Archive for the ‘Roommates’ Category

#MakingMemories: How to Document a Study Abroad Trip

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

#tbt (noun) – A hashtag frequently used to brag on social media about past travel adventures.

However, Instagram-ing your “Throwback Thursday” pictures isn’t the only way you can document your study abroad adventures—though it is a popular one.

Journaling is another inexpensive way to preserve your trip memories without breaking the bank. It can be difficult to have the discipline to write in a journal every day, but in doing so you’ll have something to look back on for years to come.

 

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

 

Journaling can be an intimate experience, but for those looking for a more public outlet, social media is the way to go. Many travelers hoping to update friends and family overseas may want to consider creating an Instagram account. It’s free, works through WiFi and is a quick and easy way to document the highlights of your travels.

Some travelers do not understand the need to take frequent photographs, however past study abroad students, like Kimberly Rogers, 21, disagree.

“I am definitely the type of person to take a lot of pictures when I go on a trip,” she says. “People tell me to stop and take in the beauty of wherever I am, [but] I’m gonna want to look back and reminisce.” Rogers recently traveled to China with CUNY Brooklyn College in the summer of 2013. “I can be one of those old grandmas who tell my grandkids to come look at how cool I was [through pictures]!”

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

With more and more advances in technology every year, the amount of photos we can take and store is growing. Many of these photos get mindlessly uploaded to websites like Facebook and Flicker without a second glance, but the more creative you are with your photos the more memorable your trip will be.

Scrapbooking, a widely practiced pastime in the United States, is a useful tool for preserving study abroad memories. Rogers, who frequently used Instagram during her trip to China, also created a scrapbook upon her return home.

“I think it’s really important to document my travels,” she says, displaying her China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers' China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers’ China scrapbook.

 

The scrapbook that she created contains photographs of her friends, landmarks and other memories of her trip. She bought stickers that went along with the China theme and decorative paper to make the pictures pop.

Some places to go for cheap deals on scrapbooking supplies are stores like Target, Amazing Savings and Michaels.

“I could of just printed out pictures,” Rogers says, “but I wanted to put effort into what I collected and make something I could cherish forever.”

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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College Savings and Saving Space in Your Suitcase: What to Pack When Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

When I fantasize about traveling it’s always the same: one neatly packed backpack with just the essentials. Unfortunately, I am not a light packer and so this is never the case. When it comes to studying abroad you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever you may encounter on your trip. It’s never a good idea to assume that a foreign country has exactly what you’re looking for. Try to find college discounts for certain items before your trip and you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’re there. So what if you’re labeled the “mom” of your trip? Being prepared is never a bad thing—and chances are your new friends will thank you.

Before your trip it’s important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country, or at least learn some key phrases. Rosetta Stone is a great option, but for those of us on a budget there are free smartphone apps readily available. Mindsnacks is a really helpful app I found before my trip to China that allowed me to start learning the language through a series of fun interactive games. If you upgrade to the full version for $5, you’ll get access to 1000 words and phrases, 9 unique games, and 50 lessons to master. This app is available in many different languages and the upgrade is definitely worth the money!

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Do some research about the weather you’ll experience during the months you’ll be there and pack your clothes accordingly. You don’t want to be the one wearing sweaters in the heat or shorts in the snow. Make sure you have a solid stock of any medicines or vitamins you may take every day. Regular toiletries are an essential and it’s always handy to buy Tide-To-Go, packets of Downy or any other fabric soap just in case you need to do a wash at a moment’s notice.

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Sometimes laundry gets expensive in a foreign country.

 

Check to see what banks are available in the country you’re going to. Many countries often have branches that are linked with Bank of America so if you don’t have an account, open one up. It’s free and you won’t have to pay fees every time you grab some cash from the ATMs. The China Construction Bank, found all over China, doesn’t charge any fees as long as you have a BoA card. You can easily close your BoA account once returning to America.

Other important items are charger adapters for your specific country of origin. The outlets in America are not the same in every country and you do not want to be that person with the hair straightener exploding in your hair!

