Posts Tagged ‘Student Life’

De Facto Segregation in Education

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

As a college student, I have become invested in combining study with my personal life, to the best of my ability. I was a Spanish and History double-major as an undergraduate, but because I attended Calvin College, a liberal arts school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I was also able to count several sociology classes toward my degree. These classes focused on dissecting and explaining the reality of American society. For example, schools today are more segregated than they were immediately following the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This was not the legal version typical under Jim Crow, which was finally dismantled in the 1960s. Rather, it was de facto segregation- not enforced by law, but a reality brought about by social structures. Despite attempts to integrate, factors such as continued discrimination, the generational accumulation of wealth, and investment in schools based on property tax contributed to the current state of segregation.

The weathered, wooden sign delineating the boundaries of my neighborhood.

 

I understood the history and the facts behind the reality of segregated schools. But what was more, I had seen this segregation while I was growing up in Sacramento, California. We moved  to Gardenland/Northgate, a neighborhood just north of downtown Sacramento, when I was seven. I was homeschooled, but as I entered sixth grade, my parents decided to supplement my home education with a co-op program at a charter school in Natomas, the new suburbs being developed north of our neighborhood. I attended Natomas Charter School from sixth through eighth grade as a home-schooler, but upon my debut as I high-schooler, we decided that I should enter full-time school. This decision gave rise to another question: which school should I attend? Grant High, which was only a few blocks from my house, was in one of the “worst” school districts in Sacramento. Because it was under-resourced, Grant had struggled to meet state standards for years. My parents were torn- should they send me to the failing school around the corner, or ship me off to the suburbs for a potentially richer academic experience?

So probably for my own good, my parents contributed to segregation, albeit in a micro-sense. They sent me to the suburban school, rather than our local high school. They made the choice that parents who have the opportunity to do so usually make. Investing in our neighborhood school wasn’t worth the risk of me becoming beaten down by the public school system. It wasn’t worth me losing my love for learning, and it wasn’t worth negatively impacting my chances for success.

The de facto segregation of schools, which is tied up in the segregation of neighborhoods, of opportunity, of American society in the most general sense, decides the future for most of America’s youth. I will most likely succeed, when other young people who are just as talented and dedicated as I will might never have the chance to go to college. Who decided that I would have access to better chances than my neighbor, not by virtue of my own effort, but merely due to generational privilege? Is it my duty to level the playing field that has been uneven since before I was born?

To this day, I’m not sure if I agree with their decision or if I would have done differently. The self-discipline I developed in high school allowed me to thrive in college. I was an honors student who read every page I was assigned, and I decided I wanted to pursue critical race and gender theory and research.  I will begin graduate studies at New York University in a few weeks. I have continued the trend begun by my parents in terms of education: seeking out the most prestigious (and expensive) option, one that will be most likely to guarantee my success. The internal turmoil continues: although I have chosen academia, I don’t want to lose focus. My hope has always been to do justice, not just when it easy, but also when it requires personal sacrifice.

The research to which I have dedicated myself applies abstract theory to practical issues. I study phenomenons like modern de facto segregation not only out of my own interest, but because of its overwhelming relevance in American society today.  I hope my research can join the current body of evidence of social injustice and assist in making society a bit more just.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. 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. 

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Psychotherapy and Me

Saturday, September 27th, 2014
Henri Matisse's The Goldfish

Henri Matisse’s The Goldfish

“I’d like a hug,” I decided on my last day. We proceeded to discuss the details of our hug – where we would place the arms, when to terminate the embrace, how tightly we would hold each other. After agreeing on my comfort level, I stood and hugged her, a tad tighter than we had initially agreed on.

We pulled apart and she asked, like a typical therapist, “What are the tears in your eyes about?”

Tear ducts unabashedly hot, I replied, “I don’t know; what are your tears about?”

My therapist was crying. She was crying for me, for the progress I’ve made in the past three years, for the impending separation to come. My time with her was not over – I still planned to have a session every month – but everything from this point on will be different. That much, we both knew and expected.

A week into college life in New York City, and yes, everything has changed. My cat doesn’t mewl for food every morning. The night is noisier, both in and out of my head. I’m surrounded by strangers who all seem like they’ve got it together. I miss the convenience and privacy of my room, long drives while blasting music, and the Henri Matisse Goldfish painting that hung on my therapist’s wall. Everything is different, including me.

Four years ago, depression plagued me. It seemed the only things I enjoyed were sleep and razors, constant worrying, and constant headaches. When I began seeing my therapist, I was an ugly, unromantic mess. I said, “I can’t imagine myself not having depression.” Depression was a parasite that scarred my arms, legs, and cheeks. I weighed on my few friends until they broke and left me, exhausted by my exhaustion.

Four years ago, I could have never survived my first hectic week at New York University. Though self-doubt never quite disappears, it has diminished greatly over the course of recovery, helmed by my therapist. Without her, my ship would have been smashed to bits on the reef. Without her, I would not have found the willpower to brave my way through life’s complexities and simplicities.

