Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Coming to college means that you have to prepare for a lot of changes in your life. You have to get used to dorm living, prepare for new challenges, and live independently away from your family. Lots of people will tell you that the hardest transition is maintaining yourself physically. They’ll tell you to use the campus gym and to be careful in the dining hall, because it’s very easy to stop taking care of your body once you come to school and live on your own. One thing that many people forget, however, is that you can’t focus on just your body; you have to worry about your mental health, as well.

I’m Luke Langner, a 3/5 Mechanical Engineering major from Jefferson Township, New Jersey. When I first came to Stevens, I was worried about the same things as everyone else. How am I going to make new friends? What if my classes are too tough? What clubs and activities should I join? Like many other students, I focused on developing those aspects of my life, and soon my sleep schedule and mental state began to suffer because of it.

If this sounds like something you may find yourself falling prey to during your time at Stevens, have no fear! Stevens is equipped to help students that find themselves struggling with their mental health while at Stevens. The Stevens Counseling and Psychological Service (CAPS) have many different opportunities, such as short-term/group counseling, off-campus referrals, and other psychiatric services for those in need. Even if you’re hesitant about signing up for their services, you can participate in a free mental health screening to get a better idea of your personal needs. You can also utilize the campus’ CARE team if you believe that you or someone you know may be going through a personal mental struggle.

Stevens is a ‘Stigma-Free’ campus, meaning that we are a community of people who are aware of mental illness and who strive to further educate ourselves and help others. There are always others willing to lend a helping hand on campus, and we encourage you to take advantage of these resources if you or anyone else you know find yourself in need!

Asking for Help

College is a very exciting time with all the new experiences heading your way, but there are also a lot of new responsibilities. Between living on your own, classes, and activities, things might seem a little stressful. Even as life at Stevens gets busy, you never need to fear as there are so many ways to ask for help.

I’m Maggie Pavlick, a 2/5 Mechanical engineering major from Monmouth Beach, New Jersey. I remember wondering how I would possibly figure out how to keep up with classwork and living in a whole new environment, but it ended up being a much easier process than I expected. This was because I made sure to take full advantage off all the resources I was offered at Stevens. That’s why I want to let you  know how they can take advantage of those resources too and let freshman year be smooth sailing.

For some, managing classes in the most difficult part of school. That’s why there are always tutors available to make sure you never fall behind on your work. Tutors are upperclassmen who previously excelled in the classes that you are taking now. Signing up for a tutor is easy and can provide the one on one help that anyone may need. Even if you are not struggling in the class and are just looking to do some extra reviewing, the tutors will tailor their sessions to whatever you need to succeed. If a tutor isn’t for you, but you still have some questions here and there, the academic support center is located on the top floor of the library and always armed with knowledgeable upperclassmen who can help you with the courses they took in the past; just walk right in! Finally professors and teachers assistants want students to do well in their classes and will go out of their way to answer questions and hold office hours, so never be afraid to ask.

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Outside of academics, there are many people you can ask about all kinds of questions. Your resident assistant (RA) will be right on your floor to answer questions about dorms or roommates. Throughout the year you can always come back to your peer leaders to ask about clubs and activities, classes, or even just the best place to get a slice of pizza. Everyone goes into college with questions and fears and there isn’t anyone who doesn’t need help sometimes, but with a great support network, you will soon have all the answers.

Living on Campus

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I’m Matthew Monaco, a 2/5 computer science student from Branchburg, New Jersey. One of the most frightening aspects of college for me was the fact that I would be living away from family in a place that I barely know. Thankfully, on campus housing is the best way to make this transition because everything you need is right around you.

By living on-campus, you can take advantage of all the activities that go on over the course of the year. From comedians to cultural events, grocery bingo to midnight breakfast, there is always something for you and your friends to do. If you aren’t in the mood to go to an event, there are so many places to relax and destress.

One of the best attributes of Stevens is the campus is so easy to get around; everything is just a short walk away. I always woke up early for classes, but if you like to over use the snooze button, you can still get to your class in just a few minutes. The campus size is also super beneficial when you are walking back to your dorm after watching movies in your friend’s dorm until the middle of the night.

One of the big worries that many students and parents have about living on campus is safety. At Stevens, the campus police are always around and I have never felt scared on campus. In the event you do not feel safe, you can call the campus police non-emergency line to get a ride back to your dorm.

