Magdalene: An Untimely-Exit – A Thank You To COM

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Trying to articulate how I feel about the end of my college experience is challenging – particularly during this unprecedented and nerve-wracking time. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect.

I did not arrive at BU as a freshman; rather, after taking a gap year, I arrived as junior transfer student unsure of what to major in (i.e. feeling like a freshman all over again). The more years that pass from my time at my previous college, the more I’m tempted to look at it through rose-colored glasses. It’s important to note that I was unhappy there, however. After two years, I felt that I was floating aimlessly while simultaneously not feeling challenged. Despite my stagnation, I was terrified to break from it. When I finally had the courage to deviate from my mental confines, I experienced immediate relief – I went home happy to have a break from school and some much-needed time to reflect on what I wanted.

Turns out my time to think would progressively devolve into existential dread – often after 9 pm. I would scold myself for leaving behind something “good,” being a year behind my friends, and above all coming to the realization that I wanted to transfer. What if no other school accepted me?

I guess I eventually got tired of my exponential devolvement into nightly “what ifs.” I made a promise to myself that I would be productive. I was a freelance writer for my high school’s alumni magazine, was an event planner for a local artist, and babysat nearly every day to save money for the quintessential “I need clarity so I’m going to plan a trip to Europe phase.” Before I went to Europe to visit friends who were conveniently abroad at the time and who I could stay with (the only way I could afford this), I realized that I was doing a lot of writing, interviewing, and talking to journalists during my odd jobs – all things I derived a lot of enjoyment out of. So, I cracked open the Common App, something I had vowed to never do again, and applied to communication programs.

When I returned back from my amazing trip, I was anxious to see if I would be going back to the school I had outgrown. I was thrilled to see this wouldn’t be the case. I took time to visit the schools I was accepted to. I distinctly remember the day I visited BU. It was a cooler day in the spring but really sunny. I went on the campus tour and then afterward decided to pop into COM to take a look. My Dad and I were almost immediately greeted by a friendly man who walked out of his classroom, inviting us in. I was a bit too shy and above all surprised, so I said thank you and declined. I’m so glad that this was not my first and last experience with Eddie Downes. Eddie was my Non-profit PR professor and is a mentor to me. Recently, he wrote me a letter of recommendation that made me cry (in a good way).

I don’t care how cheesy, to me COM is community. I was intimidated coming in as a junior transfer, fearing I would be behind. I can say with confidence I have never felt so supported by faculty, staff, and fellow students alike. People in COM want the best for you. You’ll never be spoon-fed, but you’ll always be encouraged and guided with expertise and sincerity.

There are so many people I need to thank. All of whom I will when I set foot on campus again for Commencement. For now, I say thank you from afar. My past two years at BU have been some of my most formative thanks to the people I have met along the way. I’m sad the Class of 2020’s time was cut short, but I’m incredibly grateful for the memories I did create. Love you COM. Thanks again.

-Magdalene

Magdalene: Take A Break This Finals SZN And Escape Into The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show

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Kacey Musgraves performs.

With finals rapidly approaching, I am beginning to slip into my panic mode. I’m writing this blog post with an elevated heart rate, in fact. The looming feelings of “I shoulds” are starting to creep into my mind. I should be studying xyz, I should be planning out my day to the second so I don’t miss an opportunity to do work, etc. etc.

The only “should” I recommend is the following: You should (only if you want to lol) stop and take a 44-minute break to watch country-pop singer Kacey Musgraves’ Amazon Prime holiday special, The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show. I do truly believe this experience can be more than enjoyable for anyone – whether you’re a celebrator of Christmas and/or a lover of country-pop or not.

The special is vibrant and campy and magical all at once. The intersection of these attributes offers a little world to enter into: one that requires you to leave behind the stress of finals for a moment of musical immersion.

As Musgraves prepares for her own Christmas festivities, several other celebrities stop by to sing duets. Leon Bridges, Lana Del Rey and Zooey Deschanel (to name a few) pop by, much to Musgraves’ surprise. And Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek sassily narrates the whole evening in elf garb.

I think it’s absolutely critical to be cognizant of how we are mitigating our stress levels as finals rev up and above all know when to allow a bit of whimsy into our days to recharge. The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show provided just that for me, and I hope it will do something similar for you too.

Happy holidays,

Magdalene 🙂

Magdalene: Why You Should Shop Local, Even In College

You’re running on fumes and need a pick-me-up. And there it is, in the distance – Warren Towers Starbucks. The overpriced caffeine penetrates your bloodstream and with relief comes an unshakable feeling of shame for not buying local. This is obviously a highly dramatized account, but I think we could all (myself included) do a bit better at shopping local. 

