Chapter Five: The Comfort of Home-Cooked Meals

July 15th, 2024

One of the biggest benefits I think I had of staying home for college was and is the home-cooked meals. Being a New York native, it is par for the course to eat out on your breaks in college or during work. However, rarely do I hear about the college students or New Yorkers who bring home-cooked meals (or the occasional lunchable—no shame!) with them to college or work. I don’t think I would have survived overspending on eating out as an unemployed college student. Even once there was money flow, I had to properly budget my money if I was to survive New York City’s living costs however long I needed to.

The biggest expense after rent and utilities is food, of course. As a single woman, if I didn’t still live with my parents, it would have cost me thousands more monthly to live a comfortable life in New York City. I have heard plenty of horror stories about college students who either dorm or live off-campus forced to live paycheck to paycheck trying to decide whether to use their little money left on rent (or tuition/loan payments) or food. If there is any advice I can give, it’s to save as much as you can if your family is willing to financially support you. If not, split your payments with roommates if possible. Life is so much better when you don’t have to be hyper-independent.

As much as I really wanted to move out of my parent’s two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx at 19, I knew I didn’t have a plan in mind. And I hadn’t yet developed trust in my ability to feed myself without my mother on hand. From that point to now, I have understood the importance of conserving money, energy, and time. It might be true that you have to spend money to make money, but you also have to make your money grow and last enough so that you don’t have to work your entire life. Start through being mindful of what isn’t worth your “MET” (money, energy, and time), and assess how much of your MET is being wasted. Then, invest in people, places, and things that will maximize your MET.

Food is fuel. And given how quickly time elapses, food should be as healthful and last as much as your money is making it. That’s why buying in bulk is the best. The less grocery runs you have to make after still having a steady supply of food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other household items needed for daily or weekly use, the more money, energy, and time you save every month. Money isn’t just important in this equation—the more time you invest into your health, the more time and energy you will have to live your life.

Half-eaten mac & cheese my brother made me.

Home-cooked meals are exactly one of those things that will maximize your MET. According to an Aetna article, home-cooked meals are proven to be healthier than takeout meals, giving us a lower calorie intake, a more health-conscious mentality, and mental productivity. As a New Yorker, home-cooked meals have brought me closer to a slow-living lifestyle I would like to live more of if and when I decide to move out of the city. Eating out (and going fast in general) may get us many of the things we want and need at a convenient speed, but constantly engaging in consumptive habits will at some point remind us we need to slow down.

My college campus was one of the few places where I felt I could slow down. Even while under the social pressure to move and act fast, there were always designated spaces to be in stillness and be encouraged to not over-consume in body, mind, and spirit. Making use of the college food pantry (and pre-made lunches), the shuttle bus, counseling services, the college library, and more are great investments towards getting more for less, and building a life of growth instead of consumption.


The deli always comes in clutch! Save on groceries with 10% off!

By Daeli Vargas

Daeli is a recent graduate from the City College of New York with a BA in English and a publishing certificate. She is from the Bronx and is very passionate about all things literary. She hopes one day to publish many books of her own and share her passions worldwide.


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

DIY Music: What to Know

July 11th, 2024

DIY, arguably created around the 1970’s, is a community of artists writing, producing, performing, and releasing music made completely independently. It encourages artists to be self-reliant and evokes complete artistic freedom without associating with big labels. A Medium article by the DIY Report cites the ethics of DIY as: “self-sufficiency, personal relationship with fans, and freedom of expression” (https://medium.com/@thediyreport/what-is-diy-music-4093b78c00f0).  The idea of DIY is often associated with impromptu shows which are typically held in smaller venues or private homes. It’s well-liked amongst students because of its accessibility and the spontaneity of hosting a show within your own home for small audiences and at a low cost. 

I became introduced to DIY music through many of my musician friends, who upon coming to college, sought to find like-minded artists to collaborate with and form bands. DIY was an inexpensive route for student artists to start performing for audiences and try out new styles affordably and conveniently. My involvement with a student-run coffee shop and event space, Rodrigue’s Coffeehouse at Fordham, also contributed to my discovery of DIY. Rodrigue’s Coffeehouse is a club and an on-campus space for Fordham students where they can enjoy a study space with one-dollar coffee during the day, and concerts at night. We hosted concerts and open mics monthly where student performers could showcase their skills. Being a member of this club was my first exposure to DIY music and fostered my love for finding new artists and supporting up-and-coming performers. 

