Archive for July, 2019

Keysha

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

It never occurred to me how wrong my definition and standards of family were until last year, when I began spending time with my cousin Keysha from my dad’s side of the family. She continues to redefine what the word love means to me and how it is meant to be shown. 

Keysha lived across the road from us in Puerto Rico. After we left, I didn’t see her again until my father’s funeral. After that, I didn’t see her for another few years until I moved into the city for college. It was the end of September, and they were having a surprise sixteenth birthday party for her younger sister, Dareylis. She invited me despite the years of not seeing nor speaking to each other. My mother never cared much for my father’s family and made her distaste for them well known when I was younger, so I figured maintaining a relationship with them was more trouble than it would be worth. But once I got to the city for college, something in me changed. I realized that my overwhelming fear of codependency had caused me to try too hard to handle life on my own. I was so used to not having family around that even when they offered to be there, I stayed away for fear of abandonment. I also realized that I missed my father dearly. In high school I didn’t talk much about himI tried to not even think about him. But my heart yearned for him, and Keysha and her family were the closest pieces left, so I went to the party. 

I saw my grandfather for the first time since I was five years old that day. He immediately recognized me despite his age and sight. He cried. Mi nieta! Mi nieta! Hija de me hijo que se murió. His body was shaking. I realized then that I wasn’t the only one still mourning my father. I wasn’t alone in my pain. I hugged my grandfather and we cried together. After we both calmed down, he told me stories of his life in Puerto Rico with my dad. I felt like I had uncovered the most valuable treasure in the darkest part of the sea that I had been searching for my entire life. At one point while he was telling a story, I stopped him and asked if he was cold. His whole body was still shaking. He smiled. Estoy temblando porque eres tan hermosa. He was shaking because he thought I was so beautiful. He resumed and told me that now he lives with my aunt in Queens and she cares for him, but that soon she’s taking him back to Puerto Rico. He’s sick and old and he doesn’t want to die here. The thought of losing him again after just reconnecting bore a hole in my heart, but I realized that I was lucky to even be seeing him in that momentto hear untold stories of my father’s youth. He kept saying that he saw my father in me and that I had been my father’s world. It was overwhelming to hear so much talk of him after years of avoiding even thinking about my father, but I realized I was also longing to have him back in my world; my family from Puerto Rico was my way of rebuilding that bridge. 

After that party, Keysha began texting me to make plans nearly every week: bowling, barbecues, movie marathons. And I went, every single time. She had a way of always making me feel welcome in her home. I had never felt fully welcome anywhere before. Her mom is my dad’s sister and I deeply love her and her other daughters as well, but it is Keysha who continues to show me what it means to love. When Keysha loves someone, she devotes pieces of herself to them. She has done this for me and I have continuously wittnessed her do it for others. One of her best qualities is her selflessness, and I think that is one of the reasons she is so wonderful at sharing love.

I have never once felt like a burden to her, which is how much of my family made me feel when I was youngerwhether intentional or not. Every time I sleep over, she makes a simple breakfast: French toast with Nutella, powdered sugar and maple syrup, scrambled eggs, and toast. She also always makes coffee, and to this day I don’t know what it is, her but her warm, sweet coffee remains the best cup I have ever had. As time progressed, her signature breakfast became something I longed for when my heart grew weary. I first realized Keysha was becoming home for me when throughout the year I would have arguments with my mother. In those moments of vulnerability and instability, I felt homesickfor Keysha. I wanted to wake up on her unusually comfortable leather futon in her house that is so dark with the curtains closed, that despite typically being an early riser, I sleep until eleven in the morning. I wanted to eat the breakfast while we binge watched a show on her comfy couch and Mya, her husky, sat at our feet hoping we drop a piece of scrambled eggs. I wanted to be with her. She makes me feel safe. 

Keysha would drive me all the way back to my dorm when I came to visit her in the Bronx, which is a little over an hour drive from Greenwich Village. I told her I could take the train, but she insisted. One of those times, she told me her and her boyfriend had picked up a few things for me the other day. When I arrived back at my dorm and unpacked the bag, I cried. She had been so nonchalant about it, but in reality she must had spent at least $100 on getting essentials for me.

