Archive for the ‘onLove’ Category

Finding Safety In Your Situation

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Planting my feet on Columbia University’s campus for the first time is an experience I will never forget. Before me was an oasis of grand buildings decorated with ancient names like Homer or Herodotus that I’d never heard before. Like many college freshmen in New York City, I was moving to a new place with what seemed like the entire world sprawled out before me. That feeling can be exhilarating at times, but daunting during others. Between all of the new faces, foods, and experiences you encounter, creating a community for yourself is a must when it comes to maintaining health and even sanity. At this pivotal moment in one’s life it’s crucial to find safety in your situation. 

A photo of Butler library, showing the engravings of Homer and Herodotus.
Taken on 35mm film.

Honestly, Columbia’s makeup inherently discourages a sense of community: Tucked away in Morningside Heights, the campus removes itself from the hustle and bustle of Midtown, Downtown, and even its neighboring Harlem community. Beyond physical barriers like gates, the Ivy League university maintains its competitive nature. I’ve had countless conversations with fellow classmates who complain of the competition to do well in class. In addition to NYC’s toxic “hustle culture”, Columbia students also experience the pressures of the classroom. This especially applies to students interested in the STEM field, where professors often limit the amount of “A” letter grades they give per section. This can lead to tense relationships between students and classmates, perpetuating an “every man for himself” mindset. Instead of cultivating a community of students that uplift each other, this culture can incite gatekeeping and standoffish attitudes. In my opinion, this is counterintuitive to the nature of a university. This is especially disappointing as Columbia boasts of its location at the intersection of thousands of different cultures and people. Columbia doesn’t always encourage a culture of community, but there is still opportunity for the student to engage with their surroundings! It would be a shame to close oneself off from all that the university has to offer socially, geographically, and intellectually. 

Though it may feel easy to shy away from the whirlwind of life that bustles outside of your dorm room, I argue that you have to intentionally form a safe space for yourself in college. The first few weeks of freshman year are incredibly formative. It’s such a beautiful time of life where most people have no expectations, no friends, and no curfew. Everyone is so open to meeting new people and trying new things. It’s important to lean into this social spirit that possesses everyone at the beginning of the year. The end goal isn’t to make lifelong friends, it’s simply helpful to have people to say “hi” to or invite out for adventures in the city. When you maintain a friendly and open mindset you’re fostering a more secure environment for yourself, and for the general community. Through this mindset, we can discard the idea that one must fail a class for another to pass it. While college is an inherently individualized experience, that doesn’t mean we have to face it alone. 

Forming circles of people with similar interests or characteristics are always a great place to start. Basic commonalities were instrumental in forming new friendships. For me, I was able to connect with other students who had just moved from California to New York. These friendships provided an outlet for me to express my homesickness to someone who understood what I was going through. At the same time, I was also learning more about new people and cultures. Most importantly, we were able to support each other during one of the biggest transitions of our lives through the things we had in common. 

A group photo of some of the friends I made freshman year.
Taken on 35mm film.

I can’t sit here and tell you to hunt down all of the people from your home state on the move-in day. What I’m suggesting is to start with what you know. Whether it be where you’re from, who you want to become, or how you got here, finding friends through basic commonalities is the kickstarter for maintaining sanity at college for the first time.


By Thomas Stewart

Thomas currently attends Columbia University and plans to double major in creative writing and human rights. At Columbia Thomas is a staff writer for the City News section of the Columbia Daily Spectator, where he publishes articles that concern the West Harlem community. In his free time, you can find him practicing music or trying new vegetarian recipes


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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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Confessions of a People-Pleaser: On Advocating for your Needs and Boundaries

Monday, June 10th, 2024

There is no such a thing as someone with no needs and no boundaries. I used to believe I had none or at least no right to my own boundaries because I was placed in a role of mostly serving others. Specifically, many women are raised to believe this about themselves. And yet, many western cultures have this expectation that women still need to be these boss women with unbreakable spirits. I couldn’t reconcile these expectations before the time came for me to participate in a college lecture or start my first internship. 

I knew I had to dig deep within myself to find out why I had found it so challenging not to sacrifice myself for the needs of other people. To believe that I didn’t deserve to be listened to, helped, or have my identity affirmed as friendship coach Danielle Bayard Jackson loves to say. This was clearly impacting the quality of relationships I had with potential friends, my coworkers, family, and supervisors. And it was only blinding me from the potential I had of fulfilling my dreams and of living the kind of life I desired in the end. 

