NYC: On the Street

September 21st, 2017

I’ve been in New York for about a month now, and what an overwhelming month it was. Between cramming everything I own into my tiny car and driving from Michigan, to meeting my ten (ten!) new housemates, to getting scammed, to getting scammed again by the stupid transit system, to navigating the New York University campus, to getting off at the wrong subway stop, to getting utterly lost while on a run– it’s been anything if not exciting.

One of the most immediately striking features of New York City is the swirl of languages, food, and dress on every corner. Of course, it would be silly for me to see this diversity as proof that NYC is post-racial or completely harmonious. New York has issues, as does every city.

A metaphor I’ve developed for thinking of the city’s culturescape is the subway. Essential yet hated by most New Yorkers, the subway is dirty, unreliable, and overall frustrating- but it’s most people’s only option. NYU is exactly 6.1 miles from my house in Brooklyn- it takes 50 minutes to commute into Manhattan, and that’s on a good day. After dodging drips from the sagging ceiling, I jump the gap between the platform and the train to squeeze in with the other haggard commuters. The subway is the great equalizer: in the dark damp, it’s hard to be superior to others when you’re lumped into a mass. Fancy clothes are at risk of being soiled, and uncomfortable shoes don’t lend themselves to the constant walking required to transverse the city.

One of the stations I frequent. Courtesy Tumblr

One of the stations I frequent. Courtesy Tumblr

 

In the subway, there are no barriers. The privileged cannot use tall gates, expensive cars, or newfangled security systems to distinguish themselves from the “rabble,” us common folk. We are the human condition, pressed into a small, shabby subway car together. We are all subjected to the same delays, the same discomfort, the same noises and smells. We all pay the same price (3 bucks a pop!) to push past the turnstile and descend.

The only method of separation available to subway passengers is a bit of flimsy plastic: earbuds that provide music, but also sound barriers against the din of the subway. Our earbuds denote a small pool of personal space- a little island of privacy in the dense crowds of people, not to mention the sometimes alarming squeal of the train on its tracks. This personal space, however, is an illusion- someone can sway into and bump you when the train jerks to a stop. Also, safety is at least at the back of each passenger’s mind- especially if the passenger happens to be of the female variation. At any point, the 1% of the crowd that harbors unsavory intent might slip a hand into a pocket or worse.

Every time I curse the faulty public transit system, I know I should remember that this is how most of the world travels- via feet, bicycle, bus, or creaky subway train. At the very least, I should take it as a reminder of privilege, and that my entitlement is as illusory as that personal space we try to claim when crushed in amongst the crowd.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Interracial Relationships: Do Those Count?

September 14th, 2017

As a part of my white-denial phase as outlined in my previous post, during late high school/early college, I decided that I was only attracted to men of color. No more blondes for me- I liked dark skin and eyes, and definitely only dark hair was going to cut it.

This impulse arose from a mixture of factors. For one, part of denying my whiteness involved asserting that I wasn’t attracted to white men. Secondly, I was just exiting that thrash-around-and-shock-other-people-until-you-figure-out-who-you-are stage that many teenagers go through. I rather enjoyed announcing to my friends that I didn’t date white boys- not that boys of any type were lining up to date me. Of course, thinking about those conversations now makes me cringe, but I suppose it’s all a part of the process. And finally, I had a vague sense that I was fighting white hegemony and homogeneity by turning my attention to men of color. If I had kids with and married a non-white man, not only would I avoid contributing more white people to the world, but I would also have a life partner who would constantly be able to check my privilege and curb any racist tendencies I might have.

Of these impulses, the last one was getting at something important. It was good that I was able to see men of color as potential partners, as desirable. However, despite my good intentions, there was a dark side to this instinct that was very dangerous. By only giving attention to men of color, I was risking fetishizing them- wanting them because of their color, not for the people they were. Furthermore, I was elevating myself through my association of people of color. Because I only like men of color, I was determinedly “not-racist” and, thereby, better than most whites. Rather that pursuing justice, I was feeding my own ego, upheld by my identity as a white ally to people of color.

Once I realized this, I tried to evaluate my intentions each time I met a potential partner. Was I interested in him, or had I trained myself to only look for dark skin in a crowd of white? I eventually found that I was attracted to a wide range of men- black, Latino, Asian, and more (remember, identity is complicated!) And yes, the joke’s on me: I fell for a white guy, hard. After that, I had to admit that it was stupid of me to try to cut white guys out of my spectrum of interest.

