Posts Tagged ‘family’

Confessions of a People-Pleaser: On Advocating for your Needs and Boundaries

Monday, June 10th, 2024

There is no such a thing as someone with no needs and no boundaries. I used to believe I had none or at least no right to my own boundaries because I was placed in a role of mostly serving others. Specifically, many women are raised to believe this about themselves. And yet, many western cultures have this expectation that women still need to be these boss women with unbreakable spirits. I couldn’t reconcile these expectations before the time came for me to participate in a college lecture or start my first internship. 

I knew I had to dig deep within myself to find out why I had found it so challenging not to sacrifice myself for the needs of other people. To believe that I didn’t deserve to be listened to, helped, or have my identity affirmed as friendship coach Danielle Bayard Jackson loves to say. This was clearly impacting the quality of relationships I had with potential friends, my coworkers, family, and supervisors. And it was only blinding me from the potential I had of fulfilling my dreams and of living the kind of life I desired in the end. 

I mostly talk about boundary-setting with family in the second chapter of my ebook; but I would like to expand this conversation to include friends. Family is more or less our first introduction to how relationships are formed and how people view us. Some of us may have more chaotic families than others and follow scripts that strip us all of our autonomy, but they nevertheless serve as a blueprint for our friendships and other relationships important to us. 

As the eldest daughter in my family with two younger brothers, I was raised to constantly look after others, listen to their troubles, be available for when others had urgent matters to be taken care of, and always be open to visiting and being visited by other extended family members, even when the relationship was clearly one-sided. I grew accustomed to turning to journals and talking to myself to keep me away from the true feelings dying inside of me. And to still feel alive after a busy day of being a machine.

I’ll provide an example of a time I should have set boundaries with a “friend” in college. One woman approached me as I was waiting to meet with my advisor in the hallway. She seemed like the kind of person who was over-eager to talk to any new person she could find. I was surprised that she had ended up in my English Critical Theory class. From that point on, she always sat next to me, always asked me questions when the professor was speaking, called my phone several times in a row after class hours, and even plagiarized parts of an essay of mine. What looked like flattery in the beginning started to look more and more like obsession and jealousy (and she admitted to being jealous too). I should have told her that I clearly didn’t see her as a friend like she did. I should have let her know that she was exhausting me. I needed space, but because of the scripts I was fed as a eldest daughter, I willfully gave myself away to energy vampires like her.

Never been the most comfortable in front of a camera.

This was the script I carried with me into my young adulthood. I second-guessed my intellect during college lectures, which stopped me from participating. I felt guilty from wanting to lean on someone when I felt down because my supposed friends’ problems seemed more important, and I felt ashamed for ever using my free time because it was time I could have used to do more work at home or at the office. We all play roles in every aspect of our lives, but we have to decide what roles are depriving us of our humanity. How can we all get what we need without sacrificing ourselves and/or other people? That is my ultimate question. 

It requires a lonely journey to arrive at the answer simply because we live in a world that encourages us to treat each other like slot machines and less like humans. We all have a responsibility to show up for those we care about and hold them accountable when our boundaries have been crossed. Communicate openly and honestly, respect each other’s right to personal space, and learn the art of self-reliance because that will surely come in handy. It first starts with acknowledging we need things from others and learning to fulfill those needs in a healthy way.


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By Daeli Vargas

Daeli is a recent graduate from the City College of New York with a BA in English and a publishing certificate. She is from the Bronx and is very passionate about all things literary. She hopes one day to publish many books of her own and share her passions worldwide.


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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From One Home to Another

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023
My first picture of the Trinity campanile

On paper, the transition from high school to college sounds crazy. Of course, everyone has to mature and leave childhood at some point, but that abruptly? One night you’ve just finished a meal cooked by your parents, you’re sleeping in the same bed you’ve slept in since you were twelve years old, and the next night you’re in a completely unfamiliar place, sharing a room with a stranger, and trying to figure out where all the time you had ahead of you went. 

Having lived in Iowa my entire life, I knew I had to get out and see the world a little. I was afraid that if I stayed and went to school near my hometown, I’d simply never leave. So what did I do? I managed to get as far away as possible: Dublin, Ireland. I flew over in late August of 2022 with my mom, and I remember thinking the entire flight “Is this real? What am I doing? Where am I going?”

Before coming to school here, I had never been to Ireland before. I had been to Amsterdam once, for a week my freshman year of high school, but that was the only time I had ever even been outside of the country. I knew my decision to go to college in another country, let alone one I had never been to before, was insane, and plenty of people reminded me of that. But the reality of the whole thing took a long time to hit me.

