Caroline: Boston, I Love You

Boston is a beautiful, historical, youthful city. The population of Boston increases 25% when labor day rolls around due to the abundance of colleges and universities (and this doesn’t even include our smart friends in across the river in Cambridge). That also makes it a smart city. There is so much to learn here and so many people of diverse backgrounds to learn from. Speakers and scholars from around the country and around the world flock to Boston to inspire and educate young, budding students. Boston sports allegiances run strong. I’ve been lucky enough to experience two Patriots Super Bowl wins. The atmosphere was contagious (and I’m a Giants fan) And who doesn’t love getting yelled at in Boston accent while legally crossing the street?

Commonwealth Avenue at sunset
Commonwealth Avenue at sunset

As youthful as the city may be, it is also old. Boston has so much history and you see it all around the city. Walk anywhere downtown and you’ll see something from the 1700s. The other day I was walking on School Street and I had to stop for a moment to admire the brick and steeple of the Old South Meeting House juxtaposed with the modern, glass Arch Street high-rise. The scene perfectly encapsulated the personality of Boston. You can follow the brick path of the Freedom Trail on your way to the Apple store. You can walk from your Student Village apartment to Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in America. You can get on the T underneath the Old State House.

Old South Meeting House, Photo Courtesy of Boston Art Gallery
Old South Meeting House, Photo Courtesy of Boston Art Gallery

Boston is also an incredible city to live in as an aspiring professional. There is such a vast collection of industries here for students to embed themselves in. Politics are abound, you can intern at the State House. WGBH is on of PBS’s largest production hubs. Cambridge is brimming with tech companies. The Boston Globe is a powerful news paper. We have more than 20 hospitals for those interested in the medical field. Not to mention worldwide advertising and public relations agencies. I could go on, but I think the point is made. Where else to get professional experience as a student then Boston?

You may have noticed lots of seniors have been posting about the friends they’ve made and what they’re going to do after college. For my last semester in Boston, I just wanted to pay homage to the city I’ve called home for the past three years. I have found lifelong friends and realized my career path, but it all happened here in Boston. Who knows if I will end up in Boston after college (it depends on who will hire me!), but I do know I will definitely be back. If not for an extended period of time, at least to visit often. I’ll leave you with my favorite photos of the city I’ve taken over the years.

Me overlooking Red Sox fans at Fenway Park
Me overlooking Red Sox fans at Fenway Park

Boston skyline as seen from South Boston

Charles River, Boston, and Cambridge from the Esplanade in springtime
Charles River, Boston, and Cambridge from the Esplanade in springtime

The Harvard University Arnold Arboretum in October
The Harvard University Arnold Arboretum in October

The Public Garden
The Public Garden

Caroline: Its Nice to Get Away

Early last week I called my mother to talk to her about the rain boots she shipped me (I found out the hard way my old pair had a huge gash in the sole). While we were on the phone, she floated the idea “why don’t you come home for easter?” At first I was apprehensive. I had Open House for accepted students on Saturday and had Escape the Room already booked with my friends for that evening. The earliest I would be able to come home was Sunday morning. Marathon Monday gave me a little wiggle room and I decided that it was okay to miss my Tuesday classes. I hadn’t missed either all semester and I had friends in both classes to take notes for me. Just like that, 45 minutes later tickets were booked to go home.

If you are lucky enough to live within a four hour radius from campus, you should definitely take the opportunity to take a long weekend at home. Its a great reset and a refreshing break from what can seem, at times, like a constantly stressful environment. My sister is abroad in Madrid this semester so my parents are feeling a bit more “empty nest” than normal (as much as they can be with one chick still in the nest). My brother is graduating from high school this year and is in the midst of deciding where to go to college. Plus he’s a star on the volleyball team and I think I’ve only ever seen him play once. So it was important for me to see hime play twice while I was home. I also gave him some advice about how to choose the right school.