During my senior year of college, I was talking to one of my Mexican friends. A self-professed dater of white girls only, my friend commented, “You know, I feel like several of the white women I’ve been with have only dated me because I’m Latino and speak Spanish.” I had always made fun of him for only dating white girls, but this made me think- wasn’t that exactly what I had done when I refused to date white guys?

These past two years, I have been able to reconcile my openness to white guys while remaining aware of my tendency to fetishize men of color. Even though I had fallen for a white guy, my history was statistically stacked against him- the majority of my interests just happened to be men of color.

Given this fact, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when, upon meeting my current boyfriend, he happened to be an Asian man with olive skin and dark features. His dad is white and his mom moved to the States from Japan, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by merely looking at him (phenotypes can be reeeally misleading). He was born and raised in Los Angeles, and with his affinity for guns and cars, I joke that he’s more American than I am. We sometimes talk about identity and race, but it’s usually not in the context of our relationship. When we do discuss it, I’m certainly not as obnoxious as I used to be. The more I get to know him, the more I feel confident that I’m with him not because of the misguided ideas from my youth, but because of the wonderful person he is.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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How to Navigate White Identity

September 8th, 2017

When I was first exposed to racial justice work, I went through a serious white-guilt phase. I was learning about institutional racism and other obstacles people of color faced, and I became uncomfortably aware of how I might be indirectly contributing to oppression. I dealt with that guilt by trying to distance myself from other whites. This of course wasn’t really possible, given the amount of white people surrounding me on a daily basis, but my friends started to notice. In response to my denouncement of white culture, my friends would say, “Anna hates white people.” I would weakly deny it, but they did have a point.

As a 14-year-old, I was confusedly trying to compensate for white privilege by clumsily embracing other cultures. It was a little misguided, but I was on to something. By distancing myself from white culture, I was able to better understand other cultures. Being stuck in white guilt was debilitating, but it was a necessary step in my growth as an ally. If I had stayed in that phase, bitterness and a skewed sense of the world would have kept me from forming friendships with not only whites, but with everyone. I had to come to terms with my whiteness because it was something that was never going to change. At the same time, because I had distanced myself from white culture, I was able to see more clearly the parts that were problematic. White culture becomes problematic when it is so dominant that all other cultures become the “other,” standing in contrast to the “norm,” white culture. The “othering” of non-white cultures results in the alienation of people of color, leading to stereotypes and discrimination.

During college, I realized that I could claim the majority of my white culture, while dismissing the problematic aspects. For example, I could acknowledge that I was white, but challenge the privileged way I was treated simply due to skin color. I could protest when my friends of color were mistreated, and use my privilege to help rather than hurt. Of course, this is a broad commitment which is difficult to enact in concrete ways, and I’ve struggled to find a way to respectfully do this work. For example, I reject the idea that the only acceptable form of “family” is a nuclear (mom, dad, fewer than 4 kids) one. However, it would be playing into stereotypes to assume that all Latino families are extended (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) or that all black families have only one parent in the home.

As you can probably tell, there are several lines to toe here. If you’re a wypipo (white person,) the best guiding bit of advice is to do a lot of listening. Every one of your friends will have a different opinion, and it’s a good idea to gather knowledge from each of these perspectives. Also, prepare to be uncomfortable! Part of the white privilege I try to surrender is always being the majority. This involves putting myself into situations where I’m in the minority. Although I’m still protected by my white privilege, I need these moments in order to understand what it feels like to the outsider. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re doing something right.

My apartmentmates and I poked fun at white culture with our Basic White Culture shoot (note the pumpkin)

My apartment mates and I poking fun at white culture with our Basic White Girl shoot (note the pumpkin).

