Hannah: How To Travel From Your Couch

Recently, I have found myself talking to squirrels in the yard.

While social distancing is necessary, it’s easy to become stir crazy. Luckily, some amazing museums, zoos, theaters and historical sites are offering some fun (and educational!) distractions. Here are a few of my favorite places to fly to on the web: 

  • Take a tour of the Musée d’Orsay 

This Paris museum is in a former railway station, built for the Exposition Universelle of 1900. The building itself is a work of art. You can check out the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world, from Degas to Renoir to Monet. Take the virtual tour here.

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  • Go inside the White House 

Take a tour of the different sections of the White House, learn how White House customs have evolved, and become inspired by its art collection. And with the app’s Presidential Lookalike feature, you can take a selfie and learn about the president or first lady you most resemble! Take the virtual tour here.

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  • Peruse the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met has over “5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy.” Look at Vermeer paintings, ancient Egyptian drawings on papyrus, Christian Dior designs,  and so much more. Take the virtual tour here.

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Watch a New York Metropolitan Opera

New York’s Metropolitan Opera is running nightly Met Opera streams, live streaming filmed HD performances. The operas begin at 7:30 PM EST each evening and remain online for 20 hours after. Learn more here

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  • Visit The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History 

Check out one of the world’s most visited museums! You can explore fossils, ocean life, insects, gems, minerals, butterflies and even past exhibits. Take the virtual tour here

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  • Laugh with Second City 

Watch an improvised show from the place where Steven Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key and so many other famed comedians got their start. Second City is live streaming free comedy performances via Zoom. Their show, Improv House Party, allows you to watch performers improvise digitally. Learn more here.

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  • Check out some animal cams

Zoos and aquariums have animal cams that livestream what the critters are doing while we all are home. Check out some of these live cams:

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  • Visit the Sistine Chapel 

Have your breath taken away by Michelangelo’s renowned ceiling frescos. Usually the Sistine Chapel is filled to the brim with tourists. Virtually, you are able to admire the ceiling with the whole place to yourself. Take the virtual tour here

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  • Go to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park 

Take a virtual ranger-led tour around one of the best known (and most beautiful) national parks. You’ll be able to experience fiery lava flows, leafy rainforests and even a helicopter flight over an active volcano. This is something you can’t miss!

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  •  Dive into Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary 

Be able to dive into the ocean for free (and without a wetsuit)! Virtually swim around soft corals, a 1942 shipwreck and the world’s only underwater research laboratory. Virtually dive here

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  •  Take a tour of the Great Wall of China

Walk around the Great Wall of China without even putting on your sneakers. Step into a piece of history that has been around for about 2,000 years. Check out the virtual tour here

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  •  Escape to Versailles

Tired of your house? Travel to a different (and no offense, probably fancier) place! Escape to the gilded home of French King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette (at least before the revolution). Explore the extravagant bed chambers, the hall of mirrors and the gravel paths of the royal gardens. 

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So, the next time you are feeling restless, instead of putting yourself and others in danger, travel from the comfort of your couch! Have fun sight-seeing in your sweats 😉 

Lindsey: Five Ways to Better Yourself in Quarantine

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In the last two weeks, the majority of published content offers endless ways to keep busy during the quarantine. But, there’s too much content. If you’re indecisive like me, its easy to default to the go-to activity: Netflix binging. 

Knowing BU COM kids, we like to be productive….at every waking hour. I’ve narrowed down a shortlist of ways to be productive in quarantine: 

  • Listen to a new podcast

Recently, I’ve become a podcast lover, especially educational podcasts. While going for a walk, sitting outside/inside, podcasts are great for letting time pass by quickly and with meaning. If you’re looking for an inspirational podcast, try NPR’s “How I Built This.” Each episode features a famous company’s start-up story (the Chipotle episode is great!). 

  • Learn a new skill…online

For a lot of us, our workloads are not as harsh as usual. With extra time, you can learn new skills to make you a better candidate in the professional world. For example, Google offers a beginner’s course in Google Analytics and Adobe Suite offers beginner’s course to learn design. All for free! 

  • Glam up: makeup YouTube tutorials

This is not necessarily academic, but it is self-help. Do you beg your friend every Saturday night to do your eyeshadow? Yes. Do you know the purpose of each makeup brush? I definitely don’t. Now’s our time. With hundreds of makeup tutorials out there, we can easily master the perfect day-time, night-time, natural look and start next fall with the best looks on campus. 

  • Master a new workout routine

Sitting all day is NOT good for your mental and physical health. Get your muscles moving with a little help from YouTube’s collection of free workout classes and routines. My favorites are 305 Fitness, Pop Sugar Fitness, and MadFit. All of these videos are 30 minutes are less, and are easy to integrate into your daily routine. 