The Long Room in Trinity’s Old Library, where the historic Book of Kells (a ancient religious manuscript) is kept

The first week in Dublin felt like a nice vacation, having time to explore the city with my mom and really just soak up the newness of everything. I visited my school’s campus, Trinity College, and was slightly taken aback by the number of tourists snapping photos in front of the Trinity campanile and waiting in line to see the Book of Kells. I mean, how could I be any more qualified to be here than them? Yet, I was already committed to living and studying for the next year in a place I knew practically nothing about. 

Things really hit the day I said goodbye to my mom. Every time since then, I’ve always gotten this strange feeling every time I’ve left home to go back to school. It’s a mixture of disbelief, sadness, and even numbness as I try to process that I won’t be seeing that person for three to four more months. What kind of person will I be when I see them again? Will they have changed? Will the distance improve our relationship or make it worse? These kinds of thoughts flash through my head with every temporary goodbye I make as part of the inevitable college transition.

When I was younger, I thought that knowing the goodbyes were only temporary would be enough to make things easy. College is so exciting and constantly busy, that you’d think you wouldn’t even have enough time to focus on the things and people that aren’t there. But, for me at least, they’re always there. Whether I’m actively missing my dad or wishing my friend from home were beside me witnessing some funny experience, having to be nearly 4000 miles away from people you’ve known your entire life is never going to be easy.

Me and my new friend on a “smart start” trip to Glendalough!

But that’s not to say that it doesn’t get better. The week after my mom left, I took part in an introductory “smart start” program with a huge group of international students going through the exact same struggles as me. Through lectures on life in Dublin and walking tours around the city, I got to know many of my fellow students and made friendships that are still going strong today.

It is all thanks to the support of my new friends in Dublin that I gained the confidence to join clubs, travel to other countries, and somehow also pass all of my exams. Even having only been through my first year of university, looking back I find it hard to recognize the person I was before moving abroad (in a good way).

I would be lying if I said it still isn’t hard to say goodbye. Just a week ago, I came back to Dublin after 4 months at home, and definitely had another round of questioning whether or not I could do this whole thing again. Thankfully, it only takes a night of hanging out with my friends and strolling around the city for me to remember how much I missed my newfound second home.

Summary:

  • I moved to Dublin to study at Trinity College a year ago with very little abroad experience beforehand
  • It was difficult to say goodbye to family and settle into a completely unfamiliar environment at first
  • I made my first, and ongoing, friendships through an introductory program for international students
  • The connections I’ve made so far have helped me establish a new home within my college environment

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By Bella Littler

Bella is a second year film student within the Trinity College Dublin / Columbia Dual BA program. She grew up in Iowa, but is currently living and studying in Dublin. On the average day, you can find her watching obscure movies, going on aimless walks around the city, or raving about any and all Taylor Swift lyrics.


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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Valuable Lessons

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

One of the Disney movies that I remember watching a lot while growing up was Bambi. It was one of my younger sister’s favorites; she loved watching the animals run by on screen. Her favorite character was the rabbit: Thumper. One of his quotes from the movie that was repeated a lot in my house was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”. It quickly became an important value for me and my sisters and still is to this day.

Values are incredibly important in life. They can add purpose and guidance where there might not be any. The principles or values someone holds can say a lot about that person оформить займ на карту без отказа срочно. According to Jarrod Davis, they can also help us shape the future into what we want it to be. In a blog written for the Barret Values Center, Davis explains the four areas of values: individual, relationship, organizational, and societal. Each area showcases how a person or an organization uses values to operate and guide their life. Things like loyalty, sustainability, creativity, teamwork, caring, etc. are all examples of values that people can have. 

A lot of values are shaped at a very young age by the people around us and the media that we consume.Media targeted at children include very simple values that the movie or show intends to teach them. Things like “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” or “a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart” can teach a child important values that they can carry through the rest of their lives. According to an article by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser, one of the ways children learn about values is “through their exposure to the larger world”. This includes media, their friends and family, books, and anything else they might be exposed to. That is why it’s important to encourage good values at a young age- and why it can be so hard when childhood values clash with adult beliefs (and vice versa). 

I was raised in a very Christian household. Because of this, one of the first things I think of when I’m trying to define my values is a Bible verse: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. This verse promoted empathy, kindness, generosity, and compassion, which is probably why it was so important for us to know. This idea has always been at the center of a lot of my personal values and probably always will be. However, as I got older, a lot of the Christian values that I was taught started to contradict both what the people in my church and my parents were saying. I started to question where I stood and what I truly valued in life.

This process was very difficult to go through and, for a lot of my teen years, I kind of ignored the conflict that was growing. I figured as long as I was nice to the people around me, as long as I “loved my neighbor as myself,” it didn’t matter what I believed or valued. This ignorance soon started to bother me as I found myself more and more at odds with the ideas around me. I finally got fed up with quietly disagreeing with my parents and started to truly consider what was important to me as a person. As I experienced more and became more educated, I slowly started to reconcile my own personal values with the values that were taught to me as a kid. I was able to see where bias might have come in when teaching me these ideas and started to think for myself about who I wanted to be and what I wanted from life. 

