Posts Tagged ‘college experience’

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.


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:

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.

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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.



College Savings Experience by Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 13th, 2014


Photo op with some monks my friends and I met on the Great Wall of China.

I like chicken soup. Wǒ xǐhuān jītāng.

It’s probably one of the only phrases I learned to say correctly in Mandarin while studying abroad in China and it still makes me laugh one year later.

No matter what college you go to, even if it’s only a few psychology courses online, everyone should go on a study abroad program at least once in their lifetime. Study abroad is a rite of passage and the college discounts you get is worth the experience. It’s the ability to say that during your young adult life you did something different and learned about a new place. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you go. What’s important is that you get out, see the world, and learn about a country that isn’t America.

One of the best benefits of studying abroad is that your early 20s is the best time to travel. Besides school, and maybe a part-time job, you don’t have that many obligations. Once you’re working the 9-5 grind you’ll find it’s extremely difficult to snag any vacation days right away. Studying abroad provides you with a way to get college credits without sitting in a classroom for an entire semester. Study abroad programs usually offer a variety of courses that range from common core classes to specific credits that can be used towards your major.

Studying abroad through your school is a great way to make friends that will be there after the trip. Most of the people that go on study abroad trips go to the same school. It’s very easy to form close friendships in a short amount of time on these trips. Walking across campus and seeing a familiar face is always a nice surprise in the middle of a hectic day.



New friendships only grow stronger after hours of hiking the Yellow Mountain (Mt. Huangshan) in the southern Anhui province in eastern China.

People don’t just travel because of the boredom from living in the same place. People travel because they thirst to see something new. It’s one thing to see a picture of a famous landmark; it’s quite another to actually see that landmark with your own eyes. Ask anyone that’s ever traveled anywhere, or ask anyone with a smartphone camera; no photo or Instagram filter can truly ever beat the real thing. When you go home and change your profile picture on Facebook to a picture of yourself standing on the Great Wall of China—that’s something to brag about.

To learn about a culture that is foreign from your own is a truly important experience. There are so many different cultures in the world that it is impossible to count. To go through life ignorant of the world around you is a foolish mistake. Hear a different language slide past your lips. Eat a food that you can’t identify. Engross yourself in a way of living that you’ve never experienced.

A study abroad trip is more than just a trip. It’s a chance to take an adventure, fill a scrapbook with memories, and tell stories to your loved ones that will last a lifetime.


Group picture of the 2013 Summer CUNY China trip in front of the Monk Xuanzang statue in Xi’an, China.

Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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