Grace: Top Coffee Shops for Actually Completing Homework

Tired of going to Starbucks to do work, only to stand in line for hours, get yelled at by an overworked barista, and compete for Wifi? Honestly, same. Sometimes I need a break from studying at Mugar or the George Sherman Union (GSU), and that quest for study space has led me into the front doors of countless coffee shops around Boston. Read on to find your own quiet space – and favorite cup of coffee – at some shops near BU.

Café Nero – With three hours of free Wifi, ample table space, and warm lighting, Café Nero’s soothing interior is the perfect place to chill and focus. Your coffee is made right in front of you, so customers can expect quiet baristas who won’t be yelling out names or orders. With its close proximity to West Campus (literally right under 1047 Commonwealth), this convenient spot can’t be beat.

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The Thinking Cup – If you’re looking to venture off campus, try stopping by the Thinking Cup. Located on Newbury Street, this café is perfect for East Campus folks. The Thinking Cup’s coffee drinks and exotic food options make it a perfect spot to snack and study. Even better, you will avoid harsh lighting, since the café’s interior is dimly lit.

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Pavement – Trying to work on a team project? Find a whole room dedicated to seating at Pavement. Work with your partners for hours, and even grab a sandwich or slice of pastry while you’re there. Pavement bakes its own bread daily, and many ingredients from its its menu are locally sourced.

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Blue State – Blue State is ideal for West Campus students who are tired of studying in the basement of Claflin or the top floor of Stuvi 2. With an Americana-meets-social-justice feel, Blue State is perfect for doing good and eating well while you study. Each drink order comes with a token to vote for a local charity Blue State will donate a portion of its proceeds to. My favorite is the “chaider” – a yummy mix of chai and apple cider that will leave you feeling festive and ready to focus.

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Trident Booksellers and Café – Sundays are meant for two things: Brunch and (unfortunately) homework. Whether you eat healthy or prefer a decadent treat, Trident has it all, along with novelty drink options. The Trident café is snuggled between their stacks of bookshelves and cute gift items. Finish your studying, then take a browse – reading for pleasure is the perfect way to relax.

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Grace: Pros and Cons of Dual Degree and How to Decide if it’s Right for You

For those of us who struggle with decisions harder than most, Boston University offers a dual degree program. Open to students with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above, this serious program allows students to graduate with degrees from multiple colleges.

I applied for the program during the second semester of sophomore year, and am now pursuing degrees in Advertising and International Relations. Deciding to pursue two degrees was a big decision; the course load is a serious endeavor which requires careful planning beforehand. However, the dual degree program has also given me immense opportunities.

Since declaring dual degree I have interned in the Advertising/Public Relations department at Boston Ballet and at the United Nations Association of Boston in its Programs/Development department. Both of my bosses told me that my pursuit of two degrees made my application stand out, and that they were impressed with my work ethic.

I would highly recommend the program to any student who is ready to put the effort in. Although challenging, the program is designed to allow hardworking, organized students make the most of their time at BU.

Here is a list of pros and cons you should consider before applying to the program:

Pros:

  1. You don’t have to choose between two interests; you can pursue both to their full capacity.
  2. You are graduating with two degrees for the price of one!!  
  3. Employers will be impressed with how hard you worked in college.
  4. You can bring two different types of fields together and master them both; this opens up double the job opportunities following graduation.
  5. Oftentimes, prerequisite classes can count twice; this facilitates the program and makes it easier to complete the requirements on time.

Cons:

  1. Once you fulfill your general education requirements, you don’t won’t time to take many electives.
  2. If you don’t come to BU with much AP/IB credit, you may have to enroll in summer classes or overload in order to fulfill the credit requirement.
  3. You have to work hard to maintain the minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (you should be doing this anyways, though!!).
  4. During registration, you may have to wait to select your courses until the normal students from that college are already done.
  5. Classes for both degrees are not always offered abroad; therefore, you must plan ahead if you know you want to study abroad.

Applications must be submitted after the completion of freshman year, and no later than the first semester of junior year. The program requires completion of a minimum of 36 classes (144 credits), maintenance of good academic standing and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in order to graduate.

For more information, visit http://www.bu.edu/academics/policies/dual-degree-program/.

Grace: Get Out and Enjoy the Sun: Ten Ways to Explore Boston this Spring

Harsh Boston winters can make even local gals like myself feel blue. After months of heavy snow, slippery sidewalks, and frosty winds, I too look forward to flip-flops and short-sleeve shirts. Lucky for us, Boston springs are full of exciting activities for everyone. Whether you’re a music junkie or a sports fan, Boston has it all.

While my personal favorites include activities outside of Boston, there are plenty of ways to have fun inside the city. With a forecast that appears to warm up in the near future, here are my favorite ways to explore both the city and the state of Massachusetts this spring:

1) Walk the Freedom Trail

2) Listen to your favorite music artists at Boston Calling Music Festival

3) Kayak on the Charles River

4) Picnic with a friend in the Boston Public Gardens

5) Watch the Boston Pops perform at the Hatch Schell 

6) Ride the commuter rail up to Rockport, MA to swim at the beach

7) Take a hike at Blue Hills Reservation

8) Visit Cape Cod for the weekend

9) Watch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park

10) Visit the New England Aquarium and go on a whale watch

Grace: Going Greek – Thoughts on Greek Life and How to Decide it’s Right for You

Hey guys!! Grace here for my first COM blog post. As formal sorority recruitment is right around the corner, greek life at BU has been on my mind a lot. As a sophomore looking back on my freshman year at BU, I remember wondering if going Greek was something I would enjoy. Would I find real friends? Would I be too busy to join other clubs? Would it be worth the money? Hopefully, this post will help you decide if rushing a fraternity or sorority is right for you.

Freshman Grace didn’t realize that leaving all her childhood friends behind and moving to a big campus would be a hard transition. Before coming to BU, I never really thought I’d go Greek. While I made some amazing friends through my dorm and classes, I yearned for the type of supportive community I had back in high school. It wasn’t until after going through recruitment that I found my family away from home: Kappa Delta.

Going through recruitment is a scary and exciting process: everyone is equally nervous about meeting new people, and everyone walks away from the weekend with new friends. My biggest piece of advice for recruitment is to go in with an open mind. For both guys and girls, this means giving every wonderfully unique chapter at BU a fair chance – you just might be surprised with who you click with.

For those of you who do decide to join Greek life, congratulations! Your choice will impact you not only during your college years, but also for the rest of your life (and that isn’t scary!!!). Becoming a Kappa Delta has helped me grow as a student, a friend, and an individual. Through KD, I’ve learned a lot about friendship, time commitment, and opportunity. The girls who I now call my sisters are the kind of people who will study with you in Mugar until 3 am (although this isn’t advised…) and spontaneously take a trip to New York City with me on a whim.

It’s also important to note that Greek life is a lifestyle choice and that it isn’t for everyone. Some of my best friends on campus are girls and guys who got involved on campus in other ways. Joining a chapter carries responsibilities and obligations, and you have to be dedicated to your chapter once you join. If you decide Greek life isn’t right for you, get involved with clubs or sports teams on campus – try joining Model UN, the Quidditch team, or the Daily Free Press. There are plenty of ways to get involved on campus and make friends, so don’t feel like going Greek is the only way to stay social in college.

BU is home to a plethora of people who come from a diversity of backgrounds and interests; there are so many ways to make BU your home away from home. Best of luck you social butterflies!