Archive for the ‘onValues’ Category

Songwriting and Publishing: Chorus Crisis

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

Chorus Crisis

Personally, the most challenging part about writing a song is figuring out the chorus. It strikes me as difficult because it’s the climax of the song. Remember the plot diagrams that teachers used to show us in our English classes growing up? I’ve come to realize a song is somewhat like that. The rising and falling actions reflect the verses and bridge, and the climax is the chorus. There’s always a build-up to the chorus which is why there is so much pressure to make it catchy or unique because it’s what some listeners resonate with the most. I find a chorus hard to write or even compose because it needs a wow factor to stick in the audience’s brain. When writing this song’s chorus, I tried so many chord progressions, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall lyrically and melodically. With frustration at my fingertips, I try to not give into that energy and force myself to remold that into inspiration, so I turn to the artists that have influenced me most. 

My favorite Taylor Swift song is “Clean” from her fifth studio album, 1989. I absolutely love that song because, to me, it represents hope and the ability to rebuild yourself from a tumultuously toxic relationship or experience. The chorus is a breakthrough and feels like you are about to “punch a hole in the roof” as she says in the second verse of the song. When the chorus hits, it feels almost like a release of your emotions and the lyrics surround you like a warm hug to let the listener know that they made it past these strenuous endeavors. The lyrics, “Rain came pouring down/ When I was drowning, that’s/ when I could finally breathe/ And by morning/ Gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean” not only are melodically sound but allows those to dig deep inside themselves and relate this song to any life struggle. It talks about the loss of a relationship, but it could also be about addiction, depression, or the loss of someone. What I love about interpreting this chorus, is that there are no limits as to what this means to the listener. 

When writing my chorus, I keep these things in mind but also try not to allow the pressure of trying to achieve any kind of musical perfection, because that simply does not exist. With that weight off my shoulders, I begin to strum and sing what comes to mind. I finally reach what I think is going to be my chorus: “I found you/ in the corner of my eye/ hidden in plain sight/ where were you all this time/ so hard to find/ it’s too good to be true/ but I found you/ and you found me too”. I thought, yes Taylor Swift’s chorus is jam-packed with meaning and beautifully written metaphors that have all different kinds of interpretations, but there’s also a beauty to simplicity. I didn’t want my chorus to be too much or too copy-cat-esque, but I wanted to be my own style with that hint of her inspiration. 

I run into the problem of self-doubt a lot when it comes to writing music and writing in general. I always ask myself, is this too cheesy? Or is this too cliche? But what I’ve realized is that a majority of tropes that surround music are so cheesy and so cliché, but that’s because they’re universal experiences and feelings. I’m not saying that everyone needs to write a corny Top 100 pop song to be successful, but those themes are so common that it’s a matter of turning them into something that is unique to yourself. It is important to write something that will receive an emotional response, not only from listeners but from the person singing it. When I write, sing, or play an instrument, it’s something that I have to feel in my body and mind, or else the execution or performance is set up to be a disaster from the get-go. 


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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.


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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Unlearning Perfectionism

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

Of all the things that people tend to find out about me, one fact stands out in particular: I am a perfectionist. It’s written in my star sign (Virgo) and in practically every personality test I’ve taken, from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to Buzzfeed quizzes. Even if you don’t believe in personality typing or astrology or superstitions, it’s written all over my daily actions.

There are times when it’s helpful to be a perfectionist. My teachers, for example, have praised my diligence since elementary school, so I’ve earned a lot of gold stars for my efforts over the years. But more often than not, I’ve found my perfectionism to be a burden, an obstacle in my daily routines. Yes, perfectionism has led me to score well in school, but I often find myself wondering whether the time I spent triple-checking my papers could have been invested into something more worthwhile, or at the very least more enjoyable.

The thing about perfectionism is that it isn’t a choice. I don’t choose to pick at even the most subtle details and comb through my papers for typos until my deadlines loom before me or I start spiraling into stress and self-deprecation. Perfectionism is a compulsion, a habit, a state of mind that pushes me to predict mistakes in every  situation, that convinces me that something isn’t right until I’ve made sure (multiple times!) that I’ve done everything correctly, that whispers in my mind that something must be wrong if things go too smoothly. Perfectionism is toxic, and most of all, perfectionism is demoralizing. 

