Chris: Moving Off Campus – A Step into the Real World

One of the decisions students have to make toward the end of each academic year is where they’re going to live the following year. Because I was abroad last semester, I had to make the decision during the fall as to where I was going to live this Spring.

Unlike the previous three years, I made the decision to move off campus and in neighboring Allston, which is down the street from BU’s West Campus. As mentioned in the title, moving off campus while in school is a bit of a step into the adult world.
One of the first things you have to do is pay bills. The basic bills include rent and utilities (electricity, heat, and water). Sometimes apartments will include utilities in the rent price. An additional bill that many people will pay is to a cable company for some basic cable channels as well Internet. One thing to also keep in mind is that it’s important to pay these bills on time so that you do not hurt your credit score.
Another basic part of living off campus is you probably won’t have a dining plan (fun fact: once you live off campus or in BU apartment style housing you’re not required to have a dining plan). However, that does mean if you don’t have much cooking experience, you’ll have to start learning. Thus far, my forays into the culinary world have produced half decent omelettes, overcooked steaks, and plenty of evenings in a smoky kitchen.
The area where living off campus really pushes you into adult world is when things go wrong. While living off campus, if something goes wrong, you can just call your RA, they’ll call the facilities department who will take care of the issues. However, while off campus if something goes wrong like the leak I had a few weeks ago, you have to get the landlord involved, as well as repair people. The biggest thing there is working in repair people with your class and work schedules, which for us COM students can be very full at times.
All in all, much like college in general, moving off campus is a step towards more independence as we move closer to adulthood. However, with that step come several more responsibilities, which people should keep in mind if they choose to explore the option.

Chris: Thoughts From A Senior After the Final Spring Break

Spring break for a college senior is much like spring break for a high school senior, especially if you’re doing regular decision. Earlier this week on my tour of COM with fellow CA Eliza, we had a student who applied to BU and was waiting to hear back. Prior to her leaving the building, I told her and her family not to worry, that no matter what things would work out.

As I begin to take one proverbial step outside of COM and into the real world, I have to apply the same thinking to my job hunt. Similar to being asked what schools have you heard from, the taboo question senior year of college is “what are you doing after graduation?” For those with jobs lined up already, it’s just like those students who were accepted early decision, they say what their plans are and move on. For those of us still in limbo, things get a bit awkward when we respond.

The key for you, the prospective student, just know that it’s okay to not have everything figured out at the same time as everyone else. Like I said, things do fall into place. Rather than focusing on everyone else, which can be difficult, channel the energy towards other things. In high school I channeled it towards my extra-curriculars, which at the time involved being on the track team. Four years later, I am using the energy to remain positive and continue applying for jobs.

Chris: My Answer to “How Was Abroad?”

It’s been a week since classes have started and as I start to settle in back in Boston, as I stroll up and down Comm Ave. I run into people I haven’t seen since May and automatically get the same question, “Oh my gosh! How was study abroad?” Depending on who’s asking, I have a few prepared statements:

1) “It was great!”
2) “It was so much fun, I’m still really tired from it!”
3) “It was good, but it’s nice to be back.”

You pretty much get the picture there. In casual conversation, I still haven’t really put into words what a great experience going abroad was, so this is pretty much what I really want to say about the experience, having been back in the states for a month:

Going abroad was one of the best experiences I’ve had throughout my academic career. The BU internship program itself allows students to have a great balance between work as well as immersing themselves into the abroad experience. Having been bit by the travel bug many years ago, my main focus while in London was seeing as many places as I could, therefore, over the course of three and a half months, I was able to visit nine different countries and gain a much better perspective.

Whether I was in London, the Netherlands, Germany, or the Czech Republic, I was always being challenged to step out of my comfort zone. From small things like learning how to cook or finding my way through the small and winding streets of Prague, I was constantly learning and in my opinion improving as a person, while doing so. However all of this is mute if I was only that way for a three and a half month period, now the challenge will be to carry on that way while I’m back in Boston, or wherever life takes me after I graduate in May.

Furthermore, as a senior in college on his way out to you, a prospective student interested in COM;  make sure you do the same wherever you go. Step out of your comfort zone, learn about the things you enjoy and that make you happy because that’ll set you up for success in the future.

Chris: Greetings from London!

As the lone CA abroad, I guess it’s my duty to say, if you can…GO ABROAD!!

Now, I’m not just saying that as a plug for BU Abroad or COM, after a month and a half of living in London I truly back that statement. This semester I’m taking part in BU’s London Internship Program which is COM’s largest abroad program.

Essentially, you take two intensive classes for six weeks, usually in your field of study, then for nine weeks you get to intern with a company in London while taking one other course.

Enough about the school stuff and more about London. It’s definitely a nice change from Boston and BU’s campus, the city is a step up in terms of pace (think New York City) and unlike Boston where you can walk everywhere, I’ve found myself taking the tube plenty of times.

Thus far, my favorite part of London was going to an NFL game at Wembley Stadium, which just happened this weekend! I’m a huge New York Jets fan, and on Sunday I was able to watch them play against the Miami Dolphins.  The last few weeks, I was forced to watch the games at a casino at 6:00 pm to account for the five hour time difference between here and the east coast.  But luckily this week I only had to wait until 2:30 pm.  Before the game I was able to hang out with fellow Jets fans I’ve met at the casino and take in the NFLUK experience.  Plus the icing on the cake was the fact that the Jets won and improved to 3-1!

Next week, we have fall break and I can’t wait as I’ll begin to travel around Europe a bit more than I already have. Thus far, many of my trips have been within England; I made my way to Dublin, Ireland last week, but next week I’ll be going to Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid/Barcelona, Spain.  And during the rest of October I’ll be visiting Paris, France as well as Milan, Italy.

And if you aren’t convinced that you should try and go abroad, here are my top 5 reasons for going abroad:

1) Get to make new friends!

I only came abroad knowing one other person in my program and have made a ton of friends, from people that live on my floor to people I have class with.

2) Culture Shock

Similar to the way you feel going to away to college for the first time, there is a bit of a shock when you go abroad. Sometimes you do get homesick, but in the end, you get to adapt to living in a completely different place, you adapt to a new culture, and even get to pick up new cool words (like saying queue instead of a line).

3) TRAVEL

This past summer I worked for an airline, so I obviously love all things travel. And when it comes to being abroad in the UK or Europe at large, you have easy (and relatively) cheap access to so many other countries, which is amazing!

4) Helps Your Resume

This one goes in line with culture shock, but living in another country and studying/working there is a huge benefit for your resume. Rather than going into an interview and saying you’re an adaptable person, you can prove it by saying you went abroad, studied AND worked for a company where the office culture is different than office culture in the states.

5) Rule Social Media

If you want an easy way to make your friends jealous, just go out on the town and Instagram or post to Facebook whatever you’re doing. Going to Stonehenge (only an hour away from London)?  Instagram one of the seven wonders of the world and make your friends jealous while they suffer through midterms (and rain from a hurricane).

chris