Kaley: When Life Happens in the Right Place

On April 28, 2013, my dad dragged me to BU Accepted Students’ day. I had no desire to go, except for, maybe, the free bacon. As I sleepily grumbled in the passenger seat, Dad reassured me that there was no pressure. I didn’t have to like BU. I just had to give it a chance.

Boston always seemed like an inferior sister city to New York. Quieter, duller, older. I was dead set against the cliché college town. There was nothing there for me.

Mapquested directions had us turn down Bay State. A newly-bloomed tree-canopy fell over the car, and my eyes were pulled towards the intricacies of the brownstones. The Charles glimmered from between side-streets. I was hyper-aware of the way my heart was softening. So I did what any COM-destined kid would do, and tweeted about it.

“Kinda falling in love with Boston.”

I wanted to dig my heels in to the cobblestones and march right back through my house and into New York. I really did. But Dad made me stay for the bacon, then past the bacon, and then the BU in LA Internship program presented, and all of the sudden I wanted to stay on my own.

The two-hour drive home was a completely different hue than the one there. Dad and I buzzed with ideas and opportunities and possibilities. No school had a program like BU’s LA semester. At no other college could you spend most of undergrad in America’s oldest city, and then finish your last year in one of our newest. No one else was as established on both coasts. Boston felt right. And the sunshine state at the end of the tunnel felt even more right.

My three years in Boston were bolstered by world series wins and marred by 8-foot snowbanks. Life happened. Most of the time for better, sometimes for worse. And then I made it to the City of Angels.

I woke up for work today looking at a hazy skyline with the Pacific Ocean sprawled behind it. I got in my little red rental car, blasted this new song by the Chainsmokers called “Closer” (don’t know if you’ve heard of it), and eventually screeched into the NBC Universal lot. Up the parking garage I climbed, passing spots reserved for everyone from the executive producers of The Voice to the costuming department for This is Us. I smiled to myself as I parked in an unmarked spot with a view of Harry Potter World, and then trounced through stages where beautiful creative things were happening on the way to my office. Tomorrow I’ll do the same at Warner Brothers, when I pass the Pretty Little Liars set on my way to offer Conan O’Brian cheese plates in his green room.

Born and raised on the East coast, I left everything when I made my first trip West. There are moments – when I’m exhausted from interning 40 hours a week and having class until 10 pm, when 3000-mile stretch marks devastate relationships, when I really just need to hug my mom – there are moments when I question whether I made the right decision. Because, for better and for worse, life is happening.

But since April 28, 2013, I’ve learned that as long as you put yourself in the right place, life will happen as it should.

Kaley: Where to Save and Splurge in Boston

In high school I would slave away at one summer job or another. I twisted fro-yo, consoled crying kids at arts camp, and made bank as a nanny. Seventeen years old and I had a lot of purchasing power, which I more than happily exercised. Every spontaneous online purchase, though, was met with the same chagrin from my mom. “You’ll want that money in Boston,” she’d say. In what may come as a surprise to no one -it definitely has stopped surprising me -she was right. While there are a lot of creative ways to save in Boston, there are also tons of tempting ways to splurge. Here’s a definitive list of the best of each:

Top of the Hub: SPLURGE. Located on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower, this restaurant is basically a must at some point during your BU career. Entrees are not cheap and there’s a strict no-jeans rule, but for a 360-degree view of Boston from the sky, it’s worth it. Start saving those summer job tips for this one.

Movies: SAVE. There is hardly ever a reason to cough up $15 for a movie on the Boston big screens. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for a plethora of freebie movie deals. I interned for Allied International Marketing last summer, and we would send out free movie tickets weekly. My friend (and fellow CA) Joe scored us tickets to see Trainwreck a month before it premiered, and we were pleasantly shocked when Amy Schumer herself walked out to introduce the film.

The Paint Bar: SPLURGE. At $35 per class, this can be pricey for a random afternoon activity. However, you definitely get what you pay for. Not only does the Paint Bar staff provide you with a canvas, paint, and thorough instruction, it also fills about 2.5 hours of your time with relaxing music, good conversation, and in the end, a new piece of art. And don’t let the name fool you —I’ve been there four times without ever taking advantage of the “bar” aspect.

