Procrastination Nation

If you can figure out how to sing the title to the tune of “Conjunction Junction” do it, it’ll be funnier; I tried to sit here for like 10 seconds working that out, but kind of gave up on it. I’m sure the creative-minded can do it.

HEY GUYS ANOTHER YEAR OF SCHOOL ANOTHER YEAR OF FAILURES AM I RIGHT? Nah you’re probably doing fine, just like, don’t procrastinate like me. That blog post by Akhila, when they said “I overextended myself and my GPA suffered and I’m still trying to recover,” take that advice to heart man. I feel. Ditto.

That being said, guess who overextended themselves again. I’m doing a job like 8 hours a week, research like 8-10 hours a week, 17.5 credits, it’s maddening. I mean I like doing all of it, I just hope I can actually do it. That, plus I have a major procrastination problem. I’m usually better about work and research, I procrastinate significantly less because for those things other people depend on me and such. But my homework??? Work I don’t want to do, and put off to watch people online cook instead. And I happened to make a vegan shepherd’s pie yesterday, while I was procrastinating on doing my quantum physics homework. So, I’m just gonna tell you how I made it, and honestly I would love it if you guy’s left comments on what you would do differently. Seeing and hearing different culinary techniques I live for (I used to want to be a chef, for probably 10 years of my life, before I made a h a r d left into the world of astrophysics, which then turned into experimental high energy particle physics after being a research assistant for a professor in that field).

SO, my sister is vegan. Honestly, I like vegan food more than she does, we were all shocked when she became vegan. Her favorite food used to be chicken nuggets. But she watched a sad cow video, and she won’t eat meat anymore. She’ll eat like, wild caught tuna because it’s not so bad to the fish I guess, so maybe more pescetarian on a technicality.  But, this digression was here for the sole purpose of saying; this is a vegan shepherd’s pie.  For those of y’all “in the know”, a shepherd’s pie is a meat stew (using either ground beef or ground lamb, and honestly I would’ve gone for lamb. Veeerrryy not vegan friendly, but I’m not vegan, and it would give a great richness, and a much more complex flavor than beef due to the gameier flavor that lamb has. I think it’s a bit more traditional as well, multiple sources online seem to believe that this was a dish made from roast dinner leftovers) and topped with mashed potato, then baked in the oven. A nice and hearty winter dish, that I made on a hot day in September (but it’s fine. I had the AC on and didn’t go outside, so I can pretend. Idk what y’all who live in dorms without air conditioning do honestly, bless ur souls).  Anyway, this is how I made a vegan version of a very meaty dish:

Of course the first step is cutting up potatoes and boiling them. Honestly, just make mashed potatoes however you want, I’ve seen people bake potatoes, then peel them and mash them up with cream and butter because they’re drier and absorb the fat and cream better, which makes a lot of sense. But boiling is traditional and quicker, so. I peeled and boiled potatoes, then went on to making the “meat” stew. You start any stew by sweating aromatic vegetables. These are veggies that fragrance the dish, and are pretty classic to use in essentially any food that cooks a while, be it stew, soup, porridge, what have you. You could use a whole mirepoix (a fancy french term for diced onion, carrot, and celery). That’s your traditional French base for a whole load of food. Or you could go with The Holy Trinity, which is Creole cooking, where you replace the celery with green bell pepper (my preferred one, because I dieted once in high school by eating only celery for lunch and now hate celery with a burning passion). Though, I just went with onion and carrot, but I used a lot of onion because I love the sweetness it gives. So, sauteed a relatively fine diced onion and carrot mixture in olive oil until soft (you could also go to brown, that will enhance the sweetness because you’ll start caramelizing the natural sugars in the vegetables), then threw in a bunch of minced garlic. I love garlic so I do a boat load. Up to you on the level of garlic, I wouldn’t do less than like, mmmmm, three fat cloves?

