Archive for the ‘onCollege’ Category

Living in Moments of History

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

College is a time for a person to grow and reflect. I suppose that is why they call it “higher education,” since in four years, the goal is for you to leave school as a better version of yourself, and ideally, a better human being. You’re not just concerned about landing a career (sorry mom and dad), but you are trying to learn about the world around you and your place within it. It’s a turbulent time in a young person’s life, and when you mix that with a global pandemic that ushers in a time of increased isolation and awareness of current events, it prompts more learning, thinking, and reflecting than ever before.

During one of my Zoom classes in the Spring 2020 semester, my professor declared that we were all “living in history” as we were all exiting the meeting. It took me by surprise, for despite being such a short sentence, the truth of it resonated deeply with me. We were, seemingly, entering a new era of human life. Students read about things like the Black Death or the flu outbreak and thought “this could never happen to us,” yet there we were, dinosaurs with no warning of the impending asteroid. It seemed like, similar to some of our favorite apocalyptic stories, a worldwide catastrophe would connect all of us. Like the cast of High School Musical might say, we would be all in this together.

Spoiler alert! We were not. What was supposed to unite us—a common enemy in the form of a viral disease—was a topic of contention, especially as alt-right groups were fear-mongering to spread misinformation about the vaccine and calling COVID-19 a hoax.

Image credit: https://mississippitoday.org/2020/12/16/marshall-ramsey-vaccination/

But this was only the beginning, and the pandemic was not the only moment of history that we were living through. COVID-19, as many before me have pointed out, brought with it a social reckoning, one that opened many eyes—namely white Americans who did not understand the reality of the privilege they possess—to how corrupt our country truly is. The pandemic has been described as removing distractions from our lives, and it became a time to be engaged and plugged in, critiquing our society and the institutional systems of oppression that were always present but greatly exacerbated by COVID-19.

So much has happened over the last couple of years that it doesn’t do it justice in just one short piece of writing. Beginning with the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, systemic racism and police brutality were once again brought to the forefront of the minds of all Americans. We saw how unfair policing practices like no knock warrants took the lives of Breonna Taylor and Amir Locke. We lived through a dangerously heated presidential election—the first I ever voted in—and though the election of Joe Biden seemed to bring about a shift in the tide, the insurrection on January 6th demonstrated just how fundamentally divided and disappointing our country is. Guns have more rights than any person in this country, as there are always more mass shootings in the United States than there are days in the year (330 at the beginning of the day, 332 when I refreshed the data before posting). LGBTQ+ individuals are being targeted with dangerous legislation like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, which open the doors to the erasure and silencing of those who identify with the community. Most recently, those in this country who can get pregnant were stripped of their reproductive rights as Roe v. Wade was overturned—a decision made by only five people, but jeopardizes the lives of all Americans seeking abortions and disproportionately affects marginalized communities. More than that, Justice Clarence Thomas is looking to overturn other important cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which targets legislation that, respectively, guarantees the right to contraceptives, same-sex sexual relationships, and same-sex marriage. It feels like we are not only living in moments of history, but we are being sent back to the past and making the same mistakes over again.

If there is anything that I have learned from all of this, it is the importance of paying attention and having conversations driven by human empathy. The pandemic in general showed us that we need to be kind to one another and help each other out when we can, but it also highlighted the inequity our nation operates on and exploits. In a conversation with Dr. Mary Mullen, an English professor at Villanova last year, she astutely pointed out that college campuses like to think they operate in a bubble, one that merely spectates the history of the world around it; but they do not. They are shaping and being shaped by outside forces, and at such a critical moment in our lives when we are trying to figure out who we want to be and come to terms with our own identity, we need to be willing to learn and to listen, especially with all that is going on in our world right now. It’s important to take classes that you are interested in and push you to grow and reflect on yourself—what you think about the world and why. To look at perspectives that reach beyond your own, to remember that humanity can only be at its best when we accept and learn from one another. To include everyone who is left out of the conversation and to remember the stories that are conveniently left out of the K-12 school system.

It feels like the closest this nation has been to unity was in 2019 when we all promised not to post any spoilers for Avengers Endgame. How nice it would be for us to care about each other in the same way again.   

Tough transition, but if you are ever in need of some escapism and fun, be sure to use this coupon for Balance Patch and play some video games!

By: Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a senior at Villanova University studying English and Communication. She is in utter disbelief that she just admitted to being a senior. She loves to read, but has made barely a dent in the increasingly large pile of books on her bookshelf that she told herself she would read this summer. She hopes to enter a career in the editing and publishing industry.


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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on classroom camaraderie

Monday, July 11th, 2022

Let me set the scene: It’s 2018. I’m a freshman. I’m in a foundations class, the kind where we’d learn basic art student stuff- rudimentary color theory, composition, how to create a focal point. It’s mid-September. By now, a quarter of the class has distinguished themselves as Good Artists, a quarter’s revealed themselves as Artists So Bad We’re Wondering How They Got Here, and the other half of us are just… average. 

