Mia P: Advice for this Year’s Sophomores

College Advice for Sophomores

So, BU is back! It’s so exciting to see campus so lively, but it’s obviously super different from last year –– especially for sophomores. We experienced our first year of college in a way unlike any other, and now that we’re all back, things are SO different. 

In a way, we — sophomores — are second-year freshmen. Everything is so new to us! Some of us weren’t even on campus last year, making this year such and new and impactful experience for all of us. 

As a sophomore myself, the past few weeks have been exciting, crazy, intimidating, and stressful at the same time. So, here is my advice for us sophomores who are having a very unique start to our college experience.

yassine-khalfalli-L4qEWaF91pY-unsplash1. It’s not too late to make friends. 

Something that I was scared of is that people would have set friends groups from last year already. But, what I’ve realized is that SO many people are new to campus. And if they aren’t so many people have been willing to meet more people! 

I’ve tried to make more friends in my classes (which are now in person!). Try reaching out to the person sitting next to you in class, or maybe someone that you’re sitting with in the dining hall. If you still might be having trouble making friends, join some clubs or student organizations! This brings me to my next point…

2. Take advantage of clubs and organizations!

Even though Splash has already happened, so many clubs and students groups have yet to hold their first meetings. If you weren’t able to join a certain club at Splash, try to find their Instagram or email to inquire about joining! 

3. Boston is back! Explore! 

It’s easy to think that you’ve experienced all of Boston already, but that is so far from true! Boston is so much more lively, and there is SO much to do. Make sure to check out the Boston Public Library, baseball games at Fenway Park, and concerts happening all around town. 

Last year was unlike any other, but this year will be unlike any other as well! This is such a unique experience for us sophomores, and it’s so important to remember that although last year may not have been the year we expected or wanted, this year will be SO exciting and fun.

 

Sophie F: Best Study Snacks Around

The Best Food for your Brain

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by the start of the school year? By the return to a packed campus? By email upon email from professors? The important thing is to mitigate that feeling of impending burnout before it gets too far. Healthy, realistic study habits are a great way to stay ahead of stress, and luckily for us, that means study snacks.

Screen Shot 2021-09-12 at 9.29.26 AM

Sometimes you just need to put the laptop and the hard drive down and make use of that MicroFridge you paid so much to rent. By taking periodic breaks every few hours to replenish your energy, you’ll be able to maintain a much more consistent level of productivity. Here’s a list of A+ study snacks to keep you on your toes.

Apples with Peanut Butter

Or Nutella, or sun butter–any other kind of butter, really. Apples are cheap and often available in the dining hall if you have a meal plan. The peanut butter will offer you the protein that you need to maintain study stamina, making this snack an elite combination. While we’re on the topic of apples, let’s discuss the dark horse in the room: apples and cheese. It may sound random, but there’s something about a crisp green apple that goes fantastic with cheese.

Veggies and Hummus

If you’re like me, your mom told you before you left home to make sure you were getting all your nutrients. One of my favorite study snacks is the scoop-n-dip veggies and hummus. Carrots are my personal preference, but if you like celery, broccoli, or cauliflower, by all means, dip those too.

Muddy Buddies

Look, no one ever said your study snack needs to be healthy all the time. Sometimes you don’t just need blood sugar–you need chocolate. Consumers of Chex cereal can attest that the recipe for Muddy Buddies–and the photo–are always staring them in the face from the back of the box. This snack requires a bit more preparation than apples and cheese, but it’s full of melted chocolate and powdered sugar, so it’s worth it.

Ultimately, study snacking is not so much about what you’re eating but rather about how you’re eating. Are you eating enough to give you enough energy throughout the day? Are you eating regularly enough to sustain that energy consistently? And are you taking your snack breaks as a moment to care for yourself and your body? Study snacks are self-care, and it’s important to prioritize yourself as you dive into this semester.

 

Jessica H: Lessons Learned from a Gap Semester

Taking a Break Doesn’t Mean Wasting Time.IMG_5891

If someone told me two years ago that I would end up taking a gap semester during my college career, I would’ve had my doubts. Then again, if someone had told me that a global pandemic would ensue, I would have laughed it off as a joke.