I mostly talk about boundary-setting with family in the second chapter of my ebook; but I would like to expand this conversation to include friends. Family is more or less our first introduction to how relationships are formed and how people view us. Some of us may have more chaotic families than others and follow scripts that strip us all of our autonomy, but they nevertheless serve as a blueprint for our friendships and other relationships important to us. 

As the eldest daughter in my family with two younger brothers, I was raised to constantly look after others, listen to their troubles, be available for when others had urgent matters to be taken care of, and always be open to visiting and being visited by other extended family members, even when the relationship was clearly one-sided. I grew accustomed to turning to journals and talking to myself to keep me away from the true feelings dying inside of me. And to still feel alive after a busy day of being a machine.

I’ll provide an example of a time I should have set boundaries with a “friend” in college. One woman approached me as I was waiting to meet with my advisor in the hallway. She seemed like the kind of person who was over-eager to talk to any new person she could find. I was surprised that she had ended up in my English Critical Theory class. From that point on, she always sat next to me, always asked me questions when the professor was speaking, called my phone several times in a row after class hours, and even plagiarized parts of an essay of mine. What looked like flattery in the beginning started to look more and more like obsession and jealousy (and she admitted to being jealous too). I should have told her that I clearly didn’t see her as a friend like she did. I should have let her know that she was exhausting me. I needed space, but because of the scripts I was fed as a eldest daughter, I willfully gave myself away to energy vampires like her.

Never been the most comfortable in front of a camera.

This was the script I carried with me into my young adulthood. I second-guessed my intellect during college lectures, which stopped me from participating. I felt guilty from wanting to lean on someone when I felt down because my supposed friends’ problems seemed more important, and I felt ashamed for ever using my free time because it was time I could have used to do more work at home or at the office. We all play roles in every aspect of our lives, but we have to decide what roles are depriving us of our humanity. How can we all get what we need without sacrificing ourselves and/or other people? That is my ultimate question. 

It requires a lonely journey to arrive at the answer simply because we live in a world that encourages us to treat each other like slot machines and less like humans. We all have a responsibility to show up for those we care about and hold them accountable when our boundaries have been crossed. Communicate openly and honestly, respect each other’s right to personal space, and learn the art of self-reliance because that will surely come in handy. It first starts with acknowledging we need things from others and learning to fulfill those needs in a healthy way.


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By Daeli Vargas

Daeli is a recent graduate from the City College of New York with a BA in English and a publishing certificate. She is from the Bronx and is very passionate about all things literary. She hopes one day to publish many books of her own and share her passions worldwide.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Confessions of a “Golden Child”

Thursday, June 6th, 2024

You have probably heard about us. The children who behave just as expected—when the expectations are high—and the ones the family brags about. We are known as the “Golden Child” and can do nothing but shine.

Since birth, I was expected to be obedient, the treasure my parents could show the world and say, “She’s such a good girl; she gives us no trouble.” I was—indeed—so good at it. It was my innate talent. My behavior? Impeccable; my grades? Outstanding; and when my little sister was born, I was expected to be something even bigger than a golden child: a role model. And the gold chain of my success started weighing me down.

The heaviness projected towards the shaping of my personality. I became a people-pleasing, rule-following, perfectionist child who hated herself whenever she made a mistake. My parents often described me as “shy” to excuse my quietness, but the reason for my lack of words was nothing else but fear. Fearfulness and the inevitable anxiety that comes with it filled my days, living terrified of saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. Somehow, I had connected my high grades and good manners to my parents’ love; one couldn’t exist without the other.

Image Credit: https://www.choosingtherapy.com/golden-child-syndrome/

On the other hand, my little sister would grow to be as imperfect as she needed to be. She would misbehave and do badly in school. Still, instead of getting my parents’ disapproval—like I thought I would get—they hired tutors, stayed on top of her homework, and showered her with gifts anytime she’d get something higher than a D. Regrettably, this response from my parents planted a seed of resentment. I have always loved my sister, but growing up, I couldn’t help but be upset at the different treatments we got. I failed to see that this also affected her, after all, living while feeling you need to reach your big sister’s standards also creates resentment.

As an adult, I understand my parents didn’t think I needed special attention. I was always so put together, “mature for my age,” and such a good student that my achievements were just as expected of me. My A’s were not as impressive as my sister’s C’s. They didn’t do this on purpose or with bad intentions; my sister deserved all the attention she got. Unfortunately, the effects of this imbalance between us are clear. My sister is now a confident woman who understands her value is not determined by her mistakes, while I am still insecure and believe perfection is the only way to get people to love me. However, since I moved to New York City and away from the need to please my parents, I’m slowly finding my worth beyond my grades.

