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Rutgers for Real

Real Students. Real Stories. 

Aya Mansour

Year: Senior
Major: Communication
Minor: Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: Princeton, NJ

What attracted you most to Rutgers when selecting which higher education institution to attend?

As a transfer student, I was particularly attracted to Rutgers for a number of reasons. In comparison to other schools I was interested in, I found that Rutgers provides the most to their transfer students. This is reflected in the several accommodations and opportunities that Rutgers offers, such as the SAS Honors Program and the transfer student Living-Learning Community.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

From the outside looking in, I saw Rutgers as a large institution where I would struggle to find my place as a transfer student. However, the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers is having such a great sense of belonging and community within a largely diverse student body.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I have taken at Rutgers is the Talking Hands Honors Seminar. This class, taught by Dr. Regina Karl, introduced me to the great importance and fascinations of the human hands. Furthermore, I concluded this course with a final project in which I conducted a comparative analysis of the Hand of Hamsaa in different religions accompanied by an artistic component.

What do you do on campus when you’re not in class?

While I have yet to experience the Rutgers campus life, I like to imagine that if I were not in class on campus I would most likely be in the College Ave Student Center conversing with colleagues and catching up on my workload.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

Even though I have only been at Rutgers for one semester, I feel as if I have many stories to tell. One of my favorites has to be the several extracurricular Zoom meeting that have taken place throughout the semester. From playing virtual games with the Muslim Student Association to conversing with other transfer students during a Living-Learning Community meeting, I always felt the strong Rutgers community!

What university resources do you use to help manage the stresses of college life?

Throughout my time at Rutgers, I have reached out to several advisors and professors who have all guided me during my transfer process and helped me manage the stresses of college life!

What is it like to be a transfer student?

Being a transfer student initially intimidated me prior to continuing my educational journey at Rutgers. However, upon speaking with a transfer advisor and a few other transfer students, I recognized that as a transfer student at Rutgers I am being welcomed into a community and continuing my education with support and aid from those around me.

Aya Mansour

Jada Wynter

Year: Senior
Major: Art
Minor: German & Digital Communications, Information, & Media
Hometown: East Orange, NJ

What attracted you most to Rutgers when selecting which higher education institution to attend?

I recognized that a lot of my teachers in high school were Rutgers graduates and would always boast about their university. What can I say? It made me somewhat jealous! 

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

The most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers is the unbelievable rewards. The campus is always trying its best to improve. There are exciting new buildings and centers being built like every year! Lots of shops and dining places recognize Rutgers students with generous discounts!  

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I have taken was Graphic Narratives. You get to learn the fundamentals of comic book making and create your own panels. I really felt like a comic book artist!

What does your typical school day look like?

Before COVID, I'd wake up in my dorm and head to class on Douglass or College Ave. It was always lively and active around noon. I'd go to a food truck or the dining hall right before my afternoon class began. Nowadays, I go for a morning jog and head to my desk in my room at home for my online courses.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

My first time having the famous FAT CAT sandwich! I did not realize how huge the sandwich would be. After pulling an all-night study session, I was starving so I went to College Ave for a quick bite. The food truck was open and the chef convinced me to buy a fat sandwich. The sandwich was literally 4 to 6 pounds and definitely opened my eyes to extreme college cuisine!

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Rutgers?

If you are considering Rutgers, I'd highly recommend taking a look at all the opportunities and majors here. When I decided on Rutgers, the many support groups and elective courses I could take fascinated me. The staff here is very helpful and attentive.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

I see myself giving back to the Rutgers community and becoming a part-time lecturer (PTL). The PTLs I have encountered here are amazing people and share lots of knowledge with their younger peers. It is very admirable.

Jada Wynter

Jared Aisenberg

Year: Senior
Major: Urban Planning & Design; Communication
Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ

What attracted you most to Rutgers when selecting which higher education institution to attend?

