The Heartbreak of Not Being Able to Commit to Every Club All the Time

Do you remember the involvement fair, the big event on the day before school that feels like it happened three months ago? If you went there and went there earnestly you may recall having the feeling of a being kid in a candy store, a candy store that goes on and on for the greater part of a mile and instead of jellybeans has three trees worth of fliers for you. “Look at all this opportunity!”, you might have exclaimed back then, while raising your hands in the air and skipping down College Avenue. So you signed up for everything. RU Unplugged and RU Bodybuilding. The Medieval Club and Knight Time Productions. Fencing, ultimate frisbee, meditation, culinary appreciation, beewatching, squirrel-feeding, and tennis. Sign up for both IVMEF and the Hillel newsletters, just to be safe. Express interest in all the frats and sororities, just to be safe.

So now you are beyond involved in Rutgers, like even Henry Rutgers had nothing on you. But if every beat of this post has resonated with you so far, especially the part about yelping down College Avenue with your hands in the air, by now you might have contracted a lurking sickness that tends to come out of latency whenever you look at your calendar. It’s formally referred to as “Holy crap I have no time to do any work and it’s been like six months since I just, like, sat down!itis”. So what is the cure?

1: Cut a club from your life.

This is why this post needed the word “heartbreak” in the title. Some clubs are a lot of fun, but require a greater time investment that you were prepared for. Perhaps the leadership has asked you to complete group projects in between each meeting. The funny thing about these informal assignments is that they often feel more pressing than academic assignments, you know, those things that actually have real bearing on your future, because you don’t want to let down your friends at the club. Please, don’t keep yourself anywhere out of a sense of guilt.

2: Clubs with benefits.

Most clubs that aren’t sports or performing arts don’t expect every single person to show up religiously. If you like to watch movies, play games, or do Yoga, but it’s just not you to do these things every week, feel free to drop in and drop out if that’s OK with the people there. The plus side of being somewhat involved in several clubs is that you give yourself more opportunies to branch out socially.

3: Make stronger commitments to clubs and organizations you really like.

Just because you free up some time on your schedule doesn’t mean you have to replace it with nothing! If you have enough time for the immutable studies, personal habits, and social commitments, maybe commit to partaking consistently in the one or two organizations you really like. Attend most of the meetings and events, try to get to know a lot of the people there. There is joy in focusing on the things that are most important to you. And who knows, if you are involved in an organization often enough, you might just make president one day; every young person should dream of it like they used to.

My Rutgers Family

I’ve always been told that the transition from high school to college would be a tough one. For the first time in my life, I would be living on my own with new people. More importantly, I would face the struggle of not seeing my family everyday. From the outside looking in, the move-in process can sound pretty lonely. Luckily for me, I was quick to find a “second family” right here at Rutgers.

On move-in day, the only person I was familiar with was my roommate. Sure, we had met a few times and had been talking for months, but we didn’t quite know each other yet. Both coming from small towns where we went to school with the same people our entire lives, we’ve been in very few situations where we were forced to make all new friends. Once we were settled in, we realized that there were others in the same boat.

After a day of running from room to room on our floor, introducing ourselves to our fellow floor mates while nosily trying to get a glance at everyone’s dorm decor, I already found myself in a tight-knit group of people. On the first night, my entire floor was already going to the dinning hall together, comparing schedules, and planning movie nights.

In such a small amount of time, my floor bonded. We shared interests, stories, and even traveled as a pack to the football game the very next day. I was amazed at how just hours of living together could bring a group of people so close together.

As we’ve gone our separate ways in the past few weeks while going to classes, joining different clubs/organizations, and making new friends, I’d like to think that we’re all still pretty close. In between the chaos of college, we still manage to make time for our afternoon tea parties and “family” dinners where we can all let go of our worries from the day.

It is crazy to think that I could feel so connected to people I’ve known for barely a month. I genuinely feel as if I’ve known my floor mates for years, making living away from home that much easier. Before coming to Rutgers, countless people told me to live on the Livingston campus my Freshman year. After taking their advice and living through it,  I now understand why- for Livi has truly become my home away from home.

I Survived my First Week of College!

September’s here and everyone is getting back into the swing of things; however, you are beginning a new life in a new place with new people! It can sound overwhelming, exciting, fun, and it can be all of those things! After going through my first week at Rutgers, I want to share what I believe the most important things are to remember in the big picture of life here.

 

  • Remember why you are here, and keep your priorities in check. The first week’s workload can make people feel stressed, but don’t worry if you are here in the first place, it’s nothing you can’t handle! Right away, learning centers have resources available to help you- I already went in for help with a Chemistry homework problem and it was super helpful! Overall, manage your time right- and you got this!
  • Remember to meet people and enjoy your time here! At Rutgers, everybody, no matter their background, is embraced, so take advantage of being around such a diverse group of students. Strike up conversation with someone on the bus, sit next to someone different in class, say hi to the kid you pass down the hall on your way to the bathroom. Doing these things will truly make you feel like a part of your Rutgers community and will help you to enjoy yourself.
  • Last, but definitely not least, GET INVOLVED through the first few weeks! There is so much here for everyone at Rutgers and the amount of opportunities presented to you through email, the involvement fair, your resident’s hall, is abundant. I got involved by joining the dance team for Rutgers and the feeling of being on the field the first time 2 weeks ago was a memory of a lifetime. And every weekend that I go on the field, and see the support of all the crazy school-spirited students, I know I am in the right place. Go to the games. Join a club. Go out of your way to be involved and it will make you feel you are in the right place too.

 

5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Days

Not even a week of college has gone by, and I’ve already picked up a few lessons to help me for the long run.

College is so different from high school. 