While I still have a lot of growing to do, I am now much more comfortable with who I am and how my values align with that. I have also been able to revisit religion recently and realize that my problem was never with Christianity or even with religion, but with the people that were teaching me one thing and encouraging me to do another. I started to realize the church my family was in was extremely toxic, backwards, and hypocritical. It is a relief to see my parents start to realize this too and break away from that particular congregation. I am no longer as religious as I used to be but I still value what my religious upbringing taught me. Recently they have left that church for another one and I can see them starting to ask themselves the same questions I did. Interestingly enough, these questions have taken them back to the values that were taught to us as kids. It just goes to prove that you’re never too old to go back and rewatch some classic childrens movies. 

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to move away from what you know to find what’s important.


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By Callie Hedtke

Callie is going to be a senior at DePaul University in Chicago and is studying Graphic Design. She loves dancing and can usually be found at her school’s gym rehearsing for her next dance show. If she’s not there, she can be found at her computer playing video or out exploring.


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. Open publish panel

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Crescendo: Finding my Muse

Monday, July 18th, 2022

“Who you surround yourself with is who you become.” This concept, also known as the law of attraction, goes back at least to Confucius in the 6th century BC. All these centuries later, its wisdom has stood the test of time and often comes to mind when I think about my friends in college, who have become a second family of sorts. In college my friends and I live, eat, study, and relax together, and through these shared experiences I have come to understand how many ways there are to live by one’s own values and give back. 

Growing up under my parents’ roof, my ideas of giving back were based solely on more traditional forms of community support – volunteering at a soup kitchen, taking care of my family members, and giving money to charity. However, as I settled into college life, I began to see just how many forms giving back can take on, and how personal the best forms of giving back can be. Because of the many obligations that make time precious in college, the framework of volunteering that I turned to growing up no longer fit in my life. Instead, I learned how impactful it is to integrate personal passions into activities that align with one’s own values. 

It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized how much my practices surrounding personal values were enforced by my parents. They instilled the value of hard work by encouraging me to practice violin every day, study hard in school, and diligently seek out volunteer opportunities and part-time jobs. Furthermore, I grew up in a Jewish household and spent lots of time going to Hebrew school, services, and the youth group at my synagogue, where I learned about the Jewish principles of repairing the world and helping those around you. 

In a college environment, friendship is more than an outlet for fun – my friends are my support system, and their values make a difference. According to the research of social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, the people you associate with determine 95% of your success or failure in life. My friends at college couldn’t care less whether I go to Friday night services or practice violin every day, but they do inspire me through their practices of spreading good in the community and beyond. 

One of my friends is very passionate about composting – just by listening to him talk about reducing personal waste, it is easy to see how deeply he cares about the environment. Over the course of this past school year, his gentle preaching has convinced all of his friends to start composting, including myself. I see the impact of his benevolence whenever I go over to our mutual friends’ houses and see the compost buckets that he personally distributed. He even gave one of our friends a hand-painted bucket covered in smiley faces and flowers. Although people too often forgo cutting down on personal waste because doing so can feel futile, my friend’s impact has been prolific due to his influence on others, and will continue to multiply as I pass on his wisdom by encouraging my own friends to compost.

Another friend of mine is passionate about social justice, and often speaks about her involvement with Students Organizing for Labor Rights, a club advocating for campus workers who are so often treated with negligence by the university. She promotes change by spreading awareness of overlooked local and international social issues on social media, as well as providing information about mutual aid funds. Her welcoming attitude in the face of difficult issues inspires me to get involved, and she often invites groups of friends to attend protests with her. I will never forget the first protest I attended with her, a march remonstrating police violence in Chicago. My friend became a leader of sorts, sharing her knowledge of what to bring and how to act in case of an emergency, as well as leading rally cries at the march. Her eagerness to discuss social issues has encouraged me to become more involved with local social justice issues.

A picture from a protest on police violence that I went to with my friend last year

Living in a time marked by a pandemic, political tumult, and rising levels of adolescent mental health issues, it is not always easy to find the motivation to uphold personal values. Whether I am picking up pieces of trash on the street or attending protests with my friend, upholding personal values comes easy when it also means spending time with friends and watching them thrive in their element. Seeing my friends take action around things that are important to them inspires me to pursue my own passions. My friends have played a key role in encouraging me to pursue my own musical passion, and their support motivates me to continue.  For me, becoming a DJ is not all about my love for music – my main goal as a DJ is to create a space on the dance floor that invites anyone and everyone to express themselves fully. I hope to  create something special for others to experience, and spread joy. And ultimately, by sticking true to my own taste and persona, I hope to encourage others to go after what is important to them too.


