Posts Tagged ‘self-development’

An Introduction to World-Saving: Prologue

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024

Admiring the blush blooming across the pinched cheeks of young tourists as they drink the cheapest red wine our Sicilian villa offers and the sloppy kisses they plant on their agape, laughing lips, I have unwillingly permitted several realizations to seep through my intermittent head throbs. It is my birthday tomorrow. I will turn twenty years old, and I have failed at living as a teenage girl. 

The finite potential I saved up for my teenage years, as if they were points to be redeemed at Dave & Busters or paid time off hours set aside for a short-lived vacation, has rotted and will wither in the next sun cycle to a place neither time nor I could catch it.

In retrospect, I’m grateful for the few parties I’d made appearances at, football games I’d stood in the back of, and crushes in class who had served primarily as muses for poetry but had not been of substantial importance as to break my freshman spirit. They would come later. I had snuck out of the house to meet boys, tried out for the softball team, and stuck my head out a sunroof under the cover of a tunnel. I had checked off the little things on the mental list I prepared in my pre-teens, yet coronavirus and the abnormal hardwiring of my mind had been the catalysts to my primarily online academic journey in the second half of high school. 

After a series of unfortunate events, I had been advised by school administration to not attend prom nor walk the stage for the mental safety of myself and physical safety of others, while the rest of my graduating class—mainly comprised of eerily similar Barbies and Kens clothed in milkmaid dresses and in suits of fine fabric from places I’ve never heard of—had thrown their crimson-colored caps at the peak of spring weather, and the following week rented beach houses the to consume liquor stolen from their equally plastic doll-like parents. 

I’d spent a few months isolated, experiencing ceaseless depression and feelings of ostracization. For my own wellbeing, I couldn’t leave the house nor use any electronics. If I had a visitor, which had only ever been my younger cousin or my close neighbor, they’d be screened for devices which had to be left at the foyer. 

I hadn’t been one to drop my schoolbooks and have an unassuming, charming upperclassmen retrieve them for me. Boys had not stolen glances at me in the halls. The cheerleaders had never sat with me for lunch. My hair had not been blown out on a bimonthly basis, instead it had been buzzed short because of my alleged depression and anxiety that ripped it off in thick clumps. I had lacked the blackout parties, spontaneous coastal trips, and urban explorations. With only myself to blame, I had chosen to remain cooped inside and ruminate over the potential I had, rather than pursue the efforts it would take to self actualize.

Then came university. In my first year, I splurged most of my money on lavish dinners, chic bodily adornments, and overpriced tickets to piano recitals. I invested my leisure time in projects I had no real passions for so as to be perceived as an intelligent, indestructible, and interesting woman. Months of precariously crafting a pristine and beautiful facade eventually proved futile, as the ostentatious exterior inevitably crumbled when I revisited my hometown and found myself disinterested in impressing my high school counterparts. 

Now I wear my well-loved clothes from senior year, detaching old memories and infusing new ones into their distressed sleeves and eclectic buttons. Deviating from saving money for elegant evenings amongst older company, I presently opt to expand my wunderkammer of vintage cameras and to purchase flights to cities I’d never thought to visit. The need to adopt a pretentious personality that fed on underground jazz artists and bled orchestral symphonies from the Renaissance dissipated. I could listen to mainstream rock and indie classics meant to make the young and stupid drunk on the liveliness they swell in. I began to savor the world again, like a little kid given their first dollar at a candy store. This abrupt but welcome thrill was the impetus for my drive to play a role in saving the world.

And so here is my epiphany. If we, the people that inhabit the world, hope to ensure this miraculous planet stays afloat in our universe, there are various key concepts we need to understand. We must adopt collectivist notions and realize that human beings have the shared responsibility of caring for the Earth. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have our basic needs met have the opportunity to take action toward creating a society where the needs of others are also fulfilled. 

Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it can be believed that if people had access to clean food, safe housing, and secure jobs, they would be more inclined to seek endeavors conceptualized by minds at their highest potential (Maslow 1943, 430). Perhaps if one were to add a genuine sense of belonging and community, coupled with a healthy self-esteem, to these people, they would truly self-actualize and choose to engage in methods of mending the world. Maybe if Oishee found authentic connection among her peers, she would be apt to start volunteering weekly at the communal food shelter. Maybe if Darrell earned a sufficient salary to avoid living paycheck to paycheck, he would begin smiling at strangers and gain the confidence to engage in small talk. Maybe if Jimena had scheduled therapy and developed a support system, she would willingly host fundraisers for mental health non-profits. 

