Maria: Eat Your Way Through Boston

If you know me well, you know that I love food. I love making food, I love reading about food, but most importantly, I love eating food. Good thing for all foodies in Beantown, Boston has amazing places to eat, making it impossible to go hungry here. Whether you’re visiting BU and COM on a perspective student tour or you’re moving here, it’s good to know of some food options, because let’s face it – meals are the most important part of any day.

 

Eating out at restaurants can add up quickly, especially for a broke college student like myself. But when it’s a birthday, family or friends to come to visit, or you feel like splurging, it’s nice to explore new restaurants that may be on the more pricey side. Here are my favorite restaurants in Boston that are on both sides of the price spectrum (don’t worry, it’s nothing too expensive!).

 

Breakfast (a.k.a. my favorite meal of the day)

On the less expensive side: @Union, 174 Harvard Ave.

@Union is a small restaurant a few blocks west from BU’s West Campus. They serve breakfast all day, which is a plus for those who sleep until really late in the day, as well as lunch and dinner. All of the prices are extremely reasonable especially for the quality and quantity of the food of your meal. My suggestion: build-your-own omelet.

On the more expensive side: Stephanie’s, Newbury St.

Unfortunately Stephanie’s only serves brunch on the weekends, but it’s worth a trip. With its delicious food and decadent drinks, the menu goes beyond the typical scrambled eggs or plain French toast, also offering lunch options. And for those of you 21+, they have a huge check-list of what you’d like in a bloody Mary, with anything from shrimp to expensive vodka. My suggestion: pulled pork scramble.

 

Lunch

On the less expensive side: Scoozi Boston (580 Commonwealth Ave.) or Scoozi Newbury (237 Newbury St.)

Scoozi is a great option for lunch, offering anything from paninis and pizza to steak and seafood – and it’s not too pricey. Choose from either its location on Newbury Street if you’re out shopping for the day of its Kenmore location if you’re on campus looking for a change in pace from the dining hall. My suggestion: steak tips panini.

On the more expensive side: Union Oyster House, 41 Union St.

The longest continuing-running restaurant in the country, Union Oyster House is a quaint oyster house located along the Freedom Trail, making it a perfect pitstop if you’re walking along the trail. You can sense how fresh the food is there by the jumbo lobster tank placed right in the front of the restaurant. Try to sit in the famous booth, where President JFK’s booth “The Kennedy Booth” sits on the top level of the old oyster house. My suggestion: any of the oysters or lobster salad roll.

 

Dinner

On the less expensive side: Al Dente, 109 Salem St.

If you love food and you’re in Boston, you need to visit the North End. On a budget? Al Dente is a great place to stop in for dinner. You can’t go wrong with any of the delicious (and homemade!) pasta dishes. Make sure to bring an appetite, as all of the portions will fill you right up. My suggestion: gnocchi al dente.

On the more expensive side: Eastern Standard, 528 Commonwealth Ave.

Located near Scoozi Boston, Eastern Standard is a favorite steakhouse among BU students and their families. With everything from gourmet grilled cheese (I kid you not) to porterhouse, there’s something for everyone at Eastern Standard. My suggestion: seared Scottish salmon or grilled flat iron steak.

 

Hopefully my suggestions will serve as a helpful guide of where to eat when you’re eating out in Boston. If none of these restaurants suit your needs, you can look at Boston Magazine’s website with different restaurant suggestions. Enjoy!

Maria: How to Avoid the Graduation Crisis

Commencement weekend is a little less than 7 months away. It may sound exciting to your mom and dad who don’t have to pay tuition after May 18th, but to me and other seniors, it’s one of the most terrifying thoughts. College has been the most amazing three and going on four years of my life, and to think that that will all come to an end soon is very scary. And it makes frightening questions come to mind – what do you mean no more four-day weekends? How am I going to afford anything without a student discount? And the question that is without a doubt on everyone’s mind: where am I going to work once I graduate?

Fortunately, BU and COM specifically prepare you well for graduation… or at least the best anyone could be prepared for graduation. COM has a great resource that I encourage everyone to utilize during his or her time at BU, and that’s COM Career Services. COM Career Services is there to help you with getting a job, even before you graduate. They have an online database full of internships and jobs in Boston and around the country. You can even access the database once you graduate, which is extremely helpful if you find yourself in a bit of a rut a couple months down the road after graduation. They also have cover letter and resume critiquing, which I take advantage of often. Who knows what companies are looking for on resumes and cover letters more than the people in COM Career Services? They also have fun activities that can help with your professional appearance – one example being a LinkedIn headshot photo opportunity, where you could go in and get a professional picture done for your LinkedIn!