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By Lu Poteshman

Lu is a rising senior at Northwestern University, where she studies English Literature with a minor in Art, Theory and Practice. She is passionate about all things music and art, and loves to paint, draw, design things, write creatively, cook and explore in her free time. She is currently working towards her dreams of being a book editor by day and DJ by night.


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

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

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Love Like Her: Empathy

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

“Oh, it goes beyond sympathy. Sympathy is to understand what someone feels; empathy is to project your imagination so that you actually feel what the other person is feeling: you put yourself in the other person’s place. Do I make myself clear?”

Funny Face. Directed by Stanley Donen, Paramount Pictures, 1957.

If I could have any superpower I would sprout a field of flowers that would give people empathy once a flower is picked. Empathy is a selfless gift all people need to possess, yet most do not. It’s a social intelligence people should learn when they’re small: to treat people how you want to be treated

“I don’t want to have sex with someone, unless, they’re my boyfriend,” I’d tell him, “we don’t have to be in love. I just want to make sure it’s worth it, I guess.” It was a rule I made for myself when I decided I was ready, but it was a rule I let slip. Nearly a week later, he would write in the essay I was helping him with: “my girlfriend is annoying.” I decided to ignore it. People should vocalize the people they want? He kept it up though, he would suggest in little ways I was already his girlfriend without ever communicating it. Maybe he was afraid? Maybe, even though I vocalized that I wanted to be in a relationship with him, he was still insecure? I kept extending myself to him in that way, collecting more and more flowers. Perhaps, some part of him thought I would change my mind. I understood how scary that is and so I let him in. Once I did, he changed. I would always think of him in some capacity. I thought of how my every word, action, and mood would affect him. I wanted him to be happy and I wanted to make sure I was making him happy, that’s all. When that was not reciprocated, I could taste the way things would end before they did.

During the evening of my mother’s and father’s relationship, my dad was incarcerated, my brother was on his way, and my mom was tired. Before he went away, for what was the next five years of my life, there were no more blockbuster dates. My dad had his own apartment and my mom and I lived in the same house just a few floors higher. She went to work a lot and sometimes I’d even go with her. The clues of separation only come to me now. I saw my dad less and less, but after a long week, he was my weekend vacation. I was in sweet little kid bliss. Even when we all hung out separately everything was okay. When my dad was arrested I saw their closing come to a halt. Whatever happened between them was now in a back pocket. When my dad needed someone most he knew who was in his corner, despite everything.

I knew the boy stopped thinking of me when I was no longer something to have. It was as if we were no longer friends. He didn’t want to hang out and play video games, talk, or watch movies anymore. He would only come around for two things: sex and empathy. He would always make up excuses that were tailored in an effort to get what he wanted. I knew I would never let him feel the way he was making me feel, but I stayed. I couldn’t understand why the relationship was changing the way that it did. From there, we were on a rollercoaster that was just in for a loop when we decided to quarantine together those first covid months. He had nothing to prove when it was just us but he never stopped being apathetic. When he became so naturally codependent on me and I decided I would never allow myself to depend on someone like him. “I don’t need you,” I’d tell him in the kindest way possible. “I can take care of myself,” I’d remind him. “I just want you, not need” he had to remember. During our true finale, when I told him, “you always said such mean things to me, I didn’t deserve that.” He would respond with “and you did too.” When I asked him to name examples he’d bring up those old conversations of how I never needed him, how he did me, and how I told it to him.   

I learned that undoubtedly from all the women in my family, especially my mother. Caring comes naturally to a woman in a relationship otherwise she couldn’t call it her own. Regardless of herself, she is supposed to tend, water, feed, and love so fiercely. My mother, she showed enough care and love for both of them to exist as parents. She wrote letters and letters reminding him of how much love he had.  She couldn’t bear the thought of being taken away from her daughter’s first day of kindergarten and her son’s first day of life. She wrote all the things she wanted and would want to hear if her mistakes had pulled her away from the things she loved most. Her heart broke in all the ways she thought his heart was. She put so much time and energy into her empathy. Her only remedy for being taken for granted was to never need in return. To take care of herself second and to depend on no one because how awful would it feel to receive love the same amount of love you give for it to be taken away. 

When she was finally on the outside, having that free time she then thought of herself instead. Picking flowers and actually smelling them. He was so far away now taking up less space and there was finally room to breathe and become. To become someone who wasn’t a pile of everyone else’s feelings. That is when she learned to dance. 

I never believed that everything he did and said was what I did not deserve. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t good enough and that was the best excuse he wore. I was angry at myself all the time and when I wanted to be hurt I’d call him. I didn’t love him. I wouldn’t ever love him in that way even if we were happy. But, I knew then I thought that was the love I thought I deserved. I let him treat me the same way I treated myself and the way I have always been treated. 