A table at a charity book sale that I color-coded because I couldn’t stand the disarray.

I’ve found that unlike what people tend to assume, being a perfectionist doesn’t always mean investing 200% into my work, or writing and re-writing assignments until they reach that impossible golden standard. It doesn’t mean that I ace all of my classes, or that I don’t get tired of trying to do everything without mistakes. A lot of the time, perfectionism is losing the motivation to even get started on a project out of a fear of falling short. Perfectionism is lying in bed all day, thinking it would be better not to try than to prove myself incapable or inferior to the impossible standards I’ve imposed upon myself. Perfectionism is finding myself too afraid to even apply for opportunities that I desperately want, and pretending in the aftermath of missing out that I didn’t particularly want those things anyway. Perfectionism is lying to my friends and family about my goals and ambitions, because confiding in any of them means that I have just another person to disappoint. Perfectionism is choosing inaction.

I used to think that the worst case, in any situation, was failure. Whether that was embarrassing myself in a group activity, or performing poorly on exams, I was overcome with anxiety when it came time for any kind of evaluation. I cornered myself with a projected ideal of myself, an unrealistic version of a “successful” being, and lived under the stress of never being able to measure up. As I grew older and more cognizant of the ways in which perfectionism limits my actions, however, it has become apparent to me that my biggest loss has been the experiences that I backed out of before I could even get started. There are projects, internships, classes, and even relationships that I hid from because I believed that they would spiral rapidly out of control and somehow become a “stain” on my life’s record, proving once and for all that I really am as incapable as I feared. 

I’ve been actively trying to move away from this mental state, convincing myself that things aren’t nearly as disastrous as they may seem. I’ve started with actions of little consequence: checking my papers just twice instead of three times, going on outings in the city without planning every single step, allowing myself to get lost, and assuring myself that I am capable of working things out if they ever do go wrong, though they do so much less commonly than I tend to expect. I allow myself the space to panic or to feel nervous and afraid, but I also try to be stricter about relaxing, as contradictory as that may sound. I remind myself that the world is embroiled in unpredictability, and to hope for control in the midst of it all is a fruitless endeavor. Instead, I ask myself to surrender control, to remain flexible and adaptable to the ways of the world, and to renew my understanding of order within it all. 

There is too much to lose from feeling afraid of falling short. When I expect things to be perfect, I miss out on the world, but the world isn’t going to miss me. It might take a lot of time, effort, and patience, but perfectionism is just a habit. Habits can always be unlearned. 


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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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Love and Other Problems: Fading Nostalgia

Monday, June 27th, 2022

previous

Fading Nostalgia

After walking away from home to travel to an unfamiliar, towering city, I wanted to figure out what to do, what I wanted, what type of love I wanted. While I did try to brush old dust off my hands, put ‘figuring things out’ in a casket and let life take me wherever it wanted, I’ve realized that while I met someone new everyday, I never had a connection with someone that made us more than casual friends. My life became full of friends you see occasionally, friends you’d grab a coffee with but it would be too much to get serious, to vent about trivial things, to share your fears because, well, now everyone’s uncomfortable. These friends were like holding a lit firecracker between my teeth; fun, explosive, painful and with me for a minute. 

After watching another blank smile, another the-one-that-‘walked’-away, an age old story, the sound of cold footsteps becoming fainter and fainter was a rhythm I became all too familiar with. So I thought about the most intense form of love I could experience; romantic. I’d had three relationships in the past, three very different ideals and experiences, three different lessons learnt—and I came out of them with three different understandings of what type of love I wanted. 

The first was foolish and exciting. I never wanted to think about the relationship too seriously and never thought about why I didn’t want that—this love had fumbled somewhere, I didn’t know its purpose anymore and so it was an inevitable end. The second was a blazing meteor and maybe my karma for the nonchalant mess of the first—it was a crash-and-burn-and-run scene, a rehearsed speech and anger and pettiness, a gaslighting, nauseating mess; in hindsight it was for the best that it ended. The third was less intense and exciting than the others, it was healthy and good and pretty, it was comfortable, but we had no chemistry. The contrast between the previous excitement and current calm became boring and my words had lost their meaning somewhere between my heart and mouth. There was no point in lying to myself and forcing it, so I ended it. We did stay friends, but then I changed and he changed and we didn’t get along anymore. 

