Archive for August, 2022

Love and Other Problems: Apathy Stretches its Jaws

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

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Apathy Stretches its Jaws

Starting Freshman year was both exhilarating and dizzying. Exhilarating in its freedom, in its increasingly clear skies and possibilities and opportunities; dizzying in its increasingly clear skies and possibilities and opportunities. What now? Thinking of the what now always sent a nauseating rush through my ribcage, bitter nausea and fear down my legs. The lack of being told what to do or who to talk to with expected, appropriate social niceties was more disorienting than I had ever anticipated.

So began my time sitting alone in cafeterias, dining halls and watching other people talk to each other instead. It was a really pathetic start, being honest. The people I had been grouped with during orientation didn’t stick around for too long and I never got to know them too well, so my routine when classes started, was just to come onto the campus, catch breakfast, finish assignments if there were any––or walk around like a fool if there wasn’t––, attend classes, do the work I had been assigned for the day, have dinner, go home. A tired, dull routine.

having breakfast alone in the first week of university :’

On our popular university Facebook forum, there seemed to be groups of people who shared my feelings, this abyssal loneliness, but strangely I never met people like this outside of that specific online sphere. Classes were a touch-and-go gameplay, a small ‘hi’ and then formal interactions. It was infuriating and it made me miss school, and that longing was not an emotion I had prepared, like watching the door in anticipation for someone particular to walk in, only to see a stranger. I missed my old friends and I missed the simplicity of getting to know people, I missed talking to people at all in fact.

If I recall my first semester now, the image I can produce clearly was sitting at a table for two in the cafe outside the library, cold air brushing my cheeks as I type quickly on my open laptop working for my chinese language class. I paused occasionally, eyes flitting from one corner to another, seeing other freshmen talking familiarly, always together, always in clusters. Those who did sit alone seemed to always have someone come up to them randomly to say hi. I just watched, my hand around the cold condensation on my cup of iced coffee. I guess there was a brownie next to it sometimes, but that was as interesting as it got. Thinking back now, the most interaction I had then was probably with the barista who worked at the cafe. Glenda, I remember her name. She called me Yiru, which was my chinese name, and the only part of the torturous routine I dug myself into that I looked forward to.

Evenings felt worse, I could see kids getting into cabs together to go around the city and wondered how I could make a friend that would do that with me too. I went for a walk around campus usually at that time, befriended the cats around the buildings enough that they started recognising me when I approached. It was a bit peaceful and a bit introspective, and I won’t be unthankful for it, but it got lonely. Miserable. Maybe I found interaction difficult purely around the fact I didn’t have to make this much effort in high school. People came into class, we talked regularly and became friends. I had assumed I could do the same class this time too, but at that point classes had been online for nearly two months, so I was just joining a zoom meeting and leaving again. When classes turned in person again, I think my time became easier, but these people had their own friends and lives of their own so it never felt like they wanted to stick around for longer than they should.

food i grabbed with friends on an island at NYU abu dhabi

I sat outside, on the rooftop of our academic buildings, maybe with a cat next to me occasionally, and looked up at the blank sky, stars drowned out with the light pollution of the city. It felt like walking through an isolated forest. The trees there would be tall and old I’d imagine. Sunlight flickers through them, sharp and hot. There is a word for it. Komorebi. I would hear the sounds of squirrels, birds. There is humming, chirping. Wings with their dense flapping. The sound of twigs snapping and creaky wood. Birds are fortunate, you must know. They have each other, mindless in their friendship, mindless in their sounds.

This first month felt like a failure, I remember. I wasn’t living how I thought I would be, I wasn’t doing as much as I thought I would be. How could I think of love when I struggled to meet anyone to make into a friend? Seeing others do more, meet more people made me feel like I was doing something wrong, there was something I was missing. The gnawing fear of missing out on key experiences grew into a pit. I wasn’t even an introverted person, I loved talking to people and getting to know them, so this struggle was even more baffling. But it did change––mid-semester was when my life started to pick up, and when I started looking forward to my days going to classes, but the first half of quietness and wistfulness always stuck with me.


