Nick: The Art of Saying No

If you’re a COM student, chances are you’ve got a very busy schedule. Sometimes students in other colleges at BU will scoff at the fact that most COM classes only meet once a week, but they’re forgetting one key point: all the work that happens outside the classroom. One of the best things about COM is you’re practicing the skills necessary for your career from day one. If you want to be a journalist, you’re out covering stories and conducting interviews. If you want to be a director, you’re putting those skills to the test on your short films. If you want to be a producer, you’re scheduling shoots and putting potential producing prowess on display.

But all this great professional experience lends itself to a familiar COM dilemma… “I don’t have enough free time.” Between balancing schoolwork, likely a myriad of extracurriculars and a possible part-time job, finding time to sit back and binge-watch Stranger Things may not be as easy as you’d like. Which leads me to the solution: the art of saying no.
Now if you’re anything like me, you tend to overbook yourself to the max (iCal has become my best friend). I want to make everyone happy, and this often means that I say yes to things that I later regret. If you overbook yourself, you could end up losing sleep, skipping meals or getting sick.
So one of the best lessons I’ve learned in COM, especially my senior year, is to take care of myself and sometimes turn things down if I know they would only make my life more difficult. Don’t wait as long as I did.
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With added free time this semester, I was able to be perform in Stage Troupe’s production of Grease with some pretty awesome dudes.
Turning down an internship for fall of my senior year was a difficult decision, but one I felt was necessary. I had come off a busy summer interning with both WEEI, writing content for their website, and NBC Boston’s investigative team. My schedule was pretty busy as it was, and I considered interning on my two free days without work or class. Let’s just say I’m happy with the decision I made. As it turns out, those days have proven to be valuable times to schedule interviews, shoot b-roll for class video packages and sometimes just unwind and watch TV.
I was also tempted to take on more responsibility in my extracurriculars, but decided to go another route. Without being bogged down by my extracurriculars, I auditioned for another show this semester and was cast in Stage Troupe’s production of Grease. I have always loved performing, and figured this could be one of my last opportunities to do something like this. It didn’t have to do with my major or advance my career, but that’s ok. Sometimes you need to do things for yourself.
With the added free time, I was also able to book a flight to Washington, DC in early October for the annual Online News Association conference. This was an incredible experience – both in terms of returning to a city that I love and also networking opportunities. This would not have been possible if I didn’t say “no thanks” every once in awhile.

And best of all, with my added free time I’m able to spend more quality time with my friends, some of whom are either graduating in December or headed to do the LA program for the spring semester. You’re only in college once, and it’s important to remember that you have the rest of your life to work. Find some time while you’re at BU to turn down an offer and go to that Red Sox game, spend the night at the ICA, check out some of the delicious eats in the North End. You’ll be glad you did.

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Carter, Simon and I spontaneously bought tickets to a Red Sox playoff game, and it was one of the best days of the semester.

Nick: The Power of Friendship

As I sit on the third floor of COM and await my next FPS reservation, it’s easy to get nostalgic about the last three years. Being a senior is a weird feeling, and I’m not sure it has set in quite yet. On one hand, this is the first time I’ve been on campus since last fall, and I’m eager to reconnect with old friends and make the most of every remaining second I have in college. On the other hand, you’re basically forced to have one foot out the door so you can prepare for post-grad life and, gulp, the dreaded unknown that is the real world.

When I look back at my BU career to this point, many things stand out. My on-air experience through BUTV10, my time onstage, long nights at the Daily Free Press office during the fall of my junior year, getting up at three in the morning for Meet the Press every Sunday last spring, to name a few. COM has given me so much in the way of practical experience, but that’s hardly the most important thing. What I remember most about these years are the people I’ve met, the mentors who have helped me along the way and the lifelong friendships I’ve forged.

