Cultivating Your Community and Finding Your Peers

August 22nd, 2021

After the initial shock and scramble for a newfound identity has passed, New York City can become pretty lonely and alienating until one finds their own niche community. In the beginning of my time at The New School, I struggled with finding my peers because it felt like everyone already created established groups. Coupled with my social anxiety, the city landscape was a rough place to immediately make close friends. I found that at first, the city offered  a strange lack of intimacy disguised as comradeship in student life as I would find myself attending school organized activities with groups of people that I would no longer hear from after leaving the room. Keeping in contact has always been a difficult task for me, but I wanted to make close connections so I realized that I had to break out of the shell that I had created for myself. One thing I really had to learn for myself was that meaningful friendships exist in more than just group settings. In other words, it’s okay to feel like others may have more friends than you. Socializing should not feel like a competition! What really matters at the end of the day is that you have formed strong connections that are meaningful to you and the people you share them with. It took me a long time to realize that I don’t need an extremely large friend group that shares the exact same interests in order to be happy; after all, how is it possible to find people exactly the same? Such an occurrence is rare and can actually cause social disadvantages as you may never interact with people of different opinions than you. It is the equivalent of a friendship within a vacuum, which is the exact opposite lifestyle that New York City encourages. 

With my social anxiety it was, and still is, often difficult to convince myself to take risks and talk to new people but I found that my best friends have been made through breaking out of my comfort zone. During my sophomore year, a classmate invited me to a party at her apartment in the East Village and I felt the immediate creep of anxiety rolling through me. Despite this, I realized that I never really went out when I had the opportunity to do so, and I considered the notion that I was missing out by spending my free time only with my one best friend in the city. I loved the lower east side and I knew that I needed to love and experience it beyond the media I consumed about it. I needed to branch out in order to have more diverse experiences and the party was the perfect place to do so! This notion came hand in hand with the recognition that if I want something, in this case friendships, I must be willing to put myself out there and make the effort to get to know people rather than expect them to come to me. Manifesting can only go so far if one does not act! At the party, my friend and I ended up meeting a new student who was also looking to meet people. We fell into easy conversation and by 2 am we were eating Ihop on 14th Street! Exploring preexisting relationships helped alleviate some of my social anxiety and meet more people. Unforgettably, I met one of my best friends at this party that I was so anxious to attend!

Beyond the casual irregular party invitations, another way to meet your own people is to create your own clubs. Sure, your university may offer its own interesting clubs but if you notice that there is not a specific club for you, try forming your own! A few friends and I started a book club when we were sophomores, and though the club never fully got off the ground, I was introduced to various new novels and people who are just as bookish as myself. Be open with your interests, this is the one thing I wish I had acted more upon. At the end of the day, there is no one to impress or be afraid of because your interests are what make you unique. You will attract the right people if you are open about what kind of person you are! 

Enjoying Open Mic Night at The People’s Forum

Lastly, I also recommend volunteering in your community. One way to find people with a similar drive and passion to you is through volunteer work! I highly recommend The People’s Forum, which is located on W 37th Street in the Garment District of Manhattan. The People’s Forum uses their space to organize political activist events and host activities like open mics and movie showings. They also have volunteering opportunities that encourage conversations with like minded individuals and a chance to help out a cause that one believes in. I have been to a few of their open mic nights, which featured acts from original performances to poetry readings! Consider what you believe in and how you can make a difference in your community. This is a surefire way of making new connections that can last beyond the time that you volunteer for an organization!

___

Overview

  • Dismiss the idea that your friend group must be large and identical in personality, doing so will make you happier in the long run. 
  • Hold your friends close; form meaningful relationships with people that you actually enjoy talking to rather than just aiming to impress.
  • Wear your interests on your sleeve! Don’t be afraid to showcase your interests. 
  • Volunteer with organizations to help out in your community! I recommend The People’s Forum.

_______________________________

Helisoa Randriamanana is an aspiring writer, academic, and recent Spring 2021 graduate of The New School with a BA in literary studies and a double minor in philosophy and religious studies. She is interested in jump starting a career in the world of book publishing and most of her work, both fiction and non-fiction, reflects the humanist philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.

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

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Chapter Two: So Much Food!

