Archive for the ‘Student Issues’ Category

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.

downy.1load.packet.travel

tidetogopen

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.

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A Healthy Way of Living at Lifethyme

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

I grew up around nature, farms and gardens, farmers’ markets, and signs that read “local” or “all-natural.” When I moved to New York City, I assumed that part of my life would come to a halt; you can’t exactly fit a dairy farm in Manhattan.

And then I found Lifethyme. Three blocks away from my college, stocked with products hailing from my hometown of Ithaca, NY, and sensibly priced for the broke college student that I am, Life Thyme was a win-win…win.

 

Organic, local veggies! Yum!

Opened in 1995, Lifethyme has made it their mission to create a complete, natural market, equipped with a juice bar, bakery, supplement counter, body care section, kitchen, and grocery store that delivers. “We wanted it to be entirely complete. We were one of the first; there are other health stores, but none just like us,” says Jason, owner of Lifethyme. And he isn’t kidding, the store has everything. Walk a few blocks and get all natural groceries, toiletries, dinner, and dessert all in one trip. They even have all natural chocolate, a fan favorite!

So much deliciousness!

 

The local organic movement was a big motivation. Products like veggies and dairy come from farms upstate and are brought down to this quaint, natural shop in Manhattan’s West Village. No wonder I felt a wave of nostalgia as I walked inside, greeted by organic sweet potatoes, organic Ithaca milk, and that unmistakable scent of fresh food, poorly replicated by the more expensive Whole Foods. I was hooked and I hadn’t even been upstairs yet.

 

Gotta love organic veggies!

Being in between two major colleges, The New School and NYU, Jason understands how hard it is to maintain a healthy, organic lifestyle on a budget, so he has one philosophy: “a store needs to be affordable for everyone, meeting the wants and needs of all economic classes.” That’s why the store is always trying to improve both product and price-wise. Each month promotional fliers are distributed with new deals and discounts, the salad bar is 50% off after 9PM, and everyday prices stay at an affordable rate.

Great already made food!

 

I explored, in awe of the quantity and variety of products. Upon walking in, I was met with the freshest of fruits and vegetables (organic apples happen to be my favorite), then I made it to some dairy products from my home sweet home, then to the prepared foods, stocked with raw-vegan, vegan, vegetarian, and even omnivorous food. Next I stared longingly at the baked goods: chocolate vegan cakes that made me want to forget about dinner. Making the full circle, I saw the grocery section and realized that I would never have to go anywhere else, as they had it all: cereal, bread, pasta, canned soup, canned vegetables, you name it. I was even able to try free samples from Garden of Life, a company that promotes raw and natural energizers and vitamins. Upstairs they had even more! Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, candles, incense, yoga mats, make-up AND a seating area where you could eat your prepared food and rest your feet. Like I said, I was hooked.

Free samples and friendly faces!

 

Nothing is better than an organic apple!

 

Even better, Lifethyme is always looking for ways to get more involved with the community, to do more, and to improve themselves. For all of you interested students out there, Lifethyme wants you to be involved. Whether it’s through events or collaborations, the shop wants to improve their student base by including our generation in their mission for healthier living. Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. Lifethyme cares about health in every sense of the word and when it’s only a short walk away, it seems pretty worth it.

 

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Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.

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New You– Summer ‘Do

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Ready for an updated look? There’s no better time than now! Listen, New York gets hot in the summer. The kind of hot where it feels like we’re forever alternating between sticky heat waves and solid weeks of rain; not the best recipe for a good hair day, I know. My hair is thick and curly, which in summer months best translates to massive and frizzy. I’m used to wearing my hair up in a bun almost all the time over the summer, and it’s less because of the heat than because my hair just gets unmanageable.  I was determined to fight back this year, and so I looked into upscale hair salons hoping that there would be some difference between the fancier places and my usual local ones. What I wound up trying was Salon Ziba, downtown by NYU. I want to talk a little about my experience there. (Spoiler Alert: great haircut, great people, great price, happy Laura.)

I walked in and immediately felt that this salon was out of my normal price range: chic and modern where my old place was more drab and uninspired. But I spoke a little bit with the owner, Alonso, and he explained to me that the salon’s goal is to deliver high-end, profession haircuts and styling for an affordable price. Alonso told me that his inspiration came partially from his own haircuts 25 years ago before Ziba opened. He said that he was very happy with how they looked and the great care that he received, but also that he was annoyed at having to pay up to $75 for a trim. When he started Salon Ziba at its first location in midtown, he kept this in mind and aimed to keep the prices low without sacrificing quality. As a low-income college student, I was particularly excited to hear this news.

