Gringa

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

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

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

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

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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Chapter 1 – Growing Up Lonely

June 28th, 2019

I was a weird kid growing up. I don’t mean sit in the corner and pick my nose weird, but I did spend a lot of time alone. Too much time alone.

Whenever kids asked me to play, they would reach for their Hot Wheels, dinosaurs, and dolls. Out of the three dolls were the absolute worst. I remember girls would dress them up, give them names, and even come up with background stories. Like, this is Amber, she’s a model for Limited Too, and she’s dating Chad. I always thought that was so stupid. Why am I pretending an inanimate object is real? It wasn’t until Toy Story that I started to second guess myself, but that’s beside the point. I preferred coloring or having DMCs, also known as deep, meaningful conversations. I was a child but oddly, I behaved like a grownup.

It was difficult fitting in with my age group, and on the off chance I met someone I got along with, it would be impossible to see them outside of school. Both of my parents worked full time, so they didn’t have the opportunity to drive me around to a friend’s house or to the mall. I was at home watching television or talking to my nanny most of the time. She was probably the only person who really knew me back then.

When my little brother Anthony was born in 2005, things changed. I had a built-in best friend. He was the cutest, chubbiest baby, and I was obsessed with holding him. My parents love to remind me that when the doctor announced it was a boy, I threw a tantrum.

I screamed, “Why? I don’t want a brother! Give me a little sister.”

The doctor had to calm me down before I alarmed any patients.

He explained, “A little sister will steal your clothes, wear your make-up, and annoy you a lot more than a little brother. Trust me.”

Well, the doctor was right. My brother was definitely annoying, but he was nothing compared to some little girls I knew. For some reason, little girls love to “do” your hair. At least, my brother never turned mine into a bird’s nest. Instead, we invented games, like the sock game, where we both start off wearing a pair of socks, and the first one to take off the other person’s socks wins. I believe I beat him every match, but I know he’d fight me on that. Over time, my brother became one of my closest friends.

Fast forward several years to middle school, and I still hadn’t found my niche. I would hang out with this group of girls because we had the same classes, and they lived one bike ride away. Nonetheless, there was constant drama within our friend group.

“She doesn’t like me? Well, f*** her. I don’t like her either.”

Even though we enjoyed talking about school and boys together, all the gossip and negativity weighed me down. I swore to myself that in high school I would escape the drama and focus on my grades. It was a dream of mine to get into a good college and make my parents proud. When they emigrated to the United States from Brazil, my mom had her high school diploma but my dad had barely finished middle school. Neither of them spoke English, and they worked day and night to give me and my brother the life we live now. Inspired by them, I said I would be the first of our family to go to a university, and that’s exactly what happened. I spent all my high school years stressing over SATs/ACTs, Advanced Placement exams, and essays. During the college application season, I wouldn’t have anyone to guide me through the process. I would have to wander through unknown territory on my own, so I began preparing early.

Because I was busy studying all the time, I missed out on many high school experiences: parties, relationships, and random, late nights with friends. I cried of loneliness and fear of missing out (FOMO) hundreds of times. At night, I would lie awake uncontrollably sobbing into my pillow so my parents couldn’t hear me. I felt alone, unloved, and unhappy. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. I had a wonderful, supportive family that cared for me, but I also had the habit of catastrophizing. In future chapters, I will talk about how I dealt with these issues.

I regret not having as much fun in high school, but the hard work eventually paid off! I was accepted to New York University (NYU), which was a huge accomplishment at my high school. Most people commit to our popular state school, Rutgers University, or a community college. The handful of students who attended a prestigious university or left the state were applauded. Never did I expect to be one of them.

I was about to embark on a life-altering journey.

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Thayz Queiroz is a junior at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her concentration is a mixture of psychology and sociology with a focus on human behavior and why people commit crimes. She plans to attend law school upon graduation and looks forward to what the future holds. Completely unrelated, her book “Miss Independent is Taken” is about the transition from being single to starting a relationship. In her book, she shares her personal struggles with confidence, school, and love. Thayz has faced many obstacles, some discouraging and others inspiring, the past three years of college. By the end of her book, she reveals the lessons she’s learned in hopes that it will help other young adults.

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… Food Situation

June 28th, 2019

Food becomes an afterthought real quick once you hit college. Without the reminder of someone providing food or carved out meal times, many college students don’t eat. When they do eat, it’s not even close to the realm of something healthy. This problem usually gets worse during midterms and finals seasons, when many deadlines pile up. It’s hard to keep up and usually, food is the first thing that gets skipped.