Though I knew that big changes were coming, it wasn’t until I completed my first day that I realized how true this was! It was weird getting used to the fact that there are no bells, no lockers, no guidance counselors, and no one running at the back of me telling me that I need to go to class. In high school, everything is small- the building, the classrooms, your class size etc. In college, however, everything is huge! You lose that sense of familiarity and routine.  Instead, you have classes all over the campus, classes so large that it seems impossible to get to know people, and teachers not forcing you to do things.  You don’t feel the pressure anymore because no one is placing any expectations on you.  The consequences of missing class and not doing your work aren’t immediate.  Professors want you to succeed, but they will give you their undivided attention. In other words, everything is up to you.  You are in control of everything, and that’s a big change!

Friends don’t seem to be a priority anymore.

While maintaining friendships seemed extremely important in high school, that is not the case in college.  Chances are that your friend group will split apart and not end up in the same college.  The transition can be difficult, and there may be moments when you feel lonely and incomplete. But, remember that college is a big place.  Knowing that I am just one of thousands of students walking around, going to classes, and living my life is somewhat comforting to me. Feeling invisible in a crowd lets me be independent and do whatever I want to do.  I am also more open to meeting new people and making friends along the way.  Even though I may never run into them again, it strangely feels okay for now. I’ve heard the best way to make friends in college is through extracurriculars, so I am excited to get involved!

The dreaded bus system is not-so-dreadful.

Changing buses and finding bus stops at Rutgers seemed terrifying at first.  I was more nervous about catching the right bus than attending my first class.  Once I got to a bus stop on my first day, I realized just how easy it actually was.  The Rutgers app lists all bus routes, nearby bus stops and bus times.  Make sure your phone is always charged because you will use Maps constantly! Buses may be packed and you may find yourself lost around campus, but don’t panic! People are extremely nice and ready to help, so you can ask for help whenever you need it.

Changing classes is a piece of cake!

When I got my schedule, I was confused and unhappy.  Some classes and timings that I wanted were not given to me.  I was paranoid and felt that I would not get my desired schedule.  To my surprise, changing classes was extremely easy! During add/drop week, I just had to find open slots for courses and sections that I wanted, and change my schedule online. It was surprising how I could simply change my classes around with a click of a button, and boom! If I was not happy after attending a class, I could immediately change it.  A convenient tool called Course Sniper notifies you when a certain course/section opens up.  Advisors use our preferences and prerequisites to design an appropriate schedule for us.  Even if things do not work in your favor, it is important to remember that this schedule is only for a semester!

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

There are so many opportunities at college: clubs, organizations, events, jobs, internships, research, and the list goes on! After the involvement fair, I was a bit overwhelmed by everything that I wanted to do. Personally, I decided that it was best to take it easy first semester and join one or two clubs.  Keeping everything organized is important, otherwise, it is very hard to keep track.  I’ve never been an avid calendar user, but now, I cannot survive without my calendar. It makes my life so easy to navigate.  I love seeing a busy calendar! I realized that I needed an app for homework assignments and tests because it is so easy to forget tasks without noting them down. Especially in college, when each day’s schedule is different, due dates are distant and there’s usually a 2-3 day break between classes of a specific course, a homework app is a life saver! I use IStudiez on my Mac- I can upload my entire schedule and note down assignments in class.  In the end, it is important to stay calm, meditate if necessary and enjoy college!

It’s only been 5 days, and I’m starting to feel as if I have college all figured out.  I probably have far more to learn, but it’s a relief to feel comfortable in this huge place.

5 Things I’ve Learned in My First Week at Rutgers

Wow! I cannot believe it has already been 12 days since I moved into my dorm in Brett Hall on College Avenue. I love it here so far, and I’ve already learned so much, both in class and around campus. I’m glad to be sharing these five important lessons with you, because while I had to learn them from experience, at least you, dear reader, will be very prepared.

1. The weekend buses cannot be trusted, especially not on the weekend before classes start. And especially not when there’s a football game.

I’m in the SAS Honors Program, so I moved in early on August 31, and I was here for the whole first weekend before all of the other freshmen and returning students moved in. I went to Hillel on Friday night for a wonderful Shabbat dinner, and afterward, I hung out with one of my friends, also a freshman. Hillel is on College Avenue, so I showed him around College Avenue for a while since we were already there, but then we wanted to go to Busch, where he lives, so he could show me around. There were special buses designated to take people to the football game; although we had zero interest in attending the game, the football stadium is on Busch, so we took one of those buses to Busch. We hung out for a while, until it got late and I wanted to go back to my dorm. We headed to the student center and waited, expecting a bus to show up in not too long. Well, that bus didn’t show up, and neither did the next one, or the next one, or the next one. By then, I had found a group of other people also trying to get back to College Avenue, many of them to the same dorm as me. We were all in a state of panic, and were desperately trying to figure out another way to get back. Thankfully, though, a bus eventually arrived, and we took that bus back. It was already after midnight at this point. Lesson learned. On the bright side, though, I made some new friends and gained some new memories!! Still, avoid the weekend buses. Thankfully, once the semester officially starts, the weekday buses run on Fridays : )

2. Don’t study in Alexander Library on College Avenue on Saturday late afternoons if you plan to be there a while.

I very much enjoy studying in Alexander Library on College Avenue when I have a lot of time to work. In fact, I am writing this in Alexander Library right now!! I went there to study around 4:30 or so on Saturday, and was happily working when an announcement blared over the speakers, saying that the library would be closing at 6. I was surprised, because I had been expecting the library to be open all day like on the weekdays, but that is clearly not the case. Find somewhere else to study after 6 on Saturdays. I suggest the quiet lounge in your dorm if you have one; mine is lovely.

