2016: The Best Of

Time goes by. Another year just passed and within  hours, 2016 will be just a memory.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my decision to study in the United States, it was the most important year in my life so far. My life has changed a lot…

I just want to share with you my personal favorites from the past 12 months. Thanks to all of you for being a part of the past year and I hope that 2017 will be even better.

 

img_1868img_2315img_3070img_0530img_120015801254_1249257038465830_388619654_n

 

Thoughts on the Spring Semester

Although we are still weeks away from the start of Rutgers’ spring semester, it is important to think about the upcoming semester and what this may mean for the course of our academic careers in university. For some of us, this means we are nearing our last semesters in an undergraduate setting. For others, this is only the beginning of an undergraduate university career. But for all of us, it is a semester to plan in advance; it is a semester to improve, study better, and most importantly, to learn more.

For myself, I have decided to explore an online course regarding my minor. I find it fitting for my lifestyle, my spring semester’s schedule, and I believe it is an option worth exploring while still in university. It is options such as this one (and others – like credit-valued courses that act as internships) to explore while at Rutgers University. I find that online courses (at a large research university) are helpful to students for a variety of reasons: commuting, days spent off-campus, conflicting work schedules with days spent on-campus, etc. This is an example of a benefit in attending a university such as Rutgers.

In the upcoming spring semester, I will also be in the process of finishing up my 21st-century core requirements for Rutgers University. Although some students may dread core requirements, or find them rather boring, I have so far found Rutgers’ 21st-century core requirements to be conversationally entertaining and politically eye opening. Rutgers’ “American Dream” course is a fresh and in-depth analysis of the idealization of the American Dream and what it means to be an American citizen (whether first-or-second generation). There are other 21st-century core requirements that are specific to the art of storytelling; the environmental landscape of the globe, as well as climate change. These are all more important benefits in attending Rutgers University.

In finishing my core requirements, taking more major-related courses, and an additional online course for my minor this semester, I hope other [students] explore the wide array of options that Rutgers’ schedule of classes has to offer. Online courses may be more manageable or suitable for your commuter lifestyle or work-oriented routines. Core requirements are diverse and mentally engaging; they are not as tedious as stereotypical opinions may make them seem. Lastly, a combination of major, minor, and core curriculum courses can balance and expand your upcoming spring semester schedule. If you’re still searching for a major and/or minor, then continue to browse the various Rutgers’ course options, as well as core curriculum lectures and seminars. There is wealth of knowledge to be adventured and absorbed at Rutgers University for students of all ages, lifestyles, phases, and backgrounds.

2017: Resolutions for RU Students

As university students, in various stages of our academic careers, personal goals and individual resolutions shift from person to person. As 2017 fast approaches, it is important to think about the year’s pursuits, whether they are new endeavors or old passions that have been collecting dust in the past months. Each day should be a new day to begin or complete a project; each hour should be a new hour to start or finish a goal. But these idealizations often pass as quickly as the time itself – it becomes too late to act. But to think in the span of a whole year – a track of twelve months – is to think with great force and greater perseverance than mere minutes or days.

As Rutgers students, this is an entirely new year to reclaim old promises; to pursue true passions; to imagine and manifest wants (such as better grades or more involvement on campus) into tangible realities. Here are five helpful suggestions to begin 2017 with a positive mind, body, heart, and attitude.

  1. Each day/week/month (whatever schedule fits your convenience), check in with yourself and your goals. Have I begun my goal? Am I acting according to my plan? Are there any imbalances in my life or current situation? Am I inching closer to achieving what I hope to achieve?

 

  1. Keep busy and do not waste time. In order to ensure you are being productive, try to work with others who have similar goals as you. Keep a small electronic (or paper) notebook to track your thoughts and ideas as they unravel. If you’re planning to pursue an artistically creative career, this tip may be helpful. If you’re planning to pursue a technology/media-savvy occupation, this suggestion still applies (maybe even more so).

 

  1. Stay positive by keeping physically active. Jogging, or simply walking, on a daily basis keeps not only the body flexible and mobile, but it also releases endorphins in the brain. Even when pursuits seem to be at a standstill, keep your body moving and healthy to energize the mood of each day.

