Jon: ‘Round, ‘Round Get Around

Hey all,
I hope everyone’s starting to get excited for the start of the school year! I know I can’t wait to get back on campus and hit up all my favorite haunts, from the SMG Starbucks to the shady lawns of the Esplanade. There are so many places on BU’s campus to hang out, you might wonder why anyone would ever go off campus.
However, Boston is a great city with an awesome night life and plenty of cool spots to check out. So, you might want to venture beyond the BU bookends of Kenmore Square and West Campus once in a while. But how’re you going to go out on your city excursion you wonder? Boston’s a big town!

Not so! One of the amazing bits about Boston is how easy it is to get around. The public transit is great (though if you’re going inbound, walk the block down to Kenmore Square – you’ll find a train much quicker that way), and the city’s small enough that you can walk from campus to the Boston Common in only a half hour or so. However, for those who are really inclined to explore, I can only recommend one mode of transportation. The bicycle.

The bicycle’s roots come from the 1800s, and there are nearly one billion bikes worldwide, which is twice as many as there are cars. This elegant form of transportation is one of the most efficient machines in use today, and is a fun and healthy way to get some exercise. But, even more important, it is a fast and easy way to get off campus when the urge to explore strikes you.

I’ve spent some time biking around Boston this summer, and what amazes me is that a seemingly long trip – like walking to Faneuil Hall – takes almost no time at all when you bike. It normally takes me a half an hour to walk over to Northeastern University, but on my bike, I made the trip in ten minutes flat. Now that’s efficiency.

Boston makes it incredibly easy for you to bike around, with the Hubway rental bike system and comfortable bike lanes on most roads. What’s even better is that BU offers indoor bike parking at several locations, in a swipe-access garage with security cameras monitoring the area, to give you the best security for your bike. A strong U-lock is basically a requirement as well, as the cable locks are just too easy to cut, as I’m sure the BUPD showed you at Orientation.

So, when you’re preparing to come to school, think seriously about bringing your bike or picking one up here. You won’t regret it, and you’ll probably find some friends to bike with too!

See you in the fall (on my bike),

Jon

Jon: Tweetapalooza (AKA Social Media Day 2012)

Hello there future Terriers! I hope you are all having WONDERFUL summers, and getting a chance to go out and enjoy the beach/pond/pool/swimming location of choice. If you’ve seen the Open House 2012 video, you’ll know that I’m partial to the COM lawn fountain. However, I was forced to pull myself away from frolicking on the front lawn of 640 Commonwealth Avenue when I heard that Social Media Day 2012 was coming to Boston!

Ahh, I can hear the ears of all you Facebook fanatics perking up already. But what’s Social Media Day you ask? Well since 2010, social media news site Mashable has hosted Social Media Day, which is an annual event to celebrate and recognize the power of and accomplishments in social media across the world. This year, COM hosted its own meetup in partnership with Mashable.

But what exactly went on? Well, we gathered top social media representatives from major sports teams and businesses including the Boston Red Sox, the Celtics, the New England Patriots, allen&gerritsen, and Startup Health to take part in several panels on the state of social media from the business perspective. Not only was this a chance to hear these professionals speak as well as ask them questions about social media and its business applications, but it was COMPLETELY FREE.

Well as an advertising major, I found it particularly interesting to listen to Tamsen McMahon, Vice President of Digital Strategy for allen&gerritsen, a major agency in Boston. Her frank and often witty insight revealed that your brand, whether that is your brand as an individual, a small business, or an international corporation, should not invest in social media marketing unless you have a strategy and a purpose for doing it. You don’t have anything to blog about? Then don’t blog. Her direct tone was enough to convince this future Mad Man that if one is trying to create a personal connection with a customer, they better know what their brand stands for and what their customer wants.

#smdayBos wasn’t all work and no play. Two lucky winners walked away with Amazon.com giftcards after winning Social Media Buzzword Bingo (multi-platform viral ecosystem anyone?), and the panels were followed by a fabulous reception on the COM lawn complete with music, food, and a chance to hang out with some of my favorite COM people.

Until next time, signing off ~

~ Jon Mayer.

Jon: School’s Out for Summer

Jon ImageUnfortunately for Alice Cooper, school’s just out for the summer. However, for the rest of us, that means three months of sunshine, beaches and lazy afternoons! I can already hear the waves crashing against the sand.

