Rutgers “Life-Hacks”

In my last post, I spoke a little bit about how I have been spending, and managing, my time here during my first month at Rutgers. During this time, I have accumulated a lot of knowledge about different aspects and opportunities at Rutgers. I have also figured out ways to make my time here a little easier and more enjoyable.

These following ‘”Life-Hacks” are all based on my personal experiences here at Rutgers. Some are obvious, while others I discovered through various occurances. I hope that these tips can help you as a current or prospective Rutgers student as they have helped me.

1. When it comes to the buses, the earlier the better. Before coming to Rutgers, I had only heard horror stories about crowded buses, inaccurate time tables, and constant bus-related tardiness. While a crowded bus is sometimes unavoidable, there are ways to prevent being caught in a bad situation time-wise. Make sure you plan your time accordingly to get to each campus. For example, on a normal day traveling from Cook/Douglass to College Ave., I always allot at least half an hour before my class starts. This may seem like a lot of time, but it’s better to have extra time in case of disaster (most notably, a bus too crowded to take you so you must wait for another one).

IMPORTANT: When the weather is poor, make sure you get to the bus stops extra early. Not only will the buses be packed due to students seeking refuge, but also the traffic on George Street and College Ave. becomes even worse, so plan ahead!

2. If the bus is not your thing, bike! That’s right – bringing my bike to campus was one of the best decisions I made. The bike ride from Cook/Douglass to College Ave., for example, takes around 15 min, which is relatively the same amount as the EE bus. Biking not only takes out the stress of the capricious bus system, but also provides a work out. Of course, when I have to travel to Busch or Livingston from Cook/Douglass, a trip which is fairly long by bike, I still rely on the Rutgers Bus. It’s a good habit to become well-accustomed with the RU bus, but when the weather is pleasant biking can be an excellent alternative.

3. Explore other on-campus dining options. While the dining halls always offer a great selection of food, sometimes you may not be hungry for a full meal. Still, you do not want to waste an entire meal swipe for a snack or a cup of coffee. Instead, find out about different dining locations around your campus and within your student centers. Most of these places will also offer other dining options and often accept meal swipes.

Tip: When you want a good cup of coffee and are on Cook/Douglass, Cook Cafe sells an excellent Turbo brew for only $1.50.

4. Eating Healthy: Think Expand, Not Restrict: Coming into college, many people fear the dreaded Freshmen 15 and wonder how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle within a new environment. At the dining hall, you will be presented a multitude of choices from salad to pasta. While you do not ONLY have to eat salad, a smart way to eat is by having a balanced plate. For example, when the Mac & Cheese bar is open, take advantage of it but accompany it with  a side of veggies. This will not only allow you to gain the nutrients needed within your food, but also will allow you to eat less “bad for you” food since you are not filling up your plate with only unhealthy options.

5. Keep Exploring, Keep Discovering: College is a time of discovery, and while this cliche is well known it may be difficult for certain people to break out of their shell. The best way to combat this is just by constantly trying new things and being uninhibited. So go ahead, try out for the intramural soccer team even if you have never played, or sit with a random stranger and start a conversation, or go for that job interview. You just may find an awesome new hobby, make a great new friend, or score employment.

6. A Planner Will Save Your Life: I admit it: in high school, keeping a planner was kind of an after-thought. In college, though, through all your classes, extracurriculars, events, etc., it may seem overwhelming to keep a mental list of everything you need to do. Having a place where you can keep notes for important assignments, meetings, etc. can greatly help you stay organized and manage your time accordingly. On especially busy days, writing out an hourly schedule seems OD but it really is a life-saver.

While these tips are fairly universal at Rutgers, I do hope that at least one of them has opened your eyes to new possibilities. If you have any other additions, tips, or advice that has helped you (stay sane) at Rutgers or in school in general, please feel free to comment below!

Oh yeah, and never forget the P word: DON’T PROCRASTINATE!