Archive for the ‘Relationships’ 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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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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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.

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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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“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (As Long as You’re Vaccinated)

Monday, August 22nd, 2022

As you get older, you learn a lot about relationships, be they familial, platonic, romantic, professional, or anything in between. High school is where you think you hit your stride in this department, since you start to become more independent and have many more choices to make; you are both physically and metaphorically in the driver’s seat more than you have been in your whole life. Making friends is also super convenient, as most of the people you are close with live no more than ten miles from your house and you see them every day at school. Minimal effort required.

But then once you graduate and enter your twenties, you realize there’s a reason that sitcoms focus on this age group—it’s the time in your life where you’re constantly trying to find your way in the world and relate to the people around you. All of your friends and family (probably) don’t live around the corner anymore, so it’s on you to forge those new connections. College plays a big role in this growing process because never in your life will you have as much freedom, but also as much confusion, as you do in those four years.

Freshman year of college is a particularly unique time because it feels like all the different realms of your life are trying to collapse in on each other. You’re trying to keep in touch with your friends from high school, you’re trying to make sure your family doesn’t feel isolated, and all the while, you’re trying to make new friends in a completely new environment. Being from Massachusetts and going to school at Villanova, I felt far removed from everyone I had grown up with, which was both a little bit sad and exciting. On one hand, I was wishing that I had chosen a school closer to home so I could cling to that sense of familiarity, and on the other, I was happy to be somewhere that felt completely my own where I could push myself outside of my comfort zone. After the first semester, I was feeling good about the friends that I was making both inside and outside of my dorm, and I felt like I was finally starting to see this new place as my home.

One such friend: my roommate of four years who recently came to visit me in MA over the summer. Shout out to any fellow Pirate’s Cove mini-golf enthusiasts.

Then, you know, this cute little thing called COVID-19 came along, and it became a rather tumultuous time in our collective sitcom eras. Less laugh tracks, more laments.

I started to wonder what would happen to those relationships I had been cultivating those first two semesters—would they survive a global pandemic? When we came back to school (at that point—if we came back to school at all) how would things be different from the first time I saw my peers? And what would happen to the people I was friends with from my town, where even the ten-mile radius felt so far away during quarantine? Everything was so uncertain, and those first few months of the pandemic were some of the loneliest months of my life. Stuck in my house, not able to see extended family members, high school friends, or college friends. But maintaining relationships and keeping people who are important to you in your life takes effort, and this period of our lives was perhaps the greatest test of who you would remain close with and who you might unfortunately grow apart from.

The rules of relationships also seemed to be changing to align with the health crisis we were living through. I was always incredibly nervous about COVID, both contracting and spreading it, so I took every precaution seriously to minimize putting myself and my loved ones at risk. When the spread began to slow and we could start seeing people outside of quarantine, the most important thing for me was to make sure their boundaries were respected. Are they okay hanging out with no masks? Would they prefer to be outside where we could socially distance? Would it be easier to do something or go somewhere that required wearing masks so we wouldn’t even have to debate it? It was great when vaccines started rolling out and we were able to better protect ourselves, but these questions never really went away. Ironically, despite being very cautious, last winter I still got one of my best friends sick after texting her that “I only have a little bit of a stuffy nose, I definitely don’t think it’s COVID” before hanging out with her. Guess what it was!

The text message that did not age well.

Though I would never be upset or mad with someone who accidentally exposed me to COVID and got me sick, I still felt a lot of guilt over just the potential of getting anyone sick. My friend was very reassuring about the whole thing, so it helped to ease the burden of what I was feeling. 

Maintaining relationships during COVID was difficult to say the least, but it taught me a lot about how you should treat people. From my perspective, the two most important parts of a relationship of any kind are respect and trust. Many people had different comfort levels when it came to the pandemic, so it was necessary to respect when people maybe didn’t want to hang out or wanted to take an abundance of caution to make sure that everyone felt safe. We had to trust that those close to us were wearing their masks, not going to unnecessary “super-spreader” events, and were getting vaccinated when they could. And ultimately, when those around us were sick, we needed to be supportive of them and do our best to be there for them.

These are of course not lessons that are exclusive to a pandemic but have instead been strengthened by it. In fact, it should not have taken a pandemic for us to figure out that we need to be kind and considerate of others, but nonetheless, here we are. And after all of those precautions, the COVID scares within networks of people, and the months of general struggle, I’ve come to realize that what I look for the most in relationships is being around people who make me feel comfortable. I strive to be that person for others, and I would encourage you to do the same, as it will go a long way in building meaningful connections with people.

