Angeli: Sing to me, Sydney!

I’ll spare you the cliché colloquial greeting used by ever-the abroad student, and just start off this post by channeling one of my childhood icons with an ole GOOOOOOOD MORNING, BOSTOOONNNN…ston, ston, ston…

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It is I, CA Angeli, reporting live from the land of Aus, with my signature curly locks a little frizzier and sun-soaked Cuban skin a whole lot tanner to prove it. As I write this, I’m celebrating my one-month anniversary with my current continent of residence, and I frankly cannot believe it. Studying abroad has been a dream of mine since I was in high school, so the fact that it has manifested in Australia of all places feels just too good to be. Stay tuned for the first morning that I wake up in Sydney and it’s not surreal!
Until then, I’ll just keep living out my Lizzie McGuire Movie fantasy. I haven’t quite been mistaken for an international pop star or, to my greater disappointment, been gifted an absurdly large wheel of cheese, but I do find myself deeply relating to Lizzie’s awe, bewilderment, and (occasional) public embarrassment. After all, being in a whole new country is a challenging adjustment for even the best of Disney channel characters. Due to a shared language and cultural similarities, I’m sure that many of you are skeptical as to how much that principle might apply to living in Australia. I thought the same before getting here. My 28 days down under, however, have proven my formerly naive self wrong time and time again.
Here are 7 instances and counting that Australia’s tested my largely Outback Steakhouse-backed knowledge…and I failed.
1) That first time I opened my apartment’s powder room door.
Picture a toilet with a sink coming out of it. The water that comes out of the faucet is used next time you flush. Pretty eco-genius but not the easiest hygienic concept to get used to.
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2) That time I tried to drive my own Uber.
I had been warned before my arrival that, like in the UK, driving is done on the opposite side of the road here. No one informed me that steering wheels are also on the opposite side from what I’m used to. What’s Aussie for awkward?
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3) That time I ordered an iced coffee and got a milkshake.
For whatever reason, Australians have decided that iced coffee does not obviously entail coffee chilled with ice. They have instead deemed it code for coffee chilled with ice cream. I’m not saying this is the worst mistake I’ve ever made, but my doctor would sadly not be pleased with this new breakfast routine.
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4) That time I tried to use public transportation, but no one knew where I was going.
Though incredibly convenient when understood, the train and bus system in city is vastly different from that of the MBTA and thus takes some getting used to. Possibly the hardest part is knowing how to pronounce station names. Let’s just say no one will be able to help you get to “Circular Quay,” but someone will happily give you directions to Circular Quay (pronounced “Key.”)
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5) That (very bittersweet) time I saw a koala and couldn’t hold it.
So it seems that Google Images is a liar. To my continuous dismay, carrying koalas is not a casual pastime over here and not every zoo will let you do it. Due to (very important) conservation efforts, it is apparently pretty rare to get this photo.
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6) That time I thought I was being generous to a cashier.
Though also called dollars, the different kinds of Australian currency are a bit different (and a lot prettier) than ours. For example, there are $1 and $2 coins. There is not, however, an equivalent to the US penny. Paying $30.55 for $30.54-worth of groceries and telling the clerk to “keep the change” will thus get you nothing but a laugh back.
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7) That time a local was speaking English, yet I had no idea what he/she was saying.
I’ll be honest, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. Aussies have the tendency of speaking really fast, shortening their words, and using a lot of slang. Top all of that off with their often thick accents. Now try to guess what “arvo” or “Macca’s” might mean.
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So if it isn’t obvious by now, studying abroad entails a daily pop quiz of some sort. I might still be getting the hang of it, but trust me when I tell you, the last thing I’m doing is complaining.
AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE!

Hali: Hali’s Favorite Coffee Shops

Hello, fellow COM student! 

True fans will remember that one year ago, I posted my list of favorite brunch spots in Boston. While I don’t have time to eat as much brunch these days, I still make time for coffee. As a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, I’ve been to my fair share of Boston coffee shops. The best thing about going out for coffee is that it can be as productive (or not) as you want it to be. In typically Hali fashion, here is a list of the best coffeeshops to spend an entire Sunday afternoon writing that WR150 paper that’s due next week! 