  • Cook up a storm: new recipes

I’m a horrible cook. Since I’m not in my mini-kitchen in Boston for now, it’s the perfect time to learn basic cooking skills and impress your family, so next year you’re not stuck with microwavable ramen every night. Delish.com and BuzzFeed Tasty are great places to look for easy, no-time, yummy recipes.

Although we have more time on our hands than we’ve ever had, we are still living through a global pandemic and it is stressful. It’s important to not be too hard on yourself, and know it’s okay to have a lazy day. This list is for the days you’re feeling productive 🙂 Stay safe and healthy!

Yiwen: Five At-Home Activities To Prepare You For College

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Now that most of us are back home struggling to deal with crippling boredom during this quarantine, it’s easy to waste day after day doing nothing but sleeping and eating. For incoming college students, I figured I’d come up with a list of five things that you can do while at home. Doing any of these will ensure your college experience will be a much more fruitful time!

  1. Learn a new musical instrument

With so much time on your hands, learning a new instrument is definitely a possibility. I remember during my freshman year in the dorms, one of my floormates had a guitar and a bunch of us would always congregate in his room and vibe together. Being able to play a musical instrument is a great conversation starter, and it also gives you something to do when you’re trying to destress once you’re in school.

  1. Try Calisthenic workouts

Staying healthy is definitely something that is important to keep in mind when you get to college. It can be easy to neglect your health and spend day and night studying for exams, but having a healthy body can actually improve your state of mind. If you struggle to get up and get to the gym, doing bodyweight workouts are a great way to stay fit. Doing a couple pushups and ab workouts at home will help you develop a habit, so when you get to college you can do the same thing in your dorm room!

  1. Watch every movie/tv show ever

There’s Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and not to mention every amazing movie ever. Now, I’m not telling you to spend every waking moment watching movies, but movies and tv shows are a great conversation starter in college, and I’ve seen so many kids become friends over a love for a particular tv show. So figure out what that is to you, and who knows maybe the first friend you make will become your Netflix buddy!

  1. Plan your dorm room decorations

Having a well-decorated dorm room is a game-changer. Whether it’s having a comfortable environment to study in, or having a cool room where you and your friends can hang out in the late hours, I always admired people that had cool dorm rooms. Take the time now to come up with some cool designs for your dorm room, or find some cool lights and posters that make the room flashy, it’ll make all the difference when you move in.

  1. Spend time with family

Although this might not seem like a particularly exciting thing right now, this is one of the most important things to do. As cliché as this might sound, you will miss your family a lot more once you leave home and get to college. I have come to appreciate spending time with family so much more after going to college. So take the time during quarantine to enjoy mum’s home cooking, and mess around with your siblings. It may be annoying now, but you won’t regret the time spent with them now.

This is a chaotic time to be in, and it can be stressful to figure out what to do right now. Make sure to do what makes you happy, and just keep improving yourself. Look forward to the positive things that lie ahead of you, and stay safe and healthy!

Cam: Staying Creative While Quarantined

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I might be biased, but I think that COM students are some of the most creatively inclined individuals on the BU campus. Of course, we want to make sure that our inspiration doesn’t fizzle out by the time we return to Commonwealth Avenue. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how fed up I’m feeling creatively, and I knew that I couldn’t possibly be alone. So, I decided to make a list of some ways to exercise your right brain and still social distance in the process.

  1. Make super niche Spotify playlists

Most of us have seen the Instagram accounts that create the “niche” posts with extremely detailed layouts of objects and outfits that align with a certain personality, book, movie, etc. Well, what if you did the same with your favorite songs? It can be anything – from “Uncut Gems Alternate Soundtrack” to “What the COM Lounge Would Listen to If It Were a Person.” This is a great way to find new music, curate a cohesive product, and be as weirdly specific as your internal monologue wants you to be. Don’t forget you can make the playlists collaborative, too!

  1. Create a smash book

If you’re anything like me, you miss your display of posters, pictures, lights, and random little tchotchkes in your dorm room or apartment. One of the best – and portable! – ways to bring this home to your quarantine space is to make a smash book. Find an old, hardcover book, and decorate the pages however you choose. Pages can be painted, made into origami, ripped apart, used as a collage background, the choices are endless. If you fill out a page a day, you can have the coolest quarantine journal in history. 

