Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Chapter Two: Boundaries Exist and Distance is Necessary

Monday, June 24th, 2024

There is nothing worse than an unspoken boundary that is violated. I imagine many of us as kids, especially young girls, have grown up believing that we didn’t have the right to our own privacy and our own space. Living in a small two-bedroom apartment with four other family members for a great majority of my life, I know I didn’t. It was quite the chore not communicating boundaries that were always there but didn’t quite have the language or courage to uncover them when doing so was like the equivalent of committing a sin to my parents.

I had a level of freedom I couldn’t find for years living in a strong, seemingly impenetrable bubble of domesticity. I had these rumbling thoughts deep inside of me thinking—why did this have to mean home? Why couldn’t I get outside of the bubble and share with others who weren’t even my biological family? These thoughts raised a lot more questions than answers. My naturally curious self while raised to be incessantly obedient to my family was also stubborn to be challenged and released from this containment. There indeed always was and still is a life outside of the family and of the traditional home.

I had believed that my parents (and extended family) were entitled to all the private details of my life just because they were my blood. That blood erased the possibility of personal choice. Once I was aware that I would become a college student and an adult, and didn’t have to share everything with my family, I was relieved. My college campus was like a home away from home. I could create my own schedule, choose my own classes, choose my hangout spot, and do almost whatever I wanted without my parents’ or teachers’ input.

There were many people I met in college that seemed to use this freedom away from home as eagerly as I wanted to. Though, I would say in riskier ways than I was willing to. Plenty just wanted to drink, smoke, and have lots of careless sex. It isn’t downright awful to engage in any of these short-term pleasures, as long as they are measured and consensual. But freedom in college to me meant an entirely different thing. It meant getting closer to Mother Nature. Enjoying my own company. Reveling in my own aliveness. It was like a spiritual awakening to see just how much of this world there was for me to experience.

Going to college made me closer to nature, closer to myself, and closer to everyone I have learned major lessons from—even those I have run physically and emotionally away from. It made me see how many more similarities we carry to each other than we do differences. That we are all just wandering souls, even my own family would argue against that using the argument that biological ties are unbreakable. Essentially, that biology keeps at least some of us away from wandering too far. Even though chosen families exist, but that’s another conversation for another time.

Even if my college wasn’t too far from home, I found it a necessary part of my life. For some, college may have given them nothing; but for those such as myself, it saved me. College revealed to me how my perfectionism was hurting me. How staying neatly within the lines draw by home life was holding me back. I didn’t have to dedicate my entire life to my family. I didn’t even have to absolutely love spending time with them.

My college campus—repping City College of New York, of course—gave me a quiet thinking place away from the aggressive debates at home. It gave me beautiful buildings I could stare at without feeling like an awkward tourist. It was almost like a mini-city—not too huge that I didn’t feel like an ant and intimate enough to actually enjoy the nature around me and feel like a part of it too. Even riding the college shuttle bus almost every day to and from the train station made me feel like I owned the city for a couple of minutes. I was indeed a natural wanderer.

I admit that I have taken Mother Nature for granted plenty of times, and college put Her front and center so I wouldn’t ignore Her. After reading that academic greenspace provides many positives for college students such as more social interaction, sharper focus, improved moods, and improved cognitive performance, I thought about how academic greenspace made me feel more aligned with the world. I hadn’t felt more at ease and more myself than at my college campus. I thank Her for that.

Though small, my college campus will always be beautiful to me.

To conclude, I’d like to reference an Afro-Latinx Literature course I took in the Fall of 2022, which was taught by Bronx-born poet Mariposa at City College. What was so significant about this course was that my professor invited multiple writers and activists to speak to our class—many having been involved in the Nuyorican Movement and The Young Lords Party in the 60s and 70s in New York City. I remember in one of our earlier classes being taken to Remembrance Rock on our campus where there lay a plaque commemorating the Black and Puerto Rican students who protested for racial diversity and tuition-free college at City in 1969. Our class sat on the grass underneath the trees as we listened to our professor speak with peace. It was in this moment that I realized that learning should always be in nature and always reflect it.

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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.


Chapter 2: Keeping Parents in the Picture

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

After the last lamp is unloaded from the pile of Amazon boxes and set up in your room–with maybe a few choice words uttered along the way–, you follow your parents back outside to your family car. The trunk is still open from unloading all of your many (some would say too many) dorm necessities and decorations for your first year in college. With the momentous closing of the trunk, you exchange heartfelt goodbyes with your parents, filled with tight hugs, words of encouragement, and maybe even a tear or two for good measure. As the family car pulls away from your very first dorm building, you can’t help but take a deep breath and savor your newfound freedom. Your parents are (seemingly) out of your life for good, and you can’t help but feel a wave of excitement for all of the fun you’re going to have. No parents mean no rules, and no rules mean you can do whatever you want. It’s time to start a new adventure.