Campus Police Main Number – Dial 201.216.5105

Campus Police Emergency Number – 201.216.3911

 

Off Campus Housing

This may be your first year here at Stevens, but you may be wondering what it is like to be an upperclassman. I am Antonio Elters and I lived in Davis Hall my freshman year. Living in Davis was an amazing experience and I made some of the best friends at Stevens through my floor. I currently live off campus in Stevens leased housing at the 800 Madison location and could not be happier!!

When it is time to apply for housing at the end of your first year, people usually try and find a group of people to live with. If you don’t have a group of friends, don’t worry! Residence life will try and place you in an apartment with others who also need roommates as well!

Living off campus is a great experience because it is one step closer to adulthood in a sense. I am living basically on my own where I cook, clean, do my own laundry etc and it is nice to be more independent. I have my own apartment through Stevens, so it is nice to have more space to myself as well as great amenities like laundry, a gym/pool, and a stunning rooftop view. Having an RA is a nice touch as well because whenever I lock myself out or need maintenance in my room, I can just call my RA and they will help me out with the process. My building isn’t too far from campus and there are shuttles that run all throughout the day, so whether I want to walk or to take the shuttle, I know I can get to campus pretty quickly. Living with roommates it super fun too because they are some of my best friends, and I can always rely on them if I need help with anything. All in all living off campus is a fantastic experience and I enjoy it a lot!

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Commuting to Campus

Commuting to campus can seem like a hassle and too much work for its worth, but you can still have a great college experience while saving money on those housing costs. I’m Ria Salvacion and I’m a sophomore Quantitative Finance major. I spent my freshman year commuting onto campus from home and I will be commuting again for my sophomore year.

Living in Jersey City, which is just one city over from Hoboken, it seemed like a good fit for me to stay living at home. I was pretty jealous of my friends living on campus who didn’t need to get up nearly as early as I did in order to make it to class on time. It was pretty frustrating and one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t be able to make friends because I wasn’t living on campus. However, I was proven wrong because the Stevens community is so welcoming and I didn’t have an issue making friends with both commuters and those who live on campus.

Commuting definitely isn’t as easy as living on campus, but I don’t think it really ruins the college experience. Also, if you have friends on campus they are usually more than happy to help you out with anything you might need whether it’s a guest swipe into the dining hall or if you need somewhere to crash the night before a big final you spent all night studying for (just be sure to fill out the proper paperwork!!). Here are my top 5 commuter life tips:

Top 5 Commuting Tips

  • Make friends who live on campus. It’s a huge help to have someone’s room you can drop your stuff off in when you have a long day (with their permission of course). Sometimes they have extra guest swipes too for the dining hall so that’s also a plus.
  • Try to join a club or two. I know it can be hard to go to events on campus as a commuter because they’re usually held in the evening, but being part of a club is a great way to make friends and to become part of the community on campus.
  • Take advantage of the different lounges on campus. Stevens has multiple lounges on campus which all have tables to do work on as well as couches which are great for naps in the middle of the day.
  • If you’re commuting by train, the Transloc Rider app will be your best friend. It’ll let you know when each Stevens shuttle is arriving to the pick up locations if the weather is bad or if you don’t feel like walking all the way up to campus. 
  • Most importantly, DON’T. FORGET. YOUR. UMBRELLA. It’s the worst when it’s raining out and you can’t just run to your dorm to grab an umbrella or rain coat.

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Packing for College

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What to Pack: Instate Perspective

Written by 5/5 Mechanical Engineering student, Mary Libera.

The beauty of living relatively close to home is that you don’t necessarily need to worry about packing every little thing for an entire year. If you forget something, it can be easily mailed, or a parent or friend could always drive to drop it off at Stevens for you. When I was first trying to think about what and how to pack for leaving for college, I did a lot of google searches, which were helpful and might provide some ideas you’d otherwise forget! Some of the big essentials include:

  • Clothes (obviously!)
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Snacks
  • Storage containers
  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave
  • Decorations (pictures, lights, and supplies like Command strips!)