Coming from a large, diverse, suburban high school, I knew I wanted to go to a university where that trend was similar. This, coupled with the university's location at the heart of New Jersey was important to me and my ability to stay at home while also getting a world-class education. Being located between two large metropolitan areas, Rutgers also creates more career opportunities and the breadth of jobs stemming from Rutgers and its connections is endless.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

I think the most surprising thing to me was how "small" the university gets after being here for a semester or two. Many people are immediately frightened by the physical size of Rutgers, but the reality is the university is actually a close-knit community. I always say you can make a big school small, but not a small school big, and Rutgers' size amplifies this. There is a place here for everyone, and no one is left without a niche; I was more than surprised by how easy it was to find one, thanks to events such as the Involvement Fair.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite on-campus spot has to be The Yard. Not only is this a great outdoor place with a TV playing some great shows, but it is also a foodie oasis. The Krispy Pizza in this vicinity is symbolic to me. Not only is it the best pizza, but it represents me as a person. The original store first opened in Brooklyn, where I was born, and the relatives of the New Brunswick shop own the Krispy Pizza where I live now in Old Bridge. It has essentially followed me everywhere I go.

What does your typical school day look like?

Whenever I have time between my classes, I stay at the nearest Student Center and do my work or grab something to eat with a friend. Some days, I head to work at the Visitor Center, where I participate in the Scarlet Ambassador Program, giving tours to prospective students and parents, encouraging them to come here just as I did. I usually end my day at my friends' residence hall or off-campus apartment before hoping on an evening bus to my car and heading home.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

My favorite Rutgers story has to be when I was with my new college friends at my first MidKnight Breakfast, and ran into some of my old friends from high school. Being from a local town in the New Brunswick area, many of my high school classmates came to Rutgers, too. It was cool introducing both groups of my friends and having my worlds collide as I experienced a fun Rutgers tradition for the first time.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Lively. Spirited. Global.

How do you get around campus, and what is it like?

As a commuter, I drive to a designated parking lot at the start of my day. From there, like everyone else who lives on campus, I utilize our efficient bus transit system to get me to my classes on whatever campus they may be. I then use the buses for any recreation or study time until I head home later in the evening.

Jared Aisenberg

Emily DeBellis

Year: Junior
Major: Finance
Hometown: South River, NJ

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is Brower Commons. It’s not a popular spot but I loved it there. The pizza is my favorite and the people who work there are so kind. I would sit at a table while eating my pizza and studying between classes.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I’ve taken is Virtual Team Dynamics with Professor Minkyung Kim. I was taking this class during the Spring 2020 semester. This class was all about working with teams online which was extremely relevant during the transition from in-person to online classes.

What do you do on campus when you’re not in class?

Study. The Alexander Library has become my home away from home. I’ve spent many hours of my life studying there.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

I met my best friend and boyfriend my first semester at Rutgers. I feel extremely lucky. My freshman year roommate became my best friend. I feel so thankful to Rutgers for giving me my best friend and boyfriend.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Diverse. Accepting. Challenging.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduation I see myself landing a job in Finance. I’m not sure what exactly I want to do with a degree in Finance yet.

How do you get around campus, and what is it like?

I use the bus. I enjoy sitting on the bus going from class to class. I sit and listen to a podcast. It can be relaxing at times.

Emily DeBellis

Angad Arora

Year: Senior
Major: Supply Chain Management
Hometown: South Brunswick, NJ

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is definitely anywhere on College Avenue or Livingston during the warm weather times. The atmosphere on campus is so vibrant and everyone has a great time enjoying all that Rutgers has to offer.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I have taken would have to be Business Ethics because it was not a typical lecture-based class, but instead revolved around discussion, prompting thought-provoking ideas about the way we operate businesses in the 21st century. It was the first time I really considered the ethical component of business and it gave me a fresh perspective of what to take into the workforce after graduation.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

My favorite Rutgers story would have to be meeting my group of friends freshman year in the South Tower dorms on Livingston campus. I met these people through class and the dorms, and they have been my best friends ever since.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Diverse, Opportunistic, Eye-opening

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Rutgers?

I would strongly encourage prospective students to take campus visits, both formal and informal, to see all that Rutgers has to offer. It can really help them put into perspective what is in store for them!

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduation I see myself working for a large corporation as a Supply Chain professional, eventually working my way towards a managerial position. I also plan to pursue further education in the form of an MBA after gaining some relevant work experience.

How do you get around campus, and what is it like?

I get around campus using the bus system and walking. It's fun walking around campus when it is lively because there are so many people talking, laughing, and listening to music that it gives off a very good vibe.

