester!

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Thank You, Good Luck, and Go Rutgers!

Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe that I am an official graduate of Rutgers University! It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready to study for my next exam, worrying whether this would be the one that would finally make me crack and bring down my GPA. It’s not an easy task to keep yourself going after you’ve already been doing so well. Ideally, you should use your past accomplishments to motivate yourself to go forward, instead of dwelling on them and being content with what has already happened. In other words, if I did well on one exam, I hoped that it would be enough and that I wouldn’t have to keep proving myself to the professors on the next one, but that time just refused to show up. Now that exams are done, I generally feel more free, more energetic, and certainly more silly. Not having to wake up at 2 am worried that I forgot an assignment is the best part of it all.

While I will not miss the stress of late-night studying and exams, I will be able to look back and actually laugh at how ridiculous it all was.

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Writing blog posts over these past four years has been relaxing, and has allowed me to branch outside of my immediate scope in the sciences to explore additional endeavors with an open mind, such as going to a career fair for the businesses, or a football game on a night everyone was sure in which Rutgers would find difficult to triumph. One of the major sources of motivation for me to venture outside of my comfort zone is to reflect on it and think how it affects me, and how this experience will make me a better person, in terms of being more informed or just being human. I may make mistakes, but instead of treating that as an obstacle or failure, I have now learned to take it as an opportunity for me to grow. Trust me, it’s much more rewarding to know that you won’t experience the exact same type of stress or failure a second time, as long as you make yourself aware of it.

I hope that my readers have also been able to walk away with a better idea of the college experience. I’m not saying that my experience is the best out there (not by far), or the most exciting, but it is my perspective, and learning from others has also been a major step in my journey at Rutgers. If you did take the time to look through my posts, thank you. If you feel that you can write better than I did, by all means come through. I was never a fan of reading, especially on standardized tests, but being able to write for this blog has given me a chance to express myself better. To not bore you further with my overdone sentimentality, I will express how I felt during that first fail in Expository Writing from a show that I reference in my everyday conversations at least 5 times a day.

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And now, signing off on the Rutgers blog for the last time, I want to thank everyone once again for four great years at Rutgers. When I finally enter medical school, do not be afraid to believe that a few years down the road, you can make an appointment with me about your headaches, your stress, any joint pain, or even just need someone to talk to.

If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know where to start when you really wanted to write about one of your greatest trips or adventures. When I became a part of this team, I also didn’t really know what to write about. Now, I don’t know how there could be any end to the limitless opportunities and experiences I have a chance to talk about through written text. Who knows where my writing will take me, and who knows how many people have learned from the experiences I went through. One thing that is certain is that the learning has only begun since I graduated, and it doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon.

One last parting word of advice: do not be afraid to share your craziest, most embarrassing, or even most “normal” memories. And remember to knock off things on your TDLWTSD (To Do List for When Things Settle Down). I’m sure that someone, or many out there, will be able to relate. And with that, I leave the floor open to the new students. Good luck, and keep on rocking Rutgers!

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The Rebirth of the Intrepid

During the past two summers, one of my greatest memories in the city of New York was a daily passing image of a spectacular view to and from my commute to my internship. This was an image that really drew my attention away from the hustle and bustle of the city towards an attraction meant to stimulate a tranquil environment of commemoration yet simultaneously invite curious exploration. This image continues to sit powerfully in my mind as much as the attraction does in its current location at Pier 86 on West 46th Street, situated on the Hudson River. This unique image is of none other than the USS Intrepid.

 

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The USS Intrepid is an aircraft carrier that was in active service during the Second World War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. It is the fourth ship in the US Navy to bear the name Intrepid. Since 1982, it has served as the centerpiece for the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, attracting more than 1 million visitors annually. The ship is still an aircraft carrier, but for planes of the past rather than those intended to be used in the future. Some of its main exhibits include the submarine Growler, the only guided missile submarine open to the public, and the Concorde, a former passenger airliner that could travel faster than the speed of sound. In addition, guests can view live recordings and photos of the ship’s history, as well as hear stories from tour guides or actual former veterans. I personally had the pleasure of visiting the museum twice, once during summer break in high school and once in college. Both times, the attraction that most captured my interest was the Space Shuttle Pavilion, newly opened after the Space Shuttle Enterprise was loaded onto the Intrepid in 2012.

