Category Archives: Fiona

Why are New Students at the New School Smoking?

Why are New Students at the New School smoking?

For some first year students at The New School, smoking cigarettes is a social tool. But will the “friends” made while puffing away, stick around for as long as the effects from smoking will? For many students, that relationship has yet to cross their mind.

“I feel like a lot of people here feel like they’ve seen it all and done a lot. There’s an assumption that you’ve seen something,” said Maya, a freshman at Eugene Lang College.

I met Maya in the courtyard. She wore dark sunglasses and smoked a cigarette as she talked among friends. Though Maya has smoked since high school, she says her smoking has increased since coming to Lang from Seattle because her friends at the university smoke. “Pretty much everyone at Lang smokes,” she said. “I come out here (the courtyard) to smoke with friends.”

Like Maya, Lang freshman, Alex and Maizy were also smoking outside. The pair met because they both live in the Stuyvesant Park Residence, the new freshman dormitory on 15th street. At Stuyvesant, the pair agreed that smoking is a social mechanism for meeting other students. “We met because we were smoking and everyone goes outside to smoke,” said Alex. “Outside of our dorm is the place to be.”

Maizy is from Los Angeles and has smoked since high school. She has found making friends to be a challenge because she says freshman are so eager to meet new people that it’s difficult to make sincere connections. Because of the desire to feel included, student who aren’t smokers have begun smoking. “People feel like they have to be out there,” said Maizy. “But than I watch them suffer as they don’t enjoy themselves.”

However, Justine, a Lang sophomore, who has lived in the dorms at Loeb Hall since freshman year, says she doesn’t smoke because she thinks its “gross.” and that she wouldn’t compromise her health to fit into certain social circles. “I’ve never had a cigarette in my life, she said. “I think it’s a social tool.”

Lucky for Justine, students can’t smoke inside the dorms as New School regulations prohibit smoking cigarettes and cigars in all university buildings. But the university’s Code of Conduct says “rooms/suites are designated as non-smoking unless all of the occupants agree to allow smoking. In accordance with both The New School and New York State law, smoking is prohibited in any hallways, stairwells, or other common area space.”

Maizy said she planned to quit smoking when she moved to New York, but has yet to do so because of its social prevalence among the student body. “I was going to quit when I got to college,” said Maizy. “But than I got here and it was woah, explosion of smokers.”


The Last Swipe

This week, speculation arose that government could take another swipe at students due to financial problems the city is facing. But this time it’s middle school and high students who’ve got reason to be concerned.

The paper exclusively revealed that after Sunday’s meeting between Governor Patterson and Albany and City Hall, it’s clear that the capital cannot afford to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s financial deficit. Therefore the agency will be forced to take measures in order to do so itself. This could mean cutting transit routes, laying off an estimated 700 employees, and most outraging to parents and students alike, eliminating the student MetroCard program. This system currently offers free rides to about 550,000 middle and high school students and is particularly relied upon by low-income families.

“Personally, I don’t think I like the idea of diminishing the MetroCards,” Govener Patterson told The Daily News. “They need the MetroCards to go to school.”

New York City high school students took to Facebook to publicly denounce the news. “Take away school metros?,” one student, who requested to be left un-named, posted in a status update Monday night. “You know how many kids are just not going to go to school.”

Student Metro Card

Formerly, the $160 million dollar program, received $45 million from the city and state, with MTA personally compensating for the rest of the funding. But with the city facing a $6.8 billion deficit, the state has cut back on its funding to the program to a low of $6 million. The MTA can’t afford to provide the rest of the money needed to keep the free metro cards flowing.

Swine Flu at The New School

Swine Flu at The New School

November 20th marked the third consecutive week that reports of H1NI infection rates decreased across the Unites States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making this months drop the first continuous decline in reported outbreaks since August. But even so, college students are still being warned to get vaccinated for H1N1 – Now.

“Although flu is going down, it’s far from gone,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control told CNN. Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, also commented CNN saying, “If you are sick, this is highly contagious and we really need you [students] home getting well before you return to class”

But the problem is  there aren’t enough vaccines available to provide to students. Medical Services at The New School ordered 700 doses of H1N1 vaccination from the department of health, the maximum amount of doses available to order. However, the university only received 300 doses of the vaccine, which they provided to students for free until running out last month. “They say they’ll give us more but we don’t know when they’ll come,” said Jayne Jordan, Director of Medical Services at the New School. “We had to cancel a bunch of appointments. We were hopeful but had to cancel because we couldn’t deliver. Were waiting on an extra 400 but they’ve told us it’s possible we just wont receive any more.”