On top of that, internships are highly encouraged in COM. Some students are required to intern as part of their curriculum, while others just take advantage of the amazing companies in and around Boston. I’m on my fifth internship during my college career, and I can honestly say that internships teach you more than you’ll ever learn in a classroom. You’ll never know the full experience of what it’s like to work in a certain industry until you immerse yourself into it. Internships prepare you for the real world and being a “real person” as I like to refer to people with jobs and careers. In addition they are amazing resume builders, and they can only help you get a job and further your professional life. Sometimes internships that you’ve interned with will even offer you a job after you graduate and are usually more likely to hire you over someone who is not familiar with the company.

All in all, it almost makes me cringe hearing the word graduation, but I know that COM has prepared me really well for the future and how to obtain a job. Take advantage of everything COM has to offer; it can only help you and make you a better student and candidate for a job in the future, and that will make you worry a little less about the g-word.

 

Maria: Four Things I Wish I Knew As A Freshman

It’s hard to believe that three years ago, I was a scared little freshman on campus unsure of what to do with my life. How do I awkwardly make small talk with my neighbors in the bathroom? Would my professor hate me if I don’t go to office hours? Where is my 24-hour diner when I’m craving some greasy food at midnight? (Sorry, I’m from New York where late-night diners are a necessity in every town.)

This post inspired me after the COM (College of Communication) Open House in April when all of us COM Ambassadors came on stage, introduced ourselves, and said one thing we wish we knew about BU before we got here. The one lame, but true, thing I said was “I wish I knew how great COM was before I got here.” (I transferred from a psychology major in the College of Arts & Sciences to a journalism major in COM my sophomore year.) Well, chances are if you’re reading this, you’re already in COM or are interested in applying to COM, so you already know why COM is so great. So here are a few other things I wish I knew when I got to college:

1)    Get to know your professors and teaching fellows (TFs)

This is probably the one thing I really wish I knew the most as a freshman. If you establish a relationship with your professor or TF during your semester with them, they will most likely help you out during the semester giving you advice for their tests or essays and offering additional study hours. And although most of the classes you take freshman year are intro classes, one or two will be an intro class for your potential major. In the long run, having a strong connection with a professor or TF will truly when you need a mentor, letter of recommendation, or just someone to go to when you’re having a life or career crisis.

2)    The food here is actually pretty good

I’ll admit I was one of those kids who were obsessed with my future college as a senior in high school. I went on all those weird websites that ranked your college in every department: location, food, dorm life, even the parking situations. I always heard that BU had great food and distinctly remember one website giving the food an A-. It seemed weird to me that BU was one of the only schools I really saw that had a high food rating, but once I got here, I realized how accurate it was. The dining halls had miraculously delicious food and the food court had real places like Panda Express and a killer salad bar. And we live in an awesome city, so of course there’s amazing food places right off campus. With anything from “Brown Sugar” Thai food , “Chipotle” for your Mexican craving, or the North End just a short T-ride away, you literally can’t go hungry on (or even off) campus.

3)    Get to know the people on your floor and in your dorm

I lived on an all-girls floor in Claflin in West Campus my freshman year. To say it was catty is a bit of an understatement, but nonetheless I met some of my best friends on my floor. Unfortunately I didn’t meet many other people in the dorm, and found out that a lot of the friends I made later freshman year or sophomore year actually lived in my building. It’s great networking to meet people on all floors and it’s fun to mingle with people you may not see every day in the bathroom while you’re rocking your cute robe.

4)    The 57 Bus will save your life

If you don’t know what the 57 Bus is, it’s pretty much a hidden treasure on campus. The 57 is one of the city busses that starts in Kenmore, runs all throughout campus, stops at almost every block on campus, and continues down Brighton Ave. all the way to Watertown. It’s an awesome alternative to the T, which can run slow because it’s usually pretty packed (unless you’re on it at 5 AM or at random times of the day). But the 57 Bus drives as fast as a normal car, and let’s be real, Bostonians take driving to a new level in this city. And it’s cheaper; the T costs $2.50 while the bus is $2.00. Once you’re in college, you really appreciate the cheaper things in life.

I hope these words of advice are something you take into account as a freshman! Enjoy your weekend and the first few days of Fall!

Maria: Greek Life at a Not-so-Greek School

A lot of people come to tours at Boston University and will ask about Greek Life. It’s understandable; with movies like Legally Blonde and Animal House, it may be hard to imagine college without fraternity parties or seeing the stereotypical sorority women sporting their Lilly Pulitzer dresses and bows. But many people come to BU and realize that it’s not your typical college. We have two forms of public transportation running through our campus and get off of school for random holidays like Patriots Day (not that I’m complaining). So coming to BU is definitely a unique experience, and that definitely applies in the Greek Life department.