You don’t cook garlic too long ever. Just until you can smell it. If you burn the garlic, the whole thing’s ruined forever, it gets too bitter. Don’t even let it brown. That’s why it goes in after the rest of the veggies are soft. Then I put in some tomato past and let that brown up for probably a minute. Next, chuck in your vegan soy crumbles. Mmmmmmm, soy crumbles. It’s honestly not so bad. If you heat them and spice them up, they taste perfectly fine, I think. Don’t expect them to taste like real meat, though. Never go into a vegan recipe with the expectation of tasting like it’s non vegan counter part, you’re always going to be disappointed then. Just enjoy food for what it is. (What I really would’ve loved to do, would be take a bunch of mushrooms. I’m talking like 3-4 pounds. Cutting those up to a medium dice, and use those instead of the soy crumbles. It’ll cook down to like half it’s size I think mushroom is a great alternative to meat, but my sister hates them so only me and my mom would eat the whole pie. But, if you’re actually vegetarian or something, and want to try this recipe, be my guest, tell me how it goes, that would be my preferred method to veganize this dish). Saute the soy crumbles for a little bit, then add a spoonful of flour. This will combine with the oil in your saute, and make kind of a roux, which will thicken your stew when you add liquid to it. Though it’s important to cook the flour a bit after you’ve added it, otherwise your stew will just taste like raw flour, and if you’ve ever eaten plain flour it’s disgusting.

Flour’s cooked, now add your liquid. I added water instead of a vegetable stock, which is what I would ordinarily use. However, I wanted to add water because I knew I was going to flavor the stew with miso and soy sauce. Mmmm, I do this to a lot of vegetarian dishes, not just Japanese cooking. I do this because it adds a way more complex flavor than just salt, and for something vegetarian you need the added flavor from something. Ordinarily it’s the browning of meat, and meat already has a kind of complex flavor, especially lamb or a stewing beef like you’d use in this dish. But, veggies. So, I like the combination of miso and soy sauce (if I had used the mushrooms I d e f i n i t l e y would’ve used soy sauce, it adds an “umami” flavor, which is a word I hate by the way because I don’t think that fifth umami taste actually exists. Taste is a combination of four-five flavors and scents in case you didn’t know, there are flavor receptors on your tongue that react to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Spice is actually produced by capsaicin, which binds to taste receptors and sends the signal of spice, or pain or whatever, to your brain. It’s not a flavor. Some people say umami is the fifth flavor. Hogwash I say. But I’m not a neuro scientist so it’s just my opinion. But whatever, soy sauce and mushroom provides an amazing depth of flavor when combined, almost meaty like). So, added in the water, soy sauce, miso, then other spices (mine were chipotle powder for smokiness, black pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder, turmeric cause it’s healthy apparently, and probably others idk, add what you like. I used a tiiiny bit of cinnamon actually, it adds a subtle sweetness and a complex thing again). Then I added apple cider vinegar, to brighten up the stew with some acid, and let that thicken along with some frozen corn I added to warm up. Had I used meat I would’ve let it actually stew but it was soy so frick the rules. Then I finished it up with chopped herb: dill, parsley, and thyme.

The potato, my sister actually seasoned. She makes great mashed potatoes, idk what’s up. She used vegan butter, vegan milk (our’s was almond and coconut), and a bunch of salt and hot sauce and other nonsense. Flavor as desired of course.  Then you kind of just put all of the stew in a skillet that is oven safe, and all of the potatoes on top of that stew. Make a design on the potato, which is important not for presentation (I give literally no cares about how my food looks if I’m not cooking for anyone). You do design on top because it will have some peaks and what not, and the peaks will brown up and be a bit crispy, and that will add more to the flavor because it’s all technically caramalization. I baked it for 20 minutes at 350.

Results: decent. What I would’ve changed is I would’ve added frozen peas as well as the corn. I would’ve used a few mushrooms if I could. I probably would’ve baked it longer, honestly I’d go like twice the time I think. I might’ve used some cilantro and lemon zest as well, add a bit more freshness. What I’m most regretful of is not adding a splash of red wine along with the water; there are alcohol soluble flavors in tomato that I’m sure would’ve added to the complexity of the flavor of this.

