COVID-19 Life (& 2020 in general)

November 28th, 2020

The political upheaval, social unrest, and economic chaos during the pandemic has changed the way we all live, arguably more than any other event in recent history. It is unprecedented because, unlike previous hardships we have faced, the end of the pandemic is not readily apparent, and as we enter November– the ninth month of the pandemic– it is clear the changes in the American lifestyle are here to stay. 

Among the groups most affected by pandemic changes are college students. Student unemployment rates have soared since the pandemic. As dorms close, many students are forced to return home, which can be especially problematic when  not every student’s household is a healthy environment. The academic world is forced to resort to online classes, which can be a stressful experience for  many reasons:  students struggle to focus during class and retain the information afterwards. 

Procrastination is much easier when you are sitting in your house; I have even missed a deadline for a test in one of my classes because I didn’t realize it was due! Such mistakes are much harder to make in a physical class. Socializing with your classmates is a real pain, as well; whenever my professor breaks everyone into groups there is this tragically awkward silence as we all do the work without talking to each other. And the real kick: we all get the privilege of having to pay full price for an online semester. I understand that schools need income in order to operate, but having to pay for a semester plagued with the issues that come with online class certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

These issues are compounded by the  inability to go outside and by the existential threats we face in the form of the pandemic and climate change. What ends up manifesting is what many call the “pandemic depression”. The CDC reported in August that young adults were among the groups disproportionately affected by mental health conditions, and 40% of Americans reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. The issue that many are predicting now is that this “pandemic depression” is about to collide with a condition known as Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD), a form of seasonal depression associated with the lack of sunlight and outdoor recreation during the winter months. Since many of the symptoms of SAD overlap with those of the pandemic depression, we are anticipating a very challenging season where those already affected by SAD will feel their symptoms compounded by the pandemic, and more people in general are expected to experience SAD. 

The pandemic has been challenging because of the uncertainty of the situations it has wrought. This issue, at least, is one that we can see coming. The question, then, is how can we prepare for the coming season?

Recognize how depression affects you. Self awareness is an important skill that will help maintain your mental health, as discussed in my first blog post. The symptoms of depression manifest themselves on a case-by-case basis. If you are able to recognize the indicators that you are entering a depressive episode, you will at least feel prepared and in somewhat control of the situation, and increase the amount of self-care in your life accordingly.

Sunlight is key. Cabin fever and a lack of sunlight are the key factors of SAD. It’s a challenge to go out when the weather is miserable and the temperatures are cold, but if you’re feeling a lack of energy or motivation, it might be worth trying a vitamin D supplement or changing your schedule so that you spend more time outdoors during the day. Of course, the challenge is finding things to do that are COVID-safe, but outdoor recreation is generally safe as long as you use common sense and follow the general COVID guidelines as set by the CDC.

Socializing is important (but be careful!) Another major challenge of the pandemic is the social starvation we all face. One symptom of SAD is a desire to further isolate oneself from others, but it’s important that you interact with others. We are social beings after all, and interacting with others can help satisfy your psychological needs. Apps such as Discord or Skype which basically act as group calls are great ways to chat with your friends and socialize safely.


By Sebastian Ortega

Sebastian is a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he majors in Fashion Business Management. He’s worked behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week with the company Nolcha Shows, and in the office of Elrene Home Fashions. Some day, he hopes to be able to make his own claim in the fashion industry by starting his own business.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Retail Therapy: Do, or Don’t?

November 27th, 2020

Most of us participate in retail therapy even if you aren’t familiar with the term. It refers to any purchases made with the intention of improving your mood (think comfort food). Considering the prevalence of depression and anxiety among students (severe depression in the college student body has more than doubled over less than a decade– that’s before 2020), it’s likely that most of us have relied on retail therapy to feel better. Purchases that you justify by saying, “I’ve had a hard week,” or “today has really sucked.” 

We think  that retail therapy works because it offers a sense of control over something. Generally, sadness is a result of a lack of control over whatever situation a person is in. But, when you shop it is something you can (usually) control; “Oh wow, look at this jacket. I love this jacket. I’m going to buy it and nobody can stop me.” I’ve definitely had this thought process with more than a few of my purchases over the years. It’s a uniquely satisfying feeling, to be able to look at something, decide you have the funds, and embrace your inner Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation: Treat yo’self!

The unfortunate paradox of retail therapy is that overindulgence, by spending beyond your means, can be a dangerous hole to fall into. Particularly when every company ever offers  a credit card, it can be easy to fall into a tragic spending spiral. If the main mechanism behind retail therapy is a lack of control over one’s life, having debt will only exacerbate that feeling, ,considering it’s already associated with increased feelings of depression. The average college student is especially vulnerable to the struggles of debt — tuition is damn expensive nowadays; as a result the majority of college students start life with an immediate boatload of debt hanging over their head, just for an education. But you can’t dig yourself into more debt just to cope with the fact that you’re already in debt, or you can fall into a dangerously deep hole. 

Having established the dangers associated, is it even worth indulging in retail therapy? The answer, like most, seems to be that it depends on the situation. One important thing to note is that unplanned purchases one makes in an effort to lighten your mood are not associated with feelings of guilt or regret. Additionally, impulsive consumers are able to practice restraint, if the goal of restraint is conducive to further happiness. Of course, this is a general rule that does not apply to every purchase, especially if the product purchased does not match the buyer’s expectations. One takeaway is that, when making impulsive purchases, guilt is less likely to play a contributing factor than you’d think. Furthermore, it has been established that participating in retail therapy is successful in treating sadness. Studies seem to suggest that retail therapy can effectively and reliably improve a person’s mood; therefore, it is a valid tool to rely on to keep yourself emotionally healthy– if you can also keep a cap on your impulses. 