If I could have any superpower I would sprout a field of flowers that would give people empathy once a flower is picked. Not only would they learn to treat others how they’d want to be treated, but they’d learn to have empathy for themselves. When I  take the time to understand my feelings and give myself room to feel those feelings without shame, that’s empathy. I am going to be stuck with myself for the rest of my life. And as I grow older I find I would never treat someone the way I do myself. I can be unkind, ruthless to my brain and body, and still push myself to do and be in situations that steal from my person. The first step toward receiving what I deserve from the world is by creating a blueprint. 

Edited by Jackson Bailey
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By Melodie Goncalves

Melodie Goncalves is a rising senior at Rhode Island College pursuing her degree in English/Creative Writing and Sociology. She has passions for reading, writing, caring for others, and music. Spending lots of her time with friends and family.

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

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Love Like Her: Movie Kisses

Friday, June 24th, 2022

As a little girl, every so often, my teenage parents and I would go to a Blockbuster, buy snacks, and escape the world to watch a movie together. We would return home to a room just below three apartments, occupied by my mother’s parents, their children, and their children’s children. As a three/four-year-old, I grew up constantly running upstairs, fighting with my cousins, hopping fences, singing Keyshia Cole with my mom’s baby sister, crying, running, and dancing. It was so loud all the time – except for our little room in the basement where I first met love. Just like many others, my first love manifested in the first home I can remember. In that home with the scraggly carpet and the coldest air, love was the personification of two people: my mom and dad. Every detail of the love they gave to each other and gave to me illustrated the way I would soon love. With that, I learned there were parts of loving that were meant for movies, and then there were parts that hid in basements. 

I did not become interested in boys until I felt I truly had to. I was a kid busy being an adult for most of my life. I was always told I was so mature—so socially intelligent for my age, and I was never worried for. During my second semester in college, I was all the way down in Florida, purposefully far from that first home and all the people that occupied it. I was able to try on different versions of myself and be a kid in that way. I had only myself to think about until I met someone familiar. We met in a weird way; his best friend and I were interested in each other, and because this familiar boy and I were both part of the low sum of brown kids at this Florida college we quickly became friends. We hung out all the time, we talked, and we played video games. Our personalities aligned well, and again, something about him was just so familiar. I was convinced that the familiarity was something meaningful, so I stuck around. I got into fights with my friends about him, even letting an important friendship slip away, but I counted on that feeling I had with him. I protected him in all the ways a person could and began to care deeply. One night alone with him, we watched movies, got snacks, and escaped the world for a little while.  He never offered me a conversation with my own spotlight—everything was always about him. I mustered up courage anyhow and told him how I needed a friend because everything I knew so far about college made me sad. It was too different, and I wasn’t connecting the way everyone else was. I explained that as a first-generation, I had always wanted to go to college, never really understanding what it was. And when vulnerability poured from me, a gate opened for him, and things started to play like a film. 

My dad always wanted to be the favorite and my mom always wanted to make sure I was okay. In our little home, they had horrendous fights. My mom would always be sure that he was cheating and they’d scream back and forth. If I knew anything about love then, it’s that it was all about loyalty. Since my mom was the one who I was with the most, I knew she was as loyal as they came. She completed little acts of service with such love and effort that even in her complete exhaustion, she would still prioritize the person she loved. She’d give and give so much to my dad and be returned with clues that he was with someone else. Because my mother made me brush my hair into tight ponytails so I wouldn’t get head lice, and because he bought me a new toy every week, I was loyal to him too. “Mommy, you crazy,” I’d say. “Stop yelling at daddy.” It was so natural of me to take his side because it was the side that was always taken by her, too, even when she was hurt. That kind of loyalty, I learned from my mother, and it is the kind of loyalty I carry into my relationships, today. 

Later on that movie-esque night, we turned on some music and tried out some goofy dance moves until the gate opened wider and our dancing slowed. I was never interested in any boy like I was interested in him. I wrote a plot in my head about how this night could end perfectly, and he followed it perfectly. I wanted to see where the night could go, and eventually, we kissed. It was a comfortable kiss. I didn’t want anything less and certainly not anything more, because that sort of thing didn’t happen in movies—not in moments like these. He looked at me and said, “I think I’m falling in love with you.” I couldn’t say anything back, of course. I just kind of looked at him, shocked. No one had ever said those words to me before. It was scary and special, and he was giving me everything I wanted. Oh, how familiar it was. 

It wasn’t very cool to live in a basement, according to everyone and their kid. They explained that it was more of a sad thing, but I never minded their judgment because my dad bought me the coolest of things. My dad prioritized wants over needs, and because I always had the things I wanted, life was euphoric. And since my mother would give and give, she would also never need. After all, it wasn’t good to need or depend on someone else. 