Angad Arora
Aya Mansour
Jada Wynter
Jared Aisenberg
Emily DeBellis
Angad Arora

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Vanessa Darkoa

Year: Sophomore
Major: English
Minor: History
Hometown: Newark, NJ

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
My favorite spot on campus is the open field near Voorhees Chapel on the Douglass campus. I often find other students relaxing at this open spot. The scenery at this particular spot is just so captivating, especially on a summer or spring day. You can often find many different species of birds curiously exploring at this spot and if you're lucky, you may even run into some horses. I like to visit this spot when I need fresh air or when I am looking for inspiration for my writing.

What does your typical school day look like?

Prior to COVID- 19, while living on campus, I would wake up, get ready, and grab a quick breakfast at Neilson Dining Hall. I would then go to my classes for the day. After class, I would walk around campus and grab lunch or dinner with a friend. Nowadays, with most of our classes online, I have modified my schedule quite a bit. For instance, since I am no longer able to grab food with friends, I instead engage with my teachers and peers online. After class, I attend my work study job virtually and complete my assignments. If time permits, I usually stop by my professors’ office hours to gain clarifications on any challenging concepts. I also make sure to meditate a minimum of 10 minutes each day to make sure that I am doing well not only academically, but mentally.

What do you do on campus when you’re not in class?

When I'm not in class, you can find me at Mabel Smith Douglass Library exploring the cool art exhibit or near Voorhees Chapel admiring the beautiful scenery. The diversity of each environment makes it is such a unique experience whenever I step foot on a different campus. I have found that Douglass campus has become my second home during my time here at Rutgers. The beautiful scenery, coupled with the amazing people who reside here, makes it unlike any other community I have ever experienced.

What university resources do you use to help manage the stresses of college life?

Rutgers offers so many resources to students during the semester. I personally utilize the meditation room found on Douglass Campus, as that gives me a quiet space to breathe and just be. Some other resources that I use to help manage the stress as a first generation, college student are CAPS and the Office of Career Exploration and Success. CAPS is a great resource when seeking professional counseling on all things related to emotional to academic health. The Office of Career Exploration and success has also been very helpful in helping me figure out what path I want to pursue as well as how to improve my resume and cover letter.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Diverse, Resourceful, Empathetic.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Rutgers?

Rutgers is definitely the right place, especially for first generation students from underrepresented communities like me. The support you will receive here is unparalleled and there is always someone here to guide you. Despite its size, you will find that Rutgers has so many tight knight communities and finding one that is just right for you will take no time. Programs and communities such as the Educational Opportunity Fund and Living Learning Communities makes it quite easy to find your niche on campus. Coming to Rutgers has been one of the smartest decisions I have made in my life thus far and by giving Rutgers a chance, you might find that this too is true for you.

vanessa darkoa

Anthony Sochan

Year: Junior
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Nutritional Sciences
Hometown: Mahopac, NY

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

Although Rutgers is a large university, it has a small campus feel because the community is so welcoming and helpful. Being an out-of-state student, I did not know anyone upon entering my first year. However, Rutgers quickly began to feel like home as I made new friends, joined clubs, and fell in love with the academic environment.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I have taken is the Byrne Seminar called "Yoga: Finding Calm in Chaos." I took this as a first-year student, and it allowed me to appreciate personal wellness.

What does your typical school day look like?

My typical school day starts off with breakfast right before going to class. I eat a quick lunch or snack between my classes during the day. Then, I stop by one of the recreation centers to get a strong workout in. After that, I finish the day at dinner with my friends. Finally, I go to club baseball practice at University Park on Busch campus.

Tell us your favorite Rutgers story.

My favorite Rutgers story is going to Midknight Madness in 2018. We saw the men's and women's basketball teams work through skills events, and ended the night with a performance from A Boogie wit da Hoodie.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Unique, Inclusive, Empathetic

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Rutgers?

You will find your passions at Rutgers as long as you pursue them! There are so many ways to get involved on campus - from academic, recreational, professional, and social pursuits.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend medical school to pursue a medical degree.

Anthony Sochan

Viviane Liao

Year: Senior
Major: Molecular Biology & Biochemistry; Nutritional Sciences
Hometown: West Windsor, NJ

What attracted you most to Rutgers when selecting which higher education institution to attend?