Except… that’s not really how it works. Your parents are not gone forever. In fact, they might even be coming back in four weeks for parent’s weekend. Maybe you have plans to see them over a fall break or Thanksgiving weekend. Regardless of how much you see them when your parents send you off to college, it doesn’t stop them from being your parents. For better or for worse, your parents play a significant role in shaping who you are as a person. On a strictly surface level, they feed you, clothe you, and give you shelter. Sometimes they are the ones driving you to and from school or registering you for different activities. They even impact your mannerisms, interests, and personality traits in ways you don’t even realize. Even though they won’t be present in your everyday life anymore, you can work to maintain a good relationship with them while in college. Using the following tips and tricks can help you to form a great bond with your parental guardians while still expressing your freedom in your time away from home.

My first and most important tip is to set a time to call your parents each week. While the average college student has frequent contact with their parents, remembering to do this can be valuable for anyone in college. I strongly recommend doing something like this for a multitude of reasons. It gives your parents an opportunity to know what’s going on in your life. If you have a positive relationship with your parents, it helps you catch up with each other. If you have a less than positive relationship with your parents, this can be an easy way to keep minimal contact with them. If you are a person who enjoys having structure and making plans to keep yourself accountable, regimented meetings such as these every week can even become benchmarks for organizing a schedule, or an exercise in debriefing your week out loud with people who care about you. Weekly phone calls were something that I struggled with at first because I felt completely sucked into my college experience, leaving no room to think about what was happening at home. This is largely because I go to a college that is close to where I live, so I was focused on completely separating my life at home from my life at college. I was afraid that my parents would try to act as if I had never gone to college and were going to expect me to be at home when I didn’t want to be. But by establishing firm boundaries between home and college, I was able to enjoy my time on campus while not feeling bad about coming home once in a while for special events. Now, going to my senior year, I often look forward to reconnecting with my parents. Instead of being a reminder of my home that I wanted to escape, they became an escape from some of my more chaotic times at college. 

One of the downsides to living on your own and away from your parents is that you lack them as a readily available resource. While adjusting to doing everything on your own can be difficult, it is okay to ask for help. Often, parents can become even more eager to help their children with whatever may be concerning them during this difficult transition to independent living at college. However, it can be tempting to abuse this and just ask your parents to do everything for you, like asking them to fill out certain forms when you don’t want to deal with them. This brings me to my next piece of advice, which is to ask your parents to teach you how to do things, not to have them do things for you. While Google can be your best friend for smaller tasks, you can use your parents as a resource for bigger tasks that require more explaining or experience to teach. Using your parents as a resource is important because it forces you to learn how to do the activity yourself instead of having to learn it on the fly when you’re living alone. College is all about learning, so what better time is there to learn life skills than in a safe environment where there are fewer consequences if something goes wrong? And if you’re someone who likes to talk with your parents, this can be another excuse to catch up or learn hilarious stories from when they were learning these life skills. 

In the same way that you don’t want to take advantage of your parents, you also want to make sure that your parents don’t take advantage of you and try to dictate your college experience. It’s no secret that parents today are more involved in their child’s life than ever before. While the ever-inflating price of a college degree may be perceived as a good reason for that, some parents use that as an excuse to control every aspect of their child’s life, from the classes they can take to the places that they can live. This can lead to students going through multiple years of college studying subjects they have no interest in or missing a social life they desperately need. While I acknowledge that every situation is different and that it can be difficult to go against your parent’s requests, I strongly recommend that you work as hard as you can to have a college and independent living experience that is good for you, not one that is strictly good for your parents. One helpful tactic when discussing with your parents about these issues is to not ask what they want but to ask what they are trying to accomplish. Here’s an example: a year ago, my parents asked me for the password to my log in to my portal account in college. I didn’t feel comfortable with my parents being able to go into my account at all times, so I asked them why they wanted access to the account. I learned that they wanted to know my grades at the end of each semester. We were able to come to an agreement that I could find a time to show them my grades each semester, instead of them going in to check themselves. While this won’t work all the time, addressing the root of the issue can help both parties come together towards a better solution. 

At the end of the day, every family is different, and your relationship with your parents is unique to you. Maybe you love to talk to them every day, or maybe you prefer learning how to do things by yourself. Nevertheless, I hope one or more of these tips can be useful to you. If you learn anything from this, it’s that a relationship with your parents is not only worth maintaining but can be invaluable for a great college experience. By the time I was getting ready to start my first semester, I, like many other college students, was basically starting to get sick of my parents. Everything they did and said annoyed me, and I felt like I had to get away from them at all costs. But by the end of the first year, I felt like my relationship with my parents was stronger than ever before. As long as you put in a little effort, happy parents can help you go a long way in both college and beyond.

Speaking of adults and responsibilities, setting dentist appointments are one in the large list of things that you’re going to have to figure out how to manage and afford for yourself. Luckily, Ultimate Dental of Cambridge has your back. You can get up 20% off an appointment with this coupon and a student ID.

By: Lucas Pratt

Lucas Pratt is a senior at Boston College studying Philosophy, English, and Chinese. He enjoys games of all kinds, Dungeons and Dragons, and getting around to finishing the copy of Dune that’s been sitting on his nightstand for months on end. Lucas has decided that the words “employable majors” don’t mean anything to him, and is eagerly seeing where the world takes him in the future.

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.