Why shop local? Great question. There are several answers. On a basic level shopping local is a great way to not only support the community but also to get to know people you may not interact with on a regular basis. Making intentional choices about where to put your money can help stimulate the local economy and therefore keep more of your dollars within the community. Food that is sourced locally is more “green.” There is less travel time between where the food is grown and sold. Eating seasonally is also cheaper and arguably more delicious. (Which is great for those of us trying to save wherever we can!) 

A few suggestions around BU:  

Pavement Coffeehouse 

736 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Local coffee shop in Boston with multiple locations, one being right on campus. Fills up quickly but is a great place to meet friends and professors between classes. Quality coffee and tea plus yummy bagels, too. 

Taqueria El Barrio 

1022 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Quick counter-service Mexican restaurant. Really delicious and authentic tacos among other dishes.   

Farmers Market 

775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Held at George Sherman Union Plaza on Thursdays from September 5 to October 24. This is a fantastic and convenient way to buy from local vendors who care about sustainability. Select vendors sell unique art, as well. 

The Goodwill Store 

965 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Well not exactly a “local business” per se, going thrifting is a sustainable way to be a fashionista without hurting the environment. This Goodwill is a prime donation spot for BU students, so you can actually take home some really great finds for little cost. 

This is obviously not a comprehensive list. Just a few of my favorites.  

Feel free to reach out with any questions! My email is: jsoule@bu.edu

Magdalene: Relearning to Love Being Alone

As someone who had always considered herself an independent person growing up, I’ve been surprised at the discontentment I’ve felt being alone as of late. I think these uneasy feelings are a byproduct of my experience attending a school with fewer than 2,000 students prior to transferring to BU. I’d always felt like I was under a microscope there – the smallness made me feel uncomfortable with the public displays of solitude that I had cherished previously. Going to meals at my other school was an event. It felt almost mandatory to go with friends or else you’d be considered strange or people would cast pity looks at you.

Now having had around a semester and a half here, I think BU (and Boston as a whole) offers fertile terrain for getting back to being comfortable with being alone. The sheer size of this school offers a certain sense of anonymity. When I leave my apartment it’s refreshing to acknowledge to myself that the people I see outside may or may not be affiliated with BU. Alright, so I’m not expert but here are some tips to feel more comfortable being “seul” (alone) by me, Magdalene Soule:

1) Walk down Comm. Ave. with no music

Gasp. I know. But hear me out…This might feel quite awkward seeing as I’ve noticed the vast majority of people listen to music walking between classes. In addition to the enjoyment of listening to music and the reprieve it allows one from the academic world, it’s also a safety net. Try doing it a couple times. Look up and observe and really be present in the hustle and bustle.

2) Take yourself on a coffee date

Some people have absolutely zero issue doing this. But often people who are alone at coffee shops have something to occupy them – whether it be work or a newspaper. As a student myself, I think starting small is good. Bring your work to a local café like Pavement, Café Landwer, or Tatte. Once you’re feeling more comfortable with that, try going alone without any explicit work.

3) Take yourself on a museum or movie date

Here in Boston we are fortunate enough to have many museums that are quite accessible. Also, if you show your BU ID, you can get into places like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art for free (and other arts institutions like Boston Symphony Hall for a reduced rate). Going to the movies alone can feel especially daunting, but it’s super empowering. You don’t have to have a date (friend or romantic) to enjoy a film in solitude.

4) Go to a sit-down restaurant

Don’t sit at the bar. Ask for a small table and order something off the full menu! I know that’s a terrifying thought. If you don’t want to spend money going out to eat, go to one of the many dining halls here and eat by yourself.

5) Cry in public

I’m not joking. Okay, please don’t force yourself into crying, but also don’t repress your emotions if you’re feeling something very intensely and you’re in public. I know this might seem bizarre, but don’t hold things in! Also, I want to make it very clear that I’m not advocating for you to go through whatever you’re going through alone. There are so many resources here at BU. I will link them at the bottom of this post. Be okay with not being okay and live your life out loud. Just know there are always people around to support you.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Resources at BU:  

http://www.bu.edu/shs/behavioral-medicine/behavioral-resources/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/sarp/

http://www.bu.edu/scnc/all-services/

http://www.bu.edu/ombuds/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/wellness/general-health-programs/wellness-program-kits/