 

  1. Allow space for constructive criticism and improvement. Whether you are progressing with ease, difficulty, or moderation with each goal (such as writing more technical papers or adventuring into research opportunities), then allow others to (constructively) criticize your work or actions. Compliments and comments pave way for personal development, leading to success.

 

  1. Have a relentless attitude when pursuing any goal – whether it is Rutgers-related; academic; personal; familial; etc. Everything takes time and everything demands patience.

In the New Year, set goals that are reasonable, yet far-reaching; transform dreams that are carefully planned, yet spontaneously passionate. Be yourself in all that you do – and your own unique touch will take you far in whatever avenues of action you pursue (in your studies, in your fields of work, and hopefully, in the phases of your life).

Reflection

2016 is finally over and in my opinion it’s been a roller coaster. From the presidential election to Rutgers 250th anniversary, and personally graduating high school and moving on to college, 2016 has been so memorable as well as long and many other adjectives.

But it is also important to look back and reflect on all your accomplishments. This is where metacognition comes into play. Instead of setting new goals for yourself (like many people do during New Years) and not fulfill them, you will feel happier about all that you have already achieved. Personally, when I take the time to think about all that I have accomplished, I start to feel happier and better about myself because I know that I am capable of doing a lot more. In addition, many studies have proven if someone feels happier than he/she will be more successful.

So I can’t really end the blog, without me reflecting back on my life. Over the course of the last year, I learned to simply live in the moment and not overthink and over complicate every little thing in my life. Like whether someone didn’t snapchat me but snapchatted my friend, or why a friend should ‘friend’ me on Facebook. It sounds silly now, but I would really obsess and think that people didn’t like me. But now I stopped caring. Another lesson that I will always take to heart is to try everything because I realized that I only really regret the things that I never do. So this is what I learned.

So rather than create goals that will most likely not stick, just reflect on the past year and feel proud that all that has happened. We all deserve it. So Happy New Year and here’s to 2017.

So by the time many of you will read this, your finals will be over and winter break will have officially started. So first off congrats on finishing another semester (or your first semester if you have a freshmen) and on getting through finals week.

But winter break is now here and it’s approximately 3 weeks long or to put it in another perspective 504 hours. Personally I think it is important to spend the time wisely and not watch TV all day. My first choice to do would be to get a job or volunteer at some organization. But I did not think of that before hand and yet I still don’t want to waste time. So if anyone is like me, there are 10 things to do over winter break.

  1. Sleep

I think this one is self explanatory. It honestly feels great to wake up without an alarm clock. So if you can, sleep as long as you possibly can.

  1. Spend Time With Family

It is the holidays and many of your families haven’t seen you in a while (unless you are a commuter). So don’t lock yourself in your room all day. This can be from taking a walk for your parents or helping them cook or playing a game with them.

  1. Spend Time With High School Friends

I am sure that many of you had great memories with your high school friends, and it is important to maintain that. So try to plan to meet up at some point. It could even be a lot of fun because you have so much to talk about.

  1. Try a New Hobby or Maintain an Old One

Personally there are many hobbies that interests me that I can never can pursue because I am too worried about failing Chemistry. I’m sure that many other people are like this. So now that there is some time why not use it?

  1. Read a Book

This can be really relaxing and there are many good books out there.

  1. Go to the Gym

This is definitely what I am going to do over break. Before college, I was pretty fit and healthy. But when college started, I could not seem to figure out where to work out. (I do dance, but I couldn’t seem to find a dance studio). On top of that, I had too many meal swipes so I kept eating to finish the swipes. So I think it is a good idea to go to the gym and back in shape.

  1. Finish All Applications

When I started college, I did not realize how many applications there are. There are applications to get positions in clubs, or for internships, or jobs, or summer plans. So I would recommend spending some time and researching what you want to do in the spring semester and over the summer and start filling out the applications.

  1. Buy Textbooks for Next Semester

If you can find your textbooks early, then you might be able to save costs so it might be worth it to start looking early.

  1. Start Looking Over the Material for Next Year

This only really applies if you have an idea of the topics that are covered. If you do research on the course, then you can determine whether you actually like the class or not. On top of that you can determine the difficulty level of the course and whether or not you are prepared for the course. So when add/drop period comes along, you already know if you want to drop it or not.