While the Intrepid is much more widely known by tourists today due to its stored collection of aircraft artifacts, the ship was built in December 1941 to fulfill a markedly different purpose. The Intrepid was designed as a warship to prepare veterans for high-risk aerial combat with the mission to defend the nation and ensure safety and freedom from enemy threats. The US was already at war when the Intrepid was officially launched in 1943, immediately putting the mission of the ship into effect. The crew was to approach future engagements with the enemy with unfettered fearlessness and audacity that reflected the heroism and spirit of those who had fought in previous conflicts, in order to appropriately embrace the values embedded in the name Intrepid. The crew members, who built a shared sense of camaraderie knowing that the next deployment may very well have been their last, proudly sailed as one unit dedicated to its mission, thereby symbolizing the same courage and sacrifice the ship had aimed to convey when the crew first boarded.

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After the Second World War, the Intrepid was redeveloped to serve as an anti-submarine carrier against the Soviets. Coupled with this was its successful role as a recovery vessel for the Mercury-Atlas space mission in 1962 and the Gemini mission in 1965. Thus, the Intrepid had established its status as a major player in the early stages of the Space Race. This marked a departure from its earlier image of violence, fraternity, and survival during combat towards one of exploration and nationwide pride. In an interview, the late Mercury Seven astronaut Scott Carpenter states that upon reentry into the atmosphere that fateful day, he did not feel concern and that he knew exactly where he was. He was referring to the success of his mission and the newfound hope that the NASA program had in pushing forward their progress towards manned spaceflight. As the nation witnessed the splashdown of the Mercury spacecraft, Carpenter was the first person to carry the memory of feats accomplished through space exploration onto the ship, which was further propagated after the Intrepid again rescued two astronauts from the Gemini mission three years later.

As shown by various examples throughout history, the efforts of only a few people can be effective enough to permanently transform the meaning of an event or object. The fate of the Intrepid in its later years was no exception. Its transformation was marked by overturning the decision to take the battle-scarred Intrepid to the scrapyard and converting the ship into a museum in 1982, thanks to the efforts of philanthropist Zachary Fisher. His passionate commitment to the armed forces resulted in the goal to allow the former warship to be a monument to “honor our heroes, educate the public, and inspire our youth.” Fisher’s nephew says that his uncle’s choice had been due to the fact that the Intrepid was the Lady in the Harbor that bled so the other Lady in the Harbor, meaning the Statue of Liberty, could hold her torch. In honor of their service, veterans are offered free admission to the museum, allowing them to more intimately connect with the honorable actions of their predecessors on the ship, continuing the same tradition as the 3,200 men had during the Second World War of keeping alive the spirit of those who had fought in previous conflicts. In contrast to the time period during the war, the experience of the public is no longer separate from the experience of the veterans and former crewmembers, who are unified by a common theme that is best exhibited by the current status of the ship as a museum: education. While most traditional war memorials educate the public about the people who lost their lives and the importance of remembering their courageous sacrifice, the Intrepid couples this primary purpose with the additional objective of motivating the members of future generations to gain valuable experience in the fields of science and history, through internship programs such as GOALS for high school girls and professional development seminars hosted by staff and astronaut or veteran guest speakers. Through communication with veterans on visits which include celebrations during Veteran’s Day, the legacy of the ship’s impact on the history of the United States is made accessible while the former crew members are gifted with the ability to learn about the challenges faced and interpretations of the experiences lived by students, teachers, and veterans of the present generation. Upon revisiting the Intrepid for its 75th anniversary, former flight deck crew member John Olivera, in a documentary by Time, said, “I become very emotional to see that it’s still here and that I actually served on it.” With mutual education, honor, and exploration thriving on the ship, the public is able to actively aid in the fulfillment of the ship’s current mission, by remembering the events that occurred, admiring the additional aircraft artifacts that contribute to the educational value, and for the younger population, developing valuable skills that will be of benefit in future careers. As a GOALS ambassador writes about her experience, “It’s important to try and communicate as effectively as possible because it can allow you to accomplish things that you never thought you could.” Through the Growler submarine docked on the side of the entrance and the Enterprise shuttle in the top floor pavilion, the Intrepid captures the impact of humanity on the horizons both above and below that which it has served on sea level, reflecting the impactful outreach the ship has had and will continue to have on members of past, present, and future generations.

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If I had to pick a shortlist for a good vacation trip this summer, this would be it. It will be great to see it with new eyes after learning about it in one of my classes. I would definitely recommend it to anyone planning to visit New York this summer or anytime. Now that the semester’s over, and I am graduating, I don’t believe the excuse of having exams or assignments will stop me from immersing myself in the intellectually inspiring environment that the Intrepid aims to display to all those who visit.