But now, in my sixth semester of college — after nearly a year of remote classes and stay-at-home orders, followed by a semester-long break from school — I am now back on campus with a new, refreshed mindset.

Flashback to 2020 fall semester: I was living on campus in Boston, taking classes (most of which were virtual) and interacting with people mainly through a screen. I rarely left the safety of my dorm room, and my dreams of studying abroad in London and finding an internship in the spring weren’t looking too great. My time as a college undergrad student was slipping away faster than I could grasp, and I couldn’t help but feel frustrated and lost that the pandemic had stolen a good chunk of my college experience.

IMG_5228

At first, I felt insecure and unsure about my decision to take a break from school. What if I end up falling behind my classmates? Am I just making a lazy excuse to take the easy way out? Would it really be worth it in the end? I pondered these questions for a long time, and it wasn’t until two months into my gap semester that I finally began taking advantage of the situation.

IMG_4811

During my gap, I was able to take a refresher and put things into perspective. First on my to-do list was to embark on an outdoor road trip (with very little cellphone signal) with my family halfway across the country. Yup, you heard me; I completely avoided my responsibilities for about two and a half weeks. But that was all it took for me to reset, recharge, and reevaluate my academic pursuits. Being away from the very things that I constantly stressed about, even for a little bit of time, allowed me to slow down and organize my thoughts. I engaged in meaningful coffee chats with friends, peers, and internship directors to figure out how I wanted to spend my last few semesters in college and discussed my post-graduation plans. I was able to discover new interests and hobbies with my spare time, and the time I spent listening to others even opened avenues for me to explore work opportunities I had never considered in the past.

For the past two remote semesters, I felt as if I had been holding in my breath without realizing it. I was so focused on simply getting through each semester that I had lost track of my personal goals and interests. My gap semester was a breath of fresh air, a pause from the madness. It bought me some of the precious time I thought had been wasted, and I returned with a better idea of what I wanted to get out of my final semesters in college. It bought me time to postpone my study abroad plans for next spring, something I had looked forward to since I applied to BU. But, most importantly, it helped me realize that taking a break doesn’t have to mean wasting time; sometimes, it’s just as important as everything else we do.

 

Will A: Taking Advantage of the New Normal

Coming back to CoMm Ave? here’s how to make the most of It.

Boston University campus

Despite the onset of a new delta variant (among other variants) of COVID-19, vaccines have made huge strides in protecting against the disease and providing a way toward a future without COVID-19. 

This time last year, I was writing about ways to take time for yourself during quarantine in our first full-length, pandemic-era semester. After one year, the start of this semester feels different. From those who I’ve spoken with as the semester starts, a new energy is buzzing through the student body, as in-person classes, clubs and activities are making their grandiose return to our lives. However, the thing I’m most excited about is having the city of Boston back at our fingertips. Before the pandemic, I used every opportunity I could to travel all over Boston and explore the city that I’ve grown to love over my lifetime. As a Massachusetts native, it was a dream to live in Boston, so when the coronavirus hit and wandering the city was no longer possible, I felt like I missed out. Even prior to the pandemic, the “BU bubble” we often found ourselves in as we grinded through the semester, pandemic or not, can feel somewhat trapping. 

That being said, I hope to make up for that lost Boston time this year, and this is my encouragement for all of you to do the same! The T runs right through campus with both the Green Line train and buses, and the commuter rail feathers out to much of Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island. Put something on your weekly calendar to experience something new each week. It’ll take a little bit of effort to schedule things and get to where you want to go, and I’m certain doing in-person activities will be a bit weird at first. However, it’s absolutely worth it, and science agrees. Research shows that varying your routine and taking time to experience new things can improve your mood and your happiness. 

Explore with friends, visit a new neighborhood, eat at a restaurant (maybe venture to one you’ve only ever known through Grubhub) and, most importantly, have some fun! You always hear adults say that their college days were some of the most fun in their lifetime. Although the pandemic took away much of that time, this year is your way to get some of it back. 🙂

 

Joe P: Overcoming burnout at the end of the semester

Best ways to overcome end-of-semester burnout

In an academic year leaving many students to feel in the dark, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know for sure when the pandemic will be over with, but with just a few weeks left in the semester, an academic year as mentally taxing and demanding as ever is nearly complete.