Finding what I enjoy outside of a classroom

When I got here, I made mistakes, so many mistakes. I misbehaved, revealed, and learned to forgive myself for that. I eventually realized my parents didn’t stop loving me even if I wasn’t their golden child anymore, so I forgave them for making me think that. My sister and I forgave each other and became the best friends we were always supposed to be. Most importantly, I took pride in my academic achievements for the first time in a long time. I always told others that “getting A’s is not something to be proud of” as a defense mechanism because it wasn’t celebrated in my house. For five years, I stopped attending school and concentrated on finding what made me worthy.

Throughout the quest to find my value as a human being, I decided to apply for college and allow myself to enjoy my life as a student. For the first time in a while, my high GPA made me proud because I saw it as the fruit of my efforts and not as a testament to my worth, a reason for others to like me. Sometimes it is still tempting to measure my value against my academic achievements because I am still unlearning many things. It is an ongoing, difficult journey but it is also necessary. To fully embrace my college journey, I must let go of my search for perfection and focus on what being a student is about: learning and connecting.

If you are your parents’ “Golden Child” right now and feel the suffocating burden that inevitably comes with it, I hope you understand soon that you are allowed to make mistakes, that you must aim high for yourself and not others, and that your value goes beyond how bright you shine.


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By Roxanna Cardenas

Roxanna is a Venezuelan writer living in New York City. Her works include essays, poetry, screenplays, and short stories. She explores fiction and non-fiction genres, with a special interest in horror and sci-fi. She has an A.A. in Writing and Literature and is working on her B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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The “More” That Everyone Needs

Thursday, June 6th, 2024

Big decisions like college commitment can sometimes generate confused or disapproving reactions. Personally, many people from my hometown couldn’t understand the desire to leave my home, the Central Valley, or California at all. Attempts to explain my visions of more changes, discoveries, and experiences were often in vain. My desire to leave home was too complex to express through small talk. Ultimately, it was a feeling that I alone could observe and act upon. Through a frustrating process, I learned to be okay with the fact that not everyone would understand my decision. I had finally convinced myself to chase my dreams, there was no need to prove myself to others.

A photo of myself after my high school graduation. Taken on 35mm film.

In my opinion, appreciating your home is just as necessary as leaving it. These two actions are intrinsically connected; they feed off of each other. Thinking back to my experience leaving California’s Central Valley, I remember feeling conflicted about my departure. My home has nurtured me for the past 17 years, but it had sheltered me from the outside world. Its mountain ranges entrapped me physically and mentally.

A prime example of this entrapment in California was my nit-picky diet. My rotation of meals peaked at a grand total of 5 different foods, usually different variations of bread and cheese. This “5-year-old’s diet” wasn’t based on dietary or allergic restrictions, but rather a psychological barrier that hampered any desire to try new things. Offers of basic foods like chocolate, chicken tenders, or scrambled eggs were immediately declined, leaving no room for consideration or entertainment. I had never deliberately tried those foods before, therefore I didn’t like them: nothing more. Without knowing it, I had developed this instinctive and irrational rejection of trying new things. 

New foods were an obvious example of my mindless rejections in the Central Valley, but in retrospect I notice other instances where I deliberately denied myself growth. Whether it be tasting falafel for the first time, trying on a pair of sneakers “outside my aesthetic”, or even talking to classmates I had never spoken a word to, my mental block prevailed in hindering new experiences. I had cultivated a way of living at home that was satisfactory, but not stimulating. 

For a long time, this life at home was enough for me. To a certain extent, consistency and familiarity is necessary when it comes to growing up. Still, there comes a time where you begin to prod at the edges of your confinement. It might be enough, but you need a “more”. When, how, or why this urge for change happens varies from person to person, for someone else, it might be a conversation that exposes them to their dream job. For me, a college visit to the Ivies instigated my yearning to grow during my sophomore year of high school. Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you react to whatever force is calling to you. Once you understand what you’re drawn to, I urge you to make it a reality.

In the heat of the moment, it can be so hard to stay true to yourself and trust your gut. As I write these words a year after I decided to attend Columbia, I can say with 100% certainty that leaving home was worth it. College offers a universe of new sights, cultures, flavors, emotions, and friends. It offers the “more” that everyone needs. The only catch: you have to take that initial leap of faith to embrace it all. Regardless of whether you have supporters or adversaries, it’s up to you alone to make your dreams a reality.

The final float of the 2023 Macys Thanksgiving Parade.
Taken on 35mm film.

By Thomas Stewart

Thomas currently attends Columbia University and plans to double major in creative writing and human rights. At Columbia Thomas is a staff writer for the City News section of the Columbia Daily Spectator, where he publishes articles that concern the West Harlem community. In his free time, you can find him practicing music or trying new vegetarian recipes.


