Archive for the ‘onLife’ Category

The Decision

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

“I just had a rather unproductive day… I’ve mostly watched tiktok/youtube and waited for the nic to wear off of my system so I could get a dizzy. That’s actually why I sat down to write. I want so badly to be absolutely done with nicotine. I’m going to write a pros and cons list:

“I knew the list would turn out that way, but I just needed to see it on paper. I am DONE after the one I have runs out. D-O-N-E.”

-Journal entry, 9/18/21

The above excerpt is taken from a journal page written on an auspicious night during my sophomore year of college. I had been vaping for nearly a year. That night was my point of no return, my hard stop, my first act closing number going into intermission. My decision was fierce and solid. I was DONE.

Of course, I didn’t quit cold turkey. Quitting nicotine is hard. Mistakes were made and cravings were given into. That night, however, changed my mindset and my path. Previously, I hadn’t held the conviction to get rid of the vice of nicotine. The pros and cons list existed only in my mind. I shoved it to the back, hid it with concerns about my future and that one song that constantly runs on repeat underneath all brain activity. I didn’t allow it to come to the forefront and confront me with the obviousness of the choice. It was out of focus, blurry.

Everything came together on September 18th. It felt like sliding my glasses on for the first time, the blurriness of the unofficial list suddenly sharply clear. My pen was unstoppable. The pros and cons spilled onto the page, and a page of craving busters followed soon after. I made a plan, and I provided myself with resources that would help me through. I scribbled a list of advice from online sources: avoid alcohol, exercise, drink lots of water, rest, stay positive, do NOT give in to cravings. I even wrote a letter for myself, for moments of weakness when I would look back and ask why am I doing this to myself? The words I wrote that night still inspire me to this day, seeing how scared yet determined I had been.

This poster hangs over my desk and has since September 2021.

My conviction wasn’t the only thing that pushed me over the edge. I thought about my grandma, who had passed away in August from lung related complications. I thought about my mom, looking at me in disappointment and concern upon finding a stash of my empty vapes. I thought about my friends, the people I’ve chosen to love and support endlessly, addicted to this harmful substance alongside me. All of it together pushed tears out of my eyes as I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was done.

A ScienceDirect article entitled “Quitting e-cigarettes: Quit attempts and quit intentions among youth and young adults,” details research on how young e-cigarette users feel about quitting vaping, saying, “…33.3% reported a past-year quit attempt, 15.3% reported serious intentions to quit, and 54.2% reported general intentions to quit.”  Half of all young e-cigarette users have intentions to quit using nicotine. Many, however, make an attempt and subsequently fall back into their habit. It’s a hard one to break. I wanted to better my odds, to not be part of the third of users who tried to quit but couldn’t make it stick. I downloaded an app soon after the 18th of September: QuitVaping. I texted “DITCHVAPE” to the This is Quitting number by the truth initiative. I was ready to embark on this treacherous journey in order to free myself, and eventually my friends, from nicotine’s iron clutches.

“Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss, get rid of nicotine,” were the final words of my journal entry on September 18th. Words I decided to live by.


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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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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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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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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. 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.


Want some Italian-American cuisine at a discounted price? Head to Isabella Restaurant with your student I.D. for 10% off your meal!

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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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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How I Got Evicted from a Farm

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Part One: Toledo

The minivan, blue and cloudless as the sky, rolled slow through the streets of East Toledo. Its tattered seats were damp with the sweat of my back, the fabric refusing to dry in humid air. Its open windows, every so often, sent notes of sulfur and cement up my nose, riding through on the respite of a faint breeze. On the street below, the occasional loose cobblestone made for uneven terrain—each lurch of the car gnawed at the curd of motion sickness in my stomach, born nine hours and three state lines ago. 

In the driver’s seat, Layla peered ahead through the heat in a tired search for the night’s site of temporary lodging. A bead of sweat slipped under the rim of her glasses, leaving shiny footprints to highlight the curvature of her face. Her curls had unraveled themselves over the course of the day, and with every turn of the wheel they grew further apart, resisting containment. Pausing at a stop sign, she ventured her elbow out to lean against the window, but the hot metal door prompted a quick recoil. A few more blocks to go before our first rest. 