At NYU, I found that most students live off events with free food, especially freshmen. For commuters, if you don’t have a meal plan, figuring out what to eat is a struggle.

During my first semester of college, I would go an entire day without eating. I would come home after a long day of classes and just collapse on my bed. While laying in bed trying to muster the energy to start my homework, I would hear low rumblings. Then at times, there would be a loud churning sound. Only then would I register how hungry I was. I’d replay my day to figure what was the last thing I ate. The answer usually was an Eggo waffle with my morning coffee. I soon realized after many repeated moments the insidious nature of my eating habits and mindset. Not only is this practice unhealthy, but it also makes getting through school much harder.

Some things I’ve learned from commuting the past three years:

  • Bring lunch with you whenever you can. 
    • There are plenty of places on campus where you can use a microwave to warm up your food. Additionally, there are sinks and water dispensers if needed. (Commuter lounges are set up for that purpose)
  • Bring snacks on those days when bringing lunch isn’t necessary or takes up too much space in your bag.
  • Stay hydrated! 
    • Carry a water bottle. Maybe a collapsible one that will take up less space once you finish it. Flavor it with limes or fruit if drinking plain water isn’t working for you.
  • Build in reminders.
    • Check in on others and have them check in on you. Find a food buddy to keep you conscious of meals. It helps if they are a foodie or health conscious to keep you on that track.
    • Put reminders or alarms on your phone to eat. It forces you to think about your body and its need for sustenance.

From NYU Steinhardt Bio Page

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. She teaches courses that range from food writing to food advocacy to topics in food sociology. She has written plenty of articles and books on the topic of nutrition and the dynamics of food in our society. Her philosophy when it comes to approaching food is that “Healthy diets are good for whatever ails you, including stress.”

Here are some points she suggests to keep in mind when thinking about food:

  • Most important fruits and vegetables. Eat the ones you like best, but it’s good to vary them as much as possible.
  • No easy way to say this, but eat less. Weight gain is about excessive energy intake. To keep your energy in balance, choose smaller portions and avoid snacking in between meals.
  • If you like coffee or soda, drink it, but recognize how much caffeine it has and how much is tolerated. I don’t generally view coffee as a problem except when it is excessively caffeinated. Shots are another matter; it’s best to avoid them.
  • Approach food with the mindset of it being life’s greatest pleasure. Eating healthy is so easy that the journalist Michael Pollan can explain how to do it in seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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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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Eating Halal in New York City

June 27th, 2019

Adjusting to college life is hard, whether you live on campus, off-campus, or at home. We are barely adults and still teenagers as we are thrust into the beginnings of the real world starting off our independent lives. One of the hardest aspects of of adjusting to this new lifestyle is adjusting your diet and eating habits. College is hectic, and sometimes between classes, assignments, work, internships, and extracurriculars, your diet and eating habits seem to be buried in the back of your mind. It’s hard when you no longer have a meal plan and have to provide for your now food whether it be by eating out at restaurants or making food on your own at home. It’s even harder to build good eating habits when you have dietary restrictions that limit your options.

Zabihah is a religious dietary restriction that Muslims follow, though not necessarily all Muslims. One level of eating halal is a restriction go what kinds of meat you can consume, with the most well-known of these forbidden foods being pork. Another level of eating halal is eating zabihah halal, which is when the meat is slaughtered in a certain way with a certain prayer/blessing. 

I am strictly zabihah halal. Due to this dietary restriction, I had a hard time navigating my diet at first. I definitely had it easier than other Muslims college students as a commuter. I did have home cooked food available to me that I didn’t have to make myself during the weekends. That doesn’t mean it still wasn’t hard. I didn’t have a meal plan, and while the food at university dining halls were still available, it is definitely more expensive without a meal plan I ate 1-2 meals a day five days a week on and around campus, and all of those meals needed to be zabihah halal.

I was lucky that I lived and went to school in a city, specifically New York City, and I actually did have a variety of halal restaurants and food carts to choose from near my campus and all around New York City. There is everything from Middle Eastern food to burgers to Mexican food and so much more. These 10 restaurants are just a few of those options