Now idk, this was a pretty long post, it may have bore you. I just love thinking about the flavors of food and how they work together. You could make a simpler version of this fit for a dorm I bet, since a lot of you probably do dorm. Like, just ground beef, an onion, water, mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, peas for nutrition because I hear stories about no one eating vegetables when they dorm and it terrifies me. Pretty simple. If any of you like to cook, please tell me, I would probably really enjoy just talking about food I make on this blog actually. I talk about complex flavors a lot, and they’re all subtle things no one really detects, but contributes to the whole dish to make it go from bland to flavorful. So, thanks for listening, if you made it past 1500 words good job I applaud you.

Also, just a quick shout out; I love seeing comments and likes because I rarely get any, and thanks to Zazzy, who’s the only person I’ve seen to leave a comment, and francoise47 who likes literally everything I write. Y’all make me smile. If you have requests for me to write about something specific tell me and I’ll do it, I like you guys. That is all, peace out, enjoy the start of your semester.

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The NYPD (New York Presbyterian Department)

Sorry, it’s not the NYPD you were thinking of, although I have had a few close encounters I do not wish to discuss…(just kidding!)

This NYPD refers to the New York Presbyterian Department (not an actual acronym), where I had the great privilege of volunteering over the summer. New York Presbyterian Hospital has been the #1 hospital in New York for 17 years now, and it includes the medical school campuses for two of the best schools in the country: Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Weill Cornell College of Medicine.

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Back in January, I wanted my summer to be spent in New York, since I had been traveling there since I was a baby and wanted to really explore the city now as an adult. On top of that, I was looking to gain more clinical experience. With the best hospital not too far from where I frequently visited, I decided to try my hand at applying for a volunteering position there. Saint Peter’s is great, but I still wanted to try.

In February, I got a call for an interview for the Health Education and Adult Literacy (HEAL) Program, as part of the Ambulatory Care Network for Columbia University Medical Center, to improve the health literacy (awareness of options and conditions) of the patient population. This year, the HEAL program was restructured under one umbrella. Instead of focusing mainly on health conditions inside the clinic, the program was designed to allow the pediatric patient families in the waiting room of the clinic access to many resources and free programs for their children, to address the growing need to focus on the social determinants of health, which is a sociological term that describes “the structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.” In other words, the life of a person outside the doctor’s office. In Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, where the hospital is located, many of the families require walk-in clinics for when their kids get sick, or well-child visits to ensure that the basic health needs of their children are being met, and many may be unaware of the role that they can play as primary caregivers in ensuring that their children are living healthy and active lifestyles. That’s where I came in, by speaking directly to the patients and their families in the waiting room about programs or educational information that would make the parents aware of their child’s needs and how to effectively handle them.  The name for the new program was Waiting Room as a Literacy and Learning Environment (WALLE).

It was about a two and a half hour commute to the hospital, including train time, getting an Uber, and walking to the clinic, which was about 10 blocks down. My summer shift was from 10-5, three days a week. When I first started there, although I had observed current great volunteers at work in the clinic, I was still initially a bit nervous, since I had to approach the families in the waiting room and explain to them what WALLE was. Making random conversation with strangers always was anxiety-inducing for me, as if the families weren’t anxious enough about what the doctor was going to tell them about their children’s condition. On top of that, 70% of the population in Washington Heights is Hispanic, primarily with roots from the Dominican Republic, so that meant I had to speak with many of the families entirely in Spanish!

Although I hadn’t really practiced my Spanish since my freshman year at Rutgers, when I took a Honors Hispanic literature course, I was determined to make this work for the children and the families. After all, it wasn’t up to me as to whether they actually used the resources. My job was to build rapport with them and provide them with access through my volunteer supervisor to programs such as Early Head Start, where kids under 2 would learn to read and interact with other children, or downloadable stories through the You Tell Me Stories app. There were new programs being developed and updated almost every month.

