Hi everyone! I can’t believe summer is already here (even though the past few days have been a bit rainy and muggy). I thought I would share my past academic year’s commuting experience with you all because next year I will be back to living on-campus!

To be honest, the first few days, and even weeks, were very tough. Because getting to the train station was a problem, my dad would drop me off on his way to work in the morning. This meant that even though my earliest classes were around 11 a.m., I had to wake up at 8 a.m. to be dropped off at the train station. In addition, the past few weeks NJ Transit has not been in its best shape with the derailments and power outages. As a result, there have been at least two or three days on which I was so ecstatic to be coming home on time, but the trains were delayed by a good 30 minutes to over an hour. I remember such an instance, specifically the Friday before winter break, when everyone at the New Brunswick station were carrying suitcases back to their homes. We were all covered in jackets and hats because it was quite windy and chilly. I was fervent to go home to a semi-relaxing break (I had midterms coming up after break as usual). The lady on the speaker came up, and I was hoping she would say in her monotonous voice “The next train to stop on track 4 is the 5:29 train to Trenton stopping at..” blah, blah, and blah. Unfortunately, she started to say the one thing all commuters feared the most: “The 5:29 train is now operating 65 minutes late.” My heart dropped. Everyone sighed. They opened their apps and starting tracking the train down. There were several times when the train would just “disappear”, which indicated that it would not hit all of its designated stops on the app. Nonetheless, I didn’t lose hope. After almost an hour and a half, the bright lights of the train nearing the curve of the track 4 (my track) was visible. I shouted to my friend “Look! It’s here” and I saw her eyes gleam with joy.  I saw the happiness in everyone’s eyes. We were all just glad to be on our way home. I realized how peculiar it was that a train coming on time felt so precious and was capable of bringing so much happiness. I had never experienced this before in my life prior to commuting. This holds true to the platitude of being grateful for those little things you take for granted each day because you never know how much they mean to you until they are gone.

Another important thing I learned from commuting is time management. The days on which I was waiting for the bus (I took a bus home from the station after college) or the train, I was trying to make up the studying time I would lose to commuting. Whether it was just looking over organic chemistry notes or re-reading my essay, I would try to get some work done to save some time. Commuting took nearly three to fours hours out of my day every week, so these “in-between-studying” times were kind of important for me.

For those of you planning to commute or are commuting right now, here are some tips I would like to share with you.

  1. Be at least 10 minutes early before your planned train/bus time.
  2. Always carry work with you (notes, laptop, a book, etc…)
  3. Pack lots of snacks (you never can be 100% sure of when the train/bus will arrive or depart)!
  4. Double check for your tickets and headphones (especially your headphones because who doesn’t want to listen to songs while traveling?)

I hope you have a great summer!

Creating a Summer Bucket List

Every year I tell myself to pay attention to time, and every year I am surprised at how fast time has passed. I tend to apply this, and my YOLO attitude, to the summer in particular, as two months are much shorter than they seem. As I wrap up my freshman year of college though, for the first time in my life I have four months of summer. What am I going to do for four months at home, away from all of my new friends from Rutgers? How will I fill my long, hot days, and the weeks that seem to each pass by quickly? After a shorter and rather dull winter break as previous experience, I have decided that in order for me to enjoy my summer to the fullest, I need to give myself purpose. Purpose comes in many forms and may be different for each person. As my life consists of lists, I decided to make myself a “Summer Bucket List”, make others aware of it as to hold me accountable, and check off as much as possible (corny, I know, but hopefully it will work). Of course, I have the classic action items on the list, such as going to the beach and reading books, but I’ve also thought of some unusual ones, which are listed below for your reading pleasure.

Have an e-free dayHikers with backpacks walking through a meadow with lush grass

During the school year (and life, in general) we are constantly using technology. Whether it is looking at my phone on the bus, or taking notes using my computer, then studying, doing homework, and writing essays on the computer, I am in front of a screen for a large portion of the day. Summertime provides the perfect opportunity to get away, if even for a day! Either leave your phone at home or put it on airplane mode and go outside! Do something really cool and don’t even Instagram it (I promise that even if you don’t take a picture, it actually happened). Try using this time to really connect with nature, or have some alone time without distractions — there are so many opportunities! To think that just ten years ago we all would have had no problem doing this, and it would not have even been a challenge.

