A Quick College Horror Story

“Once upon a time a group of friends were hanging out inside a dorm room on the night of Halloween. They were having a blast getting ready for night out; a night that was well-deserved after midterms just passed by. As they’re talking, a strange sound from a backpack cuts through their conversation. It was a strange, peculiar ringtone, one unfamiliar to each of them. They all turn and look to the owner and he slowly creeps up to bag to see what’s making the sound. He sticks his hand in and pulls out a buzzing phone, looks at the alert, screams and drops it.

Someone jumps up and asks, ‘Is everything okay?’

The boy stares coldly at his phone. With a reluctant face he grabs it and displays it for his friends to see.

And it reads ‘Calendar Alert: Chemistry Exam Tomorrow’”

AHHHHHHH!!!

That’s my quick and short Halloween horror story at Rutgers and what Halloween is realistically for a lot of students. Sunday exams aren’t so bad, but Sunday exams after Halloween are something else. At Rutgers your professors really will push you and your understanding of the subject. Sadly you might have to put down candy-binging and pick up the textbooks.

Goodbye October. Hello November.

It’s Halloween night and I’m sitting here studying and writing essays. This is a depressing situation, however, October as a whole has been a pretty good month. It was full of unexpected mini pleasures. In the beginning of October, I went to an Honors Program Reception at the Zimmerli. I decided to go spontaneously (mostly because it was raining outside and they were giving out food) and look around for a few minutes, but I actually ended up staying till they kicked me out! I surprisingly had a great time with group of friends doing a scavenger hunt across the museum. It may sound insignificant, but laughing loudly, running around and breaking rules in a small museum is great stress relief for worried college students. At the end of the day my friend and I actually discussed how much of a good time we had at an art museum. I definitely recommend everyone to go check out the Zimmerli with their friends (the tickets are also free!).

October seems to also be the month of movies. Since, I have been getting used to the school work and managing my time well, I had plenty of time to catch up on movies ranging from old Indian movies, to animated flicks and to indie films played at the NJ film festival. I actually watched my first Indian film in 5 years at 1 A.M. with my parents and laughed so hard that I could not stop. I also watched my first indie film this month in Vorhees Hall. Unfortunately, the Fall NJ Film Festival is over, but I think it’s something that I would suggest for everyone to try out next year. With little random happy moments like this, October has turned out to be a pretty good month with the exception of Midterms.

Starting November, the weather will be cooling down and the stress of exams will befall us again. I can already feel the procrastination falling in, but we must stay motivated. I can wait for the exams but I’m super excited for Thanksgiving and all the fun events that are ahead. Next weekend, I’m heading up to Ithaca, NY to check out the fall weather so I am super pumped that November is starting of fun. Hope everyone has a good November!

Halloween DIY Last Minute Tips

It’s Halloween weekend this week and everyone is busy scrambling their costumes together from scratch. The parties are going to be lit, but if you don’t have any costume ideas here are some DIY last-minute easy costume fixes:

1.     Salt and Pepper. Wear a black t-shirt and have a friend wear a white one, draw some dots and boom instant salt and pepper.

2.     Donald Trump. Just brush your hair from back to front. The goal here is to make it resemble a raccoon’s behind as closely as possible. This costume technique may also be used for any Justin Bieber costume.

3.     Expos. Hold up a sign that says expos on it. It’s guaranteed to horrify all party-goers. Note: Do not wear around the faint of heart.

4.     Netflix and Chill. Write Netflix on a t-shirt and run around holding a bag of ice. Simple enough.

5.     Broke College student. It may be cliché, but it’s true. At the core we’re all broke college students and that reality is truly mortifying.

Happy Halloween and stay safe!

~M

The RU Commuter Guide

Commuting can be the best and the worst at the same time. You get the comfort of relaxing in your home and having your parents do laundry for you but then you have to wake up super early for class and spend an hour in traffic every morning. To make the best of commuting I have left some general tips below. Hope it helps for all my fellow commuters!

General Suggestions:

1) Scheduling. I personally like to schedule my classes closer together and fit as many in a day as possible. Not having long gaps between classes will forces me to stay on campus and get some work done. Another positive is that I finsih all my classes early and can go home immediately to relax!

2) Download mobile apps that will help you manage your schoolwork such as Google Drive, Dropbox, the RU app (which now features Sakai!) etc. If I’m on the bus, car or train , I can easily scroll through notes on my phone and catch-up without taking anything out of my backpack. If you’re driving yourself to school, then make sure to download Waze to avoid traffic. 

3) Join the RU Off-Campus Students’ Association. Being a commuter can sometimes take a toll on making new friendships but the OCSA have social events for commuters such as a Halloween Social and a Videogame Social. They also offer some great commuter tips and have free breakfasts!

4)Prep your meals in advance. If you don’t have a meal plan and don’t pack lunch you will probably spend at least ten dollars a day on food alone. It may seem little but the amount will add up and drain your wallet, so prep your meal the night before and spend money for food only when you haven’t done so.