It’s important to view retail therapy as a short term solution — buying things will not resolve the underlying issues that cause you to want to buy. Furthermore, you will want to balance yourself; too much buying will wind up making you feel worse, but investing in yourself is an important element of self-care and self-love. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re keeping yourself financially balanced.

Try to stay in tune with your emotions. Retail therapy is really good at one thing: resolving sadness. Since sadness is associated with a lack of control over your environment, buying something will introduce something in your environment that you do feel control over. If you feel angry or guilty, however, buying something is ineffective because these emotions have less to do with your environment, and more to do with other people. It is important to know how to differentiate between these feelings, because they all fall under that general “not good” category, but retail therapy works best against sadness alone. 

Download a budgeting app. One popular way to stave off financial ruin is by running your financial information through an app like Cleo, which will then record all your spending and report the findings back to you. With budgeting apps you can visualize how much you can and are spending, and they will stop you from breaking beyond the rules you’ve set yourself. 

Get up and do something else.  This one can be harder in the pandemic, when we’re all cooped up indoors, but something as mundane as reorganizing your bedroom will instill in you a similar sense of control over your environment. So, when you feel yourself wanting to buy something without reason, instead get up and try to do some chores around the house, then see if you still want to buy that thing.


By Sebastian Ortega

Sebastian is a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he majors in Fashion Business Management. He’s worked behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week with the company Nolcha Shows, and in the office of Elrene Home Fashions. Some day, he hopes to be able to make his own claim in the fashion industry by starting his own business.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Thanksgiving: Part One

November 26th, 2020

Celebrating gratitude seems strange this year, however, misfortune isn’t always a good reason to not give thanks. In fact, Thanksgiving was born from struggle. The holiday’s history is intertwined with the hardships of frontiersmen, Native Americans, and war. In this piece, I will observe the history of these conflicts and will argue that coming together to persevere is important. 

Most Americans are told the Thanksgiving story in elementary school. While eating caramel candies and drawing turkey hands, our loving teachers tell us that the very first Thanksgiving took place when the pilgrims and Wampanog’s feasted together at the end of the harvest season in 1621. 

There is beauty in this myth. It encourages gratitude for nourishment, and unity with our friends and family. That being said, this story leaves out many important parts of the holiday’s history. Sixteen years after the first Thanksgiving feast, the pilgrims burned a Wampanoag village and killed 500 people, (Blow). William Bradford, governor of Plymouth, reflected on this tragedy saying, “over the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.” Bradford made Thanksgiving synonymous with the massacre of Native Americans. 

How can we celebrate a holiday that is linked to genocide? Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated American holidays, and yet at its core sits the uncomfortable truth of cultural destruction and prejudice. This can be seen in some of the most famous Thanksgiving art pieces:

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1925
Jeane Leon Gerome Ferris, The First Thanksgiving, 1932

In both of these pieces, there are fewer Wampanoags, they are in the periphery, and are depicted as subservient. In reality, there were more Wampanoags that attended the feast than pilgrims and they supplied more food.  These paintings reflect prejudice and are products of the genocide. 

As I considered how to grapple with this brutality, I searched for what some Native Americans had to say on the matter. I found some great poems by Sherman Alexie, which I highly recommend. The poet also said the following, “…I guess you could say Thanksgiving is also about survival, look how strong we are,”(Turkewitz). This strength is key to the holiday. Thanksgiving is about struggle, however, it is also about hope, strength, and moving on. 

The Wampanoag genocide is one of many times Thanksgiving can be connected to war. Following the American Revolution, George Washington officiated the first official Thanksgiving on November 26th, 1789, (Columbia).  After the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln nationalized the holiday. Finally, during WW2, congress recognized Thanksgiving as a holiday that would always take place on the last Thursday of November, (Klapper).

All of these pivotal points in the establishment of Thanksgiving are closely linked to major wars. Each war weakened the country, and politicians knew that they had to keep the country united. National holidays encourage patriotism and unity, which is why establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday was useful.  

Thanksgiving is connected to human struggle. The pilgrims suffered a harsh winter famine before the first Thanksgiving feast, Native American’s were massacred, and people died in every war associated with the holiday. Thanksgiving has a bloody past. However, celebrating is a way to persevere. Connecting with loved ones and sharing a meal gives us the strength to carry on. 

We need strength this Thanksgiving. There is a pandemic, a dramatic political season, and civil unrest. It hasn’t been easy, but it never has been. We need to persist–and while you may not be able to return home for the holidays, I think the best way to find peace is to connect with loved ones.  Give someone a call, send a text, and remember you aren’t alone!

Takeaways: 

1. Struggle. Thanksgiving is a day linked to struggle. This is evident by its connection to the pilgrims, Native Americans, and war. 

2. Hope. Coming together and sharing food makes moving on from hardships easier. 

3. Friends and Family. Give your loved ones a call.

4. Activities. Check out these festive poems I found. If you feel like watching some TV, I found a great list of classic Thanksgiving episodes. For movies, check out this link. Finally, here’s a Spotify playlist I’ve had going all morning.  


