Jamey: Commuter’s Test Kitchen

This semester, I’m an intern in the TV/Podcast/Video Department at America’s Test Kitchen, an independent multimedia company focused on a trial-and-error approach to the culinary arts. I’ve been working at their (incredibly cool) office/kitchen/studio space in the Innovation and Design Building at the Seaport, helping them with the production of one of their two cooking shows: Cook’s Country. ATK chooses their recipes very carefully by tasting and testing every ingredient to try to get the most delicious recipe. I’ve had the honor of working as a taster during my internship, and it is definitely the most fun task for which I have been paid. $12 an hour to try different types of chocolate cake all day? I’ll take it. If you join their website, you can see that they often publish TASTER’S REVIEW to announce their findings.

So far, working at America’s Test Kitchen has been an absolutely incredible experience, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. What I am not grateful for, however, is the commute to the Seaport from the Innovation and Design Building.

If you are not yet familiar with the geography of Boston, the Seaport is just about as far from BU as a place in Boston can be! So, for this blog post, I thought I would do a COMMUTER’S REVIEW in the style of an America’s Test Kitchen tasting review,

NOT RECOMMENDED: Uber/Lyft 

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While Uber and Lyft can be incredibly convenient services for short rides, it is very hard to get an affordable ride to and from the Boston Seaport. I have yet to see a price under $20 on either app around the beginning and end of the work day. On top of that, the traffic to get downtown can be extremely slow getting into the Seaport, so you will not save much time. 

RECOMMENDED: MBTA 

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The T may be the most obvious and popular choice for a commute from BU all the way downtown, and there’s a reason for that. Once you get the hang of it, the T is a wonderful and easy-to-navigate service that costs very little and can get you to the Seaport in about 45 minutes. However, you have to keep in mind that the trains can be extremely cramped between 8am-10am and 4pm-6pm, so be prepared with a Plan B if it’s too full! (Pro Tip: If the Green Line is too full, try to take the 57 bus down to Kenmore station and get on a C line train from there. The C line tends to be the least full!)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: BlueBikes

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While BlueBikes have been on campus since my freshman year, I’m embarrassed to say I just discovered how wonderful this service was two weeks ago! I signed up for a membership after finding that the T was constantly full, and now I’ve biked to work almost every day. This option is the best because it never takes more than 40 minutes to bike to the Seaport, you can always rely on a bike station being nearby, you get in your daily exercise, AND it’s much more sustainable than any engine-run transportation! One thing to keep in mind is that you should not be using a BlueBike to get to the Seaport unless you are familiar with the route enough that you don’t have to look at your phone. GPSing while biking can be extremely dangerous. Also, NEVER bike without a helmet! In Boston, cars can get quite close to the bike lane, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Jamey: 4 BU London Pro-Tips from a Self-Proclaimed Expert

1. Pret A Manger is the new Starbucks.

Anyone who resides on Commonwealth Avenue knows how much Starbucks we Terriers like to go through. This summer, I had Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew coursing through my veins in place of blood. However, Starbucks are few and far between in London! While there is a Starbucks on Gloucester Road (right by Courtfield Gardens), the prices in pounds end up converting to about 1.5x the cost of American Starbucks! So we, the BU Londoners, learned quickly that Pret A Manger is far superior to Starbucks. While the coffee isn’t incredible, they have wonderful teas and lattes. The main highlight of Pret A Manger is the £3 sandwich section with some really incredible food for very reasonable prices

2. 43 Harrington Gardens (The Academic Building) is your friend!

I totally get it. You’re in London! You don’t want to spend all of your time in the academic building. You’d rather go out and see the London Eye, take a walk through the Tate Modern, or see a show on the West End. But for those days when you’re tired or need to catch up on schoolwork, you should take advantage of the academic building! The staff of the BU London program are so friendly, and they really want to get to know you. (Shoutout to my two best friends in the student accounting office on the fifth floor!) The BU Academic building has a wonderful common room complete with a tea station. Additionally, the library basement is so cute and quiet. While it’s small in size, it’s aesthetic could beat Mugar any day!

