Written by Yash Bhardwaj
Freshman, Civil Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

Finals.  The word itself is a horror story.  Of course, it marks the end of a semester and the beginning of a long-awaited vacation, but the last week of school when all students have to take their finals is full of absolute chaos.

Most students have the habit of procrastinating for finals and cramming all of the studying of the information covered during the whole semester into the night before they have to take the final for a class.  If there is more than one final that they have to take on the same day, they might pull an all-nighter to study, meaning they’ll be half-dead the next day when taking the finals.  And then, after taking the finals for that, they have to start cramming studying for the finals they will take the next day.  It is literally the most exhausting week of the whole semester.

So what can be done to make the week just a bit easier to handle?  Well, it is most beneficial to start studying a few weeks before finals week.  That way, you can slowly review all the material that you have covered in all of your classes during the semester and really get a good grasp on the material.  Also, if you have any questions while studying, you will have the time to ask your professors the questions during office hours.  That way, you will fully comprehend the concepts covered in class.

Studying 2

Create study groups.  Get a few people from each of your classes and schedule a time before the final exam and study together as a group.  It may sound awkward, but the more people that study together, the more information you will be able to cover in one study session.  Since there are more people studying, it will be much easier to spot harder material to study, and everyone can help each other if anyone has trouble understanding some of the material.

Read the textbook.  Most students neglect reading their textbooks the whole semester.  They spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to buy the textbooks and then the textbooks never get opened during the whole semester.  Professors choose textbooks very carefully because they want students to have an extra resource at home to study.  In other words, it really is to your advantage to read the textbook as the class progresses.  That way, by the end of the semester, you will be familiar with all of the material, and if you need any help on a certain topic, you can always find and review it in the textbook.

It really isn’t hard to study for finals if you put forth the effort to do so.  Keeping good study routines throughout the whole semester can contribute to a much more relaxed finals week that will provide a great transition to the upcoming break from school.


Participating in NJIT Against Hunger

Written by Sean Kessell
Freshman, Mechanical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

NJIT Against Hunger

Hershey kisses were lying on each table as each of us were given three strips of blank paper and markers.  Looking at these, I was clueless as to what this could be for.  I cam here thinking we would be making food, not this.  This is what I thought until it became clear: the papers were to be attached to the kisses with a meaningful message.  Each meal needed a meaningful message that is representative of what NJIT Against Hunger is all about.  With that, my peers and I went to it, writing message after message until all 400 were completed.  We had to show the community that NJIT truly cares.

Making 400 meals in one day is no easy task, but for over 100 volunteers, anything is possible.  I, along with numerous other Honors students, went to the Campus Center Ballroom on November 21 to help with the program NJIT Against Hunger, a student-run event where hundreds of meals are made for the hungry and homeless at Newark Penn Station.  This was the second time I participated in this event, so I knew the kind of teamwork and determination it would take to make all of the meals within a little over three hours.

The students were put into groups based on their first names.  The groups ranged from making salad, making sandwiches, and even the simple task of placing a fork and knife in each individual bag.  The first time I did NJIT Against Hunger, I was assigned to the salad team.  We had to cut carrots and lettuce while combining it all into one giant bowl.  After that, peas, corn, tomatoes, and dressing were added to finish the nutritious salad.  At the second event, I was a part of the bag team.  We had to separate all 400 bags and place a napkin, fork, and knife in each one.  While this doesn’t sound very difficult, it sure did take plenty of time to complete.  Once we finished that, we helped clean up the mess that is bound to happen when 400 meals are assembled.

Diego NJIT Against Hunger

Though we spent over three hours making that food, it didn’t feel that long at all.  Not only was the event for a great cause, but it was a ton of fun at the same time.  Doing something good for the community while being surrounded by your closest friends is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Laughs were shared and memories were made.  While I wanted to accompany the group and go to Penn Station to distribute the meals, I unfortunately was not selected as they randomly selected 30 people from the 100 in attendance.  Even though I could not do this, I still can appreciate what I did and the numerous people that I and everyone with me had impacted that day.  All I could think of was the smile on someone’s face as they read the message I put in the bag containing their meal.  The thought of that smile is enough to make anyone continue doing this work.

Getting Adjusted to the College Lifestyle

Written by Sean Kessell
Freshman, Mechanical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

group photo

Sun shining down, blue skies, and a whole lot of excitement.  The day is August 26, a day that feels like eternities ago.  This was the day honors freshmen moved in, and the day my entire life would change.  I went from the small, rural town of Hackettstown, New Jersey to the sprawling city of Newark, home to our own NJIT.  Not only was the change of scenery significant, but everything about my lifestyle would change.  I was now on my own, my parents not being there as the crutch I could rely on for so long.  It was up to me to continue any success I have made, and it sure was an adjustment.