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By Mahrukh Shaikh

Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.


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.

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Harmony: Gigs, Glory, and Growth

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Walking home on the last day of junior year classes, a chilly late-May day, I received an email notification with the subject line “oh and another thing:” from my creative writing professor. I stopped in my tracks to open the message, which read, “surround yourself with friends who will never let you forget that you are an artist.” 

I smiled, remembering the conversation that we had just wrapped up in our last class, which she had reserved as an “Ask Me Anything” session. Her email was an addendum to the response she had given for my question about how to manage burnout in a creative career. She shared advice about maintaining artistic momentum, and even told us that her students actually inspire her. 

As I continued my walk home, I reflected on the class, which had ended up being one of my favorites during my time at Northwestern. Beyond my talented classmates, the interesting topics, and hard work I put into the assignments, it was really the professor that made the class stand out. I had never met a professor so invested in her students and openly emotional with her words of support. Through office hour meetings where we discussed a lengthy short story piece I was working on, I became inspired by her creatively-driven career path as a novelist and creative writing professor. She encouraged us to take risks and dive deep into our writing, and as a result it was in this class that I discovered my voice as a writer and an artist. I dove into my writing, embracing the work that I really loved to do, and the effect rippled out into my other passion as I began to pursue DJing more seriously.

The summer after my sophomore year, I DJed every week during my late-night radio shows. Once I overcame the initial technical difficulties and got the hang of the equipment, my time at the radio station became sacred to me. I loved being able to practice alone while also knowing that there was a small audience of listeners somewhere out there. All by myself in the studio, it was easy to forget about the people tuning in to my show, but one night, to my delight, I received a call on the radio phone line in the middle of my set. A listener let me know how much they enjoyed my set, and asked about the names of the last couple of songs I had played. 

As I gained confidence behind the DJ booth at the station, I began to invite a couple of friends to come hang out at the station during my set. Some would talk and browse the station as I played, while others would peer over my shoulder and dance. When the fall semester of junior year started up, I received an email one day announcing a party hosted by the radio station and asking if anyone was interested in DJing. I responded to the email, and by the end of the day I had a forty-five minute time slot lined up for that coming weekend. 

A picture from my first time DJing at a party

In the days leading up to the party, nerves were running high and I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare. At the radio station, I would just show up and try things out for an hour, but for a roomful of people I wanted to be more prepared. I listened to a bunch of music and meticulously picked out songs for my set, then I went over to my friend’s house to practice mixing with his DJ board. On the day of, just an hour before the party started, I decided that I hated my whole set and redid all of my song selections. I felt underprepared and had no idea what was going to happen, but there was nothing left to do except go and try my best. So, I put on my favorite outfit and headed over to the party. I was the first person slated to perform, so as people started to trickle in, I put on the first song and began to adjust the settings to my liking. As I made my first song transition, muscle memory kicked in, and I realized that all those hours at the radio station paid off, and I knew exactly what to do – in fact, I could do it almost without thinking! 

All of a sudden, the dance floor was full. I could see how the crowd responded to the music and tried to play off of their energy, layering upbeat songs to get the crowd moving with slower songs to give people a breather. I was nervous that my disco house tracks wouldn’t land because they’re not the typical Top 40 hits you hear at a college party, but I was delighted to see that people were really dancing and enjoying themselves. I left the DJ booth feeling a huge sense of success, and received lots of compliments, thumbs up, and smiles from friends and strangers alike. As the next DJ took over, I slipped into the crowd with a smile that would linger for days to come, and danced the rest of the night away.


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By Lu Poteshman

Lu is a rising senior at Northwestern University, where she studies English Literature with a minor in Art, Theory and Practice. She is passionate about all things music and art, and loves to paint, draw, design things, write creatively, cook and explore in her free time. She is currently working towards her dreams of being a book editor by day and DJ by night.


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.

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