Also, to stay in touch with family and friends during your trip, set up a Gmail, Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp accounts. These are free ways to connect with your loved ones through email, phone calls, video and text messaging all through WiFi. You don’t want mom to get a $356 dollar phone bill because you accidentally used your data while roaming, do you?

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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The Never Ending Joys of Roommates

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Serrana Gay

Roommates. We all have them, and if you haven’t had one yet, chances are you will at some point. Whether your roommate is your best friend or someone you met a week ago at orientation, living with people is always a challenge.

I have lived with a whole cast of colorful characters: boyfriends, best friends, strangers, and strangers who have become friends. Each relationship has had its ups and downs and each relationship has taught me something different. But time and time again I always come back to the same thing: COMMUNICATION. Without it any relationship is destined to fail.

During my last year of college I fought with my best friend over who was going to vacuum the living room. We didn’t speak for a week. One comment from me led to a dismissal from her, which grew into a text message war, which exploded into a screaming argument and then total silence–endless, dragging silence. Days and days of silence.

Then one day I had an epiphany, a forehead slap moment. The reason we weren’t resolving anything was because we weren’t speaking. We had gotten into a vicious circle of non-communication.  Of course, I thought. We were never going to fix anything if we didn’t speak.

That very afternoon I apologized. I told her I was upset because I felt like I was the only one that ever cleaned, and that I realized that I  had played a part in making her upset. She said she felt like I was mothering her. We hugged and by the end of the conversation, we were laughing at our own stupidity.

What I took away from this experience is that 1) nine times out of ten, conflicts arise from misunderstanding or things left unsaid, and 2) it is better to confront things head-on than to stay mad.

I know this seems a little too easy, and that sometimes talking about your feelings can be difficult. But take it from someone who knows, without communication all relationships are doomed to fail.  As life coach Tony Robbins so aptly puts it, “To effectively communicate we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

So I put it to you, dear readers, to be the different ones. Take up the challenge and share how you are feeling. Communicate. You will be surprised at how much more easily you will coexist with those you share the world with. And you just might find that the way you treat people will start to shape who you become, the person you are.

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College Concerns and Worries

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

As young adults, we are prone to taking a “trial and error” approach to life. We know one of the many goals associated with college is the promise of a better life. We also know getting through college is a mission itself, filled with all types of twists and turns we never see coming. Here are a couple of concerns you may or may not have experienced, and some pretty good solutions to help keep your stress leveled.

 

Finances

 

Money will always be a major issue. Unless you hit the lottery or were born into royalty, you’re probably counting every penny you spend. Everything from getting to school to the afternoon snack craving can become a problem.

As college students we tend to want to blow our money on the first things we can think of. Saving is a minimal priority. HelpSaveMyDollars.com’s creator Scott Gamm developed a theory stating fifty percent of college students have 4 or more credit cards. An even more shocking statistic is that eighty percent of students fail to pay off their credit card bill.

The key is to keep an eye on your money and always track what you are spending. I’ve written an article entitled “College Savings Doesn’t Mean College Boredom” in which I talk about having fun in New York the cheapest way possible.

 

 

Social Life

Balancing school and anything else can prove to be quite complicated. Whether it’s a job or an internship, you will find you don’t have much time for anything else. Twenty three percent of full-time undergrads, who are 24 or younger, work 20 hours or more a week. With hours like that plus the 15 hours or more you plan to spend in classes and on after class activities (labs and group projects anyone?), you won’t have much time for anything else.

Although having any kind of social life can seem like an extra burden, it’s not impossible and is more than healthy for a college student. Someone paying you a visit after you come home from work is one way that comes to mind (because you know . . . you’ll be too tired to go out and all). Someone can come meet you at your job after your shift. Meeting people at school is also a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Trust me . . . you’ll be spending A LOT of time with these people, so you might as well get to know them. You might like them.

 

Professors

 

We’ve all heard it before, “I have to take Professor (place name here). He’s an easy A” or “I don’t want Professor (alchy). He’s always drunk.”

Okay . . . maybe the last one is just me, but you get the idea.

There are those out there who simply don’t care who ends up teaching them a specific course, but for many of us, there’s that one professor that just gets us. Early registration is the key to getting the professors you want, the classes you want, at the times you want to take them. Some schools even give you cash stipends for early registration, which is even more of an incentive.