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Steps Toward Cultural Competency

August 30th, 2017

The previous week, I detailed my transition onto the Grassroots Living/Learning Community. Only a few months on Grassroots proved that I did not know as much as I thought I did. Despite my parents’ thoughtful engagement with all cultures, I needed to begin building cultural competency on my own. Here are some steps I’ve found helpful as I’ve stumbled through experiential learning:

  1. The process does not have a definitive end point. No one is ever fully “culturally competent;” there is always more to learn. This is how I think of it: when I first entered college, I was on Step 4, due to my parents’ efforts to expose me to racial reconciliation work. Those first two years on Grassroots pushed me to Step 10, and the past three years have put me at Step 12. But the number of steps are infinite, and it would be foolish for me to become proud at the measly amount of steps I’ve taken.
  2. If you’re a white person hoping to ally yourself with people of color, understanding white culture and privilege is crucial. White culture exists; because it is the dominant culture in the United States, it is often invisible. However, whites have to acknowledge that we are just as culturally biased, if not more so, than those rooted in all other cultures. In the United States, our institutions and structures were created primarily by and for white citizens (and not to mention the male, rich, and straight). This means that people like me have been benefiting from systems since before we were born, and that our children will likely continue to benefit for generations.
  3. As you gather knowledge about other cultures, use it as a means of connection, not as a way to show off. I botched this several times, and it’s all a part of the processes. For example, if I meet a Latina and assume that she’s into Prince Royce, it’d be really awkward if she’s actually into country and hasn’t listened to bachata a day in her life. Even if, on the off chance, she’s a huge Royce fan, if I use this as an opportunity to impress her with my bachata knowledge, she’ll see right through it. People of color are used to being reduced to stereotypes and having uninformed people blabber on about China to someone who looks Asian but is actually Japanese-American and knows absolutely nothing about China. On the flip side, don’t pretend like you don’t know who Royce is, but rather, if a potential new friend brings him up, use it as a way to connect with her in a normal (and not reductive!) way.
  4. On a related note, phenotypes (people’s physical features) can be very misleading if you’re trying to guess someone’s heritage. Identity is complicated, and for all you know, someone who looks African could have been raised by a white family in the Midwest. People also choose, to some extent, how they wish to identify. This is especially true of multi-racial people. Having a multi-ethnic background makes it nearly impossible to guess one’s racial make-up based on phenotypes, and creates a quandary for all involved. Unable to place said multi-ethnic person in a box, people get frustrated and try to force them to choose one identity. Of course, someone who, for example, has a black parent and a white parent can’t decide between identities. Both are essential to one’s personhood. 
  5. A caveat on choosing identities: be aware of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation can be understood as wanting people of color’s culture, but not the struggle. For example, while people at Coachella wear feathers similar to those present in Native American culture. Whites wear them because they’re pretty, or stylish, or something. But most of them have no connection to the spiritual or otherwise personal history of many Native groups, nor wish to suffer alongside Native people who continue to this day to face discrimination while fighting for basic human rights and representation in the United States. This is problematic because it diminishes Native people’s experiences and pain, all out of ignorance. Similarly, whites cannot “choose” to identify as Native American because their culture seems oh so romantically quaint compared to “cultureless” whites (see above point number 2). Again, this minimizes people of colors’ experiences and makes them uncomfortable/angry, and rightly so. A white person cannot even try to embody POC’s because with their phenotypes, they will be seen as whites and treated thus.

Again, all of this can be hard to process, especially if you’re white and just starting along the cultural competency path. A general rule of thumb is to find situations where you can respectfully listen to POC on their own terms.

Winter banquet

All those steps seem overwhelming but the friends you make? Worth it

 

Further resources:

Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. A list of privileges you might not have considered before: 

http://bit.ly/2jSNfcn

Nell Irvin Painter, “What Is Whiteness?”: A history of the creation of “whiteness” as a social construct:

http://nyti.ms/2iZMrU9

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism. An article on white privilege, white culture, and institutional racism: 

http://bit.ly/29DzJAH

Slavery to Mass Incarceration: A short video on the history of slavery and why it impacts us today: 

http://bit.ly/1CmPdGh

Tate Walker, “We Can’t ‘Get Over It'”: 4 Ways Understanding Past Wrongs Can Create Better Indigenous Allies: Provides insight into Native American groups’ histories and struggles for justice:

http://bit.ly/2w2AHl7

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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From New York to….Home

August 29th, 2017

I think there are only a few places in your life that you can call home when it comes down to it. Hopefully you’ll get to go to a lot of places and see the world everything that it holds, but home, that’s special. I’m sure for most of you, who are reading this during or just before your college experience, home is where you grew up. It’s your high school, your childhood friends, your first love, and the good times with your family. It’s hard to leave all of that.

Taken by Jainita Patel.

Taken by Jainita Patel.