These feelings and experiences molded what I looked for in others — I knew more about myself as a person and what I wanted out of people, not just partners but also friends. Some of these attributes seemed obvious, but I apparently needed them slapped across my face to see clearly. Looking back at every lesson I’ve learnt and every moment that was spent learning loudly through tears or screaming or quietly through silences and overthinking (all silly things now and I skirt from recalling them too often before unpleasant memories can fully form, before they can bite) I comprehended a large reason as to why it was becoming so hard to grow close to someone in college: fear. I comprehended this through a fourth almost-relationship that I had. He was perfect, with a pretty eye-smile and was sweet and funny, but I was scared of timing and life (it didn’t seem like the right time, being so new to the city, but when I got that there was no ‘right time’, it was too late), so I rejected him and it was something I ended up regretting. Fear took this from me and gave in return a lot of mediocre could-have and would-haves. 

I made mistakes and I learnt, people made mistakes and I learnt too. Love in college was harder than I expected (where my expectation was borne from books and other fiction). I wanted the same things as these rose-tinted fantasies but it hasn’t been easy. I don’t have a storybook arc, I don’t face a challenge to come out ‘stronger’ or anything remotely similar, love and life in reality doesn’t like to be so straightforward.

out with my friends for our last new year together!

I did not think of these challenges when I started classes at NYU, and then I made the aforementioned mistake of just ‘watching, not trying’. I did like people, people I saw across the room, people who were in my classes, pretty, smart, gorgeous and fun people. I talked to them too, I got to know them superficially but that was it. I talked to them when I had an excuse, but that was also how I talked to any new friends I had made…and they all stayed like that: friends. This wasn’t a terrible life-ending situation to be in, but it got exhausting when everything seemed to be going well and then there was a halt, a stagnant sort of space where nothing became of our talking or closeness. Then we fell out of touch.

That was when I thought back to just a year ago, how all of my experiences had shaped who or what I wanted. There’s a lot of people who think everything that happened in high school was supposed to stay there, but I disagree. I liked who I was in high school because it shaped what I want today, and everything that I had experienced wasn’t as irrelevant as people made it out to be. In the excitement of moving from one stage of my life to another, it was really easy to forget what I had figured out from my time there, and easier even to claim a fresh start instead. That didn’t help me, it just set me back.

This comprehension came later though, a semester-into-my-freshman-year later. There was a lot I sat through in that first semester which made me think back to high school, and ultimately the contemplation shaped me into a person better prepared for the rest of the years I had left in university and even after. It made me learn how to tackle love and friendships in a way that would result in the outcome I wanted, an outcome that would leave me happier for it.

dinner with new friends in the city!

While attempting to talk to people there were a lot of restaurants I visited with different people, I used to visit Bareburger with a coupon that I found really helped override the costs that came with eating out so often! Take the opportunity and grab this coupon for Bareburger for a great lunch with your friends too!


By Mahrukh Shaikh

Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.


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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Do They Hate Me?

Monday, June 27th, 2022

Continuing with this notion of persistent thoughts within friendships and what really brings them to the forefront of our minds, I want to center this blog post around the commonly pondered question: do they hate me? 

This heavy question can lead to hours and hours of insecurity and self-doubt. I think for me, this question really comes about because of people’s tone. I can interpret it incorrectly and that misinterpretation can make me believe that my friends actually don’t like me. I feel like I spend most of my time just tearing apart every conversation I have with someone, to make sure the conversation went okay. Then, I turn inward and tear myself apart thinking about certain ways I reacted and what could be misinterpreted on my end to make them not like me. Sometimes I fear that my worst nightmare is coming true, that my friends don’t like me, they just merely tolerate me. Nevermind the fact that the loss of a friendship hurts just as much as, if not more than, a breakup.

I share these inner feelings, not to encourage this spiral of negative emotions that are somewhat baseless in nature but to enter into the conversation that insecurity and overthinking make you live these intense experiences that haven’t happened. So, you feel like you are going through them constantly, grieving things that aren’t lost and hating yourself for things that aren’t outside of your own mind.