A few rows ahead of me sits this absolute whiz kid. Their work has style, it has voice. They use layers. They make digital art like it’s nothing, their Apple stylus sweeping over the current assignment they’ve started up in Procreate. Our professor, making laps around the classroom, takes a pit stop at their desk. “Great job,” he says, before going on to compliment their use of space. 

They are a Good Artist. 

I look down at my own paper filled with loose sketches. I think about Whiz Kid those few rows ahead of me. Their work is a Renaissance masterpiece and mine is incomprehensible. I feel the usual twinge of jealousy settle into my stomach and, in that moment, I can’t help but think, “I’ll never be on that level.”

a person watching a peer a few seats ahead.
Staring down the competition from afar…

Flash forward to 2022.

Whiz Kid is having a graduation party and I’m invited. When I show up, all the best students of the class are there, and we eat fondue and laugh and have a grand old time. It’s amazing. At one point, I say to them, not for the first time, “You know, freshman year, I thought you were so intimidatingly cool.”

They laugh. “Dude, I always thought you were so cool!”

The night goes on. We socialize, we party- we even do a few little drawing games (you can graduate art school, but you never stop being an art student). Someone brings up the idea of maybe starting a collective, doing big group projects, moving forward as a team.

As we celebrate the culmination of these four years, I find myself wondering: how did I let myself miss out on being close to such a cool group of people?

The answer is simple, clear, and ultimately unsurprising: academic competition. 

It sprouted in kindergarten, where I just had to be at the highest reading level for a five-year-old. It plagued me in high school, where an A- just wasn’t a good enough grade. So, of course, it followed me to college too. The thing is, it follows everyone. 

In a study done by Julie R. Posselt and Sarah Ketchen Lipson, the duo found that heightened academic stress and perceived competition had increased the rates of mental illness in college students (“Competition, Anxiety, and Depression..”). According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 25% of college students were diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness- and that’s just the ones who could afford to see a therapist. When you’re surrounded by a myriad of great minds, it’s easy to feel like the least capable among them. Imposter syndrome is a very real struggle, and once it sets in and tells you that you’re not good enough, anxiety is swift to follow, because what if everyone else thinks you’re a fraud, too?

When you’re in the throes of feeling like the worst, it’s easy to forget there’s other people who feel the same way about themselves, too. 

There’s no catch-all solution to imposter syndrome and the pressure of academic competition, but therapy and peer support are a great place to start. In an article from the Journal of Food Science Education, Shelly J. Schmidt hones in on how friendship actually boosts academic success at the college level (“The importance of friendships for academic success”). Students were “approximately 16 times more likely to become study partners with a friend than a nonfriend,” which indicates not a preference of social life over academics, but a preference to learn alongside people that provide an environment of encouragement. They were ready to engage with new material; it just helped to do it with friends.

a pair of friends studying from a comically-large book titled "textbooks 101."
It’s easier to get stuff done when working through it with a pal!

By bonding with peers and developing a sense of camaraderie, students were able to foster connections that made them better learners. Doing work alongside people you care about makes it feel way less like work- it turns it into an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s scary to befriend the competition, but you’ll feel way better once you start building each other up.

From an art student perspective, it’s so easy to envy different abilities. But no one’s going to do what you’re doing. Just because someone else develops work with an amazing voice, it doesn’t mean yours is inherently worse- it just means you and your peers are doing different things. Do you in a way no one else can, and be proud of your peers for doing the same. Who knows? Maybe if you get really close to them, you’ll get to go to a grad party with fondue.

two different styles of art with the subheading "good... aannd also good."
Skill has so many different looks.

tl;dr: different isn’t always better or worse- don’t let competition stop you from making friends!


Wanna create some interesting new art with the cool peers you just learned how to approach? Check out Blick Art Materials! 

By presenting your student ID and your Campus Clipper coupon, you’ll score 10% off your purchase. Check it out- they literally have everything, and it’s always so much fun to poke around and look for new mediums.


By Ness Curti

Ness Curti is a freshly-graduated illustrator from the Lesley College of Art and Design. A part-time bobarista and full-time New England adventurer, they hope to one day tell stories for a living, whether through art or words. They enjoy doodling, procrastinating, and saying hello to the dogs they pass on the sidewalk.


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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Needing

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I gasp in joy and relief as the bottom panel of the pod finally comes free. I let go of the pliers I had been using to pry the metal panel away and grab the little bottle full of juice; my ambrosia. I squeeze the bottle, filling the tiny pod with the nicotine infused liquid. Piecing the pod back together, I shove the plastic into the device. The “dizzy” is so close, but my obstacles are not over. I take a pull from the vape, and a sour, burning taste floods my mouth. I run to the sink and spit, the vape juice still tingling on my tongue. My nose and eyes scrunch at the offensive taste, and I gulp some water.

