Posts Tagged ‘college experience’

The Effect of Covid-19, Remote Learning and What Comes Next

Friday, September 10th, 2021

It’s strange to think about how much I longed for home during my first year of college, which ironically ended up being where I finished my junior and senior years. I was back home for spring break when it was announced that BU would be going remote. I subsequently made a quick day trip to Boston to pick up some essentials from my dorm and left the rest, assuming that I would be coming back to the city. I did eventually step foot in Boston, but it was for my graduation, approximately a year and a half later.

BU Commencement 2021: Over in a Flash | BU Today | Boston University
BU’s Commencement for the Class of 2021
Image Credit: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/bu-commencement-2021-over-in-a-flash/

I have mentioned before that studying abroad in London made me want to really explore Boston and take advantage of being in a city, so I was definitely sad that my time in Massachusetts was cut short. However, I assumed that remote learning would be manageable because, as I’ve also previously stated, I’m more of an introvert and I believed that taking classes over Zoom would be no big deal.

Gradually, though, taking classes virtually began to wear me down and I started realizing all the small things that I missed from being on campus. I missed being able to talk with my classmates before and after class. I missed walking around Boston and Brookline. I missed going to various spots on campus to do my coursework. I missed not staring at a screen for hours on end.

View from the 26th floor of StuVi2
Image Credit: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/bu-commencement-2021-over-in-a-flash/

The pandemic and remote learning gave me a new appreciation for all the interactions and activities that I took for granted while on campus. It also made me extremely grateful for all the opportunities and stuff I did before the world seemingly came to a halt. 

Even though I was taking classes remotely, I did step outside of my comfort zone with the classes I took, particularly in my final semester. Before then, I had certainly taken courses that forced me to do so. For instance, I had classes that were small and discussion-based, meaning I had to actively participate and voice my opinions, which was challenging for me. I was constantly nervous about not saying something smart, like my classmates, or fumbling over my words. There were some professors who liked to randomly call on students to answer questions and that was even scarier because I was in fear of being called on and not knowing what to say.

The classes that I took in my final semester were different, though, in that the major projects were tasks I had never done before. One class required me to make a video and I needed to assist in writing a script, and maybe do some acting, for another class. I had never edited a video, written a script, or acted. When I saw the syllabi for both of these classes, part of me was tempted to drop out of both. 

However, I decided to take the classes because my time at BU was ending, so I had to seize the chance to take courses that seemed interesting, or else regret not doing so. Also, making a video meant learning and refining a new skill, which would be a nice break from binging shows in my downtime (something I was admittedly doing a lot during the pandemic). And script writing would allow me to practice my creative writing abilities, since I did mostly analytical writing assignments in college. As for the acting, I could take comfort in the fact that I wouldn’t be doing it in-person. 

I actually really liked taking those classes since they were unlike anything I had taken before. A lot of the people in my classes were amateurs in video editing and script-writing as well and the professors weren’t expecting us to be experts. Therefore, knowing that what I created didn’t have to be perfect, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was able to enjoy the classes more and try new things before graduating.

If you are looking to step outside your comfort zone, I absolutely recommend checking out classes outside the discipline you are studying in or courses that require you to try something new. It’ll help you expand your horizons, pick up additional skills and perhaps pique your interest in a subject you never considered before. There are deadlines to drop out of a class, so if you show up on the first day and decide it’s not your cup of tea, you aren’t forced to keep drinking it for the rest of the semester. 

Now that I’ve graduated, I’m looking at multiple master’s programs. I had applied to one and was offered admission, but after deliberation and conversations with friends and family, I decided not to accept. Ultimately, I felt like the program I applied to wasn’t right for me. Now, without the stress of college, I’ve been able to research different programs and really think about what I want to do for graduate school. Of course, it is a bit frustrating not currently knowing exactly what direction my life is going in, yet I am glad to have this small break from school after all of the pressure I placed on myself to succeed academically in high school and college. Besides, I want to be certain that I pick a master’s program that I will be happy with instead of just rushing to finish my graduate studies. 

Just to summarize:

  • Attempt to make the most of your time in college and take a minute to appreciate the little things that we take for granted.
  • Selecting an interesting class can be a good way to step out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to search for courses outside your discipline.  
  • It’s alright not to go straight into graduate school after finishing your undergraduate studies. It’s fine to take your time. Everyone’s paths through life are unique.