Beyond Rodrigue’s, Fordham has a substantial culture surrounding house shows. House shows would be hosted by many different students; my roommates and I would occasionally host some of our own. Typically, a band would play at their own house or approach a friend of theirs with better space and propose a date, time, and charge at the door. Since DIY musicians attempt to procure an accessible artist community, charges for house shows are minimal (less than $15) and costs either go towards furthering the band’s projects or a charitable cause. Particularly, during my spring semester, many house shows decided to make their concerts into fundraisers, donating proceeds to causes such as medical aid in Palestine. 

Rodrigue’s Coffeehouse at Fordham University

DIY is an enticing community of artists because it thrives on promoting creativity without constraints. It can be a way to find accessible entertainment within your community, discover new artists, or learn more about music culture. Beyond the university setting, DIY is all over New York City. While there are many designated venues for DIY artists, it never hurts to take a chance on a band performing at your local bar or restaurant. 


Working with a student budget? Enjoy $8.50 lunch specials at Lunetta Pizza Monday through Friday!

By Georgie Fleming

Georgie Fleming is a recent graduate of Fordham University with a BA in Communications and French and Francophone Studies. While at Fordham, she frequently published articles in a music publication and worked as a barista. She grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. She spends her free time going to the beach, reading, and baking.


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

Growing Pains: Chapter 3- Magnets

July 9th, 2024

I, along with anyone who has attended any university, know that the people you meet during that first week will not be amongst the faces you see when you walk down the aisle at your wedding. If you are lucky, you may see them in passing down the street, and if you are even luckier, a smile or familiar gaze may be exchanged between you two. Alas, if you are like the majority of us, these things won’t ever happen to you, and as sad as it may sound, it is simply one of many blips that occur in the journey that is college. In the first week of school, I found myself making introductions with anyone that would cross my path, regardless of our compatibility or even shared hobbies. “Oh you like Stephen King? I saw the trailer for It once!” I was securing companionships to avoid being lost and lonely in the sea of hundreds of unfamiliar faces filled with passion and strong opinions that made up Manhattan. All for the fruits of my labor to disappear within the next couple of days. 

Surrounded by so many people, how do you find the ones for you?

It was startling when the group chat of ten people I was in slowly fizzled out, and plans stopped being made. It was easy to spend hours dedicated to wondering what went wrong. How had I made and kept friends in all the years prior to this? Although college is a very unique experience, it is not alien to everything you have ever experienced before it. In high school, one is shoved into a cramped building with at least one hundred other students, in your graduating class alone, and something akin to natural selection takes place. You gravitate like magnets to those like yourself and befriend the faces you see every day. The remainder of those around you are plucked out from the social pool, and become mere backdrops to the place that becomes the center of your universe. Julie, who sits next to you in algebra every morning is more likely to become your friend than Alan, who is on the opposite side of the building taking science classes the same morning. Forced proximity breeds the most intimate of relationships, and psychology supports this. A Very Well Mind article states, “In social psychology, the proximity principle suggests that people closer together in a physical environment are more likely to form a relationship than those farther away. ”(Vinney) This boils down to the simple concept of convenience. It is far easier to reach out to the person you sit next to in your 8 am class than the person you met a week ago at some random event who lives in a dorm on the other side of campus. You have no motive to seek the latter individual out, not because of anything personal, but because you do not know them, thus making any efforts to go see them become tedious and unnecessary, and you eventually give up on any possible prospect of friendship. The same thing can occur even when you love someone, which is why many shy away from the idea of long-distance relationships. Closeness is crucial to most relationships, and when you have one that is burdened by physical distance, the main priority is usually to minimize that distance as soon as possible. This is how I realized I could not force a friendship with those who were slipping from my grasp.


Use this coupon for an icy treat to stay cool!

By Tiana Gregg

Tiana is a rising junior at NYU majoring in English and minoring in Art History. She spends her days reading, writing, listening to music, and indulging in just about every hobby (except sports!) you can think of to fill her time. You will never find her idling.


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

An Introduction to World-Saving: Prologue

July 9th, 2024

Admiring the blush blooming across the pinched cheeks of young tourists as they drink the cheapest red wine our Sicilian villa offers and the sloppy kisses they plant on their agape, laughing lips, I have unwillingly permitted several realizations to seep through my intermittent head throbs. It is my birthday tomorrow. I will turn twenty years old, and I have failed at living as a teenage girl. 

The finite potential I saved up for my teenage years, as if they were points to be redeemed at Dave & Busters or paid time off hours set aside for a short-lived vacation, has rotted and will wither in the next sun cycle to a place neither time nor I could catch it.