I cough, then bring the vape back to my lips.

I went to great lengths to continue to have the “dizzy” in my life. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted that lovely feeling to stay. I didn’t want to go without it. I sank to new lows. In some places, cigarettes were easier to buy than vapes, and so, for a few weeks, I would obtain my “dizzy” through the acrid scent of smoke. Despite the nausea, the smell seeping into my hair, clothes, and room, and the slightly different “dizzy,” I was still drawn in. Turns out, this wasn’t a want. It was a need.

The “dizzy” not only drove my days; it became the only thing I looked forward to. Taking classes online, stuck in my dorm all alone, having nothing but more monotony for the foreseeable future, the “dizzy” was a reward for making it through a few hours. I wasn’t looking to my future. I could barely look forward to the next week. I knew there were cons of vaping, but in the moment, planning my next “dizzy” was often the only thing that kept me going.

Cold, dreary, lonely days at the peak of my dependence.

I knew at this point that I needed to quit. The habit was stupid expensive, and I hated spending my hard-earned money on something that made my lungs feel so weak. I also knew my family didn’t want me to be doing it. Most people find the habit annoying, and I knew it was embarrassing to want to leave my friends in order to find the “dizzy” back at my dorm or even in a bathroom stall. Still, something held me back.

A few things, actually. First of all, lots of people around me vaped. I saw so many college students around my campus with brightly colored disposable vapes. Their flavors were never super important to me personally, but thetruth.com cites an article on flavored e-cigarette use in youth and young adult users, stating that out of all 18-29 year olds who vape, 92% started with a flavor of some kind. The smoke shop across the street from my campus doesn’t I.D., and they sell pricey disposables to fiending college kids. As one of those students, I would frequently find myself stopping by to pick up a new device, dropping a ridiculous amount of money for something that would maybe last me five days. No one else around me was quitting. Everyone was vaping, and no one else seemed to genuinely want to stop. The lack of solidarity in the idea of quitting scared me, and so I stayed on the fence. 

My own fear that I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t strong enough to destroy this addiction, also kept me anchored in my nicotine usage. I knew that quitting would be hard. I knew from the times when I didn’t have a vape or access to any nicotine how awful it felt to be without it. On thetruth.com, a study exploring changes in mental health after quitting smoking is referenced: “Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can feel like depression, anxiety, and irritability.” This is why so many people try to quit and fail. They give into the cravings when the quit becomes unbearable. 

I didn’t want to fail, so I didn’t want to try.


Use this coupon to get 20% off smoothies, coffee, and juices at Serotonin Smoothies! Make sure to bring your student I.D. and a craving for a fruity drink!

By Sophie Rounds

Sophie Rounds is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She loves to read and wishes she were a better cook. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys singing in several choirs at her university and thrifting with her friends.


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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friendship: low risk, way higher reward

Monday, July 4th, 2022

On one fine September evening of my freshman year, my ex and I were strolling around Porter Square. It was balmy late-summer, we’d settled into an easy stride beside each other and, on the surface, it seemed like a perfect evening. We were talking about something loosely related- college life, moving in, classes. Then she made an admission: “I just don’t have the easiest time making friends.”

I glanced over at her, eyes wide in bewilderment. “Yeah?” 

“Yeah. I feel like everyone’ll think I’m weird.” Her voice was light but her eyes had dimmed, the corners of her smile dipping towards the sidewalk- it was clear the thoughts behind her confession were taking a toll on her. 

This struck me as ridiculous, because 2018 Ness thought she was the sweetest person in the world (and it wasn’t just blind adoration or anything- 2022 Ness still thinks she’s a standup gal!). So I decided it was time for some incentive. We, and so many other Bostonian college students, had swiftly become loyal customers to many of the local eateries, so I honed in on that as the prime motivator. “Okay, let’s make a bet,” I began. “If you don’t make a friend by the end of the semester, I’ll treat us to dinner at that one really good ramen place.” 

I paused, reconsidering. 

“Actually, I’ll treat us to dinner if you do, too. As a reward,” I amended.

“So either way, you’re buying?” she asked, her smile picking back up.

“I guess so.” We both had a chuckle, continued on our merry way back to campus, and probably had a great rest of our night. But my ex had brought up a relevant point, universal not just to new students, but to anyone. 

How does reaching out and building friendships work?

I think the answer can boil down to simply “putting yourself out there.” Way easier said than done, especially when factors like social anxiety or time limitations come into play. There are so many ways to shoot yourself down; maybe people are just being fake-nice, or maybe they don’t know how to just say no to hanging out, or maybe, as was my ex’s big fear, they’ll find you weird.

It can be super easy to let fear of rejection get in the way of anything, especially friendship.

But before getting into a tailspin over everything that could go wrong, I think it’s worth digging into the benefits. 

