Archive for the ‘University’ Category

Chapter 1: Where Do I Go Next?

Monday, September 18th, 2023

The date is October 4th, 2019. Just a few months before we’re forced to remain inside our homes and the only way we would talk to our friends would be through a screen.

I was a senior in high school and freaking out every day about where the hell I should go to college, what I would major in, or if I should even go to college because the idea of not living in the same vicinity as my dog was terrifying (note to self: after four years it is still very difficult not being with my dog everyday).


Me and my dog Coco graduating high school! (We have a co-dependent relationship)

I knew that the best decision would be to go to school because if I stayed back home while all my friends moved on, my already not great mental health would get even worse. So, with that in mind, I spent almost all of my free time researching different colleges, debating how far I should go, and deciding if I should actually listen to my mother when she said I would prefer a smaller campus compared to a big one. I was 17 so naturally that teenage angst told me that my mom didn’t know what she was talking about. Now at 21, I realize she knew exactly what she was talking about. Further proof that mother’s always know best, but that’s not the topic right now.

By the time application season rolled around, I had applied to about five or six schools with two schools on the top of my list. One was a school in Massachusetts that I visited once and thought was cute and despite being far from home, was still close to one of my brothers who lives in Massachusetts. The other school was Pace University, only thirty minutes from home with an alternate city campus if I wanted to go further.

On October 4th, 2019 I went on a tour that I didn’t know then, but would ultimately be the tour that made my decision to go to this school.

It started off as a regular tour with the generic tour guide claiming this is the best school ever while walking backwards and constantly reassuring the parents that this is the safest campus in New York and your child will be taken care of. Needless to say, I was bored out of my mind waiting for the tour to end so the actual fun part would begin.

I had a family friend who always felt like a sibling to me at this school who would give me the actual realistic tour and let me hang out in their dorm while my mom went to watch the baseball game (coincidentally my stepbrother’s school was playing against Pace that day). Together my friend and I walked around campus, sat in the dining hall (I took a bite of the french fries, they weren’t great but there’s a McDonald’s down the street), hung out with some of their friends, and then went back to their dorm to watch stupid YouTube videos. You know, the routine of almost every college student.

On December 10th, 2019, I got the acceptance letter to Pace University. By January 2020 I had heard back from all the schools I applied to and got into both of my top picks. I had no idea how I was going to make this decision because I struggle just deciding what I’m going to eat for lunch, so figuring out the next four years felt impossible. But, thankfully, my mom told me we could visit both schools again just to get a feel for each. I was hoping I could get a more personal tour of my second school so I could compare it to the one I got from Pace. However, before I got a chance to do so, we were locked into our homes.

Being a class of 2020 student affected me more than I thought it would. If it wasn’t for COVID, I honestly couldn’t say I’d be in the same position I’m in currently. When decision day came in I reflected on both schools and knew that Pace was the place for me. I already had a distinguished relationship with someone I trusted and knew that would help me find the courage to break out of my shell in school.


Me and my friend Cayleigh this past summer in 2023

With this friend close by, I could contact them for any questions I had, felt encouraged to actually go out, and just genuinely have someone there for me when needed. I’m forever so grateful to this friend for all they have done for me and I hope one day I can return the big favor they’ve done for me. (Hey Cayleigh, if you’re reading this, let’s go get some drinks with our moms and I’ll tell you how much I love you again).

Positive relationships are so beneficial not just for your mental health, but physical health as well. Better Health Channel’s website has a blog about how relationships help lower one’s anxiety and depression, which was something I was worried would worsen when going to college. I had already struggled with my mental health for years beforehand and going into an unknown school not knowing anyone would definitely affect my anxiety. Thanks to this existing relationship, my overall mood was significantly better as was my confidence in getting to know people.


Me the day I moved into my dorm in August 2020

In August of 2020 I finally moved into my first dorm at Pace University after several facetimes and conversations with my roommate. By then I had two established relationships that ultimately made my first week at my new school exciting rather than terrifying.Having a connection with someone can make new challenges in your life more enjoyable which it ultimately did for me.