I was really attracted to Rutgers for the plethora of opportunities that are so readily available. I knew that no matter which career path I chose to take, there would be many faculty, alumni, and peers available to support me. As a pre-health student, this meant having hundreds of research labs to choose from, easy access to clinical experience at the several nearby hospitals, and even opportunities to learn from Rutgers physicians.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

The thing I found most surprising about being a student at Rutgers is how supportive all the faculty are of my ambitions. Any time I reach out to a professor for help in or out of the classroom, they go above and beyond to assist me in any way that I need. Whether it is setting up extra office hours, establishing connections for an internship, or writing me an excellent letter of recommendation, all of my professors have been immensely helpful and understanding.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is the steps of the Academic Building because it is generally quiet and peaceful, but also provides a great view of Voorhees Mall and everything that's going on there.

In what ways do you think Rutgers is preparing you for the future?

I think Rutgers has truly prepared me to work with a diverse group of individuals, as I will have to do in the future in my role as a physician. Every day at Rutgers, I meet individuals with all different backgrounds and experiences. This has broadened my perspective of the world and encouraged me to continue learning more about those around me in order to better connect with them and ultimately serve them in the future.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken and why?

The most interesting class I've taken is Biology of Aging. I loved that we were not only able to explore different theories regarding why and how we age, but also evaluate the theories based off of current scientific literature.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduating, I will mostly likely be attending medical school at Vanderbilt. I hope to pursue a career as a physician where I can integrate my passions for nutrition, research, and teaching.

How do you get around campus, and what is it like?

I love walking around campus as much as possible because I find it really relaxing and a great way to get moving in between classes. If I need to switch campuses, however, I take the bus. It can be hectic at times, but it's also a great opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old friends!

Viviane Liao

Sebastian Gomez

Year: Sophomore
Major: Sport Management
Hometown: Dover, NJ

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is probably The Yard on College Avenue. This is my favorite spot because I can hang out with friends, grab something tasty to eat, and relax, maybe even catch a sports game on the screen. It is a vibrant place to be.

In what ways do you think Rutgers is preparing you for the future?

I think Rutgers is preparing me for the future in the sense that there are so many different ways to get involved, professors are willing to help their students and Rutgers has networks everywhere, which is key for for my future. Rutgers is home and I think attending this university was the best decision in my life.

What does your typical school day look like?

A typical school day is attending class, office hours, and study/homework in between classes throughout the day, then later in the day I might have to work or might have to attend meetings for the organizations I’m involved in.

What do you do on campus when you’re not in class?

When I’m not in class, I usually go eat, hang out with friends, do homework, or I try to get some exercise when I can, or take care of any extracurricular activities that may pop up.

Describe Rutgers in 3 words.

Big, Energetic, Home

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I see myself working for a sports team either at the collegiate level or pro level and being part of the sports industry.

How do you get around campus, and what is it like?

I usually got around campus by the bus system or walking. It could be very hectic at times, but you get used it.

Sebastian

Tiana Rahi

Year: Senior
Major: Marketing
Hometown: Highland Park, NJ

What attracted you most to Rutgers when selecting which higher education institution to attend?

Rutgers was the most affordable and reputable option for me to receive an exceptional education.

What has been the most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers?

The most surprising thing about being a student at Rutgers, is the personal transformation I have gone through. Without realizing, I became more outgoing and receptive to trying new things. Immerse yourself in all the opportunities at RU that interest you. You will grow one way or another because of it.

What does your typical school day look like?

A typical school day consists of attending a couple classes across College Ave and Livingston, then meeting up with friends to hang out or study. In between, I am participating in my extracurricular activities.

What do you do on campus when you’re not in class?

When I'm not in class, I am involved with RUPA planning events for the student body or serving the New Brunswick community as a Rutgers Bonner!

What university resources do you use to help manage the stresses of college life?

CAPS is an amazing resource that provides free counseling services for RU students. RU Rec is also awesome in providing workout classes at all times of the day so that no matter how busy your schedule is, you can prioritize health and fitness.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Rutgers?

Don't be afraid to take classes outside of your major. Your first couple of years at Rutgers are the perfect time to take an intro class just because it interests you. Make decisions for your personal happiness, not to meet the expectations of others.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I see myself living in a major city at a job that allows me to be creative and constantly work on different projects. If it is safe to travel I would love to take a couple years off to travel the world and road trip across the US.