August 19th, 2021

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


Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street

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

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


DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

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


Nutella beignets at Cafe Marie

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


Bagel Belly near Union Square

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

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

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


My friend and I enjoying Times Square 🙂

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


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

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

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

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

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


By: Anna Matefy

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


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

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Chapter 4- Applying to Study Abroad and the Nerves that Came With It

August 18th, 2021

I’ve previously mentioned that studying abroad was something that interested me when I initially applied to Boston University, particularly the opportunity to do so in London. Fortunately for me, BU actually had programs in London specifically for students studying English. For some reason, even before I started my freshman year at college, I had this whole plan laid out: I would get to know Boston during my first year, then I would study abroad the following year, and afterwards, I would dedicate myself to finding internships and figuring out what I really wanted to do after I graduated. 

However, I also experienced a lot of homesickness when I moved to Boston, as I discussed in previous chapters. It took me a while to adjust and I felt like I finally started to find my footing during the spring semester of my freshman year. Therefore, when the application deadline to study abroad in the fall of my sophomore year began to creep upon me, I knew that I should postpone my plans to study abroad.

I am not one to typically deviate from plans I have set in my mind, but I was confident in my decision not to study abroad my sophomore year. I felt like I was truly getting to know Boston that spring and I didn’t want to suddenly leave in order to study abroad. Also, I wanted to have more experience being independent and self-sufficient before going to a different country. I ended up spending my sophomore year getting more acclimated to BU and Boston, and I consequently also got to know the joy of trudging through thigh-high mountains of snow in order to get to my 9:30 a.m. class.

Photo taken during a Nor'Easter in 2018; the sidewalk is covered with snow as figure in jacket walks down. Snow falling blurs the image.
Image credit: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/anticipating-major-snowfall-charles-river-campus-to-close-monday-remote-classes/ 

When spring of 2019 rolled around, I started working on my London application: I contacted BU’s study abroad office to ask questions, got my advisor to fill out a form, reached out to a former professor for a letter of recommendation, answered the application’s questionnaire, etc. I, at long last, submitted my application in March, and was then left to wait.

I clearly remember the day I was accepted into the London program. It was a Friday and I had returned to my dorm, ready to collapse and take a nap after a long week of classes. Just before doing so, I checked my email and saw the email congratulating me on my acceptance into the program. Then, I immediately called my mom. When she answered, I blurted out the news and started crying, partially because I was sleep deprived, but mostly because I was so happy. 

Even as the novelty of my imminent travels wore off a bit, I was mostly ecstatic. I had some nerves about studying abroad, though they weren’t as prominent as the nerves I had towards initially moving to Boston. There were three things I was most anxious about regarding going to London:

  1. I had never gone somewhere foreign to me on my own. In the past, I had voyaged outside the United States, but only to Guatemala and always with a family member to see other relatives.
  2. I wasn’t completely sure if I would like London, despite always having wanted to go there. When it came to Boston, I at least had the luxury of visiting the city both before and after being accepted into BU, meaning I had seen the area prior to deciding to undertake my undergraduate studies there. Conversely, with London, I would be seeing the city for the first time when I arrived in September to start my classes. Essentially, I had no way of knowing whether I would like London until I was actually there.
  3. I would be very far away from my family. I’ve stated before that I am close with my family and they are an important support system for me. Even though Boston is certainly a distance from my hometown, I was able to return home for holidays and long weekends throughout the semester. I did have some relatives who said they wanted to visit me when I was in London, but I still had to reckon with the thought of not seeing my mom or other close family members for an entire semester. 

When I started overthinking and overanalyzing these small details, I reflected back on my time at BU up to that point. All those worries I initially had about BU had slowly evaporated and I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I understood that I had to go into traveling with a positive mindset. Besides, visiting London had been a dream of mine and three months wouldn’t be too long. If I kept worrying about everything, I wouldn’t enjoy my study abroad experience.

Still, on August 31st, 2019, thousands of questions about the future rushed through my mind as I arrived at JFK and boarded my flight to Heathrow. I couldn’t even sleep as the plane cut across the night sky and flew over the Atlantic Ocean. As I watched episodes of Friends and Parks and Recreation in hopes of dozing off, I wondered what the next few months would look like.

Hours later, the plane landed on the surprisingly sunny morning of September 1st.

My London adventure had commenced! 

Picture of the London Eye and River Thames from my first full day in London.

Ultimately, if you are interested in studying abroad, do so when you feel ready (going to a new country for the first time and living there for several months is certainly a change!) and make sure to research various different programs. Contact your school’s study abroad office to ask any questions you may have, ranging from classes to living arrangements and try to learn more about the country you might potentially be studying abroad in. 