I realized that I could customize my encounters through each of the families I talked to, and in the past year, they had been very receptive to us young volunteers. Although all of this only slightly quenched my anxiety, I somehow managed to walk up to the first person on July 5, sit down next to them, and tell them about the WALLE program and anything about nutrition education or physical activity information they wanted. Based on this experience, I held onto one critical piece of advice I gave to all the new volunteers I taught towards the end: do not make assumptions! Some of the adults may have come in with the children, but often times grandparents and extended family liked to accompany the kids to the clinics, so I had to be careful and know who I was talking to. One time, I was telling a woman about these programs, before she told me she was the aunt and not the mother, who wasn’t there, and would most likely have been more interested in hearing about them.

After I was done giving the information to the caregivers and having a conversation with them, I had to document my encounters on a pink form, putting down the patient’s name, the caregivers’ names, phone number, email (if preferred), as well as what points and programs or educational materials were distributed. For the sake of privacy and confidentiality, I will not include pictures of those encounters here. After about two weeks of submitting the encounters to my very committed, passionate supervisor, she would call them and ask them about whether they would be interested in hearing more about the programs I offered them, or what other programs they may be interested in that were not discussed initially. This way, the information I gave them in the clinic did not force them to make a decision at that point, and ensured that they had sufficient time to consider their schedules, as well as monitor the health of their kids. I told almost every family I spoke to that the table full of information about the WALLE program was there everyday, and that they had the option to check it out next time they came, in the event that they were not in the mood to open up about their needs at the time.

The whole staff there was very warm and welcoming, and at the end of the summer, I got the opportunity to shadow one of the doctors in the clinic! It was for a vaccination, since school was just starting, and I noticed that the way the doctor spoke and built rapport with the child was very similar to the way I spoke to and built rapport with the families in the waiting room. Prouder than ever I was at having put myself on the right career path.

Although I did get to explore Times Square, Central Park, the World Trade Center, and eat Subway sandwiches almost every day, what made my summer in New York most memorable was at NYP. Unfortunately, due to the new semester, I could not continue volunteering there this fall, but with this experience, I gained more motivation to work harder through the semester, my interpersonal communication skills have improved, and I am proud to announce that I know 4 languages well: Marathi (my first), English, Spanish, and Hindi (although that one is still in the works).

I graciously thank all the staff at New York Presbyterian and the clinic for this great opportunity, and making the experience all the more educational. Although I have not yet decided my specialty of medicine, I do now consider pediatrics as a possible option.

Being Productive, One Step at a Time

Summer is over and once again it’s time to break out the textbooks and get right back to work. School can feel very overwhelming as the semester starts to kick in and assignments get thrown at you from every angle. Throughout my first year of college, I noticed that a major source of my anxiety came from not planning enough and therefore procrastinating too much or not studying far enough in advance. So this semester, my goal is to stay on top of my due dates and be more organized so that I avoid that stress! Here are some of the things that I am doing to be more productive this semester:

1. Use a planner or printables

Recently, I bought a planner from barnes and noble for less than $15. It has a slot for each day of the week and it also has little section for important notes or for things that I don’t want to forget. Each day, I write down my plan for what I want to get done, as well as the homework that was assigned in that day’s class. I also use printable calendars to write down all of the due dates from the syllabi, since it is nice to see how much time I have in between assignments and activities. A website that I use to get printables is http://emmastudies.com/printables. There are so many different types of sheets that you can use to organize your week, your month, or your study schedule. I have previously used the “Exam Printable Pack” to organize what points I need to revise more before tests. I highly recommend it!

2. Put down the phone!

Phones are probably the biggest distractions that we have today. To combat this temptation, I use an app called Forest. All you have to do is set your timer for however long you want your study session to be, and a tree will begin growing while you study. If you exit the app while the timer is still going, you will kill your tree, so it forces you to stay off your phone. You can also label the study sessions so that you can track how much studying you have done each day for each subject. It feels really rewarding when I look back and see how productive I was. It’s really motivating!
Disclaimer: Forest is a paid app ($1.99), but I made sure that I liked this type of timer before paying for it. There are many other free apps that are very similar such as Focus Now, although there is less freedom when it comes to setting how much time you want to study for.