Personally, I never understood math until I had this one professor. She never let me (or anyone for that matter) leave class until she was sure we understood the material. This may seem like torture but I didn’t fail a test that whole semester . . . . . So I guess it worked, at least in my case

 

Personal Problems

 

We all have lives outside of college and many times it’s hard for our personal issues to not get in the way. Students with children have to constantly worry about their kid as it will always be one of their top priorities. Students can be involved in relationships that just swallow up their time (and if this is you, you should really learn how to prioritize) among other things.

I’ve been in three different living situations ever since I started school and I’m working on a fourth and hopefully my last for a while. Going to school and not knowing if I’ll even have a home to come back to has definitely been one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my life. All the “stay focused” and “keep your eyes on the prize” speeches never made any sense until I reached this period in my life.

Even though life can overwhelm you at times, it is important to know why you enrolled in this first place. It’s easy to forget why we started on this journey when all the unnecessary crap is constantly thrown in our face. Whatever the issue is, it’s important to know you have the strength, the tools and the support to get through whatever you’re going through. Also, you ARE working towards a better future and that’s more than most people can say.

 

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Carlos L., Monroe College. Read my blog!!  Follow me on Twitterand Facebook :)

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Have You Checked Out our New Book Yet?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The Campus Clipper’s recent publication, the NYC Student Guide, is a must-have for any college student. Whether you’re interested in applying for an internship, scoring cheap Broadway tickets, or finding the best places to eat in the city, the NYC Student Guide can help you! The Guide is filled with over 30 articles, each written by a different student author. Some article titles include: “On Roommates,” “On Studying,” “On Relationships,” and many more. Each article includes beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, also created by students. Finally, the book is light and handy–much lighter than those textbooks you lug around all over campus– so you can carry it with you everywhere. Also unlike a textbook, the Guide is both informative and entertaining to read. The uniquely informal style of our student authors will draw you in. Reading our book is like listening to the advice of a good college friend.

But there are hundreds of college guidebooks out there, you may be saying. What makes this one so different? First and foremost, our guidebook is written by current students, not some stogy man or woman who graduated in 1979. Although he or she must have done extensive research to compile the book, they are not drawing from personal experience. Our authors are more relevant, because they are experiencing college life at the exact same time you are. (Who knows, maybe you’ve crossed paths on campus!)

Finally, (although our guidebook is useful to students studying across the country) it includes many articles that are specific to New York City. Learn where the best thrift shops are located. Find out how to use the local job-searching site, Jatched.com. Discover new bars and nightly hot spots. Every year, thousands upon thousands of high school graduates, from across the country  travel to NYC to study. The myriad opportunities of this city beckon them. Maybe you are one of these students. I was. And if you come armed with the NYC Student Guide, you are sure to make the most of your time here!

Order your copy of the NYC Student Guide Here! 

Written by Megan Soyars, Campus Clipper Blogger

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Impending Doom

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Well, I’ve finally reached my senior year. It seems like only yesterday I was a meek 18 year-old freshman, fresh off the plane from Georgia, feeling equally thrilled and nervous. Looking back on it I can say I had an incredible three years; the idyllic college experience. I tossed frisbees on campus, pulled all-nighters during finals week, studied abroad in New Zealand, and attended one Fordham football game (naturally, we lost). And now the end is nigh and the tension in my four-girl apartment is palpable. Senior year has introduced me to a stress I’ve never experienced before, a stress that follows me wherever I go. Our bubble  is about to shatter and we are constantly reminded that we are about to enter “The Real World.”