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 6- Returning to Boston and My First Internship

Friday, September 3rd, 2021

I feel like it would be too bold (and perhaps slightly cheesy) to say that studying abroad changed my life. It doesn’t feel like I was in London that long ago, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has warped my sense of time, so it’s hard to view that experience retrospectively. However, I can confidently say that studying abroad influenced how I approached my following spring semester at Boston University when I returned.

I wanted to be more outgoing and adventurous in Boston, like I had become in London. So, I decided to seize more opportunities to do activities outside of campus. For example, I went to two Beanpot games with a friend. Beanpot, for those not familiar with the Boston area, is a hockey tournament between BU, Northeastern University, Boston College and Harvard University held at TD Garden. I had seen hockey games on campus, but never fathomed going off-campus to see a game during a weeknight when I had class early the next day because I’m not a huge hockey fanatic. I thought it might be fun to go to a Beanpot game at least once, though, and it was. I’m still not the world’s biggest hockey fan, but I did enjoy watching the game intently and cheering on the BU team.

Beanpot game at TD Garden

A week after the Beanpot tournament, I went on a weekend trip to Philadelphia with some friends. I had been to Philly before with my family and we typically just went to the same places repeatedly, so when my friend invited me to go, I agreed. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to hang out with friends, be a little touristy and go to some spots I had never been to before. We saw the Liberty Bell, ran up the Rocky Steps (well, I half-jogged), ate Philly cheesesteaks, etc.

The best part of the weekend was definitely going to Philadelphia’s Magic Garden, which is an outdoor mosaic art gallery. It was stunning, and being surrounded by an array of intentionally-placed art pieces in the labyrinth was incredible. 

Exploring the labyrinth that is Philadelphia’s Magic Garden

I wasn’t just outgoing in terms of going out and exploring the city. The spring semester was also when I started applying for my first internships. Finding an internship was always something at the back of my mind, but I was so busy and stressed by classes that I decided to focus on my academics. By the spring of my junior year, though, I felt like I had learned how to manage my time well enough to handle having an internship. 

Also, it began to dawn on me that after the spring ended, I would be entering my final year before graduating. I wanted to start figuring out what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I had become an English major because I loved reading and writing and they were things that I thought I was pretty good at. This did not mean that I knew what I wanted to pursue as a career. There were people around me who had internships and knew exactly what they wanted to do after they graduated, which did, admittedly, put pressure on me. However, I was mostly eager to find out what direction my life would take. 

I worked hard on creating the perfect resume and cover letter and had a lot of help from the Internet. I Googled examples of both and tried to use them as guidelines to perfect mine. I spent a lot of time reading, reviewing and revising these application elements until the perfectionist in me realized that I was obsessing too much over tiny details. Then, I finally applied to a few internships that I found on Handshake.

I think that the freshman version of myself would have been panicking all day, every day, until I heard something back. I would have worried about whether I was good enough and fretted over the fear of failure. Fortunately, junior year me had a distinct mindset. Of course I would like to have an internship yet overthinking things that were outside of my control was not going to help me in any way. Even if it was challenging to do so, I just had to focus on the aspects of my life that I could control.

I was soon accepted into an internship with a literary agency. Basically, the internship entailed me reading over submitted manuscripts and providing my feedback. It was interesting to read the stories of various writers. It also reminded me how much I love reading for fun. Since I had to read so much for my classes, I really didn’t read for pleasure in college during my spare time. Looking through the manuscripts, though, it felt as if I was back in high school, when I used to read to pass the time. The internship also showed me how much I value storytelling. People have so many worlds, experiences and ideas to share in their writing and the thought of helping writers publish their works appealed to me. So, the internship certainly made me feel like I was taking a step forward in figuring out what I wanted to do with my future. 

If you are looking for an internship, my best advice is this:

  • Make sure to double-check your resume and cover letter. There are many examples of both online that you can check out. Also, your college’s career center might offer some helpful services, such as appointments to review your resume and mock interviews.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply to a variety of places. 
  • If you get an internship, seize the chance to make connections, network, learn new things and ask questions.