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3. Use Momentum

Momentum is one of my favorite productivity tools. It is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to write down your To-Do’s and check them off as you finish them. Although having a planner is essential to keep track of everything in the week, Momentum is extremely useful for deciding what you want to get done that day. There is a gorgeous picture from somewhere in the world, a large clock, and a motivating quote on the bottom. Just looking at the screen makes me feel motivated!

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These tips may seem really obvious, but it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Taking a bit of time to plan out your daily schedule and timing your study sessions can help you get more work done in a lot less time. Then you will have more time to get involved or spend time with friends! A good start to the school year will put you on the path to success!

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.

It’s that time of the year again

If you are the type of person who likes to go through the posts of individual bloggers and search from recurring themes in their lives, then you might have noticed that I have a Thing about growing older and also the subjective nature of time. Therefore, it must be no surprise to you that I am once again writing a blog post about growing older and the subjective nature of time.
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It’s probably the beginning of the year getting to me. I’m a junior, you know, which means all sorts of things such as the beginning of the end of “I’m an adult but I’m not a real adult” portion of my life. Which is terrifying to think about, let alone experience.

I know that one day I’m going to have the benefit of hindsight and I’ll be able to see that I was freaking out over nothing. Everything turned out fine and my best years were ahead of me.

But this isn’t hindsight yet. This is just plain old sight and I don’t like what I’m seeing. At least I can be comforted by the fact that I’m not the only one going through this at the moment. Every time I try bring this up to my friends they tell me to shut up. Instead of hurting my poor, delicate feelings, this comforts me. It’s one thing to freak out about the future, it’s a whole other thing to freak out about the future alone.

Besides the beginning of the year, I have another thing to blame for this acute sense of impending doom. I was cleaning my room the other day because the mess had finally become unbearable and I couldn’t walk through my room without stepping on something that may have been important once before it had met the bottom of my foot. While I was finding yet another missing sock, I had spotted my high school yearbook underneath a layer of dust.

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First of all, I didn’t realize that high school was so long ago it had time to accumulate dust. I also didn’t realize that three years is long enough to forget half of the people in your graduating class existed.

I remember,though,  very clearly the teacher who had run the yearbook going on this whole spiel about how important the yearbook was and I sort of half-listened while she was doing it, but I guess enough time has passed for me to get what she was trying to say. It was kind of like holding a little bit of my history in my hands and I hadn’t realized enough time had passed for it to become history.

High school didn’t feel all that long ago, but it was. Neither did my first year of college, but enough time has passed for me to change and stay the same. How is it that the first two weeks of school can feel like they lasted three years, but three years can feel like they happened two seconds ago?

I don’t know.  

But it doesn’t matter how time feels, because time will pass whether you feel like it should or not.

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this was my actual yearbook quote in case you were wondering how far back this whole time Thing goes

And now I walk forward into the great unknown (this feels like I’m referencing something, but if I am, I have no idea what it is) and I know I spent the majority of this post sounding terrified, and I am, but I’m also kind of excited. I wonder how that can be too.

 

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do in College

As a sophomore, I am well aware that I am not as experienced of a college student as seniors and juniors, but I think I already figured out things you should and shouldn’t do in college.

  1. The first thing you shouldn’t do is watch YouTube or Netflix all day. I think everyday has had those days where they spend all day on their bed binge-watching Netflix. I had days where I have to study and finish homework or I’ll get behind. But then I decide to take a break and then this happens.

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Then I realize 6 hours has passed and I haven’t done any work. One tip can be to watch TV after you finish all your work or spend a well deserved Friday catching up on TV.

 

2) Next, you shouldn’t think you can finish all your math homework in one day.

