This past weekend my mom was in Boston. She was in town for a National Science Teacher convention, but she had plenty of time afterwards to visit. I had so much fun being a tourist with her. We went on a Duck Tour and saw a Red Sox game, ate dinner in Harvard Square and did some shopping on Newberry. During her stay some logistic problems kept coming up so I wanted to share our fixes so when your parents visit it will be a great visit.
1. Have your family or visitors stay in a different area than your dorm. My mom stayed at the Park Plaza. It was great because whether we were around the hotel or by my room in East Campus and needed to drop something off, use the restroom or just rest we had a place to go.
2. Decide where you are going to stay while your family is here. The first night my mom was here we had dinner and then went our separate ways. Which was hard to do because we just wanted to catch up and visit, but I hadn’t packed an overnight bag so I had to go back to my room.
3. On that same note, if you do decide to stay with your parents make sure you pack everything. Since I’m from Florida, my mom doesn’t have a winter coat so she borrowed one of mine as well as a scarf and gloves. We kept forgetting things in my room that we needed at the hotel or vice versa.
4. Take advantage of being away from campus. Having your parents here is a nice excuse to unwind and escape from the stress of classes and campus. (At the same time though don’t forget important due dates. I did a little bit of homework in advanced so I could have a weekend “off”.) Enjoy going to sights and restaurants you may normally not go to during a normal weekend. My mom and I had fun exploring Cambridge and the Waterfront.
This weekend I moved into a new dorm. It was a whirlwind week of packing, and unpacking, going from the one Residence Assistant Office to another and calling the BU Housing Office. But all said and done I’m absolutely in love with my new room. I’m now living in a brownstone on Baystate Road. My room is on the backside of the house and my window looks onto the Charles River and the Esplanade. Because of my class and work schedule, living on the east side of campus is much more convenient than living in West Campus. Each student is different- the girl that moved out of this room swapped with me so she could live in West Campus to be closer to the gym and her friends that lived over there.
The process I went through to move part way through a semester is called a Pull-In and works like this- If there is a vacancy in a room anywhere on campus then whoever is currently living in that room can “pull-in” someone to fill the vacancy. In my case my friend was the one moving and introduced me to her former roommate. We got along really well and she agreed to pull me into the room. (You can find more information about this and other room change processes at http://www.bu.edu/housing/.)
I had a ton of help from my new housemates to move my things from one end of campus to the other. Of course I picked the coldest day of the semester so far to move, but they were troopers and I’m so grateful for them. To move everything I rented a big yellow moving bin from the Residence Assistant office at my new dorm. They are available all year for moving and especially at the beginning and end of the year for move-ins and move-outs. Then we took it to west campus to load it up and pushed it all the way back up Commonwealth Ave to Baystate. I’m sure we looked like a traveling circus act. After that all I had to do was unpack and decorate my new room. I can’t wait to finish out the semester on Baystate. It already feels like home.
The other day I was catching up with my best friend from high school whom I hadn’t talked to in a couple of weeks. I was telling her about some problem that came up which I had stressed over, but by the time I was filling her in the issue was resolved and old news. She said, “Abby! Why didn’t you tell me this happened?!”
And I asked myself the same question. An outside opinion would have helped me so much and gave my Boston-centric issue a fresh perspective (And it is always great to catch up with friends). Sometimes you get caught up in the BU bubble of lectures, studying, dining hall lunches and roommates that it is really easy to forget about the other aspects of your life. I think it is so important to keep in touch with family and loved-ones and they are equally grateful to be kept in the loop. With things like iPhones, and Facebook and Skype it is so easy to iChat your mom in Florida on your walk home from class, IM your best friend studying abroad in Dublin, Skype with your boyfriend abroad in Morocco and then call your family who lives in New Orleans. Old school snail-mail is also a thoughtful and often overlooked way of keeping in touch. I just sent an actual letter to my great Aunt who doesn’t have a cell phone and she was so grateful to be kept in the know about what I’m up to in college. Sometimes things can get overwhelming when you text a friend to tell them to get on Facebook so you can send them a link to a video another friend saw on Twitter and then emailed you about. So be careful to not get overwhelmed and only reach out when and for how long you want to. If it takes you a day to respond to a text that is absolutely fine. I’m sure your loved one will appreciate it no matter what.
Technology really does amaze me. Morocco is 3,515 miles away. I’m surprised I even get to see a picture.
This isn’t how it is every week, but sometimes you just have to call your Mom four or five times in one day. (We were making holiday plans and I kept losing the call in the elevator. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, okay?)
I have contracted Music ADD. I just cannot settle on one playlist, artist or a single song even to listen to all the way through. I used to be able to listen to music while I read for class or studied for a test, but lately I get so distracted thinking, “Is this the right song to be listening to right now?” or, “I wonder what song is next on my playlist?” and eventually before the song is over I have to change the it. Then I lose my place in my book and have to re-read entire paragraphs. It’s seriously a problem. And now it has spilled over into my workout playlists. This is even more of a problem because you don’t want to be that girl on the elliptical glued to her phone. It is also physically impossible to change a song while you are bobbing up and down on a treadmill. But I have found a solution (for what to listen to at the gym, at least)- Podcasts!
I like listening to podcasts for many reasons:
- I tend to get bored while working out so having something more interesting to listen to helps keep my mind on something other than how badly my legs (arms, feet etc.) hurt.
- I feel like I am learning something. Even if that something is the history of skinny jeans.
- Podcasts are a good break for your mind, but still make me feel like I am being productive. For me, going from reading something very academic like how the transcendentalist thinkers of the 1840’s helped reinvent the advocacy tradition of Journalism to listening to Top 40 pop songs can be very jarring.