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 5- An Unexpected Time in London

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

I had no idea what was in store for me when I initially landed in London. I had done a little research through Google Maps and acquainted myself vaguely with the area that would be my home. I was registered for two English courses and two History courses, the latter of which  really intrigued me because one course included a class trip to Belgium. Besides these details, I had no idea what to expect. 

During orientation, where I was struggling with jet lag and trying to cling on to consciousness, I recall one of the speakers encouraging the students to venture outside of England’s capital. Aside from that one aforementioned class trip, I didn’t think I would be that adventurous.

However, gradually, my travel plans began to grow.

At the beginning of the semester, I signed up for BU sponsored trips. One of them was a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath and the other was a weekend trip to Edinburgh. Then, I learned that one of my English courses included a weekend excursion to the English countryside. When my aunt and uncle from New Jersey and my cousin from Guatemala came to visit me in October, we decided to take the Eurostar to see Paris for two days. Afterwards, I made plans with classmates to travel to a few European cities during the weekends.

View from Edinburgh Castle

I hadn’t expected to travel, but I’m glad I did so because I made so many great memories: taking a boat tour and gliding through the canals of Amsterdam, sitting in the Sistine Chapel and marveling at the ceiling, going to Edinburgh Castle and admiring the view of the city.

You don’t need to travel extensively when studying abroad, but seeing different parts of your host country or visiting nearby regions is something you should keep in mind. It’ll help you understand more about the country you are staying in and allow you the chance to experience new cultures. 

If you are traveling while studying abroad, you don’t need every moment of your trips planned out, but you should have a general idea of what you want to do. Some activities require getting tickets or making reservations, so if you have your heart set on doing something, make sure to do research beforehand. This also applies to food. For example, when I first went to Belgium, I realized that I didn’t know what foods to try, aside from waffles (which I did end up eating a lot of…). If you want to try out food local to the region you’re traveling to, do some research in that area as well! 

Carbonara in Rome

During my weekdays spent in London, I did my best not to stay cooped up in my dorm. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of being in a new environment. On days when I planned to work on essays and other homework, I would either go to the London Library or the British Library– my BU program advantageously helped everyone get library cards for both places. I preferred going to the London Library, sitting by a window with the view of a park and working there for a few hours. I fondly remember my walks back to the tube station as the winter season began to approach because it would get dark at around 5 p.m., but holiday lights beautifully illuminated the streets of the city to mark the impending festive season. Therefore, do your best not to stay cooped inside when studying abroad. Spend some time exploring and getting to know more of the place you’re staying in.

Impromptu photoshoot in the atmospheric London Library

I made sure to stay connected with my family in New Jersey as well. It was challenging at first, considering the time difference. When I was free, everyone was busy with work. When they would be free to call, I would either be getting ready for bed or already in bed. So, I ended up speaking to my family a lot less than when I was in Boston. Still, we found time to speak once a week, at the very least, and I called my mom before I went on any trips outside of London, just to let her know that I would be away for the weekend. I texted my family a lot and sent them a ton of pictures, so they knew I was having fun. Though I definitely missed them, it was undoubtedly a relief that I wasn’t as homesick as I feared. I was happily occupied with classes, mundane tasks (like grocery shopping) and making the most of my time in London. The months seemed to fly by. December quickly arrived and I was a little sad to say goodbye to London.

Looking back at my semester abroad, I really have no regrets. Okay, maybe I wish I practiced cooking for myself prior to going to England because, before then, I had never had to make meals for myself every single day, so I was a bit lost in that regard. And perhaps I should have studied the currency a little more, since it got confusing to distinguish all the coins. But aside from those minor things (due to my admitted lack of preparedness), I enjoyed my time in London, ranging from minor activities like eating at Nando’s to doing really touristy things, such as seeing As You Like It at the Globe Theater. 