The bag was filled with items that I desperately needed but could hardly afford to spend my own money on: paper towels, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, a pencil case, pens and pencils, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and more. She had also bought me a brand new coffee pot and grounded coffee beans for me, along with giving me her perfectly working speakers she claimed she didn’t use anymore. Keysha just went out one day, thought of me, and got all of this stuff that I really needed. And she didn’t make a big deal out of it, at all. She didn’t praise herself for the act of kindness; she has never thrown it back in my face. She just did it, for me. And it’s not the actual things she bought me that made me so emotional. It was just the fact that she had went about it so eloquently. She knew I needed help, but she didn’t make me ask. 

Keysha has continued to demonstrate this level of thoughtfulness. She texts me every week just to see how I’m doing. A text is such a basic act, but I often go months without speaking to close family members. She never forgets about me. And whenever she drops me off, she always gets out the car to come around and hug me and tell me she loves me. She’ll randomly text me questions like which color do you prefer red pink or blue? and what kind of coffee do you like? and then I go to her house and she has a coffee pot and a phone case for me.

All of these things she does seem so small, so basic; but I am not otherwise used to them. I am not used to family members doing things simply out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s bizarre: a family member who genuinely cares about me, who goes out of her way to help me and show me that she’s always thinking about me. This summer I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a place to live. I knew my mother was moving to Florida, and I obviously wasn’t going to move there, because she’s living with her boyfriend. One day, I opened up to Keysha about my past and all of the pain I have endured. She immediately started planning for me to spend the summer with her. They would buy me a bed and put a curtain up in her room so I could have my own space. A few friends had offered me a place to stay, but Keysha was the first person I felt fully comfortable enough to stay with. I love my friends, deeply, but I know firsthand that people change once you live with them. I luckily got a job as an RA at an NYU residence hall over the summer so I didn’t end up needing a place to stay, but Keysha still made me a copy of her key so that whenever I experience that homesickness I can head over, no questions asked.

Since Keysha, my relationship with other family members and others in general has improved. I am trying to follow her in her path. I want to practice that selflessness that seems to be second nature for her. She has had her own pain through life but she controlled how it shaped her and is currently one of the strongest people I know. Everyday she restores my faith in family and love while bringing me closer to my father and my culture. 


By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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The “Frat Boy”

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

I want to talk about something that every college girl should be hyper aware of. I am sure most of you have heard the term “frat boy,” but I aim to dig a little deeper. I want to explain exactly what the stereotype of “frat boy” is; and how that stereotype is sometimes right on point. If you are trying to find a boyfriend, a “frat star” is definitely not the type of guy you should be looking for. Now, of course I know we cannot generalize and say that every boy in a frat acts the same. But I am simply explaining this situation from my experience. I have interviewed two guys that are in a fraternity in order to get more insight on how they think about things. 

Before talking about what I learned from these “frat boys,” I want to explain my experience with them. Since the minute I entered college I was a sorority girl, so I immediately became surrounded by fraternity guys. As a freshman, of course I did not know what was best for me and I got involved with a guy who had just become a pledge to a fraternity at my school. For those of you who don’t know, most college boys just want to have fun and hook up with as many girls as possible so that they can prove they are the alpha male to their frat brothers; it seems to be a pride thing from experience. I learned this later on in my college career but it was confirmed by a fraternity brother at JMU whom I interviewed. He explained that getting into college most guys do not have a romantic relationship on their mind. I learned this after becoming attached to two different frat boys my freshman year and being let down. And of course we can’t forget my 7 month “non-relationship” that was indeed with a frat boy. 

During my freshman year, I was consistently with a frat boy in my dorm and just like I let my sophomore year boy take advantage of my feelings, this freshman boy pretended to care as well, and that is just the honest truth. We would go out and the nights he wanted me he got me and the nights I saw him kissing other girls, he didn’t remember because of how much alcohol had been consumed. As I write this, I realize how similar this situation sounds to my situation from sophomore year. Apparently I have a type; and that type is a frat boy player. As a result of this, I was hurt many times by frat boys which is of course why I have such a negative outlook towards them. To find out what goes on in their minds, I interviewed two fraternity brothers who attend different schools to see if they think similarly. 