  1. Relax

`We were stressed all fall semester and will be during spring semester. So it is important to take a mental break and relax and have no stress so be able to handle the next semester. I would recommend meditation if you can or even just taking a walk outside.

So you have 504 hours. Use them wisely.

Go to Guide to Survive Finals

So… who else is freaking out?

I am, particularly because I’m writing from the library. And on a typical day, I’d never write from the library but it’s finals week, and I’m taking  a break from studying… so here I am! Obviously, this has been the most stressful time I’ve experienced as a Rutgers student so far. Dealing with the amount of material, cramming, and overall trying to stay sane has proven to be a concept that is almost far-fetched. But instead of complaining and giving up, try to make the best of your situation. Whether you’ve got an exam in art history or organic chemistry, you’ll survive.

img_8283

Don’t cram your material. The moment your professor sends out the study guide with the things you should be studying, immediately begin researching the material and constructing some sort of study aid. For me, I filled in the study guide questions and transferred them to notecards to begin studying. If you’ve got a lot of material, make a Quizlet account. My psychology exam has over 300 questions in material that I need to re-learn, so I transferred it online to study. It saves time, money, and paper. Additionally, if your professor gives you a review packet for something like math, work through the problems before your review session. This way you know the material you need help on. Having your professor clear up your questions one last time can really help with your confidence, and it’ll be easier to study. Also, if you didn’t go to your review and just can’t figure out a question, the app PhotoMath is a really helpful tool that shows you step by step with in depth explanations about how to get the answer.

Find a study space where you won’t get distracted. For me, I tried studying in the dorms at first but because I like my door open, people kept coming in and talking. I ended up not getting anything done. (Because I, too, like to talk rather than work through the quadratic formula–shoutout to everyone else in elementary algebra). To avoid this distraction, I packed a backpack with everything possible I’d need for an entire day (extra pens, pencils, calculator, head phones, phone charger, laptop charger, snacks, coffee, etc.), trekked to the library, found a desk, and camped out. I am currently camped out right now while writing this, and I find that I am able to get my most work done in a study zone.

img_8284
Here I am, buried somewhere deep in the library where there are no windows. Just books.

Stop procrastinating. If you just complain about how stressed you are and don’t do anything about your situation, then you’re going to do bad. It’s not your professor’s fault for ‘teaching poorly’, or the exam’s fault for being ‘too hard’. Take responsibility for your material and start figuring it out. It’s easy to blame everyone and anything else for your failures, but once you begin to take responsibility for your work, you’ll start doing a lot better.

Get a massage! I personally have not done this, but until the 22nd there are supposedly “Stress Buster” massages at the Livingstone and Cook/Douglass recreation centers.

Try and sleep. Personally, I have been extremely anxious about my upcoming exams and constantly feel like I need to be studying. I like to be proactive with my situations, so when I feel like I’m almost helpless, I will try to do anything possible to eradicate that feeling. For my psychology and math exams, I feel extremely worried because those are two classes I’m not that naturally good at. I find myself struggling to fall asleep, or waking up early, or sleeping really lightly, because I constantly feel like I should be studying or else I’ll fail. However, it’s impossible to ALWAYS be studying. After all, we are humans… our brains can only handle so much. So, tell yourself it’s okay to sleep. Listen to your favorite song on repeat, don’t drink too much coffee, and close your eyes…

Study in groups. Although I prefer to study alone, I also like to study in groups after I feel confident in my material. By talking over your work with your peers, and having others clarify and explain things that you may not have total understanding of, can really help you do better on your exams. Don’t study in groups if you’re going to get sidetracked; only do it if you’re positive you’ll be able to get work done.

img_8285

Drink responsibly. 🙂 By this, I mean don’t drink coffee after 6PM unless you’re trying to pull an all-nighter. Also, spread out your caffeine dosages so you don’t give yourself anxiety… I’ve made this mistake, and sometimes my heart won’t stop racing. That’s super distracting when you’re trying to memorize Gen Psych.