General Items to Pack:

*Use a real backpack! The first week I struggled with my super cute tote because it became unbearably heavy and unorganized. A backpack is much easier especially while walking with something in your hands or while getting onto the busses.

1) Student I.D. is a must. Especially if you’re planning to study in the library and need to check out books, print papers etc.

2) Jackets/Umbrella- One minute it can be hot and the other it can be cold, so remember to either dress in layers or keep a sweater in your bag or car. An umbrella is also key if you want to survive  the rainy days. Make sure to check the weather every morning to dress appropriately for the day ahead.

3) Snacks/Food/Water- This  is when you forget to eat breakfast and end up with a growling stomach in your 8 o’clock class. Pack easy (and healthy) options such as: granola bars, an apple, a PB&J sandwich etc.

4)Extra Money- Money is always good to have during emergencies. In case you are starving or going through a real emergency, a stash of secret money can save the day.

 

 

 

How to Avoid Homesickness

November is just around the corner, and that means making plans to travel back home for Thanksgiving.  For some, such as the in-state students, this may just be another weekend trip home.  But, if you’re an out-of-state student, like yours truly, it may be the first time you have seen your family since August.  When I realized this, I was struck by a sense of homesickness.  This is totally normal.  For many, college is the first time they have been away from their families for such an extended duration.  I am no exception.  Luckily, there are lots of ways to overcome these feelings so that you may continue to have a great semester.  Here are the top three that helped me most!

 

Take time to call home.

This may seem like an obvious point to make, but sometimes a phone call can make all the difference.  Talking to my mom or dad after a busy day full of classes, homework, and clubs can be just the thing I need to ground myself and stay focused.  Remember, your parents miss you as much as you miss them.  They will appreciate feeling like they are a part of your experience.  

 

Get active!

With the colder, drearier weather coming up fast, it can be easy to choose staying under the covers and watching Netflix over getting up and burning off some energy.  Whether you decide to go to your campus’ gym, or attend a fitness class, it is a proven fact that exercise puts people in a better mood.  I promise you, channeling you homesick feelings into something positive, like getting active, has many benefits.  You won’t regret it!

 

Explore.

If you haven’t already, gather a few friends and get to know New Brunswick- your home away from home!  There are many interesting things to see and do downtown.  Not only will exploring with friends create some great memories, but it will also help you feel more comfortable here.  Get your mind off of stress and browse some of the shops, try out the local restaurants, and discover something new!  

Being in a new place far from the comforts of home can be intimidating and daunting; but don’t let your homesickness keep you from enjoying everything that Rutgers has to offer.  There is always something to see, learn, and do.  You’re not alone.  There are plenty of others who feel the same way.  Consider the tips above to help you hold out until Thanksgiving Break.  Whether you follow them exactly or get ideas of your own, the important thing is to keep a positive mindset!

The Very Fancy Rutgers Club

It’s not a club or anything you can join and fundraise for. Nope, The Rutgers Club is fancy shmancy dining/restaurant like thing where, for a meal swipe + $2, you can treat yourself to some nice ambience and decently good food. It’s a nice change from the dingy dining hall that is Brower, but it’s not spectacular either. Rutgers students are allowed to dine their on Mondays and Thursdays as long as they make a reservation beforehand. They set it up buffet style and one of the best things there was the chicken soup. You pay for the ambience, but I still think it’s worth trying! The food is better than the dining hall, but not that much better either. There are fewer options, but we were also entertained by a magician, so that was cool. The carrot cake was awesome and 100% worth the two extra dollars. But I’m definitely going back there – the fact that they take meal swipes makes it very appealing.

All the information can be found at http://rutgersclub.rutgers.edu/student-dining/

What I’ve Learned So Far This Semester…

It is finally that time of year where the seasons are changing. It is the cozy sweater weather we all love. The time for pumpkin spice lattes. It is also the mid-way point of the semester. So, after some self evaluation, I realized a few things I have learned so far this semester:

 

(1) Do not try to take an LX bus from Scott Hall during rush hour. This will be the most crazy experience of your life as people push this way and that to try and make their way onto the bus. Instead, walk to the Student Center, get some exercise, and get on the bus without being trampled. 

 

(2) Take- out from the dining hall will become your life. Scrambling to get to the dining hall every night before 8 pm can be difficult. This is why getting take- out is so efficient. You can simply show up, swipe in, and get food to take back to your dorm with you. Now, you can eat and watch Netflix in the comfort of your room. Easily every college student’s favorite pastime. 

 

(3) Read the syllabus! Even though professors emphasize this repeatedly, I only recently learned how helpful these are. I have learned to look at the syllabus for each class on Sunday nights. This allows me to plan assignments for the week ahead of time, and try to reduce my procrastination as much as possible. 

 

(4) Join clubs! As annoying as it seems to drag yourself to another campus at 10:00 pm on a school night, motivate yourself to go to clubs. Oftentimes, after the exhaustion of classes and running from campus to campus, we may be too lazy to make the effort to join clubs. But I have learned how fun these can be. I have met so many great people by going to clubs. Plus, there is truly something for everyone. 