At the very least, ECPI University suggests that friendships can provide a networking opportunity (Why Friendship is Important for College Students). For any budding professional, that’s already a highlight. That said, networking potential probably isn’t the first thing to look for in a potential companion, so it’s a good thing there’s oodles of other benefits.

In her 2016 article from Dartmouth Together, researcher Janice McCabe took inventory of the social connections at an unspecified university, interviewing a total of 82 students (How Your College Friendships Help You– Or Don’t). Her findings revealed that, while some close-knit friendships in the college setting can be academically distracting, many actually academically elevate each other. Colleges are big- it’s easy enough to find people who share your values, and if that includes your success as a booksmart icon, you’ll likely attract friends who will not only help you achieve your potential, but achieve it to its fullest capacity. 

Additionally, these close-knit friendships provide people to lean on. One of the students interviewed by McCabe, addressed as Alberto in the study, had been a victim of racist remarks from peers and professors. Through his close friendships, he was able to receive support and know there were allies in his corner. Friends are a place to process, a place to work through strife; a symbiotic, reciprocal friendship also provides opportunity for empathy. 

If that’s not reason enough to branch out and invite a new pal into your life, there’s also the reality that you probably won’t have to do it super often. After checking in with her interviewees post-college, McCabe found that about 30% of people had maintained their connections for at least five years. That’s a hypothetical three out of ten people that you could potentially get super close with and have in your life forever. Albeto, McCabe’s interviewee, had called his friends his family. Why would you want to let brief, hypothetical embarrassment scare you out of finding family?

And once a group starts, it doesn’t stop- people multiply. Maybe it’ll start with a peer you met in that Illustration 101 class, or someone in the dining hall. Then you’ll have dinner with them and they’ll bring their roommate. Maybe their roommate has a cool new friend, who gets invited to the next thing you decide to do. And so on and so forth- you never know how real the “six degrees of separation” theory is until you see it in action.

That’s certainly how it went for me, my ex, and our friend group during my freshman year. I don’t think we ever did get that ramen, but it didn’t matter- the real reward was the friends we made along the way.

There’s literally nothing as great as support from people who care!

tl;dr: these are people who are probably very much like you! Reach out to them!


It’s definitely not ramen, but if you’re looking for the perfect incentive to get your partner to make friends, maybe suggest some mouthwatering Indian food and pop over to Punjab Palace (I can absolutely vouch for this place- it’s amazing)!

With your student I.D. and your Campus Clipper coupon, you can get 10% off on your next takeout order. And it’s fairly shareable- perfect for you and any new pals!


By Ness Curti

Ness Curti is a freshly-graduated illustrator from the Lesley College of Art and Design. A part-time bobarista and full-time New England adventurer, they hope to one day tell stories for a living, whether through art or words. They enjoy doodling, procrastinating, and saying hello to the dogs they pass on the sidewalk.


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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Thrust Into the Upside Down: Blurring the Spaces Between Work and Home Life

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

If you couldn’t already tell from my author’s bio, I am a huge fan of the Netflix original series Stranger Things. The show has two main focal points in terms of setting—Hawkins, Indiana and the Upside Down, which is the creepier, gorier, alternate dimension that lies just “beneath” the small town for $500 cash loan online. As a result, the lives of all of the characters in the show are literally turned upside down as they battle the monsters that emerge from that dimension.

As cliché as it is, I think it’s fair to say that the pandemic turned all of our lives upside down in one way or another, and we are still dealing with the worldwide consequences. In particular, because we were all confined to our houses for a long time, the spaces between our work lives and our home lives started to overlap. When we got sent home from college, my room became the hub for every facet of my life: I slept, took my Zoom classes, ate lunch, did my homework, and relaxed all in the same place. The cycle just kept on repeating, each day looking and feeling just like the one before.

It became increasingly difficult to set boundaries for myself and “turn off” my brain outside of “school” hours. That’s another thing too—my laptop was a vehicle for homework while also being my main source of entertainment. If I saw an email from a professor or classmate, I felt like I had to answer it immediately, even if I was taking a break. I kept procrastinating doing my work because it didn’t really feel like I was at school, so the work just didn’t seem important or even real for the matter. There was no physical paper to turn in, it was just online. There was no presentation to diligently prepare for, it was online and I could have instant access to all the materials I needed. In many ways you could argue that taking classes at home was a lot easier than they were in person, but they felt just as, if not more, draining.

I’ve always considered myself a homebody of sorts—someone who was more comfortable being at home in a space that I was familiar with instead of being out in social settings, or at least someone whose social battery drains quickly. But at this point, even I wanted so badly to go out and do something, to break up the routine. But I still just felt tied to my desk, since after all, I could do every and anything that I needed to do from that location (and of course, we were being quarantined, so there weren’t many places we could go anyway). Even when I got to return to campus in the fall of 2020, classes were still mostly online, so I spent more time in my dorm than I would have cared for.