Vadodara, Gujarat Taken by Jainita Patel

Vadodara, Gujarat
Taken by Jainita Patel

But it’s worth it. Coming to New York was one of the best experiences of my life in that I started to realize that home can be more than one place. The longer you live somewhere the more comfortable it becomes, the more wrapped up you become in everyday life. In New York especially, you become jaded and tired. And I think that’s when it’s important to remember those initial feelings you had right before coming to NYC. The fear, the wonder, the bewilderment. The first article I ever wrote for the Campus Clipper was trying to recreate that small-town feeling in NYC and I think that though that’s helpful initially, you’ll find that in a few years you won’t need it anymore. Though this is a wondrous thing at first—you’re finally a real New Yorker!—this city wears on you if you don’t find novelty in its diverse number of activities.

I find that when I go back home—the Jersey Shore, in this case—I’m hit with the nostalgic feeling that only accompanies places you can no longer call home. The places where all of the adventures have been had and all the memories made, laminated, and bound into a book you only open on rainy days. Though this is a harder feeling to accomplish in NYC, sometimes it can feel that way.

And that’s when its important to get out—physically or mentally—if you can. Just for a little while.

Adventures don’t have to be thousand-dollar expeditions to other countries. Even just taking the train outside of NYC for a day can be an adventure if you make it one. Adventure is a mindset, not a physical act. Distancing yourself from the monotony of classes and workdays can be freeing in ways that are unimaginable. Because New York is a miracle and a curse for those of us who live here.

 

View of New York.  Taken by Jainita Patel

View of New York.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Vadodara, Gujarat. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Vadodara, Gujarat.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

The best time to have this mentality is as a student, when loans cover most of your expenses and though you’ll have to pay them back eventually, for now you’re free to do as you please. Studying abroad is something I would encourage to anyone that can find the means to do so. That is one of the reasons my articles have been so Euro-centric. I went to London for 6 months and ended up traversing around the continent instead of going to class. It was worth it. It’s very stereotypical for a middle class person under thirty to say “I went to Europe and it changed my life,” and I’m not saying that Europe itself changed me, but it did give me an appreciation for the adventures that I have already had and the adventures that I want to have in my home city or wherever I end up in the future.

Before I got into college, I used to go back to my parents’ hometown of Vadodara in Gujarat, India a lot. This was, in a way, my home away from home. Very soon after my taste for adventure blossomed, I quickly realized that Vadodara would always be my parents’ home even if the Shore is also their home.

What I mean to say is that one can have multiple homes and that you don’t have to go to a certain place to have an adventure. Adventure is all around us and if you’re willing to put in the effort to go, it could make you realize things about the world in all its vastness and yourself in all your infinites that you would’ve never thought of until you got lost in Wales or had to take a 14 hour bus from Paris to Berlin. These stories eventually become a part of you.

As much as I love New York, I think it’s important to get away for a bit. Whether it’s a couple days or a few years. Right now, home for me is New York. But it’s also the Shore. It’s also every month I spent in India growing up, playing with my cousins, and feeding stray cows. It’s walking the streets of Edinburgh like I grew up there and getting angry at the trolley in Prague. It’s cozied up in the Paris Shakespeare and Co. and freezing to death for the view in Vik, Iceland.

Home can be a few places, but the world is too big to just stay in one place. So get out there and see what it has to offer. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Me and my cousin circa 1999 in Vadodara.

Me and my cousin circa 1999 in Vadodara.

Me! Taken by Jainita Patel

Me in my tiny NYC apartment cerca 2017.
Taken by Jainita Patel

___________________________________________________________________________________

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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From New York to….Reykjavik

August 23rd, 2017

Sometimes, living in a city like New York during the winter feels like living in the 7th circle of hell. If the cold doesn’t make you regret going outside, the blistering wind will. Despite the drawbacks, New York in the winter can be a lot of fun, even after the holiday season has passed. Though the severe lack of people can come as a shock to first, New York after December is one of the quietest, most beautiful cities in the world. With sites on the water and lots of indoor activities, New York’s gray winter feels a lot like Reykjavik.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/

https://c1.staticflickr.com/

http://www.reykjavik.com/

http://www.reykjavik.com/

How do you enjoy all of the activities both places have to offer? Just follow these tips:

Don’t Dress To Impress.