3. If someone throws up on the bus, everyone has to get off and wait for another bus.

On my first Saturday on campus, my roommate and I were trying to get back to College Avenue. We got on a bus and had been riding it for a while when suddenly we stopped at the Red Oak Lane stop on Cook / Douglass and were told to get off the bus. Someone else who had been kicked off with us told me that whenever someone throws up, the bus has to be cleared for health reasons. We had to wait a while for another bus to come, but it took a while. Hopefully that won’t ever happen to you, but you should know this just in case. Be careful to avoid any and all throw up. Thankfully, I wasn’t anywhere near it.

4. Bring a lanyard with you, and not just to hold your dorm key.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and have been for half my life. I’m not kidding. I went to Florida with my family the week before my move in day, and of course we went to Universal Studios. It actually happened to be the day of the solar eclipse, which was pretty cool. Anyway, when I walked in, I saw a stand selling a bunch of different lanyards, including ones representing each of the different Hogwarts houses. Of course, I just had to get one. I figured I would find some reason to use it in college. Since I am a Hufflepuff, I, of course, chose the Hufflepuff lanyard. Fast forward to a couple weeks later. For convenience, I usually wear my lanyard all the time so that I can easily access my RU ID card and my dorm room key. As I went to different events and club meetings throughout the first week of school, many people saw my lanyard and talked to me about Harry Potter. I made many friends that way, and I’ve only been here 12 days. Seriously. My lanyard is helping me make friends. No matter what, you should definitely bring a lanyard with you, but if you can, try to find one that’s unique and represents something you like. It’ll help you more than you realize.

5. Make the most of the time before classes start, because once they do, you’ll probably be spending most of your time doing homework.

I know, it sucks. But seriously, those days before classes start are there for a reason!! It’s free time that you can use to become familiar with the school, meet people, relax, and have fun. You might have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, but that’s the whole point of college. Don’t let a single moment of those first few days go to waste, and definitely don’t spend them in your room. Go on an adventure, or at least go to an event. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

I hope that these tips help you at least a little bit!! It’s been a whirlwind so far, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this semester and the rest of my four years here : )

If You Know What You’re Doing, Don’t Listen to Anyone Else!

So the first week of school went absolutely wonderfully. I knew how to use the bus system because I practiced with my friends, I went to all my buildings and classes a week before school started, and I pretty much knew what I wanted out of my next three years of college… but people were telling me what to do like they knew what was best for me!

  1. Scheduling

For instance, since I am a biochemistry major with pre-medicine track, I know that I need to have my schedule a certain way in order to be 100% prepared to fulfill my major on time to graduate as well as be prepared for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). I was thinking about my schedule and the rigorousness of it since June. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. When I received my schedule that I was only taking Chemistry, I was worried. I knew that I needed to take biology and chemistry together. I already had expository writing, calculus, introduction to psych, FIGS, and Academic Mentoring… so why not just drop expos, right? Wrong. Expos is a pre-req for biology. Why? I don’t know, lots of reading I guess. So I had to drop something else. Psych and FIGS can easily be dropped! NOPE!  They wouldn’t let me do that for some reason. I ended up dropping Calculus (which I don’t care for because I’m good at math and it’s not heavily on the MCAT, anyway). But the advisors wouldn’t even listen to me when I told them that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. They brought me to four different advisors to try to explain to me that taking Expos, Calc, Bio, and Chem together is extremely hard. (The pharm students are doing it, what makes me different?). Little do they know that I actually took AP Calc, AP Bio, AP Chem and scored 3’s across the board. So I do know a little about each subject, I’ll just have to sharpen up my memory for each class and that’s it! Maybe they’re right. They’ve seen too many students fail taking all three of those classes together, but just know that you may be different so don’t be afraid to try to push your way through! They originally didn’t even want to add biology to my schedule which if you’re doing pre-medicine, you must really try to push for it! You’ll have to take 2-3 sciences/ semester in the future so you must knock them generals out!

2) Textbooks

ON TOP OF THAT… when you go to student orientation, many people will tell you not to order your books until the first week of class. Which I originally thought was a poor choice because I knew that I wanted to take all the classes that I had… but me putting trust into other people decided to listen to others (again!)… and didn’t order any books until the first week… BAD IDEA!!!! Professors were assigning textbook work the first week of class and I am now immediately behind in a ton of reading! I knew that I wanted to take all the classes I had but I just doubted myself because older students told me to! Don’t listen to any of that. If you’re 100% set, then do your own thing and order those books! They jack up the prices and it takes 2 weeks for books to actually arrive at your doorstep (Especially if they’re coming from Idaho and they don’t decide to ship until 10 days after ordering). Listen to mentors and upperclassmen but just remember that they may have been in a different position than you have been. They may not be as 100% ready as you are or as I am.

3) Studying

Everyone has different methods of studying. As of now, I could pretty much go through an entire Chemistry lecture without taking notes (that’s what I’ve been doing). I have been blessed with the wonderful Rajoo (she’s the best chem prof there is)… and I haven’t once taken a note in her lecture. But many people do because she does write very important stuff on the board! But like I said, I was an AP student. I know everything that’s going on (so far) and can do processes forwards and backwards. If you don’t want to take notes and you feel it’s not the best, you don’t have to! However, look out for the syllabus when it tells you how to get good grades! It may directly tell you to write all lecture notes because the exams may heavily involve what’s on the board! Just putting it out there!

 

All in all, I was satisfied but a bit angry for having been pushed around by other people and told what to do by “heavy suggestions”… I thought that I knew what was best for me… but in reality.. I know that I KNEW what was best for me. People don’t know the systems as much as you think you know it. IF you feel like you know what you want, go for it. Don’t let anyone stop you! They definitely put me a little behind!

 

 

First Week Of Classes!

