Doing the Northeastern Shuffle

By Catherine Titcomb
Photography courtesy of


Every college campus experiences some degree of fluidity as students come and go, whether to transfer in or out, graduate, or study abroad. This is emphasized at Northeastern largely because of the co-op program, and the phenomenon has earned its own name, the “Northeastern Shuffle.”

N.U.i.n Fall and Spring, out-of-state and country co-ops, co-op cycles and studying abroad affects friendships, relationships and rooming situations. As soon as a student settles, half of their friends leave. However, many Northeastern students believe the fluid campus is what makes the university so unique, and should be seen as an asset.

Lucy Hoffman, a second year student, argued that Northeastern “helps to create an atmosphere where there is always someone new to talk to with an amazing experience and insight to share.” People leave to experience wildly different things, and come back to share their knowledge with their peers, contributing to an socially aware and worldly student body.

Rachel Sigel, another second year, said that the changes often “make it difficult to maintain close relationships with students and faculty.” Friends, research partners and network connections are some of the most valuable takeaways from college, and Northeastern’s constant state of change can make it difficult to establish and maintain relationships.


At the risk of sounding like a commercial for experiential learning, most students cite the co-op program as a reason for their attendance at Northeastern. However, because of co-op students have at most two years and at least a year and a half of classes before being thrown into the workforce, forcing them to adopt a new routine. The shift from classes to work forces students to learn flexibility, be uncomfortable, learn quickly and build a new network of peers.

I applied to Northeastern because I wanted to have a typical college experience in Boston as well as gain career experience. My acceptance letter told me I would have to spend my first semester abroad, which was the last thing I wanted. I wanted the freshmen floor friends, dining halls and sports games that my friends would be experiencing. I decided to sacrifice this idealistic tableau of my first semester at college for the next four and a half years at my dream school. Now, I cannot imagine freshman year without the friends I made in Greece through the traveling and the memories. My perfect college plan was interrupted from the start because of Northeastern, but the way it worked out prepared me for future location changes on co-op and taught me that allowing change pays off. This flexible mental state is necessary to survive at Northeastern, and is also essential for success and happiness in life.

Accepting flux at Northeastern is a step towards accepting flux in the world. Nothing is more inevitable than change, yet people never expect it. Relying on stagnation and permanence for our happiness leads to hurt.

In his novel Looking for Alaska, John Green references the Buddhist teaching that desire causes suffering and interprets it as, “When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.” Both small and drastic changes happen throughout life, and being open to this flux frees one to accept every aspect of life, even if it turns out to be different than what was dreamed or planned for. The Northeastern shuffle causes students to expect change and learn to be flexible, which proves valuable even out of the context of campus.

It is this flux that continues throughout our lives that make life interesting. Despite the pain and confusion it can sometimes cause, change adds variety and combats boredom. This makes it a vital aspect of fashion. For many, picking out a different outfit everyday is one of the best parts of the day. In the fashion industry, designers must embrace flux because the industry relies on newness in collections, techniques, and trends. Rapid change in the fashion industry makes it an example of the beauty of flux and an argument for embracing change. Flux makes fashion interesting, it makes Northeastern interesting and it makes life interesting.

5 Things to Know About Living in NYC

By: Julia Le                                                                                                              

Photography: Sukrit Srisakulchawla

New York City is everything that you would expect. It’s noisy, it’s crowded and people walk from place to place in a purposeful blur. Love it or hate it, this is the place to go if you’re looking to land an internship or co-op in the fashion industry.

Last summer, I moved to Manhattan for my first co-op at Donna Morgan as an e-commerce, PR & social media intern. Until I had actually moved to New York, my thoughts on the city were still romanticized from movies and TV.  I had been to the city before, but as I quickly learned, no matter how many times you visited New York, there are some things you will only learn from living there.

1. New York is not for everyone. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to live in New York City. I was attracted to the speed and the ambition—all the culture that was packed into this one central metropolis. I dreamt about it for so long and when it finally became a reality, I was shocked to discover how difficult the adjustment actually was. I struggled with getting used to impatient crowds, dirty streets, grumbling anonymous faces and unpredictable outbursts. There are many interesting characters that you will come across on the street (as well as on co-op), and you will find a lot of things about the city that you will absolutely hate. Eventually though, you learn how to filter out the negative noise and focus on the positive.

2. Living in the city can be expensive—but doesn’t have to be. New York City houses both extremes of economic wealth; it’s very easy to spend a lot of money, but if you are careful, you can definitely get around it. If you are living in Manhattan, and working as an intern at a fashion company, you will probably make $10 an hour if you’re lucky, or nothing at all. If you are paying for your living expenses out of pocket, make your search for affordable housing your number one priority; this is where most of your money will be going. Sounds impossible? You’d be surprised. Do your grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s where prices are the same across the country—otherwise you’ll be facing ridiculous prices. Six dollars for a half-dozen carton of eggs? No thanks. Make the majority of your meals at home so you can “splurge” on the real Instagram-worthy food on the weekends. Finally, go to free events, art galleries and public spaces; there are always so many great events going on in the city, and they don’t always cost a fortune. You just have to find them.

3. Immerse yourself in the industry and make connections. While you’re in New York, network and leverage all the connections you can. You never know what opportunities may arise, and you may surprise yourself with how far you can get just by asking questions. Working in an intimate office environment—like a start-up or small company—also allows you to get so much more involved in different aspects of the company. Rather than mindlessly sifting through magazines or getting coffee, choose a co-op that gives actual responsibility. Through my experience in PR and e-commerce, I had the opportunity to learn about various aspects and fields in the fashion industry—from production to sales, digital marketing and much more. Both in and out of work, I was able to network with industry professionals at the different events that I attended and even got the chance to attend a couple of fashion shows during New York Fashion Week.

4. Work on yourself. Whether that be working on your personal brand, getting into shape, attending events or learning a new skill, co-op allows you so much more free time compared to when you’re in classes. You have your evenings and weekends completely free, so use that time to your advantage! New York is a city that has so much to offer; please don’t let all your time go to waste on Netflix. (Note: I highly recommend kickboxing.) 

5. There will be that one New York City moment, and thousands to follow that will make you fall more deeply in love with the city. No matter how difficult the transition is or continues to be, there will be that moment when New York will feel exactly like you’ve seen in the movies. Your ears will perk up at hearing the most beautiful voices of street performers flowing through the subway tunnels, and you will savor the random acts of kindness that you observe at just the perfect time. You’ll find your favorite spots in the city and learn to enjoy the quiet moments, just taking in your surroundings. These are the moments that remind you how much you do love New York, and why chose to go there in the first place.

Everyone comes to New York City with a purpose: to follow a dream or ambition—to prove something about him or herself. While living there, I learned so much about myself and the fashion industry and how those two fit together—as well as how they don’t. The process is all very exhausting, yet exhilarating. The city definitely does not welcome you with open arms and a warm basket of muffins, but once you pass the initial phase of developing that love-hate relationship, you come to realize that New York City was everything you’ve ever wanted.