I’m serious. Layers are your friends in both of these cities. Both have wind that bites into you, so even if you sweat a crazy amount underneath, those layers will save you from that nasty bite. Snowshoes that come up to the knee are a plus as well to avoid the nasty puddles of dirt and snow that gather between the sidewalk and the road. Plus, if you’re dressed warm enough to walk through New York in January and Reykjavik, you’ll see some amazing sites. New York’s Ice Festival in Central Park has two main events: live ice sculpting and a silent disco. If you can’t get enough of the cold and end up in Reykjavik in February, there’s always the Winter Lights festival to celebrate the long period of darkness the city has gone through. Not to mention ice-skating.

Exercise.

No joke, if you’re a runner in New York or Reykjavik, you better get used to the cold. Luckily, running in New York in the winter is a lot easier than running in the summer when throngs of people and cars constantly interrupt your route. If you’re not a runner, maybe winter is a good time to start if the cold doesn’t bother you too much. Running will keep your warm and motivate you to get outside and get some fresh air. If you get really good or even if you just want to see if running in the cold is something for you, try entering NYC Run’s Cocoa Classic (just $30 if you sign up before November 9th) on Roosevelt Island. There’s even hot chocolate in it for you. Reykjavik also has some fun runs like New York, though I would suggest holding off until summer for those. One of the best is the Midnight Sun Run (just $25 or 2400 ISK if you register by April) which takes place on the summer solstice. The spectacular sights will make up for the lack of cocoa and if you’re not a native Icelander, you’ll still get more than your fair share of the cold.

NYC Run's Cocoa Classic https://nycruns.com/

NYC Run’s Cocoa Classic
https://nycruns.com/

The start of the Midnight Sun Run https://runninginiceland.files.wordpress.com/

The start of the Midnight Sun Run
https://runninginiceland.files.wordpress.com/

Cocoa.

So maybe the Midnight Sun Run doesn’t provide hot chocolate, but Reykjavik has plenty of spots to grab one during the winter months. Grabbing a hot drink is foolproof way of warming up from your nose to your toes, and Súfistinn, across from Reykjavik’s City Hall, is the best place to get it. New York City has some excellent hot chocolate as well. City Bakery in Flatiron has some of the most warming and mouth-watering hot chocolate around. Or if that’s too far for you, MarieBelle on Broome St. is full of chocoholics that love a good cup of hot cocoa.

Explore.

Both of these cities are gems in the cold. For New York City, the lack of people after the holidays is refreshing and oddly quiet. Embrace it and get ready for the long, noisy summer months. Go to Central Park and climb Belvedere Castle to see the sight snowy sight around you or take a friend to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which becomes a silent, icy wonderland in the winter. In Reykjavik when it’s light out, if you’ve never been before, you’ll get the same feeling as staring down from the Freedom Town onto a snowy city if you go up the Pearl and see the harbor in front of you and the snowy mountains to your side.

 

Just a personal note, if you’ve been to one city and not the other, if you stand at the tip of Battery Park in the dead of winter, you’ll probably regret leaving the warmth of your bed. However, stand there long enough and you’ll get the exact same feeling as standing next to the Sun Voyager, looking out to Engey in Iceland. The wind off the water might hurt at first, but the peace that comes with it is worth it.

https://crocsandcandy.files.wordpress.com/

View from Battery Park in the winter https://crocsandcandy.files.wordpress.com/

The Sun Voyager Taken by Jainita Patel

The Sun Voyager
Taken by Jainita Patel

 

Don’t let the cold hold you back. Bundle up and get out there! And who knows, if you love the cold and have been to New York but not Reykjavik, maybe you’ll get the chance to experience it one day and vice versa.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

 

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Transition to Intentional Community

August 23rd, 2017

As a high school senior, I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to college. The year was 2012, I was seventeen, and I still had no clue which college to attend. I procrastinated up to the line, until it was National College Decision Day and I was forced to finally choose. Originally planning to attend college in Los Angeles, I settled on Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, thousands of miles from my home in California. I had visited Calvin a month earlier, in April, and toured the newest dorm, named Van Reken after one of the many Dutch alumni who sponsor Calvin. My mom had discovered a living-learning floor for Honors students and, being an overachiever in her college days, encouraged me to apply.

By June, I dragged myself onto the Calvin website to fill out the Honors floor application. However, a description of another floor in the same building caught my attention. Called Grassroots, the floor was dedicated to exploring multiculturalism and combating racism. Every two weeks, students were required to attend a one-credit Contextual Diversity class, which investigated racism in modern America. Forget the Honors floor; I knew I had to apply.

