Archive for January, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions–Develop A Post-Graduation Plan

Monday, January 17th, 2011

In David Sedaris’ humorous memoir, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, he describes his tenure in the hallowed halls of the prestigious Princeton University. As opposed to most ambitious Princeton students, Sedaris flitted from course to course, not entirely sure what he wanted to major in. (He did briefly consider majoring in Patricide, but scrapped it after his mother grew jealous. “Why aren’t you majoring in murdering me?” she demanded.) After graduating, Sedaris headed back home, just as lost as he had been when he left several years ago. “What are you going to do with your life now?” his parents asked him. “Well,” Sedaris replied drolly, “I do have some dirty laundry I need to do.” And he did do laundry, for the next six months.

Don’t let yourself end up like David Sedaris! (I mean, the Sedaris who just graduated from college, not the present Sedaris, who is a best-selling author and world traveler.) After completing four years of education, Sedaris wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his degree. In this way, he is like thousands of seniors who will be tossed from the sanctuary of their university and into the real world this May. These students wander aimlessly through the summer months, taking up waitressing positions, collecting unemployment, and living with their parents. These students also suffer from a general sense of dissatisfaction. They wonder exactly what they went to college for, and whether it was really worth it.

Thankfully, I was not one of these students when I graduated from college nearly two years ago. I knew exactly (or pretty exactly) what I wanted to do after graduation. First, it had always been a kooky dream of mine to work on a dude ranch. So I got a position at Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming for the next 8 months. After my employment on the ranch was over, I knew what I wanted to do next–get an editorial internship in NYC, preferably with a publishing house. And, as an intern at the Campus Clipper, now I’ve accomplished this as well! Although my path after graduation has been a somewhat meandering one, I’ve always had a goal in mind–to become a freelance writer and copy-editor.

From both examples, David Sedaris’ and my own, you can see that having a goal in mind when graduating from college is necessary to your happiness. Even if that goal does not lead to that 90k dream job you envisioned while a dew-eyed freshman, it at least gives you something to strive for. So my advice to you is this–have “Develop a Post-graduation Plan” be one of your New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you’re a senior trembling in the face of impending graduation this May, or a freshman who’s stuck on deciding a major, it’s necessary to have to a plan in mind!  I’ve provided a few tips to help you below.


This seems like a no-brainer, but so many students sideline their interests to pursue a major that they feel will “make them successful” or “bring them money,” even if they dislike it. For example, one of my old boyfriends pursued marketing major in college because he felt it would help him land a job. But after 3 years of struggling through lectures he didn’t enjoy, he quit. He is now enrolled in music school and loving it! The moral of the story is this–don’t waste your time majoring in something you know you’ll hate, just to make yourself marketable. This may help you land a more lucrative job, but the problem is you won’t enjoy your job any more than you enjoyed your major. And jobs don’t last 4 years–they last decades.

But what if my passions are banjo-playing and 2D cartooning, you may ask. Sure, I can have a good time and major in art and music now, but how will I be able to find a job at all with this degree? Believe me, if you really want to be a banjo-player, you’ll find a way to pay the bills. My friend who is in music school teaches kids guitar to make ends meet. He’s much happier in his classroom surrounded by eager-eyed students than he would be if he was working 9-5 in the financial district. And if you’ve got an art or music major to back you, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding in your dream than if you only sat through finance lectures in college.


Maybe you do want to be a banjo-player, but you also want to enjoy the finer things in life. Consider majoring in both music and a more “practical” major, such as business. This way, after graduation, you’ll be able to score a salaried desk job while at the same time playing gigs on the weekend. This, however, will only work if you’re willing to let that salaried job take precedence. You can’t be a banjo-player and wear a white collar at the same time. Plus, if you do decide you want to be a double major, you have to make that decision very early on in your college career. By the time you’re a sophomore, you should have earned credits towards both majors. Double-majoring is also a lot of work. Believe me, I was an English and Communications double major in college, and it often seemed like I had more papers than I had fingers to type them with.


Maybe, unlike that banjo-player, you really don’t know what you want out of life. You’re like David Sedaris, skimming through lectures, but never sitting in on one that makes you say, “Hey! I wanna do that!” Don’t be afraid to let other people help you. Career Services is located on your campus for a reason. Schedule a visit with them and explain your problem. The counselors at Career Services have a lot of experience helping uncertain students just like you. I also recommend seeing the counselors at Career Services because they have more time to assist you than your course advisor does. My course advisor in college was inundated with work for his own classes, and was trying to advise 20 other students besides me. Our appointments usually consisted of him telling me I needed several more math and history credits, then shooing me out the door. But my counselor at Career Services actually had time to sit down and discuss my future. After all, that was her job, and she loved doing it!