So, to summarize my study abroad tips:

  • Do research, whether it is about the currency, the language, the food, things to do, etc. 
  • Try not to confine yourself to the comfort of the place/area you are staying in. Explore! Make a bucket list! Try new foods! Don’t be afraid of doing some touristy things! There are museums and such that offer free admission or student discounts!
  • Make time to stay connected with friends and family from back home. And if you are abroad and feeling homesick, here are some helpful tips to help you out: https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/ways-reduce-homesickness-abroad

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

Wednesday, 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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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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Chapter 2- The First Week at University (Full of Homesickness and Doubt)

Saturday, August 7th, 2021

In the time between accepting my offer to attend Boston University and actually moving there from New Jersey in September of 2017, I underwent a spectrum of emotions. There were certainly times when I was ecstatic to be starting my undergraduate studies at BU. For instance, I had an overall positive experience during my freshman orientation at the end of June. On top of that, my family was proud of me and other people outside of my familial circle were excited about this change on my behalf. While I eagerly looked forward to September, I didn’t necessarily feel their level of enthusiasm. 

At random times, like when I went shopping with my mom and aunt to pick out some stuff for my dorm room, I felt nervous about going to Boston. Gradually, these feelings of anxiety continued to grow and linger, even as my family packed all my things in the car and drove to Massachusetts, so that I could officially start my first semester.

When it came time for my family to return to New Jersey, I remember crying and having difficulty saying goodbye. I clearly recall the overwhelming sensation of loneliness after seeing them leave as I stood alone, surrounded by the unfamiliar urban landscape that would be my new home for the next few years. This loneliness didn’t suddenly evaporate after a few days. Although I enjoyed my classes during my first week at BU, I couldn’t shake away my homesickness. I knew that moving from my small hometown to Boston wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be so challenging to adapt to my new environment and independence. I felt like I was the only one that was struggling, which made me feel even worse. Everyone around me seemed to form new connections effortlessly and seamlessly integrate themselves into their new setting. This eventually led to me thinking: If I am missing home this much, maybe choosing Boston was a mistake. Maybe I wasn’t as ready for change as I thought I was.

View from my freshman dorm room

In coping with my homesickness and doubt, I was honest with my family about how I was feeling, which was the best thing I could have done. I knew that if I had acted as though everything was alright, I would have been detrimentally bottling up my negative emotions. I was fortunate in that my family not only sympathized with me, but encouraged me to give BU a try. They instilled me with confidence during this period of my life when my self-esteem wasn’t too high. They urged me to not give up on Boston so readily because I might end up liking the city. Deep down, I also knew that if I ended up giving up, I would probably regret the decision and be left thinking “what if?” for a very long time. 

In my endeavor to give Boston a try, I decided not to rely on family so much. During my first (and also subsequent weeks), I called my family nearly every day. Although keeping in touch with friends and relatives from back home was important, I realized that this constant communication was preventing me from getting to know my new environment. Therefore, I tried limiting myself to texting and making a few phone calls a week.

I also attempted to stop myself from being cooped up in my dorm room constantly. Being confined within that comfortable space heightened my feelings of loneliness and homesickness. So, I started taking walks, even if they were to nearby places, like to Brookline Booksmith (one of my favorite bookstores) or a coffee shop. Just going somewhere outside of my room helped immensely, whether it was doing homework in the lounge of my dorm, BU’s library or a coffee shop. These small steps made me start to feel more part of the community instead of a spectator. And this was only the beginning of my adjustment to life in a city after living my whole life in a small town, where my high school graduating class was smaller than some of my lectures at BU. 

Image credit: https://www.brooklinebooksmith.com/about 

Everyone’s experience with starting college is different. Some people face more homesickness than others and homesickness can be handled in various ways. Here are some websites that offer more tips on how to deal with feeling homesick: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/how-to-handle-homesickness-in-college , https://www.hercampus.com/life/how-deal-homesickness-freshman-year/


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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Acceptance: Becoming a College Student

Friday, July 30th, 2021

Autumn of 2017 was one of the most stressful times of my life. A few months shy of 18, I spent the Saturday after Halloween submerged in the couch, eyes fixed to my computer screen while episodes of Spongebob played muted on the TV. That night, the Early Action college application would close promptly at midnight. 

The day prior, a friend explained to me there was a higher chance of getting accepted into the colleges I wanted if I applied for Early Action because of the smaller number of applicants. I rushed home as soon as school was over, planted myself on the couch and started to type out supplemental essays for the eight schools I wished to attend. 

During my senior year I was still pretty unsure with what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I enjoyed reading and writing but I didn’t have a passion like many others in my grade. Because of this, I applied to schools all across the country without getting my hopes too high. I didn’t have a specific dream that involved a particular school, but I planned on attending the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, a campus about 15 minutes from my house and a safety school for most locals. 