Plan a themed party


Pick a date, pick a location, and pick a theme! Get a friend to help you with preparations, create a guest list, and you are set! My themed party this summer will be a puppy party! I plan on inviting all of my friends that have dogs (luckily they all do), buy or make some dog treats and have an AMAZING day playing with dogs. It cannot get any better than that… feel free to use this idea!!

Look for opportunities


As fun as this time of year is, summer also provides a lot of free time to put to use for the future. Try to take advantage of this and set aside some time for yourself every day or week to search for scholarships, jobs, or internships. Not only look out for them but begin to apply too! There are SO many opportunities out there just waiting for someone to reach out and take the first step.


This summer I plan to develop my ‘green thumb’! There are so many benefits to gardening and farming, including taking ownership of your food, and knowing where it comes from, stress relief, vitamin D, etc. You can start your own garden with simple plants like mint, tomatoes, or lettuce. You can also choose to get a full on farm experience by volunteering or working on a farm! There are many opportunities for this, include practicums that count as school credit, or WWOOFing (linked). If you’re spending time outdoors, just be careful not to get sunburnt!


These just provide a glimpse into my summer to do list, but take them into consideration. Create your own summer bucket lists and share them to inspire others to do the same! Have a great summer!


So Long And Thanks For All The Fish


Graduation is on Sunday. Four years really have flown by. They have been packed with activities: switching my major, taking Orgo, and participating in Dance Marathon are among the few things I’ve done. Yet I feel like I haven’t really accomplished much. I wish I had gotten more involved on campus with clubs or organizations or club sports. I wasn’t really able to find my specific calling on campus —  I wish I had put more effort into exploring all that Rutgers has to offer. I didn’t want to stretch myself too thin, but I wish I had some group or organization to which I truly belonged.

But that didn’t happen. And while my lack of involvement may be a minor regret, I nevertheless loved my college experience here at Rutgers.

The realization that things here are coming to an end are slowly starting to dawn on me. I don’t think the feelings will really hit until after convocation is over. Over the course of the past few weeks I have been taking in Rutgers and the aspects of the campus that I will miss. While walking down college ave from Brower to Scott Hall, I admired how the sun lit up the light green leaves on the trees as groups of students leisurely chatted with their friends or rushed to catch a shortly departing H bus. I savored the ability to get a slice of pizza at 2:30 AM from one of many late night food joints on Easton. I rode one of the buses and fondly remembered how clueless I was about them when I was a Freshman. I will not miss fighting with a throng of people to get on a bus at Scott Hall or the SAC. However, those survival-of-the-fittest moments have prepared me for New York subways. I’m going to miss the dining halls and getting food so conveniently. I’m going to miss the red and white flowers that line campus. I’ll miss tailgating for football games and partying afterward. I will miss many, many things about Rutgers…

Sure, I can always visit if I want to, but being at Rutgers as an alumna won’t feel the same as being here as a student.

These have been some of the best years of my life. I’ve made and lost friends, met new people, traveled to incredible parts of the world, had existential crises over my major and life plans, learned a lot in classes that interested me, stood on my feet for 30 hours to raise money, completed a thesis, connected with brilliant and kind professors and deans and staff members who have helped me every step of the way. I want to thank Rutgers for all the memories and life lessons that I have gained, because of which I am a better, more mature, and confident person than I was when I first started college.

Graduation is just around the corner and I am a mix of emotions. I’m a little sad to close the book on this chapter of my life. I’m shocked that I’m actually going to graduate; this day seemed so far in the future but now it’s happening. I’m a little scared and uneasy and anxious and a little excited for my life after graduation. Up until this point, every year has been planned out. It was easy — school. But now what? Freedom is a bit daunting because there are so many opportunities that I fear I won’t spend it correctly and I’ll end up doing nothing and wasting time. I’m scared that my motivations and desires are going to drastically change and I’ll be lost, unsure of how to proceed.

Despite my fears and worries, I know I will be ok in end. Because I am a Scarlet Knight, and I have learned how to stay strong, and persevere, and think my way through problems.

R U RAH RAH and all that. See you in the real world.


Great Short Reads: A Colloquium Alternative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great summer!

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

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Spring Bloom…More like AH-CHOOO!!