Tatte

Don’t fool yourself and assume that my list is in no particular order. Well, after this one, it is in no particular order. But Tatte belongs at the top. Why, you ask? It’s because, in short, Tatte Cafe and Bakery is my happy place. Where else can you get the most caffeinated cold brew you’ve ever had and pair it with a pastry, a sandwich, or – if you’re feeling crazy – CHEESECAKE? I would like to point out a few things that make Tatte the best coffee shop around. First, you have a million options. Tatte just opened brand new locations in Back Bay and Fenway, and they’re located in just about every other neighborhood of Boston and Cambridge as well. Second, there is nothing in the world that’s better than Tatte’s almond croissant. Trust. 

A photo of the Holy Land (1352 Boylston Street).
A photo of the Holy Land (1352 Boylston Street).

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

Talk about a cool, calm, collected aesthetic, am I right? This one’s a little out of the way, but hey! If it’s the weekend, you were probably going to Newbury Street anyway, right? Make a quick stop here between all the shopping to get a little work done. Barrington makes my list because while all of these coffee shops have great vibes, Barrington probably has the best actual coffee. Drink up, and study up. 

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company (303 Newbury Street)
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company (303 Newbury Street)

Pavement

I’ll be completely honest, I am listing Pavement out of sheer obligation! Just kidding, kind of. I am actually listing Pavement because if I go one week without a Sunrise on a multigrain everything bagel, I suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms! All jokes aside, Pavement is one of the best coffee shops in Boston, and their location is so convenient for BU students. PRO-TIP: the Fenway location (located on Boylston) is 100% the superior Pavement! It’s only a five minute walk from the one on campus, and it’s worth the extra steps to have a better chance of finding a table. 

Pavement Coffeehouse (1334 Boylston Street)
Pavement Coffeehouse (1334 Boylston Street)

Blue State

Blue State will always have a place in my heart. I will always associate remember it as the closest place to my freshman year dorm in Claflin Hall where I could actually get good coffee. Blue State makes my list because of their expansive menu. From cold brew to tea to smoothies, they’ve got it all. They’re also open until 10 PM, so stay as late as you’d like. 

Blue State Coffee (957 Commonwealth Avenue)
Blue State Coffee (957 Commonwealth Avenue)

I’ll keep my list short to make your coffee-shop decision easier. If you’d like a more extensive selection, feel free to give me a call. Next time you’re craving something a little more chic than your caramel iced coffee from Dunkin, give one of these spots a try! 

Morgan L: A Love Letter to the Dining Hall

Pure bliss during my first Lobster Night at BU
Pure bliss during my first Lobster Night at BU

I always say that my favorite place to be in Massachusetts is in Boston University’s dining halls.  Most people are convinced that I am kidding, or maybe have never tasted food at an authentic dining establishment, but the truth is, I genuinely love the dining hall. 

My question is: What’s not to like?  The dining hall is essentially a buffet offered to you every meal of the day, and every single day of the week.  Sounds like a dream come true to me!

In my mind, all three dining halls possess distinctly different personalities with my favorite being Marciano Commons.  Although Warren and West also check off everything on my list for things I desire from a dining hall, including good food and a kind staff, Bay State does it all with a little extra charm.

Let me start off with the food.  Yes, I admit, I have not had the best meal of my life while on Commonwealth Avenue, but I do admire the dining hall’s consistency.  I can always find a dish that catches my interest, and if not, I make a stop at the trusty sandwich station.  To make things even better, the dining hall’s special events are something to look forward to.  I’m that girl that puts the Visiting Chef Series and Lobster Night in their planner.  It would also be a fairly good guess to assume that I would celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day or National Clam Chowder Day at the two-story cafeteria.  Food is what makes events special, and BU Dining Services understands that.      

The dining hall isn’t only a place to get food, it is the ideal study place. There are a variety of comfortable seating options, many of which have easily accessible outlets. Food is always readily available, and if you’re a snacker like me, you can pick at some cereal of goldfish throughout your stay.  A small tip is that you can stay there all day, and eat all three meals for the cost of one swipe.  It is not rare to catch me working on my COM papers at a booth in Bay State with a stack of plates piling up beside me.