I asked them what their type of girl is and one responded with, “honestly hot, I’ll settle for attractive and if I’m drunk enough, then whatever.”  The second boy responded with, “a girl that is down for basically anything.” Again, we cannot generalize and say that every frat guy thinks this way, but I will say these responses alone may show the player mindset of a “frat boy.”

I then asked them, “if you had the chance to tell a girl how to pursue you and become your girlfriend what would you tell them to do?” Instead of giving me a straight answer, the guys explained what goes through a frat guys head when it comes to commitment and relationships. One explained that the majority of college guys want to stay single for their own selfish reasons. They both explained that guys are way less in touch with their emotions and when they might feel themselves liking a girl, they will talk themselves out of it because they are either not mature enough or simply not ready to dedicate the time to one person. They both shared that they are scared of commitment and when I asked why, neither had an actual answer. 

When trying to figure out why these frat guys really don’t like commitment or relationships, I asked if they believed being in a frat affects the way they treat girls and both immediately agreed that it did. One said, “being in a frat makes sex seem way more casual and transactional, but it should technically be that way in college. It can definitely poison your view of how an interaction should go with a girl.” He explained that seeing your fraternity brothers hooking up with multiple girls each weekend makes you think that this is the right way to act. It almost makes you want to act that way so that you can prove yourself and stand out in the fraternity. I’ve learned that a lot of this “frat boy” stereotype comes from pride and wanting to fit in. It is also based on pleasure, of course and a lot of the times these boys genuinely only think about themselves when they do things. I asked if they ever think about the girls feelings when they hook up with someone else and they explained that guys will pretty much disassociate the feelings of the girl because in their minds, the girl is just being crazy when they ask to hangout more than a few times. They basically said that they are just not mature enough or ready for a relationship and explained that, “honestly I am focused on myself and my career and don’t wanna worry about another person before I have to.” Of course this response sounds corrupt, but that just exemplifies the way many frat boys think and explains why they treat girls the way they do. One of them even thought that saying something to a girl in the moment to make them happy, is worth the girl being hurt later on when they realize these words were a lie. They thought that this temporary happiness was enough; I clearly explained why that thought process was morally incorrect. 

When it comes down to it, again I cannot say that every frat boy acts in this manner, but I can definitely say that fraternities have an effect on the way a guy treats a girl throughout college. Many fraternities set the precedent, exemplify, and encourage this type of behavior towards girls. When the real world hits, and it isn’t that easy to “get a girl” anymore, us women will be in control and these “frat boys” will learn that treating girls this way does not work.  If these boys in fraternities continue to act immaturely and refuse to acknowledge their own flaws, they will most likely find themselves alone. 

 


 

By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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Trying to figure out… When to Get Help

Friday, July 12th, 2019

I remember towards the end of this past semester I had one of those days, where all I wanted to do was to stay in bed and shut the world out. It was a Sunday. I woke up, stayed in bed and cried for an hour. After which, I sat up on my bed staring out the window. I blankly watched the cars drive down my street, trying to figure out what I was feeling. 

Clips of the days before started playing in my head. The day before I did something odd and had an email exchange calling into question the commentary a professor had made in a social media post. I got upset on Friday because of canceled plans to get ice cream. Stupid, I know, but it evoked feelings of loneliness and felt as if no one cared about me. The connection between canceled plans and abandonment didn’t make sense, but it was what I felt. Later that night, I cried again after a text exchange with a friend, who was speaking about her email conversations with individuals from her potential graduate schools. Overall, it was a weird two days.

It didn’t hit me why until the day after, on Monday. I was sitting in class and people were conversing about the future and plans after college. They were talking about the application process and possibly applying to NYU grad school. They asked me if I would include NYU as a place to do my graduate studies. I thought why would I want to continue to be at a place that holds memories of one of the worst periods of my life. There it was.

The subtle look back on my college experience the process of planning my future was hurting my heart. I can’t say college was hard because the coursework was hard or the people were difficult to get along with. The first two years of my college experience was a time where it took energy to just breathe, let alone think critically about the developmental stages of human life. I had a notion of what I wanted in my experience of college and within the first week, I realized that would never happen.