By: Monica Manzo

Monica Manzo recently completed her undergraduate studies at Boston University where she majored in English and minored in History. Currently, she is planning on applying for some masters programs in publishing. In her free time, she can be found either reading or adding to her pile of unread books.


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

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Chapter One: Welcome Week

August 13th, 2021

I love flying into New York City at night. I always choose the aisle seat on airplanes because of my motion sickness, but I can never resist peeking through the plane’s windows in my periphery; one of my favorite views is that of the glittering lights beneath New York City’s night sky.


Bird's eye view of NYC at night
Bird’s eye view of NYC at night

In August of 2016, I flew from Colorado to New York in order to get settled in prior to beginning my college career. Once the plane landed, my stomach flipped over in excitement. My mom had come with me to help me move and I couldn’t believe that my dream of attending NYU had become a reality. 

Of course, I was also terrified. I knew that no one else from my high school class would be coming to NYU, and after my mom left I had no choice but to confront my newfound alone-ness. I sardonically thought to myself, “Well, welcome to Welcome Week.” 

I felt like a failure and my first semester had not even begun. One of my assigned roommates, whose name was also Anna, was a drama student in the Tisch School of the Arts. Off the bat, Tisch’s performing arts medium provides a tight-knit cohort community you’ll know for years, and I did not have that luxury as a Media, Culture, and Communication student since we were not placed into cohorts. I really liked the other Anna, and we made plans to hang out at one of NYU’s Welcome Week events: Drag Bingo, which featured contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race. It seemed cool, and I nostalgically wished that one of my closest high-school friends was there because he would’ve loved it. He even made up his own drag name in honor of the show: “Shaneeda Bronze” (as in, “She needs a bronze.”). 

While I wallowed in nostalgia and loneliness on the second night of Welcome Week, I knew I needed to play a more active role in my own life. Unfortunately, I arrived at Drag Bingo well after the other Anna, and there were no more seats available near her (and no one was allowed to save seats). At that point, I was still standing in a stairwell in a line (or on a line for all the “real” New Yorkers) spanning across multiple floors. When I reached one of the landings, I noticed a pair of tan double doors to my right as someone threw them open to go through. I wondered aloud to the two girls standing in front of me, “Do you think we could go up that way?” They both shrugged and we continued standing in line. I stood with the girls at the back of the room during the event, and afterward they invited me over to their shared dorm. And that is how I met my best friends.

It was serendipitous as much as it was the effort we put in to socialize with other students and get to know our college community at various events. Certainly don’t hesitate asking your roommate(s) to hang out, and seeing if you can be friends! 


Playbill at Sunday in the Park with George. (Before we knew Jake Gyllenhaal “doesn’t shower often.”)

Since we are required to live in dorms for our first year, I wanted to make the most of my dorming experience as well. NYU offers “Themed Engagement Communities,” wherein specific floors in respective dormitory buildings will schedule activities pertaining to that theme. When I applied for housing I threw my hat in the ring for the “Laughing Matters” comedy-themed fourth floor of the Weinstein building. I have loved comedy since I was in elementary school, and decided to study Media because of my reverence for political satire. Applying to the special interest floor gave me wonderful (cost-saving) opportunities to view an array of Broadway performances for $10 each. We went to see plays including Avenue Q, Sunday in the Park with George, and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as professional improvisation shows. 

Regrettably, I only joined a club, College Democrats, in senior year. I regret having waited that long to be more involved in the clubs on campus, especially because my senior year ended up being truncated due to COVID-19. NYU, like many colleges, hosts a Club Fest in both the fall and the spring, and trust me, there is no shortage of clubs to choose from, whether it’s political, athletic, improv, or food-related, etc. 

Of course, the college experience and New York City are two of the most overly-romanticized notions you may hear about. I still cried myself to sleep during those first few nights as I second-guessed my abilities to make friends. Yet, you are drawn to whatever city you end up in for a reason. You don’t have to figure it out right away. Find solace in your comfort mechanisms, like comedy is for me, and in the meantime, don’t be a passenger in your own life.


We encountered this sign outside of a restaurant (Gran Electrica) in Dumbo

Beginning your freshman year, I recommend you:

  • Do research about special dorming opportunities while selecting a dorm. Mine was the cheapest and we got to go see Br’dway shows for $10! (kudos if you get that reference)
  • Look for activities to do that are hosted by your school (after you cry a little bit because you’re overwhelmed and alone)
  • Get to know your roommates!
  • Have some adventures with said roommates. Even if it means accidentally ending up in Far Rockaway because you missed your subway stop. (I get lost nearly every day of my life; I call it sightseeing.)