Right now, he’s between Ithaca and Syracuse. Just about an hours drive separate the two—but they’re very different. Both of theses schools have excellent communication programs, so I’m sure many of BU’s accepted students have at least one of them in the mix (plus BU, the superior choice, of course). Both programs are great across the board, I would say the decision lies in prestige and where the schools differ. Charming town, small campus or small city, prestige, and athletics? The best thing I can say is visit everywhere if you can. A lot of times the decision is less pros and cons and more of a feeling. I’m sure many of the accepted students who visited the past two weekends may have felt what I’m talking about. A sense of belonging.

One of the downsides to going home is that it might take you out of working mode. Its hard to think about that 15-page paper you have due next week when you’re lying on the couch petting your cat, flipping between Chopped and Tiny House Hunters (I don’t have these channels at school). While it is a nice break, you have to find time to work. Because school doesn’t stop when you get home. Due dates stand and while it can be nice to reset, you don’t want to get too far off because you will quickly fall behind.

The other downside is FOMO. If you don’t know this already, I’m a bit of a grandma: crosswords, cats, podcasts (its like the same thing as radio, right?), and Jeopardy. I was sad when I got a snapchat of my three roommates watching Jeopardy together. Not to mention I missed Marathon Monday (aka the one day a year BU seems like a state school in the flyover states), which was my last opportunity to go while a student at BU because I’m going to be in LA next spring. I was definitely bummed about that. But I got to see a friend from high school I haven’t seen in a year and surprise my grandma instead.

One of the best parts of my visit was being able to see my cats. A lot of people will tell you that one of the worst parts of college is not being able to have pets. Its hard to live without the fluff ball you’ve grown up with. Pets embody home and comfort. That’s why during finals week BU has puppies come for students to play with. Its an instant stress reliever and puts a smile on most people’s faces. Its wholesome and comforting.

I came home to an Easter basket like I had as a kid (but this time with vegan chocolate bunnies homemade by my brother) and a household missing its twin girls. It was nice while it lasted, but I’m shipping up to Boston (ohhh ohh ohh) and I’m looking forward to getting back to classes and working on those 15-page papers (yes, more than one).

Caroline: The Best Vegan Eats in Boston

When I think Boston, I definitely don’t think “vegan-friendly city.” You have the North End, famous for cannolis and Italian food. The Seaport district known for its seafood. But don’t count Boston out. There are definitely some great vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Boston. Here are a few of my favorites:

Veggie Galaxy is a vegetarian restaurant in Cambridge. Almost any dish of theirs can be made vegan. It’s the perfect spot for brunch with all your friends! The caramelized banana butter that comes on the pancakes is delicious. But Veggie Galaxy isn’t just for brunch. They have amazing lunch and dinner selections as well. They have the option of two different veggie burgers (black bean and mushroom chickpea). I used to always get a burger but I recently ventured into the sandwiches and my new favorite meal there is the Vegan Club. It has tempeh bacon, smoked tofu, tomato, romaine, red onion, pesto, and vegan roasted garlic mayo. 10/10 would recommend Veggie Galaxy.

sweetgreen

Sweetgreen, though not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, is a takeout salad bar. They are vegan-friendly and label all of their ingredients, including dressings, if they are vegan. They have seasonal menus with ingredients sourced from local farms. There are plenty of locations around Boston including Fenway and State Street. Great for a quick, healthy meal.

Clover is an experimental food lab with locations all over Boston and Cambridge. They are a vegetarian restaurant. They also get their ingredients from local farmers. My personal favorite is the chickpea fritter, their take on falafel. They import the pita from Israel, its super fluffy and delicious. I also like some of their side salads. Their recipes are constantly changing and the menus differ from location to location. They also have a number of food trucks around the city; my favorite location is at the west end of Newbury Street. An added bonus is that everything is compostable!

By Chloe is a new restaurant to Boston. The Seaport location opens on February 23rd and the Fenway location (across the street from Sweetgreen) is set to open in April. I know about By Chloe from NYC. Its an incredible vegan restaurant with delicious meals, both sit down and grab&go. I even have the owner, Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook! The veggie burger with special sauce is soooo good and the quinoa taco salad is spicy and crunchy. I’m really looking forward to an all-vegan restaurant in Boston.

