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Humans of Rutgers

"I work at Cisco Systems here in New York. What I do there right now is mediocre intern stuff, some would say, but I feel like it's really much bigger than that. For me, it's all about selling. And it's not only selling a product, it's about selling you as a person too. It's about how you can present yourself. And honestly, I don't have the best GPA. I don't have all that. I'm part of a club or two, similar to a lot of the students at Rutgers. But I can talk. I can make myself known as a valuable member of this company. It's all about confidence. And some people have trouble with that, with self-esteem issues. I've had my fair share of issues with that as well. In my freshman year of college, I was in a very dark place. But whenever I'm down, and I still battle with that depression at times, I think about the good things in my life. I got a job here in New York City, I have a family who I'm very grateful for, I have friends and decent grades that I can be proud of. If you can truly be proud of who you are, and if you can channel that confidence at important moments, then you can accomplish anything. And I really believe that. Always show up feeling like a winner."

"I remember blowing out my 15 candles at my quincea–era like it was just yesterday. Then 18 came, and now I'm turning 23 in August. And 25 is right there. I used to envision myself, at this age, so well put together and far beyond where I am right now. In community college I was so motivated, I got honor roll, I had two internships at the same time and my parents could hardly recognize me. The high school Caroline who was the biggest procrastinator, who had no motivation and who didn't care about school was now this new person who loved to learn and loved to write, and who loved putting herself out there. But even today, I feel like I need to find her and get her back. It's just hard to keep that momentum going. Right now I'm interning as a recruiter at Randstad Professionals, helping people find jobs. But I'm still trying to find what makes my soul sing. My parents are my biggest supporters and they're my greatest motivators. My mom tells me every day, 'You have so much potential. You have something different and I see it. But it makes me mad that while you know your worth, your mind isn't letting you go there.' But that's because I'm not the same anymore. I have a different perspective on life. I'm trying to find the old Caroline, but also find the new me and mend them together. And this push from my parents, and from professors at a time when I'm close to graduating; it only makes me want to rise even further and prove to myself that I can do it."

"Since starting my co-op with Johnson & Johnson back in January, I've had my hands on one of the biggest and most rewarding projects within their pharmaceutical distribution company, JOM. It's an eco-cooler program where we've established a reusable shipping solution to send to pharmacies, hospitals and other customers too. Through this program, we've already eliminated over 450,000 pounds of garbage from the waste stream. That's hundreds of trucks that didn't have to get dumped in a landfill. I've been working on the analytics behind all of this, proving the business case that although it may not be as efficient as other shipping solutions, from the green perspective it makes much more sense and it is definitely a viable solution. We've invested a lot of money in this so far. And by the time I leave, they'll have the framework ready for really getting this out there and for investing a whole lot more into this new program."

(3/3) "I think mental illness is something that touches everybody in some way. And yet, at the same time, it's so easily brushed aside. People always say to treat someone with depression just like they have diabetes. And it's really not the same thing. I'm still in the process of learning everything there is to learn. But after working around here and doing more research for a couple years, I want to go into a PhD program for clinical psychology. And I specifically want to work with younger groups of people dealing with anxiety, OCD and depression. It's so much easier to help someone when they're younger because their mind is so malleable. And not in the manipulative way, but in a way where they can learn so much more and where they're not as closed off to learning new ways of looking at the world. This work has been another thing pushing me toward getting better myself too. And I think that's important because it would be hypocritical of me to be helping other people overcome their fears and anxieties if I can't even overcome my own. So if I really want to do this, I also have to be there for myself."

(1/3) "I'm really interested in child psychology and that's where I want to be in the future. Children are really vulnerable, and people don't realize it, but they hear, see, and perceive everything around them; and they take it all in. There are so many times when I'm thinking back on my own childhood where I wish I could've helped myself. And I think I've always been someone who wanted to help people because I feel like there was a lot of pain in my family growing up. I wanted to fix things but didn't know exactly how. And after spending so much time here preparing for medical school, I ended up canceling my MCAT 5 days before I took it. I decided to stick to my interest in psychology and now I'm working at the Psych Labs on Busch, and specifically in the Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic. At this point in my life, I feel like doing anything else would be disingenuous to myself and to everything I believe in. Especially as I deal with my own OCD and the anxiety and depression that has come along with it."