Dorm sweet dorm.

In our increasingly technologized world, these spaces were already starting to become blurred before we were all stuck inside. Being able to send emails at any hour of the day makes people feel like they are always on the clock, always beholden to someone or some task that they need to do. It’s hard for people to shut down for the day and be done with it, because there is always a lingering feeling that there is still something that needs to be done. We can try to shut down the computer, but we can’t always shut down our minds. At least, I can’t.

Even in 2022 when we are getting closer to the lives that we used to live before the pandemic, it’s hard to distinguish between work time and self time. Especially being a college student, any hour of the day is fair game for being on the clock and doing work. Some nights I will stay up until 2am to finish an assignment, while other days I’m getting up at 5 or 6am to do it (a habit I do not recommend). It’s become difficult to set boundaries for myself or plan out my time. The work always gets done and I do it well, but it’s definitely at the expense of some other aspects of my life, like missing out on various activities because I either don’t feel like I have the time, even though I know that I do, or I feel paranoid that if I were to step away, I would never get to finish what I was working on. When I type it out now it seems so simple, but in the moment I just feel stuck.

For anyone else in this situation, my advice would be to find ways to distinguish between the different, competing aspects of your life. At school, I always try to make to-do lists so that I can prioritize what needs to get done, but I also give myself some leeway when I feel like I’m in over my head. I’ve started trying to do my work in places other than my dorm, such as the library where it’s nice and quiet, or our student center where I know I can get some coffee and might even bump into some friends. No one wants to feel like they are always behind or that they are living the same day over and over again—it’s important to find ways to break up the monotony whether it is taking up a new hobby, hanging out with friends, or just powering down your laptop for the day and sticking to it. 

Lovely fall view from the stairwell of Falvey Library.

Much easier said than done, but if you’re looking for a place to start, use this coupon below and enjoy some pizza and bowling at American Flatbread!


By: Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a senior at Villanova University studying English and Communication. She is in utter disbelief that she just admitted to being a senior. She loves to read and hopes to enter a career in the editing and publishing industry. She is also patiently waiting for Volume II of Stranger Things 4 to come out on Netflix. 


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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Wanting

Friday, June 24th, 2022

I close and lock the stall door. I dig through my purse until my fingers find the piece of plastic they are yearning for. I bring it to my lips without a thought. I could have walked back to my dorm after my class before experiencing the “dizzy,” but I want it now. I stand in the stall, holding my phone in one hand and the vape in the other, waiting in deep anticipation for the shivers to begin. In a sick twist of fate, the vape slips from my hand, bouncing off the bathroom floor and out of the stall. There is silence as I freeze, watching the shadows of girls at the sinks. I frantically collect my purse from the hook and swing the door open. “Is this…someone’s?” The girl is holding the pink disposable in a paper towel. I should just leave it. She’s uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable. “It’s mine.” I grab the piece and shove it in my pocket, my face hot. I don’t thank her. I wash my hands and leave, my stomach curdling and my eyes on the floor. Why didn’t I just wait until I got home? The “dizzy” had been ruined and my pride tarnished. I pat my pocket as I walk, ensuring the piece is safe.

There was a time when I didn’t consider my yearning for nicotine an addiction. It was just something I liked, something I craved, something that was fun. It didn’t feel unreasonable to pool together change from around my room to buy a vape, or to drive a mile or two out of the way to go to a location that didn’t I.D. It was in these moments, like the one in the restroom, that my ideology started to shift. The feeling of dependency becomes pronounced when there are outsiders watching the struggle. It’s the opposite of solidarity; the others don’t understand why I’m standing in the bathroom with this piece of plastic. There is almost a mirror effect, in which one can see their shortcomings reflected in the eyes of another.

Photo from a gas station that did I.D., but we were only there for a fun photoshoot, not to restock. My vape was in my pocket.

Surrounded by other vaping college kids, I find it intriguing that so many of them are willing to share. Of course, among familiar faces, there is always the willingness to help a fiending friend. But in groups of total strangers, at parties or other functions, people would ask for a hit from someone’s vape, and they would oblige. This isn’t necessarily universal, but that solidarity resurfaced again in the sharing of nicotine. Everyone who is addicted to nicotine knows how it feels to be without it. The dependence exists in all of us, and many individuals are willing to allow the less fortunate to obtain a “dizzy” when they ask. There is no mirror reflecting the discomfort of the situation, no viewer highlighting the way the asking is almost begging.

The craving for the “dizzy” drove my days. The experience was almost sacred, this moment alone with my head buzzing and my body half-floating. I would plan my schedule around when I could find a private place to hit my vape, and until that time, it remained tucked away. I knew it took about two and a half hours for the nicotine to leave my system and my body to reset, closer to three for a more intense “dizzy,” and so I would patiently wait. It gave me a feeling of control, of power over my nicotine usage. I had self-control. I didn’t need nicotine. I just wanted it.