And for dessert, FoMu is the place to be. Not only do they have incredible vegan ice cream, but they also have delicious baked good. FoMu is located in Allston. All of their ice cream is coconut based. They have classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla bean, mint chunk, cookies and cream. But they also have some wild flavors like bourbon maple walnut, mango habanero, avocado, and sweet lavender.Their cones are delicious, as are the milkshakes. You can eat there for a nice treat, or take some pints home.

Caroline: COM Down with a Crossword Puzzle

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in December. Final exams and final papers are looming. It can become a lot, quickly on top of daily homework, extracurriculars, friends, and work. Sometimes its important to take a break from it all. When I’ve run out of podcasts (see previous blog post) I need something else to help me relax. Yeah TV is great, I’m a TV major for Pete’s sake! But sometimes you need to just curl up with a good crossword puzzle and relax.

Crossword puzzles are great because you still get to exercise your brain, but something about filling in boxes is very calming. Its also a fun way to learn new facts (which helps me with Jeopardy!). Another fun part of crosswords is doing them with friends. It always helps to have a sounding board for those trickier clues. When I was home over Thanksgiving break my local newspaper has a massive crossword puzzle that I brought back to school for all of my friends to complete. It took more than 24 hours total and eight different people, but we finished the 3,000+ word puzzle! Check it out below! It was a great bonding experience and a real emotional rollercoaster. Who knew a crossword puzzle would be so exciting?

My favorite part about crosswords is making connections and learning something new. I have two crossword books, edited by NYTimes Crossword editor Will Shortz, that I take with me when I travel and keep next to my favorite spot in the living room. Instead of scrolling through Twitter or channel surfing, I’ll pick up a book and pen and start a new puzzle. Its quiet therapeutic because even though you’re not doing anything important, you still feel like you’re accomplishing something.

So, if you’re feeling a bit stressed, take a few minutes and fill out this COM Crossword puzzle I created!

Caroline: BUTV10’s The Vote 2016

Tuesday night BUTV10 covered the US Presidential Election. The Vote 2016 was a collaboration between BUTV10, the Journalism Department, the Film and Television Department, BU News Service, WTBU, DC Study Abroad, and London Study Abroad. Students were all over the country reporting from inside the headquarters of presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, insides the headquarters of New Hampshire Senate candidates Maggie Hassan and Kelly Ayotte, and outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.. The whole show is the thesis project for journalism graduate student Natalie Robson.

We rehearsed for our two hour show for about a month leading up to Tuesday, but no rehearsal could prepare us for five hours straight of live coverage, three of which were unscripted. We had each bloc on the fly during commercial breaks. There were two anchors, a congressional reporter, an exit polls reporter, a social media reporter from BUNS, and an interviewer for us to integrate, and the five remote reporters. There was a delicate dance between calling states’ results and sticking to the plan we decided just minutes before. The most important thing is to be prepared and have back up plans. Sometimes Skype wouldn’t connect, so we would have to change the format, or a state would be called and we would have to cut out of a break early. It was hard work, but the support system around Natalie and myself allowed us to succeed.

The journalism and film and television professors were instrumental in the production. Their experience reporting and producing news really helped during crunch time. They were able to help us make informed decisions about what was next. The engineers in COM worked countless hours to hame sure the set and control room were ready for this huge production. We were lucky to have two important interview guests who have reported on elections in the past, mass communication professor John Carroll; and Pulitzer-prize winner, Dean Tom Fiedler of COM. We were also lucky enough to interview Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore.

The experience each student working on the election coverage got on Tuesday night is something very unique. No other university did the comprehensive coverage we had with all of our moving parts. This was honestly the most valuable experience I’ve had so far at Boston University. I was able to do Tuesday night essentially what professionals were doing, and I can take everything that I learned into the workplace after I graduate. I’m so grateful COM is full of professors and students willing to push the limits and try something we’ve never done before.