You know what’s worse than sneezing six times in a row? Sneezing six times in a row with itchy eyes!! (Actually, I lied. Sneezing six times in a row with itchy eyes while trying to drive is the worst!). While the beautiful flowers and gardens amaze most of y’all, I’m here trying not to break the world record for most sneezes.

I have had pollen allergies since I was very young. That means every spring/summer brings about the sneezing and the itchy eyes. Over the years though I have tried to figure out ways that can help me the most. Here they are:

  1. Washing your face/shower: So whenever I’m experiencing bad allergies, I always try to wash my face, especially my eyes, with cold water. This really helps to sooth your eyes and removes any pollen on your face. Also whenever I come back home from an outside activity, I try to take a quick shower to remove all the pollen that might be on my body and hair.
  2. Stay indoors: Yah I know that might be tough. Great weather and sunny days. With school over you probably want to be outside every day. But I try to stay indoors especially when pollen levels are high. The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and other sites can provide you with daily pollen levels.
  3. Medication: There are a lot of over the counter drugs that can really help with your allergies. My advice is to either ask your doctor for a strong medication that can keep the allergies symptoms low, or try out which over the counter drug works the best for you.
  4. Goggles: While I don’t really recommend it, I have actually worn swimming goggles to keep the pollen out of my eyes. When your eyes itch like mine, you will be asking for the goggles too!!
  5. Rain Dance Rituals: During the spring and summer, rain is your best friend. It washes all that pollen away and you can finally enjoy life! Even though my rain dance rituals have not yet been successful, I still try!!

Well, I hope your allergies don’t affect your daily activities too much. Remember to stay safe while driving if you do start a sneezing marathon! Good luck on finals and enjoy the summer!

Pre-Med, The Fair Side

Many of you are likely familiar with the infamous rigor of the pre-med track here at Rutgers. With neurobiology, biochemistry, anatomy, and the dreaded organic chemistry, there is no telling how people manage to survive these dreaded encounters. On top of that, med schools expect to see other activities outside that involve experience in the clinical field, including shadowing, volunteering, building houses in Africa, which almost everybody does, so how in the world are you supposed to distinguish yourself?

I know one thing for sure: complaining about it won’t help. I have adopted a new mantra to make myself stop complaining when things do not go my way because it is an unnecessary waste of time and energy that will not get you anywhere. Although this may seem obvious, when caught in the whirlwind of courses and grades and academia in such a competitive field, it is easy to even forget to brush your teeth in the morning, let alone give advice that should be beneficial. However, as the semester draws to a close, I will take it upon myself to remember internally the advice I set for myself and for others, to not complain and instead find a way around and look for a solution.

One of those potential alternate solutions was, for me, to go to the Career and Internship Mega-Fair, on Thursday, February 2, and Friday, February 3.

Unsurprisingly, this was a formal event, because when people look first to introduce themselves to potential recruiters and employers for big companies looking to hire employees or summer interns, they must look their best. Dressed in a button-down Calvin Klein white shirt, black dress pants, and a three-button blazer that I got as a present from the Raymond shop during my trip to Mumbai last year, I stepped off the bus at Livi and made my way to the Rec Center, also the site of my high school graduation. With my blazer, I was described by my friends who also went there as “straight from the 1970s”. Great way to stand out from the rest of the crowd who was dressed in more traditional business attire, I thought.

I wasn’t looking for any company in particular, but I was there to observe how people network and look for jobs, and overall how they present themselves to the employers to make themselves sound like the perfect fit for the company. There were easily over 1,000 students waiting there, with hundreds waiting in line for the bigger companies like Johnson and Johnson, Google, and GlaxoSmithKline, all geared towards the same goal of expressing their interest and why they are the best fit for the company. Talk about competitive.

Image result for rutgers career fair


All of them brought their resumes, two-sided, listing their best accomplishments. If this is starting to sound just like any other typical student trying to get a job after graduation or for the summer, let me emphasize one point: most of the other students I saw there were either finance, marketing, computer science, engineering, or data analysts (whatever that means), none were pre-med. Almost all of them had some idea of what skills they wanted to present to what companies in order to land co-ops or full-time careers, and many of them were even post-bacs or seniors looking for a place to work, but nobody I saw was pursuing a career in the biological sciences. Now I’m not saying there were no pre-med related companies there (Emergency Medical Associates came on that Friday), or that there were not any pre-med students. I am simply stressing how much I felt out-of-place there initially, since everybody was talking about their experience with programming languages like C++ or Java, their summer working for an engineering firm in Colorado or somewhere far away from home, or their summer internships as data analysts, R & D employees, or intensive paid or unpaid co-ops. All of that jargon seemed foreign to me, considering that all I had done during my past summer was shadow a doctor of geriatric medicine and looked for a job in a retail setting (Walgreens, for those of you who haven’t seen my previous post). This type of setting just didn’t seem fitting for pre-meds, even if they said “all majors welcome” on the online and print advertisements.