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg looks into the formation of habits within the brain. In an MIT experiment from the early 1990s, researchers placed rats into a maze with a piece of chocolate at one end. After going through the maze repeatedly for a week, researchers found that the rats’ brains were less active while completing the maze, as they had formed a habit of completing the maze in a certain way in order to find the reward–chocolate. “This process,” Duhigg writes, “–in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine–is known as ‘chunking,’ and it’s at the root of how habits are formed.” This research also posited the habit loop, a three-step process which occurs within our brains: cue, routine, reward. Duhigg continues, “When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.” Once a cue or a trigger of some kind takes place, the brain wants to divert focus to other tasks and allow the routine to occur.

The habit loop can be helpful, because if you can control the cues and rewards in play, you can create new habits. It can be unhelpful, however, when cues and triggers are constant. Everywhere. 

While perhaps I did not need nicotine, it sure was hard to ignore.


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By Sophie Rounds

Sophie Rounds is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She loves to read and wishes she were a better cook. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys singing in several choirs at her university and thrifting with her friends.


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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The Dizzy

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

I breathe in the rush of chemicals, their harshness hitting the back of my throat in an almost nauseating gasp of relief. Another pull and the feeling begins, somewhere in my esophagus at first. The vibrating sensation spreads into my chest and limbs, then my arms and fingers, extending to my legs and toes. A chill washes over me, and I bring the device back to my lips, craving more of this feeling. Again, the vapor spills into my lungs, making my throat squeeze but allowing the rest of my body to relax. My vision is different as I try to continue reading the post on my glowing phone screen, and I realize that my eyes are shaking. I put the phone down and watch my ceiling, eyes unfocused. A final hit, and I sigh, a euphoria of sorts settling over me as I lean back against my bed, fully appreciating the morning “dizzy.”

Most would call it a buzz, but since the day I tried my friend’s vape, I have referred to the experience as the “dizzy.” Having watched the USB-like piece become a permanent fixture in their hand over the course of several months, I asked them what it felt like. I was curious; it seemed like something they enjoyed, plus they could make cool shapes with the smoke. I had the urge to try it. I asked if they would let me. It was in my hand within a second.

Photo taken during the week of my discovery of the “dizzy.” A time of brightness, the feel of a ray of sun.

That first try was exciting, but it wasn’t what I had expected. The vapor made my throat ache and close, and I think I coughed quite a bit. But, after a moment of catching my breath and some coaching from my friend, I tried again. And again. The vapor was harsh and didn’t taste great, but the world began to swirl around me as the vibrations spread through my chest, into my hands and head. I felt like I had just gotten off of the teacups at DisneyWorld or had just twirled myself on a swing at the playground until I couldn’t see straight. 

I think I smiled. I think I laughed. After noting the dizzying effect the device had on me, the experience of hitting a vape was from that point forward referred to as a “dizzy.” 

In that first week or two, I told my friend not to let me hit it while I was driving. I was concerned that the intensity of the “dizzy” would distract me from the road, that my vibrating eyes would keep me from seeing straight. When I wasn’t driving, however, I was able to obtain the lovely “dizzy,” which I was starting to crave more and more often. The feeling was fun, something that I had never experienced before, had found in nothing else. Perhaps it could be compared to riding a roller coaster, with the tumbling of your stomach and the pounding of adrenaline through your veins. The bodily high that makes your heart race and your head swim, your breath shaky but your brain alive.

 I began asking to borrow my friend’s disposable more and more often, until I finally wanted my own. A device I could have at home when my friend wasn’t around to provide the “dizzy.” I found a gas station that didn’t ask for my I.D., and the rest is history.

Once I began vaping nicotine, I saw it everywhere. I hadn’t really thought much about it prior, even though my high school principal had been adamant about keeping students from vaping in the restrooms. Once I had experienced the beauty of the “dizzy,” I not only saw cigarettes and vapes all over, but I also gained new insight into why people have and continue to indulge in what some might call a vice. My judgment of smokers dipped. Despite my continued dislike for the scent of cigarette smoke, I found myself understanding why they were doing it. It was a type of solidarity, accepting others’ habits to avoid personal hypocrisy, a mutual understanding that the feeling cigarettes and vapes provide is just so lovely.

So lovely.


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By Sophie Rounds

Sophie Rounds is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She loves to read and wishes she were a better cook. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys singing in several choirs at her university and thrifting with her friends.


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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The Art of Storytelling

Friday, June 17th, 2022

At the beginning of my college career, I was struggling to take interest in something that I felt passionate about. I was not sure what direction I wanted to go in and didn’t feel connected to anything I thought was meaningful. This time was also the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, so just like everyone else, I found myself at home with not much to do. Surprisingly, doing “nothing” was exactly what I needed. While the world was paused, I was lucky enough to have found myself reconnecting with parts of myself I had forgotten about. I had more time to watch movies, read books, and actually enjoy these things without the pressure of feeling like I needed to do more. I realized these were all things I loved, but never found time to really embrace.