(2/3) "The anxiety, and fear, and guilt and sadness, and paranoia and all of these things that I experience, they all feel so real. And they make you think that whatever it is you're doing is wrong. Whoever it is I'm interacting with, however I'm living my life, however I'm breathing, however I'm thinking, everything is wrong. And it really feels like that. And you can have someone tell you a million times that it's not, but when you're sitting there, having an anxiety attack at the dinner table, it feels so real. And the thing I've learned through all of this is that I still have a lot of things I need to figure out for myself. I've come a long way. But there's still so much I need to do for myself so that I can be where I want to be. The support system I have is everything to me. But I feel like acknowledging your struggles, and talking about them, and appreciating that support along the way is so important."

"When I was first coming out to my parents, the idea that I wouldn't be living with them, that I could possibly get kicked out, became very real. And so that was kind of the fire under my ass to get working and to get a job. I've been interning and working in New York City ever since. Starting at 17, 18 years old, I knew it'd be hard. and I knew it wouldn't be easy as a writer. And while I didn't get kicked out, the fear and the idea of it drove me to get out there. Right now I'm working for a niche magazine called Passport. We're a gay luxury travel magazine. And I mostly cover domestic travel, but next month I'm going to Madrid. It's my first international detail, so I'm on my way."

"I really like the idea of personal brands and being able to make something of yourself. And at this point, I've done tons of research on social media, branding and advertising too. It's brought me to the city for my fifth internship, working as a marketing and communications intern for a modern furniture and design company called Vitra. And while my major at Rutgers is Journalism and Media Studies, I've really been focusing on the media part. I think it's interesting how important and prominent social media marketing is today, and I'm learning that my courses and experience in the field can really be useful. It's something every company can benefit from at this point, and it's almost a necessity for the growth and success of a business. In the middle of all these classes and all of this work, it's hard to step back and realize that I'm actually learning a lot through my time and my experience. But I'm growing more confident and I'm starting to feel like I can actually help a company where it matters most. For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm doing well and taking advantage of all of my resources."

Throughout the Summer, I will be sharing some stories of Rutgers students who are extending their education and experience to the world of internships and learning outside of the classroom. If you've got an internship lined up for the Summer in the Tri-State area surrounding the Rutgers campuses, feel free to message Humans of Rutgers University telling me about your experience. Let's connect and share your story!

"I'm here to learn. To learn about the pressing issues that are really going to wind up posing more significant problems down the road if they're not taken care of or spearheaded by people like us. Learning is important, especially for people our age, because it's going to be on us to eventually handle these problems that are coming about. And I feel a pretty solid responsibility to know as much as I can about them in order to help fix them in some way, shape or form. You look at the way society's moving now, and it's not going in a good direction. And I think part of the problem is that people aren't spending enough time learning about certain things that are important. Something I've learned here is that, there really isn't a limit to what you can learn. Opportunity is not as scarce as people may think it is. You hear people saying, 'What can I do? I'm just one person.' And I haven't done much yet myself, but that's really because right now it's more important for me to learn about these things. And at the end of the day, I think that Rutgers, above all else, has taught me that there are far more opportunities than people may think there are and that cynicism isn't really warranted."

"My father passed away at a very young age, so growing up, I was surrounded by the 3 women in my house; my mom and my two sisters. Being the first one to graduate a 4 year college and to be the only male figure in my home is so meaningful to me and my family. There were a few people up there today whose fathers were able to give them their awards. A few men who work for Rutgers were able to see their children and their students graduate. And that was so special to see because while my father was never here to do that, I envisioned him being here today and being proud of me. I'm all about the moment and enjoying the present, so as these thoughts were going through my mind, I stood my ground and took it all in. It was very touching, and I really do appreciate all of my time spent here. It's been real."

"I've been here almost 25 years and I can tell you that there are genuine cycles that often follow the global politics or economics in the world. I've known classes which have come out in very challenging times, and they've been somewhat pessimistic about the future. I've known classes which have thought that maybe their lives would not be as good as their parents'. But what they often realize, I think, is that these things come around again, and it's just really extraordinarily exciting to be here at a time when the opportunities for the class graduating this year, at this time and with this education, is just really unparalleled in a generation. And one thing I often think about this time of year is that after you graduate, you might go out, and you'll travel the world and you'll meet new people, and you'll have new adventures, find new work and have different times in your life; but you'll also realize that once you go out, you can travel the whole world and you will, in many ways, never find what you first found here."