Summary:

  • I had been struggling for a while about what college I should go to but thanks to my friendship with a student at Pace it made my decision easier.
  • I was a senior in high school during 2020, so I was in lockdown when trying to figure out which college I should commit to
  • This friendship made my confidence about entering a new stage in my life much better and lead me to not being afraid to reach out to new people (Including my roommate I mentioned at the end)

Every college student needs to stay caffeinated! Enjoy a free iced coffee with the purchase of any sandwich! Make sure to bring coupon and student ID!

By Mia Ilie

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


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

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

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Please Handle With Care

Saturday, August 27th, 2022

Whenever we are shipping or traveling with something fragile, we always label it as such and make sure that the item is handled with the utmost care. Why do we so seldom treat ourselves with the same caution? Items are replaceable, but we—as I hope you know—are not.

I’ve covered a lot of different topics throughout my writing about the COVID-19 pandemic—from being sent home from college, to current events, to relationships, and everything else in between. Truthfully, I could probably write about all the other ways that this unprecedented era of human history intersected with our normal lives, but almost anything you can think of would lead you right back here to a discussion of mental health and self-care—perhaps the greatest lesson that COVID may have had to offer.

Image credit: Pine County, MN, Department of Health and Human Services

Mental health wasn’t really something that I thought deeply about until I got to college. When I look back on high school and think about a lot of my habits—burning the midnight oil to finish my homework, sacrificing sleep, and generally spreading myself too thin—I can’t help but cringe. We’re taught that this is what it means to “work hard,” but it comes at a pretty high cost, especially when you’re young. No one should have to feel like that is the way you need to operate, no matter what stage of life you’re at. You are not the work you do or the grades that you get; your worth is far beyond that, which is something I try to remind myself when I start to believe otherwise. 

I still find myself exhibiting many of these behaviors in college, and it wasn’t until this point in my life where I started to feel physiological responses to my stress or anxiety—heart beating too fast, thoughts racing out of control, worrying about everything. And most of the time, I was concerned more so with how it would affect me academically, not physically or mentally. Yikes.

The pandemic really changed my perspective on mental health, not only showing how important it is to prioritize all aspects of your health, but also pointing out how many of the things we accepted as normal before COVID were deeply flawed. For instance, growing up, it was always expected that you would go to school or to work even if you were not feeling well. If you had a cold, you had to stick it out. If you didn’t sleep well, were feeling overwhelmed, or were burnt out, you had to find a way to get through the day. But now that we have lived through the onset of a deadly, infectious disease, we realize just how ridiculous this kind of behavior is. At school, more and more professors in their syllabi are now encouraging us not to come to class if we feel any inkling of an illness to make sure that we don’t spread it around to others. There is no good reason to force ourselves into doing things when we are not at our best, a mindset we should have adopted long ago.

Now, a lot of my professors have also added mental health provisions to their syllabi, encouraging us to take a day off class if we are struggling mentally and can’t engage with the class. Our student government leaders are pushing to make missing class for mental health reasons count as excused absences. In 2021, a student organization that carries out the mission of the Bandana Project, a national mental health awareness and suicide prevention campaign, was formed on our campus, seeking to provide students with resources for and breaking the stigma around mental health—all it takes is a green bandana to show your support and willingness to engage in the campaign. All of these changes ensure that we never have to feel that our academic career takes precedence over our wellbeing. At the end of the day, we’re at college to learn, not to burn ourselves out.  

Image credit: The Bandana Project
Be sure to check out this amazing organization!

Over the last couple of years, a lot of different stressors in our lives have converged at once: the spread of COVID-19, long periods of isolation, our nation in turmoil, and the general uncertainty of everything, while still having to go to college either online or in person when it became safe again. We are still dealing with the long-term consequences of all of these things, and the pandemic still isn’t really over. But we are all human and we can only expect so much out of ourselves, so if COVID did one thing for us, it was to force us to slow down and reconfigure our thinking to gear ourselves toward what is really important: taking care of ourselves.