The highlight of this time for me was when Taylor Swift released her eighth studio album folklore. I was immediately captivated by the detailed imagery and poetic lyrics. The songs on this album make me long for experiences I’ve never even had and let me reminisce about how I’ve felt at different times in my life. “I can change everything about me to fit in” and “When you are young, they assume you know nothing” are lyrics featured on folklore that made me realize I am not alone in feeling a little lost sometimes. Swift’s words are powerful and validate the different emotions I face. I aspire for my work to have that same impact, even if I don’t have as big an audience as the eleven-time Grammy award-winning artist. Even if it’s just for myself.

My folklore vinyl.

Listening to folklore encouraged me to start journaling because Taylor Swift continues to demonstrate the significance that every moment, no matter how big or small, can hold. Writing allows me to remember all these moments and keep them close to me. This was a big step for me, especially at a time when I wasn’t feeling motivated by anything. I began appreciating and romanticizing instances in my life that I might have taken for granted, whether it meant days at home, the laughter that fills the air when I’m with people I love, or the peace I feel when I’m in the comfort of my room. The job of all writers is to pay attention to what is going on in the world, even if it’s the world you’re experiencing through your own eyes. It’s important to take inspiration from what’s around you.

Taylor Swift’s folklore consists of multiple stories based on fictional characters that narrate her own personal thoughts and experiences. I decided to create my own story and begin the life I always dreamed of in New York City. I transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology because I knew I wanted to be in an environment surrounded by creative and influential individuals. While being here, I’ve had access to opportunities that allowed me to discover more of what I’m passionate about. By writing for multiple school publications and immersing myself in my English and journalism classes, I realized I love being able to convey my ideas through my words.

I am forever grateful that Taylor Swift sparked a light in me that no one else was quite able to do. Her dedication and the way she can bring her own unique perspective to all situations encourages me to do the same in my everyday life. Swift can share her own personal thoughts and moments to millions of people around the world and make us feel like we are right there with her. Her emotions are her work and she continues to show how special written words are.



By Jacqueline Rappa

Jacqueline Rappa is a rising senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology studying Advertising and Marketing Communications with a minor in English. You can find her aimlessly walking around New York City while drinking an iced coffee and listening to her favorite albums on repeat.


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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Where to Begin? Navigating Relationships of All Kinds in College

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

So, August is coming to an end, you’re freshly graduated from high school, and you’re getting ready to start this new chapter of your life that everyone’s been hyping up for as long as you can remember: college. You are probably feeling a mixture of emotions about the journey, from excitement to nervousness, to everything else in between. You want to be as prepared as you possibly can, but you don’t know where to start. After all, you’re going to be living on your own independently, likely for the first time in your life.

Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/02z1I7gv4ao

As a current college student who was once this excited and nervous freshman, I think most college students tend to over and under-focus on certain parts of the college process. For example, lots of students focus on the small, logistical parts of independent living. A lot of time and energy is spent on making sure that you brought enough clothes, or that you have the right room decorations to make your room as comfortable as possible. While these things are important, missing one pair of shoes at home is not going to determine the success or failure of your semester. The biggest misconception that college students seem to have involves what living independently really means. Most students seem to think it just means “living by yourself,” but this is not true. If you think about an average high schooler’s routine, all of it can be done without the help of others. Like clockwork, you wake up, go to school, do any after-school activities you may have, get home to have some dinner, do your homework, and then go to sleep. Most of these activities don’t require anyone else but YOU. In that way, college students are already more independent than they think they are, so it’s not just about operating alone. Instead, living on your own means that the structure you took for granted for eighteen years is entirely upended. No one is going to make your dinner when you get home, yell at you for not getting to practice on time, or remind you to finish your schoolwork if you have missing assignments. Living independently is, fundamentally, about you creating a structure for yourself, and sticking to it. 

When this structure that has been in place your whole life is suddenly removed, your life starts to change in unexpected ways. While it’s easier to change the times that you wake up, eat meals, and go to sleep every day, some things are less obvious and even harder to change. One of these changes, perhaps the most important one, lies in your relationships with others. In high school, relationships with your family, friends, and teachers, while potentially challenging, are made very easy to navigate by the time structures created for you. However in college, professors are not available every hour of the school day, and you only see your classmates for a fraction of the time during the week. People are organizing their own clubs and hosting their own parties. This isn’t even mentioning your parents or your old friends which you may have left behind when moving across the country. Simply put, relationships in the real world are not easy, and college is no exception. Much like many things in your childhood, forming and maintaining relationships were likely made easier for you by the structure given to you by others. Forming new and maintaining old relationships can be very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily for you, I’m more than happy to give a few pointers. 

Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/eTgMFFzroGc

I’ve had a college experience, starting with a very typical first semester before heading home for a semester online due to COVID-19. After a year filled with COVID restrictions, things started to return to normal by my junior year. In my experience, between masks and Zoom meetings, college as a whole often felt uniquely disconnected and impersonal. And in times like those of a pandemic, personal relationships were more important than ever. Whether you go to Harvard or Cape Cod Community College, any college graduate will tell you that it’s not about the things you do in these four years, it’s about who you do it with. With that in mind, I’m here to share some of my own experiences with you so that your college relationships are the best that they can be, extending beyond the four short years you are given at college. 


Speaking of new beginnings, one of the best things to do when moving to a new place at any point in your life is finding a good place to eat. Smash Burger has a great selection of burgers and shakes for a great night out exploring Boston or for ordering in and sharing with your new college friends. You can get 15% off your order using the coupon below.


By: Lucas Pratt

Lucas Pratt is a senior at Boston College studying Philosophy, English, and Chinese. He enjoys games of all kinds, Dungeons and Dragons, and getting around to finishing the copy of Dune that’s been sitting on his nightstand for months on end. Lucas has decided that the words “employable majors” don’t mean anything to him, and is eagerly seeing where the world takes him in the future.


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✎ EditSign 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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Hindsight is 2020: Starting College in a Global Pandemic

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

On March 14th, 2020, I was on an Amtrak train headed from Philadelphia to Providence. Usually, the train is bustling with life, to the point where you’d think that finding a seat is impossible and your arms start to shake from the weight of the luggage you are hauling home (or maybe that’s just me—I tend to pack heavy). However, this time the train was nearly empty, desolate. When I finally did see people, they sat across the aisle from me and proceeded to clean every surface in sight with a bottle of hand sanitizer. This was only a small glimpse into what the next two years (and counting) would be like.

Just a week prior to this, I was at home and on spring break. Just four days prior to this, I was in my philosophy class passing around a huge bottle of hand sanitizer—the first line of defense. Just two days prior to this, I had turned 19, a sort of irrelevant birthday in the moment, but still the first one I had celebrated at Villanova University. I remember being homesick, but when I stepped off that train, it was the first time that I was not excited to be home. When my parents picked me up, there seemed to be a mutual understanding that I was not supposed to be there. Previously, I had only returned for holidays or breaks under the pretense of fun or relaxation awaiting me, but this time I had no expectations.

My friends and I celebrating my 19th birthday during our freshman year of college.

At that point, nobody knew how long we would be home—our administration projected that we might be able to return to campus by April 14th, a prediction we now look back on and laugh about. The reality is, when I stepped foot in my house that night after a six-hour train ride, it would be a long time before I would be able to step out of it without the lingering, irrational yet somewhat rational thought that just saying “hi” to a neighbor might result in exposure to an incredibly infectious and devastating disease.

At college, I was independent. I felt like I had a purpose, a place to be—whether it was at class, in the library doing work, or hanging out with friends. I had a somewhat consistent routine in place, and even if it was not always smooth sailing, I was enjoying being at college. When I was at home, I was back to being dependent on my parents, back in my small town, and back to my room that—per my own design—was cluttered and not as organized as my dorm. It all felt unreal, and it all happened so fast.

Villanova COVID-19 Timeline, March 2020

With companies switching to remote work and universities transferring classes onto Zoom, there were suddenly four people in my house all trying to get their work done. Things did not always go perfectly, but everyone tried their best to stay out of each other’s way, be mindful of our responsibilities, and keep things lighthearted. Of course, my dad’s version of this was to throw a snowball at me while I was on a Zoom call for class, but I have since forgiven him.  

The first month after being sent home was, in one word, wild. People were stockpiling items like we were entering an apocalypse, nobody quite understood what was going on, and the death toll kept climbing exponentially. It was a difficult time to be a college student, but more broadly, a human being.

Bleak as the times were, I think there was one important lesson to be learned, and that was the importance of being flexible. People across the globe had to redefine their definition of “normalcy” and adjust to a new world, one faced with a global health issue. As much as students like myself did not want to go to college online or at home, and as much as professors likely did not want to teach in these ways, we all nonetheless worked together to make the best of the situation. Life can change so drastically in just one instant that we need to lean into those changes, reevaluate our routines, and rethink the way that we do things to better serve our needs. Most importantly, we need to be flexible with others, and understand that we are all just trying to do our best to get by.

I guess if I had to pick another lesson, I would say that if you have the option of attending class every day in your pajamas, definitely take it. Or, find small ways to treat yourself each day, such as visiting Pavement Coffeehouse at one of its locations in Boston and using this coupon: 


By: Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a senior at Villanova University studying English and Communication. She is in utter disbelief that she just admitted to being a senior. She loves to read and hopes to enter a career in the editing and publishing industry. She is also patiently waiting for Volume II of Stranger Things 4 to come out on Netflix. 


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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