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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 5: Service. Friendship, and Equality: Gamma Sigma Sigma

Monday, October 16th, 2023

Despite having my suitemates and a few other friends, I still felt like I hadn’t been able to get the real college freshman year experience. Thanks to COVID, almost all events were on Zoom, including club meetings. There was one campus organization, though, that I was able to feel connected with despite being on Zoom.

In my first chapter, I mentioned my friend Cayleigh who by then was in their Junior year. In Cayleigh’s freshman year of college, they told me that they had joined a sorority…and I was baffled, flabbergasted, astonished, and many other synonyms for confused. Cayleigh and I had always been very similar and, if you knew us, you knew we were definitely not sorority people. This is no hate to those in a sorority, I honestly find your social skills very impressive because I could never do that. I applaud you all (this isn’t sarcasm I genuinely am very impressed by it all and admire it).

Cayleigh and I are both…not as positive or spirited as most sorority people. The closest I think either of us got to a sorority in high school would be watching Legally Blonde (still one of my favorite movies and I watch it at least four times a year). So yeah, when Cayleigh texted me that they had joined a sorority, it was shocking. But then they explained to me what sorority they had joined.

It was then that I learned about Gamma Sigma Sigma, a co-ed service sorority. This Greek organization was not a social sorority, but was focused on service and helping out the community. In high school, I enjoyed my time doing community service and I knew I wanted to continue volunteering in college, so this was perfect. Also it looks incredible on your resume.


Me and my big at a formal event together with some other friends

So, as I was saying before, when I was a freshman, connecting to different organizations was difficult. But, because I had already known Cayleigh before COVID, they had helpfully introduced me to their friends who also happened to be in Gamma Sigma Sigma with them. Because I was able to meet all these amazing people, I felt connected to the organization and wanted to join them not just for the amazing friendships, but also the service opportunities as well.


Me and friends at a service event

Since joining, I have met so many amazing people and I am so grateful for what this sorority has done for me. By the end of my sophomore year I was voted into the position of “Membership Vice President,” which is the person in charge of recruitment. It was my job to encourage people to join our sorority and feel safe and welcomed within the process. Through this position, I met new people and gained several organization and communication skills thanks to all the super exciting paperwork that I had to fill out.

In my senior year, I’m currently finishing my last semester as Membership Vice President and passing the torch to the next person. Next semester, I plan to focus mostly on gaining my master’s degree as I’ll be entering grad school, so I intend on going inactive in my sorority. Meaning, I’ll still be a member but don’t have to attend our weekly meetings or collect service hours. It will be weird, but I feel as though Gamma Sigma Sigma has served its purpose for me.

I met some of my best friends, I got to know the community and help out with service projects, and I became more responsible. If you are stressed about making friends or having a “proper college experience”, whatever that means, I strongly recommend taking a closer look into Greek Life on campus. You may never know what you could find.


Me and my little caught driving to get food

Summary:

  • Because I was a freshman during COVID, all clubs were online and it was hard to meet people
  • My friend Cayleigh introduced me to a few people from the sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma
  • I felt close with everyone in the sorority and decided to join
  • I gained different experiences with the service projects I worked on and becoming Membership Vicepresident

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By Mia Ilie

Mia Ilie is a student at Pace University, graduating in May 2024 with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a focus on publishing. She grew up in Rockland, New York and is currently living in Westchester, New York where she attends school and works at a local bookstore. You can always find her with her nose in a book or screaming to Taylor Swift 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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Buy Some Cowboy Boots

Friday, October 13th, 2023

My roommates and I have recently gotten into line dancing at one of the local bars here in Boston. Every Sunday and Tuesday night, there is a bar about a mile and a half from our apartment with a big dance floor and a whole bunch of honky-tonking, boot-stomping individuals dancing their hearts out, brew in hand. The atmosphere is absolutely electric, people sporting cowboy boots and hats, cutoffs, bolos—the whole country thing. It’s awesome.

None of my friends grew up line dancing or doing anything remotely similar. All of us are New England born and raised, never worn a pair of cowboy boots, and had little connection to the southern lifestyle. We didn’t know a damn thing about line dancing. Of course, we know the basics like “Cotton-Eyed Joe”, but nothing like what you see at a country bar like this one. 

I had no idea what to expect the first time we ever went. One of my roommates had gone a few weeks earlier and was really eager to take us as soon as possible, so I was really excited despite having no actual clue what it would be like. I love to dance, so I knew I would have a good time, I just didn’t know exactly what that would look like. Unsure of what to wear, I just ended up going in the jeans and tank top that I had on that day.