Soon enough on that night, the boy would ask for something that would lead me closer to his true intentions. Even though no one had ever wanted me like this and I had never had a night like this, it was disingenuous, and I couldn’t admit that. I was desperate for this story—desperate to be loved—and he reminded me so much of home. I found out later in our relationship that he was not the kindest person, but I didn’t need to be told I was beautiful. I learned that he was not the most truthful, but I didn’t need him to be genuine. I knew he wasn’t the most empathetic, but then again, I didn’t need to be cared for. 

Somehow and somewhere I found myself giving more to the boy than I did to myself because I just wanted him around. I counted on those movie nights because I was convinced that was really all I needed. I was trying to replicate a fragile love between my mother and father. That was all I knew love was. 


La Lanterna Caffe in NYC is a great spot for a date night or a night out with friends. Save 20% with this coupon and your student ID.


By Melodie Goncalves

Melodie Goncalves is a rising senior at Rhode Island College pursuing her degree in English/Creative Writing and Sociology. She has passions for reading, writing, caring for others, and music. Spending lots of her time with friends and family.


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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At the Dining Table: Chapter 1 – Creating Community and Unity in new Spaces

Monday, July 12th, 2021

In the center of my yellow house in Chicago’s north side sits a large wooden table. My parents bought the table, riddled with holes and cracks, from an Amish farm in Wisconsin. Over the past 26 years of owning it, it has seen family dinners, rushed science projects, conflict, resolution, and divorce. 

Growing up in a Mexican-American household, my parents made sure we understood one thing: unity. In the age of cellphones, reality television, and the internet, it is easy to ignore reality and constantly distract yourself through entertainment. As a result, values have changed family dinners are no longer regularly practiced. This is where my wooden table comes into play. 

Fridays were for everyone, not just family. Fridays were for lessons on politics, religion, culture, and music. Fridays were for bowls of gumbo made by my Uncle Andrew and his brother Chris, two Cajun men that my parents met long before I was born. Over bowls of mussels simmered in a butter, shallot, and white wine sauce, I quietly listened to conversations on how things “used to be.” I even learned about my father’s immigration story, following his father from Mexico City to Chicago at the age of eight. It is around the wooden table that my dad told us of the meals he shared with his family: small bowls of rice and beans, pigeons caught from the street and stuffed, and on special occasions, mole a labor-intensive dish made from a plethora of ingredients like hand-peeled almonds, bread, avocado leaf, and chocolate that were all simmered into a thick sauce. 

My father and I preparing Friday night dinner.

On these Friday nights, my parents exposed me to communitynot one you are born into, but one you establish for yourself. Sitting in the black wooden chairs around our table was the community my mother and father created over time: It was with the help of experiences and long-lasting memories that built this sense of community. They ranged from childhood on the gang-ruled southside, law school in Wisconsin, and having to blend in with the affluent, white neighborhood they tried their best to blend into. 

Essentially, unity came with community. The people sitting at my table with a range of skin colors and accents, as well as coming from diverse places they called “home”, became my aunts and uncles. They would stay by my side as I became old enough to cook the Friday night meals by myself, and held my hand as the meals slowly stopped. 

In the end, some things are not made to last forever. The teenage love my parents once held for each other grew cold and moldy, sitting in the back of the refrigerator waiting to be thrown out. Along with the expiration of their marriage, our Friday nights became but a whisper of the values they instilled in my brothers and me planted into the back of our minds. 

Ultimately, moving away from home is hard. You leave the people that know you best and are forced to find your own community your chosen family. I saw my father do this as he left the house and the wooden table, searching again for a stronger sense of family after walking away from the one he already had. I saw it again as my brothers left for college, searching for a community far away from home and parental guidance. Then I experienced it for myself, packing my bags to cross the pond, where I hoped to find some connection back to my life in Chicago in an unknown city.

Using what I learned around that hole-riddled, brown, wooden table, I created my own community almost 4,000 miles away from home. Over bowls of rice made with seasonings I smuggled in through my luggage, my roommates and I came to love each other, like how my parents loved the neighbors they took in as family. With the right amount of food, I am sure you can find your community, too. 

Start building your community today over some delicious empanadas from Gourmet Empanadas on Avenue B!


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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Why food is a love language

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Growing up, I understood food as a love language. 

Dr. Gary Chapman describes a “love language” as the way we feel loved and appreciated. I love food — I think putting two things together that taste good to create another thing that tastes even better is the best thing humankind has accomplished besides literature and art. I would jump in front of a train for the guy who delivers my Chinese takeout every Friday Night; I think the guy who works the Halal cart in front of my apartment is my best friend, even though he does not know my name, who I am, or any of my interests outside of the food he makes every day. 