The streets were quiet and empty of people. Up on the right, in front of each vacant house, rose a tall wire fence decorated with a dozen ‘beware dog’ signs, one every few feet, shouting through their sharp corners and neon hue. The signs were outnumbered only by the dogs themselves, which populated the yards behind the wire with consistent abundance. Groups of them gathered beside each porch, following the slow creak of the van with low growls and curious eyes, passing us off to the stares of the next pack as we left their yard behind. Some were large and hunched over, with heads that skated above the ground, held still by thick, rippling necks that curved upwards to stab the sky before reassuming connection with their spines. Others were small, with stumpy legs that grew blurry as they chased one another, carving a maze through the longer, slower limbs that rose like tree trunks around them. Many were old and withered and sick, with fur that clumped at the sides of their faces and buzzed with other creatures of the yard. One, Layla pointed out, was not a dog at all but a goat, hooved and horned and staring dejectedly into space. We silently wondered where in the world we were. 

My present meander through Toledo, destined for the west coast, had been a fairly spontaneous undertaking. Though, I suppose, equally unexpected was the onset of the pandemic, not to mention the sudden eviction from campus three quarters into freshman year and the ensuing six months I spent confined to my 80 square foot New York City bedroom. The year had already been an uphill battle, tossed back and forth between New York and Providence like the plaything of two depraved orcas. College life, in all its excitement, quickly became a fever dream upon my return to the city, where the fullness of the life I’d left behind struck me hard atop the head. When my stay in New York suddenly stretched endlessly into the future, and the world outside went vacant, I was left to stew in the mildew of this old life, the milky decades of memory that stained the walls and floors and city streets. Space itself became a yellowing palimpsest, writhing with the specters of the past, some lovely, fond, and warm, others indelibly painful, but all of them dead. To bring the walls alive was to feel it all, all at once, so I did—and my present began to rot alongside my past. 

So, Layla and I decided to leave. Rather than return to school and experience a loose translation of the life we wanted, we faced the death of our expectations head on and elected to drive west to spend a few months working and living on an orchard in California. We found the place online, called the owner—who seemed nice enough, for a stranger—and hopped in the minivan to begin the sixty hour drive that would, eventually, herald our chosen life among the trees. 

But before the trees came Toledo, Ohio. And before our rest came that endless row of houses, houses that the blue minivan rolled past careful and slow, houses guarded by dogs.

* * *

The houses stood short and sprawlingly wide, hidden behind the high fence and maximalist ornamentation of their front yards. Pink slats fell haphazardly off their sides, as if knocked down by the heavy weight of the sun. Windchimes spun and sprinkled themselves into the breeze. Thick weeds corroded the corners of stacked pots; wooden welcome boards and cheap statues overcrowded nearly every lawn. 

One house in particular had a yard piled high with life size plaster replicas of the dogs that stood cautiously behind them. The copies seemed frozen in time, as though some moment of the past, in its intensity, caught hold of the animals and refused to let them pass wholly into their future. Yet there they stood beside the plaster, alive and in steady movement, treading seamlessly across the debris. They followed our procession magnetically, without any interruption in their line of sight—not even for a moment. 

The car rolled to a halt at a pleasant little house, just past a road that sectioned off our street from the caravan of pack animals on the other side. Digging the key out from under the front mat, we unlocked the door and step into the cool air inside. Immediately, I let out a long sigh of relief, and Layla looked at me, grinned sheepishly, and delivered a long and contented yeahhh of agreement. But it wasn’t just the air for me—it was these walls, big and beautifully unfamiliar. These walls to whom I was a stranger. Walls with memories to which I did not subscribe.

A goat standing in the front yard of a Toledo home, staring dejectedly into space.

The Toledo neighborhood goat.

As we looked around, we realized the place was far too big for just two people, so we came to occupy the back corner of the house, dark green and dimly lit by the candle lights that protruded out from the wall. A few minutes after collapsing in the bedrooms, we received an alert that the house a few doors down the street had been the site of a murder merely three days earlier. It was hard to imagine that the lavender shutters of the home, in their softness and levity, could bear witness to such a crime. Layla wondered aloud what the dogs must have thought was going on, whether in them the noise might have sparked fear or excitement. I thought intently of the walls. After a silent moment, we descended to double lock the front door before retiring upstairs. 

For all the strangeness of the day, Toledo afforded me a heavy, uninterrupted night of sleep. As we rose with the sun the next morning and continued our journey west, the shouts of dogs and occasional bleat echoed through the empty streets. Despite the noise, I neglect to turn around and look.