Sources:

Blow, Charles. “The Horrible History of Thanksgiving.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2019,

Klapper-Lehman, Sarah, and Simon J. Bronner. “Thanksgiving.” Encyclopedia of American Studies, edited by Simon Bronner, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1st edition, 2018. Credo Reference

“Thanksgiving Day.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University, Columbia University Press, 8th edition, 2018. Credo Reference.

Turkewitz, Julie. “Thanksgiving for Native Americans: Four Voices on a Complicated Holiday.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Nov. 2017.



By: Erin Zubarik 

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

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 encourages 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.

Share

Behind the Scenes of Writing “The Gift of Listening”

November 26th, 2020

How much pain can one endure? Everyone says it’s important to be brave and be resilient. The year of 2020 represents healing, hope and strength. During a time where our lives have turned upside down and traveling is limited. It can be easy to feel stranded with our thoughts, emotions, and overall surroundings. Our mental, emotional and physical stability is crucial during these difficult moments, as we continue to adapt to this new way of living. These new ways of living include: wearing a mask and maintaining distance. It is important to listen to ourselves, and find inspiration to be creative everyday. Oftentimes, we forget that we must discover different outlets to express our fears and concerns but it is also easy to forget about the beautiful things in life. Most occasions it’s not things that give significance to our lives but rather what fulfills us with tranquility and joy. In this occasion my experience writing my ebook was a momentum and a learning experience, it allowed me to transition my ideas to emotions and thoughts into a creative piece. 

Being given the opportunity to write my ebook called, “The Gift of Listening” fulfilled me with a peace of mind and served as a distraction from all the problems in the world. It also made me realize the power of effective listening especially during a global pandemic, you must have an open mind and appreciate the value that listening instills. Writing this ebook allowed me to share my thoughts, discover a new strength, and grow as an individual through implementing listening skills on myself as well.  The process of writing this ebook and writing in general enabled me to explore a space of my own- it helped me overcome the anxiety from the political season and civil unrest. Not to mention that writing itself is essential, and is part of our ideas and memories, conveying the influence that it has on the world.

Wagar, Hadi “Hiring Freelancer Writer|Do’s & Don’ts https://www.trendycrunch.com/hiring-freelance-writer-dos-donts/. Accessed 25 Nov 2020

During quarantine, I reconnected with my family after being busy for almost an entire year. Listening is actually the core to strengthening relationships, sharing connections, and communication. While writing my ebook I’ve been working on using these skills to become more of an effective listener. Something I’ve truly learned is the importance of focusing on the speaker versus making the conversation about yourself. There is always space for improvement, it is part of our individual growth and can be beneficial in the long run. At CampusClipper, our current weekly podcasts, requires engagement to be involved and interests in the topic of the speaker but also through the art of listening and communication. I believe that it helps us progressively grow our confidence together, it also builds a safe working environment as interns to work productively. 

Writing is a piece of art that instills creativity, effort, and dedication. Therefore, while writing my ebook, self care played a prominent role in having stability with my health apart from other responsibilities in my personal and student life. Being an effective listener is also about listening to the needs of your mind, body, and soul. Personally, my goal was to write concisely and to convey positive energy. It’s also made me appreciate the effort that goes into writing and value the hard work of publishers themselves. Writing is more than ideas or thoughts, it is a set of values. “The Gift of Listening” was an experience and a pleasure writing. I am proud of my work, as it has inspired me to explore my psyche. It has also encouraged me to manage my time to put the best collaborative effort into this ebook to empower myself. 

Here are some helpful tips to inspire you to write and use it as a creative form of expression:

  • Set a purpose behind your writing to motivate yourself
  • Set a goal to write daily, or weekly and celebrate yourself.
  • Feel free to allow yourself to write messy without critiquing your work ; “free write”.
  • Remind yourself why you’re writing, it is okay to edit, delete and rewrite.
  • Be imaginative, aspire and be creative.

By: Yadira Tellez

Yadira is currently enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Fashion Business Management and minoring in English literature. She’s worked in retail and has had the opportunity to work behind the scenes during NYFW. Her dream is to be a Fashion Stylist, but enjoys creative writing to relieve stress and express her mind.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Procrastinating! We All Do It.

November 25th, 2020

Show me anyone who claims they never procrastinate, and I’ll show you a liar. And, if you’re one of the unicorns who doesn’t, then you are a lucky person indeed. Certainly, throughout my high school career, I’ve had teachers lecture me about how to manage my time better in order to avoid procrastinating. 

Then, in college, if I ask a professor for an extension on a deadline, there’s a real chance that I’ll get a snide remark about time management and procrastination. I’m certain that I’m not the only one with this experience, either; the common train of thought in the academic community seems to be that procrastination results from the student’s time mismanagement. While not entirely false, it is not the full story: there’s something irrational about procrastinating. 

Logically, we should all be motivated to complete our work, because that is more conducive to happiness. Instead, it seems that nearly every college student participates in procrastination; possibly because it is influenced by psychology. Our innate “fight or flight” reflexes have adapted to the societies we live in; long gone are the days of having to run or fight for your life, rather, our battles have become more “mundane.” The issue, though, is that our survival instincts have remained as sharp as ever, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. 

What it does mean is that parts of the brain will see a problem– for instance, let’s say you have a lot of deadlines on the same day — these instincts will interfere with your cognition. There’s two options here: you can “fight,” or work through until your assignments are complete, or you can “flee,” avoiding your work until it’s absolutely necessary (see: procrastinating).

