February 15, 2019 | 34° F

FRESH TAKE: First impressions from first-year students during their first semester at Rutgers

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The more than 7,000 new first-year students have had a few weeks to explore Rutgers staples such as the bus system, residence hall living and the College Avenue Gymnasium. 

First-year student's first impressions often mirror the frustrations and fascinations that many upperclassmen have come to accept from Rutgers. 

In their first two weeks at college, students from the Class of 2022 discussed their feelings on some of the University’s most contested topics — Rutgers buses, residence halls, extracurricular activities, time management and diversity. 

This year’s class welcomed more than 7,000 first-year students to campus this fall — the largest class in University history — from all across the country, New Jersey and approximately 115 nations around the world, according to Rutgers’ site

Rutgers Buses 

Alexa Joanna Santana Ruperti, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said that she has had trouble with the bus system so far.

“It’s just completely unreliable,” she said. “Yesterday I had to walk all the way from Cook/Douglass to College Ave because the buses bogged out.”

Alejandra Sánchez-Pedraza, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said the bus system has its merits.

“I like how the buses are easy to navigate, you just gotta know which ones go to which campuses,” she said.

Keeping Time

Rutgers is a large school, with many things to do. Finding time for homework, clubs and friends can be a challenge.

Ria Malatesta, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she has been studying since the first day of classes. 

“I’ve been trying to keep up with a lot of things, but sometimes I can’t. I forgot to pay something a few days ago," she said.

Danielle Claros, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she has also been keeping busy with classes.

Claros said that her Rutgers experience so far has included going to clubs, class, seeing friends and a lot of walking.

“It’s a test of time management, but I’ve been doing fine,” she said.


Sánchez-Pedraza said that she has found Rutgers to be a diverse place.

“I learned Rutgers is very inclusive and accepting towards all kinds of people, which allows it to be as diverse as it is,” she said. “The overall environment and feel of the school is very welcoming. I don't think there's anything I don't like about Rutgers.”

Claros agreed and said the more than 35,000 students makes Rutgers unique. 

“The size really makes it easy to find your place – everything’s really just falling into place,” Claros said. 

Living with the Lottery

“They should really work to install more ACs, especially the buildings with more floors, let’s say five floors and up,” said Malatesta, who is living in the Lynton Towers.

She explained how the September heat and cramped residence halls have made for an uncomfortable living situation for some.

“I hate how everything’s just so hot — the hallways are especially hot, the bathrooms are hot, too,” she said.

Staying Involved

The University’s 450 student organizations, approximately 60 sports clubs and 80 sororities and fraternities provide students with an extraordinary amount of opportunity, albeit opportunity that is a little overwhelming. 

Claros said she wants to try studying abroad and looks forward to getting more involved.

“I definitely want to get more involved, maybe try out the study abroad thing,” she said. “There’s a study abroad fair, too.” 

Sánchez-Pedraza said she is waiting to see how the first semester goes.

“... I might join the Creative Writing club at some point,” she added.

Alpheus Llantero

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