Photo Credit: www.instagram.com/umntwincities

A few anxious months later, the results started trickling in. I found out I was accepted to the University of Wisconsin, Madison while in line for popcorn at the movie theater. My acceptance to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities arrived by email at dinner time, while my parents watched the local news and ate dinner on the couch. My acceptance into Boston University’s College of Communication came on a lazy afternoon watching cartoons in my basement. 

Getting accepted to BU came as a major surprise. To be honest, I had completely forgotten I even applied and only did so because of my dad’s encouragement. One drizzly and cold spring break trip to Boston a year prior to visit BU’s campus left me with a bad impression of the college and the town. The campus was a group of blocky, concrete buildings plopped down in the middle of a busy city. The outdated library and brutalist dorms were depressing. Nickerson Field in West Campus was the only part of the school that felt remotely similar to the colleges I grew up near, but the campus lacked community and school spirit. 

Because of that trip I almost turned my back completely on BU. I spent many long nights mulling over my choice between the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. My acceptance to BU was a great honor and opportunity, but it was completely forgotten under my preconceived notions and first impressions of the school. 

I almost let judgement get in the way of my decision. Watching the kids in the grades above me go to big schools like the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin compelled me to follow in their footsteps. Attending schools in the Midwest was easy and familiar and most were a short drive away from my childhood home and populated with many other graduates from my high school. 

Luckily, my dad knew that moving out of the Midwest and across the country by myself was the best thing for me. It would teach me confidence and resilience, two qualities I lacked from growing up in such a tight-knit and predictable community. 

Taking risks, especially at a time in life with so much change, can be paralyzingly terrifying. Whether you’re attending a school 15 minutes from your house or 1500 miles away, moving out of your house and gaining independence is a major step in anyone’s life. I was lucky enough to have another influence pushing me to get out and take a risk. I realize a lot of people may not have that luxury, but I hope any other indecisive students realize that every opportunity is important and something to take seriously. 

Me, in the middle, with my two best friends of 10 years walking through our elementary school on graduation day. Photo taken by Sammy Baraga.

Don’t let fear hold you back from taking chances and don’t let fear control your perceptions. I almost passed up one of the greatest opportunities of my life because I was scared and I let fear justify my negative feelings. 

That being said, choosing to attend BU and move over one thousand miles away from my home was one of the hardest decisions and transitions I’ve ever made. At the time, life only seemed to get worse, but writing this now I can look back and appreciate all of the challenges and hard moments for how they’ve shaped me today.

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, theCampus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a specialcoupon bookletand theOfficial Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At theCampus 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 ourwebsite for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during theWelcome Week of 2015.

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Starting College, Roommates, and Italian for Dinner

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Before me is a white plate cradling little pockets of ravioli with a layer of parmesan, like snow dusted on top. The green of the sage just barely peeps through. My mouth waters and I look over to my friend Leslie whose face must mirror my own. Her plate of pasta speckled with pepper and pecorino beams up at her, same as mine does at me. “SO worth the wait,” she says. We dig in. 

Ravioli Burro e Salvia from I Sodi.

Months prior to this, Leslie and I met in our History of the Universe class. I noticed one of the girls I was waiting outside the classroom door with was wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt. I thought to myself, This girl is cool, I’m going to make sure to sit next to her. And thanks to our professor who loved to assign group work, we ended up working together because we were seated next to each other. Only about a month into the semester, I was waiting for the elevator in my residence hall when I bumped into Leslie taking out the trash one day. We both started apologizing profusely for the run-in before we realized who the other person was. “Wait, you live on this floor?” I asked, and she nodded. It turned out she lived just a few doors down from me (and it also turned out that this would be a huge blessing for me during my freshman year).

The more time passed, the more uncomfortable I got with my living situation. As Leslie and I got closer, I would spend more and more time in her dorm studying or just hanging out until I absolutely had to go to sleep, or she or her roommate did. Many times I would show up to class and she’d ask for updates on how it was going over in my dorm. I’d sigh and update her because there was always something to tell.

The issue? My roommate.