Another way of thinking about it is, we are driven to do the things we do thanks to motivation. A number of factors weigh into your sense of motivation, and they work against demotivating factors. If there are more demotivating factors than motivating factors in a decision, the result is procrastination. As your deadline approaches, the motivating factors gain strength until you overcome your procrastination. Unfortunately, this process does not always leave enough time to actually do whatever it is you needed to do. The best way to avoid procrastination, then, is to consider what is “demotivating” you and figure out how to resolve these demotivations! Listed below are some examples of factors that can discourage your sense of motivation.

https://www.mindful.org/11-ways-to-finally-stop-procrastinating/
  • Anxiety and Depression. It’s pretty obvious, but they are two major factors that will weigh heavily on your motivation. Mental health is one of those things that, unfortunately, you’re  going to have to work around. After all, there is no way to just “cure” either anxiety or depression. One thing to be weary of is setting off a feedback loop of anxiety. Oftentimes, I will find that large tasks impose a ton of anxiety on me. In response, I procrastinate,  which only builds up my anxiety, because I know I have to do it. It is important to be aware of this phenomenon so that you can identify it in yourself, and act accordingly. Step back, take a deep breath and organize your thoughts so that you can at least consider your next steps. 
  • You’re a perfectionist. This  is common in creative work: oftentimes there might be  a disconnect between what you are visualizing and what you are creating. Certainly, it is something that I struggle with– especially when writing. It is a frustrating thing, when you can’t properly verbalize what your ideas are. Try not to let your desire to produce high-quality work impede your process; instead, use it as a driving factor to do a good job. Recognize that, especially in schoolwork, perfect is simply unnecessary, and the anticipated standards may actually be much lower than your own standards. 
  • “This is future me’s problem.” Again, I am very guilty of this one. It can be very easy to see a task as unnecessary because it can be done in the future. It can also be easy to slip into, because it applies to the very mundane; sometimes I won’t make my bed simply because I know it won’t be a problem until I try to go to bed, or I push off putting my clothes away properly because I know I’m just gonna put them on later at some point, so instead I’ll just throw them on a chair. 

While things might be inconvenient to do now, it is important to recognize that part of taking care of yourself is taking care of your future self, too. Try making things a little easier on your future self, sometimes. 


By Sebastian Ortega

Sebastian is a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he majors in Fashion Business Management. He’s worked behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week with the company Nolcha Shows, and in the office of Elrene Home Fashions. Some day, he hopes to be able to make his own claim in the fashion industry by starting his own business.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Missing Life in New York (Especially the Pho)

November 24th, 2020

Displacement, disappointment, dissatisfaction. It’s fair to say that I am not the only one experiencing these feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mid-semester of my sophomore year I was sent home to do online learning like many other students this past Spring. The virus took everyone by surprise, but it’s impact on college students is a unique one. For many students, learning at home is not only difficult, but also dismal. No longer on campus, one misses out on the most vital aspects of college – lively discussions with peers, spending time with friends, and the chance to explore the city. Miles from New York, missing my friends from NYU, and struggling to stay on the ball with classwork, I’ve found that this semester cannot be described with words. Instead imagine a very deep, very tired-sounding sigh. 

But I’m trying to change that.

After a particularly busy past week (two novels to read, an outline for a paper due, and starting on a presentation for Spanish class, so on), I decided I’d order Vietnamese this weekend, pho in particular. We are nearing the end of the semester which means papers, projects, and other major assignments are flooding in, all due within days of each other. Food of course being my favorite way of treating myself, I let myself have at it. Having recently moved from home to across the state, I’m not familiar with many restaurants where I am now, but I’ve been craving pho and have been on the search for a reliable pho restaurant. As it turns out, one wouldn’t expect it but the second-best pho I can now claim that I’ve had is from a small eatery in the food court of a nearby mall, Pho Kitchen. Second-best. 

Maybe I’m lying a bit to myself. To be completely objective – the pho was absolutely delicious. I sat in the food court, mask placed to the side and socially distanced (which was a good thing or people probably would have heard me slurping up the noodles and soup), and added a little Hoisin sauce and sriracha to the broth, mixing it in alongside the noodles, beef, onion, and cilantro. I squeezed a lime over it to top it off, stirred a little more, then dug in. The beef was perfectly tender, the broth flavorful and warm, and the noodles not too hard or too soft. All and all, completely satisfying. Why was it second-best then, you may be wondering?

It wasn’t PhoBar. PhoBar, which my friend Leslie introduced me to in our Freshman year, is located very close to Washington Square Park and was conveniently only a little ways away from our residence hall. I had had a cold and at that time it was just slightly more socially acceptable to go out to eat when visibly sick. We sat at a shared table and having only tried pho once before and disliking it, I wasn’t sure what to order or how to feel. 

“Just get the classic beef pho,” Leslie said, and I followed her orders.

Classic Beef Pho from PhoBar in New York City.

It turned out to be the cheapest item on the menu, which made it even better, but truthfully, it couldn’t have possibly gotten better. Even through my congestion and with what little ability I had left to taste, I was floored by the flavors of every part of the soup. Very quickly, just after a few bites and sips of broth, I became a passionate fan of pho. Leslie and I returned to PhoBar frequently after that and it is still one of our favorites.