Sure, the dining hall could get better noodles, a wider variety of fruits, or cook their rice so that it’s not still hard, (and if your reading this BU Dining Services, please do!) but overall, I have never walked out of 100 Bay State Road unsatisfied.  If it wasn’t clear, I love the dining hall—why wouldn’t you?   

Geneve: 5 Signs You’re a True Bostonian

I feel like I can adequately call myself a “city girl now” I’ll be honest; when I first moved to Boston from my hometown of Boise, Idaho (which is tiny, mind you), I had no idea if I would adjust to the city life. I definitely had a bit of culture shock initially. But, as my first semester unfolded, I checked off places on my “Places to See” list, I slowly gained the Bostonian status. Here are 5 signs that you have, too. 

  1. You no longer have to check the T maps to know what stop is next on the Green Line Inbound.  

Kenmore, Hynes, Copley, Arlington, Boylston, then Park Street. After you take the T enough times, you’ll start to know exactly what stop you’re getting off at and not have to consistently stand next to the map or check the LED sign religiously. An extra bonus: you can give people directions if they look lost! (Also, @MBTA, when are you going to fix the fact that you can’t change directions at Copley and have to go all the way to Arlington?)

Next stop: Boylston. No smoking, please. 

2)   City Target becomes more impractical than fun. 

Now, no hate, because the City Target is the bomb.com, but it’s the worst feeling when you realize you forgot to grab something on the third floor and are heading to the checkout on the second floor. Tip: section off your shopping list by floor so you don’t have to go back to the third floor a second time!

Moment of appreciation for the beautiful lights and luxurious apartment buildings on the way from the BU Campus to Target, though. 

3)   Jaywalking at Kenmore Square does not phase you.

Crossing the street when the light is actually green? What’s that? Besides mumbling “hit me, I dare you” under your breath half-jokingly, you’ll start to realize that it’s completely irrational to wait to cross because there can either be so much traffic that it is standstill, or no cars at all. 

STILL LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THOUGH. Both ways, twice! Safety is #1. 

4)   You begin to venture outside of the city during the weekend.

Obviously, living in Boston is amazing. But eventually, you’ll branch out and explore places outside of Boston– in close proximity like Cambridge or Somerville, and a bit further, like Salem or the Cape. And lucky for us, MBTA offer direct transportation to places like Newburyport and Salem, so there’s almost no excuse to get out of the immediate Boston area. 

Make sure you book bus or train tickets in advance if you are planning on going somewhere during three day weekends! Prices may skyrocket. 

5)     You never leave for the day without packing an umbrella or rain jacket. 

Boston can always be unexpectedly hit with downpours, and you don’t want to be left unprepared and drenched on your walk from class to class. Rain jackets are awesome if you don’t want the bulk of an umbrella and take up barely any space in your bag when folded up. However, if you want more full coverage from the rain without wearing a hood, an umbrella is your best option! Lots of stores sell smaller, compact umbrellas perfect for college students!

So, do you think you’ve met the criteria for being a true Bostonian? 

If so, congrats! And hey, if not quite yet, no worries. You still got a few years to go, so what’s the rush? 

Laura: Balancing Act

A month into my New Year’s Resolution and I can say I am not doing too hot.

What is this 2018 Resolution you ask? Not the basic ideas like drink more water, exercise frequently, or be better at saving money, but rather…

To stop getting stressed out.

If you are anything like me (neat freak, planner obsessed, calendar is color coded, etc) you might think this is an impossible goal. I just can’t help it! When I have an overwhelming schedule I immediately result to blurting out “I’M SO STRESSED!”

I think getting caught up in the college moment is almost too easy. With class all day, an internship, trying to hangout with friends, catching up on This is Us and getting sleep it can be impossible to find time to breathe.

Here is my pledge that I will actually try to be less stressed so here are some ideas on how we can all prevent and reduce stress: 

  • Meditating in the morning

This doesn’t need to take too much time it can just be taking some nice deep breaths before leaving your room for the day and giving yourself positive thoughts.