At first, the experience was very overwhelming.  I rarely get nervous, but the first day of classes I could barely eat out of sheer anxiety.  The first week flew past, and the next thing I knew I had common exams in only a few weeks.  The workload was actually surprising to me as I felt like it would have been much greater.  While I am still tasked with doing a lot of work, it is not anything I haven’t done, as I always challenged myself throughout high school with college-level courses.  The biggest adjustment for me school-wise was the significance of tests.  Tests make up the majority of the grade, and I soon learned that I had to put all of my effort into studying for these tests.  As time went by, I developed my routine and learned good study habits I could use for each of my tests.  I soon learned which classes were the toughest and needed the most attention.  I got into a groove that helped me succeed for the first semester of my college experience.  Many of my professors are truly nice people and I’m glad to be in their classes.  I learned that they truly do want to see you succeed and that they will offer help if you ask them.  Now that the semester is winding down and finals are approaching, I need to keep my focus for the last few weeks as I can’t afford to do poorly on my finals.  I will study hard for the final exams and I hope to finish off my semester as well as I started.

My adjustment to college life was made much easier by the people I met at NJIT.  These people with whom I’ve become friends are very supportive and we all helped each other as we got through our first semester.  Whether it was working on calculus together or studying for a physics exam, we each helped the other learn the material and get over any obstacles.  Not only did we help each other with our school work, but we made sure that we had fun.  While the work is very important, the friendships and experiences we make are essential to the perfect college experience.  With these friends, I can say that the greatest experiences I have already had can become even better for the next few years of my college life.

The wind is brisk, the rain finally subsides from the grey clouds above.  It’s December now, the second to last week of classes before finals begin.  My first semester at college is almost over, and I can say I made the right decision coming to NJIT.  I have had a fantastic experience so far and I can only see it getting better.  I’m prepared for what my classes will throw at me in the future and I know it won’t be easy.  College isn’t easy, but with the right support system and after getting adjusted to the lifestyle, I can say that I’m ready for my future here at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Students Send Holiday Mail to Soldiers

Ryan Merluza 2

Every holiday season, thousands of men and women stationed around the world are standing watch protecting the safety and peace of our loved ones back home.  We understand it is a necessary sacrifice, and we do so with honor.  This season, help give thanks to the men and women soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are working diligently in the background to ensure we all have a joyful holiday.

Ryan Merluza
US Navy Veteran

Senior, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Albert Dorman Honors College


Written by Prasanna Tati
Freshman, Biology
Albert Dorman Honors College

To many of us, the memories we find most important during the holidays are those made with family and friends.  Unfortunately, for some, there are a few members missing during the holiday season.  And these missing members are likely those forgoing this relaxing break in service to our country.


Even during the holiday season, millions of men and women are unable to come home to see their families.  Oftentimes, they are forgotten by those who are celebrating the holidays with their own families.  For us, the time for “giving” is the holiday season.  For the men and women in the armed forces, the time for “giving” is every single day.

This holiday season, consider writing a letter or drawing a card for a soldier overseas.  The Honors Council Community Service Committee will be accepting letters and cards that will later be sent to a larger organization such as Operation Gratitude.  Just be sure not to send anything with glitter as it can be harmful to soldiers under medical care.

You may be at a loss for words when writing the letter, but just think about what these men and women do for us.  Thank them for their service and let them know you are thinking of them this holiday season.  A few sentences about gratitude and wishing them happy holidays makes a bigger difference than you might think.  Here are some guidelines provided by Ms. Feghhi, Assistant Director of the Center for Leadership and Professional Development:

  • Start with a salutation such as “Dear Hero” or “Dear Brave One”
  • Write to any of the following: a Deployed Troop (currently overseas in harm’s way), Veteran (has served our country in the past), New Recruit (just completed Boot Camp and has sworn to serve for the next 4+ years), Wounded Warrior (injured in combat).  All deserve to be thanked for their commitment and bravery.
  • Express your thanks for their selfless service
  • Avoid politics completely and religion in excess; however, saying you pray for them is acceptable
  • Share a little about yourself: family, hobbies, work, school, pets, travel
  • Talk about life & interests: sports, weather, music, movies, food, books
  • Adults: include your contact information (mail or e-mail) so the letter/package recipient can reply (optional); please remember that they may not be able to respond.

The letters and cards can be dropped off at the Center for Leadership and Professional Development, 2nd floor of the ADHC (the office with the mailbox on the window ledge).  Each quality card or letter will also count for one internal service hour.  Everyone is welcome to make and submit as many letters as they’d like, but only up to the first five quality letters may count for service hours.  Please contact Prasanna Tati at with any questions, concerns, or comments.

