Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Get Disney+ (Or Any New Streaming)

November 10th, 2019

Who here can’t get enough of streaming films and tv shows? Who here is a Netflix binger? Who here routinely swipe aside the textbook to get your diet of streaming movies and TV?

Many of you are excited about the arrival of Disney+. Some of you are Star Wars fans looking forward to The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars show. Or some are cinephiles who want to access a treasure trove of old Disney classics. Or you’re a Marvel lover who wants some more superheroes.

As a student, navigating your streaming pleasures is an exercise in budgeting as well as viewing discipline.

Here are the questions you should ask yourself:

If you can’t afford another streaming service, are you ready to sacrifice another streaming? 

Society is streaming-saturated! So, unfortunately, I have to consolidate what I want to watch. Some students may have more than one streaming service to catch original shows that can’t be found on TV. I want to watch my Handmaid’s Tale? I get Hulu. I want to watch my Marvel shows like Daredevil or Jessica Jones? Netflix. I want Game of Thrones? HBO! I want The Expanse? Amazon Video.

Depending on what streaming you have, it could be a great discipline to get go of at least one streaming service if you are using them sparingly. For example, if I only use my Hulu once or twice a month, that’s a sign I shouldn’t be subscribing and my money should go elsewhere.

Are you gonna commit to viewing?

So you paid for your streaming and you’re telling yourself “I’m gonna watch EVERYTHING.” Are you really?

Some of your schedules may be really funky. As a freelancer, it’s hard for me to predict my break periods. It’s hard for me to see if I have a window of hours where I could get a movie or episode down.

And just as people procrastinate with their studies, it’s also possible to procrastinate on planned pleasures.

Are you gonna keep that binging in check?

Hate to whip out the obvious, but addiction to streaming is unhealthy. Yes, schedule time to make the best use of your streaming service, but mind your habits. Dr. Michael J Breus warns that binge-watching will ruin your sleep. Research shows that being overloaded with programming–stories, action, images–will stimulate your brain activity. If you have been watching this show for five hours, pinch yourself and stop. Bring your eyes to the books or the outdoors.

Happy streaming! Happy viewing!

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

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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Drawing at the NYC Museums: From Stick-Figures to Sketches

October 30th, 2019

I used to draw stick figures. I’m not what anyone would call a professional artist, or even a good amateur artist. During English and Literature lectures in my undergrad years, I would see my peers doodling away. Whenever I couldn’t process the professor’s droning word, I would entertain myself by watching my desk mates scribble stars, flowers, and people, envious that I could not do what they did.

I am finding new hobbies at age 25. I am a writer by nature. But I decided to expand my horizon. Instead of staying cooped up in my apartment, I made it my goal to step outside more often. Last week, I attended the Museum of Moving Images. I flashed my student ID and received the student discount. (They have free enties on Friday, 4-8pm).

I wandered the Jim Henson Exhibition, out of a love for the recent 2019 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series. I saw Henson’s doodly character sketches for Sesame Street and the Muppet Show.

I had a sketchbook in my bag. So I whipped it out. And I sought to imitate Henson’s sketches and some of artist Brian Froud.

These are the results. Not stick-people, but shapes.

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Sometimes you see something you want to draw so badly.

A post shared by Carol Cao (@maximininalist) on

 

By Caroline Cao

See also:


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

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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What To Do For Low Cost Entertainment Around NYC

October 15th, 2019

You know what’s the best break from your studies? Watching something cool! Or maybe something that makes you tear up. It’s not hard to entertain yourself in the Big Apple. Look around you, there is entertainment all around you.

If your pockets are low, check out these free or low-cost forms of entertainment or respite from your studying.

See Galleries

The mere act of drinking in sites and art is a relaxing form of entertainment. There are some free exhibitions you can find in NYC.

Walk the Park

As the studies say, access to trees reduces depression. So you might want to find your nearest NYC park and drink the fresh air. The famous Central Park is an ideal walkthrough.

Walking the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has an $8 discount for students.

Your Nearest Library

Yeah, books, magazine, comics are entertainment! Do not take for granted the power of a library card, which can bring you a bunch of NYC benefits. Find the Brooklyn Public Library or your New York Public Library.

Street Performers

People dance and play on the streets or subways of New York City. If you stop to watch on the streets or bother to look up from your subway seat, do spare a dollar for them.

The most fruitful site of entertainment can be found around Time Square. Follow the big crowd of people surrounding street dancers.

Streaming (And not just Netflix)

Yeah, I guess sometimes you just gotta stay at home and watch your Russian Doll, The Good Place, or Raising Dion. 

It’s just recommended you don’t spiral into binge-watching entire series in one sitting. Try to proportion your streaming consumption by studying in between episodes.

Also, you got a student email? Use it! A student email can allow you to access classic films on Kanopy streaming.

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

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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Study Burnout: How To Charge Your Brain (Without Netflix)

September 18th, 2019

Have you ever stared at the cards on your vocabulary sheet and it looked like mumbo jumble? Have you groaned when the teacher piles on more study assignments on you? Has your eyes averted your homework in favor of staring down at your phone? Have you lied in bed and stared at the ceilings for hours when you had something to do.