Image Credit: https://clipart.world

First, in any type of relationship an individual may feel some sort of anxiety upon the possible fallout because of how fragile relationships can be. No matter how close people are, it can fall apart. Now, that may sound cynical but it is realistic and still a bit dark.

Now, my negative thought process, as I mentioned before, develops from within the tone of a conversation I have with someone. That anxiety further intensifies over a text conversation because I can’t see or read how the other person meant for the text to come across. I automatically revert to assuming everyone is using a passive aggressive or distasteful tone with me because I have convinced myself that everyone is just pretending to like me.

In fact, writer Jon Jaehnig who authored the article, “Why Don’t People Like Me? Thought Patterns And Behaviors With Social Skills” for betterhelp.com discusses this theory, that within friendship we constantly make overgeneralizations based on a handful of bad experiences. These overgeneralizations lead us to project our inner feelings and thoughts onto our relationships with others. Essentially, the negative thoughts and feelings that are within ourselves harm our budding relationships when we assume that they will fail because of past experiences. Often, it is easy to misremember interactions and convince ourselves that we never really had any close friends, which further “proves” our negative and baseless thoughts that are rooted in anxiety.

Although in the past I have feared being alone, I have come to realize that embracing loneliness helps to heal these negative thoughts. Becoming my own friend, in a way, has had a positive impact. It allows me the opportunity to have friendships form in a natural way, and not feel the pressure of past experiences weighing down on them coupled with the pressure of needing people to like me.

A great way to embrace this loneliness is by spending some quality time with yourself! So treat yourself! And if you are in New York City, you can stop by City Glow Beauty Boutique and get 20% off all services when you bring 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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The First Week of College: 2020

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

When the coronavirus landed in March of 2020, I isolated myself, streamed countless movies, and began preparing for the possibility of college in the Northeast. Having just graduated from High School in Colorado Springs, I spent my “waiting for college”  summer attending protests and volunteering for the Biden/Harris campaign. Every week or so I got an email that threatened to delay or blow up  in-person enrollment at Emerson College in Boston. A lot of my friends were staying home through the fall because of COVID fears; their schools mothballed campuses for the fall. We were all just waiting for this grand new chapter of our lives. In these weeks my mom and I got creative and charted different potential paths  if Boston didn’t pan out for the fall. I anxiously waited for Emerson College’s decision – to open for the fall, or go online only. I got the email in June, Emerson decided to open for in-person classes. When my roommate and I arrived at our freshman dorm room we were told to quarantine for the next forty-eight hours. Over this time my roommate and I bonded by perusing Tinder and browsing our new neighbors’ social medias. During a few Zoom meetings we excitedly looked for future connections and friendships in the faces on the screen. The anticipation for socialization reached its apex.

Emerson College’s Freshman Dorm, The Little Building (2020)

There is an expectation set for young men that college is the time for conquest, both sexual and recreational. It’s an expectation that is set from movies like Animal House and people in power who accept “locker room talk” as part of the status quo for masculinity. For generations these notions have been passed down from father to son. My Dad was a former Southern frat bro who was now overwhelmed with anxiety that his only son wasn’t showing the same type of interest in women he’d once shown. We’d once bonded over sports, but in High School I took a massive interest in theatre and film and he began questioning my sexuality. When he’d make comments about a woman’s body I’d never respond. When he’d make dirty jokes I wouldn’t laugh. This was all on my mind going into my first week of school, and yet the sexual desire was absolutely there. Perhaps it was because I’d been cooped up for so long in isolation. Perhaps a bit of that old-fashioned desire for sexual conquest had wormed its way into my psyche. When my roommate and I were let out of our dorms for the first time, I was looking for girls. I quickly made friends with a few guys on our floor. One of them was a New Jersey comedian who was dead set on getting a couple beers that night. My roommate had already planned a smoke session and I was not one to say no. Boston that September had a nice cool breeze and we walked around the city for a while before returning to the Boston Common. A bunch of other Emerson kids were gathered around and chatting, we approached them and my roommate offered up his hacky sack. There was a group of about twenty of us. We were all wearing masks and anxiously fidgeting in this new age of confusion and worry. I spoke too much and tried to get everyone’s names. One girl, who was a brunette with brown eyes, introduced herself to me and then shot me a glance. We locked eyes for a second. I darted mine away and then back again. The next time the sack came my way I immediately kicked it towards her. She wore a neon mesh shirt and seemed athletic, at least more athletic than the theatre kids and film majors that made up the circle. That day I spent the rest of my time seeking the same thrill of those little glances. I got on Tinder quickly, got a couple numbers. I was gorging myself on the possibilities of the sexual freedom that came with this new chapter. My first week became a series of needless flirtations. When school officially began I was worn out from the social expenditure. I didn’t hook up with anyone, and felt stupid for having considered that to be my only goal. I spent that week half-participating in conversations and I’d diverted my attention away from the experience of being on a campus for the first time. I felt like there was this pressure to do everything all at once. I wanted an entire college experience in the shortest amount of time possible. My advice is to slow down when you get to school. Take a second to really live in the moment and embrace the anxieties of being somewhere new. The brunette and I caught up after we’d settled into our living situations. We started going on dates. I realized that I wanted to slow things down and settle into my new home. By week two I’d experienced somewhat of a social burnout. It was good to take it a bit easier.