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Caroline: “In this podcast I listened to…”

I was home for three weeks this summer, and by my second to last day my mom would groan as I began the sentence she  heard so many times before: “In this podcast I listened to they were talking about how—” “Caroline please.” But I can’t help it! There’s just so much information to share. The podcasts I listen to all average about an hour per episode. Say I listen to five per week. That’s five hours of information that is just swimming in my brain, just waiting to come out! Well my mom learned to embrace my sudden influx of knowledge. Once I got to school I even called her with an update on one on going episode—not because she cared, but because I felt like she needed to know.

Another great thing about podcasts is that some of them give a glimpse into my future. 28-year olds talking about their lives and jobs and relationships. Its refreshing to hear how sure of themselves they are and how self-aware they are. It gives me hope that my insecure, self-doubting ways will be in the past some day soon. There are also podcasts that open my eyes to injustices and discrepancies in the world and teach me new ways of thinking.

So back to one of the many conversations with my mom… I was telling her about a podcast I listen to called Lizard People, a conspiracy theory podcast on which the host brings her friends to convince her of various conspiracy theories. This particular episode was about the moon landing, and it was particularly convincing. She just thought I was crazy… “drinking the cool-aid” I think she said, but I didn’t care. Another time I told her about a Revisionist History episode on Bates College’s five-star-quality dining hall food at the expense of scholarships for students from low-income families, comparing it to Vassar College, a school with notoriously bad dining hall food, but considerably more economic diversity. This one was particularly interesting, because it made me realize that all of the money a college or university spends comes from somewhere and there are tough decisions to be made about what is the most important to spend that money on.

All that said, here are some of my favorite podcasts:

Honey: Actress/writer/improviser/busybody Julia Meltzer interviews real couples about their fights: how, why, whose fault is it, do you still love each other – THE JUICY STUFF. At times hilarious, at times painful, at times full of heartbreakingly raw honesty, these conversations expose truths about love, human beings, and the concept of partnership. Best podcast I listen to.

Lizard PeopleWhat if the government actually did cover something up in Roswell? What if yetis exist and are just really shy? What if super-intelligent lizards are wearing human skin suits, influencing international affairs and recording podcasts? Conspiracy theories are cool because they appeal to our evolved logical human brains and our stupid mammal idiot brains. So join comedian and skeptic Katelyn Hempstead as her brilliant friends try to convince her of these and many other conspiracy theories. Hilarious, definitely recommend.

This American Life: This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 1.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. This is a great one to learn about the lives of different people. 

Revisionist History: A new podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. Each week, over the course of 10 weeks, Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past. An event. A person. An idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance. New perspectives!

About the News: Hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer with H. Andrew Schwartz, “About the News” is series of conversations with the top people reporting the news, about the news, and its impact on politics and policy. A collaboration between the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU, Schieffer and Schwartz host a weekly discussion with the most interesting people working in legacy media, digitally native platforms, social media companies, and top thought leaders. Great for journalists and newsies!

Go on iTunes and search through the Podcasts. They’re free and there are THOUSANDS to choose from. Something for everyone, including fiction podcasts (not my cup of tea, but definitely for some). It’s so easy to listen to a podcast and learn something new on your walk to class or while working out at the gym instead of listening to music. I think its important for everyone to have open minds and learn about the world; be it historical, socio-cultural, technological, or relational. It’s super easy to listen to a podcast, and I would definitely recommend it. Just maybe avoid telling your mother about every episode you listen to…

Caroline: BUTV10 Productions

I woke up at 5am Saturday morning for a 6am call time. The sun was no where in sight as my roommate and I walked from West Campus to Late Night Kitchen. Why might you ask? BUTV10!

BUTV10 Productions teamed up with The Hungry Terrier to produce BU’s version of Chopped, The 2nd Annual Chowdown! After months of collaboration between BUTV10’s production coordinator, The Hungry Terrier’s producers, and BU Dining Service. Between writing scripts, securing sponsors, auditioning contestants, devising the secret ingredients, organizing crew and equipment, or designing graphics, everyone had a hand in making the Chowdown AWESOME!