With summer on the horizon, it’s easy to get distracted thinking about what the next few months have in store. If you’re reaching your breaking point and need to stay productive through the next few weeks, here are some tips:

  1. Plan each day out in advance, especially on lightly scheduled days

On weekends or days with a light class schedule, I find myself getting caught up in all my free time that my productivity goes out the window. It’s much easier to stay on track by blocking off different times each day to accomplish anything I may need to, while also setting aside time to relax.

It’s a simple concept, and easier said than done. It’s ultimately up to you to stay disciplined to the time commitments you set for yourself. I’ve found that committing to zone in for an hour on a given task produces much better results than just saying, “Yeah, I’ll get to it at some point within the next eight hours.”

  1. Find a study partner

If you’re the type of person who needs someone else to hold you accountable, find a classmate/friend to keep you focused. It may be tricky to find someone to work with in-person during these times, but even setting up a Zoom meeting can be sufficient.

Getting another person to talk concepts out or go over a study guide with is a great way to engage with the material instead of just staring at a semester’s worth of slides. It’s much easier to get through these last few weeks with help rather than facing it by yourself.

  1. Improve your eating/sleeping habits, at least temporarily

I could live on pizza and burgers if I needed to, but in times where energy and concentration need to be at an all time high, taking better care of yourself physically will pay dividends for you mentally. Get ahead of the all-nighters during finals week by fueling up with extra sleep now, and attack all the main food groups at the dining hall to keep you feeling energized enough to get through a productive study session.

You can get back to the daily trips to Cane’s and video games till 3 am once summer hits. For at least these next few weeks, try to switch things up and help fend off burnout.

These are just a few general tips to help you get started. There’s obviously more that can be done, and what I listed may help some more than others. What matters most is setting yourself up for a final burst across the finish line, rather than a slow crawl.

Malaika: The Last Hurrah!

The end of an era. the start of something new. 

Warning: this is a sappy post. How could it not be? I’m graduating college ?!?! 

In the blink of an eye, 2017 became 2021. It feels sudden – but, I’ve made a lifetime of memories in my four years. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried. I’ve struggled and I’ve accomplished.

As I sit down to write my last COM Ambassador blog, I want to reflect back on the moments and people that made my Boston University experience special:

Orientation, Summer 2017

When I flew to Boston, I didn’t know what to expect or who I’d meet. I remember my Uber driver giving me a backseat tour of the city, pointing out the river and explaining Bostonians’ deep love (and dare I say obsession) with Dunkin Donuts. She dropped me off in front of the West Campus dorms, and I nervously checked in to what would be one of the best weeks of my life. Minutes after arriving, I met one of my best friends, Nadia. She was my Orientation neighbor and saw me fumbling with my keys at the door. She called out to me and said, “hey, want to go get breakfast?” Now, I had no clue who this stranger was, but I said yes. And thus, the start of our incredible friendship. That week, I met our other friends, Mercedes and Simeon who have been absolute rocks for me. The four of us have had the best of times, from Warren Late Night to The Script and beyond! I couldn’t have made it through the last four years without them. 

M1

Warren Towers 10C 

Nor, could I have made it through college without my 10C family. Most people make maybe 1 or 2 friends on their freshman year floor, but I was lucky enough to make 20. Yes – 20 (probably even more honestly). Thinking back it’s funny that at our first floor meeting, none of us made eye contact with each other. A week later, we were taking late night strolls through downtown Boston and racing each other up and down our floor. I don’t know how many people dream about getting along with their entire dorm floor, but let me tell you it was a hoot. There was always someone around to have deep, late night conversations with. Or to make mac and cheese with you. Or even to go to Regal and watch a movie at 1 a.m. 