  •  Drinking tea before bed

My favorite is the honey lavender “Stress Relief” tea from the brand Yogi.

  • Getting the proper amount of sleep

I try and get 8 hours of sleep every night by using the bedtime section on the clock app on my phone. I can set when I want to go to bed and wake up and it will remind me 15 minutes before to go to bed. I can also track my sleep to make sure I am staying well rested to avoid feeling run down and sick.

  • Acknowledging that you’re stressed and taking a break

If you take a minute to realize you’re stressed, what needs to get done and then take a small break before you do it, it might be more effective. Sometimes I need a quick break before I can sit down to do all my work.

We’re all in stress together! Get those deep breaths going with me and we can definitely make it through this semester.

Stephen: Lesser Known Gems Throughout Boston

When I arrived on campus for orientation this past summer, it was the first time in many years that I had spent more than a day in Boston. Now, as a second semester freshman, I’ve been in the city for months enjoying what it has to offer. From great food to exciting activities, there are endless numbers of things that can be done here. For me, however, one of my favorite activities is finding new places to take photos.

I come from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania known as Carlisle. Now Carlisle is very nice and all, but it’s not quite as intense as Boston. The photography I did there usually required me to travel long distances to capture a sunset or simply an interesting landscape. Here in Boston, all of that has changed. Now I can just hop on the T, go to the North End and take new photos every time I’m there. However, is continually going to one spot really all that fun? For some perhaps, but for me not so much. That’s why I’m going to share five of my favorite places for photography that I have found in my short time being in the city. Before we get into the list, don’t worry about whether or not you prefer landscapes, portraits, cool insta shots, or whatever really. The list consists of all photography interests so it can apply to anyone.
 
Longfellow Bridge –
Longfellow Bridge is located right next to the Charles/MGH T station and has one of the best views of the city I have yet to see. The bridge has a pedestrian friendly walkway and you can often find bikers or runners making their way across. From my experience, it is best to come to the bridge during the dusk hours of the day when a lot of the city lights start to come on. Naturally, this spot is ideal for cityscape photos and long exposures such as the one below.
 
 
Chris and Ally’s Bench –
If you’re looking for a peaceful place near the river, this is the spot for you. Chris and Ally’s Bench is located along the Charles River Esplanade only a short walk from the BU Campus. It has some gorgeous weeping willow trees and there are great spots to climb around and enjoy nature. This spot is great for portrait work or for getting a nice shot of the river, especially on days where the river is full of boats. It shows up on google maps so you should have no trouble finding it!
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge –
I have yet to go to this bridge just yet but it has peaked my interest for quite some time. If you don’t already know of this bridge, it is located in the North End and it has a quite iconic cable architecture. There are walkways underneath and around the bridge as well so you can get a view of it from many different angles. I’d personally like to do portraits in this spot and test around with some other shots as well. After you’re done checking it out too you can always walk right on into the North End for some quality food.
 
Coolidge Corner – 
A classic Boston location, Coolidge Corner is in the Brookline neighborhood and is about a 15-20 minute walk from West Campus. There are some great food options in the area in case you get hungry, and the photography is great too. The famous Coolidge Corner Theatre features some great lights for a nighttime shoot, and the rustic buildings on the corner of Beacon and Harvard street (right next to the T stop) are quite the sight. I’ve been here once but I am looking forward to returning at night for some more photography.
 
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park –
Another North End location, this waterfront park is quite a nice area to spend some time in. This location is very popular so don’t expect to be alone, but do expect to get some cool pictures. At night when the archways are lit up, things can get quite pretty. Another great aspect of the park is its great view of the water as well as its proximity to Faneuil Hall. Grab some food, do some shopping, and then head down to the park for some pics.
While creating this list I really tried to avoid some of the more popular spots such as Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, or the famous Acorn Street. Those are all great options for photography as well, but the list features some not as popular gems that are still fantastic spots. Grab a friend, grab your camera, and get out there and start shooting! Not into photography? No problem whatsoever, hopefully this list can still add some locations for you to check out in the future.