Jane and I produce Offsides, and I have COM to thank for bringing us together. She's been there since day 1 freshman year when we didn't even know how to read off a teleprompter
Jane and I produce Offsides, and I have COM to thank for bringing us together. She’s been there since day 1 freshman year when we didn’t even know how to read off a teleprompter

Sure, I’ll remember Offsides, BUTV’s only pro sports talk show, and the progress my fellow producers and I have made to improve it, but I’ll remember the people first. Nick Picht, who produced Offsides my freshman year, went from being an intimidating senior to one of my closest friends and mentors. He took me under his wing and has advised me throughout my college career. I couldn’t be more grateful for that, and I hope to be that same person to another freshman. I also got a job at the Boston Globe sophomore year through another Offsides friend – build these relationships and your network will grow along with your friendships.

My time onstage has been memorable and fun – it’s an important outlet amid all my other career-focused activities (so much so that I’ve decided to give another go this semester). But once again, it’s all about the relationships. I decided to do BU On Broadway’s American Idiot sophomore year with my best friend, and I left the process with 20 additional best friends. College can be rough, and having a support system to turn to is crucial – it doesn’t matter where you find it, but it matters that it’s there.

Ah, the Daily Free Press. BU’s independent student newspaper has shaped my college experience and given me unmatched journalistic experience, but I never would have stuck with it had I not been surrounded by such wonderful people at the FreeP. I met my roommate there, and plenty others who I’m certain will remain in my life long after we’ve entered the esteemed realm of COM alumni. The long hours and UBurger trips were tough on me, but my friends kept me going. Someone once asked me if COM kids are competitive. From what I’ve seen, COM students are motivated to pursue similar goals, and they’re eager to see their friends reach and surpass them.

 Long hours at the FreeP office flew by with these goons by my side. Justin, Nick and Jon were my FreeP sports partners-in-crime first, but over time became some of my best friends at BU
Long hours at the FreeP office flew by with these goons by my side. Justin, Nick and Jon were my FreeP sports partners-in-crime first, but over time became some of my best friends at BU

My internship with “Meet the Press” in the spring was transformative in ways I could’ve never imagined. I met senators, members of Congress and governors, but the group of friends I made through the BUDC program is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed my semester there as much as I did.

I’ve been asked on tours, “What’s it like to go to a school as big as BU?” And I always come back to the same answer: BU doesn’t seem that big if you find your niche and surround yourself with a network of support. Then, not only does Comm. Ave. start to seem smaller, but COM does as well. And COM is such a tight-knit community anyway because of its size. The people you meet here will not only be your peers, your camera operators when you need to a standup and your editors, they will be lifelong friends.

Nick: Being Open to Change

Studies show that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of college students change their major at some point, and that’s ok. While I’m not among this group, I am here to tell you that over the course of your college career, your passions will evolve as you are presented with the world of opportunities available to you in COM.

Whether this is inside the classroom, through one of BU’s myriad of extracurricular activities, or in my case through one of our study abroad programs, you won’t be the same person crossing that stage on graduation day – and stepping on the BU seal in Marsh Plaza – as you were when you first arrived on campus as a freshman. And that’s the way it should be. 

I’m a creature of habit. I have the same order at UBurger every time (Phat Chick crispy with a side of fries) and sit in the same spot at Mugar (6th floor is where it’s at), but I’ve come to realize that change is a good thing. College is the time where you’re meant to truly find yourself. It’s your full Cory Matthews in “Boy Meets World” period.

For me, much of that change and growth has unexpectedly happened this semester during my time in our nation’s capital through the BUDC program. First off, I give this program my highest recommendation. Whether you’re a journalism or PR student, or simply someone with a passion for the news or politics, this program is for you.

 I’ve learned more than I could’ve ever imagined, and the opportunities within the program are incredible. BUDC hosts a bunch of networking events throughout the semester with alums in the area, and I can assure you, there are plenty. Additionally, you’re interning and taking classes in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, not to mention the hub of American democracy. I’ve seen so much during my four months here, but with all the museums, historic neighborhoods and brunch spots, you could explore DC for a lifetime and never get bored.