By: Anna Matefy

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


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

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Chapter 3- Getting to Know Boston

August 12th, 2021

As I began to overcome my homesickness, I started stepping out of my comfort zone, which was also a challenge for me. One of the first things I did in order to accomplish this goal was look at clubs and organizations that Boston University offered. BU has something at the beginning of each semester called Splash, which is a student group recruitment fair. It was here where I wandered around aimlessly for a while at the start of my freshman year and signed up for any club that looked remotely interesting. 

You never know what may happen when you join a club, even for something you have no experience in. For example, in the spring semester of my freshman year, I decided to check out BU’s knitting club, even though I had never knitted in my life. I signed up for the club’s email list at Splash in the fall, but never got around to checking it out. However, as my first spring semester at BU commenced, I decided to do so. The first meeting in the student union lounge  was pretty crowded, but the club provided me with some supplies and I was taught the basics. Unfortunately, the first few rows of my knitted square looked like a mess. Still, the desire for improvement motivated me to show up the following week. After that, attending knitting club meetings became a fairly regular routine for me. I would get a beverage from Starbucks, go to the lounge, pick up my square from the bin of yarn of supplies and knit a few rows.

What I enjoyed most about the knitting club was that not only did I have the satisfaction of learning a new skill, but it was such a calming distraction after a day of classes. I could relax, knit, and talk to the other club members. For two hours we would talk about how our week’s were going, share stories from high school, and discuss classes, TV shows, anime, restaurants, books, etc. I was able to get new recommendations and suggestions, like that I should check out John Mulaney’s comedy specials on Netflix. The knitting club was enjoyable and, by May, my messy square transformed into a decent looking rectangle.

The end of my first semester with the knitting club also brought a surprise: the e-board asked me if I could be vice president for the following year, since the existing members would be graduating. I never thought I would be suited for a leadership position, but it was one of those moments where I thought “why not?” So, I agreed to take on the role during my sophomore year and I, once again, had a fun experience with the club. I taught new attendees the basics (since I was by no means an expert) and conversed with both them and existing members alike. This was an outcome I would have never anticipated, yet it certainly assisted in pushing me out of my shell. 

Outside the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Aside from clubs, I emerged from my comfort zone by doing activities off-campus. I had classes that required me to go to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (to which BU students had free admission). Art was never a strong passion of mine, but I always decided to make days of these trips. I would spend a few hours walking around and checking out the countless works of art while imagining a different time period.

Inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Another way I got to know Boston during my first two years was by making plans with friends that I met at BU. These plans ranged from simple, spur of the moment stuff like going to see a movie or eating out somewhere, to more organized outings such as going to Anime Boston, trying out an escape room, seeing a ballet, and attending a hockey game. Even though I would classify myself as an introvert, planning activities with friends gave me something to look forward to throughout the semesters. This was especially important during the periods when I needed a break, signified by the multiple essays I would simultaneously write and the mountains of reading I was drowning under. 

BU’s Agganis Arena.

When my family drove to Boston to visit me, that meant we could use the car to easily drive to areas outside of the city and explore other parts of Massachusetts. For instance, in the spring of my sophomore year, my relatives from Guatemala flew to see my family in New Jersey. During their visit, we took the opportunity to visit Salem for the first time, which turned out to be a really fun outing where we walked around the historic city.

Essentially, the three things I recommend in order to get to know your city/campus more are:

  • Joining a club/organization because you can meet people, try something new and pick up a hobby.
  • Taking advantage of free/reduced admissions that you are offered as a student.
  • Accepting/making plans with friends and family.

By: Monica Manzo

Monica Manzo recently completed her undergraduate studies at Boston University where she majored in English and minored in History. Currently, she is planning on applying for some masters programs in publishing. In her free time, she can be found either reading or adding to her pile of unread books.


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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Sunnyside

August 9th, 2021

It’s about time I share my weekend habit. Every weekend, I like to explore a new neighborhood of New York City. Besides being an excuse for exercise, I do it because in a city with hundreds of years of history and cultures, walking through each neighborhood provides unique stories to learn from. The buildings, people on the street, street art, the food, parks, places of interest, heck even the placement of trash cans on the sidewalk can share what life was and is in each neighborhood. All walks of life can be found in New York City and I’m fascinated by which places can say what about them.