Hi! I am Sakshi and I am an international student. I am from Mumbai, India and I am a freshman. So I just had my first week of classes and these are some of the thoughts I had :-

  1. Honestly I know so many people have already told you this but definitely get a seat up front. There are so many people in the class that you will get lost in them so sit up front and also helps to focus!
  2. Classes that you like will not feel like a burden. I already have the exam dates and assignment dates for my courses but because these are classes I like I am excited to actually do these assignments.
  3. LEAVE EARLY! You might arrive 45 mins before class but at least you are not late. For some classes arriving late might affect your attendance and while in other cases, the professor may not say anything but it just does not look good.
  4. Textbooks are gonna be quite expensive! If you can afford them great but if you cannot, don’t worry! There are Facebook groups, rental places and even libraries where you can get the textbooks that will be cheaper and most of the time you’ll need the book only for one semester.
  5. I know the classes seem intimidating because of their size but to make things easier maybe talk to the person next to you. The next class try to sit next to them and hopefully from there you’ll build a rapport.

     6. DON’T MISS MEALS! You maybe in a hurry and feel like there is no time but there              is! You will not focus in class if you feel hungry or feel dizzy. Maybe carry granola              bars around if you really don’t have time between classes.

Hopefully this could help you and I hope to keep updating you about my journey!

Key To Success This Semester!

The semester has started! Woo hoo! And I bet you’re feeling a little overwhelmed because I sure am. But don’t worry because today I have a few tips on how to make this semester and the rest of your semesters at Rutgers successful and stress free.

Tip #1: Organize! This is a major skill that everyone should master as they make their way into the real world. I wouldn’t have made it through my first two years of college if I didn’t organize my life and events. Everyone has their own method to staying organized, but I’ll share my secret with you guys; I use a planner! How old fashion, I know, but it works wonders. I write everything that its important in there, so theres no way for me to forget anything. I also jot down important events or assignments in the calendar section of my planner so I can plan everything on time and stress free.

Tip #2: Time Management!: Theres no way you’ll survive college if you don’t know how to manage your time. And trust me, if you master this skill, college shouldn’t be as stressful. Having a planner and jotting everything down is another way to master time management because you’ll always be on top of your assignments/projects/test and anything else college might throw at you. Doing things last minute is never fun, so it’s always good to plan your week. Maybe try to get your assignments done by Thursday or Friday so you can have the weekend to yourself! Waking up early and getting everything done is also another great way to time manage your life. You may not believe this, but waking up early helps motivate you to get more tasks done.

Tip #3: Relax!: You’re probably wondering, “How can I relax when I’m a college student??”, trust me it’s possible. If you follow the first two steps, I promise you won’t be stressed out. It’s also important to remember that we all make mistakes and that no ones perfect, so don’t beat yourself up when life goes left instead of right, you got this! College is meant to be a rollercoaster, it’s up to you to decided whether or not you’ll enjoy the ride.

 

Have a great semester, you guys can do it!

Explore Your Values with the Discovery Program

On Tuesday, August 29, after spending a few hours moving into a mostly empty campus – for the vast majority of Rutgers students, even early move-in didn’t start until August 31st this year – I headed to the College Ave Student Center with a duffle bag and a couple of friends I knew primarily from the GroupMe and a brief meeting at orientation back in late June.

My destination: the Discovery Program, offered through Rutgers Leadership and Experiential Learning, “a three day, two night immersion retreat that will take place just before you arrive for your first days at Rutgers.”

The first night consisted of an opening ceremony (including a deceptively delicious dinner – little did we know lunch for the next two days would be simple PB&J’s!) and lots of icebreakers. Hours upon hours of name games and rock-paper-scissors-split tournaments; one of our teammates actually tore his pants in the process of winning the later. By the time the bus arrived, though, we were all ready to go to bed.

In the interest of not spoiling the adventure for future participants – “It’s a surprise!” our LEx leaders kept insisting whenever we asked what was next on the schedule – I won’t go into too much detail, except to say that the Social Justice track’s 6:15 a.m. call time was brutal but worth the trade-off of spending the day in New York City, and that my friends on the other tracks – Community Service, Adventure Learning, and Sustainability – assure me that they endured similar necessary discomforts.

And yet none of it could even begin to compare to the scope of the day-to-day dilemmas we learned about: racism and classism, gentrification, food waste, and so many more. Of course we did what we could, whether through working to come up with sustainable solutions, physically serving the community, or simply starting the conversation with city residents. None of these things fixed the problem they were meant to address, but they were certainly better (i.e., more effective) than taking no action at all.

There were several group check-ins throughout, to discuss our thoughts regarding the various issues we were learning and observing and debating, and entire spectrums of opinions were voiced in response to each new topic. It was definitely mind-expanding to hear how others interpreted the same facts and personal interviews in completely different ways in light of their values and personal experiences, and I know that I for one had my opinion swayed on a number of subjects.

I’m sure everyone’s ultimate takeaway was unique, but personally I’ve definitely been inspired to devote more of my time to serving the greater New Brunswick/Piscataway community, which of course includes Rutgers itself as a smaller community, and to generally try to remain more aware and appreciative of all my own advantages and privileges. Considering how greatly our experiences influence our thoughts and behaviors, I highly recommend this one.

To sum up the program: My brain hurt and my body was sore and I was incredibly sleep-deprived, and it was all absolutely worth it.

For the Homebodies: How to Avoid Feeling Homesick

When I turned 18 this past July, nothing really felt different. It’s true that I am now legally able to vote, buy cigarettes (although I don’t plan to do so – don’t smoke, kids!), and sign my own medical forms, but I’m still the same clumsy, antisocial little fiend I’ve always been. However, what did change was that my emergence into society as a fully-fledged adult suddenly seemed to be drawing alarmingly close.