When I was craving pho last week then, maybe it was more than just the soup I was yearning for. After all, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal I had, so all that was really missing was the fact that I wasn’t at PhoBar with Leslie. I wasn’t in New York.

Pho here will never be as good as pho in New York for that very reason. And on the same lines, online classes will never be as fulfilling as going to class on campus. Life in New York will always feel at least slightly superior to life anywhere else.

One could say that feeling discontent with this semester would be inevitable due to all that is happening, namely the pandemic. But in another attempt to try to grin and bear it, no matter how tiring it may be to keep grinning, I am doing my best to push through online classes and keep up with what is due. However, this is undoubtedly difficult. A few friends of mine themselves are going through rough patches and find themselves unmotivated. If you find yourself in the same position, here are a few helpful tips from U.S. News on dealing with onlines classes: 

  • Form a Schedule – Oftentimes having a solid structure to your day can help with keeping things in line and therefore getting more work done. Try writing out or printing a schedule, hang it up somewhere you will see it, and do your best to adhere to it throughout the day. 
  • Find Your Space – If you have a very busy home, it’s best to find a quiet area in your house to minimize distractions. If this isn’t possible, try going to your local library or somewhere you can get away from whatever may be pulling you away from your work.
  • Eye on the Prize – It may be difficult, I know for a fact that it is very difficult for a few friends of mine, but it is important to have a goal you want to reach and therefore a reason to get yourself to do work. “I’m just trying to get this degree,” is something a friend of mine says all the time, and I think it’s a simple but important mantra for many of us to take up during this time.
  • Stay in Touch – As for missing out on social interaction, use FaceTime or something of the like to keep in touch with friends from college. My friends and I use an app to send video updates to each other and it’s proven to help us a lot. Not only do we get to hear about what’s going on in each other’s lives, but it’s nice to see the faces and hear the voices of the people who I lived with for almost a year, who I care about deeply.

For more information, click the link above. Keep in mind that these things may not come easily or could be difficult to implement into your life. This is perfectly okay. It is more about the effort you put into doing better than how far you may actually get. I myself feel that it’s rare to have an actual productive day, but when I do I let myself savor the moment. It’s these moments that help me get through the semester. When you have that day (and you will), make sure you savor the moment, too.


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Soraya’s Enchiladas

November 19th, 2020

It is a Saturday night, and all of my roommates have left. I have placed my computer on top of the water purifier, so through our Zoom call, Soraya can have a full view of my kitchen. This evening, Soraya is guiding me through her version of enchiladas. In my opinion, nothing beats making enchiladas with one of my closest friends–even if we are 2186 miles apart.

Enchiladas is a dish that has been appropriated and reformed by many cultures. The translation of enchilada is to season with chili. The earliest rendition was Aztec, and it was called “chillapizzali” or chili flute. According to records from Spanish conquistadors, chillapizzali were tortillas dipped in spicy chili sauce and filled with beans, meat, squash, or eggs. When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, they appropriated chillipizzali and added new ingredients–mainly cheese, chicken, and spicy sauces. These alterations have made the enchilada what it is today.

These alterations aren’t just national, they also occur at the household level. I ask Soraya about the recipe we are using, and she tells me that these enchiladas were her mother’s creation. Soraya’s father is from Ecuador and doesn’t like spicy food. To make the enchiladas milder, Soraya’s mother adds a can of cream of mushroom soup.  

“You wouldn’t see this recipe in a normal Mexican household at all. They would be kind of pissed actually that we did this to the traditional enchilada.”

Soraya is from El Paso and was my roommate at NYU Florence. When she walked into my freshman dorm she was carrying a Louis Vuitton duffle and was dressed in high-heeled boots and a form-fitting dress. The first time we bonded was at a small Florentine sandwich shop, where I began to get to know her as an observant, intelligent, and passionate person. There are so many memories I want to add for context–partying in Florence and accidentally leaving her at a club (yikes),  getting drinks at Piazza Della Repubblica, watching her (and Hailey) tape crosses around our dorm room, visiting Notre Dame the day before it burned, learning the salsa and bachata, watching movies projected on our ceiling, and becoming regulars at Cafe Panna in New York City. Soraya is a very important person to me. We have shared amazing experiences, and our friendship has shaped the course of my life. 

While discussing the consequences of getting pierced on Accutane, we begin to make the sauce. I shred boiled chicken and put it in a blender with cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup, milk, queso fresco, and salsa verde. The aim is for a creamy-liquid consistency.

Soraya’s enchilada sauce

My enchilada sauce

When the sauce is done, we pour some into the bottom of the casserole pan. Meanwhile, we heat the tortillas up in the microwave, and fill them with sauce. 

“Make it into a mini flauta.” 

“A flute?” 

She nods and laughs. The description of the enchilada as a “flauta” makes me think of the Aztec, and how the origin of enchiladas was the chilipizzali (chili flutes). This makes me realize how food is a culmination of culture and identities. Soraya remarks on this herself in the following: 

“Food is something more than alimentary, it’s our identity. Each recipe, spice, and ingredient that we choose reflects our ethnicity, religion, and social class. Food is something that all humans share, yet it is also something we use to define ourselves.”

When I cooked with other students for this series, they all talked about how cooking keeps them in touch with their identities. Alison told me her lu rou fan is a taste of home, Dorothea loves to bake because of her personality, and Paris uses flavor to satisfy her taste. While these narratives differ slightly, they all use cooking as a way of reflecting who they are. 