The dance floor was already packed by the time we got there, but we claimed some space towards the back of the dance floor and jumped right into the fun. Every thirty minutes they had a tutorial on whatever dance they were playing next, but most of the time you were just expected to automatically know what dance went with which song and how to do it. Some of these dances were really hard, too. We tried to learn some on the spot, but it was mostly just us stumbling around and trying to mirror the people in front of us as best we could without a lot of success. Some we sort of got the hang of, but most we didn’t even come close. A lot of them are super complex, and you just have to come in knowing everything. You are just supposed to know! And we came in, a bunch of city slickers with absolutely no knowledge. We knew that we needed to study up and come back stronger.

We left that night absolutely drenched in sweat. Drenched. Throughout the night we had gone to the bathroom about ten times to wipe ourselves down, but we were sweating. Sweating, dancing our hearts out to songs we didn’t know and moves we couldn’t master. We had the time of our lives, and decided that we absolutely needed to do this every week. A few days later, we headed off to the thrift store to find some cheap cowboy boots. Yes, after one line dancing session, we needed to purchase cowboy boots. We pranced around the boot section and practiced some twirling and sliding to make sure we got the perfect ones. We tried on some cowboy hats, just to get into character, but didn’t end up buying them. We did, however, all leave with a pair of cowboy boots. You gotta play the part, and at this point we were fully committed to our new country lifestyle. When we got home, we watched a ton of tutorials and mastered some moves, so by the next week we were ready to dazzle. 

My mom’s well-loved cowboy boots that she gifted me. These girls have seen some stomping!

Now every week we show up in our cowboy boots, dance the night away, and leave soaking wet. We have the best time, every time. I think that part of the reason that we have so much fun doing this is because we really committed to making it the most full experience it could be. We found something that we all really enjoyed, and we doubled down. We bought boots. We learned the moves. We go every week. We make time to do this together. 

I think that it is too easy to get bogged down with busy schedules and not make enough time to play and have fun. My roommates and I struggle with that a lot. Despite living together, we don’t actually see each other that much. It means that our time together, when we get it, is really special. There have been times where I almost didn’t go because I had too much work or was too tired, but every time I have been so happy that I chose to take a break and have fun with my friends. Yes, school is important, but it is ok to choose yourself and your friends over an assignment. Now is the time to make memories with your friends, so go out! Going line dancing with them every week, making the time to do it together, it makes my heart feel really full. I think that when you find something that you love, people that you love, you should always try to make that extra effort. Devote yourself to the experience. Lean into it. Enjoy it whole. Buy some cowboy boots. 

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By Erin O’Brien


Erin is a student based in Boston, MA studying Communications and Studio Art. She is drawn to telling stories about love and friendship, with themes of humanity and connection at its core. In sharing her personal truths, she hopes to provide readers with nuggets of learned wisdom and college survival skills


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 Universal Language of International Students

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Prior to arriving in Dublin, I hadn’t really processed or identified with the idea that I was going to be an international student. Coming from the United States, I recognized that studying in another country that is English-speaking and heavily influenced by American culture is probably not as intense of an experience as studying somewhere that is entirely foreign in both language and culture. However, I quickly came to realize that, even in less obviously foreign places, there are many experiences shared among all international students.

The first example, and perhaps the one that is most difficult to get used to, is the time difference between school and home. Everyone struggles at least a little with homesickness when they go to college for the first time, but there is truly nothing like an 8-hour time difference to throw you into the reality of adulthood. The first few days at school felt a little unreal, but eventually it set in that I wouldn’t be in the same time zone as the rest of my family for another 3-4 months. 

Something that made the experience especially difficult for me was having a boyfriend back home. With busy schedules on both of our ends, and having spent much of the summer together, it was extremely difficult at first to transition to only calling once or twice a week and having the majority of our conversations being just words on a screen. While our communication has strengthened since we first started long-distance, it would be a lie to say it isn’t still difficult to feel such a constant disconnect between us in our periods apart.

What I can say worked best for me to ease the sadness that the distance brings was meeting and spending time with people at school who are going through the same thing. I like to think of it as a sort of universal language between all international students – the homesickness, the struggle to adapt, the stresses of learning how to succeed academically and socially all while in a near completely unfamiliar place. I have found that no matter where other international students come from, there are always things we can relate to each other about over what we have experienced in this new location.

One resource that has been especially helpful to me at Trinity College is the Global Room. The Global Room is a place where many international students can take refuge to ask questions, attend informational events, and even celebrate the holidays of their home countries. One of the first times I visited the Global Room was a Thanksgiving party (a holiday I definitely didn’t realize I’d be going without for a few years). There, I was able to meet many fellow Americans and bond over some familiar holiday foods and gratitude activities.