Here are a few of my favorites to listen to:
Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac | https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/apm-garrison-keillors-writers/id136642066?mt=2
TED Talks | https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tedtalks-audio/id160904630
How Stuff Work’s Stuff Mom Never Told You | https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/stuff-mom-never-told-you/id304531053
Star Talk | https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/startalk-radio/id325404506
With classes starting again I am again reminded just how much actually goes on around campus. Towards the end of last semester and my first year at BU, I thought I had really found my groove and knew what was what around campus. I thought I had it all figured out and that I knew exactly how my sophomore year was going to go. But this past week I have been pleasantly proved wrong.
The amount of clubs, organizations, events and causes is overwhelming but in the most inspiring way. In an “any thing is possible” or “I can be anything I want to be” kind of way. I am determined to keep this feeling all year even as more class projects get underway. I feel like I could be a part of anything I want. This fall it has also come to my attention that my friends do more than I thought and I can’t wait to join friends who are already involved in something awesome.
One of my fellow COM Ambassadors, Anneliese, is a DJ on a radio show on WTBU and has really made me want to know more about the radio station. My roommate and best friend is very involved with dance on campus and has inspired me to take a Ballet PDP. I also love seeing the freshmen in my COM Ambassador group get excited to get involved. They have inspired me to try some new things and are even letting me tag along with some of them to new member meetings. I can’t wait to see what this semester has in store for me and BU as a whole.
I can remember this time last year FREAKING OUT about moving to Boston and starting my freshmen year. I had been planning and organizing all summer since before I had even officially graduated high school. (You can see my ridiculously color-coded packing list on the first episode of last season’s COMLife http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A021MmXvZo). One of my biggest stressors last summer was getting all of my things from Florida to Boston. And making sure I had every thing I needed or could possibly need at my new home away from home. This summer I feel a little bit calmer about entering my sophomore year mostly because I know a little bit more about what to expect. One obvious thing that did not occur to me until after I arrived in Boston was there are stores in Boston, too, because other people live there too. There are clothing stores and office supply stores and Bed Bath and Beyonds. So it is okay if you forgot something because there is nothing you left at home that your family can’t ship up to you or you can’t buy.
The cold weather was also another unknown that I was trying to plan for. I thought that it would be a snowy blizzard outside the second I stepped off the plane and I had no coat because it is impossible to buy fleece in Florida. But you know what? I was wearing shorts on move-in day and bought a fan for the first couple of weeks in the air-condition-less dorms. There was plenty of time for me to find a winter coat, boots and hat once I was in Boston because it doesn’t get cold until at least after Halloween.
Finally the weather is nice and I don’t have to wear so many layers outside. There are no more piles of snow lingering under shaded tress or piled in the corner of parking lots. I just love seeing so many people laying on the COM lawn or playing Frisbee on the BU Beach. This is the first actual spring I have ever experienced. Growing up in Florida it was summer pretty much all year round with an occasional week or two in February when the weather wasn’t as humid as usual (but still hot) and all of the pollen fell from the trees. I never got the purpose of spring, but now after almost 6 months of temperatures below 30 in Boston, I GET IT! You wake up every morning and the sun is actually shinning (okay so this has to do more with day light savings then the season, but still.) The walk from West to East campus doesn’t seem as long because blooming flowers and not your fingers freezing distract you. This weather is making me miss home a little bit so I decided to try to spend more time outside. At first this proved difficult because I either couldn’t find enough time or I would finally sit down and it would promptly start raining. So I have some tips to making the most of your outside time in Boston.
- Check the weather. Seriously. And not just the night before but in the morning too. Everyone gave me this tip when I first moved here and I did not take them seriously, but now I know that wasn’t just a ploy to make me download The Weather Channel app.
- Bring a blanket. Nothing is worse then finding the perfect patch of sun peeking through the trees to find out it is also the perfect patch of mud.
- Grab something to drink. I swear the Starbucks on campus have multiplied and now we have a new Jamba Juice as well. Also, there are bottle-filling stations all over the GSU and in Marciano Commons.
- Keep track of time. Laying outside is nice and relaxing but you don’t want to get so relaxed you forget about your next class or you fall asleep and wake up with a sunburn.
Right behind senior citizens, college students receive some of the best discounts. So you might as well take advantage of it while you can! Movie theatres and most retail stores offer a student discount with your BU ID. But the best is when you find something absolutely FREE to students! Many unexpected places offer a student discount, so I have made it a habit now to make sure I ask. Here are some of the best discounts/student deals that I have come across:
The Boston Symphony Orchestra Card-
This one is my favorite- You have access to not only Boston Symphony Orchestra Performances, but also touring opera and ensemble concerts (and I love any excuse to dress up). The BSO had a program that offers unsold tickets to regular season shows and performances to college student for free. They require that you have previously purchased a $25 BSO College card, but at BU Student Services located in 100 Bay State you can pick up this card for free.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston offer free admission to Boston University Students. I have been to both several times for fun and for class projects. The MFA Boston is my favorite so far because of their large amount of Boston based artists. But ask me tomorrow and my favorite will probably be The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for its eclectic intermixing of art and installments. I have not visited The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston but it is next on my list. They have reduced $10 tickets with a student ID.
Fenway Regal Cinema-
At the GSU Information Desk, BU Students can get tickets for movies that have been showing at the Fenway Regal Cinema for two weeks or more for $6.50. If you want to see a new release, all of the Regal Cinemas in Boston have student priced tickets.