The neighborhood I visited last weekend was Sunnyside in Queens, a ten minute ride on the 7 train from Grand Central. It’s a diverse spot in an already diverse borough. Here, tall apartment buildings exist alongside homes with garages and a Turkish mosque could be found right next to a Korean preschool. Industry has been pushed next to the railyards, being replaced with playgrounds and bars and restaurants. Tall trees line the sidewalks and children ride on bikes or are pushed in strollers by their parents. It gives a suburban feel to an area not too far away from the urban boom in neighboring Long Island City.

Speaking of suburbs, an interesting spot in this neighborhood is the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, one of the first planned communities in the nation. It was built in 1928 inspired by an English idea of urban planning called the garden city. With rows of flat bricked brown buildings distinguished by the hedges and shrubbery in front of them or the ivy creeping up the walls, it feels more like walking through the Shire than America. It also has one of two private parks in the entire city which is a big boo but at least the people in the tennis courts there looked like they were having fun. 

When I walk, I get hungry, so I like to stop by a well known spot in the neighborhood to eat. In Sunnyside, a well-known spot was Donovan’s Pub, an Irish themed pub that looked like a medieval cottage inside and had apparently one of the best burgers in Queens. Its reputation did not disappoint as the burger itself tasted good and the bun was crisp. Not too costly on the money side, but if you’re looking to find a cheap place to eat, there are options. Right after leaving the pub, I spotted a place where I could get tacos for two dollars each. Too bad I was full. In the springtime, there is a food festival called Taste of Sunnyside which plays to the neighborhood’s strength in diversity, providing food from Colombian to Italian. Covid threw a wrench into it as it did to everything, so I’m hopeful that it will start again in 2022. 

Overall, Sunnyside was an enjoyable place. It’s a neighborhood full of life and renewal. It had its loud parts from the rumbling of the 7 Train and the Long Island Rail Road and it had its quiet parts in-between where the city would vanish and you could be left to think for yourself. It’s definitely a neighborhood I recommend to walk through and I’ll definitely come back. In the larger context, it’s been another neighborhood down in the many more I have yet to see. Hopefully, I’ll get to them all one weekend at a time.



By: Jared Skoro

Jared Skoro is a junior at NYU Gallatin studying a mix of English, Political Science, and Psychology. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring a new neighborhood of the city every weekend.

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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Milk, Milk, and More Milk: Chapter 5 — Connecting Food with Culture

August 9th, 2021

On hot, sticky days in Chicago’s humid summers, where my family would crowd under the kitchen fan, one dessert would manage to cool us all down: tres leches. 

Tres leches is the king of all cakes all desserts in the Mexican culture. The rich, ultra decadent, and insanely moist cake wets the front of your shirt and makes your lips stick together, leaving your mouth to taste sweet for the rest of the evening. No matter how many glasses of milk you may drink afterward the sugary taste still lingers. It was the dessert least consumed in my family, but the one most desired by all. 

As you can see, I have always loved cake.

If you have never had the pleasure of digging into a thick slice of tres leches, try and picture this: a vanilla cake drowned in three types of milk, hence the name “tres leches,” and topped with whipped cream. It may sound a little too rich, but I promise you it is worth all the hype I am giving it. 

About a month ago, while sitting on the couch with my roommates, I suddenly decided I was going to make a tres leches. I don’t know what compelled me to do this, or what even prompted the idea, but the simple thought of slicing into the sinful, whipped cream-topped morsel made my mouth water. With this seed of inspiration, I took to an unsuspecting source for recipes: TikTok. 

Finding good Mexican food, let alone baked goods, in Manhattan is difficult. If you want the authentic taste that brings you back to eating meals with your family around your grandmother’s kitchen table, you have to go to Queens, and unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to do that right now. So, I have resorted to recreating the dishes I crave from my past in my tiny apartment’s kitchen. Surprisingly, TikTok has been my main source of recipes when it comes to making Mexican dishes that my family never taught me. Not only is it a great way to visually learn, but many of the users are conscious of a careful-spending budget. When my sudden and very urgent craving for tres leches began, TikTok was the first place I searched for a recipe. 

I love to bake it runs in my blood. My maternal grandmother never leaves the house without a tray of freshly baked potato chip cookies: the most strange, but insanely delicious, shortbread cookies with crushed potatoes chips in them to offset the sweetness. Her love for baking was passed down to me as a child. For a few years as a teenager, my brothers could expect to finish dinner off with carrot cake cupcakes or some variation of cookies. I knew I would be able to make a good tres leches, but I wanted it to be more than its traditional form; I wanted it to remind me of the cake my dad would bring home in a neat white box, covered in whipped cream with a certain twist that no one could put their finger on. I wanted it to remind me of laughing with my cousins when we would get whipped cream on our noses, threatening to touch each other with sticky fingers left from the cake. I knew that those specific memories would be hard to grasp, but not impossible. 