A craft I did through the Global Room!

I’ve also learned about other cultures through a variety of Global Room events, such as an Irish trivia night and a Teru Teru Bozu-making class (Japanese rain dolls). There is something quite special about bonding with other international students over a shared lack of knowledge about the new place you’re in. Many of my first conversations with my current closest friends revolved around the unpredictable Dublin bus schedules and the expensive prices of toiletry products at Tesco. Even better, as you broaden your network of international friends, you in turn get to learn more about where they are from and what their lives are like back home. 

Overall, whether you are an international student or not, I think there is much room for bonding and meeting people over the shared unfamiliarities of university. Maybe you have the same boring professor, or you’re both struggling to finish the same assignment. Instead of lingering in the difficult and frustrating parts of the college experience, you can use them as opportunities to seek out positive relationships, which will help you further down the road in navigating your path.

Summary:

  • Being an international student can add further difficulties to navigating university life
  • I struggled with the time difference between school and home, especially with having a boyfriend back home
  • Making connections with other international students helped me feel more grounded in my new community
  • The Global Room was a helpful resource to meet more international students and learn more about Irish culture
  • Anyone, international student or not, can form new friendships through bonding over shared struggles

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By Bella Littler

Bella is a second year film student within the Trinity College Dublin / Columbia Dual BA program. She grew up in Iowa, but is currently living and studying in Dublin. On the average day, you can find her watching obscure movies, going on aimless walks around the city, or raving about any and all Taylor Swift lyrics.


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 2: Beware! Dating in College

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

Image Credit: http://7-themes.com/6982809-envelope-lipstick-kiss.html

They love me, they love me not, they love me, they love me not… Although a game introduced to most of us before we could truly comprehend the complexities of love and relationships, it still has its bearing on our lives today, even as college students. Love and relationships are one of the many components of college we fit into our hectic schedules. Along with school, jobs, and friendships, relationships have a strong bearing on the direction of our college lives.

College is an epicenter of stress, laughs, anxiety, tears, and every other emotion possible for a human being; we all know this. Throwing a dating life into the mix is like tossing a handful of glitter onto the already chaotic canvas of our emotions, creating a kaleidoscope of joyous highs and woeful lows!

 I can remember how infatuated I became with the person I was talking to. I told my friends, my family, and anyone who would listen, even though there was no level of commitment to one another (rookie mistake, I know). I remember feeling butterflies when his name would pop up on my phone, texting my friends saying that he and I are something special (not the first time this has happened). I had stayed up at night waiting for some semblance that I was noticed, that I was liked. When I eventually woke up in the morning, that same excitement carried over. I started to sleep with my phone right next to me, left my ringer on, and gaslit myself that I didn’t care when in reality, I was elated. It’s normal to feel excited about current and potential relationships, but not enough to side-track your life. 

It feels good to be wanted, great even, but not at the expense of your well-being! There was a particular experience during my college dating journey that brought the importance of honesty into sharp focus. During the early stages of one relationship, I found out that my partner hadn’t been entirely forthcoming about the people they were talking to, one of whom happened to be a friend I knew.  

This sparked a myriad of feelings, none of which were pleasant. Confusion, disgust, betrayal, to name a few. It was difficult to think that this actually happened to me. You see this in a movie, used to heighten the plot of some cheesy teenage rom-com, but my life is no Netflix special. I didn’t want drama, I didn’t want some confusing, dramatic climax as part of my “movie,” so what was happening? 

Following this, I spoke with friends and family to ask the all too familiar question: why me? Almost every answer I received varied slightly from one another, all along the lines of “dump him!” I had hoped they would say something more promising, like “they don’t mean anything to one another; they are just friends,” but me and my naive optimism were soon crushed into the ground.  

If I can relay any advice to you that I gained from this tumultuous chapter of my love life, it would be two things: maintain your independence and learn from your experiences. While this might not have been a successful relationship for me, I still gained perspective from it, one that I can apply perspective relationships. Maintaining your independence in college isn’t solely about pursuing your interests and dreams; it’s also about safeguarding your sense of self within a relationship. Your individuality and aspirations are just as important while in a partnership. Remember that even relationships that don’t go as planned are valuable learning experiences (we are in college, after all). Whether they last a lifetime or a season, each relationship is a classroom for personal growth. Reflect on your experiences, both the successes and the setbacks, and use that insight to guide your journey in future relationships. Not every relationship will end with an amicable breakup or meeting your soulmate, and that’s okay. In the end, it falls back to yet another saying we all heard as kids: if you fall down, you dust your knees and get back up (or something along those lines). 