Maddie: The Beauty of Your Typical COM Schedule

Transferring into COM has opened my eyes to so many new, exciting opportunities. Arriving at BU undecided in CAS, you could say that I had no idea where I would be the beginning of my sophomore year–a dual major in COM. Seriously, the fact that I was able to make a solid decision about my life in less than a year’s time is actually impressive.
Besides getting to explore my passions and experience genuine excitement when learning about communications (thank you, journalism & PR classes), COM has also shown me the light in another way: the perfect COM schedule.
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Yes, that is my schedule. And yes, I have been roasted REPEATEDLY by my friends who just don’t understand how I can only have class three days a week. Looking at my schedule, I honestly know that if I was in another person’s shoes, I’d be jealous of me too.
However, I want to stress exactly why COM schedules are set up this way. A big part of being in COM is what you do outside the classroom. I love that–I love that I can talk to anyone walking down the hallways and see that they’re interning at some awesome production company in Boston or doing a co-op at the Boston Globe.
Yes, you read that right. The Boston Globe. It’s a big deal.
Internships aren’t just encouraged at COM–they are required. BU’s COM programs ensure that students are not only required to have an internship before they graduate but to make time for their own personal internships as well. I’m applying for an internship this summer in London for Public Relations, and if I receive a spot in the program, I will be matched to an internship by BU. But during the school year, the COM schedule emphasizes a freedom for COM students to explore their personal career goals while being a full-time student. My schedule is less of a five-day routine, but I get to take my classroom time and apply it to my outside work.
While I appreciate not having classes on Wednesdays and Fridays (three-day weekends are as amazing as they sound), being in COM ensures that I am a busy student regardless of how many night classes I sign up for. Everyone in COM is an active member of not only the BU community but the Boston community as well. Our classes are structured to allow us to explore the independence we will be having in a few short years (don’t remind me about graduation) and I’m incredibly grateful for that opportunity.
If you looked at my schedule, you would guess that I have a lot of downtime. And you would probably guess that most COM students have a lot of free time. But in the majority of cases, that just isn’t true. When I’m not in class, I’m dedicating my time to school work. I’m focusing on ensuring the online publication I edit for, Boston University’s Her Campus, is running smoothly. I look for study abroad opportunities and complete service opportunities in the city. I plan my future. And trust me, I spend a lot of time in Mugar–occasionally doing work, mostly just freaking out with my friends about upcoming assignments. What’s new?
And other COM students are the same. When they’re not grinding in the classroom or in the library, they’re out filming for their BUTV10 show. They’re prepping for their live WTBU segment. They’re scouting for internships. They’re working on location to get the best shot. They’re following a beat in Dorchester. They’re preparing a press release in PR Lab. The point is, COM students are always working, despite what our schedules look like.

Frank: Four of the Worst Tracks of 2017

2017 was… a time. A lot of things happened. We made some friends. We learned a couple of new things. We had some fun. We also listened to a lot of songs— many of them so overplayed, and so downright terrible they deserve to be buried for eternity and never brought back. Here’s some songs that should definitely stay in 2017.

Imagine Dragons: Believer

I’ll be the first to admit it: Imagine Dragons has some legit bangers. Demons and Radioactive are mighty good tracks. But Believer is not a banger; it’s absolutely not a banger at all. This song is bottom of the barrel, generic trash. I honestly cannot stand this song— it’s grating, it’s annoying, and it’s still being played in Jeep car commercials 10 months after its release. 

Lil Pump: Gucci Gang

A chorus can make or break a song. But sometimes, like in the case of Gucci Gang, it can utterly and fundamentally destroy it. Pump says ‘Gucci Gang’ a total of 53 times in this song. 53. Let that sink in. That’s 52 more times anybody should say the words “Gucci” and “Gang” together in a sentence. Yet, everybody went with it. Everywhere you’d go those two words would follow. Gucci. Gang. Gucci. Gang. Make it stop.