My parents had become involved in anti-racism work before I was born. They were the area directors for Young Life, a Christian program for students, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for eight years. My dad had become involved in diversity trainings around the time when my parents married, and as a result, tried to integrate the largely white youth groups in suburban Kalamazoo with the largely black youth groups in other parts of the city. He was met with opposition, so, frustrated, my parents decided to relocate to Sacramento, California.

My parents’ vision was to form a multicultural community, with a church at its center, that fostered sharing life and learning from each other. They brought together groups of people that normally would never interact. And it was harder than they could have imagined. There was conflict, there was fallout, there was pain. But there was also compassion, and mutual benefit, and true friendship.

It was in this environment that I was raised. I had seen the heartbreak, but I had also seen raw connection that resulted in rich learning. By the time I was applying to live on intentional living-learning communities in college, I was hungry for that type of interaction. Even as a seventeen-year-old, I knew I wanted to engage in racial justice work.

Several months later, I moved onto Grassroots as a freshman. The floor was was the catalyst for not only my interests, but also who I was as a person. I was launched into community, and I had no clue what I was getting myself into: late-night talks about race theory, arguments, and the formation of lasting friendships. I was terribly uncomfortable, I learned a lot, it was the best and hardest two years of my life.

2nd VR women

The women of Grassroots during a dorm banquet.

Grassroots was a crucial step for me on a journey I hope to continue to take.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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De Facto Segregation in Education

August 15th, 2017

As a college student, I have become invested in combining study with my personal life, to the best of my ability. I was a Spanish and History double-major as an undergraduate, but because I attended Calvin College, a liberal arts school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I was also able to count several sociology classes toward my degree. These classes focused on dissecting and explaining the reality of American society. For example, schools today are more segregated than they were immediately following the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This was not the legal version typical under Jim Crow, which was finally dismantled in the 1960s. Rather, it was de facto segregation- not enforced by law, but a reality brought about by social structures. Despite attempts to integrate, factors such as continued discrimination, the generational accumulation of wealth, and investment in schools based on property tax contributed to the current state of segregation.

The weathered, wooden sign delineating the boundaries of my neighborhood.

 

I understood the history and the facts behind the reality of segregated schools. But what was more, I had seen this segregation while I was growing up in Sacramento, California. We moved  to Gardenland/Northgate, a neighborhood just north of downtown Sacramento, when I was seven. I was homeschooled, but as I entered sixth grade, my parents decided to supplement my home education with a co-op program at a charter school in Natomas, the new suburbs being developed north of our neighborhood. I attended Natomas Charter School from sixth through eighth grade as a home-schooler, but upon my debut as I high-schooler, we decided that I should enter full-time school. This decision gave rise to another question: which school should I attend? Grant High, which was only a few blocks from my house, was in one of the “worst” school districts in Sacramento. Because it was under-resourced, Grant had struggled to meet state standards for years. My parents were torn- should they send me to the failing school around the corner, or ship me off to the suburbs for a potentially richer academic experience?

So probably for my own good, my parents contributed to segregation, albeit in a micro-sense. They sent me to the suburban school, rather than our local high school. They made the choice that parents who have the opportunity to do so usually make. Investing in our neighborhood school wasn’t worth the risk of me becoming beaten down by the public school system. It wasn’t worth me losing my love for learning, and it wasn’t worth negatively impacting my chances for success.

The de facto segregation of schools, which is tied up in the segregation of neighborhoods, of opportunity, of American society in the most general sense, decides the future for most of America’s youth. I will most likely succeed, when other young people who are just as talented and dedicated as I will might never have the chance to go to college. Who decided that I would have access to better chances than my neighbor, not by virtue of my own effort, but merely due to generational privilege? Is it my duty to level the playing field that has been uneven since before I was born?

To this day, I’m not sure if I agree with their decision or if I would have done differently. The self-discipline I developed in high school allowed me to thrive in college. I was an honors student who read every page I was assigned, and I decided I wanted to pursue critical race and gender theory and research.  I will begin graduate studies at New York University in a few weeks. I have continued the trend begun by my parents in terms of education: seeking out the most prestigious (and expensive) option, one that will be most likely to guarantee my success. The internal turmoil continues: although I have chosen academia, I don’t want to lose focus. My hope has always been to do justice, not just when it easy, but also when it requires personal sacrifice.