  1. Make a short “film”

Is anyone else super confused about how we ended up in this timeline? Yeah, me too. While it might feel like we don’t get up to anything these days for the sake of flattening the curve, directing your own little movie might prove you wrong. Maybe you want to give an MTV Cribs-esque tour of your house. Maybe you’ve been working on a new character in your head. Maybe you just want to document the weirdest possible weeks you’ve experienced so you can look back on them later. Anything goes – maybe you’ll discover you were meant for film and TV all along.

In any case, these are weird times. It’s going to be difficult not to go a bit stir-crazy for the time being. When it feels like everyone is losing their cool, keeping your own can be as easy as finding a few minutes every day to have a creative outlet and make yourself laugh. As long as you keep those good vibes flowing, quarantine can only get more fun from here. Until we’re all back in the fall, keep COM and carry on.

Zach M: A Message to the BU Class of 2020

Dear Seniors,

I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times before, but everything’s going to be okay.

We had the last couple of months of our final semester of college stripped away from us by something completely out of our control. We have worked so incredibly hard in our classes, extracurriculars and even in our personal lives to see the effort and passion we put into our work realized. That got taken away from us way before it should have. We didn’t quit. We didn’t fail. We didn’t even step on the seal. Okay, some of us may have done that one. But that’s not why we’re here now. An event, a crisis, a pandemic completely out of our control is why we are where we are now. 

Many of you may be thinking, as I thought very early on as well: what about graduation? What about senior week? What about spending the last months of college with some of the best people you’ve gotten to spend four years with in your lifetime? Those questions are valid. And sadly, they may go unanswered. And that truly sucks, and I’m sorry for you and myself. But we have to realize how incredibly important our health is, how valuable it is to spend this time taking care of ourselves and our family members. We can look on the bright side.

There really is an upside to all of this. 

We have been given somewhat of a grace period, an undefined number of months that is, in some way, marred with uncertainty, dissonance, and despondence, but, on the other hand, an opportunity for those seeking guidance into the real world. It’s an opportunity to spend time with your family that you likely won’t get to have when you’re in the working world. And some of you may not feel ready to start your careers. I don’t feel ready yet either. And this pandemic, this call for social distancing, has given me the chance to breathe and find clarity before I do take the next step in my life. 

But on the other hand, especially for us COM kids, we have reason to believe that certain jobs we were expecting to get won’t be there after all of this is said and done. And those of you with jobs lined up may be in fear of losing your first job, a job you haven’t even started yet. That’s just one more thing that’s out of our control. That’s one more thing to think about during this extremely stressful time. 

As COM Ambassadors, we have the responsibility of giving those whose shoes we were once in advice about how to navigate college life. The tables have turned. We need to help our peers, our fellow seniors, navigate whatever this period of our lives is. Tell your fellow senior to think about right now. Thinking about what could have been isn’t helping us right now. Tell your fellow senior to think optimistically about the future. We are going to come out on the other side of this stronger. Be patient. Stay healthy. And I know you’ve heard this a thousand times before, but it’s going to be okay.

Sabrina: What COM Color To Dye Your Hair During Quarantine

It’s that time of the year: quarantine time! Believe me, I never saw this coming, but one night recently as I was sitting on my couch watching the reunion episode of Love Is Blind, it occurred to me that this is the time in my life when I should be taking risks and doing fun things that make me happy, as long as I can do them within my own home while practicing social distancing. So I decided that I was going to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while: dye my hair pink. So I did.

While I was looking online for different hair colors, it occurred to me that the color that a person chooses to use for their hair says a lot about their personality. So, I decided to categorize Arctic Fox (the brand I used) hair colors by COM majors. Here’s what I came up with…

Television & Film Frosé

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Interested in Film and Television? Then the color for you is Frosé! You like to be creative and push boundaries while also being aware that sometimes you have to be professional. You don’t want to be too bold, but you want to have some fun. Is this the color that I used to dye my hair? Perhaps.

Advertising Aquamarine

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Love to put out advertisements? Then Aquamarine is the color for you! You love social media and can be bold sometimes. Your sense of style is amazing and you aren’t afraid to put a splash of color into your daily ensemble. You love keeping up with the trends and you know when it’s time to be professional!

Blue Jean Journalism

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Love interviewing people? Love running up and capturing the hottest moment during the Bernie Sanders Boston rally? Then Blue Jean Baby is the color for you! You like to splash a little fun into your life but you’re always ready to be professional for an interview. You don’t want to be too bold but you want a little subtle flare. You do you!

 

Media Science Sterling

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Interested in Media Science? The science behind media? Then Sterling is the color for you! It’s chic, it’s stylish, and it’s totally trending. You can be professional but also stand out in a crowd and play with it. Don’t be afraid to spice it up a bit and try something new. Science is all about experimenting after all…
Public Relations Ritual

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Are you interested in Public Relations? Do you like talking to people and fixing issues? Then Ritual is the perfect hair color for you. You’re the go-to friend for advice and you’re a wonderful presence to be around. You know when to keep it professional and when to be casual. With this hair color you can be both. Not too bold but fun nonetheless.