In retrospect, I’m grateful for the few parties I’d made appearances at, football games I’d stood in the back of, and crushes in class who had served primarily as muses for poetry but had not been of substantial importance as to break my freshman spirit. They would come later. I had snuck out of the house to meet boys, tried out for the softball team, and stuck my head out a sunroof under the cover of a tunnel. I had checked off the little things on the mental list I prepared in my pre-teens, yet coronavirus and the abnormal hardwiring of my mind had been the catalysts to my primarily online academic journey in the second half of high school. 

After a series of unfortunate events, I had been advised by school administration to not attend prom nor walk the stage for the mental safety of myself and physical safety of others, while the rest of my graduating class—mainly comprised of eerily similar Barbies and Kens clothed in milkmaid dresses and in suits of fine fabric from places I’ve never heard of—had thrown their crimson-colored caps at the peak of spring weather, and the following week rented beach houses the to consume liquor stolen from their equally plastic doll-like parents. 

I’d spent a few months isolated, experiencing ceaseless depression and feelings of ostracization. For my own wellbeing, I couldn’t leave the house nor use any electronics. If I had a visitor, which had only ever been my younger cousin or my close neighbor, they’d be screened for devices which had to be left at the foyer. 

I hadn’t been one to drop my schoolbooks and have an unassuming, charming upperclassmen retrieve them for me. Boys had not stolen glances at me in the halls. The cheerleaders had never sat with me for lunch. My hair had not been blown out on a bimonthly basis, instead it had been buzzed short because of my alleged depression and anxiety that ripped it off in thick clumps. I had lacked the blackout parties, spontaneous coastal trips, and urban explorations. With only myself to blame, I had chosen to remain cooped inside and ruminate over the potential I had, rather than pursue the efforts it would take to self actualize.

Then came university. In my first year, I splurged most of my money on lavish dinners, chic bodily adornments, and overpriced tickets to piano recitals. I invested my leisure time in projects I had no real passions for so as to be perceived as an intelligent, indestructible, and interesting woman. Months of precariously crafting a pristine and beautiful facade eventually proved futile, as the ostentatious exterior inevitably crumbled when I revisited my hometown and found myself disinterested in impressing my high school counterparts. 

Now I wear my well-loved clothes from senior year, detaching old memories and infusing new ones into their distressed sleeves and eclectic buttons. Deviating from saving money for elegant evenings amongst older company, I presently opt to expand my wunderkammer of vintage cameras and to purchase flights to cities I’d never thought to visit. The need to adopt a pretentious personality that fed on underground jazz artists and bled orchestral symphonies from the Renaissance dissipated. I could listen to mainstream rock and indie classics meant to make the young and stupid drunk on the liveliness they swell in. I began to savor the world again, like a little kid given their first dollar at a candy store. This abrupt but welcome thrill was the impetus for my drive to play a role in saving the world.

And so here is my epiphany. If we, the people that inhabit the world, hope to ensure this miraculous planet stays afloat in our universe, there are various key concepts we need to understand. We must adopt collectivist notions and realize that human beings have the shared responsibility of caring for the Earth. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have our basic needs met have the opportunity to take action toward creating a society where the needs of others are also fulfilled. 

Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it can be believed that if people had access to clean food, safe housing, and secure jobs, they would be more inclined to seek endeavors conceptualized by minds at their highest potential (Maslow 1943, 430). Perhaps if one were to add a genuine sense of belonging and community, coupled with a healthy self-esteem, to these people, they would truly self-actualize and choose to engage in methods of mending the world. Maybe if Oishee found authentic connection among her peers, she would be apt to start volunteering weekly at the communal food shelter. Maybe if Darrell earned a sufficient salary to avoid living paycheck to paycheck, he would begin smiling at strangers and gain the confidence to engage in small talk. Maybe if Jimena had scheduled therapy and developed a support system, she would willingly host fundraisers for mental health non-profits. 

We must note that kindness is not a panacea for all evils, but a tool in the grand scheme of it all. It is the simplest of seeds we can plant to prompt the growth of hectares of worldly goodness. Rarely do situations de-escalate when multiple parties are brash, hostile, and dismissive. My friends and partners learned, sooner than I, that setting boundaries whilst remaining gentle, patient, and loving is most effective in alleviating my stress and calming my anger. Of course, this does not work in cases where negotiations preventing the termination of a mass genocide built over the course of decades of history is at play. The principle still stands: looking out for our fellow people is the root of how society can be improved and earth can be healed. It can begin with a seed planted by one of us. 