By Jackson Bailey

Jackson is a rising Junior at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and minoring in Political Science. Jackson enjoys writing about masculinity, love, and stand-up comedy. In his free time, Jackson enjoys snowboarding, playing pickup basketball, and reading.


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

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Songwriting and Publishing: A Verse of Poetry

Monday, June 20th, 2022

A Verse of Poetry

When it comes to writing a song, there is no proper way to go about it. If I sat here and tried to figure out how to write the perfect song, I’d be sitting here for hours. One of my biggest inspirations when it comes to songwriting is Taylor Swift. I admire the way she creates a story through her lyrics and her experiences. Her songwriting takes the form of poetry and that is something I definitely try to emulate with my own songwriting. But what am I even going to write about? The first thing I do whenever I’m writing anything is grab a notebook and a pen and get to brainstorming. With my guitar laid across my lap, I start playing chord progressions till I find something that feels right. Along with playing melodies, I simply start singing whatever comes to mind because without thought I can truly figure out what I feel. By not having any predetermined outline, I can let my words flow freely and have them come naturally, instead of writing something first. 

Concentrated and ready to write!

The first thing that comes to mind is love. Love is a universal feeling that everyone has experienced at one time or another. We love our parents, friends, and significant others, so there is a lot of room to play here. With a brush of my thumb, I start singing from an outsider looking in at my own relationships. The first lyric for the first verse starts with: “my friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before” to reflect on how sometimes we don’t realize how well things are going till we take a step back. “They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more” follows to show an appreciation for that person in my life. As I continue, I realize what I want to write: a love letter. As much as I love writing, I am admittedly bad with words in the sense that I never openly tell people how lucky I am to have come across them in my life, so this is a way to express my love through music. When writing, I often stop and come back to my guitar to hear what I write with a clear mind and a new perspective. 

I saw some swans on my walk on the Esplanade after my coffee!

Hours later when I’ve had a coffee and taken a walk around the neighborhood, I go back to writing. I pick up my guitar and try plucking a progression instead of strumming, which I find to like better to create an airy, whimsical feel. Picking up where I left off, I start blissfully singing a few lines to create the first verse. After trial and error, I solidify my words and clean up the rough edges and come up with: 

My friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before

They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more

And you don’t judge me for my dirty laundry, 

You’re the only place in this world I feel safe 

And for the first time in my whole life,

I never felt the need to try and change.

2 hours later…

After coming up with a verse, I play it over and over again until my fingers get blisters from plucking the same four strings for what feels like days. I then record myself singing what I wrote to hear it from outside my body and to double-check if it sounds angelic or like a cat clawing at a chalkboard. I also play it in several keys to see what sound I like better for the song as a whole. Although this feels like I’m creating a finished product, to me, it is never finished. I have too many ideas and changes throughout the songwriting process that I feel like I could always add more or do it completely differently, but I like to save that for the end. This verse is “done” but there are moments where I completely hate it or love it or want to start all over, but I know if I just keep going, it’ll all turn out the way it’s supposed to. 


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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.


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

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The Dizzy

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So lovely.


Like bagels and discounts? Check out Ess-a-Bagel and bring your student I.D. for 10% off your sandwich!