Ed Sheeran: Shape of You

Genius describes this song as an island-tinged smash. I say it’s more of an island-tinged limp, a stagger from beginning to  end. Sheeran’s unmotivated singing makes for an uninteresting listening. Pair that with an irritating and incessant marimba and you’ve got yourself an incredibly annoying song. If just hearing the song doesn’t make you wanna hate it, listen to one of the millions of parodies it got. Oh, you’ll hate it then. You’ll despise it.

Katy Perry: Bon appétit

Bon appétit is probably one of the most monotonous and boring songs I’ve heard all year. It’s filled to the brim with innuendos that only immature middle school students can appreciate. The chorus is grating, the beat is wack, everything is wrong. Not even Migos could save this one. More like Bon no thank you pls. 

Now this list, sure isn’t comprehensive. I’m pretty sure some even more terrible tracks flew under my radar. But you know what? Some pretty good music also got released in 2017! And if you’re one of those people that like good music, why not tune into WTBU Radio? WTBU is BU’s very own college radio station, broadcasting from 6am to 2am! WTBU’s got a show for every genre out there, from alternative and indie to jazz and ska. Tune in at wtburadio.org or download the WTBU app! 

Sam G: Three Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Winter

Winter in Boston is objectively … not the most fun. The dead of winter means cold, dry air, dark mornings, early nights, flu symptoms and general yuckiness. This semester, my last one at BU, I’ve (finally) come up with ways to keep myself healthy, happy and far away from that spring-semester slump.
1. Eat seasonal veggies
 
Sometimes eating healthy in the winter is tricky! Out-of-season vegetables are expensive and not the freshest, so it’s often easier to dive into a big bowl of pasta or zap that leftover takeout in the microwave. One thing I like to do in the winter to stay healthy and happy is pick up seasonal winter veggies for hearty meals of soup or vegetable pans that last all week long! Try roasting a batch of crispy brussel sprouts, bake a yummy delicata squash in olive oil or even slice up some homemade sweet potato “fries.”
2. Invest in an essential oil diffuser
 
I received a desktop diffuser for Hanukkah, and it’s really changed my world.  This is going to sound extra but I promise, this baby has worked wonders. 100 ml of water + three drops of oil = immediate peace, relaxation and warmth. It can be set on a timer, so I will do an hour of lavender oil as I fall asleep, an hour of peppermint for a boost of positivity or an hour of frankincense for meditation. I like to turn it on while I get ready in the morning to get me out of bed and wake up a bit. 10/10 would recommend.
3. Get moving
Trust me, there’s nothing I like more on a cold day than cuddling under my blanket and watching Netflix or reading a good book. That being said, winter is often the hardest time of year to get active and can leave you in a real funk. My new favorite fitness app, Aaptiv, holds me accountable to work out in some capacity every day and keeps me awake and alert during the day. The app updates daily with new classes narrated by real trainers, which is useful whether I want to go for a full-on FitRec sweat sesh or just do a bit of body strength in my apartment before I get ready for the day.

Lauren F: 10 ways to spend your free time effectively

This semester, I’m working for Boston.com — the regional news and information website of the Boston Globe — as a full-time co-op. As daunting as a 9-5 might seem, it’s actually pretty surprising how much free time I end up with at the end of the day.

No assignments, no studying, no papers; I leave all the work at the office to complete the next day when my shift begins. I think I can confidently say that I’ve mastered the art of spending your free time effectively. (NOTE: I reiterate effectively, as the following may not necessarily be the most productive. Word choice is key here.)

If you ever find yourself in a lull between classes and homework, it can be aggravating to remember how you used to spend your free time all those weeks ago during winter break. Here are a few recommendations so you don’t spend all your free time simply figuring out what to do:

  1. Binge a Netflix/Hulu show

This brings me back to my original point on how this post is meant to teach you how to spend your free time effectively, not productively. I’m sure this is already an option that comes most readily to us busy college students, but it’s hard to search for a good show to watch amid the vast collection that these streaming services offer. So far, I recommend New Girl for some light-hearted humor, but some other classic comedic shows to binge include Friends, Parks and Recreation and The Office. In terms of more dramatic options, I would recommend Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Shameless and Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, none of these options are particularly hidden gems, but I’ll add in my two cents to attest to the quality of these shows.

