Traveling From a Distance

Hi everyone! My name is Madie DeJong and I am a junior Biomedical Engineering student from Rochester, MN. One of the most stressful parts of the beginning of freshman year was figuring out how to pack and move to New Jersey. My hometown is just over 1000 miles and a three hour plane ride to Newark Airport, so the moving process was stressful even without all of the quarantine and social distancing rules that are happening right now. I am going to start this blog by briefly describing my personal experience and providing some recommendations that are more specific to this year.

When I moved to New Jersey, my parents and I arrived in Hoboken a day and half before move-in, rented a car, and stayed in a hotel. This worked really well to give us time to go shopping in Jersey City for the things I did not bring with me. The big rule for packing I followed was: if I cannot buy this item in New Jersey I bring it with me, otherwise we go shopping when we get there.

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Things that I brought with me included clothes, shoes, and personal keepsakes. We flew to New Jersey, so I packed several checked and carry on bags. Remember that checked bags must be checked back if you’re not keeping them, so having suitcases of various sizes and putting smaller suitcases into larger ones is a good idea if possible to minimize return trip costs. Additionally, it is important to remember baggage weight restrictions when flying, so I would recommend spreading out shoes and other heavy items in your bags to reduce weight.

Things that I bought upon arrival included toiletries (this category includes obvious things like shampoo and toothpaste, but also items like nail clippers and tweezers, so make sure to walk through your bathroom at home and make a list of everything you need), towels and bedding, school supplies and snacks. We had a rental car, so the move in process was a simple drive through and drop off.

I still feel this process is valid, especially for people moving to New Jersey from states not on the quarantine list. Right now, a lot of states fall under the quarantine travel restriction (here is a link to the NJ gov sight to check: NJ Quarantine Advisory States). The move in process is made slightly more complicated by these restrictions. I spent the summer in MN, but recently moved back out to NJ ahead of classes to comply with the quarantine restrictions. My process was made easier by the fact that I already had an apartment and most of my things in NJ; however, here are some considerations and recommendations for the process if you are coming from a place on the list.

As I see it there are two ways to move to campus: plane or car. Both are valid and I would choose your method based on your comfort level and the convenience for you specifically. If you choose to take a plane, you have to check bags and either Uber or get a rental car to move around once in Hoboken. My usual advice would be to shop upon arrival and arrive a few days early, but the quarantine rules restrict this. Therefore, I would recommend bringing everything you need with you on the plane. I know this can be inconvenient, but it would make the drop off process easier and reduce the amount of movement you need to have in NJ upon arrival. Anyone passing through the state for less than 24 hours does not need to quarantine, therefore if family members are coming with you, I would recommend arriving in the morning on the day you check into your doom. You could maybe make a quick Target run and pick up some essentials. There is a Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Newport Mall, and many other stores in nearby Jersey City. You may not have time to get everything you need, but as long as you have enough for two weeks, you can always go shopping again later. Your family members would then need to leave by the following morning after dropping you off based on the NJ guidelines.

If you choose to drive, I would recommend buying everything you need in your hometown, as long as it can fit in your car. Of course, you can always go shopping when you get here, on the first day or after your two week quarantine. Because you won’t have a very long time to move into the dorm space, I would recommend packing in a way that makes unloading as easy as possible. Place heavier things on the bottom and do your best to condense your belongings. Technically, your family members would also need to leave within 24 hours.

One of the hardest things to work around are the time restrictions, and you may worry that you forgot things. Even if you did, it will not be the end of the world. One of the things that I have utilized a ton, has been the Post Office. Each Stevens student is allotted a mailbox at the Stevens Post Office located on the first floor of the Howe building. Your family members can always send you a forgotten item. I would also highly recommend investing in a service like Amazon Prime. It makes it really easy to order things online and is super convenient for getting dorm essentials. Another way you could decrease the amount you have to bring initially would be to only pack warmer summer/fall clothes and have a box of winter things shipped to you later in the semester.

In general, remember these are just my thoughts on the process and there are a lot of right ways to make the move. My biggest recommendations would be to bring what you need and remember you can always get more things shipped to you or go shopping at a later date. The moving process will probably feel stressful, but remember that this is an exciting new phase of life and that it will all work out. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see all of the new faces on campus, hopefully, sometime soon!

Madie Dejong, Biomedical Engineering

Commuting

IMG_6605Hello and welcome to your home away from home for the next four(or five) years! My name is Grace Miguel, I am a junior Software Engineering major from Washington Township, NJ—the one in Bergen County. When I was an incoming freshman, I was inevitably asked where I’m from countless times and it was always a confusing question because there are five Washington Townships in New Jersey I resorted to saying, “the one near Paramus”.

I digress, because I live merely 45 minutes to an hour from campus, I commute! I commute via NJTransit so the arrival time can vary. If you choose to commute via train or bus, you can get a student discount. Log into your myStevens account and go to the “transportation & parking” icon. There you will find a couple different icons for methods of travel to and from campus. Click on the icon with the NJTransit logo that reads “Discount Student Tickets” and enroll in the Student discount program. The discount only applies to monthly passes, it is 25% the original ticket price. NOTE, if you choose to enroll online, you will only have the mobile monthly pass. If you want a physical pass you will have to go to the Office of the Registrar to get a physical form to fill out for each month of the semester. The Registrar must sign and stamp it in order for you to get the pass from Hoboken terminal. Monthly passes are available from the 19th of the prior month to the 10th of the month the pass is valid for. Example: You can buy an August pass beginning on July 19th through August 10th. 

If you choose to drive to campus, you can purchase a semester parking permit online at the “transportation & parking” icon mentioned earlier. The semester pass will cost $150 and you will park your vehicle in Babbio garage. Because this Fall is unlike past semesters, Stevens will also be offering daily parking passes for $10/day. Unfortunately, you may not park overnight unless there are extenuating circumstances which you can tell the Campus Police. 