3. Don’t expect to get off the plane and experience immediate Harry Potter magic.

My first day in London was full of jet lag, homesickness, and anxiety. I was hoping to get off that plane and jump right into my European adventure, but I realized quickly that that would not be possible. Listen to your body and listen to your mind! You will have so many days to go out on adventures and explore. I am so proud of myself for using self-care to get through my first day at BU London. If it’s not the best 24 hours of your life, that means you’re experiencing something completely normal! And if you continue to struggle, BU London has a certified counselor on staff who can meet with you to help you make your abroad experience more easy and enjoyable!

4. Reserve your BU London Social Catalogue programs early.

The BU London Program runs all sorts of cool expeditions and events to get you acquainted with London, the UK, and Europe as a whole! A couple of weeks before your departure, they will send you a catalogue with all of these events. Once you get the catalogue, you should reserve your spots IMMEDIATELY! There are limited spaces, and every single one of the events I went on was worthwhile. Attached is a picture from the BU London trip to the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness!

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Jamey: Reflecting on Heathers

If you talked to me between the beginning of the semester and April 8th, you almost definitely heard that I was directing a production of Heathers: The Musical. The project took up all of my free time with roughly 15-20 hours of rehearsal each week on top of production meetings, e-board check-ins, and staging sessions.
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I’ve wanted to direct my own musical since I was about 13 years old, so it was a dream come true when BU On Broadway gave me the opportunity to direct Heathers. I’ve been involved in theatre since I was very young, mostly as an actor, but I always knew that I eventually wanted to direct. I love taking on leadership roles and I’ve always been interested in the creative decisions that are involved with directing an entire production. However, I had no idea about the amount of decisions a director would have to make.
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Overall, Heathers was the best learning experience of my entire life. I was in charge of the entire production and I am very happy with how it went. I am so grateful for the 100-some students who helped me put my vision on the stage. BU On Broadway, and BU as a whole, has given me so many opportunities. I checked one more thing off my bucket list this semester.
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Jamey: Five Escapes from Busy, Bustling Boston

Hello COM! Hope you’ve all been enjoying this beautiful (yet unexpected) February weather. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life and I’ve never seen weather like this in February, so I’m soaking in as much of the sunshine as humanly possible. I grew up in Framingham, MA which is about 30 minutes west of Boston. Since I’ve lived in the area my whole life, I often try to bring my friends (who are new to Boston) to my favorite parts of Massachusetts. Here are some MUST-SEE places if you’re new to Massachusetts. 

  1. Salem, MA: 

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Salem is accessibly by the Commuter Rail straight from Boston, and it’s home to some of Massachusetts most interesting history. Take a tour of the historical Salem Witch Trials site, or go and see some of the mystical psychics who have settled down in the area. Also, make sure to get a bagel at BAGEL WORLD, a small little joint that I happen to know serves the best bagels on the North Shore. 

  1. Canobie Lake Park: 

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Canobie Lake Park is technically in New Hampshire, but it is a Massachusetts staple nonetheless! The amusement park is home to the Corkscrew Coaster and Untamed for thrill rides, but it also has a water park that is open all summer long. And if you’re in the mood for a heart attack, you can go to the haunted houses that open in October! 

  1. Honeypot Hill Orchard: 

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If you’re going to live in New England, you NEED to go apple picking at least once. Honeypot is in Stow, MA and is open all fall for Apple picking. BU Student Activities usually leads a trip to Honeypot for some time in the fall, so like their Facebook page if you want more information on that! 

  1. Provincetown, MA 

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If you’re in Boston for the warmer months, you have to make your way to this town that is the very tip of Cape Cod. PTown is accessible by ferry from Boston and is home to beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, funny drag shows, and crazy joke shops. It’s Massachusetts’ best summer spot. Stop by the Lobster Pot for the best seafood dinner of all time. 

  1. Garden in the Woods: 

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If you are ever craving some peace and quiet in nature, Garden in the Woods is the place to go. Located in Framingham, MA (accessible by Commuter Rail), this reservation is home to all of Massachusetts’ local flowers and greenery. It’s a great place to meditate or take photographs, or just take a break from the hustle and bustle of Boston. 

That’s it for me! I hope you get a chance to explore these niche areas of the USA’s BEST state!