So we arrived on set at 6am and completely transformed Late Night Kitchen into a staged cooking show set.

We fought through our tiredness to produce one crazy episode of live-to-tape television. We filmed each segment separately, with the most difficult being the actual cooking. The three contestants, all BU students, had 45 minutes to transform chicken, apples, broccolini, and the secret ingredient salsa verde into incredible dishes!

The kitchen was hot and the ladies definitely handled the heat! There was a play on Waldorf salad, a Mexican staple, and a savory chicken and waffles spinoff. I was personally very impressed with the contestants and their ability to overcome difficulties and beat the clock.

The crew worked tirelessly to cover all of the action. There were two camera operators in the kitchen as well as a stage manager and host. There was an unmanned, rigged camera over the prep station and a camera on the floor with the judges and other host. To manage all of the camera feeds we used a TriCaster with a director and technical director. Although the we tried to cut the show as much as we could live, the Hungry Terrier crew will be editing everything in post production.

The judges were from Mei Mei’s in South Campus, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, and Fomu in Allston.  All great women from the Boston food scene. They had a tough decision to make, find out who won when the episode airs on butv10.com on April 29th! You can see all of the action I described as well as some KILLER graphics from our amazing graphics coordinator. He has been working on an animated opening sequence as well as cool logos for more than three months!

Caroline: Being Sick Away From Home

Its that time of year again when everyone and their mother is sick. Except your mother is actually no where to be found and you’re in your room at college, alone, wishing she could bring you some soup. One of the biggest differences with being sick at school versus at home is that everyone around you just stays away because they don’t want to get sick either. Your mom doesn’t care about getting sick, she just wants you to get better! And of course your friends want you to get better too, they’ll just help you from a distance. Like throwing you a tissue from across the room or translating for you when your voice is too sparse.
Probably the worst thing about having a cod at college, especially BU, is that you have to walk 20min to and from class. Walking the the cold with a sore throat and runny nose is probably the equivalent to swallowing a cup of nails and screw. Vivid image, I know, but just imagine how I felt. The other thing that’s hard is having all of your classes on Tuesday/Thursday. No class on Fridays? Sounds great until you have a 12 hour day and only one pack of tissues to get you through.
Some tips for surviving:
1. Take a day off from class. Its okay to miss if you’re really feeling under the weather. You have all the syllabi and know the work, just contact your professors to let them know ahead of time. Your health is more important than your school work (no matter how much you might think otherwise). This is one thing I didn’t do, but definitely wished I did because I honestly think I wouldn’t have been sick for as long.
2. Go to bed early. First of all, it takes way longer to fall asleep when you’re sick. Not to mention you need to give your body a rest and time to heal itself. I went to bed at 10pm every night.
3. Puffs tissues. Yeah they’re a little more expensive, but your nose will thank you. I promise you that when I was away from home using travel packs of two-ply tissues and folded toilet paper I felt like one of those poor red-nosed children in the puffs commercials.
4. Zicam tablets. I text my mom and told her I was sick (a few days into my torturous illness) and the first thing she said to me was “take zinc”. You have to let Zicam dissolve on your tongue and its unpleasant but it really does help shorten colds.
5. NyQuil? I’m not quite sure if my off-brand version of DayQuil/NyQuil actually helped me sleep. It seemed like it took forever to fall asleep and once I did, I woke up every two hours. But some people swear by it. Maybe next time I’ll splurge on the real stuff.
6. Tea. Hot Tea. My cold started off as a sore throat, so tea (and hot water when un-caffinated tea was unavailable) was key (like that rhyme?). I had my
7. Take some tips from Florida. One of my favorite (often under the weather) Floridians, L.E. Charles, recommended to me two of her state’s great contributions to the world: Gatorade and Oranges (well, vitamin C, but its the same thing). Boost your immune system and get your body super charged to get rid of this cold!
I finally made it through a week or more of pure torture to realize that no matter how hard you try or how healthy you normally are, no one is immune to the common cold. (This is actually a scientific fact, because the virus is constantly mutating.) Just have loving, understanding people around to support you through this difficult time and use my tips for surviving. Also, a call home to mom can’t hurt, plus she’ll tell you everything you should do to get healthy, fast! But patience is key and you just have to let the virus run its course. Next time I have a cold, I think I might experiment with taking no medicine to see whether its even worth it… Hopefully you won’t read that blog post for a while because I do not plan on being sick again for a long time.