Zachary Federman is a student at Brown University studying literary translation and Middle East Studies. Zachary is fond of art, detests logical positivism, and is excited for 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 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: Looming Graduation & Lingering Uncertainty

Friday, September 10th, 2021

In my previous chapter, I discussed the importance of being intentional with your time. I only began to realize this in senior year– far later than I would have preferred. I spent a good chunk of my undergraduate years suffocated by insecurity, which prevented me from pursuing certain social opportunities. Once I gained at least some confidence (it’s a lifelong process, isn’t it?) I began to go out more with friends, and I wasn’t overly concerned with how I looked or how much I ate that day. Graduation time crept up on me as I realized I only had a few months of school left. 

Then, COVID-19 upended everyone’s lives. Amidst all of the existential dread of graduating and parental pressure, I decided to take the LSAT in the fall with the aim of becoming an environmental lawyer. (This seems to be a right of passage for humanities majors.) When I took the actual LSAT in September, it was far from reflecting the best score I had gotten in practice, and the kicker was that while it made me feel dumb, I didn’t want to be a lawyer anyway: I only wanted to be a better writer.

The reason I decided to pursue Media and Communication again was not only to have some closure after not being able to graduate in the traditional sense, but to do what I’ve always wanted to do: comedy. I am studying Communication because of the dual interest in politics and comedy that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart sparked in me in high school. After the 2016 election, I felt extremely anxious and decided to pivot explicitly toward politics for a few years after completing my first internship at a comedy club. 


Nikki Glaser performing at Gotham Comedy Club during my internship

I think I lost the plot along the way. I became embroiled in the world of politics, when that too never felt like the perfect fit for me. I applied to some Political Communication programs and, although I was accepted, I knew I wanted to go back to NYU. Of course it’s a very different conversation to have with your parents that you want to be a comedian, than the one about wanting to be a lawyer. But if the latter is a lie to yourself too, then why pursue it? 

School is a way to grow your network of relationships, and try new things within the support structure of academia. If you’re looking to pivot careers, especially in the middle of a pandemic, going back to school can be a good place to start, depending on your financial priorities. 


Fall near NYU Campus

There’s a really pretentious phrase I recently heard an actor say in an interview that I want to share: “Don’t act unless you have to.” I think you could apply this philosophy to a lot of jobs that may involve constant rejection and (job) insecurity, even though it is pretentious. It took me a long time to finally decide to pursue comedy for myself, which I’ve always loved above all else, and which catalyzed my passion for other fields like public service. But what if I fail? That would be embarrassing. Nonetheless, I now feel that I have to try anyway because I already regret not starting comedy when I was younger. I don’t regret my years in politics (which frankly gave me great comedic material) because I still felt a sense of purpose, but that sense has been relatively fulfilled. 

What I hear in “Don’t act unless you have to,” is that if you know you will be rejected often and are going against all odds, but still want to pursue a passion that people scoff at or cringe at behind your back, then you have to do it. For yourself. 

For me, that’s comedy. What do you have to do? And who cares how long it’ll take! When it comes time to think about what comes after college, you may be overwhelmed by your options. My advice is to consider: what’s your comedy? What do you have to do?

My advice for figuring it out:

  • Don’t wait until Senior Year to have a social life; build your network of relationships professionally and personally 
  • Consider what you love doing above all else, if money weren’t an issue
    • You can do this thing as a hobby, and perhaps work up to doing something professionally if appropriate, or you may prefer to keep it as a hobby
    • Your life should not be centered purely around autopilot labor for income
  • You will be uncertain about pursuing certain passions until you actually start pursuing them; the “what ifs” will weigh on you in a few years so get ahead of them
    • And it is *never* too late or too soon to pivot professionally if you crave something new
  • Good luck!!!


By Anna Matefy

Anna Matefy recently graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s in Media, Culture, and Communication. She has been working in politics for the past few years, and wants to transition into a career in media entertainment/comedy. She will be attending NYU as a graduate student in Media beginning in 2021.


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 Three: Exercise & Mental Health in the Big Picture

Sunday, August 29th, 2021

I have had a complicated relationship with exercise since I was a child. I began swimming when I was six years old at the behest of my mother. I am not a competitive person, and being forced to competitively swim through elementary, middle, and high school wore significantly on my mental health, past even the point of depression. My mother had no sympathy for me when I explained to her how horrible competitive swimming made me feel, and accused me of “laziness” among other things. I quit the day I turned 18 and now, at age 23, I still have not stepped in a pool since.