After a quick search on TikTok, I came across a surprisingly easy and affordable recipe from the user @cici.soriano. With a quick trip to the grocery store, I felt prepared to make this cake. Although it didn’t exactly remind me of the scrumptious memories of my childhood, it provided me with something more important: the pleasure of knowing that I can bring aspects of my culture with me wherever I am. Watching the smile on my roommates’ faces as they tasted the fondest recollections of my past, their lips sticky from the condensed milk, reminded me of the joy I felt as a child when having my favorite cake for dessert. 

My first attempt at making tres leches. I made sure to make caramel from leftover cans of condensed milk and drizzled that on top.

Sometimes, finding delight in your cultural food means making it yourself, no matter how difficult it may be. My tres leches is not exactly traditional or completely “homemade,” but it allows me to briefly remember the joys of my childhood, and has provided my friends with a new favorite dessert. The next time you recreate your favorite cultural meals, desserts, or simple snacks, consider sharing them with your friends it may become their favorite, too. 

Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients

– 1 can of evaporated milk

– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

– 1 can of whole milk (use leftover can of condensed/evaporated milk to measure)

– 1 box of vanilla cake mix 

– 1.5 cups of heavy cream

– 2 tbsp of powdered sugar

– 2 tbsp of vanilla extract 

– 2 tbsp of cinnamon

Steps 

  1. Preheat the oven according to cake mix instructions.
  2. Assemble cake.
  3. Blend evaporated, condensed, and whole milk along with cinnamon and vanilla extract in a blender until combined and smooth. 
  4. Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. 
  5. When done baking according to box instructions, let the cake cool for 20 minutes.
  6. Trim the brown top off of the cake, along with the sides. Poke small holes all around the cake. The more holes you have, the better the milk mixture will seep in. 
  7. Pour milk mixture over the cake. 
  8. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

If you don’t have the time or resources to bake your own cake, head to Amorino for 20% off your gelato order!


By: Allegra Ruiz

Allegra Ruiz is a junior at New York University and she is from Chicago. She studies English and is minoring in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys journaling, reading books and essay collections, and cooking for her roommates. Currently, she lives quietly in New York. 

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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A Delectable Midnight Treat

August 9th, 2021

I know being at college you are often consuming delectable treats and snacks in your free time and in your dorm sometimes you get the urge to just create something on your own. I know for me at midnight I always found my roommate and I ordered from the beloved Insomnia Cookies or any dessert place we saw that was open. Even taking the leap in getting out of our dorm and spending money at the dorm market to buy any candy like gummy worms, or any ice cream that they had. From originally living in the NYU dorms I know that most underclassmen dorms do not get the luxury of having the appliances that a kitchen contains. If you are lucky most college students have a mini-fridge and a microwave. Still, if you have those one or two appliances the chances of you keeping it or even using it are slim since the dorm room is so small. This made me venture into the world of dessert and snack creations. While I explored different recipes that were easy to make, and required very few ingredients, and were tailored to the needs of college students I stumbled upon one of the best recipes I make in the dorm, and even at home when I have a real kitchen. Luckily, I know a snack/dessert recipe that can be altered in many different ways for it to fit your own needs. It is known as “vegan edible cookie dough”.

It is your lucky day. Here is the recipe to create the tastiest, healthy, and protein-packed edible cookie dough. For this dessert, you will need chickpeas…. Yes, I said chickpeas, and trust me you won’t taste them. You will also need some type of nut butter, or sun butter if you are nut-free. You will also need some oats, and vanilla extract and the final most important ingredient is the dark chocolate chips in my opinion. All you need to make this is a blender if you have one, or you can use a fork and mash it up while you mix in the oats, nut butter, and vanilla extract. It is that easy. Just mash all the ingredients together and then top it off with some dark chocolate chips, and there you go. If you do not like dark chocolate chips you can add as many other toppings, and customize them to your own desire. You do not have to worry about getting food poisoning from the raw eggs or anything like that, because there is raw produce in this, therefore it will leave you with that sweet chocolatey feeling of happiness, and pure joy.

Carine, Author: Carine, Author:, Priscillla Says:, Carine Says:, Melanie Says:, and Jane Says:. “Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough.” The Conscious Plant Kitchen – TCPK. 03 Mar. 2021. Web. 15 July 2021.