This is a collection of experiences from my adolescence that have driven me to contribute towards sustaining this planet we hold dear. Motivation is everywhere and I think I have it in me to participate in  change-making agendas. Will you play a part in saving the world?

References 

Maslow, A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”. In Physiological Review, 50 (4), 430-437.

Ansorger, Jennifer. 2021. “An Analysis of Education Reforms and Assessment in the Core Subjects Using an Adapted Maslow’s Hierarchy: Pre and Post COVID-19” Education Sciences 11, no. 8: 376.


Share

Relationships with the City

July 9th, 2024

Making the move to college can be an incredibly overwhelming and stressful process, but moving to college in New York City can be even tougher! Just like that, you’re tossed into a bottomless melting pot full of cultures, people, religions, you name it! In the mix up of decorating your dorm and forming new relationships, it can be difficult to understand the major transition you’re going through. Building a community is much like building up a relationship from scratch. Though it’s the key to a successful transition to college, sometimes New York itself can feel unapproachable or oversaturated.

In order to learn how to approach the city, it’s crucial to understand it first. In an effort to better understand the culture of New York, I reached out to Professor Marry Rocco. As Director of Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement and Inclusion at Barnard College, Professor Rocco holds extensive knowledge in the fields of urban planning and community development. Not only is Professor Rocco knowledgeable about urban studies in general, but she has also completed numerous research projects and programming centered around the New York City region. Professor Rocco’s background makes her the perfect authority to better understand what keeps New York’s gears turning. Only when you comprehend how the city functions are you then able to find your place in it. Somewhere amongst the thousands of gears, wheels, and cogs, there’s a missing screw that only you can fit in.

A Día de los Muertos Performance in front of the New York City Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. At the time, the library was paying homage to Jay-Z with Black Lives Matter and other Black themed decorations. An interesting intersection of communities, taken on 35mm film.

While you might be excited about living your New York City dreams to the max as soon as possible, it’s important to first recognize the intersecting communities that you are joining upon move-in day. Prior to leaving home, you’re already a part of a distinguished set of communities. Whether they are based on your racial identity, shared interests, or common beliefs, some communities will be easier to adjust to from previous experiences. On top of those, however, are a bundle of new communities that you are entering. It’s important to consider that you are automatically entering the New York City community as well as your university community. With so many different spaces to belong to, Professor Rocco suggested starting with your homebase. Before going out and exploring the fashion scene in SoHo or checking out the artists down in Bushwick, consider getting to know your own campus first. Make the most of your orientation week and walk around the neighborhood that your campus resides in. It’s important to use this time to acclimate yourself as a college student first and a city resident second. 

A community I’ve found at Columbia, my end of the year Aikido Club practice in Central Park.
Taken on 35mm film.

 According to Professor Rocco,  engaging with a community is like engaging with any other relationship. Like relationships with people, you must dedicate time and understanding to advance them. You don’t marry someone after the first date, you take the time to assess their personality and your compatibility. The same logic can be applied to entering a new community! Beyond whether or not you share any common characteristics that would enhance your addition to the given community, your approach and intention are major factors that play a role in how well received your transition may be. In our conversation, Professor Rocco called attention to the privilege of being able to toss around phrases like “I want to get involved in the Harlem community.” She stressed the importance of entering communities with a curious and open mind as opposed to intervening with a goal/idea in mind. Deliberation and consideration on all aspects of this new relationship are essential in developing into a valuable and appreciated community member.

Internalizing and implementing all of these ideas can help determine whether or not your experience will be pleasant, additive, or accepted. New York City is densely populated and intricately regionalized, but by approaching communities like other relationships, you can find your community wherever you may end up.


By Thomas Stewart

Thomas currently attends Columbia University and plans to double major in creative writing and human rights. At Columbia Thomas is a staff writer for the City News section of the Columbia Daily Spectator, where he publishes articles that concern the West Harlem community. In his free time, you can find him practicing music or trying new vegetarian recipes


First impressions are everything when it comes to making new relationships. Get 20% off at Daniel’s Barbershop with student ID and coupon to look fresh and clean for any new relationships you encounter!

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

Chapter Four: The Beauty in Mess

July 8th, 2024

My mother always told me that straightening my curly hair was as important as going to school—like the state of your natural hair somehow aligned with the state of your life. If I failed to keep up with the biweekly hairdressing appointment before school or work, I would become a negative representation of my family. I would become a negative representation of a woman. A failure. Beauty for my family meant so much more than being able to attract people sexually or romantically—it meant being able to make or at least look like you make good decisions and are a positive role model. Say hello to the halo effect.