"Unfortunately, I really like Orgo; just because I feel like I've struggled with it more than your average human. And I don't know if that's valid because everyone struggles with it, but when it comes to Orgo and the upper level science classes, I put a lot of myself into it. I'm one of those people who are willing to sacrifice a lot for my grades. It's just been hard for me because I was disappointed in myself for not doing as well as I wanted to. When you don't get the direct result, it's really hard to just keep going. It's really hard to tell yourself that it's going to be worth it; maybe not tomorrow, maybe not by next year, and maybe not in the next few years. But it's taught me to expect the unexpected. My main struggle that I've been facing is taking an unconventional path. But I'm hanging in there."

"Class of 1956. This is our 60th anniversary. I graduated with about 800 students and there are about 40 or 50 of us here tonight. We've all kept in touch over the years, and it's because we were very active and involved on campus. We were considered The Class of Rutgers. We paid for the clock on Barnes & Noble, the diving board in the Olympic pool and the student softball field over by Sonny Werblin. We've helped pay for Willie the Silent refurbishing and we're paying for the renovation of the Kirkpatrick Chapel this year. We're still here and we're still getting involved."

"It's Bring Your Child to Work Day and for us Rutgers moms over at the Rutgers University School of Social Work, we've got a whole day planned for the kids. We're about to head over to the Zimmerli Art Museum for a tour!"

"My grandfather passed away right when I got here, my first semester. And it was tough coming here after messing up at community college too. I'm a couple years older now, and the whole journey of finding myself has been crazy. But my grandfather always gave me a simple piece of life advice that I still hold onto through it all. 'Do your best because no one can ask more of you.' He literally said that to me every day before I went to school. My parents were always around, I'm very blessed to have both my parents and an older sister. But my mom and dad had to work; teacher and port authority, respectively. They worked Monday through Friday so my grandparents raised me. And everyday before school, up until the time he passed, my grandfather would tell me to try my best before walking out the door. And it still rings true today. So other than the stereotypical grandfather trying to teach you how to be a man type of thing, teaching me how to box at the age of 4 years old, he taught me how to give it my best. And after wasting my time in the past, I've been giving it my best and working my ass off here at Rutgers. I finally graduate next month."

Today in hotdog fashion

"In high school, I always enjoyed taking classes that changed the way I look at things. And if you get lucky enough to take a class that's not only interesting, but also taught by a passionate professor, then you walk out thinking about the world in a different way than when you came in. So when I started college, I knew I wanted to study engineering. I chose civil engineering because what I'm really interested in is large scale projects, like buildings and bridges. And civil engineering really has to do a lot with structures and making sure things don't fall down. It's about trying to combat all these different forces and stresses, and trying to keep things balanced. I think balance can be applied to a lot of things in life. Balancing between work and play and between family and friends. Finding a good balance can really change your life."

"I'm from Edison. And I'm out here because of divorce. When we split, she took the house, she took the car, she took everything. I never thought in a million years that I'd be in this situation, but now I see the other side. When I first got here, I tried going to a shelter, but people were messing around and drinking every night, and I can't be doing that. That's not for me. I don't know man, I've been out here for some time now. But hopefully I'll get back on my feet, and things will turn around."

"The old Targum office brings back so many memories. You know how they say, 'Never forget where you come from'? So this is not where I come from. I don't even come from New Jersey, I come from India. But, at one point in my life, for a very long time, this was home. And I don't mean that metaphorically, I mean that literally. I worked here, I ate here, I slept here, laughed here, cried here and made all my friends here. It became a home for all of us, and it's where I really got my start. I knew I wanted to study journalism before I came to Rutgers, but the determination got so much stronger when we were out here producing a paper every day. And it might just sound like a student club, but it's actually real world journalism. And when I did that every single day, I realized that this is what I want to do for life. All my internships that I've had in the past, and the internship I have right now at 60 Minutes; nothing would've been possible without The Daily Targum. I've learned so much from starting as a desk assistant and working my way up to News Editor. But one thing that will stick with me, is that among the pressures and the deadlines, the errors, the fights and the crazy nights, I found my success."