Living In NYC

I Prefer City Life SO Much More Than Suburban Life

Yeah, it's a pretty biased perspective.

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I've lived in Queens, New York my whole entire life, with the Big Apple just a 45-minute commute on the A train. I grew up seeing halal food carts on every few streets, meeting lots of people of different ethnicities and backgrounds and hearing New Yorkers scream profanity at each other for the smallest things (like bumping into one another while speed walking in the same direction). I also grew up with my neighbors living so close to me, they can literally hear when I sing in the shower.

Since I've lived in this environment my whole life, I've often taken it for granted. I remember visiting family out-of-state, like Florida and Pennsylvania, and envying their large houses and backyards, meanwhile, I lived in a small house that was more expensive to live in than theirs. When I asked about what they usually do on the weekends, however, my cousins would say it's always pretty boring because there's never anything to do there besides go to the mall, which is why they'd much rather live in NYC.

Though I was grateful that the city is full of hidden gems, and is never a dull place to be, I still had a desire to leave the nest, and go somewhere where I would feel, say, a culture shock. That's why for college I knew I wanted to dorm outside of the city at a SUNY rather than staying home and commuting there for school, like I would always do. Plus, MetroCards are always annoying to put money in.

I guess, in a way, coming to Stony Brook made me feel a little culture shock. There's less diversity than I'm used to, no small corner-store delis, and not a lot of people who speak with the New York slang that sounds like home to me. I don't even know where to get some good halal food around here. As for leisure activities, the city would have cool museums, art galleries, escape rooms, outdoor parks, and street performances; just a few experiences I definitely miss seeing now that I'm in college. My city friends back home would jokingly call me a "Long Islander" because I'm spending so much time trying to adjust to living in this peaceful environment.

While Stony Brook is a great escape from the hectic city life, I realized I could never get rid of the inner New York in me. It really shaped who I am and I notice it every day, even in the little things, like when I naturally walk fast, and someone asks me "Where are you rushing to go?" Of course, I'd have to explain to them that this is the pace I'm used to walking, thanks to the busy streets of Manhattan.

Overall, I'm glad that I physically came out of my comfort zone and experienced life outside of the city. It made me understand all the perks of living in the city when I hadn't realized them before and only noticed the cons. It also is refreshing to live amongst nature for a change, but in the end, the sight of tall buildings and close-knit neighborhoods will always look the most familiar to me.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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7 Pros And Cons Of Living Life In A Really, Really Small Town

Small town in Illinois, what a great place to live.

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The people who live in a small town know it is nothing like the way Hallmark channel portrays it as, but that is not a bad thing. We learn to enjoy the little things in life and be open to simple ideas. If you grew up in a small town like Woodstock Illinois, you will be able to relate to a few of these things.

1. Dairy Queen is finally open!

If you are from Woodstock, you know the struggle. It is a sad day when they officially close down the Dairy Queen for the winter, and you must resort to another ice cream place. The countdown begins right away, awaiting for the OPEN sign to pop up in the window in February.

And honestly, are you really from Woodstock if you don't go to the dairy queen the first day it opens? I mean, seriously.

2. Bored? Let's go walk around Wal-Mart.

If you are from a small town, in general, you know the struggle of being bored on a Friday night. When you suggest to your friend group about hanging out, usually some form of the phrase "We could go walk around Wal-Mart" is brought up. Piling into your best friend's car and walking around Wal-Mart will truly never get old.

3. Everybody knows everybody.

Coming from a small town with a big family, everyone knows my last name. I swear we cannot go to a restaurant, store, the town pool, or a job without someone knowing someone you are related to. It has its perks, especially when you can get that killer "family discount" for being someone's second cousin or something like that.

4. Easy to get around

I never have to drive farther than 10 minutes to get somewhere in my town. This can be a pro since you will be spending less money on gas. A con? Picking your music choices wisely — very wisely. Many people from a small town know that you have to have that length of driving time covered by the PERFECT playlist, whether it be 2 minutes or 10 minutes.

5. Seeing animals

Listen, you cannot go anywhere in a small town without seeing someone walking their dogs. It is honestly great. In the summer, it is even better when you are walking around town and everyone is willing to let you pet their friendly pup.

Also, you see a lot of wildlife, so I guess that is a perk too.

6. You have to drive at least 30 minutes to get a good restaurant

A small town really does not have anything to eat but a McDonald's, Wendy's, and Subway. Wow, what a FANTASTIC selection. Why can we not get anything good to eat around here?

7. One word: s

I know, I know. It is so cliche to say that the stars are amazing. But, in a small town, the night sky is truly a masterpiece.

Living in a small town may have its cons, but it is one of the best parts of living. Big cities may have more things to do, but small town living is where it is at.

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