So, remember to listen to what your body or your mind is saying—you are the best person to judge your limits and realize what you need at any given moment. Do the things that you enjoy doing, make you happy, and help you to heal—read a book, do a face mask, chill out (just to name a few of my go-to strategies). Totally cliché, but life really is all about balance. It takes effort to unlearn all of the things ingrained into our brains, something that I have still been struggling with, but at the end of the day, just please handle yourself with care.

As I said with my previous chapter regarding relationships, it should not have taken a global pandemic just to learn that we have to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I suppose it is better late than never.

A great way to practice self-care is to treat yourself in the health and beauty sphere, so be sure to use this coupon at Trinity’s Touch for all your brow, lash, and skincare needs!

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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“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.

Nothing says friendship like paintball, so be sure to check out 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, 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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“You Online Shop Too Much”-My Mom, Probably

Friday, August 5th, 2022

If online shopping is so bad, then why is it so relaxing? Why is it so satisfying to fill my carts with all of the items that I want, knowing full well that I can’t afford the thousands of dollars of merchandise? Why does it bring me comfort to organize wish lists with things that I will probably never get around to buying? These are the million-dollar questions, I know.

In my first semester at college, I was probably ordering new clothes once a month. It was so convenient to ship them to my dorm, and it’s always fun to get a package when you’re at school, even if you’re the one sending it. However, I do have a habit of ordering clothes just to return them in the next week. My mom considers this a bad habit, but I consider it being fiscally responsible and making sure to get my money back whenever I order something that I don’t like or don’t need. To each their own.

A very high-quality mirror selfie of me trying on clothes that I ordered online in my dorm. We do not have a full-length mirror, hence the standing on the chair. Have to get creative sometimes.

Once the pandemic hit, the term “retail therapy” seemed to take on a whole different meaning. It was one of several ways to pass time during our days of isolation, but it also seemed like a way to stay connected with the outside world and brighten up your life by getting something new or treating yourself in whatever form that takes—whether it was new clothes (ironic, considering the furthest place I was going on an average day was to the kitchen downstairs), a new book to read, or a new appliance to try out. Much more convenient and safer than going shopping in-person, and much less work and cognitive energy being spent.

But, like many things in life, online shopping is not immune to corrupt business practices, ones that of course flourish in our capitalist system; ones that not only take advantage of employees that work in factories with egregious conditions and contribute to environmental destruction, but also manipulate us as consumers because they offer services that we are compelled to utilize.

Take Amazon, an example I’m sure we are all intimately familiar with. As a college student, Amazon is a lifesaver. Need a book for class immediately? It could come the next day. Need back to school supplies but don’t have access to transportation? Order it online and just walk to your mailroom to pick it up. Want to buy a coffee machine but don’t know which ones are the best to buy? Look at the reviews and have it in two days. It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s affordable, and the products are usually very good quality.  

The cost, of course, is more than just the price of the item. The cost is that you are compelled to take part in a system that is as dangerous as it is convenient: employees are being pushed to the brink to work faster in unsafe working conditions, they are kept in the dark about COVID-19 and put at a greater risk for it, they work more than 60 hours a week, and they have to commute two or three hours to get to work, just to name a few of the many issues cited by Justine Medina and Brett Daniels, who are members of the organizing committee for Amazon’s Labor Union in Staten Island.

The same thing goes with fast fashion, “the mass production of cheap, poor quality, disposable clothing.” College students are very susceptible to fast fashion from companies like Shein, who take advantage of a person’s inclination to spend less money while still trying to keep up to date with fast-evolving trends. We see people our age everyday get on TikTok to take us through their shopping hauls, and it makes us want to go out and spend our money to do the same. Shein though, unlike Amazon, usually does not have as good-quality products and is very hit or miss, which personally gives me more of a reason not to shop there. I ordered from Shein one time freshman year, and out of the three items I kept, I have worn one of them exactly once. That is, of course, a perk of fast fashion—the clothes are so cheap that if you don’t wear them, you don’t feel guilty because it didn’t cost you very much. But, that’s also why the cycle is so hard to break, as people are more inclined to dispose of their clothes faster (not usually through sustainable methods) and simply order more.