In terms of clothing, you really only need to pack for one season if you live close by. I packed my summer and fall clothes, but left my bulky winter sweaters, boots, and jackets behind. When I went home for Thanksgiving break, I was able to swap out my summer and early fall wardrobe for my more wintery clothes. This method of swapping out what you do and don’t need is really helpful since the dorms aren’t huge. Not going overboard on packing will help to make sure you’ve got plenty of space to hang out in your dorm!

Before I moved in, I did a big shopping trip to Costco and stocked up on granola bars, pretzels, water bottles, etc. to keep in my room. Even though the dining hall is really close to the dorms, sometimes grabbing a quick snack between classes, or having fuel if you’re studying in your dorm, is really convenient.

Decorating my dorm was one of my favorite things to do once I was unpacked and settled. I hung up pictures, lights, and posters to make the space feel like my own. A box of command strips or some sticky tack goes a long way in helping decorate your room, and lets you hang things without damaging the walls. Adding pictures and mementos from home also helped with homesickness when I was missing my family!

Packing to leave for college can seem a little daunting at first, but the nice thing about living close to home is that it’s not a huge deal if you forget something or over-pack and have to send some things home. Make a list of everything you want to bring, start to get organized a couple days before you leave, and you’ll be all set to move in and get settled!

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What to Pack: Out of State Perspective

Written by Junior Physics student, Kaitlin Gili.

Packing can be frustrating, especially when you live out of state. I happen to be from Florida, which forced me to ask the question: do I drive or do I fly? I believe that answering this question is the first step in the packing process. See, if you drive, you can bring up anything that will fit in your vehicle; this limits the things that you need to purchase up North and you don’t have to worry about getting any items lost in transit. However, the drive can be long and infeasible depending on your starting point.

Fly or Drive?

If you’re up for the road trip, then I would suggest driving. This does depend on where you are coming from, however, and if cost is a big factor for you, I would do the research for difference in travel cost before you make the decision. Road tripping can also be a nice family adventure before you leave them for a while. One of the sad things about going out of state is that you won’t get to see your family as often, so a nice two day car trip could be just what you need for some bonding time.

After deciding your method of transportation, then you can adjust your packing strategy. Divide your items into things that you need and things that you want. Make sure that you can first fit the things that you need into your luggage/containers. These items include clothes (winter and summer), shoes, dorm supplies, technology (phone, laptop, chargers, etc.), toiletries, and snacks (yes, snacks are a necessity).

Packing

The absolute worst part about packing out of state is that you have to bring all of your summer AND winter clothes with you because you might not have a chance to go back home and get your winter clothes before it gets cold. Thus, your packing list should be as follows:

  1. Light rain jackets AND winter coats
  2. Shorts AND warm jeans
  3. Sandals AND boots

The good thing is that all of your furniture will be in your dormitory and you won’t need many extra items. Although, a mini fridge and a microwave could be helpful for late night snacking. My advice is to coordinate with your roommates in advance. You really only need one mini fridge, so if you live out of state and they live in New Jersey, maybe you could split the cost, and ask if they could bring it to campus.

After you know that you have room for the things that you need, then you can plan to bring the things that you want such as sentimental items, decorations for your room, collectable items, movies/video games, and lots of fluffy blankets (would

recommend this). These types of things you can bring up little by little as you go home because you may not have enough room in your dormitory anyway.

Now, let’s go back to talking about normal human things such as sleeping and food. Make sure that you pack the proper bedding for your dormitory. For any dormitory, you will need twin extra long sheets and a comforter. I’m going to be real with you, the more blankets, the better. Plus, a mattress pad won’t hurt.

As for snacks, do you really need them? Yes. Because while you have dining plan, Pierce Dining Hall closes at midnight. I’m sure you will all experience that sprint at 11:55 for pizza, but it is also nice just to have a few snacks in your room in case you get hungry.

Don’t Stress

My last piece of advice is to not let packing be stressful and to just have fun with it! You’re about to go to a new place and start a new journey, and these are the items that you’re choosing to bring with you. Make sure that you have the functional necessities and the things that make you happy. Stevens is going to feel like home to you eventually, so you might as well make it your home. It’s not a vacation (although it may feel like it at times). Pack like your moving to a new place, not like your visiting a new place. Make a packing list, double check it, have your mom check it (this will probably make her happy), and then don’t think about it. If you forget something, then you can always get it shipped or pick it up on your next trip home. So don’t stress, happy packing!

 

Talking with Professors

Do I even need to talk to the Professors?

