5 Things I’ve Learned in My First Week at Rutgers

Wow! I cannot believe it has already been 12 days since I moved into my dorm in Brett Hall on College Avenue. I love it here so far, and I’ve already learned so much, both in class and around campus. I’m glad to be sharing these five important lessons with you, because while I had to learn them from experience, at least you, dear reader, will be very prepared.

1. The weekend buses cannot be trusted, especially not on the weekend before classes start. And especially not when there’s a football game.

I’m in the SAS Honors Program, so I moved in early on August 31, and I was here for the whole first weekend before all of the other freshmen and returning students moved in. I went to Hillel on Friday night for a wonderful Shabbat dinner, and afterward, I hung out with one of my friends, also a freshman. Hillel is on College Avenue, so I showed him around College Avenue for a while since we were already there, but then we wanted to go to Busch, where he lives, so he could show me around. There were special buses designated to take people to the football game; although we had zero interest in attending the game, the football stadium is on Busch, so we took one of those buses to Busch. We hung out for a while, until it got late and I wanted to go back to my dorm. We headed to the student center and waited, expecting a bus to show up in not too long. Well, that bus didn’t show up, and neither did the next one, or the next one, or the next one. By then, I had found a group of other people also trying to get back to College Avenue, many of them to the same dorm as me. We were all in a state of panic, and were desperately trying to figure out another way to get back. Thankfully, though, a bus eventually arrived, and we took that bus back. It was already after midnight at this point. Lesson learned. On the bright side, though, I made some new friends and gained some new memories!! Still, avoid the weekend buses. Thankfully, once the semester officially starts, the weekday buses run on Fridays : )

2. Don’t study in Alexander Library on College Avenue on Saturday late afternoons if you plan to be there a while.

I very much enjoy studying in Alexander Library on College Avenue when I have a lot of time to work. In fact, I am writing this in Alexander Library right now!! I went there to study around 4:30 or so on Saturday, and was happily working when an announcement blared over the speakers, saying that the library would be closing at 6. I was surprised, because I had been expecting the library to be open all day like on the weekdays, but that is clearly not the case. Find somewhere else to study after 6 on Saturdays. I suggest the quiet lounge in your dorm if you have one; mine is lovely.

3. If someone throws up on the bus, everyone has to get off and wait for another bus.

On my first Saturday on campus, my roommate and I were trying to get back to College Avenue. We got on a bus and had been riding it for a while when suddenly we stopped at the Red Oak Lane stop on Cook / Douglass and were told to get off the bus. Someone else who had been kicked off with us told me that whenever someone throws up, the bus has to be cleared for health reasons. We had to wait a while for another bus to come, but it took a while. Hopefully that won’t ever happen to you, but you should know this just in case. Be careful to avoid any and all throw up. Thankfully, I wasn’t anywhere near it.

4. Bring a lanyard with you, and not just to hold your dorm key.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and have been for half my life. I’m not kidding. I went to Florida with my family the week before my move in day, and of course we went to Universal Studios. It actually happened to be the day of the solar eclipse, which was pretty cool. Anyway, when I walked in, I saw a stand selling a bunch of different lanyards, including ones representing each of the different Hogwarts houses. Of course, I just had to get one. I figured I would find some reason to use it in college. Since I am a Hufflepuff, I, of course, chose the Hufflepuff lanyard. Fast forward to a couple weeks later. For convenience, I usually wear my lanyard all the time so that I can easily access my RU ID card and my dorm room key. As I went to different events and club meetings throughout the first week of school, many people saw my lanyard and talked to me about Harry Potter. I made many friends that way, and I’ve only been here 12 days. Seriously. My lanyard is helping me make friends. No matter what, you should definitely bring a lanyard with you, but if you can, try to find one that’s unique and represents something you like. It’ll help you more than you realize.

5. Make the most of the time before classes start, because once they do, you’ll probably be spending most of your time doing homework.

I know, it sucks. But seriously, those days before classes start are there for a reason!! It’s free time that you can use to become familiar with the school, meet people, relax, and have fun. You might have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, but that’s the whole point of college. Don’t let a single moment of those first few days go to waste, and definitely don’t spend them in your room. Go on an adventure, or at least go to an event. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

I hope that these tips help you at least a little bit!! It’s been a whirlwind so far, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this semester and the rest of my four years here : )