Living the college life with depression is precarious. Many young adults have not reached any level of self-comfort yet. Many suffer undiagnosed. This is why I urge everyone who suffers from even mild symptoms of depression and anxiety to reach out for help – be it through college or through local connections. Don’t let the stigmas of therapy and mental illnesses prevent you from getting the professional help you need and deserve.

The poster of Henri Matisse’s Goldfish on my dorm room wall is a reminder that therapy can (and already has) helped me thrive during the overwhelming college experience. These days have the potential to become the most wonderful days of your life – don’t let yourself drag you down.

In a series of eight blog posts, I will discuss what I have learned throughout my journey through depression, and how I have overcome my demons. With a little advice and self-help, maybe you can, too.


 

ChristelleMarie Chua, New York University ’18

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Giving Back: Be Prepared

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

 

Now that you have recognized your strengths and passions, and you understand the importance of researching, we should discuss expectations and how to get started. Unless I have become the J.K. Rowling of the “how to” eBook world, which would be an awkward title, you are probably reading this alone. There is no fan club picking this up, so you are probably sitting at home and reading this because 1. I know you and made you, or 2. You have a personal interest in volunteering, but do not have an available organization or club to tell you step-by-step guide on options and expectations. Hopefully these tips will help you feel more comfortable, flexible, and prepared to begin serving in your community.

 

  1. Serving can be more than a soup kitchen
    Nothing is wrong with serving weekly at a soup kitchen. But why is this always in the movies as the most popular hit volunteering opportunity? There is so much more than that! Look back at your skills and personality traits and use those to serve. If you like building and creating with your hands, jump on a Habitat for Humanity project. If you’re artsy, offer to paint or create illustrations for a nonprofit. Love sports? Volunteer to be a children’s soccer coach for a season with children. The more interests you have, the more opportunities you have to serve.

    Don't be Barney Stinson and wait until mandated Community Service to volunteer locally.

  2. Be realistic with your wardrobe
    This should be very obvious. If you are working with children or teenagers, dress in a way that you would want your child to dress. It’s awkward for parents to meet a youth leader and have to worry about “where to look”. If volunteering with a professional organization, dress to impress, despite the fact that you’re not a staff member. If you love volunteering there and they’re hiring, who would they rather hire, an outside candidate or you? More likely than not it’s fine to wear a t-shirt and jeans. Just be smart.
  3. Commitment
    No fancy way to say it, it’s a pretty important trait so there is no three word combo like “commitment ceases conflict”, although that does sound good. When you find an organization you love, you will be on fire to serve. And hopefully when you go, you will enjoy your experience so much that you won’t want to leave. But don’t dive in too deep. Be realistic with your schedule, yet tactful. If you can volunteer once a week, awesome! If you can only commit to once a month, that’s fine too. As time passes you may feel like you’re missing out, and you will find a way to make time in your schedule. Like I stated in a previous article, if you volunteer somewhere you love, it won’t even feel like work.
  4. Practice Flexibility and Patience… what everyone loves to hear!
    That was sarcasm, if you didn’t realize, or is this the first sentence you have ever read by me? It’s preeettty common in my writing. As much as I would like to encourage you to volunteer in a position that you love, the fact of the matter is that specific position may not always be open. But don’t feel discouraged; instead try a different job. As always, you never know: but you might love it. If not, hopefully you can just get your foot in the door for other volunteering opportunities in the future. For example, at my church in Jersey I serve on Sundays helping with young children…like babies… with poop and stuff. It was not my first, or second choice, but I knew the church needed the help. Now not only do I love seeing the same little faces each week, but I’ve talked to others about different serving opportunities that I can use my talents for. And now I am helping with the social media aspect of the church. Because I was willing to help in one way and waited patiently, jumping at other volunteering opportunities, I am not only enjoying working with children but also assisting 140 characters at a time.

 

Awe isn't this such a precious picture of changing a diaper...ABSOLUTELY DECEITFUL...but I will spare you the horrifying details...

 

I hope that you feel a bit more prepared, not to change a diaper, that requires real life experience, but hopefully you feel open and ready to serve where ever you are placed! You are probably still wondering why I haven’t helped you connect with an organization or tips towards that. Well, keep reading.

 

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Samantha Bringas

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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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Pushing Boundaries: How Traveling and Studying Abroad Have Changed My Life and Shaped My Career Path, and Why You Should Do It Too

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

At only 21 years old, I am no Confucius. I cannot give you sound and scientific advice that, if followed, will give you guaranteed success and happiness and all the things you’ve ever dreamed possible. I do not know everything; I don’t have all the answers. What I DO have is my own experience. One of my favorite lines from a book came from Arthur Japin’s In Lucia’s Eyes that reads, “The world is full of people who spend their entire lives seeking the miracle of love without ever seeing it. It’s actually very simple and self-evident, except to those who seek it. One need only have a different way of seeing things. That is not something you can teach people. All you can do is tell your story.”

Whether or not you’re looking for love, let that last sentence resonate with you. All you can do is tell your story. This is my story.

Me:

My mother was born and raised in Brazil and moved to the U.S. when she found her future husband who worked in San Francisco at the time. This man, my father, lived in the U.S. for several years already, but actually grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Call them star-crossed lovers or whatever you wish, these two foreigners set out to make a new future in a new country for their new daughter, me!