Your Coffee Habit: SAVE. Yes, there are three Starbucks on BU’s 1-mile-long campus. And yes, Boston in general is laden with fancy, one-of-a-kind coffee shops. But those shops are expensive, and that Starbucks habit is going to add up. My advice? Invest in a Keurig during your pre-college Bed Bath and Beyond trip. The $4 you save on every coffee will pay off. Skip 9 Starbucks coffees, and you’ll have enough for one Paint Bar visit.

Study Abroad: SPLURGE. Okay, so technically this is not something you’ll spend money on in Boston. But it is an opportunity that BU affords you, and, ironically, it’s not the most affordable adventure you’ll ever embark on. Several of my friends are abroad right now, and after working hard to fill their savings account, they’ve been able to travel all across Europe, funding flights to Rome, Barcelona, Budapest. Personally, I’m saving for the study abroad program in London this summer. The visa alone put me back $500, and flights will be another $1000, but seeing the world? That’ll be priceless.

Transportation: SAVE. Uber and Lift have a huge presence in Boston, and the T runs very conveniently down the center of BU’s campus. Even those $2.60 rides add up, though, and I can’t stress enough how beneficial walking has been during my time at BU. Not only is it free, but it also gives you time to clear your head and get some fresh air (you might even stretch the mile-long walk to count as your daily exercise… I know I have). Transportation is one of those little expenses that can make a big difference. Always opt for the cheaper alternative.

There are so many fun opportunities in Boston, whether you decide to dip into your savings or not. Regardless, though, heed the advice your mom is inevitably giving you during your summer job, and save some of those paychecks for semesters in Boston.

Kaley: Danny’s Guide to Big Decisions

We’re rounding the corner. Away from late fluorescent nights in front of the computer screen. Away from walks down Comm Ave with eyes half open, feet dragging. Away from hurricaning thoughts about career paths and internships and away from nightmares about unemployment.

We’re rounding the corner, into Thanksgiving break. A break that, in my opinion, is long overdue. But regardless, Thanksgiving break is a break. A time to reflect.

In a moment of desperate indecision last week, I dialed Danny. Danny worked on the same BUTV10 show as me, and graduated last year. He picked up the phone to a slew of concerns about different options and “what-ifs” and potential consequences I’d thought up. I could barely breathe between all of the varied ideas about how to achieve.

But to achieve what? He challenged me. To achieve a career? To achieve success? No decision between choice A and choice B would make or break my career, he said, with the wisdom of a person who’d held a Bachelor of Science for six months. The wisdom of a person whose student-loan grace period had just expired.

In the end, Danny said, I needed to make the decision that made my heart happy. Should I do the LA abroad program or stay in Boston? I asked. Go with the one that “felt right,” he answered. I was not satisfied with those words in the moment they crackled through the receiver. Even later that night, his words still had me feeling lost.

Days later, though, the words have begun resonating. I’m so focused on how to be successful that I forget to consider how to be happy. Lucky for us, as COM students, what makes us happy is often synonymous with what makes us successful. But instead of beating my over-worked brain into the ground and penning pro and con lists until my hands cramp up, maybe I should start making the big decisions of junior year with a little more input from my heart.

Sorry if that’s a little cheesey. I’m a Film/TV major, after all. Rounding the corner into my final semesters at COM.

 

Kaley: An Apology Letter to the Dining Hall

Dearest BU Dining Services,

I’m sorry I ever complained about your sometimes-questionable meat. I’m sorry I ended each of my first four semesters with at least 60 meals left, unused. I’m sorry I got annoyed when dining hall lines were “too long” and I’m so, so sorry that I spent my first two years at BU anxiously awaiting the year I would finally be allowed to ditch my dining plan for good.

That year was this year. We’re two months in now, caught in the heat of midterm projects and insane schedules and baggy-eyed, sweatshirt-and-legging-type stress. Honestly, I would take a C on one of those midterms if it meant I could roll through West Campus D-Hall every morning again. If it meant I could slab some sunflower butter on a whole wheat bagel, slice a banana and drown my stressed-out sorrows in the world’s most superior flavor combo.