Books You Should Read!

Hi everyone! Summer is around in the corner. I thought that it would be a good idea to list some books to read during the summer.

1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr

I recently finished The Alienist. I highly suggest everyone to read it. It is set during the Gilded Age in New York. If you are a lover of psychological thrillers and history, then this is the perfect match for you.  A news reporter, two officers, a woman (first one to be on the force) and Theodore Roosevelt try to track down a serial killer who garishly murders young boys.

2. Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr

This is the sequel to The Alienist. Unlike The Alienist, however, this story is written from the point of view of a street lurker and is about a kidnapped infant.

3. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Set in London, this is about a spy named Irene who has the task to spy (shocker) on a unique library home to many magical books, one of which gets stolen. As a result, Irene, and her assistant Kai, have to find this book (which is also very dangerous). If you like magic, secrets, and books, then this is definitely for you.

4.  The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Have you ever wanted to major in monstrumology (the study of monsters, of course) ? If yes, then pick up this book asap. It is written as a diary by Will Henry, an assistant of a montrumologist named Pellinore Warthrope. One night, Will finds he has stumbled onto quite a dangerous monster. The classic question of when does one become the very thing one hunts arises.

5. House of Silk by Anthony

If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then you should definitely read this. It is about how Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson track down an international criminal who is a murder. This is a great read for mystery lovers.

6. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

Set in 1865 Boston, the story is about how the Boston Brahmins at Harvard College fight to squelch the efforts of members of the Dante club, literary masterminds, as they try to spread Dante’s visions to the New World.

7. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Do you like ghost stories? If yes, then do read this book. It is set in 1866 New Zealand. One night, Walter Moody walks in on a secret gathering of twelve men who discuss a line of peculiar events involving a missing rich man, a suicidal prostitute, and a big fortune discovered at the home of a drunk who is not very lucky.

8. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

This is another mystery set in 1327 in Italy. It is about Brother William who investigates seven strange deaths involving philosophy, theology, and cryptology. I love symbology so this one I definitely am looking forward to reading.

Well, there are definitely more books, but I shall leave it at this. I hope you take the time to check these or any other ones out. Regardless of what book you choose, choose something because reading is truly amazing. It is a great way to travel while still in the comfort of your bed.

 

 

 

A Semi-late, Semi-subjective, Semi-Review Of Wallows’ New Album ‘Nothing Happens’

In case you didn’t know, Wallows released their album ‘Nothing Happens’ on March 22nd and for the last month it is all I’ve been listening to and talking about. Sorry if I’m a little late to the internet with this review but since I have exhausted my friends with this exact conversation, I figured I’d just rant to my computer and you.th.jpg

Quick disclaimer: I am obsessed with music but am not exactly an expert so bear with me while I pour all of my emotions into this review and, sadly, leave out some of the technical terms.

I stumbled on Wallows one night after dance class a few years ago because I don’t have Spotify Premium and they love to stop my super long playlist randomly to recommend me other songs. Sometimes the songs are so off base but other times, such as this time, it is kinda great. I heard ‘Pleaser’ which had just come out at the time (and I only half heard it over my sister talking) but I FELL IN LOVE. The band, which includes Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston, humbly started playing together when they were just 11. Their imaginative half-rock, half-indie style is weirdly a time machine but also makes me feel like I’ve actually left my life and am living a completely different one (I don’t know, is that too dramatic?).

‘Nothing Happens’ is exactly what I was hoping for after their ‘Spring EP’ — it doesn’t stray too far from their previous releases but still further builds their sound into something unique and solid. The album feels like a story and all the songs end and flow right into one another (which I think is such a cool thing that I think everyone kinda loves). I think there’s also something to be said about the beautiful and kind of funny lyrics in the songs. They feel raw, to the point where they explain all those inexplicable feelings. And they are So. Damn. Fun. to sing along with.

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I do wish it was a little longer; even though the album is 11 songs, I really want to listen to more. And even though the album was nicely in line with their past songs, I am curious to see how and if they will every branch out or change up their sound. Overall though, their music makes me so happy and comfortable and I’m so glad I get to share it with you!

So, if you want to feel like you’re at a 1980’s high school dance or like you’re seven again, dancing with your shoes untied in the backyard — listen to Wallows!!!!! It was hard to pick but some of my personal faves off this album are ‘Do Not Wait,’ “Sidelines,’ and ‘Ice Cold Pool’ and ‘Remember When.’