Since I am a math major, this tip is specifically geared towards math majors, but it honestly applies to any field of study. With math and science specifically, I found that it can be exhausting finishing several problem sets in one day. With humanities (to be fair, I haven’t taken a lot of humanities courses), I found it was hard to finish all my reading if I started it the night before. I just didn’t absorb any of the reading and lost a night of sleep. Half the time I actually finish my work the other half I’m like this …

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3) You shouldn’t overextend yourself

Yes, grades are important, but so is maintaining friends, joining clubs, working, sleeping, maintaining good mental health, etc. From my experience, I wanted to maintain all of them but it didn’t work. I ended up ruining my GPA which I still need to recover from.

Basically what I am saying is to find a balance between everything you want to do. If you are taking 20 credits, it would be a good idea to go easy on clubs and work. If you have 14 credits, then you can go out more or work more etc.

Also remember that your mental health is very important. It’s important to try to keep yourself calm and to be able to handle stress. I can’t stress this fact enough

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This just perfectly captures my point

4) Also you shouldn’t not exercise

Even though this is a double negative, basically I’m saying to always exercise and try not to be lazy about this. Exercise is important to keep a smart mind, keep your body healthy, and help yourself maintain a positive image of yourself.

It’s amazing how much exercise impacts the brain and the improved academic performance that follows. http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n1/box/nrn2298_BX1.html?foxtrotcallback=true

 

5) You shouldn’t keep junk food with you all the time.

Of course it’s okay to eat junk food every once in awhile. But it’s still important to get your fruits and vegetables in. Your body is like a car. If you fill it with proper fuel, then it will run efficiently and smoothly.

In addition, healthier food  may not taste good and may be hard to access (believe me I went to the dining halls), but it’s possible, and you will notice the difference over time.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-health-nutrition-better-grades-story.html

Junior Year…A Year Where Things Start to Get Real

I can’t believe it but I am actually a junior! It seems like it was only yesterday I was attending the SASHP Summer kickoff, meeting my peer mentor, and starting to make new college friends. Being a junior in college reminds me of all the shenanigans I dealt with in junior year of high school (which now seems like an eternity ago). But now, entering my third year at Rutgers University, I have begun to realize things are going to be very different than my first two years. New responsibilities and tasks come with being an upperclassman.

One of the most important things being a junior is (in my opinion) finally choosing a major to spend the rest of college studying. Because of the SAS Core, it is easy to delay choosing a major and focusing on the Core in freshman year. Even sophomore year, it is possible to still delay your major and maybe finish up the SAS Core and the SASHP requirements. But junior year is the time that where you need to choose what you want to study and major in college, and ultimately, where you want to go in life. College is almost over and that means real life work is about to begin. Lucky for me, I knew from high school I wanted go into medicine, so I was able to focus on my pre-med requirements as well during my first two years of college. Now finally I decided after 2 years, I am going to major in Genetics!

On the same topic of the future (lol), junior year is also the time when you start thinking of after college plans. For a lot of us, it is starting a full time job somewhere in our desired field. In order to do that, it is important to use the resources that Rutgers offers and obtain valuable internship experience and work experience. A lot of companies want previous experience when they look for new employees.

Another route a lot of us take is graduate school, ranging from medical school to PA school and including master’s and PhD degrees. For those people (including me haha), we need to start studying for our respective standardized exams, including MCAT, DAT, or GRE.

Even though junior year makes you realize college is almost over, don’t forget you still have two years till it’s actually over!! Two years is plenty of time to do things you may never have the chance to do again in the future. You could decide to do a semester abroad or maybe get into any new exciting clubs you missed out in your first two years. Being a junior also has its perks. You have two years of experience to help you in case you get RU Screwed. You know all the secrets on how to get around campus, places to eat, and classes that are fun and interesting. No longer are you a freshman on campus or a “wise fool” (Greek definition of the word Sophomore haha). You are a junior and still have some time before this fun rollercoaster ride called college is over!

 

Fun Rutgers Things To Do This Fall!

This Friday is  finally the first day of fall! I say finally because I am excited for the changing leaves and cooler temperatures that await us! However, after a summer full of lazy beach days and outdoor activities, it can sometimes be difficult to find things to do as the weather begins to break! I’ve gathered a list of events and activities on and around campus that can fill your free time and help you get the most out of my absolute favorite season!