It was time, tragically, to say goodbye to those lovely childhood days of mindlessly going to and from school at the same time each day, having my parents nag me into shape, and being able to step barefoot into the shower at home without worrying about the complete lack of sanitation. As expected, we incoming freshmen have more freedom than ever before, but along the way we lost the privileges of being minors.

Miner

As I lay in bed last night, I started missing the comforts of home and family. My mother being the overprotective sort, I’d never spent more than a couple nights consecutively away from home. Also, the mattress was reminiscent of a brick. I wanted to run home right then and there.

Now, my friends, let me give you some advice on how to avoid a nervous breakdown and becoming a sobbing, homesick wreck.

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1. Bring a memento.

Turning over in bed for the umpteenth time, mattress springs creaking all the while, I happened to fling my rubbery arm against a familiarly, comfortingly soft and spongy object. It was Winnie the Pooh! It was my one and only, my faithful, beautiful Winnie the Pooh.

Pooh

There’s a funny story behind these cylindrical bears. I gave my cousin one of these little guys for his birthday a couple years ago. Nearly a year later, on my birthday, my older brother handed me a gift bag with none other than Winnie the Pooh inside. About half a year after that, my wonderful friends bought me a gift to cheer me up when I was having some issues. It was – you guessed it – Winnie the Pooh. I’m not done yet. A few months later, a friend gave me a birthday gift, and then there were three.

I had to laugh at the memory. I hugged Pooh and thought about those people and what I could do to make them proud (i.e. not run away from reality).

 

2. Keep in touch with old friends.

If you’re a teenager with a smartphone, you are probably already doing this. It seems completely reasonable. Yet, when I was a high school junior, I seriously considered throwing away all my old friends and entering college as a blank slate, with no ties to the past. This was such a good opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Thankfully, I spent my final year of high school appreciating the relationships that had taken so long to build, and they are now among my greatest treasures.

Texting my friends is something I’d done all the time back at home. Sending them Snapchats of random bits of my new college life is oddly calming. Still, the best part is when they respond with comments or their own snapshots of their own new lives. We’re together even though we’re hundreds of miles apart.

 

3. Participate in welcoming events.

Large parties? I abhor them with a passion. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like loud music. Unfortunately, it is necessary for people to peel themselves out of their comfort zones in order to grow. You’ll learn to stand on your own two feet and grow a spine of steel. I’m sure you’ve heard similar things from several other people before, but it really is true. These events get freshmen to gather in a relatively small area, forcing them to infringe on each other’s personal space. And with that –

 

4. Make new friends.

Did you know that people are generally friendly? You could just be standing in line when the person behind you says, “Hey” and introduces him/herself. People will spontaneously approach you and ask your name and major. All you need to do is smile and not let the conversation die out (I’m not great at this). Sure, it might be difficult for some of you, but hey, if a shut-in like me can do it, so can you.

Make new friends and build a new family. You’ll be here for (probably) four years, after all.

 

5. Keep a journal.

I’m a very scatterbrained person, so I need a journal to help organize my thoughts and lock memories into my brain. Not only does this help me remember what happened, it distracts me from waxing nostalgic. Instead of “I really miss John, Jack, and Jill,” it’s “Today I met Tom and Jerry.” It might even be, “I just saw Dean Matsuda was dancing in the courtyard,” (true story). You start thinking about everything you’ll do tomorrow. You fall asleep smiling. Living in the present is a great way to forge a path into the future.

Journal

I have to admit that I’m being quite hypocritical right now. I left the Welcome BBQ after 15 minutes because (1) I couldn’t stand the party atmosphere and (2) no one was fighting for the shower. Also, I skipped the free football game because I don’t like football, crowds, or excessive screaming/cheering. There is an event going on downstairs, and I am in my room, alone, in the dark, blogging. Blogging.

Despite everything I just said, it is okay to spend some time alone. Otherwise, if you’re an introvert, you’ll implode. However, I think I will go see what’s happening downstairs. What about you?

Thoughts on Moving In

Yes, my clothes are color-coordinated, thank you very much.

Yesterday marked the beginning of my first four years at Rutgers. Because I’m in the Honors Program, I got to move in early and stay in a special hall with other Honors students. In reality, we have a reserved floor in one of the residence halls on each campus. I’m living in Brett Hall on College Avenue, which I love and dislike at the same time (I won’t say hate, because it doesn’t evoke a visceral anger within me).

In one way, College Avenue is in the center of everything at Rutgers. More often than not, there is some event on College Avenue. There is also a lot of historical and cultural significance on this particular campus which makes the history buff in my weep for joy. On the other hands, College Avenue is infamously known as the “party campus” which isn’t necessarily incorrect. It hosts a lot of fraternity and sorority houses and is a brisk walk to the hustle and bustle of downtown New Brunswick. Take that what you will. I personally like being in the center of everything, but not necessarily in the center of everything, if that makes sense. There’s a lot to do on College Avenue, so while I won’t be up late house-hopping between frats, I will be up late snuggled up in a library or restaurant with a couple of friends.

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My desk space. While I like to keep things organized, I also like to add a little charm to it (if you call hanging a picture of George Washington charming).

My room is a bit small for my liking, but it has a cozy feeling to it. Everything has its place and no space is wasted. If I had too much space I might be inclined to mess up my room a bit or slide around the empty space with my socks on with my roommate. Who knows. Besides that, my main focus isn’t of decorating my room but of my school supplies.

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As you can see, I like to organize my workspace. Every notebook has its own purpose, is color-coded, and is decorated nicely. Some might say that this is over the top, but I like to call it “organized.”