I readjusted my mindset of college, by working on myself. I first gave myself the allowance to feel and prioritize what I truly wanted. I had to connect to myself. I did the things that had always given me comfort, which was books and music. I started carving out times for myself to read and put it as an event on my calendar. I put in buffer hours in my day to just do nothing. But I didn’t just do it by myself. I took the first step in getting help from others but quickly found others joined in me in my journey. Especially in this academic world, it’s easy to feel alone, but that’s not true. If for nothing else advocate for yourself because you are paying for this education and experience with money, time, and work. Those investments mean nothing if you are not present emotionally and physically in your life. It doesn’t hurt to get support in your endeavors. Take care of yourself.

Resource List of Mental Health services (if you aren’t up to talking face to face with someone I’ve listed two resources that allow for call, text or chat online)

Additionally, if you want dedicated support for the transition of high school to college life visit the JED program: Set to Go site for tailored advice for you and your family. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call or Text: 1-800-273-8255

Call NYC Well Today: 

English: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355), Press 2 

Call 711 (Relay Service for Deaf/Hard of Hearing)

Español: 1-888-692-9355, Press 3

中文: 1-888-692-9355, Press 4

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By Sanjidah Chowdhury

Sanjidah is a rising senior at NYU Steinhardt majoring in applied psychology. She aspires to become a mental health counselor to understand intergenerational dynamics and better serve the needs of women, Muslims, and the South Asian community. She currently works with NYU’s Office of Alumni Relations. Throughout the academic year, she works on a research team under Professor Niobe Way and volunteers for Nordoff -Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Most of the time you can find Sanjidah with her nose in a book and music blasting through her headphones. 

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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Gringa

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

My life began when I lived in Puerto Rico. I was born in New York, but I was so young when we moved to PR that any prior memories no longer linger in my mind. I had a lot of firsts there; I had my first day of school, lost my first tooth, and owned my first dog. I thought life everywhere would be as slow and peaceful as it was in PR. I was not prepared for what the States had in store for me.

My father was the proudest Puerto Rican anyone had ever met. Even living in New York, he took me to every Puerto Rican Day parade. He would also often pull me off of the couch, despite my refusal, while Marc Anthony blared through his beloved speakers. He would twirl me around to the music and the rhythm that he felt in his soul until a smile broke out on my face and I gave in. My father would also cook every classic Puerto Rican dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Arroz con gandules y tostones, chuletas y arroz con habichuelas y chorizo (sometimes my dad would let us have the sliced chorizo cold if we were good, I liked it better that way) and the famous pernil he made every year for Christmas. He would slow cook it in the oven from 5am until it was close to dinner time, then he would turn the oven off and let it sit. I wish I had paid more attention to how he made food because he was truly so passionate about it; and to this day, I have never met anyone nor gone to any restaurant that cooks Hispanic food as well as my father did. I shouldn’t have taken for granted the food he poured his soul into after working his back-breaking job in the beating sun. I wish I savored it more. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my father died, so did my relationship with my culture. My mother stopped speaking Spanish at home. Pasta became the staple dishit was quick and easy to make. She hated cooking and would let it be known several times a week. I started high school a few months after he passed and was placed in honors classes where the majority of my peers were wealthy and white. Consequently, my friends were all pretty much white. I knew that I was Puerto Rican and Cuban, but they made it so that I didn’t really want to be. 

I became embarrassed of who I was. I would rather take sketchy cabs home than get a ride from a friend because once a friend’s father said he felt scared to drop me off at the low income housing building I had been living in since I was 12. Comments like that began changing how I viewed myself. A guy I had a crush on told me he only likes white girls. He was behind my mother and I in line at the supermarket one day and witnessed my mother’s debit card get declined. Every time I got a haircut, I was told how THICK my hair was and how no one in their life had ever dealt with hair as THICK as mine. I started straightening it every week. My friends were all obsessed with tanning but I could never understand why. I was obsessed with being as light as they were. I wanted to look like the girls on TV I grew up watching and I wanted to be the girl that guy wanted. I even looked into getting a nose job because I wanted one of those cute pixie noses that sort of curve upwards at the end. I didn’t feel comfortable existing in my own skin.

I didn’t want to be the little girl that white teenagers yelled SPIC! at as they drove by in their Jeep and muscle tees on. I didn’t want to be the girl that guys fetishized. I’ve never been with a Spanish girl before. I so badly wanted to be someone else that I didn’t even stop my friends when they tried to whitewash me themselves. Once while at my “best friend’s” house for dinner, her parents asked where I’m from. Just from here, I said. No, where are you from ethnically? her father asked. I gave them the answer they were longing for. But she’s like, basically white, my “best friend” responded. I laughed along. I shouldn’t have. 