Bonus: Some artists that, for some reason, give me the same feeling and are some other favorites of mine are Lauv, LANY, Cage the Elephant, Mac Demarco, and Tame Impala (I feel like all their styles are a little different, but nevertheless, make me feel electrifyingly alive).

My Take on My Improv Dance Byrnes Seminar!

If I’m being completely honest, taking a Byrnes Seminar was just crossing a requirement off the Honors Program checklist for me. But when I was doing my schedule planning last semester in preparation for this one, I decided to opt for one of the seminars which wasn’t related to my major. (Just as a side note: I am a Journalism and Media Studies major and as I was looking through the seminars, I noticed a lot of them were more science related, especially the ones that were left by the time I got to choose classes.)

I am taking a lot of writing courses this semester and I wasn’t particularly interested in taking a more technical seminar so I decided to take Dance Improv! I’ve always loved dancing and have taken classical Indian dance classes for most of my life, basically until I came to college. I have thought about taking a dance class here at Rutgers but I didn’t want to feel too much pressure or put too much pressure on my body, as I have had two pretty serious knee injuries in the past.

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Taking this seminar seemed like the perfect match, but I was a little nervous as it was improv which I’ve never even attempted. I am helplessly attached to choreography and way too comfortable knowing exactly what’s going to happen next (in every part of my life). But taking this class allowed me to challenge myself and it was totally worth it. The class was more focused on movement and the properties that create improv than actually dancing, so not much prior experience was required. We learned about the history of improv, certain techniques which we later put into practice, and the social movement “Don’t You Feel It Too?”, which uses dance as a social justice tool. Also, we got to go to the Joyce Theatre for free and see an amazing performance titled “To Create a World” (and it was my first time seeing contemporary dance live!)

Even though I’m taking 14 credits this semester, which is relatively light, I felt like this class was a much-needed break from all the writing and reading I do every day. I also really enjoyed dancing with all the people in my class and venturing out of my comfort zone.

I completely recommend taking this course, or another Byrnes Seminar. It was low pressure and fun. I’m definitely going to miss it for the rest of the semester! :’)

FILM REVIEW: Jordan Peele’s “Us” is a return to classic horror that demands a second watch – but is it better than “Get Out?”

If you thought Jordan Peele’s 2015 thriller “Get Out” left you with a plethora of theories, his latest feature “Us” (released March 22, 2019) will make for a particularly mind-bending car ride on the way home from the theater. Director and writer Jordan Peele, funny-man turned modern-day Hitchcock, has a lot of weight on his shoulders after his directorial debut “Get Out” was nominated for arguably the most prestigious of film awards (the Academy Award for “Best Picture”) in 2018 and even took home an Oscar for Peele’s original screenplay. But regardless of misinterpretation or even utter confusion at the close of his 2019 follow-up, “Us” is undoubtedly a good film and rightfully warrants the seemingly inevitable flood of comparisons to its predecessor.

Lupita Nyong’o leads as Adelaide, mother of an all-American family (Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex) whose trip to the beach is put through a frightening mirror when a figure of her childhood trauma returns to wreak havoc, bringing along with her a family which bears a striking resemblance to that of Adelaide’s. Nyong’o hands in a equally-powerful dual performance as both Adelaide and Red, whose raspy voice evoked squeals from most theater-goers. Winston Duke’s Gabe is the source of most of the comedy, which is a return-to-form for “Comedy Central” alum Jordan Peele and surprisingly viewers grounded in reality in an otherwise supernatural tale.

Upon a first watch, editing and score are a stand-out. Editor Nicholas Monsour weaves seamlessly between the two families, preventing any reminder to audiences that while there are eight characters in a scene at most times, there are really only four actors, each additionally performing as a darker, soulless version of their characters. After “Get Out,” Michael Abels delivers yet another chilling score, chock-full of plucky violin and orchestral horror moans without straying from originality. Child acting is always a concern in horror movies; not every kid can pull off the horrified expressions of “The Shining” Danny Torrance, but Shahadi Wright-Joseph (Zora/Umbrae) and Evan Alex (Jason/Pluto) never fail to keep viewers captivated, and they do competent work as their “tethered” counterparts.