Here are some tips to help your new commuting lifestyle simpler:

  • Early is on time. Even though the train/bus may say it arrives at your home station at 7:37AM it may come 5 minutes earlier if they are ahead of schedule. Arrive at least 10 minutes before the arrival time! You also don’t want to be late to class, especially lab, so make sure you get to campus at least 15 minutes before class begins.
  • Pack your backpack the night before. If you sleep past your alarm and have to run out the door, you don’t want to forget your calculator or even worse, your wallet. 
  • Check the weather! Getting soaked from head to toe is no fun and can easily be avoided.
  • Sign up for StevensAlert, you can do this through myStevens. If school is cancelled or there is a delay due to weather conditions you will get an email and text alert. This has saved me from making a 45 minute trip for nothing.
  • Pack snacks! You never know how long you’re going to be out. You may spend time with friends or exploring Hoboken after class is over… you don’t want to get hungry. I always pack an extra granola bar.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re walking to and from the Hoboken terminal you don’t want to wear shoes that will give you blisters. 
  • There is a shuttle on 1st and River. This is the blue line. You can find the schedule here. This will take you to the Howe Center.
  • Don’t forget your laptop and phone charger. Don’t let your laptop die during class.
    • Better yet, invest in a portable charger, it’s a life saver.
  • Bring headphones!!! Whether you’re on public transportation,want to listen to music while studying or working out at the DeBaun Athletic Center, headphones are key.
  • Additional items you should carry 24/7: hand sanitizer, chapstick, cash, extra pens and pencils.
  • Try to travel light. This may sound contradictory but you don’t want to get back problems at 18. One way to do this is to take notes on a digital device or alternate notebooks depending on what classes you have that day. 

When I was a first year student, transitioning to this new lifestyle was a big change. I’ll admit, it was exhausting at first but I grew used to it and met other commuters who shared this commonality through the Commuter Student Union. As a commuter, I have the luxury of experiencing college life while still having the comfort of my own bed and personal space. Not to mention the home cooked meals are a plus. 

Just because you’re a commuter does not mean you cannot be involved. Most clubs hold meetings at 9PM, but there are meetings during academic break on Wednesdays between 3 and 5pm as well as in the late afternoon on some days. I am on e-board of the Stute, the school newspaper, a member of a sorority on campus and work at the Writing and Communications Center. If you want to get involved, you can find a way.  If I ever wanted to go to a club meeting or a social event at night, my friends living on campus or in Hoboken would be kind enough to let me crash. Circumstances are different now because of the pandemic, but when things go back to normal, I’m sure your new friends will let you crash. 

This is a lot of information and I know this can be overwhelming but you are not alone in being nervous or even intimated by this new journey. The Stevens community is here to support you and encourage you throughout your Stevens career.

 I hope this was helpful and I look forward to meeting you all!

Grace Miguel, Software Engineering

Public Transportation in Hoboken

Easy access to many different forms of public transportation is one of the things that makes Hoboken so fun! With one quick bus or train ride, you can be in New York City, Jersey City, or many places within New Jersey.

 

To get to NYC:

Being only 15 minutes away from New York City opens up a whole world of opportunities, both professional and social. From externships to concerts to pop-ups to good eats, the city has so much to offer, and I would highly recommend taking as many (safe!) trips there as you can manage to squeeze in! There are two main ways to get to NYC from Hoboken: NJ Transit buses and the PATH train.

The 126 bus line of NJ Transit stops on every other block of Washington Street and drops you off at Port Authority. The fare is only $3.50; you can download the NJ Transit app to easily buy tickets and track when the next buses arrive at each stop.

The PATH station, along with the NJ Transit train station and Light Rail station, is located at the very end of downtown Hoboken in the Hoboken Terminal (if you can spot the big tower that says “Lackawanna” on it, the stations are right under it!). There are two PATH

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lines that start in Hoboken, one going to downtown New York and stopping at the World Trade Center and the other going to uptown New York and stopping at 33rd Street. Find the full PATH map here: https://www.panynj.gov/path/en/schedules-maps.html. You can use an NYC Metrocard to pay your PATH fare, which is $2.75.

To get to Jersey City:

If you’re in the mood to go to a mall or Target, Jersey City is your best option. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line can be used to get to the Newport Center in just about 10 minutes. The Light Rail departs from the Hoboken Terminal and the fare to the Newport Center is $2.25. The nearest Target is about a 15 minute walk from the mall. The Light Rail can also be tracked on the NJ Transit App. For more information about where the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line goes, check out this map: https://d2g63oyneaimm8.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/pdfs/light-rail/sf_lr_hblr_map.pdf.

To travel within New Jersey:

Whether you’re from New Jersey finding an easy way to get home or from out of state trying to visit the shore, NJ Transit will get you where you need to go. Though PATH and Light Rail also have destinations to other major Jersey locations (most importantly, Newark station), the most effective and far-reaching way to travel within the state is by bus or on train. The NJ Transit app is extremely helpful for both of these methods. The maps, stations, and transfers can get a bit confusing, but with practice and a lot of reliance of Google Maps, you’ll get the hang of it! Fares for both depend on how far you’re travelling. To find more information about NJ Transit, visit their website: https://www.njtransit.com/.

Hoboken is highly connected to many great destinations throughout New Jersey and New York. There is so much to do and see in the area, and one of the most important things Stevens gives you is the opportunity to experience all of it! In your time in Hoboken, take every chance you can get to explore the city, go shopping with friends, or take a break by visiting your hometown. It will enrich your college experience and help you make unforgettable memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Suzy Shailesh, Computer Science