My parents love food. At the supermarket near my house, my mom would wink at me and say “don’t let me buy too many” as she raided the bakery in the dessert aisle. She would bring steaks home for my dad to cook, and he would pour a generous amount of cooking wine in the skillet before he fried them up, seasoning them with an almost careless amount of garlic, sesame oil, and peppers.

My mom loved my grandma’s cooking the most: my grandma would cook all my favorite dishes before I came home from school, and my mom would pick away at them without her looking. My grandma would gently smack her hand away from the food, shaking her head and smiling: “Those aren’t for you.”

My family also used food as a love language. When I was nervous before a big test, my grandma would cook for me so I “had enough energy to think.” Before I left for college, my parents cooked meals that stacked all the way until the end of the dinner table, and we laughed over tofu, fish, and dumplings until I had to board my flight. 

Why food is a love language
Without fail, at the end of every grocery round, my mom would make me an ancient, traditional Chinese dish called “ke le ji,” or “Coca-Cola Chicken,” which, if you guessed is just chicken marinated in Coca-Cola, you’d be correct. It’s delicious.

As college students, we come up with a lot of fun tricks to scrimp around meals. Personally, I am a fan of waking up at 1 pm so I don’t have to make or pay for breakfast. I’ve been with friends who study so hard they forget to eat dinner. I’ve seen my friends skip out on meals for a day or two before a date.

As a country, we have an unhealthy relationship with food. The University of Michigan Health System released a study correlating poverty, income inequality with higher rates of obesity. And while bulimia and anorexia are the most identifiable eating disorders, a survey released by the Eating Disorders Coalition revealed that at least one in every 10 Americans struggles with disordered eating: whether that be dieting, skipping meals, over-restricting certain food groups like protein versus fats and carbohydrates, or using poorly tested dietary supplements to control weight. 

Our conversations surrounding food cannot exist without discussions about affordability, body, beauty, and consumerism, and how our obsession with food as a form of control has obscured one very simple fact: we need food to survive. 

Food is a labor of love: countless times my roommates have made dinner for me without me even asking. When my friend was having a bad day, I made sure to stop by a sandwich shop before going to her apartment so she’d at least have something to eat. 

There is also the fact that I was a complete mess for most of my college career until I finally understood how to start cooking for myself, to discover it wasn’t this horrible, unthinkable task my brain tricked me into thinking it was. 

Food is a love language because we need it to survive. 

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By: Jessica Xing

Jessica is a senior at New York University majoring in English Literature. She has bylines in Vox, EGMNOW, and Electric Literature, and in her free time, she loves watching bad T.V. 

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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My Mom, The Survivor

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

 

“I don’t want to be pitied” she said, gazing at her reflection in the mirror. A few short months ago her hair was the shoulder-length layered and highlighted style that many of the Mom’s around town sported as they rushed to and from soccer practices, grocery stores, and jobs. Now there was nothing there but a feathery fuzz like the down of a baby bird gently hugging her bare scalp. She would say that she looked in the mirror and saw a cancer patient. But I could only see someone with a determination to look like anything but, and who was succeeding.

Decisively, she put the wig she was holding in one hand firmly onto her head and grabbed her car keys. “I don’t want to be pitied” she reaffirmed, mostly talking to my Dad who had reminded her that she was beautiful bald. “I think the wig looks good” I reassured her as I watched her march out the door to conquer her fear of being in public.

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

My Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer over a year ago in May, and even as I write this truth, it still feels like the words are void of meaning. For those of you who don’t know me, this story has a happy ending full of life lessons and strengthened bonds. But the beginning will always be hard. At first I didn’t know how to process the realization that something this drastic was out of my hands. Usually, when little crises affect my life I’m strong willed and quick witted, and the problem is gone almost as quickly as it began. I had no precedent for how to act as you watch your Mom get sick. And if I could go back to last summer, there are a million little things I would do differently.

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

My Mom on the other hand, figured it out pretty early on. And though chemo had its days and took its toll, the second she felt better she jumped at the chance to live as normal a life as possible. When you ask her how she did it, she always breaks into a grin and begins to tell story after story of how supportive all the people in her life have been. Her friends from all parts of her life came together to bring her post-chemo gifts every week. I did the grocery shopping and helped out with her business. My dad went to every doctor’s appointment he could and my sister accompanied her to chemo. My grandmother called her everyday and would drive her to treatments, her sisters checked in often. Even friends across the country managed to find ways to bring a smile to her face, sending random supportive texts or even fruit baskets from Colorado! And from this cocoon of support, as treatments piled up and her body began to fight back against her good spirits, she never gave up hope.