I don’t think there is any part of my life that isn’t messy. From my hair, to my feelings, decisions, relationships, to the notes in my notebooks, everything about me screams “mess.” I like to think that this messiness is a result of how self-contained I was in my childhood and adolescence. Even a result of perfectionism due to the pressures of being the eldest daughter of immigrant parents. Somehow, I was still able to make sense of life. I could accept that I wasn’t born a newly minted Barbie doll nor was I born to be one. My mess and flaws could be beautiful too.

a black and white photo of a naked woman
We aren’t meant to be perfect.
Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/a-black-and-white-photo-of-a-naked-woman-d97MDnRxpeU

I like to think that college freed me from the structure of K-12 education. With college, I had a legitimate excuse to make mistakes of all kinds. You didn’t have to know exactly what you wanted to study and could possibly change majors multiple times throughout the semester. You didn’t have to have three to four pages worth of experience to put on your resume because college was the interim period before you were fully flung into the workforce. Your life was a blank canvass you could paint however you wanted.

I was often afraid to make mistakes because I didn’t want to send the message to anyone that I couldn’t handle life. That I wasn’t trustworthy. Or a good decision-maker. But I argue that I turned out just fine after making tons of mistakes throughout college and after graduation. I don’t doubt there will be plenty more to make but just as many good decisions to make as well. The fear of making mistakes to me is simply the fear of regret. We don’t want to regret having created a mistake-ridden life. A lot of us ultimately want to be at least proud of our lives in the end.

I had to fight off a lot of doubt over whether I belonged at college or not. I could have made the mistake of dropping out entirely (and many different times) if I hadn’t used my campus’s counseling services. But there were many other resources and opportunities I could have made better use of. Such as participating in more campus events, writing more in my leisure time, sharing my work outside of class, participating more in class, not doing other people’s work for zero credit, and keeping certain contacts for future reference. Most of these, as you can see, have a lot to do with relationship-building—one of the things I struggle with the most.

I failed to set boundaries early in many of my relationships with classmates and workmates that I was growing very unhappy and unfulfilled. I was masking many of my true thoughts and feelings to hold onto some social approval, even if it wasn’t going to mean anything months or years later since we continue to meet new people in new places. I failed to hold intentional relationships instead of relationships of convenience, which led to a lot of alienation. It wasn’t what I truly wanted, and my mental and physical health suffered a lot because of this.

I tried patching my issues up with facial serums and masks, but it quickly proved to not be sufficient. As much as they brightened my skin (and occasionally boosted my mood), especially during exam weeks, it started to become more and more a reminder of how I was numbing my emotions. These beauty regimens helped me avoid the glances I’d frequently get from my mother when she thought my emotions were aging my face. It’s usually why I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. Beauty regimens would become my cover-up for good health, even when my issues were more than skin-deep.

Think of the beauty regimen exactly like our work routines. They are both often done to receive an external reward, involve excessive consumption, keep us measuring each other based on random numbers, and turn us into products. I was the product I kept making over just to be accepted by the world. And not only does our skin already do all it needs to on its own, but our brains and skin are more connected than we know. Instead of just focusing on the outside, we should do what some dermatologists recommend being “emotional skincare,” which is a beauty approach that aims to create better skin through better mental health.

College helped me be better to myself and my skin. I used to care so much when I’d forget to de-puff my eyes, moisturize my face, or exfoliate my legs because I put my parents’ wishes over mine. I realized that my skincare routine was never about me but about how I thought the world needed me to look. But being on a college campus, I almost magically stopped caring about what my parents and everyone else thought. Perhaps because they couldn’t claim that extra space I had for myself, I could feel comfortable enough taking off the metaphorical (and skincare) mask every now and then—at least in my own company. Comfortable enough with being messy and cleaning up after myself in private.


If it’s got “serotonin” in the name, it’s got to be good! Enjoy with 20% off!

By Daeli Vargas

Daeli is a recent graduate from the City College of New York with a BA in English and a publishing certificate. She is from the Bronx and is very passionate about all things literary. She hopes one day to publish many books of her own and share her passions worldwide.


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

You Can Fit It All… But Should You?

July 3rd, 2024

Going back to college when in your 20s can be nerve-wracking. At first, life as a student excited me because of the things I was about to learn, the student discounts I would get in different venues, and the possibility of making new friends. However, as time went on stress added itself to the picture, harming the joy I felt for starting school again. 