Seeing Simone Biles’ journey during the Tokyo 2021 Olympics has been incredibly validating because she respects the seriousness of mental health and recognizes how difficult it is to maintain as a serious athlete. Simone withdrew from part of it because of the physical danger her mental health posed toward her ability to complete her routine without becoming injured. When the (potential) injury is physical, it is often easier for others (not speaking for Piers Morgan) to understand the implications of poor mental health. When there are simply ambiguous ideas of depression or anxiety, one’s mother or coach can thoughtlessly reply: “Stop being so negative.” This gaslighting is incredibly infuriating, but mostly hurtful. 

These days, I crave a routine, when I used to detest it. The book Nausea by John Paul Sartre gave me the words to describe how I had previously felt in a creative writing piece: “I felt disgust and disappointment toward myself and toward everyone. Why can’t everyone just do what they want? Why must we play roles and condemn ourselves to routine? I need routine; my need for the right way to live is despicable.” 


My well-used and cherished copy of Nausea.

But now I’m not so weirdy resentful: routine helps me feel more in control of my daily life rather than suffocated by it. In your daily life, as long as you feel, and you are affected by the consequences of your own and others’ actions, everything you do matters. I love that notion because, while it used to make me anxious (since how I exercised was dictated by others), it now bolsters my individual agency. I am not telling you what I think you should do to make your body feel better or stronger or more yours. There is no “secret” to total self-acceptance. All I know is that only you know how you feel; even your therapist does not live in your mind. Neither do your parents, coaches, or teachers. Although ideally these figures should want to help you, sometimes they can’t because they don’t think the same way, and their lives have been informed by different circumstances. 

It’s okay to take your time and experiment with a routine. Mine still changes year to year. With COVID-19, it has been a particularly difficult year of coping, especially after my routine was entirely upended from one day to the next. I had been going to the gym for three days a week consistently over the prior year. I felt confident in my strength and endurance, and I was proud of myself. 


They usually draw a funny comic on the whiteboard at 404 (to get your workout started with a smile?): “Hey, dude, when I said ‘curls might help’ that’s not what I meant.”

Without a gym, I have no desire to exercise. During my year in isolation I lost all of the aforementioned progress and now have to start over. It’s okay, though: day by day. 

If you’re like me, and prefer to work out independently without instruction, colleges usually have a free gym you can attend as a student. My go-to gym at NYU is 404 Fitness, near which you can also find a Rumble boxing studio, and SoulCycle. If you want to be part of a club team in college, you can join intramural sports. If you want to do something more competitive you can look for sports within college divisions. If you don’t feel quite ready to take a class or go to the gym, or you just need a break from building your intensity, taking walks offers a more casual, but effective form of movement. 

 It’s okay to not “seamlessly” transition your lifestyle into going to the gym three times a week instead of none, or toward becoming a vegetarian, for example. Sometimes you will step outside of those goals simply because the world is not currently allowing for it, or you want to do something more, or maybe the transition doesn’t feel good anymore, which is okay. When you cannot control things, that is when it’s fun to simply be along for the ride (a passenger, as I like to say). In the big picture, your mental health should have a mutualistically symbiotic relationship with when and how you exercise. 

A brief summary of advice:

  • During college, take advantage of free gym memberships/ collegiate club sports
  • I am not telling you what I think you should do to make your body feel better or stronger or more yours. There is no “secret” to total self-acceptance; it occurs on a rolling basis throughout your life. 
    • Being a “passenger” is my way of describing my most reliable mode of self-preservation; you are not at fault for what you can’t control
  • Check out Jameela Jamil’s social media (Twitter/Instagram) and her podcast “iWeigh” through both of which she deeply and personally discusses a multitude of topics with individuals with personal experiences/experts regarding mental health, eating disorders, working out, feminism, etc. 
    • This has grown to largely inform a lot of my mindset regarding the language I use to discuss exercise, physicality, and nutrition


By: Anna Matefy

Anna Matefy recently graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s in Media, Culture, and Communication. She has been working in politics for the past few years, and wants to transition into a career in media entertainment/comedy. She will be attending NYU as a graduate student in Media beginning in 2021.


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 Two: So Much Food!