By Sophie Rounds

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


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

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Love and Other Problems: The First Step

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

The First Step

I hadn’t really planned for my life to go in this direction, though I guess I should have expected that, because life and expectation have a discrepancy. It’s not supposed to necessarily be a bad change, but my life now is a cutting contrast to when I used to sit in the dingy, dry cafe outside of school, gossiping in hushed tones with the soft faces I had known for years. Now I sit in aptly-sized and aesthetic cafes with their overpriced coffee, and notably alone. I never gave extensive thought to how things would change and how strange that would feel. Now sitting here as I am on my cold, marbled floor, surrounding me are unseeing strangers with lips stretched around unfamiliar smiles and roads and alleys I could take one step into and find myself lost even with every map in the world. 

In hindsight, I should have known that the thrill I felt to leave the place I had walked through for 18 years to go to college, would grow into the gnawing dread that had come to possess my lungs when I stepped foot in the airport the first time. The airport was like a limbo, the place people stopped to look through tall windows overlooking larger-than-life planes, looking at other people flying off to better or worse lives and wondering which one they’d belonged to. High school was a simpler time even if it had felt like university was the key to figuring everything out all at once. It had been the same people, same building and same structure for years, and though I felt like a dancer then, performing one routine over and over and ready to step out of the cradle of my stage, it was still a comfort. I didn’t think about how much of a comfort it really was until I started to feel the absence of my shiny rehearsed performance and polished stage floors and the faceless crowd cheering me on. 

One thing that had felt difficult in particular was love. Love in all its forms and with all its nuances felt more out of reach. Youthful love and hate and heartbreak and drama had existed in a buzzing sort of confinement, not dissimilar to an agitated bee hive, and had been easier to find and keep. Moving to another city and leaving it all behind just felt like it meant letting go of every attachment I had with my favorite restaurants, my favorite spots at my favorite time of day and my favorite people. It was strange because even the kids I never really liked were part of a constant I had stickily attached myself to, and being uprooted from that was disorienting. Of course I had been merrily packing my whole life and never thought about it, until I was at the end of a hastily written chapter and facing my two best friends who seemed a grave sort of upset to my eerie calm. The moment I stepped through the gate and looked back at their weary faces, I knew we had taken our last picture together, smiling and heavy-hearted, because they would be moving soon as well. With that thought, I got through immigration blankly, a silent cacophony dancing in my head until I was at the gate, and then waited for my flight crying in the bathroom. 

And then I sent my friends pictures of me breaking down to poke fun at myself as some sort of odd, ludicrous way of coping. 

The flight overlooking my city

Perhaps it will get easier as I slowly integrate myself into the structure of this new community and the challenges and new comfort it brings. Maybe there will always be a part of me that will miss the ease that came with knowing what to expect and being told what to do, and the unadorned confidence in the knowledge that the people around me would stay the same. I had time back then, to get to know these people. The time we thought about was never in the context of workload, it existed with simple routines and little choices. Back then, my routine and method in befriending or getting to know someone was entirely based on knowing when and where I would see them; and that usually just consisted of either class, lunch, or after school. Now, that range is broader, so broad I could never list out every place or time or possibility if I tried –– and it makes keeping someone a constant harder, because one day you may see them regularly, but then the semester is over and you don’t have the chance again. Both of you forget about each other. 

I recall going through notes for my chinese exam in a line at the Starbucks inside university during my first semester, and a tall, soft-eyed guy had struck a conversation with me on the course. It was a nice conversation, until afterwards when I had gotten my drink and walked to my table and promptly realized I forgot to ever get a name or anything, and being as bad with faces as I was (am), I knew I could be found looking him right in the eye and not have a lick of recognition. If this was school, I could ask anyone about who that was (because everyone knew everyone) and strike an easy friendship. Mildly disappointed, I had huffed and sat down, sipping miserably on my overly sweet frappe. Tough luck. 

NYU Campus at Abu Dhabi

Since I realized how hard it was to keep in touch with people, and realizing how little people liked to follow routines, never being able to make friends or getting close enough to someone to love them has gradually grown into a crawling fear. Love, in all its forms of romantic and platonic and everything in between, suddenly wasn’t so simple. It was a challenge, a challenge I wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with. I was prepared to adjust to homesickness, to the difficulty that accompanied high-level academia, but I didn’t think love would be something that I found difficulty in. It had always come so easily to me. 