When I started at the community college, I noticed most of my classmates were much younger than me. Although I was learning and getting my student deals, my freshman year was unsuccessful in giving me any friends. Additionally, I kept comparing myself to my younger classmates. They would graduate before me (age-wise) and start working before me. This made me feel like I had a race to win. Slowly, I kept taking more and more classes to make sure I graduated faster. I even tried to graduate in three semesters instead of four, but my job schedule didn’t allow it. I was so occupied with schoolwork and regular work that for two years I barely had time to take advantage of everything the school offered. I never used the many resources available or joined any club. I spent those years like a ghost.

A normal week in my planner during the semester. During the weekend, my body gave up and I got sick.

It wasn’t until my last semester when I met some students my age in my major that I realized other people were giving themselves the chance to go to school again and that there was no need to race anybody. We met after class during office hours, and I finally felt I had a community. It lasted only four months. Then I graduated, and it was time to transfer to a different campus. Once again, thoughts about finishing my degree as fast as possible came to the surface, and without my friends around, I purposely kept myself busy. I signed up for five literature courses while working two jobs for 32 hours a week, a choice that already felt like a lot. However, I didn’t stop there. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I did back in community college, so I was set on using as many resources as possible. I signed up for the internship program at the career center, applied for multiple scholarships, and submitted work for awards. Additionally, I went to office hours, joined a few club meetings, and stayed available for student events. 

When I talk about my spring semester, people often ask me how I did it. How was I able to accomplish so many things? Some assume my GPA paid the price, but it didn’t. Some think I’m just a superhuman, which I am not. The truth is that I had to sacrifice something to have time for all my school-related occurrences. I had to sacrifice multiple things, actually. And I did so without realizing it at first.

My messy desk reflects my inner turmoil and stress.

The first thing I sacrificed was spending time with my loved ones. I had limited time off, which I used to attend school events; thus, dates with my husband and hanging out with my friends were left behind. The second thing I sacrificed was my house chores. We usually divided our time to clean, but my family took over my chores during the semester. Naturally, this brought up some tension in the household. The third thing was my physical health. Before the spring of 2024, I followed a balanced and fulfilling diet, and I would exercise regularly. My tight schedule eliminated the time to cook or move my body, which translated into stomach problems and joint pain. Lastly, the fourth thing I sacrificed was my mental health. I have never had a stellar one, to begin with, but the overload helped only to intensify pre-existing issues—and generate new ones. I had no time to give my mind a break and cope with everything that I was experiencing. I was in a constant state of numbness and inertia that I am just becoming aware of now. Ever since the semester ended, all I can do is sleep for 10 or more hours. I can’t even write as much as I wished to do during the summer break. My mind and body are exhausted. 

Slowly, I am becoming myself again. I am reconnecting with my friends, taking over my house chores once more, returning to better food habits and exercise, and caring for my mental health. More importantly, I am learning about limits. Our culture celebrates overachievers, and it is tempting to always take on a new challenge to prove—to others—that you can do better.  However, prioritizing rest is not a lazy habit. It is a balanced one. What is the point of racing if your body succumbs before the finish line?


Allow yourself to prioritize your wellbeing and relax with this coupon.

By Roxanna Cardenas

Roxanna is a Venezuelan writer living in New York City. Her works include essays, poetry, screenplays, and short stories. She explores fiction and non-fiction genres, with a special interest in horror and sci-fi. She has an A.A. in Writing and Literature and is working on her B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration.


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

Growing Pains: Chapter 2-Girl Meets World

July 2nd, 2024

Although I did not cry at graduation, I cried a lot when I finally arrived at the place that would shape the next four years of my life. The first wave of tears came when my mom and sister bid me farewell, the floodgates opening soon after the last box of my clothes arrived safely in my room. All the ones that escaped my tear ducts afterward would bloom from seeds of insecurity and uncertainty. I finally had what felt like the world at my fingertips. But what to do with it? I will admit after seeing my roommate, who I had barely uttered a word to, take off the next morning while I was still glued to my stuffed animal-adorned bed, I was consumed by envy of her confidence and independence, and startled by the apparent lack of my own. I had already felt as though I was the turtle in the race of socialization. I was so focused on making it to university, that now that I was here, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. The friends I had back home all had each other, as they went to the state school more than half our high school class would be attending. I refused to let wallowing in my self-pity become an option though, and so I found myself gearing up for the day, not knowing where I was headed, but letting my footsteps lead me out the door anyway.

My first-day exploring campus.