You could be having burnout. And that’s totally normal. What can you do about it (that doesn’t involve your WiFi and Netflix)?

Take a walk to the park

NYC has many wonderful parks. My personal favorite is the Central Park with its green expense and rustling trees, If you have a bike, go bike here.

Take a walk around the city

Walking around green park is good, but the noisy Big Apple buildings. You can examine the NYC structure. You might discover fascinating places. For example, I somehow ran into the free American Gangster Museum while on a walk.

Throw yourself into a college activity

College is hard but it is also great at spoiling you with free swag and social events. Solana Joan Suazo wrote previously about how NYU orientation events lead to new friends.

Call your distant friend

A lot of you probably left behind close friendships when you left for college. It pains me that some friends fade away, not from memory, but from time. If you can, find that distant friend that does have time and call-in (or Skype-in) on them once in a while. Ask them how their lives are doing.

Great, so you refreshed yourself. And you did it without Netflix!

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies DeathThe Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

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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You are Important Too

August 15th, 2019

You Are Important Too

I have come a long way in the past year. I have healed, learned, and I have knocked down most of my insecurities. Since my “non-relationship” ended a little over a year ago, I have taken every step to become the person I really want to be. I love myself for who I am and I am finally okay with being single. For the longest time, all I wanted was a boyfriend; someone to love me the way my friends’ boyfriends loved them. I questioned why I was one of very few of my friends who had never been in a serious relationship. I convinced myself that there was something wrong with me and I began to overthink every situation. Any connection I had with someone, I would become so excited and in the end, I would try and force something that wasn’t there. Along with going for the wrong guys, the fact that I was always looking for someone is what would ultimately ruin any situation I would get into. I have a pattern of letting guys lead me on even though I was aware of multiple red flags. I was just happy to get attention from someone because it reassured me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. After continuously accepting the attention from people I shouldn’t have, I began to feel unwanted. Even though I knew guys wanted me, I believed that they wanted me for the wrong reasons and I would be self destructive with every connection. I pushed people away without realizing it. 

About a month after fully cutting ties with the guy from sophomore year, I began casually seeing someone. It was refreshing and exciting. He seemed excited about me and I for sure was excited about him. We talked every moment we could. And for once, I wasn’t initiating it. I felt like he wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see him. Being around him would automatically put me in a better mood. The way he treated me was such a drastic change from my past and I believe that is why I felt so strongly so fast. That was the issue, we moved way too fast. We had no idea what was actually going on but all we knew as that we enjoyed each other’s company. As time went on, he stopped calling and texting me as much as he normally would. He stopped trying to see me as often. It was clear that he just wasn’t interested in pursuing me anymore. After basically ghosting me, I decided to text him and end whatever we had. He responded by telling me that he was just too busy and had to focus on his career; again, that is 100% an understandable excuse, but there were so many different ways to handle the situation that would have caused less pain. From the beginning, he was not clear about what his intentions were; but neither was I. In the end, it just was not the right timing for either of us and it didn’t work out. He was focusing on his career and himself and I’ve realized that I didn’t love myself the way I do now. I wanted it to work so badly that I ignored the signs again. I find myself still caring about him because that is just who I am. Once I care about someone, I never stop. But I am finally at a point in my life where I am okay with being alone and I have realized that if it is meant to be then maybe one day it will work out, but that does not mean that I am going to wait around for him. I am happy where I am in life and if someone else comes along, I will not hold back. 

Fast forwarding to right now, I am so content. I started focusing on bettering my health, I began taking dance classes again — which is the one thing that can change my mood in a second — and I realized that there is nothing wrong with who I am. I am who I am and I’m confident about that. This past year, I studied abroad and learned that there is so much more to experience. I have so many years left to find someone who loves me for me and right now it’s okay to be single. Since learning to love myself, I have learned to casually date. I’ve met so many new people this summer and have been pursued by a few. Being asked on dates has been shocking to me. My generation is definitely not known for getting into relationships but going on a few dates this summer has shown me that there are genuine people out there. I just have to be open to letting new people in. Again, this is not what I am focusing on but it has helped me get to a good place. 

Don’t let people who aren’t ready for you get under your skin. It is not worth the time thinking about someone who doesn’t think about you. Think about yourself; make sure you are happy with who you are and when you are ready, put yourself out there. For all you know, you could meet someone out of the blue who could potentially surprise you. Love yourself, endlessly. 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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Love, or Lust?