The research to which I have dedicated myself applies abstract theory to practical issues. I study phenomenons like modern de facto segregation not only out of my own interest, but because of its overwhelming relevance in American society today.  I hope my research can join the current body of evidence of social injustice and assist in making society a bit more just.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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From New York to…Nassau

August 15th, 2017

Living in a city that’s fairly popular can be disgruntling sometimes. You’re just trying to get to work or class and there are about 75 thousand tourists in your way like that guy with a “I <3 NYC” hat and that person standing in the middle of the road trying to take a picture. It can get pretty annoying after the novelty of living in a big city wears off. There’s nothing you can do about the tourists, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few good ways to handle the idea of tourism in your city. If you think NYC’s bad with crowds of people that don’t know where they’re doing, Nassau is worse.

https://www.shutterstock.com/

https://www.shutterstock.com/

Taken by Jainita Patel.

Taken by Jainita Patel.

If you live in a big city, you’re going to eventually go through the 3 stages of tourism anxiety and here are just a few ways to cope:

Stage 1: Avoidance.

That’s right. It can be as simple as that: avoid the places with lots of tourists. Broadway? Avoid it no matter where you are. Battery Park? Nope. Midtown? Not today. Tourists can be avoided if you stick to neighborhoods that don’t have too many tourist attractions. Lesser-known tourist attractions in the boroughs are the best places to avoid the hoards of camera-wielding families. I’ve suggested it once and I’m going to suggest it again: Green-Wood cemetery is virtually empty and it’s gorgeous. Park Slope is mainly residential and has a lot of cute shops and places to eat. If you’re hell bent on staying in Manhattan, the East River is generally less tourist-filled than the Hudson. If you really want to get away, Hoboken has the best view of the skyline and only locals tend to live there. In the Bahamas it’s a bit harder to avoid tourists. The main key for Nassau is to stay away from Atlantis and avoid the straw market and downtown. That’s where the cruise ships let off and you don’t want to be there the first thing in the morning when hoards of people dock. Instead, try going to the other side of the island to Clifton Pier. If you need to stay near downtown, try going to Loop View instead, where you can get an amazing view. Cabbage Beach is also a good place on Paradise Island that’s pretty isolated but close enough to the resort to walk.

https://www.nycgo.com/i

https://www.nycgo.com/i

Cabbage Beach. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Cabbage Beach.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

Stage 2: Acceptance.

After a while, avoiding all of the places with tourists can get a bit boring. After all, the reason people go to places is because those places are interesting. Sometimes you just have to be okay with the fact that you live in a cool part of the world that a lot of people want to see. That doesn’t mean going out of your way to avoid tourist-filled areas, but it doesn’t mean purposefully going to those areas either. Union Square get pretty touristy during the summer, but if you have to go through it, just put your headphones in and keep walking. The second stage of living in a city is just knowing that you signed up for this and being ready for it. For Nassau, if you need to go through downtown, walking through the sunlit streets can actually be pretty pleasant even with the hoards of tourists buying rum cake and souvenirs.

Union Square https://en.wikipedia.org/

Union Square
https://en.wikipedia.org/

Pompeii Square in Downtown Nassau. Taken by Jainita Patel

Pompeii Square in Downtown Nassau.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Stage 3: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them.

Since love and hate are pretty close emotions, if you hate tourists, eventually you’re going to become one. Whether it’s in your own city or another, but the good part about being a tourist in your own city is that you can actually go out into the world and enjoy every part of the your city that makes it so famous. Haven’t gone up the Freedom Tower yet? Now is as good as any other time. Haven’t been to the Met in a while? Go for it. Lived in New York for 3 years and haven’t walked across the Brooklyn Bridge or seen the Statue of Liberty yet? Well now’s your shot. Don’t let tourists stop you from going to see these things. Sometimes it’s just better to say “screw it” to feeling like a local and just getting out there and seeing your part of the world. For Nassau this can be especially fun. If you’ve been there for a while and haven’t gone snorkeling now’s your shot. You can even get discounted Bahamian Atlantis passes if you’re there for long enough. Downtown—except Sr. Frog’s, avoid Sr. Frog’s at all times—can be extremely fun if you’re willing to commit to just enjoying yourself instead of blending in.