The thing is, I never realized how much I had internalized those microaggressions until I got to college. I was in a program of minorities but could no longer speak my native tongue. I had struggled just as they had and faced similar oppression but I saw something missing between myself and them. I realize now what it was. They had their culture to call a home. While they experienced similar slurs and forms of oppression, they could still go home and eat their food, speak their language and dance their dances. They loved their culture so they fought back when people said those things. I was taught not to love mine, so I played mum. 

 

My friends in the program saw how disconnected I was. They could smell the whitewashing I had experienced and made sure I was aware of it; they repeatedly called me white girl or gringa. They didn’t understand how hurt it made me feel and how invalidating it was. Calling me a white girl erased my upbringing. It erased my father whose skin was darker than half of theirs. It erased the culture he brought me up with. It erased the person I was in Puerto Rico. But it also made me realize that I was contributing to this erasure myself. I wanted to be exactly what they were calling me at one point and that had left stains on me that I had yet to clean. If I wanted them to stop, if I wanted to feel at home in my skin again, I needed to reclaim my cultural identity. 

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By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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The Lies and the Truths

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

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This is just one example of the sad and honestly pathetic conversations I would have with my so called “ex.” As I read these texts now, I can see right through them, clearly. He would manipulate me in every which way; he would tell me how much he cared about me and how he wanted to see me. In reality, all those times he “missed me,” he missed having sex with me and that is all. He knew how deeply I felt about him because I would tell him every time I was with him. I couldn’t help myself and I never knew why. He used his knowledge of my feelings for him as his way in every time. One of the many times he “won” me back was after three weeks of me cutting him off. I hadn’t seen, texted, called, or snap chatted him for a full 3 weeks. And for me, that was unheard of. I was so proud of myself at the time—another red flag that should have made me want to end it. But of course the weekend came along, and after another night out with my girlfriends, distracting myself and trying to move on, I got a text from him. He asked me to come to his party so that we could talk. My head was telling me no and to stay with my friends but every bone in my body wanted to see him. For some reason I felt that I needed to see the guy that refused to commit to me because he wanted to live out his college years kissing as many girls as possible. I used to think that me being at his parties would stop him from doing that. I learned quickly that was not the case. In reality, there was nothing appealing about him; but I convinced myself that there was. His looks and his fun energy is what I was attracted to and that caused me to ignore every red flag that was waving directly in front of my face.Despite all the pain and suffering he put me through, I still craved his presence and his touch. 

So, I had to convince my friend to come with me to his party. I promised her I was only going to talk to him and leave. It took me a while to get her to come with me because she didn’t agree with my decision to see him; but I explained that it will make me happy. She reluctantly agreed and came with me. I hated the fact that I had to convince my friends to even see him but at the time, all I could think about was seeing him.  I promised her I was only going to talk to him and leave. Well, of course that was not what happened. I went home with him that night. When my friends found out that I had spent the night with him, they were so angry with me. They of course reminded me of how poorly he treats me and made sure I knew what I was getting myself back into. Again, I knew it was wrong but I was doing what made me happy. He promised me that our time apart made him realize how much he cared about me and that night it felt like I was finally getting what I wanted. We went and got food (only our second date technically) and it felt like we were floating on clouds.

That very next weekend, he took a Xanax, blacked out, and made out with multiple girls in front of my face. Again. It felt like someone had taken a knife and stabbed me directly through my heart. I was tired, upset, heartbroken, but I was angry more than anything. Even though he still hadn’t officially committed to me, for some reason I thought this time would be different; he made me believe it would be by his smooth manipulative words. It was certainly not. 