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Comedy is not my only comfort mechanism. When faced with the plethora of dining options in college, I wanted to make the most of the novelty of a new city’s foods and not deny myself options. I have always loved food, and turn(ed) to it out of a sense of anticipatory anxiety toward social situations– a not uncommon behavior. In sophomore year, I lived in the Greenwich Residence Hall, which meant I was walking daily through streets lined with shops for baked goods, donuts, cheese, wine, and everything else I love to indulge in. 


Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street

Amy’s Bakery on Bleecker Street (now permanently closed) was one of my favorite bakeries to visit. Every other Friday, I would go in and buy a soft and sweet loaf of challah bread, presented with a braided design. Of course, no one intends for a loaf of bread to be dinner, but nonetheless, that’s what it was to me on Friday night. While I enjoyed eating challah for dinner, I knew it wasn’t providing me with adequate nutrition. Since I was a college student who walked everywhere, I should have been more mindful of meeting my nutritional needs so that both my brain and body felt energized. 

As I continue to reminisce about what not to do, I recall that another one of my favorite ill-advised things to eat was what I called “waffle salad,” which was a waffle torn into pieces smothered by nutella in a bowl. I do still encourage you to try whatever you want, whether you are in the presence of company or not. Discovering foods you like and spending time with yourself can be a meditative experience, as it is for me. 


DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

Conversely, food is known to be a great way to bond with people. My aforementioned roommate, Anna, and I were roommates by choice in sophomore year and we would get food together, from cookie dough to nutella beignets (the latter being a more sophisticated version of my waffle salad). 


Nutella beignets at Cafe Marie

San Marzano, a cheap and delicious Italian restaurant near Washington Square Park, became the first go-to place that I often went to with girls I met on a staircase to Drag Bingo. This dinner cemented our relationship into a close friendship and we would frequently go back throughout the years. 


Bagel Belly near Union Square

Getting to know people over food can also help with awkwardness and avoiding hyper-awareness of the space your body is taking up. We’ve all heard the classic adage, “what do I do with my hands?!” 

One of my Drag Bingo best friends and I absolutely love Times Square, despite the perpetuated “stigma” of it being a tourist-infested “not really that cool” place to see if you consider yourself a true New Yorker. To that we say: we don’t care; we like it so we’re going. That’s the American way, after all. 

Just as mesmerized as I am by the sight of New York’s nighttime skyline from an airplane, I am in awe from the ground of Times Square at night (when you can’t see a lot of the grime, though the layers do add character). To go full tourist mode, my friend and I even got Cold Stone ice cream, which was delicious.


My friend and I enjoying Times Square 🙂

Whether it’s a basic touristy- moment you’re having in Times Square or a local specialty, food is a wonderful way to connect yourself to people and the community itself. Don’t be too afraid to go up to a pop-up food truck: you might just get to try pistachio ice cream with crickets on top at no cost! Because when else could you be convinced to try something like that? 


Cricket ice cream I got from a pop-up truck near Union Square.

While you traverse the world’s culinary options and discover new foods with the same jubilance as a toddler (ideally), remember that balance is important and to listen to what your body needs. I gained a lot of weight during my first year of college, which is fairly common, but it still wore on me psychologically. It took me a number of trials to find a routine that worked for me, and to identify how I can exert control over my life while indulging in the pleasures. I had to reach the point of wanting to have control in the first place, rather than continuing to do what felt like blindly throwing darts at a wall listing restaurants and going to all of them anyway regardless of where the darts landed. 

I stopped enjoying eating because it began to feel like a burden every time I did. Eventually, I realized I can take my time and not beeline like Pacman (or insert your more contemporary reference here) through all of the restaurants and food stands in New York. 

In order to make balanced dietary choices in college (which includes fun choices too!): 

  • Try novel foods!
  • Maybe even the waffle salad, just once?
  • Explore your local shops and become an infamous “regular” with a “usual”
  • You will change in college (and you can still make jokes about the “you’ve really changed in college, man” memes) — what you liked in Year One may no longer be the case in Year Two… don’t force yourself to be someone you don’t feel like anymore
  • If your comfort mechanisms change, that’s intimidating to confront (because what can you turn to now?) but you can always discover new activities. Always. 
  • You have to want to change your tendencies that you no longer enjoy.


By: Anna Matefy

Anna Matefy recently graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s in Media, Culture, and Communication. She has been working in politics for the past few years, and wants to transition into a career in media entertainment/comedy. She will be attending NYU as a graduate student in Media beginning in 2021.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

Share