Alex in Transit(ion)

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taking the good with the bad

Well faithful readers, I’m going to give you some sound advice. If you all of a sudden pack up, move to Florida, live there for almost a year, and return back to the cold and snowy Northeast, you may find your immune system to be uncooperative.

I’m pretty sure this is the 4th time I’ve been sick since I moved back to the Northeast in December. When I was down in the Sunshine State, I think my immune system was the best it had been in years. Except for two colds that I was able to fight off within hours (I can thank the adrenaline from my job assignment for that), I barely got sick. It makes sense because in Florida, you spent quite a bit of time outside everyday whereas in the Northeast during the wintertime, you want to stay indoors and moving to a residence hall  probably hasn’t helped the situation.

But yay! I’m so happy that I got sick during the weekend! I’ve been able to nap and rest up to my heart’s content. I also got back into the cooking swing of things, which is probably another reason I got sick because I was only eating one meal a day. Why would I do that to myself?  At Rutgers, the ShopRite/WalMart shuttle only comes on Sundays and Wednesdays. On the Sunday that I moved in, there was only enough time to go to WalMart and I found out on Thursday that the ShopRite shuttle also visits on Wednesdays. Thank God for $5 footlongs. I was finally able to go grocery shopping yesterday and it couldn’t of come at a better time because I was able to finally make the Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpea soup that I’m always raving about. It is the best thing to eat when you are sick.


Well, it’s time to get ready for the day and do some research! I think I’ll be healthy again by tomorrow =D

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a wonderful surprise: to the new york philharmonic we go!

It was set be a night of sweatpants, studying, and SVU but I’m glad it wasn’t. My friend D from Albany surprised me with tickets to see the New York Philharmonic last night. One of the reasons why I chose Rutgers-Newark was because of how close I am to the city and it’s really comforting to return to someplace that is familiar while I’m getting my bearings around Newark. 

And boy, did I get my bearings, except not in Newark, but with NJ Transit and PATH. For those not familiar with the two train routes, if you’re coming from Jersey and you want to get to Penn Station, other than a stop in Secaucus, NJ Transit will bring you right to it. With PATH, from Newark, you’ve got to go to Journal Square, then transfer to the Penn Station bound train that makes 6 or 7 stops in between. 

After I purchased my NJ Transit ticket (only 5 bucks), I sat down and found myself in a flurry of confused and anxious passengers. We knew the train was going to be delayed but someone checked their Twitter feed and found out that the train would be delayed by 60 minutes. It was 7:20 and the show starts at 8. We all made the collective decision to switch over to the PATH.

Once I got to Penn Station to switch over to the 1 train towards Lincoln Center, I see a girl who looked very familiar, Don’t you hate and love those moments? You hate them, because you legit look like a creeper, scoping this person out to see if that is someone that you know, but it’s so awesome once you two recognize each other! I thought that this girl looked exactly like my friend E from my youth leadership group, HOBY, but she was carrying this book bag that said “Selina.” As I was about to call E, after eye stalking her for 5 minutes, she says, “Lexie?” It was so cool because it was completely random, since she goes to Cornell and was the last person that I’d expect to see on the 1 train during my first week living in the NYC Metro area! Ahhh, it was so good to reunite, and as I type this, I realize that the whole night was full of 518 reunions!

For those unfamiliar with “518,” it’s the Albany-Capital Region’s area code. It really is the only place I’ve lived in that takes so much pride in their area code that people don’t even call it “Albany” half the time, they call it the “518.”

When I finally got to Lincoln Center, it was 9PM. Although I missed a hour of the show, it was perfect because I arrived during the start of intermission. As I was waiting for D, I was getting high fives from the ushers who saw my pin from my last job assignment (it feels so good to be back in New York). Then D walked in and another reunion commenced! I haven’t seen him in two years and it was very appropriate to see the show with him because he is a music teacher upstate and was filling me in on what I missed and what was yet to come. 

It was my first time seeing a professional classical show and now that I found out that the New York Philharmonic has special tickets priced at $13.50 for students, it surely won’t be my last. The concentration that the musicians have is incredible and we both appreciated how intense the maestro was. It was funny though, because it’s winter and we’re in the middle of the flupocalypse, everyone held their coughs in until the break between movements and you didn’t know whether Lincoln Center was an infirmary or a concert hall! You’ve got to love the performing arts rules of respect. 