After you create this, if you have a mini-fridge you can store it in a container and save it for later. If you are lucky enough to also have a microwave in your dorm, you can form the dough into a ball and place it into the microwave, and watch your healthy, vegan cookie dough be transformed into a quick and easy cookie. Not only is this snack/dessert recipe easy and fast, but it also will leave you not becoming broke in your bank account. I know many college students that spend their own money on GrubHub, UberEats, and even Postmates placing those orders for those midnight treats. I have to admit, those midnight treats from the best dessert places in NYC are hard to beat but the delivery fee really will break your bank account. That is why this quick and easy recipe can be made in bulk and last days. This results in no more everyday midnight orders, and constantly spending your money on delivery fees without even noticing, now you can wake up and want a treat to go to your mini-fridge, or snack draw and grab this cookie dough out and eat it with delight without even spending a penny.

Shoemaker, Written by Caitlin. “Chickpea Cookie Dough Recipe: The ULTIMATE Guide.” From My Bowl. 01 Mar. 2019. Web. 15 July 2021.


By: Hanna Mandel

Hanna Mandel studies Drama at NYU Tisch in hopes of being on the big screen one day. She hopes to venture into writing, directing, and producing. She loves to travel and explore new places, as well as trying new foods!

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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Plugging in with Good Intentions — Chapter 5: Bridge the Distance

August 9th, 2021

Despite the exceptional ability to search on the World Wide Web and instantly receive information, our modern-day technology allows us to accomplish one significant thing — bridge the distance. Today, we have the ability to communicate with people across the world. Advancements in technology and the Internet have come so far, and they continue to develop and improve for the better. We are extremely lucky to even have a mini device that fits into our pocket that can connect us to not only people, but places to eat, shop, and entertain ourselves. 

It seems bizarre to think that our elders were accustomed to sending handwritten letters and playing board games for entertainment. The amount of time and effort it takes to execute tasks such as ordering something from Amazon or looking up the latest news is cut in half because of technology and the Internet. A world without modern-day devices is almost inconceivable.

Think of the Covid-19 pandemic that we are still suffering through after more than a year of its discovery. Due to the transmissibility of the virus, many of us have had to resort to utilizing technology in order to connect with others. Health regulations and social distancing guidelines have created a wider gap between all of us. Despite this, the ability to continue with everyday life is possible because most of us are lucky enough to use devices that help uphold some degree of communication. From remote learning to working from home, we are still able to maintain our connections. Web conferencing applications such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are just a few of the many platforms that allow virtual face-to-face meetings from anywhere that has an Internet connection. 

Even if you don’t prefer turning on the webcam, there is still the ability to simply talk to others through technology. While it was an early contraption, Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone revolutionized communication. While some of us might not own a landline anymore, most of us do have a mobile phone that can make calls. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, it’s safe to say that times have changed and younger generations continue to utilize other means of communication. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been popularized and allow users to instantaneously express thoughts and connect with people worldwide. Whether you prefer to call, text, web conference, or simply post an update on social media, technology and the Internet allow you to communicate across great distances. 

Personally, I can’t go a day without using some form of device that connects to the Internet. One time I did last most of the day without my devices. Though, I do have to admit that it was for a challenge assigned by one of my professors. Notably, a digital detox is good for the mind and body, as it’s a way to appreciate the tangible reality that is right in front of us.

In the end, it’s important to recognize the need for boundaries and knowing when to take a break from technology and the Internet. Yet, once you’re ready to log back into that device just remember to plug in with good intentions


If you’re in need of services to bridge the distance check out these deals from The UPS Store!


By: Sydney Ly

Sydney Ly studies Communication with dual minors in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is currently working in retail and has experience as a tutor. Her passions include but are not limited to reading, listening to music, and watching The Office.

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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Alone in Boston: Pt 1

August 7th, 2021

The summer before starting college was one of the most fun and cherished times in my life; my friend group from high school got closer than ever before. We spent almost every day together swimming in the lake, getting ice cream from the local creamery and going for sunset walks. We poured our hearts and fears out to each other in a way we never had, sharing moments of weakness and sadness over leaving home and facing change. 

That summer felt like a fairytale, a dreamscape I often looked back on during my first week in Boston when I romanticized my high school experience and sought comfort from my memories. 