Or maybe it was me. Likely, it was both of us. The strangest part of it all was that when we were texting over the summer before the semester started, we got along really well. I actually had very high hopes for the school year and was thrilled that I was roomed with someone who was so friendly and who had all the same preferences I did on the housing application. So when things started to go south, I did my best to smile through the pain. She missed a week of cleaning? It’s okay, I’m not always good about remembering either. She had her boyfriend over and they were being too loud? That’s fine, I can handle it. He’s sleeping over now? It’s okay. I’m fine. He’s here again? Okay. Maybe it’s just a few days in a row. It will stop. Wait, he’s here again

Truthfully, it got worse. The amount of time it would take to tell every incident, to detail what life in the dorm was like, would be immense. There was yelling, a lot of it, then the strained moments in which we tried to compromise, then ultimately silence that was not just awkward, but filled with tension. We were definitely both at fault. I was used to my living situation at home, where I could be left alone in peace and quiet, and she was used to being able to have people over whenever she wanted. There were times we lost our tempers with each other, but we also tried to be civil with each other the following day. Countless discussions about what we could do to make the other feel more comfortable often came to nothing, and we even went to our RA for guidance at one point. At the end of the day, whether we had come to an agreement or not, we were left unhappy.

Since then, I’ve chalked it up to us being victims of circumstance. I am almost certain that if we hadn’t had to live together we would have been friends. We were just highly incompatible when it came to our ways of living. And unfortunately, it got to the point I’d do anything to be out of my dorm. 

“I know what we can do,” Leslie said one day as we lounged on her bed. Her eyes had lit up all of a sudden as we watched a movie on her laptop in the dark. We’d been dying for a break in routine lately and she knew I needed something to take my mind off of my living situation. “I Sodi,” she said excitedly.

I blinked. “What’s that?”

“I Sodi. It’s a super fancy Italian restaurant. You have to make a reservation, like, months in advance to eat there. But after our History of the Universe final, we should go there to celebrate!”

So we made the reservation (two months in advance) and saved the little money our parents sent us to be able to have a fulfilling experience come December. When the day finally came we threw on our nicest looking sweaters and coats and braved the cold wind, walking the streets of New York to finally arrive at the steps of I Sodi. And yes, it was worth it. Of course, it was nice to be out of the dorm, but it was also one of the few times that semester I genuinely enjoyed being in New York. We still felt out of place sitting amongst people who certainly looked like they didn’t have to save money to eat there, but the meal has lived on in our memories as one of the best New York has gifted us thus far since living there. Worries fell away, the food melted in our mouths, and I could forget about what awaited me back at the dorm.

I Sodi in New York City.

But many times when I look back on my freshman year, especially that first semester, I wish I’d done better. What if there was something I could have done to make my situation more tolerable not just for me, but for my roommate?

Here are some steps you can take to try to improve your relationship with your roommate:

  • Take a Breath – Maybe you are like me and you get overwhelmed by what is bothering you and want to fix it immediately. There were times I know I was a little too quick to get on my roommate for something when I should have calmed down first thing. So breathe. Sometimes it’s a case of having to choose your battles. If you think you can handle it, try to do so, especially if there is more than just one issue at hand. 
  • Talk to Them – Can’t take it anymore? Sometimes you have to start that awkward conversation. Make sure you know what you’re going to say first and make sure you have a positive attitude before you talk to your roommate. They will likely hear you out and try to fix the situation if you are nice about it. In other words, don’t be my roommate or me who many times just snapped at each other. 
  • Give Them a Chance – College is overwhelming. It doesn’t take long to realize that. So it is likely your roommate may forget (again? Yes, again! It’s okay, take another breath) that it’s their turn to clean, or that they promised they would take out the trash. Give them at least a week before you bring it up again. It can take a while to implement something into your routine.
  • Talk to Your RA – If you are still having issues, do not be shy to knock at your Residential Assistant’s door. They will more than likely smooth over the situation and will be a neutral voice that you can count on to help you and your roommate reach a true compromise. 
  • Take it Easy – It’s possible more issues will arise, likely a few of the same ones. I made the mistake my freshman year of getting too hung up on these things, of letting them eat away at me to the point I couldn’t enjoy my time in New York. Do your best to shrug these things off. Do things that you enjoy to take your mind off it. You cannot control your roommate, but you can take care of yourself. 