August 10th, 2019

For the longest time I thought I loved him. I thought I loved this person who treated me as if I was some toy he could play with whenever it pleased him. I let him treat me this way for a majority of our “non-relationship.” I was aware of everything he was doing but I continued to go back to him. I am not blaming myself for how he treated me. In the moment I thought I loved him, when it is clear that it was fully lust. I will admit, that even in those moments when we “weren’t together” — if we can even call it that — and I would daydream about the good times we shared, I mostly thought about sleeping with him. As hard as it is to hear from even myself, I craved him for one reason and one reason only: sex. It took me about a full year to recognize that all my feelings I had felt towards him, were completely and utterly lust. Yes I cared about him and deep down I will always care about him because that is just who I am. But as I sit here and think about the time we spent together sophomore year, I realize that there was never any real substance to our conversations; they consisted of flirting and bantering back and forth; they consisted of me expressing my feelings and fighting with him because he clearly didn’t feel the same but pretended to. At the time, it was entertaining and fun and he was all I thought about. The lust blinded me. It is not love when you have to defend someone’s actions to your friends; it is not love when you feel guilty even seeing him — having to hide it from everyone you know; and it is not love when you have to question whether or not the connection you have with him is real. 

No one should blame themselves in a situation like this. He was a liar and a manipulator and I fell for it. He took advantage of my feelings and didn’t have a problem with it. Yes he was cruel and unfair, but I fell in lust with him and that was a huge factor in the demise of our “non-relationship.” I had never felt this type of easy going, comfortable connection with anyone else before. The way he smiled at me, the way he laughed with me, and the way he cuddled me was different. I’m sure now, that he acted this way with every girl he was with but I convinced myself that he treated me differently. He would tell me that I’m different. He would tell me that he cared about me a lot — and I am sure that was partly true. For someone to string another person along throughout a seven month period and not care for the other person at all seems inhumane to me. So I do believe he cared for me; but I just believe he did not know what to do with that. He was not in a place to accept the feelings he was having and frankly, neither was I. 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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I’ll Be Back

July 31st, 2019

I don’t pretend to have myself or the world figured out. There are still many aspects of my life I am unsure about; I have always identified as bisexual but I recently realized I might only be attracted to girls, sometimes I get an overwhelming urge to call my mother and just ask her to put all of this behind us so she can hold me again, and I occasionally wonder if I should even be putting time and energy into journalism when creative writing is my true passion… but that is the beauty of life. I don’t think we ever really figure it all out. It’s impossible to know and understand everything. But I do think it’s important to continue to grow, because that is something we will always have room for.

One of the most important skills I developed this last year was self-awareness. For a while, I lied to myself about many things; I lied to the people I love too. I was scared of the truthterrified of what it implied. As a result of the multiple life altering experiences I’ve gone through this year, I realized that I have to be honest with myself and others if I ever want to be my truest self. The truth is scary, but it’s almost always worth it. For the majority of my life I had this overwhelming desire to please everyone and not be an inconvenience. I believed this stemmed from years of living in other people’s houses and always feeling like a burden in a home that was not my own. I didn’t feel comfortable taking up spacelet alone explaining how I was feeling. So for a long time, I let others take advantage of me. In an old journal entry of mine, I wrote:

 

they take and they use and they break and i let them. i let them because i have convinced myself that if i allow them to take enough pieces of me, they will eventually fill my missing parts with their own. they never do.

 

I love to give. That is a piece of myself that will never change, but I’ve learned that I can’t give to the point where I stretch myself too thin, like a bed sheet too small for a mattress, desperately clinging on to the corners, hoping to fill the holes with over kindness. I can’t talk to every single guy that comes up to me on the street asking for my number and make it seem like I’m interested just because I’m too scared to hurt their feelings by rejecting them. I can’t listen vehemently to my friends when they point out my flaws that affect them, but never point out their own that affect me. I can’t get in these non-relationships anymore when I know they don’t work for me. And I can’t let people think it’s okay to be with me and be with others at the same time. I need to be honest about what I want, because what I want is just as valid as the desires of others. 

I think a lot of us devote our lives to othersleaving no time nor space for ourselves. Growing up, we are never taught to think of ourselves as a person. We would never tell others that they are not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, but we whisper those hurtful words into the mirror. And we carve out time into our day to hang out with others, but we don’t do the same for ourselves. Why don’t we view ourselves as highly as we view others? Why do we bend over backwards doing everything for everyone, but struggle doing things for ourselves? We are definitely deserving of it. It is not selfish to take care of one’s self. By being loving and giving toward ourselves, our hearts open wider for others. 

In society and many cultures, mental health is not something that is taken seriously. Therapy is viewed negatively and is only supposed to be utilized by those with severe mental illnesses. They treat it as if it should be kept a secret when we are suffering. None of this is true though. Society has shaped an atmosphere in which it is taboo to talk about our suffering and our trauma. But I believe if we open ourselves up and create safe spaces to have these conversations, we will learn that many people have had similar experiences. So many people struggle on a daily basis with anxiety and depression. So many people grew up poor and abused by their parents and have been sexually assaulted. I created a perzine last semester that showcased the majority of my trauma. I utilized poetry and letters that I’ve written as far back as when I was in middle school. Creating the perzine was both a cathartic and painful experience. Sharing it in front of my class was terrifying. But the three people that came up to me separately afterward and told me they experienced similar trauma growing up made it all worth it. They knew that they were no longer alone. I was no longer alone.