Afterwards, D and I gallivanted all over Manhattan, got some yummy pizza and took in the sights. This week has been full of new experiences and it was so nice to come back “home,” if only for a little while. Thankfully, there wasn’t a delay with NJ Transit coming back and I really appreciate Rutgers for thinking things through. As much as I love the convenience of the light rail, it’s a little sketchy taking it at night, and I was happy to go back home on the University’s Midnight Express shuttle that takes you from Newark Penn to your dorm fo’free! I’m sure that I’m a little sick from waiting such a long time for it in the cold, but it’s better safe than sorry. 

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first week of school! thoughts about school and the city of Newark

Hey everyone! I’ve been a little MIA over these past couple of days, but I am SO happy to say that I’m typing to you from my dorm room because from Sunday to Wednesday morning, I was banished to the lounge. I found out wireless was very spotty in our dorms and the only way to receive a reliable internet signal is through an ethernet cord. Yeah, you read that right. I was surprised too because I haven’t connected like this on a college campus since 2005. I’m here for two years and mark my words, that will change once I find out how to join student government.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to connect through the ethernet cord so I had to wait until Tech Services came to my room and worked their magic. Along with that, my cable wasn’t hooked up so basically, stepping into my room was the ultimate study environment because the only thing to do was read!

Living on-campus has its pros and cons. The pros are that I’m only a 5 minute walk from my classes, my room is huge, my roommates are awesome, and I get to meet a lot of people. It’s crazy expensive though, especially since I’m paying my way this semester, it’s hard for me to justify $850 a month when I could get something a lot cheaper. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some chill people to lease an apartment with. We shall see!

On Tuesday night, there was an attempted robbery near my dorm. There are some changes I’ve made regarding my lifestyle. I don’t know if things will be like this forever or how I’ll adapt when I get used to campus more but let’s just say this, it’s not like Oneonta where I could walk from the Library at 2AM, alone, with my headphones blasting without a care in the world. I had to go to Downtown Newark to cash a check at the bank. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad.  I can’t wait until I get more used to the flow of things, because I really want to work to improve this city and help erase the stigma that comes with it. I was reading our school paper and I was so sad to see that there weren’t any articles about spots to see downtown.  I’m talking with my professors, who know the city better than I do, and I asked them about cool places to write about that students would be interested in. I know this quote has been used over the years ad nauseum, but rings true for each of us, no matter which community we reside in: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Newark is my responsibility for the next two years because like my parents taught me, when you go over to somebody’s house, you make sure you left it better than when you came.  I feel a strong solidarity with my fellow students at Rutgers-Camden because something tells me they go through the same thing we do.

As for my classes, it feels really good to be in a classroom again. So far, it’s the first week and the workload is pretty light. Granted, my job assignments put me in a different mindset that wasn’t with me when I was in undergrad. In my former career’s world, when you were assigned something, you move heaven and earth to make it happen now. I’m not saying this to boast, but I’m already ahead on my readings and assignments for next week. Will I keep this pace throughout the semester? We’ll see but I thank all of my former bosses for whipping me into shape. I am looking forward to more of a challenge though. I’m going to submit job applications today, not only because I’m paying my way through school (so scary but it teaches you how to appreciate your education), but because I need something to do during my days.  All of my colleagues are really nice and next week, my group is giving a 15 minute presentation about the public’s view on traffic regulation and highway safety and whether or not we need more regulations. I am going to arguing against more regulations, which is the opposite of how I really feel, but it’s always cool to see other sides of the story.


How I Work: A Survey

Sara, who writes The Books and Looks, recently posted these interview questions from LifeHacker which asked leaders how they worked. I thought it would be interesting to fill out myself and maybe take some time each year to evaluate my working style to see what is going well and what I can change.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

The GoogleDocs mobile app has been a lifesaver for me. I love how I can have access to view and edit any document from my phone. I don’t know how that will translate to grad school because my work relied heavily on GoogleDocs. The Bank of America app is also very essential, especially since I’m reverting back to being a poor student on a budget. I used to love using Google Calendar, but I’d rather use an agenda. It feels more concrete when I write something down.

What’s your workspace like?

I’ll have the standard dorm desk in my room. I haven’t moved in yet so I don’t know how everything will be arranged but one thing I will work on is not to let my workspace get cluttered. I’m going to be very strict with myself with keeping everything organized. Haha, how about this, I’ll make this promise to everyone under the honor code, if I let my desk get messy, I will post it on my social media accounts. The Internet is a weird place, but it’s a cool one where we can help each other out.