Key points:

  • It’s natural to feel excited in a relationship, but it’s vital not to let it consume your life entirely. Over-focusing on someone can lead to neglecting your own well-being and other important aspects of your life.
  • Every relationship, regardless of its outcome, provides valuable lessons. Take time to reflect on both the successes and setbacks. Use these experiences as guides for your future relationships, helping you make wiser choices.
  • Relationships don’t always have a perfect ending. It’s essential to accept the challenges and setbacks as a normal part of life. Just like the childhood saying, when you face obstacles, acknowledge them, learn from them, and then continue your journey with newfound wisdom.

Whether you’re on a first date or consoling a broken heart, head over to Caffé Bene to get a discount on a delicious treat.

By Juliana Capasso

Juliana Capasso is a junior at Boston University studying Film and Television & Public Relations. Outside of her academic responsibilities, she spends her time exploring the city with friends, reading, listening to music, and journaling. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering 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 ebooks, 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 2023.

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Long-Distance Friendships

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
Photo by Toni Cuenca on Unsplash

The hardest thing about starting college, I think, is leaving your friends from home and starting from scratch. I love meeting new people, so when I started college, I met a lot of people and made a lot of friends quickly. Even though I loved my new friends, I couldn’t help but grieve my high school friendships. I missed the consistency of seeing them every day in class or at lunch, and I didn’t know how to translate that connection into something that worked long distance. I was afraid of growing apart from them.

It is natural to feel this way. After all, you have relied on this structure for years, so naturally your friendship will have to adjust to this change. Friendships go through changes all of the time. One of my best friends ever is a girl that I met in seventh grade drama class. We were instantly best friends, attached at the hip, matching “best friends forever” Claire’s necklaces and all. It didn’t take long for our friendship to blow up—over what exactly? Who knows—and we became enemies as quickly as we became pals. After taking a few months apart, resilient as ever, we were friends again by eighth grade. It is something we laugh about often, how our friendship has survived so much turbulence, but we are stronger because of it. 

The summer before our senior year of college I went over to her house to go swimming. The weather that summer had been extremely temperamental, either having periods of heavy rain or periods of extreme heat, so any fair weather day like this one was a treat. We sat in tube floaties, face to face, holding our floats together by the handle so we wouldn’t drift apart. We talked about people from high school, roommate drama, hook-ups. Our friendship survives mostly on these silly types of conversations, nothing too serious. Then we started talking about how we had changed so much since middle school, how our friendship has survived so many versions of ourselves, how grateful we were to know each other. We talked about post-grad, how daunting it is to be faced with what’s next, how to find your purpose, your passion. We didn’t often have conversations like that. We learned a lot about each other just floating around together in her backyard that day.

By the end of the conversation we had come to the realization that our years away had actually made our time together more valuable, how we were growing together and our friendship was actually evolving in tandem. Somehow, after ten years of friendship, we were closer than ever, and we parted feeling like we knew each other better. The way we had changed as people actually made us more suited to be better friends to one another, deeping our friendship from middle school best friends to adult best friends. It felt like our friendship had gotten stronger because of the way we had grown as people.

So I guess there are a few things to take away here:

It is totally valid to be sad to leave your friends, but the truth is that distance doesn’t actually kill friendships. The love hasn’t gone anywhere, it is actually just spreading— across cities, state lines, wherever you end up! Call them, go visit, be happy that they’re thriving somewhere new. And honestly, hanging out with your friends’ new friends can be awesome, so don’t be afraid to share the love.

Keep in touch as much as you can, but try to be flexible. Sometimes I like to schedule a call with a friend I haven’t talked to in a while, other times I just try my luck on my walk home from class, or while I’m making dinner. Not everything has to be so formal, even a fifteen minute chat can do wonders. Either way, just pick up the phone and make something happen! 

You don’t have to be afraid of change. Changing is awesome, it just means that you are getting to know yourself better. If you feel you and your old friends are growing apart, that isn’t always a bad thing. The love will always be there, but it is ok to let go of something that is not true to you anymore. Hang onto each other’s floaties, but understand that drifting is natural. It is ok to miss people that you have grown away from, but trust that the current will take you where you need to go. 

Use this coupon to get 10% off of your next art supplies run at Blick! 

By Erin O’Brien


Erin O’Brien is a student based in Boston, MA studying Communications and Studio Art. She is drawn to telling stories about love and friendship, and is a firm believer that being sappy and loving big is never a waste of time. She loves watching movies and snuggling up with her dog, Jeffrey.