Image Credit: https://www.businesswest.co.uk/blog/halal-asia

  1. Burgers by Honest Chops is a small burger place located in Midtown by Washington Square Park. There are only a few things on the menu, but all the options are absolutely wonderful. (My personal favorite thing at Burgers by Honest Chop is their truffle fries.) Not only that, but they also have a students discount with a valid student ID.
  2. The Soul Spot is a soul food (as suggested by its name) and Caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn near Brooklyn Heights. The Soul Spot has crispy fried chicken, spicy jerk chicken, delicious mac and cheese, and the absolute best mashed potatoes I have ever had.
  3. Rasa is a Malaysian restaurant located in Midtown. It has a variety of fried rice dishes, curries, and noodle dishes. They also have a special dish called the Nasi Kerabu that has a splash of color with its blue pea rice, which tastes amazing and would be perfect for Instagram. Rasa also has many other special dishes and a sushi bar.
  4. King of Falafel & Shawarma is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in Astoria in Queens. It was first a food cart before it became a restaurant, though they still have a food cart located on Astoria Ditmars, while their restaurant in located on Broadway. Their chicken shawarma is to die for and their falafels are so crispy on the outside. If anything, their restaurant sign will have you smiling.
  5. Milk & Honey Cafe is located in Flatbush in Brooklyn and is the perfect halal place for Sunday brunch. They have an assortment flatbreads and paninis. They also have many different egg and omelet dishes as would be expected from a brunch spot. Don’t feel guilty about eating the bacon, it’s turkey.
  6. Terry and Yaki is a food cart located in Queens Plaza North on Crescent Street. They also have a location in that focuses on halal Asian food. They have teriyaki rice bowls, the options being chicken teriyaki, teriyaki tofu, and a recently added sirloin steak teriyaki. They have a chicken teriyaki salad bowl and loaded sweet potato fries.
  7. Fatima’s Halal Kitchen is a halal Chinese restaurant is located in Astoria in Queens. They have all the dishes that you would expect from a regular Chinese restaurant in New York City, aside from pork dishes. I personally love their special Mei Fun and their sweet and sour chicken.
  8. Tallgrass Burger is a burger spot located in East Village in Manhattan. It has amazing burgers for amazing prices, especially as it is located in Manhattan. My personal favorite from Tallgrass Burger is the Fire Rock Burger, which has beef bacon, jalapeños, and crunchy potato chips.
  9. Atomic Wings is a chain, but the one located in East Village in Manhattan is locally known to be halal, even though they don’t advertise themselves as such. It has an assortment of wing flavors. Their menu is not limited to wings however, having a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and appetizers.
  10. Twisted Mexican Grill

    is a halal Mexican restaurant located in Astoria in Queens. The food is fresh and delicious, within a good price range. You have a choice between burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, tacos, and a bunch of other things.

These are just some of the many halal options to eat from in New York City. Those who eat strictly zabihah halal may not be able to eat everything in this city, but our choices are definitely not limited. 


By Raibena Raita

Raibena is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in English on the Creative Writing track and minoring in Psychology. Ever since she was young, she has loved to read, which later in her life also blossomed into a love for writing. She writes everything from short stories to plays to creative nonfiction. She is an in-class tutor for elementary school children. She is also involved in NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, NYU DREAM Team, and NYU Muslims Students Association, and very vocal about her beliefs. 

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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Now What? On Postgrad Burnout

June 27th, 2019

What do you do when you’ve just graduated from a class of 20,000 other students, many of whom have the same skill set and goals? How do you grapple with the crushing weight of needing to compete with thousands of other students entering the workforce? What do you do when the safety net of university life has been ripped out from under you?

To some, this might sound like a classic case of anxious catastrophizing, but if you’ve ever felt this way, rest assured: you’re not alone. Even if you begin mentally preparing for graduation ahead of time, you’re likely to deal with these same anxieties; the same anxieties of a generation forced to grow up too quickly alongside the exponential growth of the Internet. The correlation is that our generation grew up with the optimistic parental mantra that “everybody is special.” That’s not to say that isn’t true; it’s just that it unintentionally made our generation feel compelled to out-perform each other, and social media gave us the perfect stage to do so. If everybody is special, then logically, aren’t I just like everybody else? As a result, recent op-eds and think pieces have shifted to focus on the false facades we create for ourselves and hide behind online, particularly on Instagram. We feel compelled to present only the best moments of our lives, and in doing so, we lose touch with the person behind the facade.

By the time I graduated from NYU in May 2018, I had come to understand the meaning of “burnout.” I felt like I was in a constant fog. I had no energy to do the things I used to enjoy, yet simultaneously constantly agonized over the bigger picture of my life and what to do next. I had no immediate plans for the future, because I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted, professionally. I felt resentment towards academia in general — I was convinced that it was NYU’s fault that I was left feeling this way — even though it wasn’t anybody’s fault that I was feeling aimless. In fact, I had been feeling this way for much longer than I realized at the time. The direction that a college curriculum provided forced me to focus my energies elsewhere. The key to feeling better about myself — though I didn’t know it then — was finding creative outlets to help me refocus my mind and eventually regain enough clarity to know what I wanted to do next.

