(N/M)ovember

It recently got cooler, but I can’t complain about that infamously unpredictable “Jersey weather” that I’ve experienced so far. I miss those sunny days of late October when it was so warm that I could even sit under the tree near Scott Hall and study. For the first time ever I was wearing shorts in this part of year (But remember Matt, we don’t only have winters in Poland…) I’ve also noticed how positively it affected my friends and me — it is just easier to get up and get through every day when you feel like it’s almost summer. Eventually, all good things come to an end. It has all been replaced with the soaking rain and wind blowing all over the place.

Autumn, Thanksgiving, gobble gobble!

Nevertheless, weather is just a minor component of my freshman experience. I’m referring to it, because some time ago I’ve read an article about how to deal with the autumn depression that is supposed to get to everyone at some point this month. After all the deliberating about the internal transformations we all should follow, there was a one practical idea — not to shave for the entire month.

Sounds funny, doesn’t it? I haven’t heard of that before, but then I realized that this thing — referred to as “Movember” or “No Shave November” is very popular here..

I didn’t know the real motives, which turned out to be:  to raise awareness of men’s health and encourage them to get preventive testing (specifically against testicular cancer, but it’s not excluded to this disease). The action was started in 2004 by the “Movember Foundation”.

So we did it! Altogether with Brandon and Austin we didn’t shave for the entire month. All of us registered to see the doctor as well, which I encourage all of you to do. I also suggest visiting the webpage of the foundation (movember.com) to find out more.

Here’s how we’ve changed over the last month. I feel like it’s time to shave….

moustache-november

My Final Thoughts (for this Semester) as Final Exams Approach

In the James Dickson Carr Library (formerly known as the Kilmer Library), studying students come and go on the second-floor. Flowing rotations of students ascend the stairs, stay for some time, and later descend to the lower levels. While here, they occupy wooden carrels and vacant spaces with seating; they read, highlight, write, and type. There is a pleasant silence in the library (a silence produced by the quiet concentration of the minds in the room). It is a space for thinking alone; studying alone; returning to an isolated world of singular focus.

As I sit in a single carrel – with my sheets of loose-leaf tattooed in my handwriting – I think, in hindsight, of all that I have learned this semester. All these notes in front of me – faded scribbles of blue marks and black ink – signify important vocabulary terms and critical thematic concepts. But personally, these notes display meanings beyond their surfaces of white paper. These notes represent a semester-long schedule of dedication; a dedication to learning new subjects; expanding my mind; and of course, enabling new and fresh perspectives towards the world.

As final exams approach, many of us (many students) are experiencing fearful nervousness or lingering anxieties due to the semester’s weeks coming to a close. We are busy memorizing, pre-planning (or cramming), outlining, and ensuring we are as prepared as possible for our last exams. And yet, beneath our cyclical stresses, we must not forget that what we are learning in our classrooms can be applied to the larger world that surrounds us.

Personally, I have found that Shakespeare’s witty quotations and metatheatrical creations can be found reflected in modern television series and cinematic presentations. I have discovered that the financial equations I have learned can be applied to owning a credit card or smartly seeking out a car loan or a federal loan. I have thought about the philosophical Latin phrases I have absorbed over the semester (such as Discordia Concurs) and shared its meanings in conversation and in creating art.

As I prepare for my final exams, I try to incorporate this type of thinking into my work and practice. I remember to recall what is beneath the surface of every subject that I learn: something deeper; something long-standing, something that is impactful and timeless; truthfully, something to be shared, through myself, as a medium or vessel for meaning.

Build-a-thon 2016! (Best Service Project at Rutgers)

Last month, I took part in one of the most challenging yet enjoyable community service projects I’ve ever done in my life, the Build-a-thon.

The Rutgers Build-a-thon is an event run by Habitat for Humanity where teams of 4+ people are tasked with raising funds to build a shelter which they will have to build themselves and spend the night in.

One afternoon, a friend reached out to me asking if I was interested – as an aspiring engineering and hands-on-work enthusiast, I gleefully accepted her offer. Our team was a five person group responsible for raising $200 for the upcoming event. Such funds would be collected to raise money to build an actual home for families being helped by Habitat for Humanity. The supplies we earned (from surpassing the $200 goal) were donated to us and could be reused when we finished.