I understand that love as a concept is complicated –– like the life that I shouldn’t expect to keep to a routine, love is like tides refusing to bow to the pull of the moon; rebellious, exhilarating and unpredictable. I thought it was something that would easily fall into place, that it would find me as easily as it did before, but I felt lost when it didn’t. But, as I knew about the discrepancy between life and expectation, I should have known of the discrepancy between love and it too. Love in all its appearances has been unexpectedly hard but taking control of it has been the solution that I have discovered. Leaving love up to fate does not seem to be the answer, so I am taking love out of fate’s palms and trying to do the best I can with it in every way available to me.

Like I used to have good food with my friends at cafes and restaurants, you can use this coupon to do the same and save money with a student coupon at the same time:



Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.


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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Hindsight is 2020: Starting College in a Global Pandemic

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Villanova COVID-19 Timeline, March 2020

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

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

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

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


By: Katie Reed

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


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

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Defining the Next Step

Friday, April 22nd, 2022

I am officially in my last month of college. As the weather warms and Union Square fills up with people who yearn for sunlight, I’ve come to reflect on the last four years of my life. While I have spent many hours thinking about my college experience this semester, the frequency of these thoughts has multiplied tenfold. At 23 years old, it feels as though something in my life is coming to an end. 

I’m trying to think of it less as something concrete and harsh and instead as something fresh and challenging… A new chapter, so to say. But that doesn’t feel quite accurate. We spend a large amount of our lives in academia; from when we first step out of our parent’s arms and onto the playground to when we walk across a grand stage to receive our diploma, we are in a state of learning. What comes after, if you don’t pursue grad school, is a different kind of life. I feel, to some unnerving degree, overwhelmed by the concept of a “career”… I am scared by the idea of taking my first few steps into an industry I’ve dreamt about since I was a child. 

Steps in the snow that caught my eye!

In past chapters, I’ve written about how intimidating it is to have a passion. This applies to having dreams as well. When you grow up dreaming of something, of working towards it, it can feel as though the moment you can start working in that dream will never come. Suddenly though, as you’re filling out graduation forms and job applications, it hits you. You realise that you’re done building your tools… Now, you have to use them. A lifetime of mounting pressure becomes real and you understand that you’re standing at the starting line of a career you’ve always wanted to pursue. 

This has, unfortunately, various detrimental effects on the psyche. It roots up points of uncertainty and self-doubt, preying on questions that grind at your mentality. It begins to make you wonder if this is what you want to do– if you’ve dedicated the last four years of your life to the right thing. 

What helps with this kind of wobbly footing? I’ve found myself searching through my own archives for solutions, for as often as these questions crop up, so do reminders of my love for literature. What I’ve come to realise is that I am not beholden to one single path. Just as I’ve explored and expanded my interests in school, I can do this again with my work. I’ve realised that this starting line isn’t for any kind of linear race; rather, it is simply a point of departure for a new adventure. It opens up my world to new opportunities, experiences, questions, ideas, and interests. Whatever I choose to do next is not something I am stuck with; instead, it is something I can learn from as I move through the world. 

Something else I’ve accepted is that this is not the end of my academic life– at least, not if I actively fight against it. I want to keep learning. Four years is not enough for me to feel adequately fulfilled by academia… But I realise that I don’t necessarily have to pursue grad school right away to continue my education. We are all humans who can choose to continue learning every day. We have an endless universe of knowledge right at our fingertips, not just via the internet but by the conversations we can cultivate in our lives. We can read novels, articles, and blogs. We can attend talks and plays and social events. We can meet people at book clubs or sign up for a class in something we’ve never tried before. The possibilities are endless… And so are our connections with other people. 

As we move through the world, pages of our individual stories get turned. What feels like the end is the start of something else. By expanding our view and access to the world, we expand our knowledge. Each step we take is a step toward a new experience… And perhaps new passions and dreams as well! 


By: Ehani Schneiderman

Ehani Schneiderman is a senior studying literature and anthropology at The New School. She hopes to connect with others through writing, poetry, and cultural exchange. When she isn’t nose deep in a book or word document, you can find her paddle boarding in a bay or scuba diving out at sea.


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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