It’s weird because as it was happening, I knew that being with him wasn’t right. I would even sometimes sneak around and lie to my friends about where I was, when I was with him. If he would stay the night at my house, I would make sure to wake up early to drive him home just so my roommates wouldn’t know. I knew it was wrong. So why did I keep doing it? Why would I keep going right back to him even when I knew how wrong it was? Everything he did and said should have made me turn away; but he always convinced me that I was in the wrong. I was so blinded by the lust that I convinced myself I loved him. I had never been with someone that made me feel so comfortable. I always felt like I could be myself around him because he accepted everything about me. He accepted the fact that I enjoyed dancing for more than just pleasure. He understood why I almost chose dance as a career. But he also helped me to stay on the path I chose. I let the way he made me feel, the lust, affection and attention he gave me blind my morals. To me it was more than just sex. I made decisions that I would not have made if I would have just realized he was treating me like a doll. He enjoyed his time with me but I realized we mostly hung out at night. And we mostly hung out in his room. I would not have hooked up with those other guys if he would have just committed to me. I would not have hooked up with those other guys if he didn’t make me feel revengeful.

Sometimes every bone in your body will tell that you want something you shouldn’t. Don’t ever let that control your decisions. I regret the amount of times I let him take advantage of me. I regret the amount of times I would defend his actions to my friends. If you ever find yourself making decisions about your life based on someone else – especially when that someone else clearly doesn’t think the same as you do – then take a second and rethink your actions. Rethink who you’re spending your time with. And rethink why you are doing the things you are doing. Look at your situation from a third person point of view. If what was happening to you happened to your friend, what advice would you give them? Would you tell them to stay? Or to run? If it doesn’t feel right, then make a change. It took me making the same mistakes multiple times to learn to give up. Don’t let a toxic situation last that long. 

Listen to the truths, not the lies.

 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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Trying to figure out… Dealing with Academic Struggles

Friday, July 5th, 2019

Honestly, looking back at my first two years of college I realized there were steps I wish I was able to take if I had known them and had the time to minimize some of the struggles I already faced in the academic sphere. The day before my first day of college, I received news that my cousin’s diagnosis was terminal. In the coming weeks, I was required to engage in classroom discussions, socialize with others all the while I was hearing the shortening timeline of my cousin’s life. I was emotionally drained, but I used my school work as a distraction to get through the reality of what her death meant to me and my family. I was lucky that the first semester was an easy and non-challenging classload. Surprisingly, I ended up doing really well.

The second semester of freshman year, my uncle passed away suddenly. For me, it was a hard shock to my system. He is part of the reason I am on the path to becoming a counselor. In fact, my college application essay was about him. To say I was shattered to hear another person I loved passed away doesn’t really capture how I felt. But I dealt with the brokenness and lack of hope in an unhealthy way; I again delved deeper into coursework.

When fall semester sophomore year rolled around, I was not prepared for how the grief and loss would hit me with my cousin’s death anniversary. I started off that semester pretending I was okay and able to handle it, but my grades gave me my reality check. I was barely passing exams and completing assignments. That’s when I started to register my thoughts: I did not want to show up to class or hear what my professors had to say. When I got my grades for that semester, I passed by a narrow margin a course required for my major. 

During winter break, I knew that simply getting a head start on tasks would help me in the future. I joined a research team. I emailed a bunch of professors off my program site and waited for responses. I eventually got one and found a stable circle of people to interact with in my academic life. The stability of having people who I could talk to about coursework, professors and potentially personal matters became a game changer. 

Looking back I wish someone would’ve given me the advice my advisor gave me when I interviewed her about this post. She said you have to self-advocate from the beginning of your college experience to build a foundation to fall back on whenever you need it.

From my conversation with my academic advisor Amanda Holda, she wanted students to keep the following in mind before they get to a point where they can’t anymore with academics:

From NYU Steinhardt: Applied Psych Advisor Page

  • Make sure you build support systems in your academic world from the beginning even if its informal networks like fellow club members & co-workers
  • Make it a habit to reach out to those individuals you feel comfortable with and start building a relationship with your advisors
    • Take it from academic advisor Amanda Holda. She stated that it’s their role on campus to be students’ support systems, so utilize them. They may not have the answers, but they can definitely guide you where you want and need to go. 
  • Be open to making connections (Professors probably aren’t going to be the main connection)

 

If there is one thing you should take away from this piece, I want it to be an urgency to help yourself when you are in a healthy positive state rather than stuck in a tragedy forced to make changes. Start easy with email exchanges and build to face to face meetups with individuals. With Professors, say hi before and/or after class eventually, start going to Professors’ office hours to talk. 