 

(5) Take every moment in and cherish it. As weird as this sounds, college seems to be flying by. I feel like I just got here, but it has already been 2 months. I have learned to go to as many events, meet as many people, and join as many organizations as possible. College is the place where you “find yourself”. So, put yourself out there until you find people you love and activities you are passionate about. 

Some Mid-Semester Thoughts

It’s safe to say that we’ve reached the mid-semester point, and for some of us, this is a first. To bring some cliché to this, the leaves are falling, there’s more than a slight chill in the air, and fall is upon us like never before. Talks of Halloween and autumn and friends from other schools visiting on fall break occupy our minds as we go through our lives. University life mid-semester is perhaps the realest representation of college that exists. We’ve finished, for the most part, the first round of midterms and we’re more than familiar with the reality of grades, studying, and stress. As I write this from the comfort of my own home, I cannot help but think about how many changes I’ve been exposed to in the mere month and a half I’ve been here.

I think time is the biggest catalyst in our college lives. Almost everything revolves around time; deadlines, due dates, schedules, and our own understanding of time are among the biggest factors of change. A month and a half into school, and I’ve learned that no matter how much I value time, there will inevitably be instances that I wake up late, forget to press send, or miss out on something because it happened an hour ago. Punctuality is great and responsibility is important, but being human is unavoidable. And that’s okay. There’s a reason why most professors with classes that have attendance policies still allow two or three absences before taking action. There’s a reason why Facebook sends those notifications an hour before events. And there’s a reason why the lowest online homework scores are often dropped. The reason for all of this is because we’re human, and sometimes it’s difficult for us to adhere to the rules set by time.

I’m going out on a limb by asserting that it’s impossible for time not to change us. This isn’t to say that you will definitely gain weight this semester, or that your parents will not recognize you when you come back during Thanksgiving break, but rather, to say that you are more aware of who you are and what you want than you were two months ago. This applies to freshmen and seniors alike. Even if you are more lost or confused than you were before entering this semester, you are still closer to finding what you are looking for than you were two months ago.  And that’s so important. If you’ve done well the first half of the semester, keep it up. And if you haven’t done as well as you’d anticipated, you know what you can do better. If you found the right people, joined the right things, and made the right decisions in the past month and a half, you are set. And if not, you still have two months to fix that.

Ultimately, yes, time is the final judge. But it’s mid-semester, a period where you’ve experienced just as much as you are about to experience. So let’s take advantage of fallen leaves, and cold weather, and the opportunity to make changes for the better.

The Democratic Debate: Why It Matters to Rutgers Students

This past Wednesday, five political personalities debated various issues in order to secure and prove their positions as Candidates for this upcoming 2016 election. These issues included student debt reform, income inequality, and immigration laws.

So, why does this matter to a Rutgers student?

If you are interested in politics or wish to learn more, college is an excellent time to continue or pursue this interest. While it may seem taxing to keep up with all affairs and recent headlines, becoming more aware of current events allows a student to have a more global perspective. It also gives us the ability to understand the issues that specifically affect college students. There are also many opportunities on campus to become more involved with addressing issues on a campus-wide, state-wide, national, and international scale.

In terms of the debate, several students huddled at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and in dorm lounges throughout the campus. From the introductory statements, the topic of student debt was mentioned. “Making college debt free” and “more affordable” were a priority for all the candidates speaking. Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders stated that he would like to pursue his plan to “make every public college free.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about college debt refinancing. As the candidates discussed the topics of income inequality and the large influence of banks and Wall Street on the U.S. economy, they addressed that fixing these issues would in turn result in college payment reform.

The issues of student debt, interest rates on loans, and college tuition are absolutely pressing to virtually every university student in the U.S. However, they are issues that we will be able to fix with enough collective action (aka, those “Ramen Noodle Budget” days may actually be over). Forty years ago, a high school degree was equivalent to a college degree and legislatures and everyday citizens demanded that secondary education be accessible and free to everyone in the country. Now, there is a shift to demand to make college accessible to anyone who wishes to seek higher education. Along with supporting student debt reform, the candidates have spoken about and supported several topics such as women’s and LGBT rights that allow them to appeal to young people. As a college student, it is the perfect time to both become well-aware of political issues along with finding ways to advocate.

While many political organizations on campus exist such as NJPIRG and RUAIR, an article that was recently published in the Daily Targum has named Rutgers as one of the LEAST politically active campuses in the United States. However, there are plenty of ways to change this, and it all begins with knowing the issues that exist. Whether it’s advocating to make college more affordable, or taking a more global approach by joining a UN-affiliated group on campus, there are plenty of ways to get involved. There are also several groups catering to many different political affiliations. In the end, it’s not only about who you stand with, it’s why you stand with them. Once more people get involved, then more of these issues can be brought to light and addressed on a larger scale. Even the simple act of voting can change the less than 20% voter turn out for our age group.

So, whether you’re an student entering Rutgers or a senior, it’s never to late to get involved and pursue something you believe in!

(For example, a cause I believe in is all-day breakfast at the dining halls, buuuuut let’s focus on more pressing issues first)

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