  1. Football games!! (and tailgates!)- What better way to enjoy the weather and celebrate Rutgers? Though our football team may not have the best record, it is still fun to cheer on the Scarlet Knights! Some of my favorite moments from my years here at Rutgers come from the Student Section of High Point Solutions Stadium! Even better than going to the game (in my opinion)? Enjoying all the food and fun that is tailgating! From burgers to mac and cheese to fruit and veggie trays, there’s something that everyone can enjoy!
  2. Scarlet Day of Service- Did you know that Scarlet Day of Service is the BIGGEST single day of community service in the entire state of New Jersey? Every fall semester, RUPA plans an incredible day of giving back to the community that so many of us as Rutgers students get to call home! Through Scarlet Day of Service, students will have the opportunity to help clean up New Brunswick, revitalize outdoor spaces, and work with youth and senior citizens, and more! Each and every person can make a difference in the community through this very special Rutgers event!
  3. Explore Rutgers Gardens! Or the Ecological Preserve!- Rutgers Gardens, located on the far side of Cook Campus, and the Ecological Preserve on Livingston are some of the best places to get outdoors as a Rutgers Student! There are many events throughout the Fall semester in the Gardens, from farmer’s markets to the Fall Festival on October 15th. It’s a beautiful place to explore and a great way to learn more about plants! The Ecological Preserve is also something I think all students should take advantage of! As the leaves begin to change, walks through the preserve will only grow more beautiful!
  4. Scarlet Harvest!- Scarlet Harvest takes places on Douglass Campus every year, and is another fun event planned by RUPA! There are a number of different events going on all afternoon, from pie eating contests to mechanical bull riding! There will also be live music and free food! This year the event will be happening on October 4th of Woodbine Lawn on Douglass!
  5. Get off campus and go hiking!!- Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors and go hiking! Though this activity is a little less accessible (you’ll need a car to get to a good spot), it’s still a lot of fun! As the leaves change the trails just get more beautiful and the dropping temperature means it’s a lot less sweaty outside! Some of the closest/best spots for hiking? Delaware Water Gap and Mt. Tammany, Buttermilk Falls, and Hacklebarney State Park, all under two hours away from campus!

3 Tips to Stay Organized

YASSSS! First week of the semester = DOWN. Okay, sooo…now what? Things seem a little crazy–new classes, new places, new faces. It’s understandable that you may be feeling in need of some organization. 

Image result for spongebob organization

YOU’RE IN LUCK….because here are 3 tips to get you started!

#1: GET A PLANNER

Feeling like your head’s about to explode from all the assignments you’re trying to remember? Before your brain goes KABOOM!, please give it a rest and actually write down all the things you have to keep in mind. Making lists is the first step in giving your mind a break. The next one is to organize (<–key word) the items in that list in an easy, eye-appealing, and effective manner, which should signal…DING, DING…planners!

Planners make it a lot easier to remember all of your homework, quizzes, exam dates, and club meetings and events–just pour all of those things from your mind to the pages of your savior. When picking out a planner, make sure it’s something you’ll like looking at. The appearance of the organizing item that you’ll use repeatedly makes a difference in how often you utilize it! If it’s something drab and boring, you might just rather feel like continuing to store assignment due dates in your mind.

And of course, if the planner doesn’t have effective organizing methods, why use it at all? When I selected my planner, I looked for the following: monthly calendars, daily calendars with enough space to jot down work, a fun and exciting interior and exterior, and yes….stickers 😉 . I was very lucky to have come across a planner from ban.do, which fulfilled all of my criteria! It’s a 17-month planner that’s incredibly useful and incredibly fun to use. I mean, it’s so creative and engaging that it has cute morale-boosters, funny suggestions on what to do for the weekends, countless empty “Notes” pages, stickers (of course), a large pocket for things you’d like to stash, eye-catching illustrations, and a whole secret code it uses throughout!