“But wait!” you ask. “How can I spend three whole months loitering in front of Dunkin’ Donuts and making semi-legal bonfires on the beach? Won’t I get sick of the endless sunscreen and shutter shades?” (Clearly your priorities are straighter than ours).
Fear not, for in college, summer is not just a time for mindless hours of watching T.V. and seeking out air conditioning. With a whole three months off from school, there is plenty of time for relaxation and fun, and it’s definitely important to get to the beach, or the pond, or the local movie theater with your friends. Vacations are a valuable chance to de-stress from the school year and catch up with friends and family. However, there are also productive and fun ways to spend the summer, which may not have been available to you in high school:

1) Take a summer course

Though you might groan at the idea of summer school, summer courses are a useful way to get ahead on some core requirements or take that one class you couldn’t fit into your schedule last semester. You also benefit from taking them in a lower stress, less intense environment, as most students only take one or two summer courses at a time. BU offers a wide range of courses in all of its colleges over the two summer sessions, and it is often possible to get credit for courses at a local college or university if you can’t spend the summer in Boston.

2) Take a workshop or a skill-building seminar

I have to confess, this is how I plan on spending the summer, so bear with me if I seem a little excited about it. Has there ever been that one design program you just wanted to learn to work with but could never figure out on your own? Perhaps you want to learn a bit of programming so you can design your own mobile apps? Maybe you’ve always fancied picking up a bit of casual glassblowing or ceramics? The summer is a great time to explore interests that might not net you any college credit, but could expand your capacities and knowledge as a person, and possibly even apply to your professional life. Personally, I plan on taking a two-day seminar at Massachusetts College of Art called InDesign in 2 Days, where I’ll learn to use the Adobe InDesign software to create brochures, mailings, and every other imaginable type of publication.

3) Do a Summer Internship

As perhaps the most illustrious and awe-inspiring summer occupation, the summer internship is sought after by many COM students every year. Let’s face it, summer internships are great. They offer an opportunity for you to work in the real world, getting professional experience and making contacts in your industry of choice. They may not always be paid, but the work experience and job prospects that come out of them are more than worth it. They can also give you a chance to get exposure to an industry that you may think is right for you, and figure out if that is true or not. All in all, as long as you make it very clear to your potential employer that you want to be doing real work and not just serving as a glorified barista, summer internships are one of the best ways to spend your school break.

4) Get a Job!

There’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned summer job! In this economy, having a little extra cash is a never a bad thing, and the summer provides a lucrative opportunity for enthusiastic students. Just make sure to start looking for summer jobs early. Late February or early March is usually about the right time.

If those can’t keep you occupied over the summer, then you require inhuman levels of entertainment. In that case, you might want to try volcano boarding, extreme trainsurfing, or mountain unicycling (Note: Boston University does not condone volcano boarding, trainsurfing, unicycling, or other insane and life-endangering sports. Participate at your own risk).

See you all next year! Enjoy the summer.

~Jon

Jon: Game On: PAX East Invades Boston

Jon ImageHi all! Spring is in the air, and you know what that means: time for PAX East. What is PAX you ask? Well, for those of you who don’t know, Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX, is a three-day gaming convention created by the writers of the Web Comic Penny Arcade. The convention, originally launched in 2004, was created as a celebration of everything gamer culture-related. From Halo to Ski-Ball, PAX had a niche for every type of gamer.

Unfortunately for us east-coasters, the original PAX, now known as PAX Prime, is held on the west coast. However, in 2010 the creators of PAX launched a brand new event: PAX East. Held in Boston, PAX east was to be a chance for Atlantic fans of video games to enjoy the pure awesomeness that PAX had to offer, and it lived up to that ideal, with more attendees in its first year than the 6-year-old PAX Prime.

Since 2010, PAX East has flourished, and from April 6th to April 8th, it invades the massive Boston Convention and Exhibition Center(BCEC) with music, lectures, Q&A’s, slammin’ dance parties, and, of course, a massive dose of gaming.

PAX is going to be a great experience, both personally and professionally. For anyone interested in the entertainment business, there will be something relevant to your chosen career field going on. For me, this is the Star Power in Marketing lecture, which will discuss the role and effect of celebrities in video game marketing campaigns (an issue that is certainly relevant with the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 trailer featuring Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill). For others it might be Video Games Aren’t Just for Playing panel on pro gaming and e-sports broadcasting/spectating. Or maybe it’s even the Community Management 2012 talk by a group of P.R. professionals working for major gaming studios and developers. These amazing opportunities are not your average industry panels. This is all without mentioning the plentiful opportunities to network with professionals in the gaming business.