Christine Jackman, Senior office Assistant at Health Services at the New School reported that after e-mails were sent out to students in October to receive free vaccination at the university, students, “called in droves” to get vaccinated. “Right now we don’t have any [vaccines] and we have quite a long wait list,” Jackman said. “The rather great demand exceeded the supply.”

For some students the shortage of vaccines is not an issue of concern. Lang Senior, Michelle Oppelt, who received the vaccination in November, said getting vaccinated was merely a matter of convenience. “I was there, [health services] and it was free. So I did it.” Oppelt says had she not been there and had the vaccine cost money, like the regular flu shot does, she probably wouldn’t have taken the shot.

Another Lang senior, Rosie Clark, says she’s not scared enough of swine flu to get vaccinated because she considers it to be just the flu. “I’ve never had the flu or flu shot,” said Clark. “I’m not scared enough to get vaccinated. I guess I’m not scared enough to really think ahead.”

This lackadaisical attitude expressed by some students comes as a surprise to Jordan because of the upcoming flu season and the media coverage of the swine flu as something to fear. “We have not seen a whole lot of anxiety or worry on part of the students, especially given the media coverage and fear there has been over it.”

As for students who do want take preventative measures and get vaccinated, Jordan says the chances of getting help from the university,  before heading home for break and  upon the return to school in February, are low. “We’re in touch with department of health every week to try and put pressure on them. But we don’t know. It’ll [vaccines] basically be here when it shows up on our doorstep.”

Running Late at Grand Central Terminal

Famous blue ceiling in the main concourse with mural of the zodiac painted on it.

Four sided clock located above the ticket booth in the main concourse.

Passengers exiting gate as a policeman stands watch.

42 st!

Grand Central Station is big, it’s glamorous, artistic, clean, and a city attraction for tourists and locals alike, but it’s not a structure that Robert Moses built. That’s because Grand Central is a train station. It’s an important place for public transportation in New York, offering commuters rides to and from the city to Northern New York and Connecticut, hourly, and affordable ticket costs.

This Thanksgiving, I was among the 150,000 people taking a train from Grand Central. I took a cab from Chinatown to 42nd street, counting on every second to help me get to my 1:48 p.m train on time. I boarded the train, sat down, a minute later the doors closed and the train departed the track. I made it, to my surprise and relief, but an article featured on Octobers New York Times makes makes me wonder if I got “lucky” or if I was I actually on time?

The article, entitled, “The Secret New York Minute, Trains Late by Design,”describes the organization of train scheduling as a culture of “down-to-the-second accuracy,” so passengers running late  might be surprised to learn that trains might not actually leave when they’re supposed to. Call it a minute of grace if you want, but trains departing from Grand Central are rumored to leave a minute behind schedule time.

As quoted in the October article, Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for the Metro-North Railroad said, “If everyone knows they get an extra minute, they’re going to lollygag.”

(Story is incomplete. Can we speak after class, please?)

With all studying, working, and traveling around the city that Manhattan college students do, some might consider all the running around to count as daily exercise. While and an article featured in The NY Times last July, said Manhattan residents are the thinnest New Yorkers, the importance of proper exercise goes beyond staying thin. (

As twenty-three year old, Holistic Health Counselor, Kayleigh Pleas, argues, this is particualry true for college students as there’s no way students can stay as mentally sharp as they need to be in this frenetic city if they’re not truly up to par physically as well.

“You don’t have total wellness without a mind and body connection. They’re integrally connected together,” says Pleas. “Stress, strain, self criticism fade away as you connect to energy and physical prowess. You come to appreciate your body for its utility.”

Some students might argue they don’t have the time to exercise, New School students in particular because the university doesn’t offer an on campus gym or provide students with access to another workout facility. However, Pleas knows first hand about the busy schedules college students have as she moved to New York just two years ago after graduating with a psychology degree from Boston College to pursue her career in mind/body exercise. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she simultaneously worked as a Pilates and Yoga instructor.

“It’s especially important for college students to exercise because when you move mindfully you come to recognize a deeper strength, a potential strength. A strength you carry out of the studio [Excersice] and into daily life in the city,” said Pleas.

With all the flashing lights, advertisements, taxi-cabs, and noise that cloud the city, the benefit of taking at least thirty minutes a day to exercise exceeds keeping a healthy body, it means clearing ones mind of the busy city too.

“Exercise is really a gift you give to yourself here,” said Pleas. “You get to be present to yourself, change your body, and get in touch. That’s so vital.” In this city, who couldn’t use that.

NY NY (NY History) (Newdity) (Newdity)

“Colleges See Rise In Mental Health Issues”