And if all that doesn’t work? Find your Leslie and your I Sodi and plan something amazing that you can look forward to. Spoil yourself. Do it. You need it. 

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By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

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 Diary of a College Student: Adjusting to Life Off-Stage and into the Lecture Hall

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

In having been an actor for over 10 years of my life the adjustment that I experienced in not pursuing acting further in college was interesting, to say the least. Before that, life had been a world of opportunity in the sense that anywhere could have been a stage upon which to demonstrate my craft, my commitment, my skill, etc..

Upon arriving in New York City as a freshman college student, I found myself searching for something new around which to center my life. Something that could fill the void I felt inside me. I wanted to substitute something for the hours of intense training, detail-oriented rehearsals, and a creativity that was conditioned to image the sufferings and joys of human existence. I was in the process of reimagining my life, adjusting to my new life off-stage, in lecture halls, and among unfamiliar peers; in the manner that I would live, the activities that I would pursue daily, the motivation that I felt that pushed me toward always becoming better than what I was the day before, etc.. I believe that this time, a time of life re-imagined, can relate to, and is shared by, those who experience a dramatic shift in their day-to-day routines, their sense of limitation, and their sense of liberty when choosing what to prioritize in life.

This especially applies to college students, namely Freshmen, who recently removed themselves from a familiar environment full of routine and safety. In attending an out-of-town, an out-of-state, or international university, students are faced with the difficult task of taking what they knew as life and drastically reimaging it to suit their needs in their new localities. The difficulties arises from temptation. Temptation that is reinforced by the general newfound liberty of independent living. Spiderman taught me at a young age that “with great power comes great responsibility,” and it is a fact of human existence that ameliorating one’s liberty of choice, freedom of expression, and right to self-determination is directly relatable to one’s sense power.

So in here lies the subject of responsibility. What this essay aims to make palpable is the difficulty that exists in maintaining one’s sense of responsibility and pragmatism during this time of life re-imagined. Before, we discussed the opportunities college students have in trying to find the best student deals, spark new relationships, curate better hygiene, etc. when in an unfamiliar place, such as attending a new school. However, it is this greater realization of the individual’s power of choice that is the true subject of this discourse. I don’t want to sound cliché, but for new college students, there is no greater excitement then determining exactly what it is that makes you happy and using those sources of happiness to your advantage.

Image Credit: http://www.scei.edu.au/news

The overwhelming nature of arriving in a different city, into a situation where there are no longer limits on the things you can try, or finding where those things will begin generally brings anxiety with it. It is good to feel that anxiety, because it means that you value what your life is and your happiness in living it. If I could go back and tell myself a tidbit of advice freshman year, I would tell him this: there is no greater opportunity missed than living a life that prioritizes your health, your happiness, and your ability to make patient deliberated decisions. That may seem like an Olympian sized feat, but it begins with the littlest of things. For example, when one prioritizes their health and ability to focus and deliberate, than drinking the night before a test perhaps wouldn’t even enter one’s mind as a viable option.

Image Credit: https://www.pragmait.com/therapyboss/blog/short-term-or-long-term-goals-still-required/

It may seem a little extreme. However, when I was adjusting to my life off-stage there were many decisions that I see now as being nothing but a hindrance on my overall goal of being happy. I was more concerned with my momentary happiness and less concerned with prioritizing my long term goals.  It is easy to try and find the most exciting thing to do as a young new college freshman or sophomore, but it is all too easy to get caught up in the overwhelming liberty that comes with newfound independence. Always prioritize the life you want to be living and don’t simply live in the moment, and I promise that your life re-imagined will be a rewarding one to live.

By James Rodriguez


A Texan born and raised, James Rodriguez grew up in San Antonio TX, and has recently graduated from New York University, having studied corporate and political publicity. He sings, plays guitar, studies French, etc. in his free time, and when given the opportunity to share advice that he thought noteworthy with future or current college students, he jumped on the chance. He believes that there is something incredibly important in obtaining knowledge from those who are going through or have recently finished dealing with the difficulties one is seeking advice on. Which is exactly the aim of the Campus Clipper: to share the best advice possible in order to better the experiences of students who are struggling now. Because he was once that lost college student who was searching for instruction and who felt out-of-place and in need of direction, he hopes that his words can relate to someone’s struggle and help along the way. 

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 encourage 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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