The employees treated me like a princess. They offered me tea or coffee as they walked me to the back to get my hair washed. When it came time to pick a cut, my stylist asked me what I wanted and had his own advice about what I should do. (I’m on a mission to grow my hair out long, so what I really wanted was a look that would not only frame my face nicely at its current length, but also look just as good in a year.) What he recommended was that I angle it more at the front since my face is almond shaped, and that I try a center part for a more fierce look than my old side part. After I let him do his thing, he asked me if a wanted a blow-out. This is a first for me! My stylist was really nice and he showed me just what he was doing so I could try it at home.

Five days later on a humid day, curls are still intact.

I walked out of the salon that day feeling beautiful and renewed. They all gave me a lot of attention and good advice to help my hair grow faster. And the best part? The whole thing, wash cut and style, cost me $48. That only about $10 more than I pay for just a haircut at the place I used to go to. Guess I have a new regular hair salon!

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Laura DeFrancisci, Manhattan College. Check out my Blog!

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Spiritual Devotion and College

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

www.wikipedia.org

    In addition to cultivating skills that are indispensable in the job market, a college-level education is frequently associated with long-term individual benefits. The ability to interpret and engage issues from a wider breadth of perspectives, and the cultivation of critical reasoning skills – as advocates of higher education will point out – leads to a more reflective lifestyle, and allows graduates to engage literary and artistic works in ways that are more meaningful and enriching. Higher level education is also lauded for its capacity to produce citizens that are inquisitive, as well as receptive towards other viewpoints.

    Being exposed to different cultural practices and unfamiliar political views – as students within each generation have testified – frequently cause former systems of belief to appear less rigid, and more susceptible to reassessment. It has often been pointed out that a sense of commitment towards familial and communal ideals – particularly those of a religious or spiritual orientation – may appear increasingly tenuous as one begins to explore unfamiliar ideas, diverse organizations, and novel friend circles.

     As recent studies prove however, entry into a higher level institution and the disintegration of religious belief fails to evoke a clear, correlative pattern. According to one study, universities have reported that at least a third of their respective student bodies participate in regular spiritual activities. Students within several universities have also expressed a shared desire to enlist religious speakers to speak at campus-wide events.

    This phenomenon is restricted not only to educational institutions within the Midwest, but is increasingly pervasive in cosmopolitan regions as well. Towards the conclusion of 2012, New York University completed construction on the Center for Spiritual Life, partly as a response to the proliferation of spiritual activity within the university. The CSL arranges non-exclusive programs and meetings that center on exploring spiritual sentiments, as well as facilitating intercommunication between students of different faiths. The Center is also responsible for housing religious figures, including a Protestant Reverend, a Catholic Priest, a rabbi, and an imam.

    For next week’s blogpost, I will interview the founders of three separate religious organizations in NYU: the Youth Evangelical Fellowship, the Islamic Student Association, and Hillel: The Jewish Culture Foundation at NYU. In doing so, I shall inquire into the histories of these three organizations, their programs and activities, and whether promoting interaction between different organizations constitutes a priority for each of these three groups. I will also interview the founding members in order to determine whether living in a fast-paced urban environment, and attending a secularized university poses a constant challenge to the consolidation, and furthering of personal devotion.

http://aidanharticons.com

 

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Pietro Crotti, New York University. Check out my Twitter!

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Dwindling Communication in the 21st Century

Friday, October 5th, 2012

With all kinds of new technology and social media platforms popping up every day, it seems easier than ever to stay in contact and communicate with the whole world.  It doesn’t even require a lot of effort, just a portable laptop — which come in extra small packages these days – or a smart phone.  So why is it that the real value of our words is going down the drain?

Even he didn't say much and he could be heard almost ANYWHERE

Part of this is our own fault for relying too much on technology.  There’s less effort put into meeting up with a friend or family member for a quick lunch.  Making communication easier has made us less aware of the importance of following through and actually speaking.  Personal relationships have decreased in favor of the blogosphere or Facebook.

With the upcoming Presidential election, it’s important to take more pride and responsibility in our words, our communication, and listening and hearing content.  That annoying little habit of saying “like” after every other word?  That was OK when you were 13.  Part of being a responsible adult pertains not just to our professional lives, but also to our communication.  As students, you’re going to be primed as the leaders of the future; it is important to recognize this gift and own it.