There is no easy solution to post-graduation burnout. If college was the final protective blockade before bona fide adulthood, then graduating is like a freefall into shark-infested waters. Some handle the change easier than others, but ultimately everybody is asking the same questions. What’s next? How can I be successful when I’m competing with so many other talented young people? How do I find out what I’m good at, when all I’ve ever known was school? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know what’s helped me to ease many of the anxieties associated with graduating. In New York City, there’s no shortage of inspiration to be found while you recover from post-graduation burnout.

“What can I do to refocus when I’m feeling lost after graduation?”

  • Take real care of yourself. Are you listening to your body? Your brain? Your needs?

 

  • Find inspiration. I suggest looking at art, and not just the kind you see on museum walls. Nonetheless, I’ll teach you how to go to a museum and really think about what you’re seeing, and how you can avoid the dreaded “art fatigue.”

 

  • Treat yourself. This is a temporary fix, but taking care of your outward appearance can help give you the confidence you need to getting back on track with your life. Supporting small cosmetics businesses, many of which are online and supremely affordable, are a click away.

 

  • Design a workspace. Curate your life with minimalism. Marie Kondo writes about how your living space reflects your mental state.

Find what speaks to you. A new hobby doesn’t have to lead to a career. But it can help you “speak yourself” — that is, to figure out what drives you — and sometimes that’s even more valuable than finding your professional niche.


By Firozah Najmi

Firozah Najmi (BA ’18) is a recent graduate from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she majored in Art, Mediation, and Perception.

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… the Subway & NYU’s Many Buildings

June 21st, 2019

Image Credit: Instagram @sanji_chowdhury

I am a born and raised New Yorker, but most of my traveling in Queens was done by bus or car. My first time navigating the subway alone was Welcome Week and best believe I got lost. Fortunately, I only had to take one train all the way to west fourth. But, man is west fourth station big.

When I reached the station, I took the first set of stairs I saw and walked up to see a closed-off construction site. Not realizing the F train station stopped on the lowest floor and not seeing another set of stairs going up, I started to panic. Frantically looking for an exit, a man approached me and asked if I needed help. He figured I was a new student, considering it was college orientation and NYU takes over the entirety of Washington Square Park and surrounding area for Welcome Week, no one could escape it. He directed me to walk farther down the current level and take another flight of stairs up.

I was ecstatic to finally be out of the station, there was just one problem; I needed to find the building for orientation. Because I struggled to get out of the station, I had ten minutes to get to the room. I quickly put the building address for Skirball theater into maps and started to follow Siri’s voice. With five minutes to spare, I walked in showing my ID and went up the stairs feeling relieved My relief quickly dissipated as I was faced with a table of Welcome Week Leaders and no other students. Noticing the look of confusion, one of the leaders came up to me. Hoping I was in the right building, I asked if I was in Skirball. Unfortunately, she responded no but reassured me that I was not that far off. Apparently, I just needed to walk a bit further and turn a corner to see largely labeled doors for Skirball. Big fail on my end. I ran out of Kimmel into Skirball and took my seat with a minute to spare.

So there are a couple of things I did right that first day and quite a number of things I should have prepared for.
Definitely patting myself on the back for:

  • Budgeting a good amount of time for unexpected situations.
    • Tip: Especially since you will be dealing with MTA, try to build in a 30-minute buffer window for any set time commitment.
  • Knowing the address of where I needed to go and having an app to help me get to where I needed to go
    • Tip: Download a copy of the NYU building map

Definitely slapping myself on the head for not:

  • Knowing the exits of the station
    • Tip: If using the West Fourth station, either in the front or the back of the building, keep in mind that the West third exit is beside Bobst Library and Kimmel center, while the West eighth exit is closer to the Cantor Film center and Weinstein.

Tips I Learned Since Freshman Year:

  • Keep some emergency items in your bag like a portable charger, snacks, and a water bottle.
    • Additionally, try to keep enough quarters on you for an MTA ride. Quarters will allow you to use the bus and subway.
  • Get plugged in with MTA by downloading the app, following them on twitter or signing up for text alerts for the trains you frequent.
    • If you are a commuter, you might be spending more time on trains than on the actual campus, so get comfortable with your home away from home.
  • Utilize and keep in contact with your Commuter Assistant
  • Enjoy getting lost! It’s part of the experience of handling things on your own.

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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