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A Rutgers Rite of Passage

Early experiences for new students in New Brunswick are never without their moments—often hilarious and definitely chaotic—but usually a preview of the excitement to come in college. Illustration by Danny Schwartz

illustrationI parked in the wrong spot and got a ticket before my first class! But it was OK because I complained about it in a world literature class, someone overheard me, we vented about it, and I had met my best friend! — Petra Schwarz DC’93

After moving me into my dorm at Tinsley 3, my parents and I went for a quick walk around the campus. Looking at all the moving-in-day chaos, my dad turned to me and said, “I hope you realize how lucky you are to be here—and how much I envy you right now.” — Bridget Hannon Meyer RC’88

Living in Ford Hall in 1980, I met my best friend for life, though she wasn’t my roommate. I had a great time my first night at the freshman mixer in the quad, dancing with cute guys to songs by the Cars. — Marjorie Snyder Wold RC’84

illustrationI was overwhelmed with the complete feeling of independence and adventure. I might have only been a half hour from home, but for all I cared, it was halfway around the world.  — Cliff Brownstein RC’73

illustrationI arrived and dumped my stuff on the lawn at Hardenberg, only to check in and be told that I had been moved to Demarest. I grabbed some friends and moved all my stuff across the street, bucket-brigade style, over to Demarest, where I would spend three glorious years. Within the first two months, there was a fire and a flood.  — Lisa Miller Kawalek RC’93

My parents and boyfriend (now my husband) dropped me off at Corwin, and we had a picnic at Passion Puddle before they left. When they got home, my brother asked about the college and my mom gushed, “We had a picnic at the nicest spot—Lust Lake!” — Pat Witman DC’79

illustrationI couldn’t find Ballantine Hall on my first day and was too embarrassed to ask anyone because they would know I was a freshman. I walked back to the student center and hopped on a bus back to Busch Campus and my dorm. — Ari Rivera Charles RC’94, NLAW’02

illustrationOn my first day, some inebriated person unscrewed the smoke alarm at the Woodbury dorm on Cook Campus. Being the Samaritan that I am, I screwed it back in. Soon, the whole New Brunswick police and fire department arrived at the dorm. After I confessed to my good deed, everyone got to know me very quickly. — Gregory Cupoli MGSA’82

illustrationMy roommate came, dumped her stuff in the room, and then went back home with her parents. I was all alone. I also missed the first meal in the dining hall, so I ate a can of Durkee fried onions for dinner. Things got better on the second day. — Debbie Hadley DC’91

My older sister, who had gone to Rutgers and lived on Livingston, helped me move into my dorm in the North Tower, after which she said I needed to have a true RU experience: lunch at Stuff Yer Face and ice cream at Thomas Sweet! Later that night, I attended my first college party and met tons of other freshman buddies.  — Veronica Perez LC’05

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