#2: Make A Schedule

We all need some form of structure in our lives. A great way to maintain that is by creating a schedule that outlines your classes, extracurricular activities, job/internship hours, homework, meals, time for yourself, and sleep. The last three are perhaps the most important parts of your schedule. When our college work hits or we’re studying for hours on end, it’s crucial that we remember to tell ourselves: I REQUIRE SUSTENANCE (Thor reference).

Image result for i require sustenance gif

Time for yourself is equally important–we all need time to relax, wind down, and enjoy, whether it be socially or individually. And of course…SLEEP. Folks, how are you going to refrain from feeling like a Walking Dead zombie if you don’t sleep at least eight hours a day? Use time management to ensure that you sleep enough, in addition to the other things on your schedule. Remember–your life isn’t set in stone. So keep your schedule flexible. Color code it, too!

#3: Plan Ahead

Planning ahead MAY stress out some students, but this can be as simple as planning out your day. It doesn’t have to be planning out your entire week. This method helps you keep track of all the things you may need to do and prevents you from forgetting something. Planning ahead can also mean aiming to finish assignments a day or two before their due dates, so that you have time to spare lest something else crops up. Don’t leave things for the last moment, including studying for exams. When you cram, you’ll tend to forget most of what you tried memorizing an hour (or less) before your exam. Pace yourself and study in chunks by planning ahead about when you’ll study what. Start with a simple To-Do List, but, uhm, have something on it to do, unlike Patrick.

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Start organizing!! 😀 

~ Tanya B.

Conspiracy Theories!

Hello! I can not believe that summer is already over. Nevertheless, before we all know it, the year will whiz past us, and we will be taking the finals in spring and it’ll be summer all over again.

This semester I have taken an Honors seminar that I think is pretty cool. It is called “Conspiracies in a Global Context.” Professor Koerber teaches the class. I have only joined the class recently, and attended only one session, and I am already in love with it! We amassed a list of enigmatic conspiracies of all time and tried to categorize them. It was so fascinating. As a result, I have prepared for you a very brief list of some of the world’s most sought after conspiracies of all times. Now, keep in mind, I am not saying these are necessarily true; this is just for pure entertainment.  Feel free to comment on any other ones you know below. Enjoy 😀 !

    1. Codex Alimentarius

The Codex Alimentarius is a guidebook developed by the World Health Organization that delineates rules and regulations concerning food labeling safety.  The conspiracy goes that this codex might just end humankind. Apparently, there are peculiar titles in their agenda, which is available to the public through a simple Google search.  Some of these titles include “Population Control Under the Guise of Consumer Protection”, and “An Introduction to Soft Kill Eugenics.”

2.  Project Blue Beam

This is apparently a conspiracy involving NASA. It goes that NASA is trying to enforce New Age religion. This religion is centered around the belief of spirituality with great emphasis on individualism. It is also heavily influenced by Eastern cultures. In addition, the conspiracy theory states that NASA is working with the AntiChrist, an opponent of Jesus Christ who is supposedly to appear when it is the end of the world, to gain control of and run the world.

3. Aurora Aircraft

Aurora was said to be a reconnaissance aircraft. Reconnaissance aircraft is designed for various intelligence purposes including spying and intercepting communication via signal intelligence. However, the US government insists that Aurora was never built or flown.

4.  Project MKULTRA

This was allegedly a secret CIA project researching the role of drugs such as LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), barbiturates, and psilocybin (mushrooms) on mind control, interrogation methods, and psychological torture. The project went on from 1953 to about 1973. Also, a man named Frank Olson, who used to work for the CIA at the time of the project, died mysteriously. His death was believed to be staged by the CIA to look like a suicide when , in fact, the CIA might have assassinated him.

5.  ACORN


ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. This organization aimed to tackle issues such as voter registration, affordable housing, and other economic and social issues that the poor might be facing in neighborhoods. The conspiracy theory associated with this organization goes that Obama was working with this organization and it helped Obama win the election in 2008. The conspiracy theory also states that ACORN was hiding the fact that Obama was actually born in Kenya.