If you are someone who started off college without having time to build connections, remember “it is your right to reach out and ask questions.” Work to overcome the internal messaging that you have about connecting with staff and faculty. Take care of yourself and allow faculty and staff the opportunity to support you. They won’t know what’s going on without you telling them!

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By Sanjidah Chowdhury

Sanjidah is a rising senior at NYU Steinhardt majoring in applied psychology. She aspires to become a mental health counselor to understand intergenerational dynamics and better serve the needs of women, Muslims, and the South Asian community. She currently works with NYU’s Office of Alumni Relations. Throughout the academic year, she works on a research team under Professor Niobe Way and volunteers for Nordoff -Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Most of the time you can find Sanjidah with her nose in a book and music blasting through her headphones. 

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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Love as an Action

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

I don’t think a lot of us understand what love really is. We have these idealized concepts of what it means from Disney movies and television series that romanticize it and spread all the wrong messages. I recently read All About Love by bell hooks and it truly informed my understanding of love and what it means. hooks proposes we treat love as a verb, rather than a noun.

When we change our definition of love from a feeling to an action, it debunks the majority of these stories we grew up watching and listening to. It makes us understand that while our dysfunctional families did care about us, that does not mean they were loving. Love and pain do not coexist. It is not loving to beat your kids or call them terrible names. Redemption can be found, but as that infamous saying goes: actions speak louder than words. We can claim to love people, but it is in our actions that we are loving. 

To be loving to others, we have to be loving toward ourselves. We spend much of our lives dreaming of receiving this romanticized notion of love from others, but we fail to realize that we are fully capable of giving this sort of love to ourselves. Once we learn to do this, any other form of love we receive will pile onto the love we are already getting. No one can make you feel unloved when you already love yourself. hooks wrote that self-love is an action we take for our own spiritual growth and that once this process of self-love has begun, it makes it possible to extend ourselves to others (hooks 54). We have to take measures to ensure that we are avidly growing and being mindful each day. Living consciously, as hooks put it, is another fundamental step. She claimed that we have to “engage in critical reflection about the world we live in and know most intimately” (hooks 56). In doing so, we become more aware of our surroundings and the role we play in them. The best thing we can do for others is to be loving toward ourselves because it will subsequently enable us to be more loving toward them. 

hooks briefly brings up the concept of cathexis. Cathexis is defined in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as the concentration of mental energy on one particular person, idea, or object (especially to an unhealthy degree). She explains that sometimes, we think we have found ourselves in love but we are really just experiencing cathexis. I don’t know if that is what that boy and I had. If we look at our not-relationship from the lense of love as a verb, then maybe we were not actually in love. The not-relationship was and still is really important to me and it made me feel more than I have ever had, but I think the best parts of it were the parts that happened after it ended. I am loving toward that boy now, and he is the same with me. It took us a while to mend our friendship after we exploded but we are finally in a good place— in which I actually let him read an early draft of the second chapter that I wrote about him. He told me that I did not discuss his own flaws enough. We had the most honest conversation in the entirety of our friendship that day. We both took accountability for our flaws and admitted that we still have much more growing to do. But we had begun the first part: taking responsibility. 

Taking responsibility for our actions and how they affect the people we are loving toward is one of the most crucial aspects of living consciously and loving. hooks claims that, “taking responsibility means that in the face of barriers we still have the capacity to invent our lives to shape our destinies in ways that maximize our wellbeing” (hooks 57). When we accept accountability, it changes our reactions and our feelings. We cannot control the events that happen to us; we can only control how we react. 

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “[w]hat we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands” (hooks 209). A lot of us have damage, but we cannot let that rule our lives. We have to practice self-assertiveness. Without it, we perpetuate the cycle of abuse by letting it continue in different forms. If we don’t treat ourselves with respect, why should anyone else? I started standing up for myself these last few months; I started with my mother. It obviously did not have the best ending, but I am not being taken advantage of anymore. I am not having daily reminders of my trauma and swallowing it down just so that she can live with herself. Her boyfriend has haunted my dreams for many nights in the past few years. Last night, he visited them again, but this time I was different. I stood up to him. I called him out for everything he had done in front of an audience, but I did not care who heard. All I needed was for myself to be heard. I don’t know if the dreams will continue. If I am being realistic, they probably will. But I stood up to him last night and now I feel a little more free. 

