Kate: Spring Break 2016

Hey COM student! Hey, what? Hey COM student! Hey, what? Did you love FYSOP 26 as much as I did? If so, you should consider participating in Alternative Service Breaks this winter or spring break. 

As described on their website, Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) promotes community service, develops leadership skills, and creates strong bonds among its participants. Since its founding in 1988, Boston University student and faculty/staff volunteers have spent their spring breaks participating in volunteer work throughout the country with focuses such as the environment, affordable housing, hunger, education, public health, and disabilities. Each of the trips is comprised of two Coordinators, seven to twelve volunteers, and one faculty/staff Chaperone. 

There are 38 trips this year- 36 trips for spring break and 2 trips for winter break. During winter break, you can learn, serve and reflect in Boston or Philadelphia. Trips for spring break range from Georgia to Utah to even Puerto Rico!

To learn more about ASB, attend one of the two info fairs, on Oct 28 7-9pm and Nov 10 7-9pm. You can also check out the trip locations onlineRegistration for volunteers opens at 9am on Sunday Nov. 22nd. More details can be found on their website buasb.squarespace.com

Questions? Visit the Community Service Center anytime Monday through Friday 9am-5pm and ask for CiCi or Josh, the ASB program managers. You can also email them at altbreak@bu.edu!

Kate: Where To Get the Most Important Meal of the Day at BU

You know that saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Well while it might be true, I’ve never been one to live by this motto.  Until recently.

I’ve always been part of the camp that would rather sleep an extra 15 minutes than make a bowl of cereal.  But when I started working out with a trainer at the BU Fitness & Recreation Center, she basically told me we would have to stop working together if I didn’t start eating breakfast.  So here I am, trying to navigate my first meal options for the first time as senior in college.  I know, the most responsible.  The one advantage: I can share with you all the best places on campus to grab the most important meal of your day.

Pavement Coffee House. Previously known as Espresso Royale, Pavement owns the bagel sandwich game here on campus.  Not only do they have a variety of decently healthy options and extra fresh bagels, they also house a wonderful study space on campus that is frequently packed with students.  Go-to order: Sunrise Sandwich with sausage on a multi-grain bagel. 

Starbucks. I’m not gonna lie, coffee for breakfast is not uncommon in the college student world.  However, with the recent transition of the five (yes, five) on-campus Starbucks to the La Boulange bakery options, there are a variety of favorites that can now be heated up for your enjoyment. Go-to order: Grande iced coffee with whole milk & blueberry scone with butter.

T. Anthony’s. For those students from the tri-state area who are used to greasy diners, T. Anthony’s is the place for you.  It is also a favorite of mine for weekend morning feasts.  They have all the bases covered for those who enjoy the stacked omelette, the breakfast sandwich, and the syrup-topped specialties.  Go-to order: T’s Big Breakfast – french toast, two fried eggs, home fries, bacon, & coffee.  

Eastern Standard. ES is a big favorite among students when parent’s come to visit.  A little more expensive than the other options on this list, ES is unqiue for having an early morning breakfast option (you can thank their attachment to the Hotel Commonwealth for that) in addition to a brunch menu.  Go-to order: Breakfast Breads & Buttermilk Pancackes with Blueberry Syrup

Dining Hall. A very necessary addition to this list, the on-campus dining halls are the mecca of breakfast for the underclassman still on the meal plan diet.  With unlimited options like cereal, waffles, omelettes, and pastries, how could you go wrong? As a senior, I am always open to the gift of a guest meal by a lower classman (wink, wink). Go-to order: Waffle with a side of pizza (while you wait in line for the waffle machine more commonly known as line pizza) and bacon. 

This is obviously not an exhustive list and I’m sure I’ve missed some crowd favorites (Einstien’s and Brugers to name some honorable mentions) but just a few of my favorites.  Keep COM & Eat Breakfast.

Kate: How To Dress for the Boston Winter

I have a morning ritual that includes checking my Weather Channel app from the warmth and coziness of my bed.  After a morning delay on campus because of Winter Storm Janis and a few texts from family members reminding me to wear a hat, I was a little nervous to see what today would bring.  High of 8 degrees with the windchill in the double digit negatives.  Woof.  While I love Boston, my answer for the tried and true question “What’s your least favorite thing about BU?” is the cold.