What do you listen to while you work?

Like Sara, I really enjoy listening to ambient music while I study. I have a playlist on Spotify called “Lady, Relax” and it’s the first thing that goes on when I need to concentrate. Here it is:

  • Broken Social Scene- Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl
  • Trent Reznor- Hand Covers Bruise
  • Radiohead- Let Down
  • Brian Eno- Be Calmed
  • David Bowie- Changes
  • Broken Social Scene- Lover’s Spit (Bee Hives version with Feist as the lead)
  • Brian Eno- 1/1
  • Brian Eno- 2/1
  • Brian Eno- 1/2
  • Brian Eno- 2/2
  • Drake- Marvin’s Room
  • Beck- Ramshackle
  • Sarah McLachlan- Last Dance

What’s your best time-saving trick?

I have a Split Screen app, which is really useful for research. I read websites on one side of the screen and I’ll have my write up on Google Docs on the other side. Also, I like to multi task while doing laundry. I’ll put the laundry in and do my homework in the mean time.

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

One of our volunteers who has an affinity for Elvis =D If you’re reading this, you know who you are! In all seriousness, I’m still a big fan of pen and paper.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

Probably my bike tools. Now that my bicycle is my main form of transportation, I need to be prepared for anything.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?

It’s something that translates easier when you get to know me, but I think I was born happy. It’s very easy for me to find a reason to smile and constantly I’m asked “you can’t be happy all the time, right?” Then they see that I really am. It’s to the point that people are really concerned if they see me feeling sad or down.

My feeling about life is that we only get one shot. You need to make the best of it. Are things really bad as they seem? I was reading an article in Smithsonian Magazine that was about if our genes can predict when we die. At the end of our chromosomes are telomeres which are very long when we’re born, but very little when we pass on. Scientists found out that the more stress you’re exposed to, the shorter your telomeres are. Yet, when you engage in healthy activities, they don’t degrade as fast. They don’t know the process of how you can either stave off or accelerate the erosion, but it’s absolutely fascinating and I’m looking forward to more research about this.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care. Worry when you do something badly and nobody bothers to tell you. – Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture

I believe that a true friend will stab you in the front. Will I want to always hear it? No, but I will think about it, appreciate what I’ve heard, and change what I need to. I’m also a big believer in this as well:

To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often- Winston Churchill

I recommend you fill this out for yourself. It really makes you think about your productivity.


mangia: a grocery list for a grad school budget!

Ahhhh, I’m so excited to get back to being a vegetarian! Although I am as Italian as the sky is blue; when I’m on a vegetarian diet, I rarely eat pasta or soy products. I really want to eat from scratch as much as I can, especially since when I was on my job assignment, I ate take out all of the time.

P.S. If you ever find yourself in Titusville, Florida, (it’s the home of NASA) you will find yourself in the land of amazing restaurants. Kloiber’s Cobbler for lunch, Sunrise Bread Company for coffee and the most delicious bread you’ll ever find, and El Leoncito for Mexican Food and the best Margaritas in Brevard County. 

I feel that when I became a vegetarian, I truly discovered a love for cooking. When I was an omnivore, my dinners were mindless. Somehow, grilled chicken and bacon always found a way into my recipes. I’m not saying that cooking with meat suppresses your creativity in the kitchen, but cooking without it opens the door to so many possibilities that you may have not considered before. For example, I wondered what I could substitute bacon or ham for in a meat, egg, and cheese sandwich. I’ve found out that roasted mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, or avocado are satisfying substitutes and give me that savory, fatty taste I’m craving.

When cooking on a budget, I like to plan my meals out at least a week in advance. This enables me to keep an eye out for deals and see what’s on sale. This is also helpful for vegetarians because you tend to buy a lot of fresh produce and you’re going to waste your money if you buy all these different types of produce, only to have them rot in your refrigerator. Lastly, I plan because I need to keep track of my nutrients. I can’t stress how important it is to take a multivitamin but it can’t solve all of your problems. Take some time to study the nutritional chart and pay attention to your nutrient intake. To make this fun and eliminate waste, I like to do themed weeks, according to what’s on sale.

This week’s theme: Sweet Potato, Chick Peas, and Kale! 