Instead of heading to the bookstore or the library when I stepped out into the salty, brisk wind of New York autumn, I forced myself over to a dining hall where I would meet my first round of prospective friends. In retrospect who could blame me? Since I could remember, American media had been spoon-feeding me tales of wild parties, new romantic partners every week, and substances I could barely wrap my tongue around pronouncing. My university itself was selling the slogan, ‘This is the best four years of your life!’ (I definitely haven’t heard that before) to students, reminding us at every turn that we’d never know if our soulmate would be lurking at the fifth free pizza event of the week. Despite having been proven wrong about this four-year bonanza before, I ashamedly fell for it again. I fell into step with the often-time robotic script of asking everyone I crossed paths with, “What’s your name? Where are you from? What’s your major?” I was maybe a little too optimistic, and too convinced that I would in fact meet my future spouse at the speed dating event at the dorm a twenty-minute walk from me. I collected Instagram usernames for sport, and I still have numbers on my phone that have never been contacted, and whose names I no longer recognize. It felt as though if I did not make friends that week, the window for all the relationships that awaited me for the next four years would close its doors and remain shut for the rest of my college career. Overdramatic yes, but it was the gospel I preached and practiced. Birds of a feather flock together, and if you had not found people to latch on to during that first week, you could kiss your social life goodbye. At the end of it all, I emerged victorious in my endeavor and had multiple individuals I felt I could call friends, despite knowing them for a measly couple of days. I would soon discover that although I survived the battle, there was a greater war to come.


Use this student discount for affordable and delicious cuisine!

By Tiana Gregg

Tiana is a rising junior at NYU majoring in English and minoring in Art History. She spends her days reading, writing, listening to music, and indulging in just about every hobby (except sports!) you can think of to fill her time. You will never find her idling.


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

Talent Is Overrated

July 2nd, 2024

Someone has probably told you that everyone is good at something. The idea that talent must be harvested and discovered has been drilled into our brains since childhood. Countless movies and cartoons teach kids to find their talent (sometimes called other names like “spark” or “gift”), and those who fall behind the rest, wasting their childhood finding what makes them special, can’t help but feel like there’s something wrong with them. In a not-more-fortunate contrast, those who “find” their talent are forever bound to it, like prisoners to the spark that becomes their whole sense of identity. 

The former, those who spend their lives searching for a mystery, may try every single hobby available. They might have signed up for karate, painting, chess, or poetry classes—perhaps even all—hoping to discover whatever gift they were born with. Eventually, they will realize they have no talent, so according to that Disney movie they once saw their lives must be meaningless. After all, how can they even excel at anything if they lack talent? 

The latter, those who find what they are good at, may have tried a couple of hobbies before finding their spark, and when they did, their lives formed around it. Eventually, they won’t be allowed to do anything outside their gift because that is what “they were born to do.” If they ever wanted to chase after a different dream, it would be frowned upon. After all, wouldn’t pursuing something different be a waste of talent? 

Whether or not you relate to one of those mentioned fates, it is undeniable that people’s success is often credited to their gift. For instance, after putting all their effort into a successful project, gifted people will hear comments like: “That’s because you are talented–it’s so easy for you.” And they will smile at the intended-to-be-compliment, feeling all their hard work invalidated. On the other—unlucky—hand, the ones without innate abilities might feel tempted not to learn anything as they are conditioned to think only talented people get to succeed. 

Unfortunately, people tend to forget that there are two things undoubtedly more influential than talent: discipline and dedication. While talent is that natural ability, skills are developed through practice. Your gifts take you only so far. Your skills are the ones you can evolve to where they need to be. There is no room for talent in a room full of skilled professionals who have worked hard for their abilities. With that said, I don’t mean talents are not something to celebrate, but they are not the finish line. Thus, the pressure to find them must be eased. Likewise, if you do encounter your talents, you are not bound to them.

Image Credit: https://www.thesaurus.com/e/grammar/talent-vs-skill/

I first learned to differentiate gifts from skills in high school. My best friend couldn’t understand a thing about chemistry, but I easily understood it. He claimed chemistry was my talent and I believed it. We studied together and I saw him going through longer study sessions, solving more problems, while I watched movies or played video games. The exam results came, and he had earned a better grade than mine. Surely, if he had studied as little as me, he would have failed, but he was able to surpass me by simply trying harder. He took quite a liking for chemistry after that and pursued a career in science. I did as well. 

Like many who discovered their talent, I thought my only choice was to be a chemist because I was meant to do that. I went to college for three years and was seemingly content. But after moving to New York City, I started to question many things about myself and one of them was if being a scientist was what I really wanted. It took some unlearning until I realized that writing was what fulfilled me. To pursue a career in writing, I had to develop skills and work hard like my high school friend did. After taking some time to learn the language, I started college again with a new major in English. 