If I was being honest, when I moved in and had everything set, it didn’t hit me that I would be by myself for the next couple of months. It was only until today that it hit me. I didn’t know my way around, where to go, what to do, where to eat. It was a bit overwhelming, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Rutgers is such a huge campus full with different people from all walks of life with every opportunity at your disposal. It’s difficult to wrap your head around at first, and I still haven’t fully realized it. I’m still uneasy and unsure of where the four years at Rutgers will take me, but I know I’ll get through it. Right now I’m supposed to be feeling scared and frightened, but it will soon subside. I hope incoming freshmen and you, prospective students, remind yourselves about this.

Transition from Summer to Fall Semester

The fall semester is quickly approaching, being prepared is essential for making the most of the semester.  Beginning a new semester after a fun summer was always hard for me. I couldn’t transition back into being a student as quickly as I had hoped and it was wreaking havoc on my study abilities. Slowly but surely I found a few ways to lessen the stress of returning to school. Here are some of my top tips for a smooth transition.

 

  1. Print or photograph your schedule.
  • Having your schedule on hand is a great way to keep yourself organized the first few weeks of school. It’s hard to remember where and when you should be in class, so having it on hand will make things a bit easier when on the go. This also helps a ton when your cell phones internet access decides to go haywire just when you need it most.
  1. Buy your books early.
  • Buying your books earlier rather than later saves you the added stress in the first few weeks. When logging on to the Web registration website, you can find your entire list of required books and purchase them through Barnes and Nobles. If you would prefer to buy them elsewhere just use the ISBN provided to find them.
  1. Routine Change.
  • A week in advanced start adjusting your sleep schedule, work schedule, workout routine etc. Adjusting your routine ahead of time helps by keeping you well rested and organized.
  1. Summer Reading.
  • It’s a bit to start reading now but this is still a great tip to keep in mind for next summer. Read a book or two over the summer in order to keep yourself sharp. I personally do this every summer and I feel it prepares me for the reading assignments during the school year.

 

 

What to Bring When Starting College?

Most of you have seen checklists of what to bring with you when moving in, especially on-campus students. Beddings, table lamp, chargers, etc. You know what I’m talking about. This post applies to commuters, too, though, because compared to those checklists that you’ve seen, this may be a bit different. So, what should you have when you’re about to start college?

Confidence. It’s your first day as a college student! Yay! You’ve just stepped foot on an entirely novel road, and you’re afraid to take another step for there may be a pothole or it may be the wrong direction. But you’ll never really know if what you did is a mistake unless the event unfolds. The definition of a mistake is quite subjective, though. And as per the famous saying, “You learn from your mistakes.” The point is, if you think you did something wrong, take it as a learning opportunity (Only a selected few gets things right the first time. Good for them). This is your new world. Conquer it. Ask questions. Take initiative. Be fearless.

Self-efficacy. Just because you have time to procrastinate doesn’t mean you should. Just because you have a long weekend ahead doesn’t mean you’re going to put everything off till Sunday night. You think you’d have enough time, that you’d be done by the time you presumed. It doesn’t work like that anymore. At least not from my experience.😜 You’re going to have some chill classes, but there are also going to be those grueling ones. And you may also want to be involved in clubs and organizations. Time management is the key. Finish your assignments as soon as you can so you’d actually have the rest of the day to yourself. But, hey, whatever works for you to be productive.

Purpose. When you’re in your bad days, remind yourself why you’re here in the first place. Why are you here? What’s the purpose of being here? Don’t get too sidetracked by the littlest things. You didn’t come this far only to get this far. There’s a point why you’re doing what you’re doing, and whatever it is, it’s worthwhile.

Resilience. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…” Sounds familiar? This quote is the epitome of college experience. You’re going to go through hardships and mishaps, but at the same time the best years of your life is happening right before your eyes. When you fall, get back up again, and remind yourself of your purpose.

I’m sure I missed some other things, but comment below what you think should be added to the list!

Saving with Student Discounts!!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably an independent college student now. You get to live on your own and be free of parent-placed restrictions. Unfortunately, this also means you have the responsibility of keeping track of your spending, and saving as much as you can. Say no more. I am here for you.

A lot of businesses nowadays offer student discounts when ordering online with an official .edu email, or if you make a purchase with your student ID on hand (usually it’s the student ID).

Here is a list of businesses that offer discounts to college students:

Online Subscriptions:

  • Amazon
    • Six months of free Prime (includes two day shipping), and after six months, a discounted annual rate of $49 instead of $99 for membership.
  • Spotify 
    • $4.99 for premium
    • (I personally recommend this, it was very worth it!!)
  • Apple Music
    • $4.99 for premium
  • The Economist
    • 69% off subscription and other “present”
    • Only valid for international students
  • The New York Times
    • Over 50% percent off on all subscription packages.
    • Basic subscription: 4 weeks free, after, it’s $1 a week
  • The Wall Street Journal 
    • 75% off all packages
    • Semester subscription: $1 a week
    • Annual subscription: $49

Clothing Stores: 

  • Eddie Bauer
    • Offer different education discounts at different locations with student ID
  • J. Crew
    • 15% off full-priced items
  • TopShop 
    • 10% off on online orders
  • Toms
    • Free shipping
  • Banana Republic 
    • 15% off full-priced items
  • Express 
    • 15% off online and in-store purchases
  • Forever 21
    • 10% off full-priced online purchases
  • Levi’s
    • 10% off online and in-store purchases

Electronics: 

  • Adobe
    • Discounts on software apps
  • Apple 
    • Up to $200 off a new Mac
    • Cheaper offers on iPads and computers in general.
  • Microsoft
    • 10% off your purchase
  • Dell
    • 20% off PCs online
    • More offers through Dell University, their online platform
  • Logitech
    • 30% off all purchases
    • Only valid for international students
  • Lenovo
    • Exclusive offers for students on their website
    • Up to 25% off certain computers
  • Sony
    • Up to 10% on purchases

Telecom: 

  • Verizon 
    • Various student discounts if you use your college email on its discount page
  • Sprint
    • 20$ off phone accessories and up to $60 off a smartphone
    • Sign in using college email
  • AT&T
    • Sign in using college email
  • T-Mobile
    • Use college email

Sorry guys, all I’ve got for this one.

