I GO TO COLLEGE IN CAMDEN, NJ

If you've never heard of Camden New Jersey before, it is considered one of the most dangerous, poverty ridden cities in the country. And that's where I go to college and where I work!
  1. If you need a crash course on Camden you can watch @Bourdain 's NJ episode
    I felt like a proud mom when that aired
  2. Having gone to school and work in the city for going on 3 years now, I have a different perspective of what goes on there than most people.
  3. Especially in suburban NJ, there's a lot of misguided perceptions, ignorance, and fear about Camden.
  4. People really don't know a lot about the city or the people that live there.
  5. And honestly they probably don't want to.
  6. Because it's complicated! So complicated.
  7. And why bother trying to look into the reasons Camden is the way it is when you can just jump on the highway and by pass the city entirely on your way into Philly?
  8. Is it dangerous?
    I can't say no. But like. Isn't every city dangerous? You just have to be smart.
  9. Do you plan to go there all four years?
    Yeah! I actually like it there. Wow
  10. Oh so do you have a job too?
    Right because why would I go there if I didn't have other stuff to do? Haha My job is in Camden
  11. Do you just go to class and leave?
    Nope! I actually work at a school in north Camden That's "the dangerous part" for people who aren't from New Jersey and don't know
  12. How many fights have you broken up?
    No physical altercations although my coworkers have. The schools are rough. Most are being taken over by charter schools now. That's a whole different list
  13. Do you drive or take the train?
    Depends how I'm feeling.
  14. You don't go there every day right?
    Yes I do every day. Sometimes weekends too!! The horror!!
  15. You don't have classes at night do you?
    Yes I do. Believe it or not people actually go to Camden when it's dark out! Oooo so scary!!
  16. How do you make friends?
    It's hard! But it would be just as hard if I was commuting to any other school. What makes it harder is that people who commute usually aren't on campus that much. I would venture to say that's partly because yeah we are in Camden. But all of my friends are very involved at my school and in Camden city.
  17. Do you carry pepper spray?
    I do. I've never had to use it.
  18. Do you feel safe there?
    There are police literally every where. I have never felt unsafe.
  19. What do you do there?
    Class, work. Go out to eat. Sometimes I even go to events in the city!! How brave of me right
  20. Do people actually live there?
    Yes! Imagine that! Families, college students, can you believe it?
  21. You must go to Philly all the time?
    No. Believe it or not I'm not constantly trying to escape from Camden
  22. Do people ask you for money a lot?
    Sometimes! More in New York City than Camden though.
  23. Here's the thing-
  24. I was skeptical of Camden at first too
  25. I wanted to go away to college
  26. But I didn't
  27. I went to Rutgers Camden
  28. And I got involved in the school
  29. And, more importantly, the city
  30. Real people live there. Real people like living there.
  31. And I have experienced so much
    I do over 300 hours of community service in the city of Camden each year
  32. And I gained a new view of the city and the systemic issues that are behind the way Camden became what it is today
  33. I know people who live there
  34. Kids who live there
  35. And I am so much better for it
  36. Camden will always have a special place in my heart
  37. I just wish more people tried to understand it, to educate themselves, rather than judging blindly from such a far distance