Remember to have fun during this weird time and do what makes you happy. Whether that be dying your hair or binge-watching Schitt’s Creek, do your best to make sure that you’re filling each day with something to make you smile. See you in the fall!

Jessica: Be Safe, Wash Your Hands & Practice Empathy

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As I sit at my desk trying to brainstorm a topic to write about — any topic — that avoids addressing the strange situation unfolding around us, I come to a realization: I can’t. It’s been about a week since schools around the nation have sent students home in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since then, I’ve been desperately trying to establish a regular routine and limit how much I talk about the daily news updates (knowing fully well it isn’t helping anyone’s anxiety levels). Yet I can’t help but stray from whatever task I’m supposed to be focusing on to ponder the uncertainty of today, tomorrow, the near future… 

At this point, my mind looks something like a word cloud with a million distractions and the phrases VIRUS, PANDEMIC, and THE WORLD IS FALLING APART bolded in large font.

And thus, I come to realization #2: It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed.

Chances are, most people are feeling just as confused and worried as you are. After all, it’s hard to avoid dwelling on it when it’s constantly in the news and on every social media platform. Staying informed is never a bad thing, though; in fact, it’s important to keep up with updates for health and safety measures. But it’s also important to take a deep breath, give yourself some space, and be reassured that things will get better.

Realization #3: It’s okay to want to talk about it.

Just a few days ago, my friend messaged me asking if it was okay to feel bummed about having to spend her birthday in quarantine. She felt that it was a stupid and selfish feeling to have, considering that the pandemic had plunged countless people into a desperate struggle to remain healthy, keep their jobs, and support their families.

If there’s anything that we should gather from this moment, it’s that everyone is fighting different battles against the same common villain. While others will inevitably be dealing with other, sometimes more severe issues than ours, that doesn’t mean that what you feel is invalid. Our emotions aren’t something that we should be hiding in shame or fear; that won’t benefit anyone, much less yourself.

At a time when everyone is struggling to find security, happiness, and hope amidst the chaos, it’s okay to feel sad, angry or scared. Perhaps the best advice right now is to have empathy and be open to helping others. Donate to local and relief charities, ask seniors in your neighborhood if they need assistance picking up groceries and essentials, and be open-minded when listening to others (while practicing social distancing!!). Simply phoning a friend and understanding what they’re going through can go a long way. And in turn, it’ll make you feel less lonely in a world that’s collaboratively battling this global threat together.

Nick: Three BU-Related Movies to Watch While in Quarantine

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Although classes are still going on, I have been left with a lot of free time thanks to my current quarantine status in New York City. I’ve been taking advantage of my “freedom” by cleaning my room and catching up on movies and TV shows I’ve been meaning to watch. On my list are three movies to enjoy in quarantine – they ALSO relate to BU:

  • Uncut Gems

The Safdie Brothers – two BU COM alumni – directed this masterpiece of anxiety, crime, and drama. Josh and Benny Safdie graduated from BU’s film and TV program in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The film stars Adam Sandler and won several Film Independent Spirit awards. Uncut Gems was also nominated for a couple Golden Globes but was snubbed at the Oscars! While no one needs an anxiety boost right now, the movie will certainly make you forget about everything else going on. All in all, it’s a great film!

  • Spotlight 
    1. Spotlight is a Boston movie through and through; It follows the Spotlight team of the Boston Globe working to uncover child sexual abuse and assault cases that had been hushed by the Catholic church. It stars Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams play Michael Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer, respectively – two BU alumni! The Spotlight team won a Pulitzer prize for their work, and the film won Best Picture at the Oscars… Need I say more?
  • Spenser Confidential

 Spenser Confidential is a new action-comedy available to stream on Netflix. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke as two ex-cop/ex-convicts taking down criminals in the streets of Boston. What relates to BU specifically? The film was shot on BU’s west campus, by Life Alive and Otto Pizza on Commonwealth Ave! While it’s unlikely to win any awards, it could act as a fun escape from the boring walls of your room.

Geneve: How To Stay Fit At Home!

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, you might find yourself cooped up indoors and going a little stir-crazy. Just because you can’t hit the gym or your favorite workout studio doesn’t mean you can’t get your body moving and stay healthy! These are some of the methods I have been using. 
 