We have to open ourselves up to be vulnerable more often. It is not strong to bottle up emotions so that you never cry, that is weak. It is also hazardous to your mental health and the people around you that you’ll subsequently take that out on. I think real strength and bravery is found in vulnerability. It can be terrifying to share how we’re actually feeling. The fear of judgement is overwhelming sometimes. But it’s worth it. When you realize that you are enough and your own feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s, nothing else matters. Others opinions can’t bother you when you love yourself entirely. Once you find your own validation, no one can take that away from you. 

Another beautiful process that aids in returning to one’s truest self is returning to one’s culture. Being Latina played such a large role in shaping who I was when I was younger. It is a part of that naked and bare version of myselfmy honest self. It is also a reason I face adversity, but accepting and loving my culture combined with the immense pride I feel for it makes it all worth it. Now, I would never want to be anyone or from anywhere else. I love myselfwholeheartedly. And I love Puerto Rico and Cubadeeply. 

My eyes opened to the reality of the world far too young. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a close family member once told me, as morbid as it sounds, there was beauty to be found in that chaos. While going through the storm, it almost feels too difficult to live. But sometimes, I think you have to see just how dark life can get before you truly want to live. I never want to go back to that dark place, so everyday I strive to share light. The world is fucked up, but if I can leave an impact on just one person’s life, it all feels worth it. 