So I hope these three tips will help you develop your own “Post-Graduation Plan.” Right now, the future may look a little murky. It’s so important to have a path ahead of you in these woods which are called life. Maybe that path won’t be in a straight line, but as long as you can put one foot in front of the other, you’ll reach that goal! 🙂

Also remember to check out our new book, The NYC Student Guide, for more tips on career-planning. The Guide will be out soon!

Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper Blogger


Finding Solace in a City of Slush

Friday, January 14th, 2011

After the thick coat of frosting New York received yesterday morning, the city streets resembled something close to a cupcake melting in the sun. As is predictable, the LIRR canceled numerous trains, leaving pacing passengers to wait for the next train in the cold, fretting the relationship between pools of slushy, freshly melted snow and the state of their shoes. To add insult to injury, passenger after passenger piled onto the platform of Babylon station to find that the already large crowd of their average commute had been tripled by all of the riders from the canceled trains. The idea of an express train was out of the question, and what would have taken an hour and change to arrive from Babylon to Penn Staion took a whopping two hours.

Luckily, as any connoisseur of public transit knows, I had a novel tucked in my travel sack. I scrunched down into my seat, squeezed neatly between two bag-ridden men in suits, and delved into the warm solace of Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life. Wolff’s gentle prose did exactly what a good novel should do, alleviate the pangs of stress and extricate the tethers of reality. Erica Jong once said something along the lines of: a book burrows into your life in a way that nothing else does because the act of reading isn’t passive. I want to avoid images of escaping the world, because reading is less an escape and more an enhancement of the imagination.  A novel can illuminate in its reader the sweetness of life that is always there, yet frequently covered by the foggy stressors of a city life. Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers has become a home away from home, supplying me with all of my cravings.  Luckily, they have a student discount, which saves me an unimaginable amount of money. Otherwise, I might be selling my assets to obtain what I consider an expensive, junkie like lust for the written word.

Another way that I’ve tempered the cold, gray days boring into my unconscious is to box. Boxing is the best workout that does not involve the same repititive motion; it requires focus and strategy that make me forget I’m even exercising. In the realm of exercise I typically considered lugging my Norton anthologies strenuous and worthy of a doughnut. Now I’ve realized that my lack of physical exercise was not due to laziness (maybe a little),  but instead the frustration of doing the same task over and over again with what seemed to be little result. I’ve also found a pilates class at Synergy. I clear my mind a little, brush off the weariness of a long day, and I look a little nicer in my skinny jeans.

Despite the chilling temperatures, and the ash gray slush piling up on the sidewalks, I still love New York in the winter. I love to see people bundled up in their snow gear, sporting fashions that are sweet and modest. The snow, ironically, seems to make people a little warmer, as people bunker down together to avoid the chills and reinstate a little but of solidarity in the human race. Still, if you’re feeling a little Picasso blue this winter, get a good workout and snuggle up with a book.


Staying Healthy and Helping Others

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011


My move from Wyoming to New York City last year was fraught with stress. During a brief stint with homelessness and unemployment, I fell ill. My illness began insidiously, with only fatigue and a sore throat. As time passed, I only grew worse. I was under a lot of stress at the time, trying to adjust to my new life in the City. I struggled through job interviews and searching for a place to move. Even after finding a job and an internship and a place to live, there was no time for me to rest and recuperate. How could I take off work if I’d just gotten hired? How could I sleep if my new roommates were always up?

I stumbled into several doctor’s offices at the time, hoping desperately for a cure. One pronounced that I had the flu and sent me home. Two declared that I had a sinus infection. They all agreed that my illness was exacerbated by stress, but didn’t offer any solutions. It wasn’t until I visited my fourth doctor that I found an answer. I was tested for Mononucleosis and came up positive.

I was hoping that since the doctors knew what I had, I could get cured, but this never happened. I remained chronically ill and exhausted. For months, all I did was drag myself to work and then back home.  The doctors told me I would recover from mono in a few weeks, but it was not until I took a break and went home three months later that I began to improve. My visit with my friends and family alleviated all the stress and depression I had experienced in the City. Finally, I began to feel healthy again. My illness and subsequent recovery made me realize three things.