This is where the change part comes in. Up until last semester, I was the sports guy. That was my thing at BU. I served as sports editor of the Daily Free Press last semester and wanted to parlay my education at BU into a career in sports journalism. My decision to come to DC was based on a number of factors, but high on the list were the chances to develop professionally, explore a new city, and become more well-rounded as a reporter. Little did I know that I would develop a passion for politics and become a news junkie.

The 2016 presidential election piqued my interest in politics, and I doubt I would’ve come to DC had I not already been following the campaign. But for someone who gets push notifications every three innings about the Red Sox score, getting the latest updates from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was not high on my agenda. BUDC and my internship changed all that.

I’m interning for NBC’s “Meet the Press” this semester, the longest-running show on television. It has been incredibly eye-opening to assist in the day to day operations of such a highly-respected public affairs program and work closely with producers. Much of my duties involve research and greeting guests on Sunday mornings, but I’ve also written some pieces for NBCNews.com. Through observing Chuck Todd daily and being a part of this institution, I am following the news of the day more closely than ever.

My career ambitions have shifted somewhat thanks to this program. Though I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing post-grad in just over a year (eek), I know I don’t want to just be the sports guy. The political journalism scene has become more attractive than ever before to me, and I would welcome the opportunity to tell stories about how the decisions lawmakers are making on Capitol Hill affect the lives of every American. That’s why I got into journalism in the first place, right? To tell stories and help educate people.

My point in explaining this shift is that at its very core, college is a time for self-discovery. COM is a goldmine of opportunity for you to explore any number of interests, and even delve into ones you weren’t sure you had. My advice would be to take that random class or join that random club; open as many doors as you can during your time at one of the world’s best universities. You may never know what life-changing experience is behind that door.

Nick: Five Movies Sure to Put You in the Christmas Spirit

As the calendar turns to December, it can bring lots of different emotions. On the one hand, there’s the nervousness and anxiousness of closing the semester on a strong note, finishing final papers, and studying for exams. On the other hand, there’s the excitement and joy associated with the holiday season. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to that Christmas Spotify playlist since the beginning of November. So in the spirit of Christmas, I’ve selected my top five Christmas movies (in no particular order) to put that holly in your jolly this December.

 1. Elf

A true Christmas classic even though it came out only 13 years ago, I feel like Elf has entered the holiday consciousness of many. And for good reason. Lovable loser Will Ferrell grows up as a human in the North Pole raised by elves, and embarks on a spectacular journey to find his father in New York City. And as they say in the movie, all us “humans raised by humans” can sit back and enjoy the ride. Will Ferrell’s usual hilarity is there in spades, and as one of my favorite actors, his performance as Buddy the Elf just adds to my enjoyment of this film. Also, Zooey Deschanel’s Jovie provides the perfect foil to Buddy. You were probably gonna watch this one already, but son of a nutcracker, consider this a reminder.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Raunchy but a pure delight, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation depicts the perfect Christmas disaster for the Griswold family. Chevy Chase is back as the iconic Clark Griswold, and the misadventures that he and his family endure during the holiday season are second-to-none. It’s become a Neville family tradition that we watch this movie on the first day of Christmas vacation every year, and you should make it a part of your holiday traditions as well. Filled with unforgettable one-liners and an all-star cast, this movie may not depict the ideal Christmas, but it can certainly help you have one.

3. It’s A Wonderful Life

Nominated for five Oscars and ranked as one of the top 25 movies on IMDb, It’s a Wonderful Life is not just a great holiday movie, it’s a cinematic treasure. Hollywood legend James Stewart is George Bailey, likable everyman and long-time resident of Bedford Falls. Bailey is frustrated, and an angel steps in to show him just how much of a difference one person can have on the lives of so many others. If you’re in need of a holiday pick-me-up, look no further. This heartwarming tale has become a staple at my house on Christmas Eve morning, and I highly recommend it. It’s a long one, though, 2 hours and 10 minutes to be exact, but it’s worth every minute.