You might be wondering if you can just go to lectures, take notes, and go home without ever confronting with the professors themselves. It’s true that you can just avoid talking with your professor, but if you want to thoroughly understand the class material, get some unexpected opportunities, and make the most of the college experience, then there’s no way around it: you need to talk with your professor!

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What topics can I talk with my Professor about?

You can reach out to your Professor whenever you feel like you may be struggling with the class. Although it’s good to ask questions in-class, you need to be mindful of how many questions you’ve already asked. During the limited time of a lecture, your Professor needs to cover every topic scheduled, and a lot of your fellow classmates have questions too. Therefore, it is best to save some questions to ask your professor in person. This way, you’ll get a more detailed explanation, and the Professor will get to know you better too.

Pro tip: It is awesome to ask your Professor questions relating to the material, but when it comes to homework, it is better to ask your TAs (Teacher Assistants) as they will be the ones who grade it.

Not only can you talk with the Professors you have lectures with, but you can also talk to Stevens Research Faculty to get a chance to do a cool summer research too! It can be difficult to get research opportunities your freshman year, but getting to know professors early on can help you start building avenues for research opportunities. Therefore, asking them early and getting to know what’s involved in the project is a great way to get ahead.

You can also ask your professor when you get your quizzes back and have some trouble understanding some questions. Don’t be shy even if you didn’t get a good grade. The professor will be glad to help you.

When can I talk to my Professor?

You can talk to your Professor right after class but usually there will be another class then, so they would only have time to answer some quick questions. The best time to talk to your Professor is during their office hours. Even if you can’t make it to office hours (because of another class, sports practice, …), don’t worry! You can still email the professor and schedule another time with them.

Final Thoughts

Your professor may have a lot of connections so if they can see your efforts and determination, you might even get an unexpected internship/research opportunity. Have fun talking with your professors, and have fun making the most of your college experience!

Written by sophomore, Computer Science major, Hein Bui.

 

Academics

My name is Kristine Pedersen and I’m a 4/5 Biology student from New Hampshire. There’s a lot I wish I would have known about the academics here at Stevens so I hope I can help by addressing the top 3 things I would have found helpful when I first arrived.

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1. Ask for help

Stevens has a lot to offer but can be difficult at times, so it’s important to remember that the professors are there to answer questions. You never know how far a 10 minute conversation will go, and you might even have the same professors for other classes, so it’s good to get to know them early on. College is all about making connections and leaving your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and deans because the earlier you become comfortable asking for help, the better prepared you are for harder classes.

2. Don’t be afraid to fail.

It’s important to remember that Stevens isn’t like high school and the course load is extremely different. I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to not get straight A’s, if that’s what you were used to in high school. Don’t let yourself get worked up over B’s or C’s if that’s where you find yourself, because Stevens is a well known school and people know the curriculum to be difficult.

3. Study.

The academics here are sometimes harder than expected, so you might have to study more than you’re used to for big exams. Because you’re coming to Stevens, you’re probably very smart and get good grades. In college, it’s not enough to study for things the night before, so it sounds simple, but MANAGE. YOUR. TIME. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you leave things for the last minute. Studying ahead of time and getting all your homework done early will help you a lot because other things could always pop up and it’s better to be prepared.

I hope you can learn from my experiences here at Stevens. I definitely learned a lot in my 3 years here and hope you found some of this helpful. Good luck and see you soon!

 

Living with Roommates

Jake’s Story

Living with a roommate (or roommates) can be interesting, especially if it is your first time living with someone else! The good news is that there are a ton of ways to make your experience amazing, and here are a few ways to go about doing just that.

I’m Jake Meiskin, a 3/5 Engineering Management major from Freehold, New Jersey, and here’s a couple things I did to make my time with my roommate enjoyable for both of us. I was in Davis Hall with a single roommate as a freshman, and I made sure to talk to him prior to move-in day. Constantly connecting with your roommate allows you to have a great relationship within the room, and you make a great friend while doing it! Whether you play a lot of FIFA or enjoy talking about rap music, your roommate should also be your friend, and you should try to find something in common.

Setting ground rules for the room should be something discussed when you first get together with your roommate, so you make sure everything is clear. If you want the room to be quiet at a certain time, or you have food you don’t want to share, make that clear so there’s no misunderstandings. If you want to share then talk to your roommate(s) about that too, because usually sharing goes both ways as long as it isn’t something serious.