One thing consistently aggravated me during my frequent trips to the doctor’s office last year. None of the doctors (except the kind woman who discovered I had mono) seemed to care that I was sick. They wanted me to pay my bill and get in and out of the office within 30 minutes so they could take the next patient. I believe that is the reason none of them was able to diagnose me. This made me realize how important it is to have someone with compassion beside you when you are ill. This is probably also the reason why I recovered when I went back home to see my friends and family.

But compassion is a two-way street.  If you see someone you care for (or even someone you don’t!) sick, try to help them. Maybe you’re not a doctor, but do what you can. If your roommate has the flu, don’t avoid them like the plague. Use your meal card to buy some them soup or juice. Assist them as they walk down to the campus clinic.  Even if you’re a big germaphobe, at least toss them a couple Advil! When they see that someone cares, they will feel better.

The Values section of our magazine, Student Maximu$, also provides great advice on how to care for others. Stay tuned for the next issue of Student Maximu$, which is coming out soon!

My first seven months in NYC were filled with stress, and this is the likely reason I felt ill that whole time. Stress, whether it be physical or mental, takes a toll on your body. Not to get too scientific about it, but stress releases a hormone called cortisal into your system. Cortisal weakens the immune system by attacking white blood cells. So if you feel yourself starting to get stressed, take it easy! This is easier said than done, especially for college students. But there are number of methods you can you use.

Yoga, an ancient form of exercise developed in India nearly 5000 years ago, helps rejuvenate both your body and mind. After a session, you are guaranteed to feel more relaxed and stress-free (even if your muscles are a little sore!). You can practice Yoga from the comfort of your home, or hone your skills (and meet some new friends) by taking a class. BYM  Bikram Yoga offers over 50 classes at great locations in lower Manhattan. Take advantage of their student discount and enroll today.

A day at the spa is sure to leave you more relaxed. Let yourself be pampered as the world’s cares lift from your shoulders. And as a student, you can take advantage of the many great coupons the Campus Clipper offers! Beauty and Youth Spa, Elegant Spa, Orchid Garden Spa, and many others, are all currently offering coupons for students.

If you feel yourself starting to get sick, don’t follow my example. I continued to work despite having mono, and this severely inhibited my recovery. Take time to rest and get yourself to a doctor! As a student, you have health insurance, which ensures that you can get affordable care wherever you go. And these student discounts make it even more affordable. Now you can get the medicine you need to tackle the world again. Check out these coupons from Whitney Chemists, Block Drug Stores, and Biomed Drugs.

Hopefully, these tips (as well as the great discounts that come along with them) will ensure that you remain healthy in the coming year, so that you can continue to help those around you.

–Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper blogger

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A Couple New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I admit I’m usually not one for New Year’s resolutions. Aw, everything will be the same this year, I always think to myself. Just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that….But then I realized something today. If my outlook on life doesn’t change, then certainly nothing else will! I came to this realization due to a little incident this morning.

Getting ready for work, I felt kind of nauseous and feverish. So when I got on the train all bundled up in my coat, scarf, and winter paraphernalia, I felt hotter than ever. It didn’t help that the train was packed with commuters. I mean, packed. You couldn’t move an inch. (Obviously, there were no seats available.) I was just thinking how horribly uncomfortable I was when the train suddenly screeched to a stop. A woman’s cool voice came over the speaker. “We are experiencing delays because of train traffic ahead of us. Please be patient.”   

A minute passed with no movement, then two. I began to feel claustrophobic, as well as more nauseous. I longed to take off my coat, or sit down (or throw up) but I couldn’t do any of these things unless I wanted to sorely inconvenience my fellow passengers. The sense of claustrophobia increased until I felt like the walls of the train were closing in on me. Ten minutes later, just when I was thinking I couldn’t take it anymore, the train started moving. Inch by inch we gathered speed, until we were hurtling through the tunnel. The sense of relief when we reached my stop was overwhelming. Stumbling off the train, I ascended the station stairs and was met with crisp, fresh air and blinding sunlight.  

I was free! And—I know this sounds corny—the sky above me had never seemed so blue. My brief imprisonment in the subway car had made me appreciate the outdoors all the more. The incident almost seemed like a sort of lesson, just in time for New Year’s. And so it inspired me to create a few New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to share with you!