Soraya’s understanding of food is similar. She tells me about how her cuisine and heritage intertwine. 

“I feel so Mexican when I crave a tortilla. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’m like, do you know what would be so good for breakfast? A tortilla! Or I feel really Middle Eastern when all I want is fatayer… I feel super Latin American whenever I see plantains, cause that’s all my grandma would give me, and I’m like ahh delicious!”

Food doesn’t only connect us to our heritage. When I ask Soraya how she feels about cooking, she tells me that for a long time she found it boring. As a child, she enjoyed making cakes, but most of her time was devoted to practicing ballroom dancing and school. It isn’t until recently that she has paid more attention to what she eats, and has taken up some cooking as a result. 

“I am proud to say what I am made of, and we are made of what we eat. I prefer to make it.”

Soraya makes me think that identity is composed of the unchangeable and changeable, and this is clearly reflected by cooking. Heritage is something that determines our cravings, and it isn’t something that we can change about ourselves. However, we still have the power to choose what we make and how we make it.

Filling the enchiladas

For the final touches, we pour the rest of the sauce on top of the flautas and cover them with shredded cheese and queso fresco. Then we spread crema on top and put the pan in the oven. 

When we leave Zoom, I have her send me a picture of her final product.

Soraya’s enchiladas
My enchiladas

While our enchiladas are cooking, I take some time to consider the things I have learned:

1. Heritage. The foods we crave are frequently a reflection of who we are and where we are from.

2. Agency. Cooking for ourselves gives us the power to determine what we are made up of.

3. Technology.  Soraya and I talked for two hours over Zoom, and our final products came out well. Modern technology has the power to keep people connected. 

In the end, I take a bite of the cheesy enchiladas and am delighted, but also a bit concerned: my tortillas have been absorbed by the sauce (later I am told this is normal). Regardless, I am happy that despite the actual distance the virus has created between people, technology has allowed us to remain connected.

Source:

Lee, Alexander. “Enchiladas, a Culinary Monument to Colonialism.” History Today, www.historytoday.com/archive/historians-cookbook/enchiladas-culinary-monument-colonialism.


By: Erin Zubarik

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

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 encourages 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.

Share

The Power of Listening

November 18th, 2020

The world continues to change daily and rapidly, it is evolving everyday. As human beings we are shaping our own evolution, constantly changing our present and future. Through all of these advancements and technological improvements, our lives are often facilitated and our surroundings are much noisier. It can be difficult to maintain the practice of listening, and lose these skills. If we lose the art of listening, then we also lose or diminish our communication skills, which can affect our personal and professional life. It is important to be an effective listener, and to pay attention to the world as a whole.

In today’s society, we’ve grown more impatient and more appreciative of effortless things. Amazon, the innovative company that has shifted the e-commerce industry, offers a “Prime membership” that enables you to easily receive a package within a day or two, people are willing to pay more for a faster delivery service. Even when it comes to listening it is easy to daze off or filter the information we choose to retain. Especially when we are all busy fulfilling our daily duties and responsibilities, it is often convenient to keep everything short and straightforward rather than putting in the effort to listen and empathize with the speaker. 

By the early 1900’s a video camera was invented by John Logie Baird, who knew that camera’s would turn the world upside down (BBC, 29 September 2015). Nowadays, it is very easy to record everything. It is the beauty of being able to capture and relive everything taken on a camera lens. As a student myself, I rely on screenshots or photos of any class notes to help capture the information I couldn’t carefully listen to. However, it affects our listening skills because we no longer feel the need to be attentive and listen as recording content is available during any day or time. We are focusing on what these technological advancements can do for us versus the benefits that being an effective listener can bring to our development. 

We’ve become immersed into our own world, that most of the time our headphones are the answer to escaping our reality. It’s made us lose the connections amongst others, and we’ve also lost the ability to connect through sharing our ideas, experiences and aspirations with one another. Conversation is no longer prominent, if headphones serve as a refuge. Furthermore, it is negatively impacting the ability to be physically present and embrace the sounds of life. 

Being an effective listener is a gift that offers more than hearing the bird chips or our morning alarms, it is a set of skills that can bring prosperity, strengthen relationships and help us be more comprehensive in such a hectic world. Being a good listener also allows us to listen to ourselves, it gives us the opportunity to listen to our mind, body and soul for a road to happiness. Establish wellness with yourself to be able to listen and care of others first. The act of caring is just as powerful as listening to your significant other express themselves.

How to make yourself a priority (self care):

Bera, Maggie “10 Easy Self Care Tips For Actors” https://www.actoraesthetic.com/blog/self-care. Accessed 12 November 2020.
  • Turn off your phone. Most of the time the first thing you do as soon as you wake up in the morning is check your phone. Now you’ll have to “unplug” to distress from your emails, notifications and buzzing that only make you overwhelmed. Try to set a schedule for yourself. For example, stay off your phone thirty minutes prior to bed or manage your screen time on the screen time tab in your settings for most IPhone users. If necessary, put your phone on airplane mode, focus on breathing and take a break!
  • Treat yourself to dinner. Food can be classified as an event, and we can make it memorable if we make it. During a stressful moment food can truly be our best friend, we don’t have to make dinner a “friends night” it can be a night to treat your cravings and watch Netflix, treasuring your own company. 

