A Day in the Life of a ‘High-Achieving Student’

Jacqueline Giz
Jacqueline Giz in her room in the Honors College on the New Brunswick College Avenue Campus.
Photo by Nick Romanenko

From learning about artwork to studying Greek vocabulary to mentoring fellow students, a Rutgers–New Brunswick senior breaks down an exceptionally busy day.

Jacqueline Giz is an epically busy young woman. A senior at the Rutgers University–New Brunswick Honors College majoring in art history with minors in archaeology, classics, and political science, she is on track to earn her bachelor’s degree in May—only three years after graduating from high school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. This fall, she will continue at the Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies to earn her art history master’s with a concentration in cultural heritage and preservation studies. She is an Honors College mentor and ambassador, and her additional numerous activities include researching the provenance of ancient gems and serving as a Zimmerli Art Museum docent.

Jacqueline Giz
Photo by Jacqueline Giz

Thanks to support from the Scarlet Promise Initiative, she participated in the RU in Rome summer study program. There she found her passion among the historic churches and world-renowned museums. Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway recognized her this past fall as “just the sort of high-achieving student the Scarlet Promise Initiative is intended to attract and support.” He described her as an “innovative, collaborative, and valuable contributor to our university community.”

What’s a day in Jacqueline Giz’s life like as a Rutgers student on the New Brunswick campus? We asked her to keep a journal of a busy day. Here is her account of what she did on Tuesday, October 17, 2022.

6:45 a.m.

I rolled out of bed to a blaring alarm and checked the weather. It was a gorgeous day, about 50 degrees, so I started my day with a run. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, and headed out.

I ran five miles from College Avenue around Busch campus. I always enjoy ending my run by passing along the Raritan River in Johnson Park before crossing the bridge back to College Avenue.

8 a.m.

After I cooled off, I returned to my dorm, the Honors College, where I am a live-in academic mentor for a group of first-year students. After taking a quick shower, I got ready for the day. I brewed some coffee and pulled out my breakfast of overnight oats with peanut butter.

8:45 a.m.

After breakfast, I walked to the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, where I had a student guide training session. I am a docent at the museum, so I work with fellow student guides and curator Christine Giviskos to learn about our museum and how to share it with the world. We explored a new exhibition of Paris prints that showcase the crowd’s role in 19th-century imagery. Some reproduce famous biblical scenes like Jesus preaching to a crowd, and others depict the hustle of getting onto a subway car. As soon as the session ended at ten, I ran across College Avenue to my first class in Hardenburgh Hall.

10:20 a.m.

I made it just in time. In “Cities of the Classical World,” we study urban development in the ancient world. Currently, we’re learning about ancient Rome and urban growth during the early empire. This was one of my favorite classes because it reminds me of everything I experienced while I studied abroad in Rome last summer.

11:40 a.m.

Jacqueline Giz

As soon as my class was over, I sprinted to Café West, where I picked up a wrap and some grapes for lunch. I headed back to the Zimmerli Art Museum for my next class. After I ate lunch at a table surrounded by contemporary art, I found my classroom.

12:10 p.m.

For my Capstone Seminar, I learn about the materiality of photographs. We get to explore the museum’s collection and work hands-on with unique pieces from storage each week. We saw cabinet cards—larger photos about the size of a book—and carte de visite—smaller photos about the size of a credit card—from the 19th century. We also looked through a stereoscope from the 19th century, taking turns bringing it up to our eyes to see 3-D snapshots from Egypt and the Grand Canyon. Handling art and historical objects is one of my favorite parts of this class. I am always in awe of the history I get to hold in my hands.

3 p.m.

After class, I met my friend Vaishnavi at the College Avenue Student Center. I am the Rutgers University Alumni Association Scarlet Council‘s vice president of communications, and Vaishnavi is one of our directors. The two of us talked to Rutgers students and encouraged them to keep up to date with our work on social media. We tabled for almost three hours, and we got to meet so many fellow students.

6 p.m.

Vaishnavi and I left the Student Center and headed to Brower Commons to get dinner. We met with some of our other friends. I made a salad with chicken at the salad bar. It was fun to catch up with my friends and take a break after a long day.

7:30 p.m.

After dinner, I said bye to my friends and headed back to the Honors College. The Dougherty Study Lounge is my favorite place to study in the building. We have large tables with built-in outlets and a great view of Vorhees Mall through the room’s glass walls. First, I had to reorganize my to-do list for the rest of the week, and then I spent some time going through flashcards of vocabulary from Ancient Greek. My favorite word is τέχνη, which means art or skill. Afterward, I did a reading for my “Foundations in Cultural Heritage” seminar.

9 p.m.

After a long day of schoolwork, I went back to my dorm. I took a break from school and read a book for fun. After reading a few chapters of Circe by Madeline Miller, I closed my book and started cleaning my room. I can’t clean my room without listening to music, so I played Taylor Swift’s new album.

10:15 p.m.

When I finished cleaning, I packed my backpack for tomorrow morning and decided to go to bed early. I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. and fell asleep. I’d had a productive but enjoyable day. I looked forward to the next day when I would have some more downtime, but I could not forget about my two midterm exams in Greek and “Cities of the Classical World,” which were scheduled for next week.

The Day in the Life series details the challenges and hectic daily itineraries of Rutgers students involved in the Scarlet Promise Initiative. This wide-ranging program provides equitable access to a Rutgers education and a bridge to success, giving each student the leg up they need to change the trajectory of their lives while offering them opportunities to better the world.

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The Scarlet Promise Initiative

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