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!