Your Presidential vote is also your future, take some time out to inform yourself on what the candidates stand for. Yes, it is true that many of their speeches and debates will be ridden with white noise you should avoid, but the important thing to do is to INFORM yourself.  Educating yourself on issues is a practice you’ll continue even after the election, making you highly employable. Try news feeds like cnn.com or huffingtonpost.com. If you’re in a real rush, newser is a great place to catch up on headlines with a short and readable summary.

As to the nonsense words you use to fill silences, start thinking a little more before speaking.  This will cause you to have a fully formulated sentence before speaking, but if you should have a silence somewhere…it’s OK! No need to add “like,” “so,” “um,” etc.  Some thoughts to keep your message in line:

Are you really saying what you want to say?

Is that person going to understand your needs and goals?

If not, could you reword it and still make the message clear?

Remember: being too wordy may lose the listener.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in preparing and physically relocating to New York City, it’s that if you can write and communicate your ideas well, your career will soar.  While social media is all good and fun, it’s only effective when used properly.  So go out and use your voice, your thoughts, and yes, your phone (in fact, you could download the Campus Clipper App RIGHT NOW)!

 

Written by: Lauren A. Ramires

If you’re interested in finding out more about my opinions and ventures with social media, social media marketing, fashion, travel and humor, follow me on Twitter, Facebook or my blog.

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Con-Artists

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Con-artists today are good… really good.

They take advantage of the average American consumer who believes that they just received their “big break” – an image that is portrayed in movies, songs on the radio, television shows, and articles in magazines; an image that is sold to the average college student — one that is similar to “If you work for me [for free] it will look great on your resume.” How tempting it is when the employer adds a little gung-ho; something like, “I might add your name to my website as a person who worked on the project.”

On craigslist, I read a post from a revolutionary mind; he said that his labor is NOT free and that he is tired of working diligently for companies that take advantage of/do not pay him  for his labor and ideas.

…talking about craigslist… I was wondering why scam artists on craigslist.org are so ramped? Is it because people fall for them?

I believe that scam-artists today are some of the most clever individuals out there – and that the art itself is becoming more complex as technology and mass media rhetoric evolves. Remember in the early 2000s when you would get strange and blunt e-mails from a “Prince in Nigeria” asking you to wire him some money? Well today, if you try to sell a bike on craigslist, you are mailed a check for $4,000 with instructions to Western Union the remaining funds to a strange woman by the name of Rosetta Loretta in Dallas, Texas in order for some movers to pick the bike up from your apartment. The check turns out to be a check from a school district in Missouri and you find yourself not selling your bike.

Tips to avoid fraud and scams on craigslist:
(1)Always deal local
(2)Never wire money to someone who you don’t know!  But when you do need to Western Union funds to a friend in Alabama who you met at Wallstreet Occupation; and you have only known for a couple of days; and who has called you from an unknown number and just told you that he just recently got out of prision and needs a bus ticket to get back to the city… be sure to check out NYC Check Express; with a coupon, you get two free money orders when you cash a check with NYC Check Express!

Just joking.

And if this all seems obvious, it is a quick reminder that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Mid-terms are coming up for many of us: a time when we become sleep deprived, when our bodies start break down due to illness, and when we have a lot on our minds. This is a time when we become more vulnerable to making irrational decisions. Be sure to take small and frequent breaks, get some sleep, remember to eat, and to pace yourself.  Spring  is right around the corner!

 Katheryn, The Cooper Union
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Flambé

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Being a student of architecture, it’s difficult finding any free time. Instead, I find myself getting out of the studio at two o’clock in the morning anticipating waking up in a few hours to do it all over again.

On the weekends, while I’m in studio labouring in the the twilight hours, my cellphone is bombarded with text messages like: “U R missing out on the Partyyyyy Bussss.” or “WHERE U AT?” or “This guy at the bar looks like Drake and I got his ##!!! ” or “Living La Vida Loca!”

…and although this all seems so interesting, how we decide to spend our free time as students is one of the most important investments we can make towards our education.

Firstly, I can’t afford to get a ride on the party bus; and secondly, I would rather spend my precious free time going to the park to play ping-pong; or talking to my neighbors; or listening to stories about old New York and ranting about Bloomberg with a friend.