(for some reason, I totally felt like the Iron Chef Chairman when I wrote that)

If it’s winter, it’s sweet potato season. This vegetable and I have such a troubled history. When I was little, I was obsessed with sweet potatoes and I would beg my grandmother to make them. She was always happy to and so proud that I would beg for vegetables. Then, when I was a teenager, I stopped eating them. The thought of them made me gag and I only ate them if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas. Those were the dark days.

Thankfully, sweet potatoes and I are back on good terms. Which is good, because they’re a vegetarian’s best friend. They are rich in iron, which is a nutrient that you may lack once you take meat out of your diet. There are two types of iron, heme which is found in meat, and non-heme which is found in plants. You can absorb up to 30% of heme iron, however, you absorb anywhere between 2% and 10% from non-heme foods. We need iron to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of your body and if you lack it, you may become lethargic. To better absorb non-heme iron, it’s recommended to have a diet rich in Vitamin C.

Kale is another food that is rich in iron and is my go-to green. Why? Check out what WebMD has to say:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

::drops mic::

Chick peas, and other beans, are high in protein. 1/2 cup of chickpeas has 7 out of the required 56 grams of protein you need everyday.

Recipes and the Grocery List

For breakfast, I am going to switch between broiled grapefruit and kale, egg, and cheese on toast. Both dishes will be accompanied by either Fage or Chobani greek yogurt because their plain yogurts have 18g of protein per 6oz serving. I’ll drizzle a little honey or serve it with seasonal fruit to make it tastier. Add that to the days in which I eat an egg for breakfast (6g) and I’m in good shape for meeting my daily protein value.

As for lunch, I will eat the leftovers from the night before with seasonal fruit.  Breakfast is going to be very filling.

For dinner, I will make my favorite Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpea Soup (serves 6), Braised Coconut Chickpeas and Kale with Lemon  (serves 4), and Sweet Potato Burrito Smothered in Avocado Salsa Verde (serves 4).

  • A gallon of Olive Oil. Buy with coupon
    • It’s not worth the money nor the waste to buy the little bottles of olive oil. You’re better off buying the gallon that will last you forever and a day. 
    • We bought it the other day at Sam’s Club.
  • The big carton of Fage or Chobani plain yogurt, whichever is on sale.
  • Honey
  • 2 Grapefruits
  • Seasonal fruit
  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 small red onion
  • Cage-Free eggs
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Bread
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • Bunch of Kale
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 1 jalopeno
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 3 inch knob of ginger
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • tortillas
  • 2 avocados
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cilantro
  • Orange Juice
  • Almond Milk
  • Freezer safe bags

It’s going to be a little expensive this time around because I’m beginning to stock up on the essentials. How come it always feels like it takes a year to stock up a kitchen? Thankfully spices, oil, lemon juice, lime juice, freezer bags,  and my beloved Frank’s Red Hot are purchases that will last a while. The freezer bags will be used for collecting vegetable scraps because I will be making my own vegetable broth.

There you have it- 21 meals for a fraction of a cost compared to a meal plan.

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nesting: living in a residence hall in your mid-twenties.

I will preface this post with this piece of advice:

Never, ever, ever watch Investigation Discovery in the wee, small hours of the morning for the chance that the program’s background music may sound eerily just like your door bell and you may receive a tiny burst of adrenaline to prepare for the worst. Not fun. It kind of makes you feel silly afterwards when you realize it’s not the real thing.

Moving on…

My Room

I received my rooming assignment! It’s so funny because after 3 years of either paying for my own apartment or living with host families whenever a job assignment came up, it feels weird knowing that I will be living in a residence hall. The days of RAs, Twin XL beds, swiping your ID to get into the building, and waking up to the fire alarm because someone failed at properly making popcorn at 2 AM are back again. I swear, along with your college application, I am a firm believer that you should prove to the admissions board that you are capable of making popcorn without setting the stage up for a fire drill.

Of course, I’ve received a lot of mixed reviews about my choice to live on campus and I get it. I’m 25 going on 26 (my twenties are disappearing right before my eyes) and I’m still receiving e-mails about whether or not I’d like to purchase a meal plan. I’m very satisfied with my choice. One of the reasons why I love my campus is because it’s laid out within the city of Newark and we have a light rail station on campus. You can’t ask for better than that, especially in the NYC Metro real estate market. I will be paying $850 for my grad single which is comparable to a 1 bedroom in Newark. I don’t need to worry about homeless guys living in the laundry room or dealing with negligent landlords anymore, so I am a happy camper.