I think we often chase younger versions of ourselves. I long to be a small child again, with my two front teeth simultaneously missing, clinging onto my father’s legsbefore the pain. When my mom and dad were still together, when my sister lived with us and my brother was in diapers. When we lived in the stunning yellow house my father helped build in Puerto Rico. I look back at the very few pictures of the five us and my heart aches. I yearn for those times still. But I know they are over now. The days of waking up to the smell of Papi’s food and salsa blasting through his speakers have dissipated. The realist in me wants to say that all that remains of him are the bones in his grave. But the poet, and the dreamer in me says that I am left, and so is my brother. He and I resurrect our father. We keep his memory alive by being our truthful selves.

~~~

I once had a dream that continues to haunt me in the most beautiful way. I was walking through the forest. I couldn’t tell where I was or why I was there, but I knew that I had to keep walking. I knew I was moving toward something. It was almost as if I was being pulled. I walked for what felt like hours in the dream world, but I never grew weary. Suddenly, the trees cleared and I felt like my breath had been knocked out of me. 

I had made it. There was a lake that went out as far as the eye could see; it went out so far that it wrapped itself in the sky. And the sky, it was unreal. It was full of the most vibrant shades of pink I had ever seen in my entire life. The water reflected the sky. Everything was pink in the most beautiful way. I felt warm. Tears began to roll down my cheeks. How could this much beauty exist? I had also figured out it was a dream at that point, but I never wanted it to end. I didn’t want my eyes to open. I didn’t want to leave the pink.

A hand grabbed mine. I looked down and I could see every hair and vein. I could see the scars on his wrist I spent my childhood tracingtrying to heal. I could see my father’s gold watch. My eyes met his. Papi. He wiped my tears with his free hand. 

“I don’t want to go back Papi.” I grabbed his hand on my face and held it there.

“It’s going to be okay Chispy. You’ll be back. Until then, make me proud.”

 

I hope this makes him proud. 

———————

By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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Existing in Two Spheres

July 31st, 2019

Maintaining a connection with one’s culture whilst living in America is an arduous task. It is easy to lose touch when we are surrounded by whiteness and racism, but it is crucial that we continue to embrace ourselves fully despite the adversity we will face.

I conducted interviews with three Latinx students at NYU, two who are first generation. They are currently taking Spanish classes because they don’t speak the language well enough to fulfill the requirement. While they each have had different experiences, they all shared that as their ability to speak the language increased, so did the level of connection they felt to their family and their culture. One of the students described this as an “empowering process.” I don’t believe that people need to be able to speak their native languages in order to be close to their culture, but I think having the ability to is helpful. As a result of increased language skills, there is an increase in connection to people within the family that only or primarily speak that language.

I know this is true for many cultures, but especially for Latinx culture, it is frowned upon to be incapable of speaking the language. We are called gringas and gringos by our own families which is confusing considering the fact that they are the ones who were unsuccessful at teaching us the languagea point that one of my interviewees made. He is Puerto Rican and said that whenever he visits the island he “always felt out of place. Like an outsider because [he] couldn’t speak the language of [his] culture.” We already experience various forms of oppression and marginalization, we can’t do the same to our own people. That same student explained that because of the color of his skin, he is targeted by others, especially the police. He shared stories of how on several occasions he has been subjected to “random bag checks” on the train; he takes the same route to school every single day. My heart broke hearing his story. This is the reality of many of our lived experiences.

It is so difficult to exist in both spheres. My first semester of college I wrote a short story titled Too Spanish for White People, Too White for Spanish People. My understanding of what being Spanish means and who that represents has changed since then, but the point remains. Many of us feel we are not enough for our families, but too much for America. We struggle to find our niche. I have been fighting my way back to my culture, but I think that as a people, we need to be more accepting of each other.

It’s also an arduous task to relearn the language, especially in a classroom setting. Two of the interviewees pointed out that the Spanish we learn in class is quite different from the Spanish spoken at home. We are taught the “proper” way, meanwhile many of our families speak in Spanglish or with slang they don’t teach in a textbook. Even if we take the classes in school, we still stick out because it is easy to tell we learned it from the book. For many, it begins to feel like we’re trying to win a stuffed animal from one of those rigged claw machines we’re playing a game we can’t win.  This is why we need to be more supportive of each other. Reclaiming our language and culture is an empowering process and we must aid others in it.

The three students I interviewed still don’t speak Spanish perfectly, but they all said that even the minor improvements in their ability to speak it have increased their levels of confidence and happiness. A Puerto Rican and Dominican student said she “feel[s] more connected talking to [her] mom because she loves to hear [her] try.” Having support while learning the language often means the difference between success and failure. When our family and friends support us speaking Spanish and tell us how to fix our mistakes instead of laughing or ridiculing us, it creates a safe space to practice and ultimately better our skills.

But of course there’s more to being Latinx than just our language; we have our music, our dances, our food, our myths. I grew up listening to salsa, bachata and merengue and being spun around by my father as he taught me the dances. I ate arroz con gandules y tostones with mayoketchup and I had Café Cubano afterwards. I was scared of the dark because I thought the Coco was going to get me and I believed that saying sana sana colita de rana si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana would heal any wound. I had this stripped away from me in secondary school, but through family, friends and education I am taking it back.

College often exposes us to more than we have ever seen. Two of the interviewees explained how through this exposure, they learned more about other cultures as well as their own. None of them knew the difference between identifying as Latinx and Hispanic until I told them; I didn’t even know until this last year. An Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican interviewee described this learning process as both touching and joyful. I think it’s been empowering. 

Once I arrived at college, I realized how colonized our history truly is. I went to El Museo Del Barrio during the second semester as a trip with our mentees from the World Changers Program. I stood in front of a lithographic print titled Felicidades – El Museo Del Barrio by Dominigo Garcia. The Statue of Liberty’s face stared right back at me with a Puerto Rican flag wrapped around its head. I smiled and thought how powerful. Then I read the blurb next to it and it shook me to my core. In 1977, thirty Puerto Rican nationalists protested at the Statue for the freedom of four militant nationalists. They actually draped the Puerto Rican flag on the Statue of Liberty’s head. How did we never learn about this? We learned about Christopher Columbus for years in a row and put on plays celebrating him in school, but we didn’t learn about this? Los Desaparecidos was another collection in the museum that told the story of the lost onesthe thousands of people who were kidnapped, tortured, killed and “vanished” in Latin America from the 1950s to the 1980s. I was able to visualize the torment they experienced… that I had never once learned about. I realized the intensity of the vast history that has been untold on that dayour history that has been stripped away from us. I vowed then to avidly learn as much as I could about our people and our history and to share our stories. 

 

 