I want to be abundantly clear that this post isn’t meant for me to sit here on a pedestal, tell you where you can and can’t shop, or make you feel bad. It’s more meant for myself—and hopefully others who feel similarly—to think through these pervasive problems and wonder where we can go from here. I still shop at Amazon and I don’t blame people who order from Shein because truly we are all just doing the best we can to try to save money and navigate a system that is inherently unfair at every step of the way.

I am caught between two schools of thought—on one hand, maybe individuals can try to be more aware of where they are shopping from and shop more sustainably. There are many good options, with the best probably being thrifting your items. Another good solution is to support more small businesses as opposed to large corporations, such as spending money on Redbubble (there is a student discount available!) or Etsy. I personally like buying clothes from American Eagle and Aerie, and I know they are beginning to make more products that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

Image credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/sustainable-fashion

On the other hand, I also think that it is unfair to put the pressure on the individual and not the company—because yes, you could do your research and that would be great, but often we just don’t have the time or energy (especially during a global pandemic), and habits are hard to break. It feels like a losing battle, made worse by living through a time where we rely greatly on online shopping and companies like Amazon or Shein to get us the items we need in a safe, efficient manner. 

We debated this issue a lot in my ethics class last semester, and I still don’t really have an answer. I suppose the lesson here is to choose your battles when you can and recognize that making these choices can be difficult when there are many different factors at play and you aren’t in a position where you can spend more money on more expensive yet sustainable brands. Hopefully someday we can get to a place where the onus is not on us to do better, but for companies and brands to both recognize and actually care about the hurt they cause to both human beings and the environment, instead of just worrying about profits.

The good news is companies like the Campus Clipper are always looking for ways to help students save money and shop locally. For instance, if you’re looking to save 10% on art supplies, check out the coupon below and order from Blick Art Materials!


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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Freedom?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

I see the vape go to their lips from across the room. I grit my teeth and turn away, the craving suddenly ripping through me. “You don’t need it,” I think to myself. There’s more than one vape in the dim room, however, and a little alcohol does a lot to break down one’s resolve. I ask the boy next to me what flavor his disposable is. He asks if I have one, presumably to perform a trade of sorts. I admit to him that I quit, that I was two months vape-free. “Seriously? Wow, man.” His words are slurred, but his eyes are wide and focused on me, “That is so impressive. I’m proud of you. It’s not easy to go against the crowd like that.” Though my urge to break is nearly overpowering, his words are reassuring. A mixture of pride and guilt meld together in the pit of my stomach, pooling in the back of my throat. How can one feel so strongly about something but still yearn for the opposite?

I don’t remember if I broke that night or not. It doesn’t really matter.

When I tell people that I’ve quit vaping, they’re usually impressed. I appreciate their congratulations, but the voice in my head telling me that I still want nicotine makes me feel like a fraud. I would feel proud of myself, but then feel silly for turning to someone and asking if I could hit their vape. In March, when I should have been over 3 months nic-free, I was caught in a cycle of going back on my promise to myself, just taking a few hits every few days. I realized after several weeks that I had fallen back into my old routine, my old habit resurfacing. I decided I could no longer allow myself to have cheat days. I knew I was strong enough now to stay away completely, so I had to fully commit to the quit. I remember resetting my timer after over 150 days. I had been lying to myself, and I was done doing that. Now, every time I break my streak, I reset the timer. It’s only fair.

Nights out with friends are fun but draining; it’s hard to be around accessible nicotine and stay away from it.