4. The Santa Clause

You’ve probably heard of this Christmas classic from it’s consistent run on ABC Family’s – sorry Freeform’s – 25 Days of Christmas, but I would be remiss to leave it off this list. Comedian and Christmas movie guru (Christmas with the Kranks anyone??) Tim Allen makes his first appearance as Santa in this installment of the holiday trilogy. He stars as Scott Calvin, a man who inadvertently becomes subject to the Santa Clause after putting on the big, red suit. It’s fun for the whole family, and full of all the joy and whimsy that you’re looking for in a great Christmas movie. The other two movies are great too, but nothing beats the original.

5. Jingle All the Way

While not one of the most well-known holiday movies, Jingle All the Way is a treat for a number of reasons. First of all, who knew now Apprentice-star and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger could be a holiday hero? Well he is in this film, and acting alongside Sinbad, the pairing goes on a Christmasy wild goose chase in search of the ever-elusive Turbo Man action figure. If you’ve ever struggled to find a gift in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you know Arnold’s struggle here. It’s a laugh-a-minute, and the late Phil Hartman gives a hilarious performance as Arnold’s neighbor in the film. Add Jingle All the Way to your Christmas movie schedule this year – you won’t regret it.

Nick: The Beantown Sports Scene

On the heels of the Chicago Cubs shocking the baseball world and clinching their first World Series championship since 1908 (before sliced bread was even a thing), I thought it would be fitting to talk about one of the topics nearest and dearest to my heart – sports.

You’ve heard it before – how Boston is the City of Champions. The Red Sox broke their own 86-year curse in 2004 and went on to win two more titles, the Celtics won it all with the Big Three in 2008, the Patriots have four championships in this millennium, and the Bruins took home the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Whether you’re an avid sports fan like myself, someone who wants to learn more about sports or simply a casual fan, BU has all of that for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get involved with sports at COM, BU and in Boston:

1. Fenway is in our backyard
One of the biggest draws for me as a Boston sports fan was BU’s proximity to Fenway Park. We are minutes away from one of the most historic ballparks in all of sports (cc Wrigley Field), and fans can get cheap student tickets too (Student 9s). I can’t tell you how many games I’ve been to with my friends since coming to BU. Even if you’re not a Red Sox fan or a fan of baseball, taking in a game at Fenway Park is a Boston experience you don’t wanna pass up.

2. The other pro teams here are pretty darn good
Baseball not your thing? That’s fine, because as mentioned above, all four of the major sports teams in Boston are perennial contenders.

The TD Garden where the Bruins and Celtics play is just a T ride away, and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro makes for a great day trip with some friends to watch some football. Tom Brady can only play for so long, right?

3. BU hockey ROCKS
While BU may not have a football team anymore, the BU men’s hockey team is a perennial contender for a national championship. The team is off to a solid start this season, and three of its freshmen were first round picks in last year’s NHL draft.

Also, the atmosphere at Agganis Arena is always raucous. The pep band kills it and the chants are always a good time. There’s something special about coming together as a school and rooting for a common cause. Similar to attending a game at Fenway Park, watching some BU hockey at Agganis is a vital BU experience. #GoTerriers

4. The sports opportunities in COM are second-to-none

As a sports fanatic with a passion for writing, sports journalism seemed like a logical career path for me. While I’ll be in DC next semester exploring the politic scene, many of the activities I’ve gotten involved with at BU have helped me grow journalistically while also exploring my love of sports.

I’m currently the sports editor of the Daily Free Press, where we cover every BU game throughout the year. This has been an incredible opportunity and experience, as I’ve been able to foster relationships with players, coaches and other beat writers. We have a rolling application, and I’d encourage you to apply. There are also opinion, news, features, layout and blog sections.

Since freshman year I’ve also been involved with BU’s only pro sports talk show Offsides. This has been another amazing experience, as I’ve met some of my best friends through BUTV and learned so much about television production. Plus, my friends and I get to have debates about the hottest topics in sports – which we do anyway.