We must note that kindness is not a panacea for all evils, but a tool in the grand scheme of it all. It is the simplest of seeds we can plant to prompt the growth of hectares of worldly goodness. Rarely do situations de-escalate when multiple parties are brash, hostile, and dismissive. My friends and partners learned, sooner than I, that setting boundaries whilst remaining gentle, patient, and loving is most effective in alleviating my stress and calming my anger. Of course, this does not work in cases where negotiations preventing the termination of a mass genocide built over the course of decades of history is at play. The principle still stands: looking out for our fellow people is the root of how society can be improved and earth can be healed. It can begin with a seed planted by one of us. 

This is a collection of experiences from my adolescence that have driven me to contribute towards sustaining this planet we hold dear. Motivation is everywhere and I think I have it in me to participate in  change-making agendas. Will you play a part in saving the world?


Maslow, A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”. In Physiological Review, 50 (4), 430-437.

Ansorger, Jennifer. 2021. “An Analysis of Education Reforms and Assessment in the Core Subjects Using an Adapted Maslow’s Hierarchy: Pre and Post COVID-19” Education Sciences 11, no. 8: 376.


Talent Is Overrated

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

Someone has probably told you that everyone is good at something. The idea that talent must be harvested and discovered has been drilled into our brains since childhood. Countless movies and cartoons teach kids to find their talent (sometimes called other names like “spark” or “gift”), and those who fall behind the rest, wasting their childhood finding what makes them special, can’t help but feel like there’s something wrong with them. In a not-more-fortunate contrast, those who “find” their talent are forever bound to it, like prisoners to the spark that becomes their whole sense of identity. 

The former, those who spend their lives searching for a mystery, may try every single hobby available. They might have signed up for karate, painting, chess, or poetry classes—perhaps even all—hoping to discover whatever gift they were born with. Eventually, they will realize they have no talent, so according to that Disney movie they once saw their lives must be meaningless. After all, how can they even excel at anything if they lack talent? 

The latter, those who find what they are good at, may have tried a couple of hobbies before finding their spark, and when they did, their lives formed around it. Eventually, they won’t be allowed to do anything outside their gift because that is what “they were born to do.” If they ever wanted to chase after a different dream, it would be frowned upon. After all, wouldn’t pursuing something different be a waste of talent? 

Whether or not you relate to one of those mentioned fates, it is undeniable that people’s success is often credited to their gift. For instance, after putting all their effort into a successful project, gifted people will hear comments like: “That’s because you are talented–it’s so easy for you.” And they will smile at the intended-to-be-compliment, feeling all their hard work invalidated. On the other—unlucky—hand, the ones without innate abilities might feel tempted not to learn anything as they are conditioned to think only talented people get to succeed. 

Unfortunately, people tend to forget that there are two things undoubtedly more influential than talent: discipline and dedication. While talent is that natural ability, skills are developed through practice. Your gifts take you only so far. Your skills are the ones you can evolve to where they need to be. There is no room for talent in a room full of skilled professionals who have worked hard for their abilities. With that said, I don’t mean talents are not something to celebrate, but they are not the finish line. Thus, the pressure to find them must be eased. Likewise, if you do encounter your talents, you are not bound to them.

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I first learned to differentiate gifts from skills in high school. My best friend couldn’t understand a thing about chemistry, but I easily understood it. He claimed chemistry was my talent and I believed it. We studied together and I saw him going through longer study sessions, solving more problems, while I watched movies or played video games. The exam results came, and he had earned a better grade than mine. Surely, if he had studied as little as me, he would have failed, but he was able to surpass me by simply trying harder. He took quite a liking for chemistry after that and pursued a career in science. I did as well. 

Like many who discovered their talent, I thought my only choice was to be a chemist because I was meant to do that. I went to college for three years and was seemingly content. But after moving to New York City, I started to question many things about myself and one of them was if being a scientist was what I really wanted. It took some unlearning until I realized that writing was what fulfilled me. To pursue a career in writing, I had to develop skills and work hard like my high school friend did. After taking some time to learn the language, I started college again with a new major in English. 