Hopefully Randy Newman would agree.

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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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Reflecting Friendships

Friday, July 29th, 2022

I like to think that my worldview has grown a lot in the past few years. Once I took the first steps necessary to become more independent and responsible, beginning with my journey into a foreign country for college and continuing as I make my way towards different travels and milestones, I came to realize many lessons and values that I failed to before. Most particularly, I learned how to reevaluate my relationship with the people around me. 

I often hear about “red flags” or “warning signs” in any kind of relationship on social media, and though these warnings aren’t always reliable, they prompted me to start considering my personal boundaries with others. There were tiktoks and tweets that I came across that made really general statements about interactions, categorizing slow texters or people who use a certain kind of emoji as being “bad” or undesirable. While I know I shouldn’t take these posts too seriously, I began wondering if I had traits that others considered to be “red flags” or absolute boundaries, or just how others viewed their relationship with me in general. Of the faults that I could readily list about myself, I must admit to being a terrible texter. Not because I don’t want to respond, but oftentimes I just forget to, or I get way too in my head about it and end up feeling unnecessary anxiety about my replies instead. I wondered if these “failed” interactions were my fault, or if I was allowed to expect my friends to be more or less accommodating of these faults. 

As with most people, I’ve had my fair share of difficulties in navigating relationships, particularly with friendships. I grew up in a small community amongst a rather static group of peers. Few people entered this circle, and fewer people really left. It’s safe to say that my social circle never experienced major ups or downs, and as time passed everyone kind of just got used to being around each other. While I was fine with this as a child, I started feeling more and more alienated as I grew older and my interests developed differently from my peers. Quite a few of my friendships came to pass in this manner — maintained as an extended familiarity, but fading away without any real attachments. 

As a result, I held a lot of rather naive expectations about socialization when I grew older and started stepping out into a broader community. I figured that with an increased population size I would find my place somehow, and I definitely believed I did, but it was only as my freshman year of college came to a close that I realized that my “place” was just temporary. As this first year progressed, my peers began to shed their early orientation-driven enthusiasm and with it, many friend groups collapsed and faded away. I found myself at a loss as conflicts erupted in the groups around me, and my own relationships with these people grew brittle, and eventually broke away. I was deeply upset that those I had trusted and believed to be close confidants had so easily let go of our friendships. 

In the two years since then, I’ve grown and found comfort in my own goals and interests, but I often recall the naivety I held in my first year, and wonder if there was anything I should’ve changed to keep hold of the people who I thought were important. But at the same time, without these continuing attachments, I’ve had the time to reflect on myself and really focus on my own growth. I’ve come to appreciate being alone most of the time, much unlike the way my old friend group was adamant about doing everything together. I think I’ve found that keeping to myself works a lot better for my personality, and in this time I spent focusing on myself, I’ve also found several very valued friendships that I’m comfortable within and that I trust to be respectful of my boundaries. Most importantly, I’ve come to accept that there are some people who are only meant to be in my life for a period of time, and though they no longer hold that position, I should just be thankful for the joyful memories we shared and let them go without resentment. 

Exploring shared interests is a great way to spend time with my friends without feeling overwhelmed or fatigued — this was from a trip to Dia Beacon!

My younger self was perhaps too dependent on the idea of the glorified “best friend,” the media-marketed ideal of a tight-knit group where everything functions perfectly and no one ever gets hurt. While this may be a reality for many people, it simply hasn’t been for me, and I understand now that this expectation may have prevented me from really being a good friend to others. I convinced myself that the issue was just that we weren’t a fit, and while that may have been the case as well, this selfish belief kept me from putting in as much effort as I perhaps should have. But as I’ve matured and cast aside such habits, I think my greatest lesson throughout these many failed friendships is that there really isn’t a reason why I should need a perfect friend group. More than anything, I’ve learned that I’m perfectly fine and happy even without, and this ideal that I chased all throughout childhood only served to make myself miserable as I compared every relationship I had to “perfection” and found them wanting. There were definitely many connections that I mistakenly let go of due to these misconceptions, but as a wiser (as I’d like to think) version of myself, I trust that I have grown enough to be happy as I am, and hope that in this way, I can foster much healthier relationships with the people I come across in the future. 