WHAT YOU NEED: 
As far as equipment goes, you don’t need anything except your body, but I find that laying down a yoga mat is extremely helpful. If you don’t have one already laying around, there are a ton of affordable options on Amazon, this one even comes with a carrying strap! This one is available for under $10!
 
I personally also like to use yoga blocks in my practice, so if you have already have some laying around, keep them handy! I love using them to open my heart center more during savasana and also as support in some moves. Again, if you want some Amazon links, you can get a set of blocks here or here! I personally like the way that cork blocks feel better as they are more sturdy, but foam blocks tend to be a more affordable option and easier to carry to and from the studio (when you’re allowed to go again!) 
 
Lastly, resistance bands are great tools to add a little challenge into moves and there are sometimes even entire workouts based around them! They are super affordable so you don’t have to feel like you’re breaking the bank creating a home gym during this time. There are plenty of styles to choose from, but I like to go for ones that are thicker like these because I like to use them for squats and they’re less likely to break!
 
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
 
One of my favorite coaches at my gym back in Boston, BKBX, Jillian Barnes, has her own fitness brand, Sports Bras Only. Give her a follow and check her “Virtual Workout” story highlight for more info on how to join in on future Zoom classes. I just took one this morning, and it was the perfect wakeup for my muscles! Classes are conducted via Zoom, and the killer workout music is still there! The class is a $10 donation via Venmo, but she has posted a great circuit workout with resistance bands on her personal Insta that you can try here!
 
BKBX also has a schedule of Instagram live classes that you can view on their page here, completely free of charge! They range from Foundations to yoga, and are offered by all of their coaches from either the Allston or Williamsburg location. Follow them and give them some love and maybe try a new type of workout class you never thought about trying before! 
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My favorite yoga instructor back home here in Boise, Nola Mandels, started doing Zoom yoga classes a few times a week. You can follow her Instagram here where she often posts the schedule for the week before, and the link to the Zoom class is in her bio! She doesn’t charge for these classes which is so gracious of her, especially during this time where our fitness coaches are hit the most as gyms aren’t allowed to stay open! She tries to keep the classes accessible for everyone so most of the time no equipment is needed besides a mat, a small blanket, and a few pillows to use as bolsters!
 
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Another one of my favorite yoga instructors, this one from Down Under School of Yoga in Boston, has her own Youtube channel found here. Her practice is focused on fire breathing and other techniques of breath and I’ve always loved my classes with her! She posts a variety of her full classes on Youtube so that you can follow along at home!
 
Lastly, a friend told me that the Down Dog app is free for teachers and students until July 1st! The app lets you choose what type of yoga practice you’d like, the duration, any boosts (flexibility, back strength, etc.) and the length of savasana for a custom routine. Just make sure you sign up with your .edu email! 
 
If you’re more for the circuit workouts, Cali Fuller has a ton of workouts that are easy to follow along on her Instagram page. Recently, she’s shared a TON of at-home workouts, some with household supplies as weights, or no equipment at all! Or, if you want to get creative, she has two great couch workouts, here and here!
 
Maybe you’re on a time crunch. Or you want to get a little sweat in between your Zoom classes. Check out these two 5 minute workouts! You’ll feel the burn and you won’t even believe that the time is up when it’s called! I found these two through one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow, Viviane Audi. Each morning, she posts the online workout she is following along in a swipe-up on her story, and they’re always fun to follow along with! 
 
I hope that you find a workout routine you like, or try something new! During this time it can be so easy to just nap all day and do Zoom classes, but it’s so important to stay in a routine for both your physical and mental health! Stay hydrated! 

Josee: Saying Goodbye

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A simple thank you doesn’t do this community justice. As I wrap up my time as a COM student, I can only reflect on how indescribable the past four years have been.
In COM, I found a home. I found friends. Most of all, I found my family.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not how I expected my senior year to end. While senior spring will take on a new alternative, I’m blessed recollecting the incredible times I’ve spent at BU.
As a freshman, I made a commitment to make the most out of my college years. I did a lot of the things I had dreamt up as a first-year.
But, all of that is nothing compared to the things I couldn’t expect. I made some life-long friends that I would travel the world with. I stumbled and made
mistakes. I moved outside of my comfort zone while also learning how to say no. I learned how to set my priorities and pursue the things that mattered.
Excuse me as I get a little sappy. But thank you to my amazing peers, my inspiring faculty, my kind advisors and to the people who make this place so special.
As the saying goes “once a Terrier, always a Terrier”. I hope this community and its heart follow you to the ends of the earth. We’ll always be a part of something special.
For everyone with some time left, please take as many moments as you can to take it all in. For my fellow seniors, we did it. Go BU.
For the last time, with all my love,
Josee