I know that I have to forgive my mother. It is not healthy to carry that pain and resentment within me. Now, when I say forgive, I mean let go of all of this. I mean to attempt to understand where she is coming from and to finally accept all that has happened. I do not mean to let her back into my life. I yearn for my mother most nights, but I need to continue to respect myself and my pain— which she does not. Until she does, we cannot be in each other’s lives again. This is another truth I must learn to accept. hooks proposed that, “to know compassion fully is to engage in a process of forgiveness and recognition that enables us to release all the baggage we carry. It serves as a barrier to healing” (hooks 217). Releasing my baggage is a difficult task for me. At one point, it was all I had. I thought it defined me. I have to let these toxic ideas go. I have to continue working toward that compassion so that I myself may be free. 

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Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

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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The Trap

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Three years ago I began my college career as a journalism student at James Madison University. As a result of not having a boyfriend in high school, I came into college with the mindset of finding my first boyfriend. After 4 years of high school experiencing immature, selfish boys, I thought that these older men would be ready for a relationship. Boy was I in for a reality check. I soon learned that college boys were no different than high school boys. And I am realizing now, my actions were not much different either. 

Throughout my freshman year, I met two guys; one in the beginning and one at the end. In my head, I could see myself dating them. I found myself getting attached to both, all to find out that a relationship was farthest from the thing they wanted – which was sex. It didn’t matter to them how many girls they were hurting, from my experience, all they cared about was themselves and their pleasure. You would think I would have learned from my freshman year, but as sophomore year began, so did my “non-relationship” full of toxicity and lies.

There was a guy that I had befriended at the end of my freshman year who had just gotten into a fraternity and was finally thriving. He was fun, energetic, which are qualities I believed we shared. When we hung out it was fun and careless and entertaining. I developed a crush. The beginning of my sophomore year this friend and I left a party together, and from there on out I was hooked. I liked the way he would wrap his whole arm around my body, holding me close to his, when we cuddled. I liked waking up in the same position after falling asleep without realizing it. I loved that when we kissed I could feel the butterflies in my whole body. I was happy and relaxed. I found myself thinking about him more often than not. He would text and snapchat me. And in my head that meant that he cared about me. As time went on, these thoughts intensified. and I felt myself always wanting to be in his presence. 

None of my friends liked him from the beginning. Now, looking back I realize how important it is to listen to your friends. All they want is the best for you and when they tell you something, it’s something that you probably can’t see. They could see the type of guy he was. I knew what type of guy he was but at the time I was blinded by what I thought was love. You would think I would stop after he made out with multiple girls in my sorority right in front of my face. You would think I would stop when he then continued to try and kiss me immediately after this. You would think I would stop when one night, I was hanging out with his roommates after a night out (who were also my friends) and he came home with another girl on his arm. But I couldn’t stop.

The fighting started when he began taking Xanax every time he went out. He would black out and become a different person. Almost every night we went out together, he would argue with me over nothing. The Xanax made him cruel and verbally abusive. But of course being the person that I am, I wanted to help him and I didn’t want to stop trying. But, I started to see how selfish of a person he really was. I would cut him off for weeks at a time; start to feel okay about it, and then the calls and texts about how much he missed me would begin again. And once again I would fall right back in.

My friends would tell me over and over again that he didn’t truthfully care about me the way he said he did, but I would ignore it because at the time, I was doing what made me happy. And this guy knew how to make me believe every word he said. When we went home for school breaks, he would facetime me for hours. I thought this meant he cared. I learned later that most of those calls he was on Xanax. When we got back to school for the spring semester, we didn’t stop hanging out but the fighting got worse. I questioned him over and over again about why he wouldn’t commit to me. He would tell me he liked me and enjoyed being around me, so why couldn’t I be the only girl he saw?

I thought that because he wasn’t treating the other girls like he treated me it was okay. I have since learned how wrong I was. All I wanted was to be able to see him and that alone ruined me. I let him do things that were not okay, I would forgive him for things that should not have been forgiven, and I even did things that I am not proud of. I had to learn it all on my own though. I couldn’t hear it from my friends because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. So I continued letting him take advantage of my emotions. I continued going back to him every time, even though I knew it wasn’t right.

I was trapped.

 


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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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