Fall health and well-being protocols

Advice Student to Student

Cheerlearders
Our current students encourage members of the incoming class to get involved at Rutgers to find their community.
Marques Ruiz/Rutgers University

As a new year at Rutgers gets underway, we asked current students to share some advice with members of the incoming class. Here is what they had to say.

What is the best way to stay connected to friends and family?

luis cambronero briceno
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Luis Cambronero-Briceno
Class of 2025
Mason Gross School of the Arts
School of Arts and Sciences EOF Scholar

The best way to stay connected to friends and family is to be the one to reach out. It is good to keep in mind that your friends and family are most likely as busy as you are. 

I stayed connected to my family through our family group chat. It facilitated having to take each one of the family members separately and a simple "hi" at one point in the day was sufficient to get an update on how they were doing. 

When it came to my hometown friends I would reach out about once a week if I had not heard from them. With my friends I also found it easier to share TikToks or memes with them that I found had some sort of connection to bonding experiences we may have had or something I simply thought they would find funny. With friends I found that just because you have not talked in a few days does not mean the friendship is over. Again, it is important to remember that they too are busy, either starting college and may be overwhelmed or have other commitments the same way you have responsibilities that take up your time. 

Name three ways you can manage your time better.

Halyn Xheraj
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Halyn Xheraj 
Class of 2024
School of Arts and Sciences-Newark
Honors Living-Learning Community
Rutgers-Newark 

My first and most pivotal tip would be to create a schedule. If you want to ensure you are making time for your priorities, a schedule is the first step. My next tip accompanying the first would be refraining from overscheduling yourself. Burnout is real and setting unrealistic expectations will set you down that path quickly. Lastly, I recommend prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule during the week. Pulling all-nighters will ultimately leave you groggy and unproductive.

How to stay on track with academics?

Frank Deigh
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Frank Deigh 
Class of 2023
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences 
Rutgers-New Brunswick 

I stay motivated and on track with academics by organizing my calendars and work based on my course syllabus. Having an organized schedule allows me to be more productive and organized in terms of knowing what I have due for the week. In addition, staying organized not only helps you manage your academic life but your social life because all work and no play do not make for a balanced work-life, which is imperative to your success in your academics. Finally, when in doubt, feel free to reach out to professors during office hours and make appointments with your academic advisors and deans to guide you in the right direction. Former President Barack Obama said, “Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength. It shows you dare to admit when you don't know something and to learn something new.” 

Name three things you didn't expect to need for your dorm room.

Om Patil
Marques Ruiz/Rutgers University

Om Patil
Class of 2024
School of Communication and Information
Rutgers-New Brunswick
 

A good pair of scissors. You never want to resort to opening or cutting something with your hands or teeth and having a solid pair of scissors has saved me more times than I’d like to admit.

A strong secondary lamp. Sometimes the lighting in Rutgers dorms is less than ideal. Having a larger lamp or light source really helped me get different levels of brightness and illumination that really helped me with my workflow.

A handheld vacuum. One of my good friends would get sick of my roommate and I always asking her for her handheld vacuum. It was so useful to clean up dust and crumbs in those hard-to-reach areas, especially on the carpeted dorms that so many of us have to get used to. The difference between a dirty floor and clean floor is night and day!

How can first-year students find community in college?
 

Kiran Ganesh
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Kiran Ganesh
Class of 2024
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers-New Brunswick Honors College

At a college as large as Rutgers, finding community can sometimes be overwhelming. However, there are great resources like getINVOLVED, the cultural centers and fellow students (especially upperclassmen) who can help you navigate Rutgers! One-time events are a great, low-stress place to begin, especially if you need more time to consider student organizations/clubs. Take time to figure out which of your interests you want to find community through. The ones that worked out best for me were LGBT+ student community/leadership, soccer and language learning. Oh, and make some study buddies in your classes, so you can ace those tests *and* have a healthy social life! 

Kaseem Edwards
Ron Downes Jr./Rutgers University-Camden

Kaseem Edwards 
Class of 2023
Business Management Major 
Rutgers-Camden   

When it comes to finding my community, here are a few things I do. During the first week of each semester, Rutgers has an involvement fair where all the clubs and organizations on campus have tables and present to new students who they are and what they have to offer. This is a great opportunity to find like-minded people with similar interests as yourself. Another resource I utilize is the “Engage” website. Whenever there is an event on campus, there will usually be a flyer posted on the website along with what the event is about, the place and the time. 

Why does being involved matter?

Allison Smith
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Allison Smith 
Class of 2023
Student Body President  
School of Arts and Sciences 
Rutgers-New Brunswick 

Pre-pandemic I was only involved in a few activities, so during the pandemic I checked out a lot of Rutgers Instagrams and getINVOLVED pages to see what else was out there. Since returning to campus, I have become very involved and I am currently in some incredible leadership roles within the organizations I joined! Rutgers has also brought me some of my best friends, many of which I would not have met had I not joined the clubs I did. Not only that, but these organizations have alumni that are interested in keeping in touch with current members. Involvement can help you network too. Getting involved has made my time at Rutgers the best time of my life, I hope incoming students can look back at their time here and say the same. 

What if you are feeling homesick?

Lara Fougnies  
Class of 2023 
School of Arts and Sciences
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Vice President Rutgers University Student Assembly
Rutgers-New Brunswick

When I find myself feeling homesick, I like to walk around Cook Campus because it reminds me of my suburban hometown. Each of the five campuses has its own character to connect with, and I recommend finding a safe space on your preferred campus that reminds you of your favorite hometown spot. Also, Rutgers is such a large school that you are sure to run into someone from a similar town, county, or state. Make sure you are putting yourself out there and meeting other students. For international students, joining social circles with others who are also studying abroad can be comforting. All students can explore GetInvolved for clubs that share their common interests, hobbies, culture, and religion, or you can even start your own. 

What if you don't know what you want to be yet?

Precious-Janae Romain
Class of 2023 
School of Arts and Sciences 
Rutgers-New Brunswick 

It’s pretty daunting to leave high school and have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. This decision was and continues to be the toughest for me. I made various path changes over my four years at Rutgers. My main advice is to have an open mind; it’s good to have a career goal, but it doesn’t have to be set in stone. You’re going into an environment that will enrich you and expose you to various paths and options, some of which you might not have known of. This is a great time to explore and find the path meant for you. If it’s something you absolutely know you want to do, go for it! If later on, you find out it may not really be for you, that’s great; now you know and can continue shopping for the right major or career choice.