M2

My Alternative Spring Break Trip to Mississippi

I could write a book about this trip – it was one the most wild, crazy, insane experiences of my life. But it was also rewarding. I packed up in a van with 8 strangers and drove down to Natchez, Mississippi to volunteer at a local school and social services center for spring break. What I loved most about the trip was (probably, obviously) the children. I’ll never forget one girl in particular – who dreamed about being a fashion designer and told me she wanted to make my dress if I ever won an Oscar. Keeping that one in mind — she was a rockstar. M3

BUTV10
BUTV10 was the best decision I ever made as a freshman. Admittedly, when I started writing – for Shadows at the time, I had no clue what I was doing. But, I quickly learned, and was able to “climb the ladder,” so to speak, to be the General Manager of the station. I’m lucky to have been part of many productions, which all hold a special place in my heart. Especially, From a Distance: BUTV10 Variety Hour. Shoutout to Guy Jackson for suggesting we make this show. It’s been my favorite experience at COM to date. Mainly because we got to interview several notable BU alumni including Ginnifer Goodwin, Russell Hornsby, and Andy Cohen! What made this production special, though, was that we brought 12,000 viewers together virtually to celebrate student talent, creativity, and resilience during the pandemic. 

M4

COM <3 

Last but certainly not least, COM. Thank you to everyone – COM Ambassadors, my professors, COM Undergraduate Affairs, the incredible Engineers, FPS, Facilities, and many many more. This school was the best decision I ever made, and that’s because I got to meet and work with all of you.

Bye for now, 

CA Malaika 

 

Maddie: Farewell COM

Farewell Com

Faithful readers, who I’m sure keep up with the COM Blog regularly, I am graduating. If I were writing this on an old-timey typewriter, my tears would stain the page and make the ink run and this whole thing would be completely unintelligible. In that spirit, since I don’t have a typewriter, I will just make this goodbye letter to COM completely unintelligible.

COM, I met you when I was a junior in high school. I was just a girl with a suitcase (vera bradley backpack) and a dream (desperate desire to leave New Jersey). I missed the COM tour time slot so I had to roam the halls by myself. I was secretly glad I wasn’t on a tour because I knew my parents would have been weird and embarrassing.

When I finally met some actual COM students, I thought they were literally the coolest. Not just because they all wore jean jackets – they just seemed so put-together, they’d all had awesome internships, they were self-assured and confident and doing what they loved. I aspired to be them, and folks, it kind of happened! At COM, I got to host my own podcast, be a co-host on a radio show (shoutout Trash Talk), I interned at a real late night show, and I started a feminist satire paper (The Pinky Toe, check us out on Instagram.) I achieved so much while I was here, but I was having so much fun doing it that I didn’t realize just how much I’ve accomplished until I sat down to write this letter.

I never thought I would be ready to leave college, and in some ways I’m not mostly because I’ll miss my friends and professors and this incredible city. But in terms of feeling prepared to enter the TV industry, I weirdly feel like I can actually do it. And YES I get paid to say that as a COM Ambassador, but I also actually believe that COM prepared me for this industry better than any other school I could have gone to.

What I love about COM is that it’s never cutthroat and competitive. We thrive when we build each other up, and when one person gets a cool opportunity, it benefits everyone. I don’t know about you, but my high school was the exact opposite. I want to be a TV writer because I love collaborating, bouncing ideas off of others in order to tell the best version of a story. I’ve already gotten to do that so much here at COM, and it’s made me appreciate the journey as I work toward the destination.

So that was kind of sappy, and now I’d like to miss a few of the specific things I will miss most about COM.
1. Zinnekin’s waffle truck. I usually talked myself out of buying a waffle because I’m broke
but the one time I did, it was amazing.
2. Lockers in the basement. These are already gone but I will continue to miss them.
3. Professor Bill Braudis.
4. Professor Adam Lapidus.
5. Professor Deb Jaramillo.
6. The Zimmerman Family Social Activation Center. I wasn’t allowed in but it looked cool.
7. Seeing the bright, smiling (read: super tired but still managing to be peppy) COM Ambassadors working in Undergrad Affairs.

8. Giving tours of the building and taking families to the maintenance ladder on the third
floor and being like “so now we’re going up to the fourth floor.”
9. Meeting excited prospective freshmen and undergrads and getting them pumped about COM classes.
10. The amazing COMmunity I’ve been lucky enough to spend four years with.

In conclusion, I love you COM. And although I did vow never to give this school another penny, when I’m rich and famous, I’ll consider giving this beloved building a renovation.

Sophie F: Start a Podcast!