In the past, I always traded practicality for dressing cute (i.e. the time I wore cropped pants and loafers when the high was 3 degrees).  However, now that I’m a senior, I’ve accepted that dressing warm is only thing to get me through the below freezing, snowy, blistery, icy weather that comes with a Northeast winter.  And here are my four rules for survival.

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Rule #1: Invest in a long coat.  I came to college with one of those michelin man, short North Face down coats without a hood and that was potentially the biggest mistake of my young college career.  Not only did I often come home with snow-soaked hair but the wind always found a way to blow up my back which was just not appealing.  Christmas of my sophomore year, I invested in the longer version above and have never looked back.  Pick one with a detachable hood and maybe even a fashionable little waist tie and you’ll be happy as a clam.

Rule #2: You can never have enough scarves.  I’m a scarf horder. You can’t really see it in this picture but I am currently wearing a massive, knit infinity scarf that has been my life saver in Boston.  Sometimes I walk around with it wrapped over my head and around my face and let me tell you, it is very warm.

Rule #3: Wool socks are back in style.  Freshman year, my dad bought me wool socks and I scoffed.  Three years later, I’m biting my tongue.  I even purchased these J.Crew Camp Socks in every color during an after Christmas sale.  Warmth is always stylish.

Rule: #4: Snow boots are a must.  After three years of pretending that my leather riding boots would get me through winter (shocker…they don’t), I finally bought a Northeastern favorite, L.L. Bean Duck Boots, seen here.  I am in love. They are great for snow, rain, and ice and keep me from wiping out on slick spots down Comm Ave.

And there you have it folks. Don’t end up like me, spending your first time three years as an icicle.  Practical is always fashionable.

Kate: Easy Weekend Getaways

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Boston.  It really is such a magical place and there is always somewhere new to find and explore.  But sometimes, it really is nice to get out of the hustle and bustle for a weekend.  One of the fantastic things about being in a place like Boston is how easy it is to get to other cities and states near by.  The Amtrak trains, Commuter Rail, and variety of bus routes can take you almost anywhere you want to go in the Northeast and down the east coast.  The past two weekends, I have had the opportunity to get out and explore new places and it has been so much fun!  Here is my rundown of the best areas to head to when you need a little change of scenery.

Rhode Island. In my opinion, Rhode Island is such a forgotten state! I might be a little biased because my boyfriend goes to school down there so I’ve spent a lot of time in The Ocean State but I promise it’s a great time.  You can be in Providence in about an hour by Commuter Rail and explore Thayer Street and experience the WaterFire Festival in the fall.  My favorite area is southern RI, home to Newport and Narragansett.  It can be so refreshing to take stroll on the beach or down a little town’s Main Street.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

Maine. My new favorite place right here, ladies and gentlemen.  I had the pleasure of spending last weekend in Bar Harbor, about half way up the coast.  It was incredible.  The town is perfect and easy to explore on foot.  The actual Harbor and Gulf of Maine are gorgeous and so much fun to explore by boat (I took a Lobster Fishing tour AND kayaked, both recommended).  And last but not least, Acadia National Park is right there and waiting for you.  Fun fact: Cadillac Mountain in the park in the first place in the US where the sun rises and has a gorgeous view of the Ocean.  Unfortunately for us, with the government shutdown, we couldn’t get to the park but that didn’t stop me from doing a little exploring, sorry Congress.  The only con – you do have to drive to get up there.

North Shore. While everyone raves about the Cape and Nantucket, I’ve actually spent much more time on the North Shore near Boston and it’s fabulous! The beaches are so beautiful and there are tons of great restaurants right on the water.  Gloucester and Newburyport are favorites of mine and all easily accessible by Commuter Rail trains!

New York City. Okay, so maybe this isn’t where you want to go to escape the hustle and bustle but still a fun weekend trip.  Bus, train, and plane can all get you down to the Big Apple in a few hours or less and set you up for a crazy fun weekend of exploring.  After spending my summer there, I’m itching to get back.