I would rather pay a five cent donation to get into the MET or use my school ID card for a free film at the MoMA.

Instead of paying $20 for a meal at a crowded restaurant, I would prefer to make dinner for my friends — even if it is just a box of Mac’N’Cheese and a side salad — it sounds like a perfect night to me.

Anyway,  what I’m getting at is is that we’re all very fortunate to be studying in New York City. The more we start to experience New York City for what it actually is, instead of assuming it’s something that we’ve seen in the movies, the more New York can teach us.

My advice is to take some time and go walk around for a bit.  Go somewhere you’ve never been.  Take the bus instead of the subway, perhaps even ride a bike!  Make time to talk to your neighbors, local store owners, and random people sitting on a bench in the park.

If you’re extremely busy, try to take a half-an-hour from your studies to walk to a not-so-close coffee house for a cup of hot joe.  If you bring your own mug you can have something warm to sip-on on your way back to school… plus you’ll get that extra discount for having your own mug!

Without headphones, walk slowly and steady, looking up and paying attention. Anticipate someone coming up to you and asking you a strange question like, “Do you like Flambé?” Moreover, ask someone on the street if they like Flambé and see what happens.

All jokes aside, New York is one of the greatest places to learn and to live. How we spend our free time is a valuable asset to our education.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to spend my time any other way than learning more about the city I live in and love.

 

Katheryn, The Cooper Union
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Facebook vs. The Wedding

Sunday, June 26th, 2011
Fakebook

Facebook versus world nations. (Click image for source).

Facebook. We all know (and some of us love) Facebook. It’s revolutionary. Literally. Ask Egypt. It possesses an amazing ease of use, managing to embed messaging, game-playing, photo-posting, video-uploading, link-sharing and (lest we forget) poking, all into a neat, blue interface. Yes, Facebook is quite a thrill and I’ll admit that, as a Facebook user, I enjoy it. But recently I received an e-mail that knocked my appreciation of Facebook down a peg.

After a long weekend enjoying the marriage of one of my oldest cousins to his lovely bride, I was checking my e-mail Monday afternoon and saw a message from a sender I had not seen in a while: Facebook. You see, I don’t like being bothered with e-mails that I won’t read anyway. So, all of the unnecessary messages I would receive (about group notifications, event notifications, notices about posts I’m tagged in, inbox messages, etc., etc.) I have already opted out of. When something happens on Facebook, I’ll know when I go onto Facebook. Having it happen on Facebook and in my e-mail inbox seems redundant to me.

This being the case, I thought that while I was checking my e-mail, I wouldn’t see any messages from a sender named “Facebook.” But of course, I was dead wrong. I simply wanted to delete the message and leave it at that, but it piqued my curiosity. Why was I receiving this message?

“Hi, Christopher. You haven’t been to Facebook for a few days, and a lot happened while you were away.”

This is how the e-mail began, verbatim. The rest of the message basically looked like Facebook restricted to the confines of my inbox window. I didn’t know what to think at first. Obviously, while I’m not on Facebook, things continue to happen. Statuses are updated, profile pictures are changed and comments are made. But why did Facebook need me to know about it so desperately that they e-mailed me?

Fakebook2

Facebook being used on a Mac OS. (Click image for source).

I understand that at the end of the day, Facebook is a corporation and they’re in the business of making money. Obviously they want me to use their website because it helps them conduct their business and collect advertising fees. I suppose what upsets me isn’t really the e-mail at all, but the circumstances under which I received it. As I said, the e-mail came to me after spending a weekend home enjoying a family wedding. I didn’t use the Internet much at all during this time, let alone go onto Facebook. I was proud to see my cousin get married and for those 72 hours, it was more important to me than anything else. So reading an e-mail that said I was missing out on Facebook’s happenings seemed so insignificant that the e-mail came off as insulting. Because yes, Facebook, I have nothing better to do with my life then check your updates all day long.

I hope I’m not the only one who has an opinion about this. I don’t want to see my generation blindly led onto an Internet roadway that we can’t drive off of. The Internet is important, and I’ll admit Facebook may be important, too. It’s a great tool for communication and organization. But we shouldn’t let its usefulness overshadow what is really important in life. Technology is made by humans and used by humans, so as human beings, we should be able to control it, and not let it control us. Be careful with how (and how often) you use Facebook. There’s a real world out there, and Facebook should only be a means through which we want to interact in real life.

–Christopher Cusack, Hofstra University

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