But worried I was not. Mainly, in addition to an alternate pathway should there ever come a time when I feel pre-med is not for me, I also wanted to learn how to network. Potential new opportunities, as I learned last summer, don’t just come. You have to actively work to get them. I actively approached this fair as a potential to get involved with several companies during the summer, maybe to see the side of career choices that don’t come with clinical experience or to simply see how to communicate with people in a professional manner. I brought a few copies of my resume and proudly put my clinical experiences on them, despite not matching what others had for the companies I was standing in line for. I was determined to at least make a good impression and establish my interest in learning about networking and the company itself.

My first, and most memorable stop, was Johnson and Johnson, one of the few places there that seemed to be of interest to me as a pre-med. When I finally talked to one of the recruiters, I initially told them that I was a pre-med major and looking for a chance to work with Johnson and Johnson, as an R & D. Even if I didn’t know what that meant, I managed to tailor my questions in a professional manner so the recruiter could explain to me all the terms without me seeming like I had no clue. I explained to her I was very interested and thought pharmaceuticals and medical devices was the field for me, which was exactly what Johnson and Johnson embodied, she said to me. I told her about the experiences on my resume as she skimmed over it, as a Teaching Intern and a blogger for the SASHP, telling her I was actively working to make a difference by teaching others, inspiring them, and hoping to do the same with Johnson and Johnson. To my surprise, after I was done, she told me I’d be a perfect fit!

Although I initially made myself sound like I wanted to do a co-op for the summer, I ended up landing a volunteer position at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for the summer before I seriously considered applying, but was thrilled to know that I successfully learned how to network and present myself in the best manner, and have a potential backup plan to continue going and networking at these fairs in case pre-med does not work out for me.

My main point of advice to all you students who are or are not pre-meds is to not be afraid to network. Although I felt out of place there, I ended up making a better impression on other companies than I expected to, probably because of how confident I seemed despite my inner confusion and insecurity. This fair allowed me an opportunity to see what skill sets are required of other majors to land jobs and internships, since as a pre-med, I would naturally find myself trying to develop skills only for the sake of medicine through my shadowing and volunteer activities, and not necessarily have a good understanding of what people of other careers have to do to get their feet in the door.

I told myself that, with this experience, I will never make myself feel like I don’t belong, and will keep an open mind, instead of complaining about how difficult the field I am entering is. Reflecting on my presence at the fair, I was surprised about what skills I possessed and what opportunities that I wasn’t expecting could suddenly become an important asset to my future, and overall, how to be confident and explore other areas other than the traditional routes that most other pre-med students tend to take.

What I Learned in Boating School is… Failure is Okay.

For many of you, college is the highlight of your lives. It may be better than high school, and you know, you probably discovered yourself here. Or are on the path of discovering yourself here. (I’m the latter).

As I look back at my college career, I’m proud of myself. I had no qualms that I would graduate when I first started, but things got a little hairy as I went further in. No worries, though! If there’s one thing college has taught me, it’s that if you persevere and sometimes, hang on for dear life, you’ll make it through.

Honestly, I didn’t realize that sometimes all you have to really do is just hold on, y’know, like that new Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki song. Anyway.

Finals are coming up, and a lot of you may be worried about where you stand. I’m telling you, really telling you, to stop worrying. I know this is easier said than done, but in the bigger scheme of things, these exams are a blip in your life. Your GPA is a blip in your life. This time is a literal blip in your life!

If you find yourself worrying, do this: take a deep breath, and think about the length your life will be, based on probability and averages. Think about what happens if you pass, and what happens if you fail. The most realistic effect: your GPA falls a little, your parents are upset, etc. etc.