Twin XL Sheets…It’s a Bigger Deal Than You Would Think

disclaimer: I realize that out of all the problems to have, this is probably the best one. A couple of months ago, I would have done anything for this as my only worry. We all have creature comforts and this is one of mine.

One tip I would give to anyone attending college or graduate school and is planning to live on campus is to buy your sheets in August. If you attempt to buy them in January, plan on having a frustrating shopping experience. As opposed to August, the selection of Twin XL sheets is very limited in January. When I was in college, I bought my sheets at Home Goods and Target because I’d get comfy sheets for anywhere between $9-$12. Don’t plan on getting those kinds of deals in January. The reason why they’re so cheap in August is because all of the stores are competing for your business. In January, it’s more like “take it or leave it.” To make things harder, most stores don’t have them in stock anymore (aw, Home Goods), so you will have to go online.  While shopping online saves a lot of time and gives you more of a selection, I’ve always felt that purchasing sheets needs to be a tactile experience. There were some great deals on microfiber sheets but I wasn’t sure about how they felt, so I passed them over for jersey sheets. The jersey sheets were more expensive ($22 a pair…gah, this would never happen in August), but I know what kind of product I’m getting and that will mean a lot when I pass out in my bed after taking my midterms.

Food and Life On-Campus 

Other than that, I’ve got to say that it is weird knowing that I don’t need to bring furniture! Everything is already there and all I need to worry about is making sure I only cover 25% of my wall with decorations. I’m also extremely excited about having the gym so close! I can’t wait to get back to how it was when I was an undergrad where I would do cardio and weight training during the weekdays and swim on the weekends…I haven’t done that in sooooo long! I made an attempt to do that in Florida but eventually work got in the way of beach or pool time.

There won’t be a meal plan for me. I realized a long time ago that while it is convenient, it is the biggest waste of money and you’re better off making your own food. I will be going back to  being a pescatarian. It’s cheaper that way and I am so excited to return back to the lifestyle again. If you haven’t cut out meat for at least a week, I recommend that you do. It’s hard at first, especially if you make my mistake and forget to take a multivitamin when you start out, but it’s so worth it. I receive more nutrients in my vegetarian meals than I do with my meat meals and you’ll notice that once your body gets over the transition, it feels great. I only went back to being a carnivore because I had no idea how to maintain a vegetarian diet during my job assignment.

Well, it looks like it’s time to start packing and prepare a grocery list! Next Sunday is going to be here before I know it.

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Feed the Right Wolf

Lindsey from Delighted Momma posted this. It was too good not to share.

An old Indian was sitting with his little grandson. He told the boy he didn’t feel well. The boy asked, “Why?” The old grandpa said he had two wolves fighting inside him. One was good; one was evil. The little boy asked, “Which one will win?” The old Indian looked at his little grandson and said, “The one that you feed.”


Conversations with My 4 Year Old Brother: Rappers, The State University of New Jersey

Last night, we were watching MSG and a commercial advertising the Rutgers at St. John’s game on January 9th came on. I’m pumped because this is the first time I’ve attended a school in the Big East Conference and it’s going to be cool to finally have a team to cheer on. My undergrad, SUNY Oneonta, was D3 so I’m not used to such fanfare. Since I’m leaving my brothers again in a couple of weeks, I want them to recognize what Rutgers is so they know I didn’t disappear into thin air.

Alex: Luke! Look at the TV! It’s Allie’s school!

Luke: It’s Rappers!

Yes, I attend Rappers University. Word to yo’ brother.


brave new world: budgeting for graduate school

Ladies and gentleman, I present my budget for graduate school.

Student Loans  I’m going to be enjoying my academic deferments. Even though as I defer, I’m adding up more debt! Yeee ha!

howard dean

Car Insurance Approximately $254 a month. Yikes. It’s not because I’m a bad driver; my last ticket was in 2010 and my last car accident was in 2004. It’s because I’m buying a new car and I’m moving to Newark. Even though I hate talking bad about my new city, it is the 20th most dangerous city in the US and as a result, the insurance rates are sky high. Truth be told, I’m not planning on driving a lot because of the ample amount of public transit around me. The only reason why I want a car is so I can see my family during the breaks and they live in an area where public transportation is non existent. If I didn’t take a car with me, the only way for me to get home would be to take the train to the station, which is a hour away from my family, and make arrangements with them to pick me up. Given the nature of their lives, especially with my little brothers who are between 4 and 8 years old, it isn’t feasible. Also, if I decide to go back into my former career, I will need a car. It’s going to suck paying so much for something I will barely use but the money is here for me to replace my vehicle and it is an investment.