Why you should start a podcast

I get it. No one wants to be that annoying friend who promotes their podcast on Instagram. But maybe that annoying friend is onto something. A few friends of mine started a podcast awhile back. I confess that I didn’t listen to it. Story after story, conversational reference after conversational reference—I didn’t care. I don’t know what it was that compelled me to finally click on it. Quarantine boredom, maybe, or possibly the desire to support my friends’ misguided passions. To my surprise I found myself loving it. It felt like I was just spending time with the homies. And I couldn’t help but wonder. Are all our conversations just potential podcast episodes? Should we, in this age of late-stage capitalism, be trying to profit off this? Answer: probably, yes. Why not? You and your friends are hilarious and adorable. Everyone would be lucky to hear your conversations. And what’s more COM than getting involved in the latest trend of information exchange? My roommate and I had this thought in the fall of 2019 when we decided we

1) were bored and
2) needed something a little eyebrow-raising to add to our resume.

We looked into WTBU’s podcast situation and applied with our concept: we planned to do weekly wellness challenges—drink 8 glasses of water, walk 10,000 steps a day, meditate regularly—and discuss them together on the airwaves. We decided to call it Just Another Manic Monday, after the Bangles song, and aimed to release episodes on Mondays. While it’s been a bit of a mess of pauses and sometimes poor audio editing as we figure out Adobe (BU gives its students subscriptions for free!), we’ve put together a fun show that my boss, her high school history teacher, and our parents listen to. We didn’t think anyone listened. Anchor showed us that we had a couple of random listens in Kazakhstan and Bolivia, but we knew those were spam of some kind. But then we got a message on our very sparse Instagram. It was from a random account with a hundred or so followers. It was a Canadian girl telling us that throughout Ontario’s intensive lockdown, our podcast made her feel like she was hanging out with the gals. All of a sudden, it felt like something bigger than just a cute weekend activity. We’ve been riding that high ever since. One piece of advice, before you start: Pick a concept. Don’t just do the “we talk for an hour and hope someone listens” shtick. As adorable as you are, you’ll want something to guide the conversation. Now get going! We’re ready to hang with the gals.

Remy: 5 Ways to Savor Time Before Graduation

5 ways to savor time before graduation

When I toured COM as a senior in high school, I remember one of the COM ambassadors giving me the tour told me to enjoy every second of my time here because it goes quickly. She wasn’t the last senior, or person for that matter, over the past four years to give me that same advice. I hate to say it, but the sappy line that “time flies” feels more accurate now than ever. Although this past year has felt never-ending, I simultaneously feel like I was just a freshman hanging out with my friends on our floor in Warren. Thus, as I approach my final month and weeks as a BU student, I am making it my goal to truly savor every last minute of my time here. Below I am sharing the top five ways I plan to take it all in.

  1. Start a gratitude journal – I’ve journalled off and on throughout college, but to truly appreciate my final weeks at BU, I’ve decided to keep a gratitude journal. Every morning I write down three things that I am grateful for from the day before. These reasons can be as big or small as I want (i.e. grabbing a socially-distant coffee with friends, watching the sunset over the Charles from my window, laughing with my roommates, etc.) but they remind me to appreciate all that I have and help me start my day with a positive outlook. 
  2. Reach Out – Obviously right now meeting up in person can be tough, so I’ve planned lots of Zoom calls and Facetimes in the past couple of weeks with people I haven’t seen in awhile. I have never regretted reaching out and checking in with someone, whether that be a friend I haven’t talked to since the fall or a professor from two years ago. Take this as your sign to reach out and say hello! 
  3. Go to class!!! – This may be controversial for some as senioritis and Zoom fatigue kicks in, but I am doing my best to show up and stay engaged in all my classes. I know one day I’ll miss getting to go to class and having discussions simply for the sake of learning. 
  4. Visit your favorite Boston spots – One of the best parts about BU is that you have the entire city of Boston at your fingertips. I’ve created lots of memories throughout the city, but I am trying to visit all my favorite places as this semester starts to wrap up. Some of my favorites include the COM lawn (a classic), Brookline Booksmith in Coolidge corner, the steps in Seaport, the list goes on…   
  5. Spend time with the people that matter! – My time at BU has been absolutely unforgettable and I am going to miss it more than anything. However, as cheesy as it sounds, I know it would not have been the same without the people that I’ve met here. Even though Covid has made it tough to see people, I’ve realized that the best nights are the ones watching movies with my roommates, getting breakfast with my best friends, and all the little moments in between. 