As the subway announcement exhorts us, “Please be patient.” My claustrophobia would have lessened if I’d simply waited for the train to move. Patience is an important virtue, especially for college students! Whether you’re struggling through a long-distance relationship, an awkward roommate situation, or a difficult class, remember that it won’t last forever! Before you know it, you’ll have moved out of your cramped dorm room, be back home in the arms of your significant other, and have turned in your final exam for that challenging class.

When I was stuck underground in that dark, smelly subway car, things seemed pretty bad. Then the train started moving, and before I knew it I was above-ground, enjoying the fresh air and sunlight. Life, in the same way, is series of ups and downs. Maybe 2010 was a rough year for you. 2011 is a new start! Always keep hoping, and never let yourself stay down.

After leaving the subway station, I felt a somewhat cheesy, but deep appreciation of my “freedom.” Hardship will often cause you to stop take stock in what you have. But you don’t have to experience strife to notice all that’s good in life. Sometimes your appreciation can be for the simplest things—listening to the birds in the park, enjoying a good cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day, or sharing dinner with friends. Life is full of these moments.

That being said, I hope you put these resolutions to use! They are sure to make 2011 a good year.

–Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper blogger  

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Monday, January 3rd, 2011

While perusing the Craigslist part-time job ads a couple days ago, I stumbled upon the following ad:

Small business owner mid-30’s looking for part time help from someone energetic, hard working, and flexible.

Would be need 10-20 hrs per week.

Some of the tasks include filing, copies, calls, answering phones, and giving the owner massages.

Great pay.


Sounds good, I thought initially. “Great pay”, easy hours, a nice office setting. But I felt like I’d missed something. I re-read the message. Yep, there it was, in plain print. “Giving the owner massages.” That short phrase threw the whole deal into question.

What did the job poster mean by it, I wondered. Perhaps it was just a typo. Possibly he had meant, “giving the owner messages.” That would make more sense, right? But I had the sinking feeling that this was for real. The mid-thirties small business owner needed a little company.

This ad is a perfect illustration of the sort of hit-and-miss scenario that characterizes job-searching. You apply to 50 jobs you want and 5 you don’t want, and you get hired for the job you didn’t want. You get called in for an interview, impress the boss with your attitude and expertise, then learn they gave the job to the girl who rushed in to the interview 20 minutes late. Believe me, I know all the scenarios, and have lived through most of ’em. Ever since I left the hallowed halls of my university nearly 2 years ago, my life has been one big job search. It’s been stressful, discouraging, anxiety-provoking, and sometimes downright miserable. I’ve pounded the pavement on strange streets. I’ve knocked on doors and been turned away. I’ve bade goodbye to co-workers who’d become the best of friends. 

But through it all, there’s always been hope. There’s always been a job out there for me, and some of them I’ve really loved. I’ve proudly shaken the hand of new employers. I’ve walked home from a hard-day’s work feeling like I earned that paycheck. And through it all, I developed a first-hand knowledge of job-hunting that I’d like to share with you!


As the “giving owner massages” ad illustrates, there are always a few bad apples to be found on this site. But many of them are legit. I’ve found several jobs, gigs, and internships through Craigslist.

Sometimes, nothing beats old-fashioned pounding the pavement. Try your local neighborhood first. With any luck you’ll be able to walk to work, one of of the bonuses of living in NYC. If you don’t find any openings in your neighborhood, try bigger streets. I recommend hitting Times Square, or 5th Ave in Manhattan. There are always openings in these high traffic areas. Simply walk into a store and ask if they are hiring.

Check out! JATCHED, which is featured in our new book, the NYC Student Guide, is a job-matching service that pairs college students with prospective NYC employers.  


Your resume should always be up-to-date and reflect all your abilities. Employers don’t know anything about you except what your resume tells them. Are you hard-working? Do you always go the extra mile? Don’t assume the employer knows, tell them. Sometimes it’s not good enough to just type that you were a copy-editor for the campus paper. Describe how many times you worked overtime in the staff room.


Sometimes you’ll have to work a couple shifts at McDonald’s before you score that perfect job. Remember a paycheck is a paycheck. And in the meantime, think of this as only one step in the path of following your dream.


Right now, you don’t have a job, but think of it this way. At least you’re not stuck at a job you hate! Endless opportunities await you. You can work anywhere, or do anything you want. You just have to keep looking, have the right mindset, and always follow your dreams!

Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper blogger