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Humans of Rutgers

(1/3) “I’m very aware of my position in society as a white woman from the upper-middle class with no religious affiliation. And as a historian, a future teacher and as an American citizen, I feel like I need to be. Because of my outward appearance, I’ve been given things without asking for them or without having to work for them. But this is a problem because I’m receiving them and not everyone else is. I grew up in South Jersey in a town that had an awesome public school system. It was very diverse and as I take more classes at Rutgers, I’m starting to realize that my educational experience growing up was really very unique. I can remember discussing things like respect and trustworthiness and acceptance. And even from a young age, we were always encouraged to have these really difficult discussions and to share our experiences about how these issues affected us based on our backgrounds.”

“I was in India last year visiting family and we were just traveling as tourists in Delhi and there was this kid who approached us because we were carrying a box that he knew had food in it. And these people are almost treated like animals, it’s so terrible to see, and it’s obviously something I’m not used to. Seeing people starving and living in tents along the highways while we stayed in these beautiful hotels, it really affected me. I’m a freshman now, studying to eventually become a doctor, but seeing children like that, and reading about the little boy in Aleppo, Syria, it really made me want to travel internationally with organizations one day. I want to volunteer and help people who can’t afford to help themselves, and then hopefully make that my career.”

(3/3) “I was a bit apprehensive at first, but CAPS eventually convinced me to go to an outpatient program. And for two months this past Summer, I did nothing but that. From July 11th to September 1st, I went there pretty much every week. There were times when I came close to drinking, I admit. And unfortunately, the other day, I did relapse. It was a bad mixture of things going on that week. I know I messed up when I lied to my roommates, and that next morning I felt guilty. Addiction is a cruel disease. I’ve learned to cut out the negative people in my life, and I hope to complete my steps in AA. I go to meetings 5 days a week, at night. I have one tonight. And what I’ve realized is that people actually care for me, and that people care when you’re in recovery. And when you’re addicted to a substance, there is hope for you. You are not a lost cause.”

(2/3) “People started knowing me as the kid who wanted to get drunk, whether it be a Tuesday night or a Wednesday night. Weekend, forget about it, I would be completely plastered. My grades started to tank. I was an A, B student at Seton Hall, and after I transferred, I was lucky to get a B at Rutgers. I kept on making excuses for myself, saying it was transfer shock, all that bullshit. But 2016 is when it started getting even worse. I remember one day I was supposed to study for an exam, and I was studying all day and I thought I could just excuse myself to the bar. I failed the exam. I keep on having reoccurring nightmares about that. I was never in trouble with the law, but I should've been. I never got hospitalized, I never got physical. And I had spoken to people here at Counseling and Psychological Services about this, because there was one time when I went to sleep with shorts on and woke up with jeans on. I had no idea how it happened. And it may sound so trivial, but that was the first time where I was like, ‘Whoa. I’ve been doing this for three years now, and something’s up.’ I realized I was following the wrong footsteps. And luckily for me, CAPS saved my life.”

(1/3) “A close family member of mine is an alcoholic, and up until when I was around 19, I saw what alcohol did to them. They had made many mistakes in their life, some I don’t want to share, but it made me stay away from drinking. I swore never to drink. But there was one night in March of 2013 when I was alone by myself. My parents had gone away on a cruise and I was snapchatting a friend. And this friend was, I don't want to say pressuring me to drink, but that’s what it was. And my parents had some wine in the house that they used for cooking. So like the little sneak I was, I drank it. I had a quarter of the bottle, gotten completely drunk, and it felt good. I didn't think about my parents getting angry at me, and I told my friend about this. The next day, I had gotten drunk again, with him. That year wasn't such a bad year for me. It was only once every couple of weeks. It wasn’t a big thing, and I would think about it, but I would always prioritize my work. But later on in 2014, things changed.”

“Growing up, I played basketball and every year I ended up getting injured. Freshman year of high school, I had a concussion. Sophomore year, I fractured my ankle. Junior year, I dislocated my shoulder. And then this past year before Rutgers, my senior year, I sprained my ACL. I just always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I would go to physical therapy every year, so after going there and learning about my injuries, I started to really have an interest in exercise science. And that’s when I knew what I wanted to do in college and in life.”

“I’m really close with my family. They’re really hard workers and we have a very tight knit bond, so a lot of my values and the way I treat people is a lot how I saw my father and my brother treat their relationships. I’ve been through a lot of shit with my family, I’m sure everyone has, but we’ve all been able to find humor in everything that’s happened to us, just being able to laugh about everything after the fact even when it’s difficult. And I feel like my friendships are very important to me too, and I get that from the closeness with my family. I think these strong relationships have been so important because I’m very shy and I’m very private. It’s always been very hard for me to meet new people, so once I develop those relationships I tend to hold on to them because they’re people that I trust and that I’m comfortable with. I’m not the type of person that easily branches out. I like to find comfort in the relationships that I’ve had the longest.”