I decided to join a sorority my freshman year and went through formal recruitment in the beginning of my second semester here. And in all honesty, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in college thus far. Greek Life at BU is not like it is in other parts of the country where Total Frat Move can be a play-by-play of their daily lives and they have to be typical southern belles to receive a bid to a sorority. Being Greek here is a lot more casual, and has made BU act as a smaller school. It’s intimidating walking around as a freshman seeing thousands of people every day who you don’t really know, but the second you join a sorority, you’re pretty much coming into a family of 100+ women, many who may become some of your best friends at college. And you also get to meet so many people – you’ll meet your friends’ friends, who will introduce you to their friends, and so on. It’s an amazing social network where you meet tons of people on campus that you may not have met otherwise. And aside from the social aspect, there’s a major philanthropic aspect to it, which is one reason why I joined a sorority. Every Greek organization on campus has a different national philanthropy. My sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, has two national philanthropies – Girls on the Run and Camp Fire USA, and our philanthropic mantra is “building strong girls.” Therefore our philanthropies focus on building leadership skills, confidence, and self-esteem in young girls through a variety of activities. We host different fundraising events each semester for our philanthropies, as well as attend other chapters’ philanthropies. It’s a great way to unite the Greek community and support each other and the important causes we raise money and awareness for. One of the best examples I like to share is one of the fraternities’ fundraiser. Sigma Chi holds an annual weeklong event called Derby Days where all sorority chapters participate in challenges and donate money, all in support of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Last year the sororities helped the brothers raise $23,000, which is an incredible amount of money, especially in 5 days time.

Joining Gamma Phi Beta has definitely shaped my experience here at BU. I’m currently President of my sorority and am always proud to wear my letters on campus. However, this doesn’t mean you have to join a sorority or fraternity to enjoy your college years. Because BU has so many clubs and organizations, students from various backgrounds, and is in an amazing city, there are other ways to get involved on campus and off campus and still have an amazing time in college. Greek Life may not be for everyone, but it should be like everything else you conquer in life – keep an open mind.

Until next time,

Maria

 

Maria: How to Spend your Summer

Unfortunately, spring break is coming to an end. But that means that you’re halfway done with the semester, and only 8 weeks away from the summer! That’s probably a lot sooner than you thought, huh? If you’re still not sure about how you should spend your summer, here are some ideas:

Get an Internship

Many of us, especially in the communication field, know that internships are not only great resume boosters, but are amazing real world experiences. You get to learn so much about your field and you’re able to take what you learn in your classes and apply it to actual companies.

It’s definitely not too late to still apply to summer internships! Some places don’t close their applications until April, but at the same time there are lots of places that have closed their applications or will soon. Make sure you get a list of places you would be interested in interning, check out when the deadline is to apply, and get your documents in as soon as you can.

Study Abroad

Taking classes abroad through BU’s programs over the summer is great for two reasons: one is because well… you get to live in a new city, country, or continent! You can still fit in educational time abroad that won’t interrupt your normal fall and spring semesters on campus. Another reason is because you can still get class credit and that can help you take fewer classes when you get back to campus.

One thing that some people forget is that studying abroad doesn’t mean you have to fly across the world to get the abroad experience. BU offers domestic programs in LA and DC, and those are two awesome programs to take advantage of. If you don’t feel like spending the summer out of the country, those are great options.

Work at Home

Sometimes, it’s nice to just get out of the Boston area, head home, and simply take on a seasonal summer job, like working at an ice cream store, a summer day camp, or at a pool as a lifeguard. It’s a great way to make money (side note: there are still many internships that do not pay their interns, so this is another reason to consider this idea!). Summertime is always known as a relaxing time, so why not take on a more laid back job, make some money, and enjoy the warm weather?

My spring break trip to Mexico has made me way too excited for the summer’s warm weather and relaxation as you can probably tell from this post… Hope you all had a great break!

 

Maria: Post-Abroad Life

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been back from the best semester of my college experience so far. I spent my first semester of junior year in London studying and interning through BU’s London Internship Program. Looking back on last semester, it’s crazy to think about how fast it all went, and how different it is to be home.

It’s actually weird to say this, but being back in America has given me more culture shock than I had when I first got to London! I quickly grew accustomed to everything that is part of London life, from saying cheers instead of thank you to co-workers to deciding to order food “for take-away” at a café so I wouldn’t have to spend an extra pound to sit down and eat. It even took me a while to cross the street and figure out which directions cars were coming from.

Even when it comes to being back at BU and taking classes, it’s a bit of an adjustment from last semester. Study abroad programs are known to have easier class and work schedules than a normal semester at college, and I almost forgot what it’s like to study for midterms and work on group projects. Especially with the London Internship Program, you spend the first five weeks taking two classes for four days a week, and then you spend the last eight weeks taking one class one day a week and interning the other four days. So now you might be able to understand how it’s a big change going from a leisurely semester in Europe to handling four classes, my involvement in COM, being President of my sorority, finding time to do homework, and having time to catch up with friends and family. Needless to say, I’m beyond thrilled to be back in Boston for another amazing semester here at BU.

Going abroad is probably one of the most recommended things to do in college by those who did and did not go abroad. Some people who did will say it’s the best time of your life, and some who didn’t will say they regret it. Feel free to shoot me an email if you’re interested in studying abroad in London.

Cheers!

Maria