I still felt alone in quitting. The people who thought it was impressive that I quit were still vaping; they weren’t on my team in this endeavor. The lack of solidarity made it hard to be true to my promise to stay away from nicotine. Luckily, I have a secret weapon. She cheers me on and keeps me on track. She’s not in my same situation because she was never addicted to nicotine. She saw me when I was still vaping but trying to quit, and she was with me when I was fiending like crazy at a party. Someone who will physically hold you and tell the person whose vape you’ve just asked for “NO” for you is something special. Her pride means more than that of those who still vape, because she won’t dangle nicotine in front of my face. We get to stay away from nicotine together.

Sometimes I resent people who vape or smoke. It feels like I’m being teased, as they get their little rush of chemical joy while I sit fiddling with a hair tie or chewing violently on a piece of gum. I almost feel angry, seeing others with the same vice that was once mine. I allow myself to be angry, if only to keep me from asking for a spare cigarette. The solidarity between myself and those who subscribe to bad habits is demolished, because I went through the suffering that is quitting and they haven’t. I tell myself it won’t always be this way, that I’ll be able to be around it someday and not feel rage and jealousy rush to my cheeks. In her article “Neurobiology of Nicotine Dependence,” Athina Markou states, “Nicotine dependence is more prevalent than dependence on any other substance of abuse (Anthony et al. 1994).” While dependence on nicotine is a prevalent issue, nicotine itself is not the killer when it comes to cigarettes. Vaping bypasses the tobacco and delivers nicotine in chemical juice form to millions of individuals, avoiding the danger. One of those individuals used to be me. Sometimes I ask myself, why did you even quit, really? If it’s not really dangerous, what’s the big deal? If it’s so hard to stay away, then why stay away? It’s just a habit, in reality.

We all have habits.


Gelato and espresso are both good solutions to frustrations that can stem from transforming habits, and discounts reduce frustrations even further! (source: trust me!) Check out Ferrara with this coupon and your student I.D. to receive 20% off!

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


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

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The Quit

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

The vape is clutched in their hand. They hit the device, casually, not understanding their privilege. Their lack of reverence for the “dizzy” fills me with a fiery anger. They don’t appreciate how lucky they are to be able to satiate their nicotine addiction. I grind my teeth together and try to remember my tracker, counting my days. They’re saying something, laughing about something. I can’t take my eyes off the colorful cylinder. An unending cycle of words courses through my brain, through my veins: “I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it.” I have no idea what they are talking about. I can’t think of any of the reasons I’d written down, can’t think of any reason I shouldn’t be allowed this one reprieve, a momentary breath of utter bliss. “Can I?” I blurt out, pointing to the vape. I am granted my deepest desire, but the vapor that spills into my lungs hurts, making my throat close and stomach curl. The “dizzy” betrays me. I want to go back, I wish I hadn’t broken my streak, I wish I could’ve held out for another minute. I open the tracker app and reset my timer, disgusted.

Quitting nicotine is comparable to breaking up with a toxic ex. Someone who makes you feel good but tears you down. Who keeps you from realizing your full potential. Even though you know they’re bad for you, you miss the good times. You let them back in when they beg you to, and you have to cultivate the strength to kick them out of your life once again.

This is Quitting sent me a text in late September, saying “Write a breakup letter to your vape. It may seem silly, but a letter can be an emotional commitment to quitting.” I did think a breakup letter sounded silly. Because I had already written so much about nicotine and why I needed it out of my life, however, I figured writing a letter directly to nicotine could be satisfying. A final goodbye.

“I should’ve never let you [nicotine] in, because you’ve wormed your way into my head. It’s hard getting rid of you. I worry that I’m never going to be able to forget you, fully leave you behind. But that worry is a trick. That’s YOU, in my brain, still trying to pull the strings. YOU DON’T OWN ME… You are simply a nuisance, a weed I must uproot from my psyche. It hurts, in all honesty, and the pulling is long and drawn out… well, I’m not having any of it. You are disgusting. You hurt me, you harm my whole being, but you had me hooked. Not anymore. We are DONE.”

-”the breakup,” September 2021.