I’d happily trade these half-hearted “meals” that I barely have time to make in my kitchen for spending an extra 30 minutes to top a fruit bowl with ready-to-go cottage cheese and to fill a dining hall cup with water and lemon juice. My eating habits may sound weird, but BU dining halls were always there for me, and never judged.

What I wouldn’t give to study in Warren again, while enjoying plate after plate of their amazing calzones. I would without a doubt wait in a “too long” line to have one of those again. And those 60 meals I had left over every semester? I’d use every last one on the new Wok section -WHICH I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN YET. For all us non-dining-plan kids know, the Wok section is a myth.

And finally, the most crucial, devastating meal I miss: Let’s have a moment of silence for the fact that my last BU omelet was 5 months ago.

If you’re reading this and you still have a dining plan, then it’s not too late.

(The author of this piece is now accepting any and all guest-swipe offers.)

 

Kaley: How about them Apples?

So it’s fall and you’re ready to pumpkin spice up your life -or, okay, maybe you’re just looking for an Instagram to caption with the orange leaf emoji. So understandable. Either way, look no further.

That ‘gram is just a few bus rides, or, even more strategically, an Uber-pool away. You’re going apple picking.

Red Apple Farm is only a 17 minute drive from BU, and there are about 700 different Instagram opportunities. Pet a pig, hop on a hay-ride, try their famous “apple sundaes” and hashtag #eeeeaaats. Most importantly though, as its name suggests, Red Apple Farm is prime for picking apples.

The apple Insta is easy and minimalist. It’s chic in a way only an apple, on a farm1 in New England, can be. Bonus points: leave a leaf on the apple’s stem for a nice earthy touch. Apples don’t just make for a fresh, filtered ‘gram, though. They’re multi-functional. Turns out, you can eat them.

Just kidding. But seriously, get two bags of those puppies and bring them back to the first Boston kitchen you can find. There’s one more fall opportunity waiting for you there: baking an apple crisp.

Maybe the most magical and underrated experience of autumn, apple crisp is easy and, warm and paired with the right vanilla ice-cream, it’s heavenly. Follow the recipe below. You’re welcome.

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

-Peel two bags of apples

-Chop them into small slices

-Put them over a pie-crust in a pie-tin

-In a bowl, mix together one stick (1/2 cup) of softened butter, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of sugar

-Spread the flour/butter/sugar mix over the apples

-Bake for 30-45 minutes

Kaley: Your Summer 2015 Playlist

Summer is on its way, meaning that beachy Instas, Snapchat stories with the temperature filter, and the return of the somewhat embarrassing Abercrombie jean cutoffs are also on their way. These glorious summer staples, though, wouldn’t be complete without a playlist blaring in the background. Get to the beach, set Spotify to my playlist, “Summery Afternoon,” and caption those sandy Snapchats “Sound on!”

A sampling from the playlist:

  1. “You Make My Dreams Come True,” Hall & Oates
  2. “Bang Bang,” will.i.am
  3. “Safe With Me,” Sam Smith
  4. “Stutter,” Maroon 5
  5. “Play it Again,” Luke Bryan
  6. “Ho Hey,” The Lumineers
  7. “Primadonna,” Marina and the Diamonds
  8. “XO,” the Beyonce AND the John Mayer version
  9. “Dog Days are Over,” Florence and the Machine
  10. “My Eyes,” Blake Shelton

There’s definitely something for everyone on this easy-going, upbeat playlist. Happy listening and have a great summer!

Kaley: Freshman Don’ts from an Almost-Sophomore

1. Don’t wear your BU ID around your neck. I did this until my roommate felt comfortable enough to tell me that maybe it didn’t look as cool as I thought it did. She was right, it didn’t.

2. Don’t sign up for all afternoon classes thinking you’ll go to the gym every morning before them. You won’t.

3. Don’t run to catch the BU bus. In the words of my friend Joe, walking home is so much better than losing your dignity for ten seconds. (Side note: I still run. Have I gotten a few weird looks? Maybe. Have I saved a lot of time and energy? Definitely. )

4. Don’t make it to May without leaving BU’s campus. You’ll hear this a hundred times, but I’m happy to be the hundred-and-first. It’s that important.

5. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s BU, and although the catchphrase “Be You” may be cheesy, it’s true. There’s a place for everyone here -don’t worry if you’re having trouble making friends at first, as long as you keep an open mind, you’ll find your niche.

Kaley: Five Reasons BU’s “City-Campus” is a Non-Issue

Preface: When I visited BU junior year, the campus scared me. It seemed too long, too straight, too nonexistent. It was also an open campus in a city, so my parents were fairly scared too. After a semester and a half, though, I’m compelled to put “city-campus” in quotes, because quite often I find myself forgetting that we are one.

 

1. BU’s safety precautions. They’re incredible. As a student you receive BU emergency alerts immediately when an issue arises, any necessary updates as it unfolds, and a final alert summarizing the outcome. This has only happened twice during my time here, and I have never felt unsafe while on-campus. If I did, though, the BU Police number is printed on the back of every BU ID, so help would literally be in my back pocket.

2. The dining options. At many city schools, breakfast, lunch and dinner are a 10-minute walk away. This is far from the case at BU. As a freshman, if you live in freshmen housing, you won’t even need to walk outside to enjoy a nice personalized, dining-hall-cooked omlet.

3. Getting around. Com Ave is a long street, and when I visited, that was an immediate turn-off. Was I trying to give myself such a long walk from one end of campus to another? No. Here’s the thing, though: classes are at most a 20 minute walk away, and that holds true at many other, more rural universities as well. At BU, however, the T runs the entire length of campus. Feeling lazy? Missed the BU Shuttle? The T is there for you. Rural campuses have no green-line train, and the fact of the matter is, other city campuses don’t have access to public transportation in a way that’s even remotely comparable to the way the T runs down all of Com Ave.

4. City perks. My friends at rural schools will snapchat me on a Sunday, from a van filled with other college kids, saying, “Trip to Target today!!” They will then proceed to tweet about how the half-hour drive to the nearest store was so worthwhile, and then text me admitting that, yeah, it was pretty hard to convince one of the upperclassmen with a car to take them, but they really needed to run some errands.

I didn’t even realize that those sorts of day trips existed until they told me about them. At BU, there’s a CVS and a Star Market every corner. Newbury Street is a ten-minute walk off campus, for all of your wardrobe needs. And, of course, there are cafes and restaurants galore.

5.The “campus feel.” You won’t believe it until you feel it -I know I was super skeptical. But BU, more than other city campuses, has a definite college-campus vibe. Maybe it’s the red signs that are every 15 feet on Com Ave, or maybe its the beautiful, gothic architecture of the most central classroom buildings. It could be the immaculate interior of our gym or the size and number of turf fields and arenas. Whatever it is, many other city campuses don’t have it. BU does.

Kaley: Sorority Recruitment

Recruitment. The word makes me sound like an athlete or a member of the armed services. In BU’s spring semester, though, the word stirs images that are 100% the opposite of either: to 2,000 female students, recruitment means pink, pumps, and Pinterested décor.

I decided to get involved in Greek life before I ever set foot on BU’s campus –it was a factor I considered when narrowing my college options during senior spring. So, after waiting all of first semester and some of second, formal recruitment finally rolled around this weekend. To say the least, it’s an experience like none other.

All 700 “potential new members” –that’s me and about 699 other hopefuls who are striving to join sororities –are guided through the Marriott in Copley Square, and we spend different amounts of allotted time with each chapter in their own spectacularly decorated ballroom. In the past 48 hours, I’ve spoken in-depth with more than 100 BU women.  And I’m barely halfway through the process.

The amazing thing is, each of the individuals I’ve spoken to has actually been an awesome person. The friendships I’ve forged during this process are authentic, and although the days at recruitment are long and the concept can seem intimidating, the first two days alone have reaffirmed the reason I ultimately chose BU last May: the people here are real. Sorority-land is considered a superficial place at many schools, but at BU you will only find more honest, confident, down-to-earth students. In my opinion, that speaks to the character of our student body.