Freedom Tower http://www.theepochtimes.com/

Freedom Tower
http://www.theepochtimes.com/

Atlantis Resort. Taken by Jainita Patel

Atlantis Resort.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Have fun with it. You’re going to go through the three stages of tourism anxiety no matter where you move. At first you feel like one of them and then you become jaded enough to try to avoid being one of them, but like most things in life, that too will come full circle in the end. So if you like New York for how many tourist attractions it has, you’ll love Nassau and vice versa. Hopefully you’ll get to visit both some day.

___________________________________________________________________________

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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From New York to….L.A.

August 12th, 2017

New York has no short of odd things to see and do. It’s a big city with so many hidden nooks and crannies that you could spend your entire life doing interesting things in the City and still never be able to find all of them. That’s one of the things that make New York so overwhelming and wonderful. The only west coast equivalent I can think of when it comes to wild and wacky things to do is L.A.

https://www.nestseekers.com/

https://www.nestseekers.com/

Orange County, L.A. Taken by Jainita Patel

Orange County, L.A.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Like NYC, L.A. has its own off-beat things to see and do and here are just a few places both cities have that are a little off the beaten path:

Crazy Museums.

You know me. I’m a sucker for a good museum, but if you’re looking for something a lot less serious than some of the ones I’ve mentioned for one, then you might want to check out the Museum of Math. I’m not kidding. This seemingly dull museum is a blast with fun games to play to help you explore your mathematical side. Even if you’re not a math person, this place is just a lot of fun. Still not convinced? Then maybe you should try Baby Castles, which is a museum dedicated to video games. You’re even encouraged to play with most of the exhibits. In L.A., the wildest museum I’ve been to is the La Brea Tar Pit Museum. Here, the pits and the preserved animals are the main attraction, but the inside museum is entertaining as well, with life-style animatronic recreation of mammals that have long been extinct.

Exhibition at the MoMath. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Exhibition at the MoMath.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

My sister at the La Brea Tar Pit Museum. Taken by Jainita Patel.

My sister at the La Brea Tar Pit Museum.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

Wild Nature.

You don’t really think of nature as a weird place, but you’d be surprised how wild it can get around L.A. and New York. One of the greatest and oddest national parks I’ve ever been to is Joshua Tree National Park. It’s just desert and rocks for miles and miles, but the landscape manages to be gorgeous, if a little surreal. It’s only 2 hours away from L.A. by car. For you advanced hikers, Ryan Mountain is my favorite trail there. In New York, Fire Island may be 3 hours and 2 trains away from Manhattan, but Otis Pike is one of the last true wildernesses left in the Northeast. There are no marked trails here, but it’s hard to get lost on this thin island. With the ocean on one side and the bay on the other, even if you manage to get lost, the views you find will be worth it. If that’s not your cup of tea, Fire Island also has one of the last Sunken Forests left in the world.

From the top of Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree. Taken by Jainita Patel

From the top of Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Odd Stores.

New York and L.A. are both known for their shopping scene, but besides clothes and other necessities, both cities have a knack for the quirkiest of shops. Most NYU kids have probably walked by the Evolution Store on Broadway before, but if you get a chance, you should stop inside one did. They have the craziest and creepiest items for sale like taxidermy animals and replica skulls. Most people who live in L.A. have heard of the Last Bookstore. It’s become more and more popular over the years, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of quirkiest places in L.A. With shelves that run for miles and architecture made from books, this place is bound to steal your heart.

The Last Bookstore. Taken by Jainita Patel

The Last Bookstore.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Murals.

Street art is pretty offbeat as an art form and there are no two better cities to see murals than NYC and L.A. The Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem has some of the best artwork in the city. Set in a playground, take an hour or two to head up there and just walk alongside the beautiful artwork and while you’re there, be sure to grab something to eat as the food in East Harlem is bomb. In L.A., if you ever bike the famous path from Santa Monica to Venice, you’ll speed past alongside the skate parks on the beach, but there’s a particular stretch of that path that goes past random installations of murals. Be sure to stop there and look around. These odd walls are right next to the water and have some insanely cool art on them.

The Graffiti Wall of Fame. https://www.travelblog.org/

The Graffiti Wall of Fame.
https://www.travelblog.org/

Right off the Santa Monica-Venice bike path. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Right off the Santa Monica-Venice bike path.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

So if you’re looking for things to do that are off the beaten path, now you have a list to get you started before you find your own places to explore. If you like New York for its weird aspects, you might enjoy L.A and vice versa. Hopefully you’ll get to visit both some day.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

 

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