MIT Summer Research Program

Written by Victor Aladele
Senior, Electrical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

Victor Aladele MIT picture1

This past summer (7th of June – 8th of August, 2015), I was selected to be a part of the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP). I was assigned to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), where I worked directly under the supervision of a post doc, Dr. Robert MacCurdy; a faculty mentor, Professor Daniela Rus, who is the current director of CSAIL; and another student from Harvard, Youbin Kim. The goal of our project was to develop a 3D-printing procedure for the fabrication of hydraulic systems in small-scale robots.

Victor Aladele MIT picture 2Hydraulically-controlled soft actuators have recently become popular in small-scale robots due to their ability to more accurately imitate life-like motion, as well as their higher power-to-weight ratio. Unfortunately, most of these robots are limited in complexity and size due to constraints in conservative manufacturing techniques. In this project, we focused on testing the feasibility of the 3D-printing design approach to manufacture hydraulic systems. There are several limitations to this approach. These include how thin the components of the hydraulic system could be printed without causing fractures in the design parts and secondly, the challenge of designing two different parts very close together that will still be printed as two different components and not as a single part. Therefore, we printed several designs to see what the minimum measurements and tolerances were, to overcome these limitations. I designed external gear pumps using this fabrication technique. However, because I printed liquid within the gear pump, parts of the surfaces of the gears and the bottom surface of the gear housing got deformed due to the slushing of liquid over these surfaces. One way I was able to overcome this problem was to print thin support materials between the solid parts and the liquid. This prevented the liquid from being in direct contact with the solid parts. Having overcome this challenge, I was able to print a working 3D-printed gear pump without the need for any form of assembly. The success of this project could provide an attractive alternative to conventional methods, as this fabrication procedure eliminates the need for assembly of complex parts of a robot.

Victor Aladele MIT picture 3Although by the end of the nine weeks at MIT, we had not been able to make 3D-printed robots, I was able to manufacture a functioning gear pump to show the promise in this fabrication technique. At the end of the summer, I made a poster presentation at MIT, where I displayed the model I had made. My experience at MIT also involved attending breakfast and dinner sessions, where we (members of MSRP) listened to different professors at MIT who came and talked to us about their past and current research work. These professors also talked about their academic biographies and indicated some of the things that had helped them get to where they are now. Therefore, my experience at MIT was a holistic one and I am very confident that this has put me a huge step ahead in my preparation for graduate school.

My First Semester at NJIT

Written by Yash Bhardwaj
Freshman, Civil Engineering

The beginning of college is an experience I will never forget.  I came with so many concerns about the load of work that I would get, how I would get used to my schedule, whether I would get to know my classmates, and if I would get accustomed to the overall environment.  It’s like entering high school, but on a much larger scale.  I come from a blue ribbon high school and a school district that forces its students to work extremely hard.  This school district is always competing to be years head of the rest of the school districts in NJ, with the ultimate goal of being one of the best school districts in the United States.  For that reason, I had become used to having large loads of work, spending long hours (5-8 hours) after school each day studying and finishing homework.  I didn’t know what to expect when I came to college because everyone says that the workload increases in college.  But I have to say, high school prepared me well for this workload and I know how to manage my time effectively to deal with it.

It does get difficult sometimes to manage my work along with my schedule.  For example, on Thursdays, I have classes from the morning all the way until 9 p.m., and then I have to commute back home which takes about an hour and twenty minutes in total.  Then, I have to finish my homework.  Two weeks ago, I had three projects due on Friday, and even though I had begun working on them way before the due date, there were many questions I had about the projects, and the only help I could get was from other students who procrastinated.  That meant I had to work on my projects all night until 4 a.m., and then I had to wake up at 6 a.m. to be able to catch the train on time to reach my 8:03 morning class.  That was the latest I have ever had to stay awake, and I don’t plan on doing that again anytime soon, but it really gave me a heads up for what’s to come in college.

I was also concerned about how fast I would get to know new people and also know my way around campus.  Since I’m a shy individual, it did take some time for me to get to know people and start making friends.  All of the group projects that I have had have forced me to get to know some people from almost all of my classes, and I’m grateful for the outcome of those projects.  As for getting around campus, it took me about a week to get to know where most of the buildings are, so I am not stressed about getting to class on time.

I have to say, after college started, I haven’t been able to give any time to my hobbies or the things I enjoy doing.  I’m studying all day and night, and the only breaks I get are usually at lunch and dinnertime.  I am also losing out on a lot of sleep due to the nature of my schedule.  Overall, I have gotten used to college life rather quickly, and I’m happy about that.  Currently, I’m no longer stressed about going to college, just about keeping my Honors status which includes maintaining good grades and fulfilling all of the requirements of an Honors student.  And I have to say the environment at NJIT is much better than I expected, which makes my friends (who went to more “prestigious” colleges) jealous, because the environment that they have to live in and go to school in isn’t as inviting as NJIT.  For that reason, I’m extremely satisfied that I chose to come and study at NJIT.