DC. You may think DC is so far away but there are Amtrak trains that leave from Boston all the time that can get you down there!  While you wouldn’t want to go now (#Shutdown), it can always be kept in mind as a great little getaway for a long weekend.  Just as historic as Boston, there are endless activities that are sure to bring out the history buff in all of us.

With the long weekend coming up, it may be the perfect time to pack up your weekend bag and head somewhere new with your friends!

 

Kate: Getting Your Hands Dirty

Hi y’all! I hope you all are excited to be in Boston and your first week went well.  Since meeting my freshmen over the last couple weeks, I’ve had a bunch of questions about how to get practical experience in your first year.  As valuable as COM 101 and 201 are, I can understand wanting to get your hands on something in major sooner than later.  So here are my three suggestions for getting involved right off the bat:

Get involved in hands-on activity. Whether its BUTV10, WTBU Radio, or The Daily Free Press, COM offers so many groups where you can actually get your feet wet.  At the first BUTV meeting (September 11 from 7-9pm in COM101 ) you’ll get to hear from each Executive Producer about the different shows, time commitments, and shoots.  For WTBU Radio, you can intern for a semester before starting your own show.  All of these groups will teach how to use the equipment and give you invaluable experience.

Join a professional organization. I’ve been a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America since freshmen year and its been one of the most rewarding groups I’ve been involved with.  They bring in fantastic speakers every week, take the group on agency tours, and put on a professional conference every February.  For journalism students, there is the Society of Professional Journalists and Ed2010.  Not only are they great for your resume, they also teach you things you probably won’t learn elsewhere.

Network, network, network. In all communication industries, networking is incredibly important and it is never too early to start.  In COM 101, Professor Vigil brings in great speakers and panelists.  Introduce yourself to them and get their business card.  Attend networking events and keep in touch with people you think could be important to you in the future.  And lastly, network with your professors.  I’ve never met a professor who wouldn’t go out of their way to help you at any time and is happy to get to know you.

If you didn’t make it to the Ice Cream Social or Splash this past week, check on the Facebook/Twitter and websites of the groups you’re interested in getting involved with for information about their first meetings.  Good luck with week two and be in touch with your COM Ambassador with any questions!

Kate: What to Expect When You’re Going to Orientation

Can anyone believe the semester has already ended?! I still feel like I just got back from London (I’m in denial its been almost five months…) and all of the sudden its summertime.  I hope you all have some fun things planned for these next three months and are gearing up for Orientation!  I’m currently working in event marketing for Gotham and Hamptons magazines in their New York office and living with one of my best friends in a little baby apartment on the Upper East Side.  I am LOVING the internship so far and adjusting to life in the big city after spending the last two and half years in Boston.

One of the biggest things you’ll do this summer is come to BU Orientation.  I remember feeling very overwhelmed by all the information, people, and craziness of Boston.  Registering for classes is the part I think people look forward to the most and I have six tips for this process so here we go:

1.  Don’t rely only on websites like ratemyprofessor.com to find information about classes.  There will be current students and your Student Advisors in the rooms to help you.  They all have either taken the classes you’re registering for or have friends who have.  Ask them for advice and help.  Keep in mind that if someone felt the need to write on a ratings site, they probably either loved or hated the class so those reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.

2. Take a mix of classes that are shorter but more often and longer and only one or two times a week.  I’ve found after my first couple semesters that I much prefer classes that are longer in length but less frequent.  This is a personal preference and you should use your first semester to see what you think.  It will help make you a more successful student in the future.

3. You can take the language placement exam as many times as you want so if you’re right on the cusp of testing into the next semester, review some high school language notes and try again.

4. Don’t get discouraged if a class you wanted to take or had planned for was full.  While we recommend that you finish as many of your liberal arts classes as you can in your first two years, you have all four to do them so waiting until second semester or sophomore year to take a specific class is totally fine.

5. Keep in mind your own personal time management and sleeping habits.  If you know you don’t wake up easily, don’t schedule all 8ams.  If you know what you’re a mid-afternoon napper (ahem…this girl), don’t plan your schedule with huge gaps in the days.  Freshman year, I had a four hour gap two days a week and by mid-semester I was skipping way more than I would like to admit because my bed was way too comfy to get out of and back to class.  At the same time, don’t be discouraged to not take a class that you’re interested in because of the time.