 

Growing up, it was just my parents and me. No siblings, no relatives nearby, no pets other than the occasional goldfish won at a carnival with a lifespan average of two days.  I spent most of my breaks from school traveling, either to Costa Rica or Brazil, to see family and connect with cousins and friends my age, keeping up with both Portuguese and Spanish.

The language was never a barrier to me when I was in another country, but became an issue when I returned to the U.S. and had already started school. I would meet with friends and sometimes be unable to realize that I wasn’t speaking English with them because I was so used to being understood in another language.

In addition to traveling to see relatives, I was fortunate enough to have such hard-working parents who always wanted me to see the world, as was their goal for themselves.  We travelled to many places in Europe before I finished the 8th grade, even at which point it was very clear to me that studying abroad would be in my future, no question.

Before starting high school I KNEW I would be gone for sophomore year – I researched study abroad programs and took advantage of them.  Initially I wanted to go to countries like Italy or Spain, but I wound up finding a full-ride scholarship opportunity (sponsored by U.S. Congress and German Parliament) to study in Germany, so I applied. As I moved further through the selection process, it became surreal how competitive this was: out of 2500 applicants, only 50 would receive scholarships.

In April 2006, I learned I had received the scholarship. I turned 15 the next month and three months later was off to live in Germany for a year: no family, no friends, and didn’t  know a word of German. I was the youngest of all the recipients, and after 11 months I was fluent in German.

Before beginning my time at a University, it was clear to me I would study abroad again. I would have applied for the program right away if it weren’t for the window allowed for it by the study abroad office. I was the first to submit an application for that as well, and in the fall of 2010, I had one of the BEST semesters of my life in Bern, Switzerland. If I hadn’t graduated early, I would have studied abroad again.

I’ve now relocated from Arizona to New York and am pursuing a career here while considering my options for a Master’s abroad – perhaps Switzerland again.  I’ve even recently been asked to work with a European magazine for some press releases. My passion is traveling and connecting with people who have experienced this and exchanging cultures.  All the traveling and studying abroad I’ve done have brought me here and told me where I’m going.  You CAN and SHOULD do it too, and even if traveling isn’t something you want for your career, experiencing it now while you’re young is priceless and will teach you so much about yourself and the world.

 

Where to look for study abroad programs:

  1. Consult with your school’s study abroad offices: I realize these offices are becoming smaller and smaller in the U.S., but these guys know what they’re talking about. Ask which kinds of programs are available to you – some may have year standing or GPA requirements. Maybe there’s a specific kind of program you’re searching for – my school offered programs in which you travel with a group of students from the University while learning abroad. My school also offered a program where you didn’t pay a study abroad fee, just the same tuition you were paying while attending the school, which is how I was able to study abroad. Many study abroad offices even have information on scholarships. There are plenty of options; inform yourself!
  2. Check other programs: This gets tricky and is where fees come into play, sky-rocketing the price of your study abroad experience. My scholarship study abroad program was limited to high school students, but there are other groups out there! Check out: ciee.org or studyabroad.com.
  3. Maybe you’re interested in the experience of it but don’t want to be studying: Check out things like aupair-world.net where you can be a live-in nanny, earn some money, have a host family that could help teach you more about the culture, and be immersed in your new surroundings. You could take a semester off to do it, do it in the summer, or make time for it after you graduate. Another post-graduate option could be The Peace Corps.
  4. Degrees and Internships Abroad: These are other ways you can be productive in a new place. You can research schools in the areas you’re most interested in and see their guidelines for international students. My advice for those looking to study in Europe would be to check out bachelorsportal.eu OR mastersportal.eu where you can define your search based on degree subject, country, or tuition and GET THIS: tuition prices elsewhere could be as little as 4% what you’re paying now. What about textbook fees? That’s all an American scam so you can say “bye-bye” to that! As for internships, try goabroad.com/intern-abroad or ask at your school’s study abroad office.  HEADS UP: this internship opportunity in China was just tweeted via @InternQueen that may be worthwhile: http://www.crccasia.com/?utm_source=InternQueen&utm_medium=Eblast&utm_campaign=October

5. If all else fails and you just want to travel abroad but want to do it sooner rather than later (excellent choice), check out statravel.com for good deals on flights and hotel information – those prices keep going up these days so it’s good to know of a place that’s dedicated to finding competitive rates. I’d also recommend kayak.com, which is where I found an affordable flight to NYC.

Why:

Even if traveling doesn’t give you insatiable wanderlust as it has to me, at the very least you’ll         broaden your horizons, learn something new and take these experiences with you in your next job interview, which could make all the difference. I encourage you to try something new, to not be afraid, and to learn a new language – there’s no better way than immersion! At the risk of sounding cliché, the world is truly your oyster so go out and open it!

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Lauren A Ramires. Follow her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (username: laurenaramires) for more lifestyle and inspiration posts.

If you’re interested in learning more of the experiences of a Peace Corps Volunteer, check out this blog for stories on the daily happenings of a PCV and things you could expect.

 

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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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