  1. Start a blog

Blogging is not just for the Insta-famous or technologically-ept! I can claim that as I, myself, actually maintain a travel blog. It began as a way to show my family back home what I’m up to here and it’s still rather new as I only have one post on there (shameless plug: check it out at farawayfrias.wordpress.com), but I hope to add more to it once I study abroad. Your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be travel-related like mine, but it can revolve around anything! Food, music or even just a compilation of your thoughts — anything is a good enough theme. Even if you don’t want to start your own website, go to medium.com to get a taste of that blogging life without jumping all in.

  1. Try bullet-journaling

This might be a very niche frustration, but something that I’ve always struggled with at the beginning of every new school year is finding a planner. If you’re anything like me, my planner is my lifeline; I write everything in it — to-do lists, grocery lists, reminders, assignments, recipes, future plans, even book and TV show recommendations. I have a very specific idea of the organization that my planner needs, and nine times out of ten, the planner I end up doesn’t meet all of my needs. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands and try bullet-journaling. It’s a hassle, yes, but the amount of creative freedom that comes with bullet-journaling makes it worth.

  1. Learn how to cook

I’m not entirely sure how much this will pertain to most students, but I live in an off-campus apartment this year, which means cooking is a very large part of my life now. Previous to this experience, my culinary expertise spanned no further than instant ramen and scrambled eggs. I think it’s safe to say that so far all of my recipes are no more than glorified versions of basic foods — I use fancier spices now alongside salt and pepper — but all you need is a pan, a hot surface, and a determination to be self-sufficient and you’re well on your way to making a gourmet meal.

 

  1. Go to the gym

Again not entirely sure how much this will pertain to most students, but I have recently gotten back on my health kick, probably thanks to the new year. But truth be told, it’s really not as bad as society makes it seem. Sure, there are health nuts and fitness gurus surrounding me while I struggle to pick up a four-pound weight, but don’t let them phase you. You’re there to achieve your own goals, no matter how big or small they are. My goal is pretty small — being able to climb the three flights of stairs to the Globe office without getting entirely winded — but it’s enough to keep me going back. And you’d be surprised how fast those two hours at the gym can fly by when you’re

  1. Do arts and crafts

Arts and crafts can cover a wide variety of projects, but it’s still a nice way to spend your time without being glued to technology. Most of my crafting efforts have been put towards decorating my apartment with painted glass bottles and pressed flower canvases, but to get more inspiration, get yourself a Pinterest board of ideas today.

  1. Search for work on BU’s Quickie Jobs page

Something that I think a lot of BU students might not be aware of is the Quickie Jobs page under the Work tab on Student Link. We’re college students, so obviously we like to make money where we can. Well, this page can help you with that, offering quick odd jobs to help you make a fast dollar. There are various opportunities posted, from babysitting gigs to research studies. If you have a free moment to spare, it doesn’t hurt to make a bit of cash on the side.

 

  1. Read a book

To some, this must come as an easy option, but to the more technologically-inclined, it’s an outlet to give your eyes a rest from all that blue light. Currently, I’m reading a book by BU’s very own Professor Mitch Zuckoff, 13 Hours. And you’d be surprised how many other professors have interesting published books. You can rent books from Mugar Library with your BU ID, but if nothing there suits your fancy, it’s easy and free to register for a library card at the Boston Public Library right outside the Copley train stop. So really, you don’t have much of an excuse not to read.

  1. Volunteer

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in this bustling city, from local animal shelters, retirement homes, and even right on campus. It always feels good to give back, and it’s just a quick Google search away to find opportunities. If you’re looking for a more accessible option, check out the Community Service Center for some on-campus volunteer work.

  1. Relax!

And, most importantly of all, the best way to spend your free time is to just relax. Light some candles, draw yourself a bath, and settle in with a good book. And if you’re not a bath person, I recommend getting some string lights and snuggling into a big blanket to watch a good movie. Any way that you can take a moment for yourself, do it, before the grind catches up with you and you have to return to reality.