One of the best ways I’ve found to catch up with others is to meet up for a meal or a cup of coffee and chat. Use this student discount and treat yourself and a friend!


By: Fiona Lin

Fiona Lin is a rising senior at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Campus pursuing a double major in Literature and Creative Writing and Art and Art History. She enjoys traveling, drinking tea, and learning new languages. In her free time, you can find her reading web novels or playing video games.


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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hot potato but make it a metaphor for zoom university 

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Picture this: you’re playing Extreme Hot Potato for the first time. 

You’ve never played before. You don’t automatically know what makes it extreme- you just know that you signed up, so now you’re playing. You’re a little nervous, a little excited. You bounce on the balls of your feet; you put your hands up like a baseball star, ready to play. 

Suddenly there’s a flaming lump being launched at you. 

Your eyes widen in shock. It’s coming fast, but your brain is faster. 

As the potato, hurls towards you, you process a few things. The first is that this is the potato you are supposed to catch. It is literally on fire, blackened at this point. Definitely overcooked.

The second is anger, because no one told you the “extreme” part of the game would be literally catching something on fire. You would’ve said no, or worn a catcher’s glove, or waited to say yes until you knew how to approach such a weird, wild concept, or something. There were a dozen ways to have handled it but now, with no way to prepare, you’ll probably end up with a hell of a burn.

But you don’t have time to be angry and, as the air around you gets warmer, you brace yourself for the incoming pain, your hands rigid in front of you, and prepare to catch the fiery starch. 

It’s too late to turn back now.

orange lineart drawing of a potato on fire
That is one very hot potato!

Sometimes that’s life- a game of Extreme Hot Potato, with twists and turns you never saw coming. Adolescent life, especially, can be capricious in all the worst ways. There’s dozens of coming-of-age films and books that’ve been written with the sole purpose of reminding fully-grown taxpayers about just how hard it was, and teaching up-and-coming adults how hard it will likely be. Between trying to balance autonomy with still needing support, learning to take care of yourself, doing schoolwork, making friends, holding a job, financing your education, and classes all at once, sometimes it feels like there’s barely time to breathe. Then, worse than any flaming potatoes, 2020 threw in a global pandemic. 

When COVID-19 hit an ill-prepared United States, no one was ready for it. It destroyed peoples’ lives and health, wreaking havoc on the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens. For the people who weren’t dying or struggling with a weakened immune system, it was incredibly isolating. 

While not nearly as tragic as the numerous deaths it caused, the pandemic intensified the difficulties of young adulthood. It was disruptive to the college experience, leaving numerous students without housing or resources they thought they would have. A struggle it caused- that I can speak to more accurately- is how lonely it was. Best friends went from being neighbors to only being able to talk from six feet away, if you were lucky enough to live nearby. I was recently talking to my friend about some of the stuff I’d gone through over the pandemic, which had been a wild ride and a half. I’d broken up with my ex, gone through a few different jobs, dated, and tried to make new friends. My friend, one of the closest people to me when I’d been living on campus, only knew the parts of my life I’d shared online. We lamented the distance quarantine had created, the way the intricacies of social connection had been lost to distance. Not being able to be around one another on campus prevented us from being able to support each other as closely. You can’t really lean on someone from states away.

We were a single case study. Research conducted for the Children and Youth Services Review found that the impact of COVID-19 made students in India more “likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression” (“COVID-19 and its impact on…”)) in addition to negatively affecting their scholarly habits. In the United States, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that of 43,098 students who sought mental health counseling, 94% reported that at least one part of their life had been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (“COVID-19 Impact on College Student Mental Health”). The most affected part of life for the students interviewed, at a resounding 72%, was their mental health; at a barely-lower percentage of 68% were their feelings of isolation. Considering the CCMH report only acknowledges the responses of students who had the resources to seek treatment, it’s safe to assume the pandemic left its mark on the vast majority of us; it changed the course of our college experience.

I haven’t touched on everything else- the difficulties of staying focused in Zoom University, or the way the pandemic prevented students from accessing the facilities or materials necessary to do their work, or the way not everyone had a place to go or a family they could be around safely when it came time to evacuate campuses. Without any need for elaboration, I think it’s clear that all of it, compounded, created a hostile learning environment in an already-tumultuous period of life.