PAX East is going to be chaotic and amazing. The weekend-long gaming-oriented event will be a chance to party up, groove out, and game on. It’s going to be a weekend to remember. And of course, I’ll be live-tweeting the whole thing from @JonMayer249.

Until Next Time,

~Jon

Jon: Surviving Midterms

Jon ImageMidterms. That dreaded word that causes students everywhere to quake upon hearing it. What’s scarier than the thought of the first big cumulative exam of the semester? The tell-all test when you reveal if you’ve been actively learning all semester or if you’ve been sliding down into your lecture hall seat and grabbing an hour or two of beauty rest every day. Get ready, cause it’s show time.

As spring break begins next week, professors tend to be loading on projects and exams left and right, in an attempt to get that one last evaluation in before students flee to sunshine and warm beaches. However, if you can keep your head among all this craziness, it’s more than possible to manage your time and successfully conquer your midterms. Here’s a handy list of tips to how you can survive “hell week”.

1)      SLEEP – This comes first on the list because it is by far the most important preparatory tool and is also the easiest to sacrifice when things get crazy. Make sure first and foremost that you get your 9 ½ hours every night, because once you start to slip on that, you’ll fall into a vicious cycle of working inefficiently and therefore sacrificing more sleep as tasks take longer to complete. Also, research shows you will be happier, healthier, and better academically if your brain has the rest it needs.

2)      Drink lots of water – It’s easy to fall prey to the tantalizing lures of coffee and energy drinks, which promise to give you those extra hours of focus you need. However, if you’re not getting enough water in your day, these diuretics will make you jittery and irritable. Hydration is key to staying healthy, so try to limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages.

3)      Start studying early – What seems to be common sense to any impartial bystander is often ignored by frantic college students. The more of a head start you get on your studying, the more prepared you will be. I try to plan at least a week’s worth of course review, so that if gaping holes in my knowledge appear I have time to do something about them.

4)      On a similar note, DON’T study the night before an exam – This old adage that they told you in SAT prep classes applies to your college tests as well. Chances are you aren’t going to be retaining anything you’re trying to learn or review at this point. Watch a movie, play a video game, go to the gym, or just hang out with your friends. De-stressing and getting enough rest is the best preparation you can get the night before a test. I can’t emphasize this point enough – don’t fall prey to the “last-minute-all-nighter-double-header” study sessions your friends or floor mates might be engaging in, it’s not worth it.

These four tips may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget about them or rationalize not doing them.  Stand by this list, and make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health, and you’ll be well on your way to midterm success.
Stay frosty,

Jon

Jon: Please Don’t Stop the Music

Jon ImageWhat’s up guys? We’re about three weeks into the new semester, and as classes start to pick up, it’s great to have something to de-stress and take your mind off of all the work that is quickly piling up. For me, my a cappella group fills this role in my life. The BosTones are one of BU’s premiere co-ed a cappella choirs, and I am so glad that I’ve been able to dive into the group as a freshman.

I sang all throughout high school, and I loved being able to hang out with a bunch of great people and make awesome music. Naturally I was a little distraught over the idea of finding another group like my high school choir, which had been a part of my life for the past four years. However, when I got to BU I was blown away by the size of the a cappella community, and since all the groups were so welcoming I decided to audition for as many as possible. Fast forward a few weeks, and I was a new member of The BosTones, a jazzy, poppy, belty, and crazy group of people.

The thrill of the stage is great, but the truly wonderful part of being in an a cappella group isn’t the glamour, or the performances, or the recording sessions – it’s the people. Being able to know that on Tuesday and Sunday nights I’m going to walk into the Mugar Library (yes, we have a practice room in the library, and no, we don’t get shushed by librarians, it’s sound proof) and hang out for a few hours with a great group of people who all love coming together to have fun, support each other, and make some sweet music. Everyone in the BosTones is brought together by a love of singing, and I’m glad they’re in my life. When college gets crazy and hectic, as it sometimes does, it’s great to know that I always have BosTones to come back to.

The BosTones are just one more reason I love BU: there’s a student group for everyone. For me, it’s a cappella music, and for others, it might be gaming, or student government, or even Kendo (a Japanese form of fencing). No matter what your interest, you’ll find it here, and you’ll find people who are just as passionate about it as you are. I can’t end without a little shameless self-promotion, so if you want to see some of what The BosTones do, check out our concert footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOZo55830tA&list=UUTX5kWZUchPOI2KVfWWRUuQ&index=8&feature=plcp. Also, congrats to our two new members Harry Meltzer and Jun Tsuboike! We’re looking forward to working with them.

That’s all for now! See you at auditions…