Finding my way back to my culture has been a powerful process. I and two other interviewees have experienced increased levels of confidence. I stand up for myself now, and I love my culture. I love my skin and our history. I love my language and our food. I love and accept everything that makes us different. The Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican student expressed this passion for his culture as well. He said:

I love everything about myself unconditionally. Having pride in what I am is something I will never feel ashamed of, no matter how many people are against it. I will admit that it is disappointing and discouraging to know that there are people in this world who choose to hate and make others uncomfortable by shaming their culture. The one thing that gets me through is the constant reminder to myself that love has to win in all forms because I refuse to believe that the hatred that floods the American systems will be dominant.

We instead must flood American systems with acceptance, love, and knowledge. And we must begin to share these with ourselves. I don’t have a physical home, but I have found one now in my culture.

————————————-

By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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Never Lose Yourself in Someone Else

July 29th, 2019

For the longest time, I didn’t respect myself. I lied to myself and used distractions to convince myself I was okay. It has taken me a long time to admit to all this, but I am at a point in my life where I am finally comfortable with myself. I learned to love myself, and I know what I deserve. I did not deserve what the second boy put me through sophomore year, but I want to admit that I made many mistakes during that time as well. I wonder what would have happened if I chose a different path; but you cannot change the past, only the future. 

My “non-relationship” was one of the most complicated situations I have ever been in.  It was pretty similar to my situation freshman year where I caught feelings for the guy and he took advantage of that. Well, that’s exactly what this second guy did to me sophomore year. After the first night we hooked up, I was already attached. I loved the way he laughed with me, I loved the way he kissed me, I loved the way he held me, and I loved the way we slept together. At the time, I was looking for attention from a guy and a boyfriend and I believe that is why I became attached so quickly. I felt such a strong connection after the first night and the morning after that, I had already decided I wanted to see him again. So me being confident, I texted him. And I was delighted to find out that he wanted to hangout again as well. Seeing his name pop up on my phone screen gave me butterflies. He made me excited; a feeling that I hadn’t experienced with a boy in a while. From the very beginning I got ahead of myself. But there was a red flag from day one that I ignored. In the beginning, he only texted me after nights out, and I always went. In my head I felt special that he was texting me and not bringing someone else home those nights because that meant he was thinking about me. This went on for the first month of us hooking up; and then we started hanging out during the week as well. And even then I will admit, I initiated most of it. 

The more we hung-out, the more attached I became; not only to him but to his friends. Since I was going over to his house a lot, his roommates became some of my best friends. I tend to have a lot of guy friends because growing up I was so used to being around guys my age due to having a twin brother. It sorta made me feel more at home going over to their house. As time went on though, we started fighting more. This was because I knew he was still hooking up with other girls when I wasn’t there and that killed me. He had already told me that he wasn’t looking for a relationship multiple times, but the way he acted in person with me made me think the opposite. It always felt like we were actually together when we hung out. He wasn’t really afraid of showing PDA in front of his friends as if I was his. That made me feel special. 

December eventually rolled around with winter break tagging along. He lived in Virginia and I lived in New York, so I was anxious that he would use that as an excuse to stop talking. But break came around and to my surprise he started facetime me every few nights. We would talk on the phone for hours late into the night about basically nothing. But it made me happy that he thought about me; that is until I found out that every time he FaceTimed me, he was on Xanax and drunk. 

At the end of the break, I visited my roommate in Northern Virginia because we went to a concert in D.C. He lived 15 minutes from my roommate so I ended up seeing him one night. Of course when I saw him though he wasn’t sober. He told me that him and his friends had just done cocaine. When he told me I was upset. I just never understood why he always had to be on some type of drug to have fun. But again, I just ignored it because I was receiving the validation I thought I needed by him wanting to see me. At the end of the night we were alone talking in his car and he started to have a mini panic attack from the amount of cocaine that he had done. I sat there with him and calmed him down. And then we started talking and of course I brought up “us.” I asked him if I meant anything to him; I asked him if he liked me the way I liked him. He said yes to everything and he told me he cared about me. In my head I believed him because he spent the break talking to me and even saw me during it. To me, that meant everything. 

When we got back to school and spring semester began, nothing had changed. We were hanging out when we could and I was sleeping there most weekends. Then I started to become really upset. I knew he was sleeping with other people because he had told me he would be the second time we hung out; I felt so naive. Every time I would bring up the idea of actually being together he would shut it down completely and say something to make me feel like what he was doing was okay. His manipulative words worked well on me and he knew that. There were a few weeks at a time where I would cut him off after either fighting with him or watching him kiss other girls and during those weeks I would hook up with other people. When I was living through it, in my head it was never out of spite. I was having fun just like he was. But when I would start sleeping over his house again, I would always start to feel the guilt. But why? He never seemed to care about my actions even though he knew about them. However, I still felt uneasy about hooking up with other people. And I think it was because of how often I thought about him. It was such a complicated situation because I knew he never felt bad about getting with other people when I did. In the end I was never truly happy. He was all I wanted.

As the months went on, my cravings for him got stronger and I found myself thinking about him and only him. After another three weeks of cutting him off, I let him back in. There was one week in particular where I felt like things were actually working out. He had texted me saying how much he missed me and he wanted to see me. I was out and drunk and of course gave in. I went over to his house. We talked and he told me he didn’t know why, but he wanted to see me and he missed me. He didn’t like that I hadn’t spoken to him for those three weeks. 

He pulled me in and kissed me but I stopped him at first. I told him that I couldn’t keep going through this same cycle. With tears in my eyes, I explained to him that my feelings for him were too strong and I couldn’t deal with him not committing to me. We kept going back and forth but eventually I couldn’t help myself and I continued kissing him. As we would kiss, he would pause every few minutes and say “fuck.”  He did this about three times and every time I asked why he kept saying this and he would respond by kissing me more. I assumed that he was realizing that he was actually catching feelings for me because that is how he made it seem. This “non-relationship” finally felt like it was going somewhere.

That week was amazing. I slept over three days in a row and it had felt like maybe something had changed in him. The weekend came along and that Friday night my sorority and his fraternity were having a party together. His friends and my friends drank together before the party at one of his friends houses. At this pregame, he looked at me and said, “promise you won’t be mad,” and of course I responded with why would I be mad, and he said, “because I took a little bit of Xanax.” Right then and there I knew the night would be a terrible one; I felt it in my gut. Everytime he did this drug and drank with it he turned into a different person; he treated me terribly, and of course I was right. We got to the party and I immediately saw him kissing girls in my sorority—literally directly in front of my face like he didn’t even know I was there. In reality, he didn’t actually know because of course he was blacked out, but that was not an excuse anymore. I was so upset, but I still wanted to have a good night so I kept my distance from him. I was talking and dancing with his roommates because they were my friends too. I was having fun trying to ignore it.