How to take care of others:

Uknown, “Self Care takes a Community, say mental health experts” https://www.folio.ca/self-care-takes-a-community-say-mental-health-experts/. Accessed 12 November 2020.
  • Reach out. Most of the time we aren’t aware of what our friends or next door neighbors are going through, ask the person next to you “are you okay?”. Re assure them that you’re there to listen, stay connected with your friends and family.
  • Be present. Often many may experience financial problems, however being present for someone doesn’t always necessarily mean being there financially. It could also mean helping someone study for their test, encouraging someone to achieve their goals, celebrating a birthday or even offering them a ride home are all acts of care. 

By: Yadira Tellez

Yadira is currently enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Fashion Business Management and minoring in English literature. She’s worked in retail and has had the opportunity to work behind the scenes during NYFW. Her dream is to be a Fashion Stylist, but enjoys creative writing to relieve stress and express her mind.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Fancy Fridays: Making Traditions

November 18th, 2020

By the second semester of my Sophomore year it was firmly established that my friends and I needed something to look forward to, and not just big events. To weather the storm of stress caused by regular classes, major assignments, and jobs, we needed a weekly treat; something small; something to hold us over until the following week. My friend Leslie coined the phrase “Fancy Fridays” to describe it. At the center of our newfound tradition? Something mouthwatering. 

It was very simple. Just a good meal, whether cheap or expensive, it didn’t matter, though sometimes we had to reign ourselves in and not splurge too much. At the heart of the tradition though was our need to take time for ourselves, to treat ourselves. For this reason we often excused spending more than we should have (and this probably occurred way more than it should have). “What’s for dinner Friday?” became a question worthy of major debate. What were we craving? How much were we willing to spend? It varied each week, but we always chose a meal that brought the relief we needed. 

Some of our go-to meals: Wings from Atomic Wings, ranging from plain to super-spicy, because our tolerances differed. An Indian food feast from Leslie’s and my favorite Indian restaurant we accidentally discovered the year before. Pepperoni pizza from Joe’s, which was just a few steps from our residence hall. Joe’s was especially important to us. When we had sudden cravings at 1:00 a.m, we could easily slide from the couch, go down the elevator, through the lobby, and be at their doorstep in less than 5 minutes. In retrospect, maybe it was a little too accessible. 

But there is one Fancy Friday meal that we all still talk about to this day. On Valentine’s Day weekend, three-quarters of us single, we decided to go all out and make a reservation at Irvington, a lavish restaurant nearby. Truthfully, this didn’t occur on a Friday, but rather the day after. We postponed for a day and then when Saturday night came, we made it a hell of a time. Those of us who never wore makeup put some on, we all picked out a nice outfit, and when we were finally ready we walked up Union Square and entered – the W Hotel.

Unknown, “Irvington Restaurant – New York, NY”, https://www.opentable.com/r/irvington-new-york . Accessed 17 Nov 2020.

So there was some confusion at first. We stood in the hotel lobby, feeling foolish and whispering to each other before we realized the restaurant was within the hotel. Soon enough we spotted it (it was just to the side, and in our panic we missed it), we gave the name the reservation was under, and we were seated. The meal was fantastic.  The waiter was so nice, we still remember his name. And overall, we got our moment. We were able to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.

At the end of the day, after some takeout and a movie or fine-dining and a stroll through the city, the only thing that mattered was that we got the relief we so badly needed week to week. It was a breath of fresh air, a true moment of peace to be able to sit and savour something delicious and do nothing more. Our Fancy Fridays were truly our saving grace in a sea of school stress.

Even if it is not centered on a meal, it’s important to form traditions during college for the same reason – it will give you something to look forward to and bring you a moment of relaxation. So what are some ways you can form traditions, whether it’s with your friends or just for yourself?

  • Find something you enjoy – Relaxation will likely come from doing something you like, whether it’s a serious hobby or something small. For my friends and I, eating something delicious was always an easy way to decompress. Even something as simple as watching a movie or show can make for a simple but effective tradition. 
  • Put in the effort – The goal of these traditions is to find some inner peace, if only an ounce. If you have to pull yourself away from readings and papers, do so. Especially if you feel you are already running low on energy. The only way to relax is to set aside time to do so. This could apply to purposefully searching for something you enjoy as well. It may feel like a bother, but knowing that once you find something to do that will ultimately relax you, it will be worth it.
  • Let it happen – Not just the name of an amazing Tame Impala song. Yes, this pretty much completely goes against my second point, but it’s still relevant! Sometimes traditions come about by themselves. Notice what’s going on in your life that you enjoy, or things you are doing that you’d like to keep up. Go with it and see if this works for you.

Lastly, if you are looking to make food a part of your new tradition, Campus Clipper has some amazing coupons to help you out! Here is one for Amorino Gelato:

https://www.campusclipper.com/new/popup1.php?CUP_COD=3876


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

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 encourages 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.

Share

Paris’s Crab Cakes and Tartar Sauce

November 11th, 2020

It is a fall evening and the sun has set. Outside our window, New York City’s skyline is lit up with a wide range of colors: yellows, reds, blues. Rhianna’s slow sultry voice hums through my speaker, and Paris and I begin to make crab cakes and tartar sauce. 

Crab was once thought to be a shellfish that was too difficult to eat. However, blue crab was plentiful in the Chesapeake Bay, and people from Maryland began to utilize the resource by mixing crab meat with spices, bread crumbs, and crackers. Crosby Caige came up with the name “crab cakes” in 1930. The recipe made its way into the New York World Fair Cook Book in 1939 and was called the “Baltimore Crab Cakes,”(History).