My high school friend recently graduated from the biochemistry program. He became a fine scientist through training and practice because that was what fulfilled him professionally. I now continue my journey as a college student and writer. Although it doesn’t feel as easy as chemistry—my gift—did, I feel like finally being on the right path. Simply, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. 

If you have found what you are good at and it feels right to pursue it, please do. Many people who followed—and developed—their talents have become extraordinary individuals. Just make sure you pair your gifts with skills and don’t let others minimize your efforts. However, if your path doesn’t make you happy, find another one. You might discover a new talent or, like me, a career that fulfills you whether you are great at it or not. 

If you haven’t—or never—found what you are good at, look for what makes you happy. Sometimes, we do something difficult and it doesn’t come out great on our first try, but it still makes us feel accomplished. That is the feeling you must cling to. Study, train, and develop the skills necessary for that career. The outcome might surprise you because, like my friend, you don’t have to be gifted to be exceptional. 


When the pressure to follow your talent becomes too heated, refresh yourself with some gelato. Use this discount to cool you down even further.

By Roxanna Cardenas

Roxanna is a Venezuelan writer living in New York City. Her works include essays, poetry, screenplays, and short stories. She explores fiction and non-fiction genres, with a special interest in horror and sci-fi. She has an A.A. in Writing and Literature and is working on her B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration.


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

Park it somewhere!

July 1st, 2024

You’ve heard the complaints: “New York is so expensive! You can’t do anything fun without spending money!” But this is not true! Sure, eating good food and visiting cool museums may require a chunk of change. However, there’s something to be said for one of the most underrated and inexpensive activities that New York has to offer: the park.

New York, like many other urban areas, is stingy with its greenery. Parks and other recreational spaces have to be sectioned out by blocks, and it’s hard to hear birds chirping over incessant cars honking. But tucked in New York’s northernmost borough are green spaces that rival the iconic Central Park. The Bronx, deceptively wooded, alone has over 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas. But here are some of my favorites.

Poe Park. Once the home of famous 19th-century poet Edgar Allan Poe, Poe Park boasts a large green triangular lawn dotted with cherry trees. Placed in the center of the park is a charming white farmhouse with many of the original furniture still inside. Students can tour the farmhouse for only $3, but entry into the park is completely free. Poe Park is a 5 minute walk north from the Fordham Road stop on the D train, and an 8 minute walk northwest from the Fordham station on the Metro North. If you’re looking to get in the headspace to write some chilling stories, or just to get outside for a bit, Poe Park is a great option.

Poe Cottage is beautiful all times of the year, but especially so in the summertime, framed by this great green cherry tree!
Image credit: NYC Parks

Belmont’s community park, Ciccarone Park, is as lively as it is conveniently located. Nestled on 188th St between Arthur Ave and Hughes Ave, Ciccarone Park is the perfect summer spot, complete with water spouts for cooling off, shady trees to relax under, and comfortable benches to read on. The park is popular with families because of its playground and proximity to family-friendly pizza joints such as Full Moon Pizzeria. For students living in Belmont, Ciccarone Park is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors while remaining close to home.

Belmont’s Ciccarone Park is one of my favorite spots for reading, reminiscing, or playing hackey sack.
Image credit: Eater NY

It wouldn’t be a list of prime outdoor spaces without mentioning the New York Botanical Garden, affectionately referred to as “the Botans” by Fordham students. NYBG’s sprawling campus is home to greenhouses, rock gardens, waterfalls, and a multitude of great green lawns. Even with 250 acres of prime picnicking spots, my favorite spot in the Botans is the rock garden. It’s quiet, serene, and beautiful all four seasons.

If you look to the right, tucked behind that cherry blossom tree, you can see Fordham’s Keating Hall poking up in the distance.
Image credit: GetYourGuide

The Bronx is often a forgotten borough, separated from the other boroughs on the northern part of the continent. People think of the Bronx solely as a strictly urban area with large stone buildings, a mess of highways, and graffitied walls. But there is so much more to my favorite borough than pop culture’s depiction of it. The Bronx boasts lush greenery along the Mosholu and Pelham Parkways, and over 10,000 acres of prime picnicking locations. Wherever you decide to park it this summer, don’t forget the beautiful boogie-down Bronx!

If the weather does not befit a trip to the park, check out Color Me Mine on the
Upper West Side for a discount on a rainy day activity!

by Mia Crocco

Mia is a rising junior at Fordham University – Rose Hill studying English and theology. In her free time, Mia enjoys cooking, collaging, and playing the piano and guitar.


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