Amongst its strengths, the film’s ability to jump right into the action may have also been part of its biggest flaw; “Us” is littered with easter eggs and leaves audiences with an absurd number of questions. It is certainly deserving of a second watch, which will draw viewers to attend to the film’s tightly-woven script and glimmering clues tucked away in wide shots and in early quips. Its nature of being open to interpretation may scare away some viewers from asking the bigger questions and thus lose a great portion of audiences, but nonetheless the ambiguity will stir up some great debates amongst film buffs in the future.

It’s rare to see pure originality in Hollywood, which is why regardless of technical opinions, “Us” is an unsettling delight. Despite some late lingering questions that blur the line between hard realism and David Lynch-style absurdity, Jordan Peele’s second (and hopefully not final) film is a blast, and it delivers a surprising message about modern-day society which may actually be an eye-opener to some.

 

3 Reasons Dogs are the Best Pets Ever

Hey everyone,

Glad to be back on the dance floor of writing, ready to show my new moves. As promised, this post is going to be lighthearted, and I thought dedicating it to why dogs are the best pets to have fits perfectly!

Graduation is just around the corner, and there’s nothing like reminiscing what you love most about your life presently when the future is quickly arriving, whether it’d be having a new group of close friends, a new skill that you’ve developed that you never thought you had, or just being able to have a good time with anything that happens, which is what I try to do.

Having a dog is definitely one of the things I am most proud of. I got him when I was in the sixth grade, and it’s hard to believe he is now 10 years old. His name is Prince, and despite what people may think, he is a purebred Pomeranian. Due to their large size, these dogs are usually categorized under a standard breed called the German Spitz. They can range anywhere from 7-44 pounds and can grow up to 22 inches in height. Of course, yours may grow bigger depending on how much you give into its constant demands of doggy biscuits!

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Prince has never failed to amaze me with his presence, always keeping me company while studying and being a great source of stress relief when I am having a rough day. Basing off my own experiences, these are the top 3 reasons dogs really are the ideal pet. To those who are cat lovers, they’re adorable, but dogs are not only a man’s best friend, but also a man’s greatest admirer.

1. They’re always there!

8 AM. 3 PM. 6 PM. 3 AM. That don’t matter to dogs. They will always ensure that they make their presence known to you, especially whenever you come home or when you are about to leave. Even if they do wake up from a deep sleep, they won’t give you trouble for it, unlike your parents, your siblings, or your roommates. I’ve had nights when I come home at 2 AM and Prince is still there sitting in the window looking out at me with the same wide-eyed wonder. Every time I come back, he’s relieved that he hadn’t lost me forever, regardless of how long he’d been left alone in the house. Whatever may be going through his mind while I am gone, it can always be resolved with one simple gesture: a nice pat on the head. If only this could work on my parents…

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2. They listen to you!

“Prince, what’s your name?”

“Prince, do you know you’re a dog?”

“Prince, you know that people aren’t dogs, right?”

“Prince, photosynthesis is the process by which plants make food using the energy given off by the sun”

“Prince, why are you so cute??”

The above are actual quotes from me to my non-human friend. Regardless of what it is, he always responds with the same look.

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Although it can be argued that they only do this because it helps them see us better, or that they are only seeming to listen due to positive reinforcement (“Good boy, you’re listening! Who’s a good boy?”), it’s still nice to know that there is always a living being in your life who, no matter what you tell them, will not stop giving you the same amount of loyalty and protection from strangers as they had before just because you said something to them that they didn’t like.

3. They won’t let you down!

Sit. Paw. Down. Stand. Roll Over. High-five. These are the tricks that Prince currently knows. Although it may be too late to teach him new tricks, he still never fails to amaze me with delivering the same action that I command. It’s amazing that people really can be friends with other beings that are not people, and dogs (unless they are really tired)will always be happy to give you a high-five as long as you reward them with a crunchy treat that doesn’t cost more than a few bucks. Of course, there is still a lot of responsibility involved when taking care of any pet, but when you look at that muzzled face every day, it’s hard to believe the costs outweigh the benefits!

Hopefully, this post was a great stress relief before exams for those who are dog lovers, and even if you’re not a dog person, maybe you’re curious to know why so many people find them great pets! If there’s one thing that 2019 me would tell 2009 me, it would be to never regret the decision I made when I first brought that furry and wildly energetic four-legged creature home.

Who knows what my next post will be on?

“Prince, what should I write on??”

 

 

What Should I Do Over Summer?

Hey everyone! The warm weather is certainly making it feel like summer! Speaking of summer, I am sure many of you are wondering how to do something productive this summer (besides relaxing of course). Therefore, I have decided to write some ideas to help you with your brainstorming. Remember that summer is not far away. Many jobs/internships have early deadlines so definitely start looking soon!