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This idea of “The Real World” has always confused me. Have these first twenty-one years of my life been pure preparation? Will graduation thrust me into some hellish alternative universe? The country’s current economic status is not a comfort to the soon-to-be grown-up. The recession has sent college students into a frenzy. What was once friendly competition has become a tooth-and-nail battle for class rankings. We find that every conversation ends up being about the LSAT or GRE. Our parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins — I bet even our pets if they could talk! — are constantly reminding us how difficult it is to find a job these days, how hard we’ll have to work, how much we’ll have to excel. We enter the job market low on hope but high on extra-curriculars; our resumes packed with random clubs and activities we hope will set us apart. It’s truly daunting. So daunting that some of us simply decide it would be best to stay in school as long as we can, increasing our debt but also our shots at success. This idea isn’t unique. Our chances of snagging our dream careers are slim to nonexistent, so applying to grad school seems to be the best way to remain reputably unemployed and fully insured. But if we assume we’re avoiding competition by opting to stay in school, we find ourselves sorely mistaken. We’re now grappling for spots in classrooms across the nation. We’re studying flashcards and Princeton Review test-prep books until our eyes are bloodshot and we’re agonizing over points lost in practice tests and which computer program is best for logic prep.

It seems there is nothing we can do to find a way to relax. The stress is truly inescapable.

But underneath all the tension, I find myself oddly excited to face the challenges that lay ahead of me. After all, it’s my life. We’re young right now, and lucky that the only people we have to worry about are ourselves. We apply, and apply, and if we don’t succeed, apply again.

At least I know I’m still able to get discounts on delicious food while I still have my student ID. I can put my savings in my survival jar.

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Adriana’s Pizzeria in Gramercy Park has a bunch of great deals for scrimping students, like the “Dorm Special,” which offers a large pie, 6 garlic knots, 6 buffalo wings, 6 mozzarella sticks, and a 2 liter bottle of soda for only $23.95. Did someone say girls’ night?!

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Olivia, Fordham University 2012

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The “Is it Worth It?” Test

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

In his book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz gives the following relationship advice:

Before you start getting upset and fighting about something, put the situation to the “is it worth it” test. In other words, is fighting/complaining/crying/bickering (whatever your relationship poison) worth the consequences? Is it worth the risk of creating bitterness and resentment? Is it worth the potential for hurt feelings and ruined moods on both ends?

Here are some examples:

– Your boyfriend forgot it was your mother’s birthday, and your first instinct is to make him feel guilty. Is it worth it?

– Your roommate used up all the toilet paper and forgot to renew the roll. You’re ready for battle. Is it worth it?

– Someone bumped into you on the train, and you’re already taking in a deep breath of air for all the curse words you’re about to unleash. Is it worth it?

You get the idea. I love this strategy because it’s so simple and so effective. Just asking yourself this question helps puts things in prospective and diffuses so much frustration. So much relationship tension exists because we overreact to insignificant things (and this holds true for ALL types of relationships). My sister, Kat, might snap at me because she’s had a rough day, I take it personally and get defensive. She gets even more upset. I get even MORE upset. And before you know, it we’ve both got our arms crossed and our bottom lips jutting out. (Story of our sisterhood).

Of course there are also times when this approach isn’t the right fit. For example, if you walk in on your girlfriend making out with a stranger. In that case, I’d say it’s almost definitely worth it to have a pretty serious chat. Stewing in silence even over small stuff is never a good choice, but the point of this advice is that if you can let something roll of your shoulders, do. We say so many things we don’t mean and do so much we later regret all because of a lousy mood or displaced frustration. In fact, I once read a theory that a lot of the world’s most brutal battles have been spurred by generals because of maddeningly severe tooth aches. Hey you, generals. Was it really worth it?

– Tania Luna

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How to Choose a Good Roommate

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

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Finally, you are moving to the city. You will study at the university you were always dreaming about. However, there is one big problem: rent an apartment in the city will cost you an arm and a leg. How will you make ends meet? The answer is easy: get a roommate.
In addition to lowering your housing costs, you will always have a good company. Here are some tips how to make sure that it will be a pleasant experience.
1. Pay attention to age. Big difference in age may decrease your mutual understanding. Activities that you like may be very different, as well as problems you deal with. Try to find a student like you, who will have the same interests. you can even study together and help each other.
2. Ask your potential roommate about his/her schedule. If you study in the morning, you will need to rest during the night and do your homework in the evening. If your roomate comes late and wakes you up every night, you will not get enough sleep. Interrupted sleep is even worse than no sleep at all.

Ekaterina Lalo

Check out my blog at www.nycvalues.blogspot.com

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