Tiana Rahi
vanessa darkoa
Anthony Sochan
Viviane Liao
Sebastian
Tiana Rahi

Anna Root

Year: Junior
Major: Biology
Hometown: Andover, MA

" 'Systems Physiology' is known for being a tough, detail-oriented course that many pre-med, life science, and exercise science students take. This semester, Dr. Nelson went above and beyond to support our learning with loads of resources. Something that I really appreciated was that she took extra time to interview friends who are medical professionals/researchers over webchats. They shared their personal journeys and relevant examples of topics that we were learning in class. These interviews connected the coursework to real life and offered helpful advice to undergrads trying to figure out career plans."

Anna Root

Calvin Kuo

Year: Senior
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Parsippany, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning?

"When my computer science professor heard our frustration, trying to implement what we learned during our online lectures into working code for our programming assignments, he decided to help by providing a skeleton code format for each of our remaining assignments. By providing a skeleton code, each assignment's requirements became clearer and students were able to complete assignments without wandering aimlessly to find solutions."

Calvin Kuo

Cassie Cuddihy

Year: Freshman
Major: Communication
Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning?

"I’ve had a very positive experience transitioning from in-person to virtual courses. My professors were all organized, reliable and supportive with the transition. They also were all very understanding if some students met obstacles or needed help along the way. I had many opportunities to connect with my communities online. Many of the groups I am a part of have connected via Webex or Zoom for casual meet-ups to check in on everyone."

Cassie Cuddihy

Devan Patel

Year: Sophomore
Major: Finance
Hometown: Mt. Laurel, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning?

"Rutgers University has done a great job engaging with their students, despite not being on campus. Many professors not only held live lectures but also recorded and uploaded them to accommodate us, which made access very easy and stress-free. That was also a great study tool when finals came around. All around, Rutgers made the best out of online classes that allowed me to grow as a student."

Devan Patel

Nicholas DeGennaro

Year: Freshman
Major: Undecided
Hometown: Clifton, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning?

"My professors have done such a great job in the transition to online learning in the past few weeks. Not only have they come up with new ways for us to grasp concepts, they've maximized them and utilized new tools and features to make class time as enjoyable as possible and to feel like we are all still together. Melissa Lieberman, my math professor, offered several online office hours a week and allowed for face-to-face video chats in the last days of class to maintain a good student-teacher relationship. It was much appreciated and allowed me to realize how much my professors really care about me as a student."

Nicholas DeGennaro

Priya Agarwal

Year: Sophomore
Major: Cell Biology and Neuroscience
Hometown: Piscataway, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning during the Spring 2020 semester?

"Although our trip to Japan was canceled, we were still able to meet and interact with students from Fukui University. It was amazing to get a more global perspective on world events and to talk about the course material. Professor Wakabayashi from Rutgers and Professor Hosoya from Fukui did an excellent job putting this together."

Priya Agarwal

Sabrina Jordan

Year: Senior
Major: Latino and Caribbean Studies
Hometown: Hackensack, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning during the Spring 2020 semester?

"My 'History of Mexico' class did something really cool by giving us the option to swap our final essay for a digital timeline. It was a really cool use of digital technologies and I was really happy with how it turned out."

Sabrina Jordan

Siddharth Marwaha

Year: Senior
Major: Biological Sciences
Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning during the Spring 2020 semester?

"(As) both a student and helping to teach a class during the COVID-19 pandemic, this has really allowed me to understand the difficulties that come with being on either side, and I overwhelmingly found that Rutgers students and faculty were able to be flexible, understanding, and kind during this challenge. My professors had extended office hours and offered multiple ways to learn, while my students used different ways to reach out with questions and ensure that their work was the best that it could be. Scarlet Knights can be resilient when the moment calls for it, and I know that this resiliency will translate into real-world success for me and my peers down the road."

Student Siddharth Marwaha

Tiffany Yang

Year: Senior
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Annandale, NJ

How was your transition to remote learning during the Spring 2020 semester?

"For my senior design class in chemical engineering, my professor was able to modify the course so that we were able to continue working collaboratively with other students, while learning the technical skills required. By recording live lectures and hosting more office hours with the teaching assistants, there was increased flexibility for students to learn on their own time and find extra help when needed. These efforts culminated into a realistic and finished simulation of a biomass plant that is comparable to what is used in industry today!"

Tiffany Yang
Anna Root
Calvin Kuo
Cassie Cuddihy
Devan Patel
Nicholas DeGennaro
Priya Agarwal
Sabrina Jordan
Student Siddharth Marwaha
Tiffany Yang