My high school friend recently graduated from the biochemistry program. He became a fine scientist through training and practice because that was what fulfilled him professionally. I now continue my journey as a college student and writer. Although it doesn’t feel as easy as chemistry—my gift—did, I feel like finally being on the right path. Simply, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. 

If you have found what you are good at and it feels right to pursue it, please do. Many people who followed—and developed—their talents have become extraordinary individuals. Just make sure you pair your gifts with skills and don’t let others minimize your efforts. However, if your path doesn’t make you happy, find another one. You might discover a new talent or, like me, a career that fulfills you whether you are great at it or not. 

If you haven’t—or never—found what you are good at, look for what makes you happy. Sometimes, we do something difficult and it doesn’t come out great on our first try, but it still makes us feel accomplished. That is the feeling you must cling to. Study, train, and develop the skills necessary for that career. The outcome might surprise you because, like my friend, you don’t have to be gifted to be exceptional. 

When the pressure to follow your talent becomes too heated, refresh yourself with some gelato. Use this discount to cool you down even further.

By Roxanna Cardenas

Roxanna is a Venezuelan writer living in New York City. Her works include essays, poetry, screenplays, and short stories. She explores fiction and non-fiction genres, with a special interest in horror and sci-fi. She has an A.A. in Writing and Literature and is working on her B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration.

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.


Quarantine Contemplation: We’re all just doing.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

At the close of 2020, I promised myself that I would take a gap year. After four years of juggling my academics, extracurriculars, relationships, and well-being, and considering the tumultuousness of the past year, I figured that everyone could use a break. I started planning my summer. Wake up, eat, eat, eat, sleep, repeat—the closest that humans can get to hibernation.

Then came January, February, and March, and upon a string of fortunate events, from becoming a mentor, to landing my first part-time job, to applying to graduate school, to entering an internship, to volunteering with an organization, to landing my second part-time job, to becoming a mentor (again), to accepting a fellowship, to being invited to present at a research conference, I decided to accept an offer for a third part-time job. I thought I’m already wearing all these hats, might as well fill up the closet.       

You don’t have to be a nurse to appreciate these busy-bee nursing memes. You just have to be…busy.

The dominoes fell, and my mind whirl winded.

Advocate in more spaces. Volunteer with more organizations. Pursue a remote global internship. Apply to the Fulbright program. Enroll in a TEFL certification course. Learn a new language. Join a research lab. Run a virtual marathon. Look for a fourth part-time job.

By mid-March, I was the most involved I’ve ever been. Feeling like I not only was capable but obligated to take on every opportunity I was extended, I cast myself a vote of confidence. No doubt I could balance these responsibilities and achieve my quality (and quantity) standard all the while maintaining my physical and mental health.

Super-busy-girl memes can be very helpful when you’re too tired to express how tired you are.





With summer inching closer by the day, I’m filled with what I can only describe as a bidirectional spiral of invigorating uncertainty. Over these last three months, I have thought more about my future than I ever have before, and yet, I still feel like I have no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing or what it even is that I’m trying to accomplish. On top of the shakiness of simply being a graduating senior and young professional, the blow and the blur of the pandemic only exacerbate this uncertainty.

While I’m determined to bat at nearly every pitch, I have friends who are ready to build their careers in full-time positions with laser focus. Some friends are preparing for medical school and higher education, wracking their brains, and wrecking their sleeping schedules. Others are siphoning their resources into self-care, determined to dedicate their summer and immediate post-grad plans to self-development and nurturing their passions.

All of these plans and proposals, all of these actions and initiatives, and yet, the question persists in so many people’s heads—now what?

Through all the spaces that I’m involved in, I’ve come to two (One-and-a-half? One? I’m not sure, I’ve never really been good with numbers) revelatory realizations. I do my best to avoid blanket statements, but here’s a comforter for you—no one knows exactly what they want to do or what they’re doing.

We’re all just doing.

And that’s okay.

Thoughtful consumption and self-care have never been more important — try some clean eats at LifeThyme Natural Market

by Christianne Evasco

Christianne is a senior at New York Univerity, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS) and Creative Writing. Christianne’s endeavors are fueled by her passion to use her voice to help others harness the power of their own voices through therapeutically-creative means and to connect people through language and cultural exchange. In her free time, you can find her catnapping with her cats.

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.