Posts Tagged ‘loneliness’

Chapter One: Welcome Week

Friday, August 13th, 2021

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Beginning your freshman year, I recommend you:

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


By: Anna Matefy

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


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

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Philia

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Courtesy: Independent

Courtesy: Independent

“I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone,  a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New Yorker prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all, everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.” J.D. Salinger

New York can be though on you but NYU could be a lot tougher. If you come from anywhere around Asia or the countryside, you would know that nosy neighbors are bats that gained bad reputation arising from the folklore that ties them to vampires and Dracula. In terms of usefulness, bats are prime agents of pollination and seed dispersal. Often devalued, most bats are not blood sucking creatures but a friend to the mankind: killing insects those of whom are threats.

Nosy neighbours are skilled at dispersing gossip. But drifting away from the reputation of gossipy housewives in their mid-forties, neighbors drop your kids, bring you food, help you when you are locked out or when you run out of sugar.

In New York, you don’t speak to your neighbors, it’s an unspoken ground rule that everyone seems to abide by. You don’t greet them. You don’t know them. It isn’t uncommon to live in your dorm room without speaking to your suite mates for days.

Elevators give you stress and phones without signals are awkward getaways. More than anywhere in the world, New York is where you most need a friend.

My classmate, Aerin Reed comes from a small town known as Eastern Connecticut where the only revolutionary thing that has happened in the last few years is the renovation of the Eastern Village Store. Moms and gossips and hitting deer accidentally are as much a part of her childhood vicinity as are bagels, frowns and subway horrors in New York.

“My town has a thousand people more than NYU’s graduating class,” Reed said while describing her transition from a traditional small town to the city that is overly crowded even on Sundays.

Unlike her friends and classmates, Reed never dreamed of studying in a traditional campus setting, which made NYU one of her first choices. “I remember walking down the road after welcome week and thinking I do not know anyone on the street,” quite unlike the million recognizable faces she would encounter while driving a car in the part of the world which she calls “home.”

At this exact moment what she would have missed is a friend. At this exact moment she needed the kind of love Greeks call “philia.”

Philia was first used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who defined it as brotherly love or love shared by friends. The English language does not have a separate word for what Aristotle believed to be unconditional and pure i.e. “with good reason,” so we shall do what we always do: follow the path lead by Greeks.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently wrote a column titled, “The Real Campus Scourge,” which discusses the overwhelming theme of loneliness in a campus setting. “In a survey of nearly 28,000 students on 51 campuses by the American College Health Association last year, more than 60 percent said that they had “felt very lonely” in the previous 12 months. Nearly 30 percent said that they had felt that way in the previous two weeks,” he wrote. All these folks deprived of Philia.

In New York, everything is always on the extreme as is this feeling of loneliness. No amount of Rainbow themed Starbucks or insta worthy cookie doughs can fill the void that only friendship can fill. But my dearest, you are not alone in this. New York has that power over you but you have something that the city lacks: the option to halt, start over and rebuild.

Text your freshman year roommate.

Don’t let Netflix govern your life.

Talk to the person sitting right next to you, chances are she feels the same way.

Log off Instagram.

Remember, loneliness is a feeling that is temporary. It is not a lifestyle.

Don’t just make acquaintances. Get to know them. Turn them into your friends.

Most of all, remember to let go of whatever is holding you back: fear, shyness, insecurity, rationale, over possessive boyfriend and then you will learn to live. You need a friend and so does the person next to you. All you have to do is smile.

By Sushmita Roy

Sushmita Roy is a Campus Clipper intern and a junior at NYU majoring in Journalism and Psychology. Her research interests includes immigration, human interest stories and social psychology. When she’s not studying, Sushmita enjoys catching up with friends, binge watching TV shows and cooking for anyone and everyone. 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. 

 

 

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