That same summer, I spent the final week of August sharing boogery and blubbering goodbyes with my friends. After packing up everything I could fit into two suitcases, my eldest sister, Randi, and I headed to the airport. The plan was for Randi to accompany me to orientation weekend, stay in my dorm room with me for a few nights and fly out on Monday while my parents drove out to Boston the following weekend with the rest of my belongings. As we headed to the airport, I felt a gut-wrenching nervousness. It was the kind of anxiety that made me feel tight and wound up on the inside, like I’ve been holding your breath for too long. 

Boston definitely gave Randi and me a warm welcome. It was already 97 degrees when we touched down at Logan Airport around 11 in the morning. The heat radiated off the tarmac like a pan of overdone brownies.

We arrived outside Warren Towers over an hour later after struggling to understand the spider-like subway system. Three tall towers loomed over us, connecting at the bottom like a fork. We made our way up the escalator and into the small lobby which was separated from the rest of the dorm by a small office and two gruff-looking security guards.

Obviously irritated from the heat and confusion of the new freshman class, the guards dismissively informed us that visitors were not allowed to stay overnight during move-in weekend. In a panic, Randi and I begged the guard to let her stay the night and she would be gone in the morning. 

To our relief, the guard begrudgingly agreed. As Randi and I took the elevator to the 17th floor, a new realization set in. There was nowhere Randi could stay for the rest of the weekend for a reasonable price and she would have to change her flight and depart the next morning, leaving me all alone for the rest of orientation. 

The state of my dorm room only made me feel worse. It was no bigger than a small classroom, with four raised beds lining each wall, complete with a dresser and desk below. I was the first to arrive and chose a bed opposite the large windows that overlooked all of South Campus. The view was my only reprieve in that room. I smiled to myself as I spotted the stadium lights of Fenway Park. 

The view from the 17th floor of Tower A in Warren Towers. Photo credit: Toni Baraga

I tried to hide my disappointment and sadness over Randi’s sudden departure but I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions. We shared my twin bed that night, trying to enjoy our last moments together. The sweltering heat was our blanket as we slept on the stiff mattress, covered only with a single fitted sheet. 

Randi left promptly the next day. I sat alone in my dorm room and looked out the window over Brookline, feeling small and insignificant. Never in my life had I been so alone and I didn’t know what to do with myself. 

One by one my roommates started to arrive, each as uninterested in socializing with me as the next. They were all quiet and neat, which was nice, but it made adjusting really hard. I expected to be friends with my roommates instantaneously as we bonded over being non-locals and new to campus. I had hoped they would join me for Welcome Week events and we could explore campus and the city together. That dream dissipated quickly, however, as they all turned down my invitation for dinner in the dining hall. 

My first week at Boston University was one of the hardest times in my life. I cried every night under my small blanket so my roommates wouldn’t see. I attempted to make friends but it seemed as if no one was interested. By the time my parents arrived, I still had no friends and no fun adventures to brag about. 

I was broken and insecure. Coming to Boston felt like a huge mistake. I was completely blindsided by the fact that my first week was nothing like what movies or TV shows depicted. There weren’t people on every corner inviting you to parties and club meetings. It seemed as if everyone had found their friend group and already knew what they were doing. 

If there’s anything that I learned from that week, it’s that college may not be what you originally expect. You may not like your roommates and you may not make friends right away. The first week can be extremely lonely and heartbreaking. You might spend your first weekend eating by yourself in the dining hall and watching Netflix in your room, but that’s okay. 

You don’t need to have your new college life figured out in the first week. In fact, no one does. Friends change, classes start and life goes on. Instead of wallowing in the sadness of being alone try to focus on school and put your energy in your academics. Eventually your social life will catch up and the other stuff will work its way out. 

Overview:

  • Transitioning from high school to college is extremely challenging. It won’t be perfect at first and that’s okay. Taking time to adjust, rather than getting down on yourself, is very important. 
  • Making friends can be difficult. It may not happen right away, but exploring other avenues such as joining clubs and speaking with students in your classes can be great places to meet people.
  • Don’t let your preconceived notions become expectations. Everyone is going to have different experiences adjusting, so take your time and try not to compare yourself to others. 
  • When you’re feeling down about your social life, try to focus on academics instead. Being productive in other aspects of your life can be a good distraction and may also lead to other possibilities of friendship. 
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My name is Toni Baraga and I am a senior in COM at Boston University studying journalism with a minor in archaeology. I have a passion for writing and I believe that everyone has a story. I have worked as a reporter for various newspapers, such the Somerville Journal and Boston University’s Daily Free Press. I grew up in St. Paul Minnesota and reside in Boston.  


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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