Archive for July, 2024

“The Student Diet”

Friday, July 19th, 2024

This diet varies depending on many factors: income, cultural background, access to student discounts, eating habits, schedule, etc. However, the common denominator in at least the student body I have encountered is that we all eat poorly. The reasons, as mentioned above, can differ, yet we all struggle to keep a balanced diet during the semester. 

I noticed this in others before I became aware of it in myself. A friend told me once that all he ate during his years in college was pizza because he was “broke” and had no kitchen in his dorm. Another one said that the stress during the semester made her appetite go away, so she would barely eat, while others told me they would eat more during the stressful four months. Slowly, I noticed how my habits would shift while studying. I could go hours without eating or drinking water. Once I finished my homework, I would buy anything accessible at the time—normally fast food—and eat very late at night. It was impossible to know if the constant exhaustion my body felt was due to the lack of nurturing food, sleep, or time off. Whatever the reason, it was there, and I could see it in my classmates as well.

Image Credit: https://healthhabits4life.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/how-to-know-if-you-need-nutritional-help/

Paying out of pocket for the semester also influenced my meal choices. Since money was limited, fast food was all I could afford because healthier options are more expensive–unjustifiable in a student’s budget. Throughout college, I’ve learned that many students deal with income-related issues, including the struggle with time management to prepare home-cooked meals or lack a support system to cook for them. In this aspect, I was fortunate to rely on my husband to cook meals for me when I was at my busiest. One term, I organized my schedule with four classes each day, with only 15 minutes between each class. For some reason, I didn’t think about leaving time to eat lunch. Consequently, not only did I not have time to cook at home, but I also didn’t have time to buy food. Thus, he would meal-prep for my week, making sure to pack healthier snacks with my lunch. Thankfully, I had someone making sure I fed myself properly, but some students don’t have that luxury. 

The many factors that influence “The Student Diet” make it difficult to come up with a solution. It is the reality of many students, especially those with limited income and support. Some public colleges offer food assistance, but that doesn’t mean students have the time to cook, since many work more than one job. Even those that offer canned or microwavable food are still flawed since these are not healthier alternatives either. However, I think an important step to improve this pattern in students’ diet is awareness. Many of us are unaware of our eligibility for welfare programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which still doesn’t provide the time to cook meals but at least it could help with the expense of more nurturing foods. Additionally, more conscious choices when grocery shopping are important. Some small but powerful decisions I have made, for example, are buying more filling snacks that are still cheap (fruits, yogurt, nuts) and avoiding the chips at the vending machine. It has helped with boosting my energy in between classes, at least.

Image Credit: https://healthprofessions.ucf.edu/research/studies/diet-quality-and-student-academic-performance/

Changing this diet for any other is challenging; thus, we must be aware of what we can control and the assistance programs available to us. So many of those factors that make us fall into it are out of our control, but there are others we can have a say on. Ultimately, unhealthy food habits could impact our performance during the semester. It is harder for the brain to study when it is not well-nurtured. If our bodies are tired, our minds are too. I am still on this journey of making better decisions; hopefully, you can join me in making little yet empowering food choices and breaking the cycle of “The Student Diet.”


Enjoy a vitamin booster drink or bowl AND save some money while you do so 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.

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Growing Pains: Chapter 4- Plants

Wednesday, July 17th, 2024

I start this chapter off with an inquiry. Can one have too many friends? As someone who naturally keeps their circle small, this question hasn’t ever really crossed my mind. I certainly didn’t think about it when I was trying to befriend every friendly face I came across at school. But when I made the friends who would eventually stick with me that first semester, I learned that friendship comes with persistence. I would make the effort to talk to them everyday after class, even if it was about the most trivial things, showing not only an interest in them but that I cared to seek them out. It was like watering a flower every day, and as time passed that flower bloomed into a great friendship. But much like the fauna outside of this metaphor, if left unattended for too long, a flower will begin to wilt until ultimately, it is left without any petals and its stem that once stood tall and firm can be shoved over with a gentle swaying of the breeze. I was nurturing the new, vibrant flowers in the forefront of my garden of friendships, wanting them to reach the heights of those who came before them. But as they grew, they obscured my sight of those very flowers in the back. As they basked in the shadows of their successors, their stems slowly leaned to the left and their petals grew wrinkly, all while I remained blissfully unaware, blind to their deteriorating states.

Tulips that are almost in full bloom 🙂

 
I mentioned before that I took a different route from my high school peers and went to a university outside of my home state. And I’ve mentioned more times than I can recall that I was laser-focused on ensuring that I would not be lonely without them. Yet another thing I failed to consider in that endeavor, is not only how to maintain the friendships I’d make, but how to keep the ones I’d leave behind. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they dropped like flies, the flowers with unsteady roots dying first, and the stronger ones holding out until the very end of their lifespan. Some of these freshly failed friendships were a blessing in disguise, as the distance allowed me to slowly, but surely, cease contact with the people who I fully intended to keep as a high school memory. Not everyone is meant to follow you until the end of your journey in life, and that’s more than okay. Some people are meant to be in certain phases of your life, but as you change and grow, you may not find a place where they fit nicely anymore. I will restate that friendships form most strongly when rooted in convenience and consistency. If I’m no longer seeing someone every day, that immediately shatters this foundation, and if our friendship isn’t strong enough to withhold it, it’ll simply fade away. In all honesty, this is one of the healthiest ways to end friendships. If you think about them as plants, they are weeds taking up space in your garden and when you nip them in the bud and get them out, everything looks a lot better. As Psych Central quotes, “Many friendships dissolve naturally over time, as you grow up and grow apart. Sometimes, letting go of a friend who is no longer a good fit for you can actually improve your quality of life.” So to answer my initial question, you must envision your garden of friendship. Are there lots of weeds? Dried and browning stems? Falling petals? If so, drifting apart may be for the better.