Unfortunately, the morning of the event was ridden with a barrage of unpleasant weather. I got out at the Livi Plaza bus stop chilled with icy winds and a hefty drizzle of rain. Right off the bat we were given 3 large sections of plywood, 6 (2 by 4) beams, two blue tarps, a hammer and some nails. Through the inclement weather we persevered and completed the “shack” by dusk, a large box basically fitted with a tarp roof. As the rain cleared up, we were given buckets of paint to decorate it which we did with hand prints dipped in countless colors. Later, to get through the chilly evening, Habitat for Humanity brought the equipment for a bonfire and roasted us marshmallows to get warmed up. We had done all we could to prepare and finally got settled down for the night ahead.

As someone who has never camped or hiked before, sleeping outside itself was a new experience. Then tack on the the  30-40 degree weather with relentless wind. I’ll level with you, it was actually kind of hard! I knew it would be cold no matter what so I brought three blankets and wore three layers of clothes, but not having a secure shelter to block out the cold was surprisingly detrimental to trying to go to sleep. Then there was the thrashing of the tarp in the wind; an ominous reminder of how fragile this DIY home was. Luckily the rain had stopped beforehand – the shack would not have held up well in a monsoon.

In retrospect, the experience sounds kind of crazy – pretty uncomfortable compared to the luxuries of a proper home to say the least. But that right there made it worth it. Just for one night of my life I experienced what real people live through every day. Homelessness is not just a handful of guys on a Philly street block; regular people lose their homes all the time for countless reasons ranging for natural disasters to unemployment. And here I am complaining about one day.

Getting to go out and brave the elements with a close group of friends while making a structure was a taste of engineering mixed with humility. In one day I reconnected with learning outside of the classroom while developing an endearing understanding of life for those less fortunate than I. It was an eye-opening opportunity to live a day in the life of impoverished and I can’t wait to participate next year.

Devin Lorusso – freshman in the engineering program. 

 

How To Get Rid of Meal Swipes

You paid for way too many meal swipes. You and me both. The semester is coming to an end and we are beginning the struggle to get rid of them.

One person can only eat so much in 3 weeks after realizing they have food for 3 months. And of course we don’t want to sacrifice our figures just to eat enough for that pay. Here’s a guide to getting rid of your meal swipes so that your $2,000+ doesn’t go to waste (and your body doesn’t have to put on a few pounds).

  1. Stop eating out. I know it’s hard to pass up new food- you had enough of swiping at the same places- but you save money and you force yourself to use your meal plan.
  2. Takeout and carry-out is key. Find those places and make visits routine. Keep in mind that the dining halls have takeout options and allow you to double swipe per one visit. Also find the non-dining hall options (Woody’s on Busch, Rock Cafe on Livingston to name a few) that also accept meal swipes. Make visits to these places a part of your schedule so that spending your meal swipes becomes routine.
  3. Get food for your friends- or even strangers. I used up all my guest swipes in the beginning of the semester, but I can still feed my friends through takeout. If you’re in a club or have visitors, offer them takeout. Or just bring it to them, especially to club meetings. Chances are, they’ll eat the food- there’s bound to be upperclassmen who don’t even have meal plans and will appreciate anything. In addition, maybe swipe food to give to strangers in need.
  4. Swipe your snacks and breakfasts. I know a lot of us must be buying snacks for the times we’re too lazy to go to the dining hall or for late-night study sessions. And some of us would rather sleep in than get breakfast. This is where the non-dining hall options, especially the cafes become important. The cafes have an option of getting $8 worth of food that must include one main “dish.” The main “dish” could be yogurt (the cheapest being $2) or a bagel ($1 and some cents depending on if you also get butter or cream cheese for it). I spend this extra money on snacks and breakfast foods that I keep in a big container and my fridge at my dorm.

The end of the semester is near- good luck on getting rid of those extra swipes!

A Guide to New Brunswick Restaurants

After being at Rutgers for almost a full semester and being the food-lover that I am, I had to try out some restaurants other than the dining hall. Here are some notable favorites of mine:

1. Fritz’s.

Fritz’s is an adorable family owned cafe-like eatery. They have amazing sandwiches, soups, salads, and homemade pastries. Perfect for a date or a family visit.

2. Old Man Rafferty’s.

Located on George Street, Old Man Rafferty’s is the go-to place if you are looking for a nice place to go during parents weekend or another occasion. Their menu is extensive and you are sure to find something delicious.