If you feel like exploring Hoboken or the City, invite them! If you met some people on campus, introduce your roommate! Being friends with your roommate is a great piece of enjoying your time at Stevens, and I’m sure they’re as nervous as you are about coming to a new school and meeting new people, so just say hello!

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Carly’s Story

I’m Carly Palicz, a 3/4+1 Computer Science Major from Brookfield, Connecticut. Coming into Stevens, I had some basic expectations for living with roommates based on sharing a room with my sister as a kid, but otherwise felt pretty unprepared coming into orientation. I read plenty of articles and tips, and I’m sure you have too, that generally all included these standard (but still important) takeaways:

  1. It’s okay if you and your roommate aren’t perfectly compatible, even if you picked each other. People change, especially in the first year of college, and nobody can be summarized by a quick facebook introduction or roommate matching quiz.
  2. If you respect each other and each other’s property, you’re being a good roommate. Friendship isn’t a requirement, and it’s normal to just be acquaintances! Be open with each other’s needs, form a roommate contract during orientation, and stick to it. It’s always better to ask than to guess if you aren’t sure what your roommate is okay with.
  3. If you have a conflict, know your resources. Talk to your RA, Peer Leaders, Residence Life, Student Life, or the Counseling Services. Small conflict is normal, but you should never feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe in your room, and there are resources here to help!

While common, those tips are still super important to keep in mind. You’d be shocked how much easier it is to coexist and feel respected if you establish guidelines as simple as whether or not your roommate’s guests can sit on your bed. That being said, here’s some tips that I didn’t as often encounter that I’ve learned in my two years living with roommates:

  1. Understand that boundaries and routines change, and clarify these changes with your roommates. You might be fine with having a roommate’s friends over nearly every day, and then one day find yourself incredibly frustrated at a lack of alone time. Communicate this! Don’t expect your roommate to just know how you feel, especially if it’s unprecedented.
  2. Try to find common ground, even if it’s small. My roommates and I weren’t perfect and disagreed about keeping the room clean now and then, but we were also always able to sit down and watch a movie together, which helped create a nice balance. Something as simple as asking if they want anything before placing a takeout order is a great way to bond, best of friends or not.

Remember that your roommate(s) are just as nervous and inexperienced with sharing a living space as you, and that patience is key. You might just get a best friend out of your roommate, but regardless, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to be more understanding and better approach compromise, and grow a lot as a person. Freshman year brings a lot of changes in a short span of time and having a roommate to navigate them with makes the whole journey a bit easier and more exciting!

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Stevens Study Spots

Studying seems like such a simple task. We’ve all done it for so long we’re basically pros by now. Whether we were studying for AP Tests or the SAT each of us found a way to study that works for us. Although we think we’re pros studying in college is a lot different than studying at home. Hopefully, these tips on different places to study around campus will help you on your way to an A.

My name is Patrick Catanzaro and I’m a 3/5 Chemical Engineering major from Staten Island, New York. Going into my freshman year, studying was the least of my worries. I’ve been studying for years, how could this be much different? Then the first wave of tests came around and I found it more and more difficult to stay focused while studying in my room. So I started looking around campus for other places to study, which weren’t very hard to find because there are so many. Here are a few of my favorites:

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The library quickly became my go-to place not only for studying, but also for doing homework as well. Our library has 3 floors. The first floor is set up with long tables and whiteboards to encourage group work, I often find myself working here with friends after class. Going up to the second floor there are booths and high chairs, so you can do work as a group with friends or individually. Finally, the third floor is designated as the quiet floor where everyone works in complete silence, which is perfect for those intense study sessions for big tests.

The library isn’t the only place though there are many other locations on campus you can study at. When I only have a quick break between classes, I’ll go to one of the many desks or tables set up in Babbio to get an early start on my work before I head over to my next class. The final place that I go to study from time to time is Hayden Lounge. On the ground floor of Hayden Hall, there is a lounge area with multiple tables around that you can get a group together and hold study sessions with friends in your class to ensure you all ace your test.

All in all, there are many different places on campus to study, even more than I listed above. Once you get into the swing of the school year you’ll soon find your own go to study spot. No matter where it is I wish you all the best in your first year.