Back in 2019, when I was a senior in high school and preparing to apply to colleges, I was set on attending an out-of-state college. I applied to many colleges out of state, and Rutgers was basically my last choice. When I realized how expensive out-of-state colleges were, I decided to look at my options for staying in state. At this point, I still did not want to consider Rutgers.
Though after talking with some of my teachers and researching on my own, I decided to commit to Rutgers. As my first year of college ends, I can say that I do not regret my decision.
One of the reasons I did not want to attend Rutgers was because I felt that everyone I knew from high school went there. I felt like I was just following in the footsteps of the people I already knew. It was a dreadful decision to stay in state, but I soon realized that I am glad that I chose Rutgers.
I thought I would become independent if I went out of state but soon realized that I could still have independence without having to move far. Being away from my parents, I still gained a new sense of independence being at college.
I found it easier to be apart from my parents since I was still able to see them on the weekends. Approximately 81 percent of Rutgers students are in-state, so I met many fellow New Jerseyeans.
One of the perks of living in state was being able to go home whenever I felt like. Talking to my hometown friends who went out of state and told me about how they missed their parents made me realize I was very lucky. I found it comforting that I could go home any weekend to see them.
Not only is location important, but academics are as well. A huge factor that I had to consider was academics. I believed that Rutgers would be the best fit for me to study political science for my undergraduate degree. I had many opportunities to continue my education and expand my knowledge, like potentially studying abroad. Rutgers offers a wide variety of countries that students can choose from.
This unquestionably swayed me to consider choosing Rutgers since I always wanted to study in another country. Rutgers is also known for its sports and community. I wanted to attend a college that had school spirit and recognition for its sports programs. I wanted the real “college experience” that involved going to football games and basketball games while having fun on the weekends.
What makes Rutgers so special is its students. Rutgers has a diverse student body. There are many cultural clubs, and just as many for different hobbies and interests. Although I did not get to join many clubs this year, I definitely will join more next year.
Rutgers is a huge school and can be daunting at times, but I always felt reaching out of my comfort zone was the best way to meet new people. There are many opportunities to meet new people. By joining clubs, you can meet people that have the same interests as you do.
Another bonus of attending Rutgers is that the College Avenue campus is right in the middle of New Brunswick. There are so many places that offer entertainment and dining. Downtown New Brunswick has a variety of restaurants such as Ramen Nagomi (my favorite), Fat Cactus Cantina and many more. Each campus offers many different things.
The Cook and Douglass campuses have scenic views, and the College Avenue campus has incredible museums such as the Zimmerli Museum and the Rutgers Geology Museum.
Especially with warmer weather, you can see many students lounging outside while enjoying the weather. Conveniently, right next to Barnes and Noble is the train station, which many students take advantage of to explore New York or go home for the weekend.
I am not denying that Rutgers does have its downsides, but it certainly has many strengths that are available to its students. Rutgers Business School, the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and other various departments are well-known and offer the best quality of education. Aside from quality education, the clubs and friendships formed at Rutgers are also key to the college experience.
Spending my weekends eating out, going to games and partying with my friends have been highlights of my experience attending Rutgers. I encourage students to consider Rutgers as one of their options as they begin their college journey.
Daisy Lopez-Ortiz is a first-year in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish. Her column, "Food for Thought," runs on alternate Tuesdays.
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