And finally, you have a few hours to register for your classes so don’t get too anxious, take a deep breath, and get ready to become a real, full-time college student!

Good luck with everything and I can’t wait to meet you all in September!

Kate: Safety at BU

This past week, I attended a short self-defense seminar with the Boston University Police Department that was organized by my sorority.  About 20 of my sisters and I met with five members of the department and learned a few basic moves to use in an attack situation.  While I’ve never actually been in a scenario when I would have needed these skills, I’m glad I now know them and how to use them in a scary situation.

In light of the recent events that have happened in Boston, I just wanted to touch on safety in Boston and specifically at Boston University.  I remember my family had a nervous reaction to my declaration that I wanted to go to a school in an urban setting.  At the time I was only 16 and had little experience alone in any big city.  On each college tour I went on, my father would leave the group for a moment, find a random security guard that wasn’t “featured” on the tour and ask the tough “dad” questions about safety.  One thing that really stuck out to him about BU was that we have the Boston Police and BU Police Departments working the two-mile stretch of Comm Ave. that is our beloved campus.  We also talked about the blue-light system and I can promise that everyone time I’ve tested the “you can always see one blue light anywhere on campus” rule, it’s worked.

Now that I’ve been on campus for almost three years, I’ve learned about a ton of other fantastic security measures BU takes.  We have an Escort Service that will send a boy and a girl to where ever you are on campus and walk you home, within a reasonable distance, through the only person I know who has ever used it, did because it was raining and the escorts bring an umbrella.  In addition to that, BU has set up a tip line that you can text if you see something suspicious happening somewhere on campus.  And the most recent thing I’ve learned about are the RAD self-defense classes.  Like we did, organizations can schedule times with the officers to do short classes but they also offer five-week long courses where you learn how to defend yourself in a variety of scenarios and even get to put on safety suits and ward off an attacker in a mock fight.  Its sounds pretty cool and I’ve already looked into the schedule for next fall’s course.  Finally, anytime BU has information they need to get to students quickly like the attacks that happened at the Marathon, they send out mass texts to every student with the information they need.

While all of these resources are great, my biggest piece of advice is to always be smart.  Walking around with your iPhone in your hand and ear buds in listening to music makes you an easy target.  Being aware of your surroundings, staying on well lit streets, and never walking alone will always make you feel safer on campus and in Boston.  I can honestly say I’ve never felt unsafe on campus and it makes me feel even safer knowing there are so many different resources to help me out.

 

Kate: Welcome COM Class of 2017!

Can you believe it is almost April?! I don’t hate it. It means it’s getting warmer (though the snow on the ground would beg to disagree) and most people’s midterms are over.  And it also means that admissions decisions have gone out! I want to congratulate all of you who have been admitted to BU and the College of Communication! I have already gotten to meet a few of you this week but I hope I can meet a few more as you come for tours (Monday-Friday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm!) and our Open Houses on the 13th and 20th.  You will probably be getting a letter from me this week but I just wanted to share a little bit more today.

I sincerely encourage you to check out the BU COM 2017 Facebook page, the BU COM Student Services Facebook page, the BU COM 2017 Twitter, the COM Student Services Twitter, the #BU2017 hashtag, and our YouTube channel.  And if you don’t have Twitter or heaven forbid Facebook, get one.  Now. We like social media in this school and it will be the best way to keep up-to-date with information about everything.

I also hope you’ll look around this site and our blog to answer a lot of questions.  The best information is coming from people who are living it, right? Well at least that’s what a parent told me today and I think it is right on the money.  Get to know COM through us, your COM Ambassadors.  Reach out, ask questions.  That’s what we’re here for.

Like I said, congratulations.  Welcome to COM!

Kate: How to Keep Warm and Stay Fashionable

I will admit, impracticality is my specialty when it comes to dressing for the weather, especially when it comes to shoes. Who says you can’t wear loafers sans socks when it’s 10 degrees out (see this Instagram)?  But, I must admit that there are some essentials that I refuse to leave the house without between October and March, and I encourage you to put a little time into finding the perfect combination for yourself.