Food: 

  • Hard Rock Cafe
    • Discounted student menu
    • Valid for international students only
  • Qdoba
    • $5 dollar burrito meal if you show your student ID
  • Chipotle
    • Free drink
  • Subway
    • 10% off of purchase
  • Chick-Fil-A
    • Free drink
  • Burger king
    • 10% off of purchase

Entertainment: 

  • Cinemark
    • Discounted tickets
  • AMC Theaters
    • Discounted tickets
  • Regal Cinemas
    • Discounted tickets

I emitted categories such as transportation, travel and insurance and other miscellaneous items. For more, you can visit my sources: 1 2 3

Here are some other ways to save: 

Honey

  • Honey is a chrome extension, that finds coupons and better deals for items you are looking at online
  • Honey also gives you the price history of an item, so you can buy it at its cheapest!
  • It even lets you keep track of it, by adding it to a price-dropping list

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StudentRate.com

Always carry your student ID with you, and don’t be afraid to ask your local store for available discounts and deals. YOU DESERVE BEAUTIFUL THINGS AT LOW, LOW PRICES!!!

Good luck!!!!

 

‘Twas The Day Before Move In

Move In Day is quickly approaching! No matter if you started packing in June or are waiting until the day before, the week leading up to move in is sure to be busy. Between saying goodbye to friends and family, making sure you don’t forget anything and last minute trips to Target, prepping for move in can be a bit overwhelming but, once it’s all done, it’s so worth all the waiting and chaos. As I prepare for my move in day, August 31st, I thought it’d be fun to visit the poem “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” with a Rutgers Move In Day twist. Hope you enjoy!

‘Twas the day before move in, busy as can be,
“Did you pack this? Do you need these?”
The tupperwear bins were packed in the car with care,
It’s amazing that it all fit in there.

The soon-to-be students couldn’t even think of sleep,
There was so much to do, there’d be so much to see.
And so many questions floated in their heads,
“How will I navigate the buses?” “Will I loft my bed?”.

“Did I pack my favorite shirt?” I had to triple check,
“Should I have ordered my books for my classes yet?”.
My mom made my favorite meal for dinner,
the last time I’ll have it until the winter.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be moving in,
The day the rest of my life begins.
Mom and I will both probably shed a tear,
As I move into my home for the next four years.

It seems like college came so fast,
It went from next year, to next month, to tomorrow at last.
During the past few weeks, as I watched my friends leave
I couldn’t wait for that soon to be me.

I’m sure I’ll be up tossing and turning all night,
But, tomorrow, at the first sign of day light,
I’ll be off to start my journey
as a Scarlet Knight!

I Survived Freshman Orientation!!

On August 14, I attended Rutgers Freshman Orientation. The orientation I went to was a one-day program; unfortunately, because I was working at a sleepaway camp all summer, the overnight programs available did not fit with my schedule. I honestly didn’t know what I expected going in, but I definitely learned a lot about Rutgers by the time I left. And the free t-shirt certainly didn’t hurt 🙂

At the beginning of orientation, I got my ID Card (and my picture wasn’t totally awful!!) and walked around the Resource Fair, where I got brochures, pamphlets, and free stuff from booths about everything from the campus libraries to RUPA to mail services. It was a great opportunity to get information and ask questions. Then, we went outside and met our Orientation Leaders and the other people in our groups. My OL was really cool and funny, and I loved getting to know the other people in my group. One of the people was even from the town right next to mine, so it was nice to have that connection.

Afterwards, we went inside and were officially welcomed to Rutgers University!! I was actually surprised by how many people were there; I thought that maybe the orientations would be smaller because of how many orientation sessions there were, but nope, it was still a huge group. That just shows how huge the Class of 2021 is. Yikes. I can’t wait to finally get started and make that huge group feel smaller.During the first session of the day, I learned all about Rutgers and felt really welcomed into the community and the school that will be my home for the next four years. Our n

During the first session of the day, I learned all about Rutgers and felt really welcomed into the community and the school that will be my home for the next four years. The next session was about money and how to save money while in college. It was presented in a game show format, and while I wasn’t one of the people participating, it was still a lot of fun to watch. I could really feel the OLs’ energy while sitting in the crowd of people, and that helped a lot. Our final session before lunch was about either living on campus or commuting, depending on what each person planned to do during their freshman year. I personally am living on campus (Brett Hall!!), so that was the session I went to. I learned a lot of important information about moving in, about what to bring and what not to bring, and what to do if something in the room is broken or breaks. I also learned to prepare for fire drills, because it’s extremely important that we all know what to do in case of an emergency.

After a wonderful lunch in the dining hall with my group and my OL, we jumped right back in with more sessions. After all, we only had one day together, so we had to fit as much into that day as we possibly could. I learned how to get involved on campus and that this website called getINVOLVED is an essential part of that process. Next, we heard from Parking and Uniformed Services, and they told us about how to stay safe on campus. This was definitely one of the most important sessions out of the entire day. They told us to write down all of the serial numbers of our electronics so that if they’re ever stolen, it will help them get our stuff back to us. They also gave us the phone number to call when it’s not an emergency, but we still need help; for example, if we want an escort to walk back to the dorm with us at night so we’re not alone. I learned about the bus system, the rules about parking and keeping a car on campus (not that I have one now, but hey, it could come in handy later), and how to sign up for emergency text message alerts (which of course I did as soon as I got home). That session was extremely informative and very helpful.