My Photo

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Then it was September and school started again. My life in New York did not reflect what I felt like the life of a daughter supporting her sick mom should look like. Over the summer we had learned as a family that our relationships were what supported us even more than we could have ever imagined. And suddenly, I could no longer be there every day to talk with my Mom and help around the house. I felt guilty that all those people who couldn’t love my Mom nearly as much as I did were going to be closer to her physically and emotionally as she continued her battle. And while she was spending most of her days getting poison pumped through her veins, I was in New York City, happy, healthy, and far from home. So I looked for little ways to support her.

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Freshman year, all my Mom had ever wanted was to know everything about my life every second of every day. Obviously this request to me seemed completely unreasonable and even when she tried to bargain it down to most things about my life most seconds of most days, I would claim my independence and retort that I’d talk to her when I had time. But now, with her sick at home, I realized that if that’s what she wanted – a little piece of me everyday – I would happily manage. 

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

My family wore these Hope rings everyday to remind us all that things were going to turn out okay, and it seemed like the perfect way to stay connected and supportive of my Mom. Though to the naked eye these pictures may look like nothing more than a diary of what I had for dinner and who I might have seen that day, to my Mom these pictures were a window into my world. Since her treatment ended in February, my Mom and I are closer than ever. To me this means that we fight just enough for it to feel like a mother-daughter relationship, and the rest of the time we’re friends. As adult life becomes an increasing part of my reality, her guidance and support is something I am thankful for everyday. And though her hair is getting longer and the clutter of breast-cancer-pink is slowly disappearing from the house, I can still look at her and remember how she looked with cancer: strong and always moving forward.

 


By Caroline Flynn

Caroline Flynn is a Sales and Publishing Intern at the Campus Clipper studying Theatre at NYU Tisch. Caroline is passionate about the arts and dedicated to using her voice to make other people smile. As she heads into her Junior year, she is excited to be writing about how relationships have shaped her life while she takes on summer in the city for the first time. Check out her Instagram for more witty and heartfelt content on her life. 

We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! 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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Self-Love Through Service-The Best Student Deal Yet!

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

“give to those

who have nothing

to give to you

seva (selfless service)

-Rupi Kaur

Personally, I believe that giving back to others is a great way to feel good about yourself. Helping someone else always brings me great joy. I love knowing that I can make a difference and impact someone else’s day in a positive way. I want to make connections with people and let them know that I genuinely care about them, as well as let them know that I am there if they need someone to turn to. If you ask me, there is no doubt that giving back to others can improve our own self-love.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 7.29.39 PM

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/helping-others/

Most of us have been fortunate enough to have the help of parents or teachers or some sort of mentor throughout our lives. Some of us, perhaps, only had the help of strangers to get us through each day. Either way, there is a sort of peace created when we choose to help those not as fortunate as we are, or to give back in the same way that someone else was able to give to us. That peace is internal, but it is also unifying, as it brings together different people and families, different communities and sometimes even different cultures. It can remind us that at the end of the day we’re all just people who could use a little bit of help.

It costs no money to lend a helping hand in many instances. (The ultimate student deal). While many charities seek donations in order to keep their doors open, and occasionally people on the street are seeking a dollar for some lunch, many times, what we are truly volunteering is simply our time, and most of us have plenty of it even if it doesn’t feel that way.

I volunteered a few months ago here in NYC with God’s Love We Deliver, and I absolutely loved it. If you don’t know, God’s Love We Deliver is a large non-sectarian organization that delivers healthy, individually-tailored meals to people and their families who are unable to do so for themselves, with the belief that food is medicine. When I spent my morning at GLWD, I was placed in the kitchen as one of many volunteers responsible for peeling and chopping pounds of carrots and rutabagas to be used in that day’s soup. My experience at God’s Love was incredibly humbling. To witness people helping people feels so good and to be an active part of that feels so much better.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 7.27.23 PM

Image Credit: https://www.glwd.org

I asked several other college students what they do in order to achieve self-love and what things help them feel better in their own skin. Everyone I asked agreed that helping other people helps them and one student made a great point; that when you help others, even if it is something that seems small and trivial, you often receive thanks or some sort of praise that instantly increases your own happiness. Some students cherish helping their parents or other family members, and some find it important to volunteer at their church. For many people, turning to a creative medium such as painting or journaling, or taking a step back from the chaos of everyday life by going on vacation or simply turning off their technological devices can improve their ability to love themselves.

If you don’t already, I advise you to try giving back to the community around you in some way. You may find that this is a newfound passion of yours. You may find that this is is the root of your self-love.

By Chanelle Surphlis


Chanelle Surphlis is a Campus Clipper publishing intern, who is graduating from FIT this May. Passionate about giving back and pursuing volunteer opportunities, Chanelle aspires to work for a fashion or beauty company that includes philanthropy in its core values. If you like Chanelle’s writing, check out her blogs here and here. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! 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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