“This is my last year here, so I’m trying to be more of a yes man. Today I said yes to getting really dirty. And now I have mud in places mud should never be.”

“Wyatt’s new, he’s about 14-15 weeks old and he’s been with the Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club for only a short period of time. I’ve always had cats my entire life actually, and I’m a pre-vet major, but I’ve been a sitter for these seeing eye puppies since around October of last year. My stepdad is a vet too, so that also helps. For me, my goal right now is to be a small animal vet. I don’t necessarily need to have my own practice, but I would like to work in a small animal hospital. The vet I work for right now, they do small animals and exotics. And the only animal they don’t work with are snakes because both the doctors that work in the hospital are afraid of snakes. Personally, I don’t mind snakes. But I do love puppies.”

“Every football game we have a theme for our tailgate. So this week, since we’re playing Howard and they’re from Texas, we’re having a big Texan BBQ. We all made cowboy hats and matching t-shirts, and the head of our tailgate is Tequila Bob. He's the one that orchestrates all of this. Basically, my whole family has gone to Rutgers so we are very enthusiastic about this stuff. I bring all my friends here for the tailgates, we always have an amazing spread of food, and the chili is the best. That’s in two weeks though, so be sure to come back for some chili. We all love Rutgers and it’s just been really, really cool getting to tailgate with my family throughout my time here.” *

*Yes, Howard is from DC. Let them have their fun, everyone loves a BBQ!

“My freshman year, I used to have this tradition with my roommate. We didn’t have much in common, so we’d always do crossword together. He couldn’t afford to stay in school, so for him, I still keep up with it.”

“It’s my first day and I’m already thinking about double majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Psychology too. I want to work with people who have Alzheimer's because my grandmother has it and I’m hoping to do research and maybe work toward finding a cure. When I was younger, we were really close because she was in her right frame of mind. We used to always go to my grandmother’s house on Sundays, have a nice home-cooked meal and stuff like that. But to see how her mind is going, I really wanted to take this time to work with Alzheimer's because she’s had such a big influence on my life and on my father’s life too."

“People come to this country to seek economic opportunity. It’s a story that we’ve seen happen for many, many years. For me, I’ve found opportunities here at Rutgers that have helped me in the working world. I’ve started 4 different student organizations here. Freshman year I started a local chapter of Feel Good, a non-profit organization centered around social entrepreneurship. I started a group called RU Global Network, which is a community of people who have studied abroad. I’m a founding member of Phi Mu Delta. And just recently I submitted the application and registration form for my fourth one, which will be the Pokemon Trainers Club. It’s actually these student organizations that have helped me prepare for the real world, and for the internship I had this Summer at Prudential. Collaborating with others, really working with different people and with policy has prepared me for the business side of things, which is what I’m studying here. Oh, and I’ve also served two terms on RUSA so I sort of feel obligated to get people involved! Lots of exciting stuff coming this year.”

“A couple weeks ago, one of my coworkers went on vacation for three weeks. They made me his replacement and I was doing everything. We work for a company called Copia Interactive and I started out working for them straight out of high school, but got to see the other side while this coworker was away. I liked it. During that time, I was doing business development and account management, and I was dealing with operations. I go to Rutgers right now for computer science, but I’ve learned a lot through interning at this company. For me, programming is boring. I want to be the operations guy who connects the business side to the tech side. I want to have my feet in both doors.”

“I’m an international student from India and before coming to Rutgers, I was really into sports and leadership roles. However, in my junior year of high school, I was introduced to the concept of Model UN, and that’s when I truly developed my passion for the United Nations, for debating, and for getting into academics and political science. Since coming to Rutgers, I’ve further explored these passions, and it’s made me realize the importance of international affairs and how vital it is for people to come together at an international level to discuss solutions to various problems around the world. I think it all starts with people like you and me, the youth, and educating people early on. That’s why I’m very excited to be interning for a non-profit that organizes the Youth Assembly at the United Nations. They’ve been doing this for about 18 years now, focusing on the sustainable development goals for 2030. And my favorite is promoting quality education. That means getting educated at a global level and understanding the difference between right and wrong so you can make use of yourself in the best possible way. That way we can work together and take the next step toward transforming vision into action.”