The next few sessions were less logistical and more personal. We broke out into smaller groups to discuss why our language matters and how what we casually say can hurt others without us realizing it. Not only was the presentation done really well, but the discussion we had in our group was incredible. Hearing other people’s personal stories about how they were affected by some of the words discussed only cemented the effect of the presentation and emphasized its importance. Next, we returned to the large room to see a performance from SCREAM Theater, which informed us about sexual assault and how we can see the signs and take action to prevent it from happening to us and people who matter to us. We also learned about how to get help if it ever does happen to us or people we care about. Our last full session of the day was about health and wellness, and I learned about what health services are available on campus and how to use them.

We split into our orientation groups one last time to learn the Rutgers Fight Song, and then we returned to the large group to close orientation by singing that song (and learning another) together. Overall, orientation was an incredible experience, and it only made me more excited for my college experience to begin!!

Getting Involved At RU

New environment. New faces. New everything.

One of the best ways to get adjusted to your new home at RU is to get involved! There are plenty of ways to go about this, whether it be getting involved with student organizations, athletics or maybe even your residence hall.  As a member of the BIG 10 Rutgers has an abundance of opportunities for each and every one of its students, it is just up to you to make use of them. So go out and find something you love!

Here are a few welcome day events to add to your calendars and check out:

September 2- 

September 3-

  • 1st year/transfers throw down at 1 pm – 3:30 pm @Rutgers Recreation (hosted by Rutgers Recreation)

September 4-

  • Involvement Fair at 3 pm – 6 pm on College Ave between Senior and Hamilton Streets (hosted by Experience RU & Rutgers Student Affairs-New Brunswick)

September 6-

September 8-

 

 

First day at Rutgers(college ave)

My first day at rutgers is not that overwhelming, just visited College Avenue and simply looking around this campus. The brand new road is impressive and Honors College is a pretty modern place, including cafe and a bunch of restaurants, quite convient for students living here. Besides, there is a convient store located directly under honor apartment(I forget the name), and you could get anything you want-food, pen, common drugs ect. The clerk is also warm heart and patient. 

Will post more after student orientation.

The Things I Carry

With less than a week until Move-In, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I do and don’t need to pack. Sure, I’ve spent days poring over blog articles and YouTube haul videos, but none of them are perfect or completely comprehensive. I don’t want to overpack, but at the same time one of my worst fears is leaving something at home that I’ll actually need.

In the process of sorting through my belongings [read: sitting in the now-limited space on my floor wondering exactly when and how I collected so much sentimental junk], I got sidetracked by a stack of notebooks. (All composition books, which are better than spiral notebooks; I will fight you on this.) I couldn’t resist flipping open the top one, which turned out to be my second-semester English 11 Honors notebook.

That year we read Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a novel centered around a particular military unit’s experiences before, during, and after the Vietnam War. From the Goodreads summary: “They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb.”

Like most students, I’ve forgotten a lot of class content from past years – but this book and its themes have stuck with me. The idea of emotional baggage may not be a new or surprising one, but I remember thinking that The Things They Carried illustrated the concept in an interesting way. And I, like Cadence Sinclair Eastman, greatly enjoy a “twist of meaning.”

(The following anecdote may sound only tangentially related, so I ask you to bear with me while I take the scenic route through Memory Lane to get to the point.)

When I was in fifth grade, we read Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida, about a Japanese-American girl and her family sent to an internment camp post-Pearl Harbor. [If you’re interested in this period of history as told from this particular perspective but want a book written for a higher reading level, Douglass Residential College students are reading When the Emperor Was Divine this year.] Part of the unit was a simulation, which required each of us to bring in a backpack of the beloved and/or useful possessions we would bring in were we in Yuki’s situation.

I don’t recall exactly what my ten-year-old self deemed essential to bring from home, but the list was definitely a lot different from the one my eighteen-year-old self has been consulting. However, on the whole I’ve added more items to my metaphorical backpack than I’ve removed or replaced, and I’d like to take a minute and dig through its contents.

So, to the point of this article (at last!), here are some of the more interesting things I will carry with me to Rutgers this fall:

My backpack to carry other (tangible) items on this list for everyday use.

My bullet journal: part daily planner, part artistic outlet, all organizational companion.

My cell phone and laptop. Modern technology is great for helping us schedule future events, takes notes or photographs as the occasion arises, and keep in contact with old friends and family members.

My Kindle. It’s so much easier than trying to pick and choose which/how many books to stuff into my suitcase. (No, I don’t anticipate having a lot of free time during the semester, but I think I can at least count a good amount of commute time waiting for/sitting on the buses.)

High school study habits. While admittedly not ideal (the “cram frantically the night before” method has served me fine thus far), they’re what I’ve got to work with until I can develop better ones.

Somewhat informed opinions and biases. These will probably change in the years to come, though I doubt I’ll ever really love eggplant or bell peppers.

Ambition and competitive spirit. I just want to be the best in my class, is that so much to ask? But in all seriousness – though I won’t tell you not to compare yourself to others, considering we all do it and sometimes it even provides useful perspective (e.g., a class where the average is a C, or the fact that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish the Little House books until her mid-60s), the main person whose work you should be looking at is yourself. The goal is beating your personal best, not someone else’s.

Excitement and some anxiety about starting a new stage of my life. Pretty self-explanatory.

Oh, and I almost forgot the arguably most important thing – a towel.

(I would apologize for all the hyperlinks and book references, but I’m not even a little bit sorry. To quote yet another old favorite of mine: “read lots of good books now because you might get too busy when you grow up.”)

Hopefully this article has inspired you to think about the things you carry into this new school year. And hey, maybe we even have some in common!

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