1. Internships

Whether it is at a company, research lab, or hospital. Rutgers Career Services is a great place to start looking for an internship.

2. Job

I have never worked, so this summer I am really looking forward to gaining employment experience. Getting a job, and I mean any job, is great experience that may teach you a thing or two about time management, responsibility, and other critical skills. Again, Rutgers Career Services can help you with this. I also searched for establishments near my town with a simple Google search. Check their websites for more information. If you can’t find any job applications, then I found it very helpful to give them a quick phone call to ask whether there are open spots and how to apply if there are.

3. Teach yourself something new.

This may be simple as finally deep-cleaning your room from top to bottom or hard as learning a new language. Have you ever tended your own garden? Why don’t you learn to make your own website? How about learning how to cook your favorite recipe (no, cereal doesn’t count). Have you ever fixed a leaky faucet? There are plenty of useful things you can teach yourself. I am personally looking forward to continuing to learn sign language. I may also finally start knitting a sweater! I also want to learn origami!

4. Read.

I cannot stress enough how important of a skill reading is. Whether you like your Kindle or the sweet smell of physical books, you should spend a little bit each day (or as regularly as you can) reading. Goodreads is an amazing website I use to find books to read. I personally like to know a little bit about what the book is about before diving right in. I am looking forward to picking up a classic. I am ashamed to admit that I never read the books assigned by my middle school or even high school English teachers (except for The Jungle which I would recommend everyone to read because it is the epitome of a page-turning, hard-to-put-down book). See if you can venture into new genres that you haven’t explored before.

5. Go out.

Now, this can be going out to your backyard or traveling to a new state (or even a country). Whatever it is, consecrate some time outdoors barbequing, playing badminton, going on a drive, camping, roaming the streets of Rome, swimming in the pool, etc. Connect with nature. You know you will miss these warm days when black ice and snow cover the streets and roads. My favorite thing to do outside is just sitting and watching the fireflies glimmer in the warm, dark summer nights. It is the best feeling ever.

6. Connect with friends and family.

Over the academic year, you probably made excuses (I am guilty of this) and took a million rain checks for plans your friends and you wanted to carry out but it never really worked out. Now is the time to visit those friends. If they are too far, then call them or video call them. Spend some time with your family too. Take a family trip or go to a movie. Give time for your loved ones.

Well, I hope you have a splendid summer no matter what you do!

Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You: Pure Genius in About 300 Pages

Hello my name is Shrusti, I’m 18, and I am a notorious re-reader (and re-watcher but that’s for another time; disclaimer: I have seen the Gabby Douglas Story maybe 6 times and I don’t know why).  

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This spring break, I decided to reread one of my absolute FAVORITE books of all time, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. I have recommended this book to anyone who will listen and, after taking some much needed alone time to reread it, I’m so excited to recommend it to you! (no spoilers, I promise!)

Set in the 1970s, the mixed-race Lee family is already a subject of interest in the small Ohio town. Then, daughter Lydia Lee is found dead at the bottom of a lake and quiet chaos ensues. Her family is left to piece together the mystery of Lydia’s life, which each of them only understands a small part of. Her older brother, younger sister, mother, and father each have their own version of Lydia living in their subconscious and while they confront the truth about her life, they must also confront their own secrets and faults. Ng does an amazing job at writing this story so that every sentence seems to bleed into the next one. Her descriptions never fail the reader and the emotions that all the characters feel truly jump out of the page. Yet what draws me back to this story, besides Ng’s eloquent and beautiful writing style, is her creativity with the story itself. The complexity of each character’s history and the plot twists had me begging for more at every turn. Ng’s take on the story intertwines so many subplots that there truly isn’t a boring moment in the book; every chapter is an opportunity to understand a different person.

This book tells the “missing girl” story in such a unique way, intertwining aspects of ethnicity, family, and expectations so well into the story without over analyzing the characters in order to draw meaning. This novel really is something that always keeps me thinking!

As I mentioned before, I am a big fan of rereading. The first time I read this book, I was on vacation in San Francisco in desperate need of something to help me survive the flight. But it turned into the reason I stayed up at night, fighting off my sad three-hour jet lag. Rereading it now, I feel my own view of the novel has changed and I know much more, in general, than when I first read the book 2 years ago. I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up this book and give it a read, I promise you won’t regret the journey it takes you on!