To accompany our cakes, we decided to make tartar sauce. While I scavenge in the fridge, Paris reads off ingredients. 

“We need mayo, mustard, pickle juice…” She reads off a recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen. 

Paris is from Ocean City and is a sophomore at NYU Tisch. The first time we spoke we talked about spirituality, taxidermy, and her podcast That’s What She Said. Frequently caught up in her thoughts, Paris is very passionate and open-minded. She also has a great sense of music (her Spotify has a playlist for every mood). A fun side note is her full name is Paris Monet Hitchens, which suggests she is destined for France at one time or another. 

Despite the seemingly perfect evening, there is an exhaustion that has consumed our apartment. It is the day after election day, and everyone has been checking results every hour. We are all eager for a distraction from politics–cooking provides this respite. 

Paris tells me about how her parents are both seafood lovers, and of how crab ball horderves are a must for Christmas Eve dinner. However, the dish is mostly reminiscent of her mother. “It reminds me of coming home from school. Sometimes I would have practices, mostly school plays, and I would come home late. I would walk in and smell food cooking, and my mom would yell out “I’m making crab cakes! What else do you want with it?” They just really remind me of my mom.” 

When I inquire about a family recipe, Paris tells me that her mother once had a fantastic recipe that was passed down by a family friend. Unfortunately, her mother lost the slip of paper and has been trying to recreate it ever since. Currently, she always uses the recipe “Maryland Crab Cakes” for a basic structure. However, there is one personal touch that Paris and her mom always add: Adobo.

Adobo is immensely popular in our apartment. Many seasonings sit by our stovetop, and on most days I hear someone say, “let me just add some adoooobo!” 

If anyone else is in the common space, you can count on a back and forth: 

“Adooobo!”

“Adooobo.”

“Adooobo!”  

While I chop the pickles and rosemary, Paris mixes the mayo, mustard, and spices. She works with confidence and is not afraid to add a lot of flavor. This style of cooking mirrors her mother’s methods. Paris tells me that when her mom cooks she always works using the basic structure of a recipe, and then adds more spices. 

“She knows she can always make it better with more flavor.” 

When I sample the sauce, I taste the fresh rosemary and tang of Worcester sauce. There is a slight sweetness from the brown sugar, and while the flavors are certainly heightened, they are also balanced. It is the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had. 

Paris’s delicious tartar sauce!

Straying from the recipe and cooking for your palette is new to me. I watched both Alison and Dorothea do the same when we cooked together. While I understand the value of cooking for your taste, I find that I love following recipes. In the last few weeks, I experimented with cooking based on my gut. I found that it didn’t bring me as much satisfaction as following a recipe. Lining up ingredients and following recipe instructions makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

Sometimes I also don’t know what flavor I want to bring out. Food can be over salted. However, can there ever be too much parsley, rosemary, or oregano? What makes food taste good? From the balance in flavors in the tartar sauce, I’m thinking that strong flavors that are balanced make for the best food. If strong balanced flavors are the best, I contemplate why recipe engineers always call for 1-2 teaspoons of spice. My guess is 1) this is a convenient estimate and 2) less seasoning will appeal to more people.

After putting the tartar sauce away, I chop crab and scallions while Paris mixes dry ingredients (Paris isn’t a fan of chopping). I watch her mix everything and shape it into a ball. 

Our crab cake mix.
Raw crab cake patties.

While we sit at the table shaping the mixture into patties, I ask Paris why she cooks. 

 “I like cooking because it distracts me–especially now. Also, with different recipes, you can add your own mix to it. You follow it, but there’s nothing like putting your own twist to it and making it to your own taste. I make food for me.”

With the election, covid, and other anxiety-provoking crises, it has been made clear that distractions are needed. Last week Dorothea was talking about how she loves to bake because it’s fun, which reminded me of the importance of enjoying small pleasures. Paris’s call for cooking distractions reminds me once more of the importance of getting carried away by hobbies. 

Paris also tells me about how cooking brings people together. She says that with all of us spending so much time in the apartment, cooking together is a small act that reflects what our lives at home are like, which somehow leads to confessions and revelations of our deepest darkest secrets. 

From our conversations, I walk away with the following thoughts:

1. Balance Flavor. I am going to start adding more herbs and spices to my food–I will also pay attention to how spices complement each other. 

2. Distraction.  Cooking was a great distraction from the election.

3. Connection. Paris talked about how cooking together bonds people. This is an idea I am very passionate about–I am most connected with my family members, and the most sacred time we spend together is over a meal. 

For the final step, I leave Paris to fry the patties while I go to the store to buy a bottle of wine. As soon as I walk outside our building, I feel the election anxiety return. I walk by boarded-up stores and pass outdoor restaurants with televisions playing live election results. 

Frying the crab cakes.

When I return to the apartment, everyone sits down and eats together. Paris’s remarks on cooking and relationships stick with me, and we all spend the rest of the evening relaxing. 

Final product.

Source:
“History of the Maryland Crab Cake.” Boxhill Crabcakes, 27 Apr. 2015, www.boxhillpizzeria.com/boxhill-crab-cakes/history-of-the-maryland-crab-cake/.


By: Erin Zubarik

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

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 encourages 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.

Share