Okay, fine, but you’re not dead, right? You still have the brains to solve any problem that comes at you in the future? Yes, it makes life a little harder if you don’t do as well. But I’m also trying to say that the future isn’t impossible if you fail. Everything has a solution. And failing is sometimes okay.

Failure puts things into perspective. We feel that we can’t fail, as if we won’t be able to handle it. But we are a lot more resilient than that. I think we’ve forgotten that.

So I just wanted to remind you all that failing is okay sometimes. It means you tried something, and it didn’t work. It might give you insight as to how you function as a person. It certainly gave me that insight. I realized I had to be myself and stop doing things the way everyone else did them.

So yeah, I love college (this is a very recent understanding, trust me) because I failed a lot. A LOT. And at first, I was ashamed of how much I’ve failed. But I’m not worried anymore. Those failures were just a blip in my career; they’re so small, just like the amount of time that I’ve spent at Rutgers.

So it’s okay to fail if you do.


I’m not giving you the go-ahead to party instead of studying for your finals.

If you have the ability to change your circumstances, like studying as hard as you can just to pass a class, then do it. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but if you can do it, then do it.

Failure shouldn’t be used as an excuse; it’s another tool in your arsenal. And college should help you build an arsenal of strategies to overcome problems with brilliant solutions. It did this for me.

College was wild. I hope it’s wild for all of you too.

And here is where I leave you all.

It was a pleasure writing for you and giving you all advice. I hope it’s helped the lot of you, even a little. As I graduate and just move to another pasture, I know I’ll be ruminating over the lessons I’ve learned here. And I hope I’ve made some lessons at Rutgers easier to learn.

And now, I bid you adieu.

Signing off,

Nida Saeed.

Being a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program


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

3. The Awkward First Meeting

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



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

2. Session of Connection

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

1. Never Say Goodbye

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


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

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

Motivation GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

–The Doctor


Sweet Release

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

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

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

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

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

Option B: Completion of the SAS Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Create a schedule with certain deadlines.

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

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

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

Gotta Use ‘Em All: Getting Rid of Meal Swipes

It’s a problem that all on-campus freshman have faced. Anxiously checking their RU express page to see exactly how many they have left. In-depth discussions about how it’s all part of a con for your money. Leaping over the stack of styrofoam containers from takeout so you can flop onto your bed, clutching your aching, overstuffed stomach as you roll over and try to forget about finals.

Meal swipes. If you’re an on-campus freshman lacking an extraordinary appetite, you’re probably begging to give these away at this point.

For starters, if you will be an incoming freshman in the fall, please take note of this link. Within the first week of school, you can go here and switch to a lower meal plan, even lower than the required meal for freshmen.

Now, for those not savvy enough to know this particular trick, like me my freshman year, here are some practical ways to get rid of meal swipes in your last weeks of school:

  1. Woody’s

The medical school cafeteria is probably one of the more popular options. You can use meal swipes for almost anything from grocery-type items (milk, vegetables) to meals to sweets and ice cream. However, the mistake most people make is that they rush through three or four swipes as quickly as possible. The way to maximize this requires patience. Set aside a few hours outside of the rush, bring the some of the overwhelming amount of work you’ve surely been watching grow over the past few weeks, and prep for some back and forth between your seat and the food area. The limit is every twenty minutes, but if you play your cards right you can be like me in December of my freshman year, walking away from Woody’s 20 meal swipes less and with Christmas gifts for both my brothers and all six of my cousins.

2. Kilmer’s Market, Sbarros, Douglass Cafe, Cook Cafe, Rock Cafe, Red Pine Pizza, Take Out

Good places for meals and food for later. And since several of them are located around centralized areas, you can employ the same method as with Woody’s. The only problem is that if you’re not careful you’ll end up with a fridge of individual slices of pizza, stacks of individual cereal packs, and a significant amount of indigestion (because who can resist that much food sitting in front of them?). Which brings us to suggestion number 3.

3. Befriend upperclassmen

If clubs want to promote events, they offer free food. That’s because most students operate on a low budget. Now’s the time to use that to your advantage. Who could refuse your offer a free meal, be it a swipe into the dining hall, an offer for takeout, or a meal swiped from Sbarros? This is a great way to hang out with older friends, thank mentors for help, or generally socialize.

4. Invite your family

This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, if used in conjunction with number 3, you might run out of guest swipes, so be aware.

What are your favorite ways to get rid of meal swipes? Comment below.