“I’m working down in Trenton right now at the Chamber of Commerce and I help in government affairs, which is their lobbying section. When you’re working in government, you see the entire process. And while there are some good aspects of it, how lobbying groups show that citizens care and that they’re trying to get their voice to their representatives, you also get this insatiable need to win every battle. And I think a lot of it comes down to greed, and people wanting more for themselves. The legislators want to get their legislation through, the lobby groups want their interests represented, the workers that are getting contracted out through government agencies want more money, more benefits, and people who are representing different constituents want different things too. So it’s a little disheartening, because you will see something so good just get lost in issues that really don’t have any reason to be there. But greed can easily come from someone who’s trying to do the right thing too. The troubling thing about trying to do the right thing in government is that people will capitalize on your want to get something done. Once they know that you want something done, the whole process becomes transactional. ‘What are you willing to give to get your idea accomplished?’ is the question everyone is faced with in government because everyone else is blocking your way with their hand out. And some people will breach ethics to get what they want because in their eyes they see it as more utilitarian. Humans are fallible. And I think it’s better to look at it as having temporarily clouded judgement. At least that’s what’s made me feel a little better about working in government.”

“When I came to Rutgers, I wasn’t anywhere near where I am now. I was a bio major and I think I was just confused. I came in thinking, ‘Let me be a doctor, let me make good money.’ And it was a lot of pressure to make a good decision. But all throughout high school, my focus was set on Latin. I took it for 4 years and I absolutely loved it, so when I came here pursuing Biology and doing terribly in Chemistry, it was killing me. I realized I couldn't be a bio major if I loved Latin so much and decided to change my major to Classics. Sure, it’s an unconventional major, but it’s a passion. And I think what I really like about Latin is that everything is in the fine details. I learned a lot about grammar and language from Latin, and those things got me into editing too. Through further research about my major, I found publishing and I realized I could be an editor. That’s what brought me to the Daily Targum and now to Rutgers Press too. I’m an editorial intern and I’m happy to say I’ve finally found my purpose and my passion; I get to be a part of the extensive process that goes into formatting and publishing books around the country.”

"Coming to Rutgers, freshman year was a really big jump for me from where I was in high school, and it was a little bit difficult to keep up with at first. Now after my first year here, I feel incredibly thankful to even have an internship. I've never really had a job before so this has been another big step for me. I'm working for a German chemical company called BASF and more specifically with their information management team. It's been a humbling experience, working with a big company's data, putting together presentations and working on a number of projects. But it's opened my eyes to show me that no matter where I am, I'll always be learning something new. Some of these projects are expected to take about 3 years, so these are long term goals. But we're taking it step by step. One of my coworkers once said to me, 'This may be tedious work right now, but this is going to make such a big difference for the company one day.' And that's made me feel more appreciated as an intern. I'm learning that I like when there's work to be done, and I'm actually a little afraid that I might turn into a workaholic one day, just because I really enjoy it so much. I've been able to work with people who have a diverse knowledge based on all their experiences, and when I look back on this internship, I think it'll be those people that put a smile on my face that I will always remember."

"During my sophomore year, my friend Rachel convinced me to take a political campaigning class with her. At first, I hesitated because I never really had any experience with campaigns. She insisted, so I gave it a chance. That's when I met Maggie Moran. Over the course of the semester, I found my passion for campaigning and for politics through her work. I got involved in creating my own grassroots campaign on campus and later, got the opportunity to intern at Maggie's company, Kivvit, where I've returned this summer. I also had the opportunity to intern for the Hillary Clinton campaign. I've really learned the importance of getting involved and campaigning ever since. I believe in the value and success of government, but know that it only works when people are aware and engaged. These days, it's sad to see that many people fall into neither of those categories, which means they neither understand why they're upset with government nor vote. I want my impact to change that. Since taking that class my sophomore year, I've been more active in politics, learning and making a difference with others every day. And that happened because I took a chance and met Maggie, who has been a great inspiration to me."

"When I was in high school, I started to have a lot of health problems. I was playing travel soccer, I was a runner and I was very into dance. But tumors kept me from staying active. I didn't have cancer and I don't have cancer now, but it was still very grueling. And after surgeries, appointments and having to quit all that, I realized that music and the music community started to mean a lot more to me. Right now I'm interning at Columbia Records. And they're just so excited to actually hear our ideas and care about our insight. It's really special. But what helped get me here was working with local bands and working for a non-profit called Living The Dream Foundation too. We bring sick kids to concerts and hang out with their favorite bands. They knew my story and took me to Warped Tour before I started working for them myself. And that day was when things really clicked for me. I realized I could do something for people like me who really love music and who need the distraction from all of the heavy, health related obstacles that they deal with. And it's why I love being in this business. Music is very powerful and it's really awesome to get to use a band's following and their platform for something that really matters."