To cut down on the insurance, I’m going to sign up for a defensive driving course and Progressive has this really neat program called Snapshot. It’s kind of like inviting Big Brother into my vehicle but beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to this insurance premium. It counts whether or not I make hard brakes, how many miles I drive each day, and how often I drive from midnight to 4AM. I’m a little concerned about the hard braking part because I will be living in the NYC Metro area but since I’m barely going to drive, this seems like an awesome way to save money.

Maybe we can bring it down to $200? Here’s hoping!

Renter’s Insurance $40 a month…although I may not go with it. The main reason for pursuing renter’s insurance is to protect my bicycle against theft. It is a top of the line hybrid and after my car was stolen, I don’t want to take any risks and not be covered. I know that if my bike is stolen, especially with my current financial situation, it’s going to take years for me to buy a bicycle of that caliber.

But I was only thinking about what happens if my bike is stolen. I didn’t consider the possibility of what could happen if I was the victim of a traffic accident, which is a very real fear. Two of my friends were involved in accidents where they were hit by cars. One of my favorite bloggers, Dottie of Let’s Go Ride a Bike, was a victim of a hit and run. You never know what can happen. So what I need to do, probably tomorrow, is call Progressive and see if they would cover the damage of my bicycle if I, God forbid, was in a traffic accident. If not, I’m going to look into getting bicycle insurance. We shall see…

Rent About $850. Not going to lie, I’m starting to get nervous seeing all these figures add up. It’s alright. Show’s gotta go on.

With that said, I will be living in the graduate student apartments on campus. I don’t know if I will be living in them for the duration of my program or if I will live off campus but I know that for this semester, I’m only paying $850 in rent, which is about the going rate for the Newark market for a 1 bedroom. The $850 is pretty reasonable considering utilities, cable, and internet are included. My friend who went to grad school at Rutgers lived in the grad apartments and said that they’re worth it.

Groceries $160 a month, assuming I spend $40 a week on groceries. I’m going back to being a pescatarian again so that will make grocery shopping cheaper than if I was eating meat.

Fun? NJ Transit Fare? For right now, I’m giving myself a fun budget of $100.

Grand Total $1,404 a month for bills.

Good tim-uh…oh boy. Well. This is going to be a learning experience.

This can be done! Nobody puts baby in a corner and I’m going to figure out a way to do this. What is going to be nice (for a month) is that I’ll apply my tax refund to whatever bills I need to pay. I’m applying to jobs right now, I’ll see if there’s anything available on campus, I’ll waitress- I will do whatever it takes to make this work. I even made sure all of my classes are at night so I can get a job during the day.

The good thing about this is that it’s only going to be like this for this semester. Next semester, I will be eligible for TA positions and scholarships which I will be able to put towards my housing bill and I won’t need to worry about this. And glory be, next year I will be considered a New Jersey resident and will receive in-state tuition so this situation is only temporary. I could have taken out a $5k loan to help out with the housing but I thought it was silly to pay interest on a 5k loan, especially since I still have undergrad loans to pay when I get out of grad school.

It’s going to be alright.


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the big switch.

As you may have noticed, I switched from Tumblr to WordPress. Tumblr has a wonderful community and there’s a lot of  blogs there that maintain my sanity  (::cough::CampaignSick::cough::). Yet, there were two things that always bothered me. I’ve always felt that I was limited when it came to blog design. There was always a risk of choosing a blog theme that was exactly the same as others which defeats the idea of writing a journal. I hated that I was so limited with customizing blog themes because I could never find a theme that truly represented me. 

Unlike Blogger or WordPress, Tumblr’s blogs do not have a native comment system. If you would like comments on your blog, you need to find a blog theme that allowed Disqus comments, which severely limited your theme choices. It was a pain trying to figure out which theme I could live with so I’d be able to have readers, who weren’t Tumblr users, interact with me. 

It was hard to leave because a lot of my friends use Tumblr but ever since I’ve moved to WordPress, I’ve been pleased. The theme layouts are clean, organized, and so easy to customize. 

I guess this must be the place.