Perhaps the best thing to come from the COVID-19 College Experience was resilience. As someone who stuck through Zoom University, I was able to get a place off-campus, in the same town as my friends from school, and have a semi-normal senior year. Things got better. Proximity allowed me to be closer to my chosen family, to have people around me that I could go to for support, and to have access to my college’s resources. I saw the world start to heal, starting with the little community of Lesley University. For some people, persistence took a different form. Whether it was a gap year or the realization that a traditional college education wasn’t the path for them, the pandemic encouraged people to branch out, finding creative solutions that fit their needs, growing like plants through cracks in the pavement. We all found a way to keep going.

orange lineart drawing of two folks having a talk on a park bench
Sometimes you need a good heart-to-heart with the friend you got separated from at the hands of a global pandemic.

Extreme Hot Potato burns, but you make it out alive.

tl;dr: the only way out is through.


You did it! You survived quarantine and made it all the way through college. You- and your chosen family, made up of a ragtag group of college pals- deserve a sweet treat. 

With your student IDs and the help of a Campus Clipper coupon, you can get just that at Pavement Coffeehouse- and all from the comfort of your own home! By using the promo code specified in the advertisement, you can get five dollars off of your first mobile order.


By Ness Curti

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


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

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Am I Overreacting?

Monday, July 11th, 2022

Being in a relationship with a person and expressing our feelings makes us more vulnerable and open. A partner that belittles your feelings and makes you feel that you are going crazy when you point out things that make you upset, is not a partner. If they act this way, then they are not treating you as an equal and they are not making room for your feelings. I think when this occurs within a relationship, it can make you feel that you are going slowly insane; stories keep changing, things you’ve done have been made and exaggerated, and now you can’t recall if you are remembering correctly. It starts you in on this self questioning, again: am I overreacting? Especially when your partner does not give you space for your feelings, you feel as though any feelings you are having are excessive, dramatic and not needed. 

This type of self-questioning that stems from your partner’s reaction to your feelings can be exhausting and suffocating. Your partner is making your experiences seem unreliable and you then start to believe that you are unreliable. 

The truth is you are not overreacting, and you have a right to feel everything you feel on any scale you want or need to feel it. As a participant in this line of self-questioning, I’ve spent many days thinking about this in every type of situation I have been in. I may continue to obsess over every interaction and conversation to make sure I remember everything correctly, as a means to justify my emotions. But, it is important to hear and listen to that voice that tells you “Hey, I’m very happy or upset, and I am allowed to feel that emotion to its full extent.”

Image Credit: https://clipart.world

Author Robert Porter goes in-depth and examines how constant emotional invalidation affects our relationships to self and individual in his article, “Effects of Emotional Invalidation” for ReGain.us. If your partner is engaging in this type of emotional invalidation, it can make you believe you are overreacting in situations and it can impact your feelings and your relationship with your own experiences and emotions. Porter describes how emotional invalidation can happen even without purposeful intent to make it happen. And this invalidation can look like having a dismissive nature when your partner is telling you their feelings or experience, or forcing them to feel positive emotions instead of any other emotion they are feeling. Porter then discusses that in the long-term this reaction can lead to your partner hiding their feelings and not telling you their experiences or feelings. Some possible solutions to stop this invalidation, include starting to listen more deeply and recognizing that your partner is their own person and will respond differently to a situation than you might. I can honestly say having been subject to emotional invalidation in the past, I have caught myself now invalidating things that my partner is telling me about his experiences. Oftentimes, I am able to catch myself in these moments and I apologize to him and let him tell him what was happening and how he was feeling without interjecting or dismissing. I let him tell me how he feels and express in any way he wants.

Overall, if you find yourself inwardly posing the question “am I overreacting?” discuss with your partner the ways you feel that their reactions may be invalidating your own emotions. Emotional invalidation can take a toll on you as an individual, your relationship, and how we relate to our own experiences. It’s important to listen to your partner and allow space for all these feelings in your relationship.

On another note, if you are in NYC maybe take a date night out to Amorino Gelato and Cafe and get 20% when you show this coupon and your student ID!


By: Ashley Geiser 

Ashley Geiser is a Junior studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Pace University. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and Co-President for Her Campus at Pace. She loves reading and editing. And when she is not reading or editing, she can be found baking in her kitchen.


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

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on classroom camaraderie

Monday, July 11th, 2022

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

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

They are a Good Artist. 

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

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

Flash forward to 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


By Ness Curti

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


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

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