3. Hansel and Griddle.

Hansel and Griddle is a classic Rutgers student hangout. Delicious food for not too much money. I highly recommend the Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Crisp or their tater tots or smoothies.

4. Playa Bowls

Although not really a restaurant, if I am paying ten dollars for one of their acai bowls, I’m gonna call that a meal. It may be pricey, but it is completely worth it. Fruity and sweet perfection.

5. Stuff Yer Face

If you have never tried Stromboli, NOW IS THE TIME!! Stuff Yer Face is the home of the original Stromboli and there are literally thousands you can choose from on the menu. It is delicious. You will not regret it. Get. there. now.

Making New Friends

So as a freshmen this year, I was so nervous and worried about making meaningful friends in college. Not just those people who are in your class, who you see twice a week in class, but friends who you can laugh and cry with. Personally in high school, I had to deal with a lot of drama with ‘friends’ that literally tore us apart. And I knew that I did not want to deal with that again. Yet Rutgers is a huge university with 5 different campuses, 50,000 students (undergrad and grad), and over 500 clubs. That was very scary at first.

I remember on a campus tour that I went on, the tour guide said that ‘you can make a large campus feel small but you can’t make a small campus feel large’. And I truly believe that she was right. Since there is so much diversity, there are a group of people that you will become close to. Its tough and its scary, its also important to get out of your comfort zone because we are all going to have to do that when we get a job.

As for any tips, its really the cliche ones that are worth saying. Be yourself, Go out to events, Join clubs, Be open-minded, Say Hi to People, and Stay Out of Your Dorm. And all of these tips are these tips are true. Its important to interact with people and give everyone a chance when you are trying to make friends. Its also important to go out of your dorm because no one will actually go inside your room to talk to your. This is honestly the easiest thing to do because you can just go to your lounge and study or just chill with your computer.

Personally, all of my closest friends, I made because they live in my residence hall. I took the initiative to  go to my lounge and do work there (I’m actually writing this blog post in my lounge), and I met so many people this way. And from what I heard, its the same situation for other students. My friends are the kindest people for the world and I am so lucky that I met them. We attend events together, study until 2-3 am together, and even watched Korean dramas together.

So hopefully you all will find your cliques in college. It might seem scary but its really quick and easy.

Should I go to Med School?

Sadly, I still don’t know the answer. I’m hoping this post will either get people to advise me or allow others in the same boat to know they’re not alone.

I set my mind to becoming a doctor when I was very young, even before high school. I was “really smart” and “worked hard;” my family always said I’d be the doctor of the Celarios. I really thought medical school was the way to go. I didn’t think twice about it until now.

There came a point during a study session that I just put my papers down and thought “what if med school isn’t for me?” I remember always defending the idea, saying the title and the money would make it worth it in the end. But will it really? The thing that made me second guess was how exhausted I was already being immersed in my work as a science major. I’ll admit I dislike some of the things I study, but for the most part I’m still very enthusiastic about learning more in the science and medical field. However, I’m not sure if “doctor” is the way to carry this interest on. I can’t imagine competing and working hard in school for another 4 years and then learning even more during a residency for MD. The amount of money and time spent feels heavy already, and when I thought of doing something else, a weight came off of my shoulders.

I later looked into the actual career. I love the idea of applying my knowledge toward helping others, but I get tired of routine and I enjoy my free time. I know that once I specialize as an MD, I can’t switch to a different specialty without going back to the classroom. Also, I much prefer being in a hospital as opposed to private practice, but the thought of being on-call after hours sounds dreadful. The leadership aspect and doing work outside of just the medicine itself (background checks on patients’ financial stability, etc.) work against me; I’d rather have someone to lean on and I only want to work with the patients.

It’s hard to make a decision so early, but a part of me is now leaning toward the PA (physician assistant) route. I can switch between specialties and the work won’t follow me home; I can depend on my doctor and stick to patient work. The only thing holding me back is my pride. My family was shocked when I told them about my doubts and told me a PA does the same work, if not more, but gets no credit and less pay. I’m worried I am making a mistake. But is the title and money earned as a doctor really worth it if I’m so unsure?

I intend on shadowing doctors and PA’s to make a decision. I’m hoping I’ll figure something out soon~

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