It did feel good. I felt free. I turned to this form of coping with the withdrawals more often, jotting down my experiences and feelings in my notes app or typing away a craving in my QuitVaping app. As a writer, it would make sense that writing about this frustration and pain would be so helpful.

I didn’t just write in order to erase the habit. I changed so many areas of my life in order to shake nicotine, replacing the old routine with something new. I doodled to keep my hands busy, drank coffees and teas constantly, kept my purse stocked with suckers, watched asmr videos in an attempt to replace the physical feeling of the “dizzy” with tingles (somewhat effective). I wrote when I was particularly frustrated, and other moments were filled with little tasks to keep my mind from returning to nic.

Doodles produced by the urge to do something with my hands.

I was exposed to nicotine nearly constantly, which sucked. Being without nicotine is okay when you don’t have any access. You can forget about it and replace it with something else, as I did with coffee and suckers and snacks. I knew that any of those things were better than nicotine in the long run, for both my health and my bank account. Being near someone who has a vape or a cigarette, however, created such a strong craving that I gave in time after time, begging to obtain the “dizzy.” It was embarrassing that I couldn’t quite kick the habit just yet.

A coffee to keep the cravings away.

While I didn’t have the strength to fully stop thinking about nicotine, I had the strength to stop buying my own, to keep it out of my dorm and my spaces. Progress was slow, but I found myself making it to 3, 4, even 5 days with no nicotine before breaking, and with each reset of the timer, I began to feel more confident that I could be done forever. Finally, in mid-November, that day came. I pushed through cravings like never before, even when I was around temptations that nearly gave me physical pain. The rush of satisfaction and triumph I experienced each night I avoided the “dizzy” was nearly as good as the “dizzy” itself.

“It wasn’t too bad. Seriously, future Soph. Don’t. Have a sucker or a mint or some gum or a snack or some ice. ANY of those are better. You’ve got this<3” 

 -QuitVaping Check-in: December 3, 2021.

I couldn’t quit by myself. My newfound conviction stemmed from thoughts of my family and friends, of others who needed me to be strong and push through these cravings. In the moments when I couldn’t quit for myself, I quit for my mom. I quit for my friends, those who vaped and those who didn’t. I quit for everyone else, until finally I could quit for myself. For past-me, the writer who wanted so badly to escape the cage she’d built herself. For future-me, who still wanted to be able to sing and run and save her hard-earned money. Finally, I quit.

“I haven’t had any nicotine in my body for a whole month. Life goes on. I might miss you sometimes, but I know my decision to stay away is the best for me and my friends. I escaped your clutches!! I have complete control over my thoughts and actions. You don’t deserve another second of my time or another penny of my hard earned money… Cheers to a month without you, nicotine. Fuck you.”

– “an anniversary,” December 2021.

Even after a month without any nicotine in my body, being nic-free was difficult. Gina Shaw’s medically reviewed WebMD article entitled “Surviving Without Smoke: Month 1” discusses what nicotine withdrawal looks like, saying “…symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include: anxiety, irritability, headache, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and hunger.” Shaw writes that these symptoms “hit a peak within the first three days of quitting,” but can linger for two full weeks. By the time you’ve made it a month without nicotine, these symptoms should be greatly diminished, if not fully gone. The cravings for nicotine, however, are a different story. I began to ask myself, “when will the cravings actually go away?”


Through my experience quitting nicotine, I found that coffee is a simple joy in life that can be both rewarding and motivating! I find that discounted coffee is even better:) NYU students, head over to Brewlita for 20% off your order when you show your student I.D.!

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


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

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The Decision

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

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

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

-Journal entry, 9/18/21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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By Sophie Rounds

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



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

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Needing

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Sophie Rounds

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


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

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

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

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

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

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

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

Dorm sweet dorm.

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

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

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

Lovely fall view from the stairwell of Falvey Library.

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


By: Katie Reed

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


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

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Wanting

Friday, June 24th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Sophie Rounds

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


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

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