Eventually they wanted to leave and go back to their house to hangout and they asked me if I wanted to come. I went because in my head I had slept there the past three nights so what is the big deal if I went back with his roommates. We left without him because we couldn’t find him so we all assumed he left. As I was hanging out with his roommates, he walked in, and right behind him was another girl. Now I know he didn’t know I was there, but it still felt like I had the right to be. The second he saw me he started texting me saying he’s sorry. He stared at me not knowing what to do and I could clearly tell how messed up he was. I was in shock; I just sat there on the bed staring across the room. I froze and simply didn’t know what to do. I was so angry with him that I wasn’t even upset. I was just so mad. You would think he would have wanted to talk to me but instead, he left the room and went into his own with the girl. 

At the point I was so upset. I cried to his roommate about it and he comforted me. His roommate and I had become really good friends because we also had a class together. We were both drunk and talking and then out of nowhere he kissed me. In that moment I was so vulnerable and insecure that the attention from his roommate made me feel amazing in the moment. We kept kissing but I slowly stopped it and we just went to bed. I left early the next morning feeling so ashamed. This was not the type of person I am. I knew what I had done was so wrong. He had me do something I never thought I would do. I betrayed him just like he betrayed me. That is not okay. That is not how a relationship works. But I can’t even call it a relationship since we were never committed to each other and he clearly brought out the worst side of me. 

He just laughed the whole night off. He acted like he didn’t care and that made me even more upset. I later found out that he knew everything I had done even during the times we weren’t talking. One night we had a terrible fight that ended it all. He listed everything I had done even when we weren’t talking. The whole year he acted like he cared about nothing and that everything was okay. But in the end he did care. He manipulated me into thinking that everything I did made him not want to date me; in reality, he just wasn’t ready to commit and led me to do these things. He slut shamed me and said that it was not okay for me to be doing the same thing he was doing. He was the largest hypocrite I had ever met and in that moment I realized there was truly nothing about him that I desired out of a boyfriend. The way he thought about girls was not okay. And during this fight, I finally had closure. I came to the realization that I didn’t deserve this. No one deserves to be treated this way. 

Single women are free to do whatever they want to do. If a woman wants to have a one night stand, there is nothing wrong with that; just like there is nothing wrong with men having one night stands. I want to talk about this double standard that women can’t enjoy sex just as much as men do. Men can have copious amounts of it but when a woman has sex with two or three men in a short time period, she’s a hoe. We’re taught that we’re not allowed to like sex and it’s promiscuous to do so so then we begin to internalize that and feel bad about ourselves afterwards. This just is not the truth. If you are a single women and enjoy sex, do not feel bad about having it. It is a natural human desire and if men can have a lot of it so can women. 

I let myself be treated this way because I wanted a boyfriend so badly that it blinded me. I thought because I had been single my whole life that something was wrong with me and finding someone would give me the validation I needed. I even thought I loved this person. But it is so clear now that it was all lust. I let the lust blind me and change me into a person that I did not recognize. Something had to change. And after that night, I began the very long process of getting over him, moving on and finding myself again. Never lose yourself in someone else because who you are is just as important. 

 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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Papi’s Acceptance

July 24th, 2019

This last year I avidly took strides to stop internalizing the microaggressions I have experienced throughout my life. I can’t control what others say and do, but I can control how I react. Instead of letting the words hurt me, I let them fuel me. By the end of my freshman year, I developed a profound passion and pride for my culture that even when I lived in Puerto Rico, I did not feel. 

I realized the beauty to be found in culture the summer before my freshman year began when I started the six week preparatory program for HEOP. I was surrounded by people who took pride in where they came from and they made sure everyone knew. They proudly blasted their music and wore their flags. They ate their food and talked in their languages and they didn’t care what others thought. It was beautiful; they were a melting pot. That was when my mindset began to evolve. I did not actually want to be like my peers in high school. My culture made me different, yes, but it also made me unique. We all came from varying backgrounds in HEOP, but we complemented each other. 

I took the next step of accepting my culture again when the academic year began. I decided to take Spanish classes to relearn my language. I placed into the third level and I took the class seriously. I went to office hours and started writing some of my daily journal entries in Spanish as well, despite the numerous grammatical errors. While my mother and I were still speaking, I began calling her each day to practice speaking in Spanish. I also started practicing with the workers in the dining halls since many are Hispanic or Latinx. With all the practice, the errors lessened. The workers treated me as equals. I felt like I was making my dad proud. 

My friends also began speaking to me in Spanish, but I felt most prideful when I could speak to their parents. The most crucial part of reclaiming my cultural identity was relearning my language. After that, everything else followed smoothly. I started dancing bachata and salsa with my friends at parties. Vivid memories of my father spinning me across the room while we danced to Aguanile always flashed through my mind. I also started watching Keysha cook classic Puerto Rican dishes so that I could do the same in the fall when I move into a residence hall with a kitchen. No one will ever match up to my father’s cooking, but she got pretty close.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade was a pivotal moment for me during this process. My beautiful younger cousin Dareylis accompanied me. I wore a strapless black dress with tropical red flowers on it. My hair was in two braids under a red bandana with my baby hairs smoothed down and I wore bright red lipstick. My skin was tan and for once, I loved it. I felt at home in my own body. The people near us during the parade spoke to us in Spanish. Marc Anthony blasted through the speakers and I sang along to every word. Every so often, someone with a microphone passing by on a float would yell yo soy boricua and we would shout back ‘pa que tú lo sepa! It didn’t matter what anyone said anymore after that day because the feeling I had during that moment is one that will never escape me again: pride.

The most crucial change facilitated by this process was that I no longer kept my voice low in public when I spoke in Spanish like I used to when I was younger. A lady had quieted me for many years when she yelled at my father and I to go back to where we came from in our local supermarket. I didn’t realize that that was a thing that people actually say. What she failed to realize though is that this, America, is where I come from. I was born here, I have just as much of a right to live and prosper here as anyone else. At the end of the day, we have no right to this land; it was stolen. We were nearly all immigrants at one point, whether it was us or our parents or our ancestors. You could tell us all to go back to where we came from but then the same people yelling those slurs would be gone too. While it’s no ones job to be a historian and explain their culture and history to others, I believe we must attempt to combat ignorance with knowledge. That woman was clearly unhappy and unfulfilled in her own life, but I can’t help but wonder how that interaction might have gone differently if we responded with love and intelligence instead of anger and ignorance.

 