Be prepared. On the night before your exams, set a couple of alarms (especially if your exam is in the morning and you’ve been staying up past 3AM each night before). Pack your backpack the night before with everything you need for the exam so you don’t feel like you’re in a rush that morning. You’ll feel confident and prepared.

Overall, finals week is extremely hectic, but you’ll survive. Hopefully these tips can help you do as best as you can.

If you’re from Piscataway…

Disclaimer: This post is really meant for students currently in Piscataway High School, especially those that are in the process of applying for college.

I graduated from Piscataway High School, class of 2016, and will always remember the anti-Rutgers sentiment that followed me during those years just until college application time. I was like a lot of other Pway kids: I shot down Rutgers from the beginning because it was “too close to my house.” I wanted to get away and start over, meet new people and be in a different, “more exciting” setting. I wanted to go to an Ivy League school because of my pride or be in New York or even California because of my wanting for excitement. I wanted to be somewhere else than boring Piscataway (sorry Pway, I love you but there’s nothing to do in town)- somewhere away from that routine. But I applied to Rutgers anyway because literally every student in Piscataway High School was encouraged to do so and I thought it would be a good back-up school.

And I went to Rutgers anyway. I have to attribute some of my reasoning to credentials and funding. Rutgers is a good school, it’s well-known and becoming more prestigious. My only argument against it was it being too close– that was almost everyone’s reason. Rutgers would also be best for me financially. I could get a quality education in my field of interest (Biology) with in-state pricing and a scholarship. However, my greater reasons were going to such a huge school and being able to live on-campus in New Brunswick. I can say that when you’re at Rutgers, especially in New Brunswick, it feels like you’re in a different world. Don’t just turn down the school because it’s close. 

Even when you’re on Livingston or Busch campus in Piscataway, you’ll feel like you’re not at home. The school is huge. You will see new faces every day. College itself is an experience, and even when you’re two minutes away from home, you’re a part of that experience- the size of this experience will pull you away from your routine in Piscataway. College is nothing like high school, especially not like Piscataway High School.

However, if you really want to feel like you’re somewhere else, live in College Avenue Campus (CAC) or Cook/Douglass Campus (C/D) in New Brunswick. CAC and C/D may just be about ten minutes from Piscataway, but when you’re used to being in the city, Piscataway’s suburbs will look rather odd to you when you go back home. The non-city parts of C/D are greener, more serene and more rustic than Piscataway. You will feel that contrast as well if you live there rather than the city part of C/D.

Being from Piscataway does have its perks. Because you’re so close to home, it’s easy to get in touch with family members when you’re in need. I thank my mom for dropping off water bottles on her way to work (she works at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and St. Peter’s University Hospital). It’s also easy to go home to do your laundry and other errands, rather than paying to do them on campus, and to get access to your car if you’re not keeping it in the Rutgers’ lots. The best thing is not getting homesick but still being able to feel completely independent.

Again, don’t turn Rutgers down just because it’s close. If there’s any regret I have, it’s being so anti-Rutgers before even reading into the school!

Decorating for the Holidays

Unfortunately, we have to get through finals before celebrating the holidays. The only thing getting me through this time of the semester is holiday spirit. I celebrate Christmas, so I’ve been listening to Christmas music while I study and planning out what to do when I go to New York later this month (besides seeing the huge tree). My favorite thing done in honor of the holidays was decorating my dorm. My roommate and I were very enthusiastic about this, and we put our decorations up on December 1st. However, it’s not too late to put some holiday spirit into your living space.

I’m sure the first thing that will come to mind is “lights” in regard to this decorating, and my roommate and I put up colorful ones- then did even more. Inside the room, we have a little Christmas tree, and we even put our presents for each other underneath it. We also bought gel stick-ons for the window; our room is the one with the penguins and snowflakes. We plan on making snowflakes and buying silver tinsel and other things that will carry into decorating for the New Year and winter season.

We also decorated our door with small stockings, one customized with a “K” for me and one with an “L” for her. We put candy canes inside of the stockings, and people are taking them (lol). We also have a wipe board on our door and have been writing Christmas song lyrics on it.

The decorations really do give my room a jolly feel. So if you love the holidays, ease your suffering from finals by making your room a happy place and decorating it for the most wonderful time of the year 🙂

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