First, you need the biggest, badest winter coat you’ve ever seen.  And it should have a hood (a fur hood for you ladies).  And it should go down to at least your knees.  You think I’m over exaggerating? A story: Where I am from (Missouri), summer temps peak around 100 degrees and my mother was getting so anxious about sending me to the far away land of college that she decided we were going to go out and buy me a winter coat in August.  As you can imagine, my selection was quite limited and I ended up with a basic Michelin man North Face puffer.  I should also note that it barely covered my top half and had no hood.  Fast forward to the first snow of the year in Boston and I run outside only to find the wind blowing up my back and the snow flying straight into my eyes.  Needless to say, I know now have a lovely fur lined hooded long down coat that even features a cute little waist tie (because it still needs to be fashionable, duh).  Right now I’m liking these:

Second, invest in a cozy and warm scarf.  I am a scarf wearer through and through.  Silk scarves, knitted scarves, pashminas, circle scarves, you name it, I’ll wear it.  My go-to in the winter is a huge, black knitted circle scarf I bought at Gap my freshman year.  It is one of those that comes up over your face a little and is so snuggly (I know you know what I mean). And to the embarrassment of my friends, I have even put it up over my head to shield my ears from the wind a few times.  Whether you’re wearing it for the fashion or just to keep warm, a good scarf will be the difference between staying warm and turning into an icicle.  This one from Nordstrom looks like a great option.

Finally, find yourself a great pair of gloves.  The wind in this city is killer and even with your Starbucks latte in hand, bouts of frost bite have been known to occur.  I just got this great cashmere, monogrammed pair for Christmas and I never take them off.  Even better is they have the little smart-touch tips so I can text and tweet away at any time.  Insider tip: keep them in your coat pockets so you never find yourself without them.

P.S. Now I just gave you a reason to shop.  You can thank me later.

 

Kate: London vs. Boston

Hello again from London!

I hope everyone has been having an amazing semester back in Boston and I am looking forward to joining you all in just over a month!  For the past seven weeks, I have been completing the internship portion of my abroad programme and I am happy to report it has been a successful experience! I chose to intern with a small fashion PR firm in central London who work with a variety of clients. I’ve always been interested in fashion PR but I’ve never known if it was exactly what I wanted to do so I decided, why not give it a try in one of the fashion capitals of the world?!

The internship was definitely a learning experience and the best way to get immersed in the culture and work life of London.  Here are the four most valuable (and fun!) things I learned at my internship:

 

  1. Difference in the style of journalism. Each day, I scanned through the local daily papers like The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Telegraph for fashion coverage and mentions of our clients. Here, everything is so much more sensational and almost reminds me of the National EnquirerThe Sun even features a nude photo on page three everyday! No daily paper in America would get away with that!
  2. Running PR events. During my time, I helped the team with three client events including our major fall press day.  A press day is basically when you invite all local journalists to your showroom to see you client’s new collections. It’s a really important day for the agency and I learned a ton preparing for and helping at the event.
  3. Sending out press samples. This aspect of my internship may have been favorite.  A couple times a day, journalists sent us stories they were working on so we could send them clothes from our clients that could be featured in their publication.  It was my job to pick out the clothes and accessories and send them to the journalist.  This helped me learn what types of items look best when photographed and the difference between still life shots and model shots.  It tapped into my shopaholic tendencies a bit and I loved it!
  4. The lingo. For the first week of my internship, I was so confused when I would come into work and people would ask if I was alright. Did I look sick? Tired? Sad? I couldn’t figure it out.  Nope, that is just a normal greeting like “what’s up.”  Other confusing terms? A jumper is a sweater. A gillet is a vest. Rocket is arugula. A biscuit is a cookie. Chips are French fries and crisps are chips. The bin is the trashcan. And don’t forget to say cheers before leaving for the day!

Now that the internship is over, I just have my last class and final! I can’t believe I only have two weeks left in this amazing city and I will be sad to leave but it will be good to be home with my family for Christmas.

Happy Holidays COM Family!