Geneve: Mind Your Ps and Qs

Mind Your Ps and Qs 

We’ve all been there. Balancing classes and midterms starting, but also having the thought of summer internships looming ahead on the horizon. I am here for you. This blog post is meant to help you. Grab a cup of coffee, let’s get started!

My parents never went to college, so I entered the world of internships and interviews without prior knowledge, except for help I had gotten from BU. Which is why I’m passing along the knowledge. Before we start: make sure you are using COM Career Services! They are the best at helping you polish your resumé and cover letter so that you land that interview for the position(s) you’re applying for! You can make an appointment on Handshake- https://bu.joinhandshake.com/login. I actually reach out directly to Patrick Nelson, Director of Career Services (pnelson@bu.edu). You can come in with super specific questions (e.g. I’m looking at this internship opportunity that’s coming up for the summer, I was wondering if you had any insight from past students who have applied to/worked at the company?) or way more vague and generic (e.g. I just recently switched to PR, and I have no idea what types of internships I should even be looking at). 

As a second semester senior, I have learned so much over the years from just sheer experience. And now, looking back with some of the knowledge I have gained, there are so many things I would have done differently (or wish I did at all)! Most importantly, you should be super proud of yourself for even landing an interview, and remember, even if you are rejected, the experience of getting to the interview and making those connections will definitely make a difference in your future career. Believe me!

  1. Thank you notes might make it or break it for you. When I was first doing interviews for internships, I didn’t realize that thank you notes were as important as they are. Sometimes for bigger companies, you are actually emailing with a talent acquisition associate and not the people interviewing you directly, so I didn’t know how to obtain their email addresses to send a thank you. BIG MISTAKE. You should always aim to send a thank you note no later than the day after your interview, preferably the same day. If you don’t have the email address of the interviewer(s), ask the talent acquisition associate you are communicating with–you can just say you want to say thank you for their time and I’ve never had them not give me the addresses. You want to make sure your thank you note is unique for each person that you’re sending it to. DO NOT SEND THE SAME GENERIC THANK YOU NOTE TO ALL OF YOUR INTERVIEWERS. Their sole job is to interview you and talk about you, so it is very likely they will compare your emails with one another. That being said, you can most certainly use the same template message and add things. I usually like to bring up a few points that we talked about, which can be anything from how they got started at the company, to the work they’re currently doing that is interesting to you. One time a person interviewing me also turned out to be a morning person, and I sent a picture of the sunrise from my window along with the thank you note. Try to make your email as genuine as possible, thank them for their time, but also make it known that you valued the conversation that you had with them. Generally speaking, if they write back to the thank you note or if I think we had an especially great conversation, I’ll follow up and connect with them on LinkedIn, usually with a message along the lines of “It was so great getting to talk with you today. I hope we can stay connected here!” And 9 times out of 10, they are going to accept your request. 
  2. Network before the interview. Trust me, it might seem like a bad idea, but you just have to tread lightly. I always suggest seeing if there are alumni at the company that you’re applying for, as Terriers will always help fellow Terriers. On LinkedIn, you can easily see the alumni from BU and see if they’re working in either the same office you’re applying to or the same practice (i.e. Design). When you send them a request to connect, write a message along the lines of “I noticed you went to BU, and I’m currently there! I’d love to talk about your experience at [COMPANY NAME], hope we can connect! Thank you in advance.” Everybody loves talking about themselves, so more times than not, they will connect with you and be willing to chat about their work. While this obviously helps your case if you’re applying to the company to show that you’re really interested, it also helps your vetting process in figuring out whether or not you would really enjoy working there!
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Yes, even the uncomfortable ones. You should ask about when you’re expected to hear back about a decision, and if you don’t get a reply, you shouldn’t feel weird about sending a follow up email. If you don’t end up getting the role, you should ask what made the other candidate stand out more/what you can improve on before applying to another role at the company. And lastly, ask if there are other openings that are available that you are eligible for! Because you’re already talking with the recruiter, they will likely offer to just send over your resume and you don’t need to write a separate cover letter. 
I hope these three tips were helpful in easing some of your worries about how to navigate the tricky world of internships. As always, feel free to send me an email (glau99@bu.edu) or add me on LinkedIn and ask any additional questions you might have!