Caroline: Holiday Travel

Disclosure: This blog post was written while driving through Manhattan on a bus home. Home meaning Boston, because that city has my heart 🙂

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to take a plane home for Thanksgiving— or so one might think. The past two Thanksgivings it has taken me 8+ hours to get from Boston to Wyckoff, NJ. The traffic on Tuesday afternoon before the holiday is crazy. First you get probably 20% of the Boston population leaving the city for home—wherever that may be. Then, if you’re on a bus that leaves anywhere from 1-5pm, you will hit NYC and Connecticut commuter traffic. Just when you think you’ll make it with in an hour of your scheduled arrival time, your hit bumper to bumper traffic from Norwalk, CT all the way to Manhattan. You finally cross the bridge to Manhattan and you think you’re home free, then you sit in grid lock for another hour as you travel 100 blocks to the 42nd St Port Authority. Once you’ve arrived there, you have to run to the top floor where the NJ Transit or Coach USA buses are to actually get to New Jersey, because even though you made it to the city, you’re still about an hour away from hugging your cats. Last year my bus got in so late, my mom had to drive into the city to pick me up because the NJ Transit buses had stopped running on a regular schedule. This year, I missed the last Coach USA bus to my town by one minute— the one minute I spent waiting in line for the ticket. I was running around Port Authority trying to figure out how I was going to get home, then finally got on a bus that I knew was going to a town near mine, but I wasn’t even sure exactly where I was going to be dropped off. I ended up getting home around 10:45pm, after leaving my apartment in Boston at 2pm.

Here’s the thing that really grinds my gears: if my roommate who lives in South Florida left our apartment at the same time as me, 2pm on Tuesday, I promise he would’ve gotten home before I did. Home in FLORIDA before I arrived home in NEW JERSEY. But, the bus is cheap, so I take it. Next Thanksgiving I am definitely splurging to take the train, because the traffic is just so mind numbing. I don’t have a problem any other time of the year taking the bus, its just Thanksgiving is so bad. My parents keep hounding me to find someone from North Jersey who has a car up in Boston— which is definitely not as easy as my sister finding someone with a car in Ithaca, NY. People don’t drive in the city! But I’m going to try for next time to find someone to give me a ride, because the hour detour to NYC makes the journey much more difficult.

Sorry to everyone who has to fly far and has to spend a lot of money on plane tickets. I salute you for only being able to go home a few times per year and the amount of time and money you spend traveling. If only it was socially acceptable to fly from Boston to Newark and it was as inexpensive as a bus/train ticket— I’d make it door-to-door in two hours. But until that’s a thing, or maybe even teleportation (that’d be dope) I’ll just be spending my time on the bus. Here’s hoping winter break traffic won’t be bad, because I already booked my bus tickets.

Caroline: Stages of Eating a Sushi Bowl

We’ve all had a craving for a Basho sushi bowl from the GSU. It’s such an amazing concept: a burrito bowl, but for sushi not burritos. Why wouldn’t you want that all the time? Well, it has its ups and downs, because a sushi bowl is deceptively a lot of food. Here are the stages of eating a sushi bowl:

 

1. Really wanting one

2. Never changing your usual order

3. Eagerly waiting for your name to be pronounced wrong

4. Figuring out how to go about eating it

5. Giving up on using chopsticks after your first three bites

6. Regretting your decision to get a sushi bowl because it’s way too much food

7. Forcing yourself to finish the whole thing because you just spent $10 on it

8. Resting for at least two minutes before doing anything else

9. Congratulating yourself for eating such a delicious meal

10. Repeating it all again the next time you’re in the GSU