~~~~~~

 

Father’s Day is always a difficult day for me. Especially before, because I had already felt so disconnected from my father and our culture. I sometimes wondered if he had ever even existed or if my vivid imagination dreamt him up. That’s the thing about dreams though, you always wake up.

Without me even needing to ask, Keysha offered to drive all the way to Newburgh to pick up my little brother so we could be together for that weekend like we had always been. His hardened shell to the world only cracks for me, my sister, and my mother, but Keysha has love to share for everyone even when they don’t outwardly reciprocate. It didn’t matter that she hadn’t seen him either for many years, she wanted to help him as much as she had helped me. We all went to Six Flags together on the first day of the weekend to keep our minds off of the solemn significance of the day. My brother began to feel sick so I stayed off the rides with him and we played the smaller carnival games. At the end of the day, Keysha, my brother, Dareylis and her boyfriend, and I all crammed into a hot photobooth. We did not fit, but we pushed in anyway. We made silly faces as we sweat in the cramped box and carnival music drifted in through the curtains. I carry that photo booth picture in my wallet with me everywhere I go.

The next day we went to Yonkers and visited the cemetery that both my father and his mother are buried in. Rain drizzled down as I walked up first and placed my hand on my father’s headstone. I kneeled into the muddy ground. ROCKY F ORTIZ. BELOVED FATHER, SON, BROTHER, AND FRIEND. DEC 14, 1966 – MAY 4, 2014. It’s funny, I never really thought of him as others saw him. SON, BROTHER, AND FRIEND. In my eyes, he was always just my dad. He was mine. I wondered if he viewed me the same. The sound of soft whimpering pierced my ears. It had been there the entire time, but it were as if my television had been on mute for years and I finally turned up the volume. I could finally hear them. I could finally see them. Each of us were crying, but it was a mutual mourning— a comforting mourning. I’m not a religious person and I don’t know what I really believe in, but I always pray when I visit. I always speak to him. 

Te amo papi. I’m sorry that we weren’t on good terms when you died. I hope you’ve forgiven me. I have forgiven you. I am trying desperately to keep your memory alive. Every day I think about how proud you would be of me if you were here today. But a part of me believes that you already are right now. That you see me prospering and are telling everyone up there about it. Roberto Clemente and Uncle Freddie and Abuela. I don’t know what up there is. I don’t know if I believe it actually exists. But I believe you hear me and that’s what matters. I am doing my best, for you, for Shoopy. I want to continue to make you proud, I just need you to continue giving me the strength. Your motto was “never give up.” And up until your last breath, you never did. I intend to do the same. Te amo.

I kiss the headstone, then walk back to the car.

The air around us was somber as we returned to Keysha’s house. We walked in one by one. I pulled up my laptop and we all squeezed onto the couch. I have home videos saved on it of us back in Puerto Rico with my dad. They had originally been tapes that I had converted to DVDs, downloaded to my mom’s computer that had a dvd player, and then emailed to myself so I could download them onto my Mac.

 

 

My dad is the recorder. He records the house he helped build from the ground up on his father’s land. He records me and Dareylis dancing around in an attempt to get his attention. A chicken runs around our ankles. He records Keysha standing in the garage while her step-dad cleans our car. He records my baby brother running around in a diaper. At one point, my adorable sister takes the camera. Me, Dareylis, and Keysha stand with my father. We hug his tall legs and smile, as if a picture is being taken. I take a mental one. The years of feeling rejected and rejecting my culture dissipate. None of them matter anymore. Because in this moment, I am transported to Puerto Rico. I am hugging my father’s legs with my tiny arms and a cheesy grin is plastered on my face despite my two front teeth simultaneously missing. I am surrounded by my family. I am surrounded by love. All of the slurs, the invalidating comments, the fetishizing, the whitewashing, become nothing more than dreamlike memories that can’t hurt me anymore. They float away. My dad accepts me. Keysha accepts me. I accept myself.


By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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