Use this student discount for some fun treats and desserts!

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.

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Upper West Side Coupon Card 2024

Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
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My Body’s Intuition

Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

I grew up in a culture where being “overweight” was one of the worst things that could happen to you. Eating plenty of food without guilt was rare and starvation to lose the extra kilos was normal. By culture I don’t mean my country, I mean most of the world. After all, I grew up in the early 2000s when people would call Jennifer Aniston “fat.” Early 2000s JENNIFER ANISTON. 

Naturally, I developed a complicated relationship with food. When I was a teenager, my appetite was insatiable. I would eat more than any adult in my family and barely gain any weight. Some people would call me lucky while others warned that my body would eventually change, and I would need to control my food intake. The pleasure food gave me was always followed by an almost silent whisper of regret. Still, I continued to eat unbalanced food in abundance. Although I was skinny—underweight really—and my body was often described as beautiful and “desirable,” I remember that time as my most unhealthy years. I would get sick often, visiting urgent care at least once a month for respiratory issues; I would feel tired all the time and have no strength in my muscles. Above all else, I would look in the mirror and see fat sitting in places where there was none. I had body dysmorphia, and I wasn’t aware of what that was. 

Like it often happens when you emigrate, my life changed completely after I moved to the US, including my food habits. I don’t know if my body finally changed like people used to warn me or if this new country’s food was different, but after a month of eating endless American food, I finally gained some weight. And then I gained some more. I became aware of how much bigger I was from my time in Venezuela, and I started to freak out. Without understanding a thing about dieting, I simply did what I had learned from the women around me: I starved myself. I started eating only two meals a day, sometimes one. I would go on like that for a month, and then have a rampage of food intake the next. It became a cycle where my body weight fluctuated aggressively. Consequently, my health paid the price. I would continue to get sick constantly and feel weak. What I didn’t realize is that the symptoms were more severe during my starvation mode than when I would eat whatever I wanted. Still, both habits were damaging. 

When I finally decided to seek help, I had been meeting my extreme habits in the middle. I would skip one meal a day—often breakfast—and eat big portions for the remaining two. Although I wasn’t getting sick anymore, the sense of tiredness remained, and my weight was slowly increasing. Around the same time, I did a lot of unlearning about body weight and although I wasn’t comfortable with the extra pounds, I convinced myself that I was beautiful nonetheless. For the first time in my life, my biggest concern was how I felt, not how I looked. I wanted to feel energized and strong but, how could I accomplish this?

Food Tracker for my trainer. Noticing patterns.

I was lucky to have made friends with a very generous woman who was also a personal trainer who educated me about my food habits. She made me track two weeks of meals and pointed out my meal skips, uncontrolled snacking, and massive dinners. She showed me how the unbalanced meals—mostly consisting of carbs and fats—were partly the source of my tiredness. Additionally, she tracked my daily steps and exercise, which was near zero. With this information, we planned to increase my protein and vitamin intake and my workouts. Although strict, this plan was heavily based on my body’s intuition. My trainer helped me differentiate healthy cravings from my eating disorder. We did this by tracking my menstrual cycle, understanding that in certain weeks of the month, my body would crave more fatty and sugary meals and that this was okay. Slowly, the guilt I would feel after every meal disappeared. I created disciplined habits filled with compassion. By the end of our regiment, I had lost some weight, but the most important thing was that I felt the strongest I’ve ever been. I barely had stomach problems or got sick, and I had the energy necessary to go through my day.

I would change the “but” for “and” because you can listen to both. Both are right.

It’s been a year now since I learned about my body’s intuition. It is still hard to fight my eating disorders which crave the “comfort meals” that ultimately harm my body. It is a battle I am still in, but I fight it with patience and lots of love for myself. My body weight continues to fluctuate, but how it is supposed to. It is normal to fluctuate between five to ten pounds, but I don’t really keep track. I measure my health not on the scale any longer; I do so with how my body reacts to exercise, with how energized I feel. It has been life-changing learning to listen to my body because it made me appreciate the wonderful things it does for me.


Every meal should be a “guilt-free” meal! Enjoy this delicious free cookie with your student ID

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.

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Chapter Five: The Comfort of Home-Cooked Meals

Monday, 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.

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DIY Music: What to Know

Thursday, 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.

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Growing Pains: Chapter 3- Magnets

Tuesday, 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.

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An Introduction to World-Saving: Prologue

Tuesday, 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.


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Relationships with the City

Tuesday, 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.

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Chapter Four: The Beauty in Mess

Monday, 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.


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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.

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