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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Finding Your Mentors

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

One piece of advice that I received from nearly everyone prior to starting college was to make connections with my professors as much as possible. Networking and establishing relationships with professional mentors are an especially important aspect of being a film student, but something that I was unsure of how to approach as a relatively introverted person.

The difficult part about college is that it is more valuable and important to make those professional connections than ever before. However, it is also way more difficult to get to know your college professors than, for example, your high school teachers. It is entirely dependent on you to take the initiative in reaching out to professors, whether through attending their office hours or sending them an email. It is a lot easier said than done.

For one, professors can be incredibly intimidating when you only know them in a classroom setting. In my case, while I’m not in the largest course at my college, the film professors are still lecturing in front of 70+ people every week. They don’t know your name, they don’t know your interests or your abilities, they don’t even know if you’re attending class every week or if you’ve never shown up. So how in the world are you supposed to make yourself known and stand out from the crowd?

My experience reaching out to a professor for the first time was more one of desperation than anything. In my second semester of my first year, my mental health was at an all-time low. I was questioning every class I was taking, how I was spending my time, and whether or not I was on the right path for where I wanted to be in the future. On a phone call with my dad, I was going through the usual complaints and frustrations I had been expressing the entire semester, when he suggested having a conversation with one of my professors.

Now, I was very skeptical of the idea at first. I had never emailed one of my professors about anything other than assignment details, let alone had a sit-down conversation with one. The conversation would also essentially entail me telling my professor straight to their face that I wasn’t enjoying the subject they basically have dedicated their entire life to…scary. But, with more than a little pressure from my parents, I emailed a few of my film professors asking if any of them would be willing to have a short conversation with me about my studies.

I arranged a meeting after class with one professor and was practically shaking the entire class with fear of what was to come. To make things worse, at the end of the class, the professor read my name out loud in front of everyone. It would be an understatement to say my confidence in the upcoming conversation was low. But it was too late to back out, so I shakily walked up to the front of the class while everyone else filtered out the back. 

My professor invited me to sit down, and I was surprised right off the bat by how friendly and understanding she was about my situation. I expressed how I wasn’t feeling challenged by how introductory all of my classes had been up to that point, and how there were so many other subjects I was interested in that I was afraid I had chosen the wrong one. 

She wasn’t upset or taken aback by my feelings, and she wasn’t even entirely surprised with how underwhelmed I felt by everything. She reminded me that first-year classes are inevitably going to be introductory, and that if I can stick through the beginning, there will be many opportunities further down the line to find offshoots in film studies that connect with my other interests. She told me about some future research opportunities I could get involved in, as well as recommending some additional readings to give me deeper insight into the kinds of things we were learning about in class.

Thanks to my professor’s advice, I started watching more material outside of class assignments to further explore my other interests!

Overall, I walked away from the conversation feeling a lot more confident in myself, in my path, and in my abilities to seek out resources to make my college experience right for me. I was proud of myself for making the effort to reach out and ask for help and was delightfully surprised by how willing my professor was to give me advice. 

I think it’s important to remember that professors were once students too. In fact, you could even consider professors to be life-long students, since they are constantly engaging with and learning from the information in their field. They know what it’s like to struggle with learning things, or to struggle with feeling like you’re not learning enough, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.

While your early college interactions with professors can help you capitalize on your active college experience, the relationships you form early on can also help you with future things like research opportunities or recommendation letters. From my experience, I would recommend reaching out to professors for the first time when you feel like you could benefit from their support in their studies. That way, when the time comes that you are looking for a project to work on or a reference for an application, the relationship has already been formed naturally instead of purely on a transactional level.

One last point I’d like to stress is that mentors can be found everywhere. Professors aren’t the only option – there are counselors, clubs, administrators, and even visiting speakers that can help give you advice and support in your studies. I can guarantee you that, although it’s easy to feel alone, there are so many people out there who have felt and gone through the exact same things as you. Instead of being intimidated by their success and status, remember that they were in your position once too, and that is exactly why they are the perfect people to go to for advice.

Summary:

  • I was intimidated by reaching out to professors at first
  • After a period of constantly questioning my pathway, my parents encouraged me to ask my professor for advice
  • I was nervous but surprised by how kind and helpful my professor was in our sit-down conversation
  • Establishing professional connections in a natural way can help you down the line in your career
  • Mentors can be found all throughout the college community

Enjoy 15% off a delicious taco anytime with your student ID!

By Bella Littler

Bella is a second year film student within the Trinity College Dublin / Columbia Dual BA program. She grew up in Iowa, but is currently living and studying in Dublin. On the average day, you can find her watching obscure movies, going on aimless walks around the city, or raving about any and all Taylor Swift lyrics.


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