There are also a bunch of sports journalism courses offered at BU – like sports broadcast, sportswriting, and sports talk radio. Just another example that shows COM has something for everyone.

 

Nick: Oh the places you’ll go (in COM)

I’m an upperclassman now… Wow, that feels weird to say.

Two years ago, I was a freshman still roaming aimlessly around COM Ave. – unsure of the difference between convenience and dining points. (For the record, dining points can be used at any dining hall, other on-campus dining locations, and Domino’s while convenience points basically BU bucks – they can be used for snacks, laundry, Subway, Cane’s and more.)

Anyway, I feel that I’ve grown a lot since freshman year, and I thank COM for that. I came in as a journalism major because I knew I had a passion for writing and figured, “why not?” I combined my love for writing with my love of sports and planned on being a sports journalist. Since I also loved performance (and was in many a play in high school), I figured sports broadcast would be an ever better route to take.

That being said, I had very little formal experience in journalism – my school didn’t have any journalism classes and my school’s newspaper was in disarray – so I was nervous heading into COM. I shouldn’t have been.

The experience I’ve gotten inside the classroom and out at BU has been incredible and it’s taught me so much about journalism and broadcasting. I’ve been part of the Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper, since freshman year, which has been an invaluable journalistic experience. I’ve covered a bunch of different BU teams on beats and am now the sports editor there. My involvement with BUTV10’s only pro sports talk show, Offsides, has taught me the fundamentals of studio production.

I’m most excited about my current classes, though. I have the honor of taking TV reporting (JO 351) with Boston legend and former anchor RD Sahl, and am also taking Sports Broadcast (JO 524) with Frank Shorr, who has won EIGHT!! Emmy Awards while the executive producer at WHDH in Boston.

These classes have broadened my horizons in ways I didn’t think possible. Each week I get to learn the skills necessary to thrive in a TV-news environment with RD while making my own professional packages on stories that interest me. In Shorr’s class, we produce “Sportsnite” each Tuesday. The show, filmed in BUTV10’s Studio West, allows me to take on a new role each week – whether it’s live reporting, anchoring, running the soundboard, controlling the switcher, or operating a camera.

So my advice to you is stick it out through those big lectures and intro classes, because as you go further and further into your COM studies, classes will become more and more interesting and will give you the professional experience needed to succeed in the job market.

COM on,

Nick

Nick: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Hey guys! My name’s Nick, and I’m super stoked to be joining the COM Ambassador team. I’m a sophomore studying journalism, and have spent much of my time at BU on WTBU’s airwaves, working in Studio West to produce Offsides, a weekly sports talk show through BUTV10, and covering various teams as a beat writer for the Daily Free Press. But for my first post, I’d like to tackle a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the stage.

College is absolutely a place to try new things and step out of your comfort zone, but it is also a space where you can return to old passions, even after some time, and be welcomed with open arms. I recently found this out firsthand after auditioning for BU On Broadway’s production of American Idiot.

I did theater in high school, but for one reason or another – maybe it was a fear that I wouldn’t fit in or worry that I couldn’t balance a show and schoolwork – I hadn’t tried out for a show at BU until this semester. We’re just over a week into the rehearsal process, and do I ever wish I jumped onto this team a long time ago.

BU On Broadway is one of the student-run theater groups on campus, and much like all the experiences I’ve had here, everyone is incredibly friendly. I have some friends in Stage Troupe as well, and they put on some amazing performances. Whether you’re a first time actor, simply a fan of theater, or a performer who is looking to make his or her return to the stage like myself, I would encourage you to check out one of these groups. If you’re not into the whole acting business, there is plenty to do behind the scenes as well, with stage-managing and tech opportunities (or just come out and support – these shows have both had me cackling to a point of exhaustion and on the brink of tears).

Much like the On Broadway group, there is something for everybody on BU’s campus. I encourage you to check out all there is to offer at BU – see what you like (box combo from Cane’s anyone??), see what you don’t (8 AMs…). One lesson I’ve learned through my first year and a half as a college student is not to hold back. If you want to try something out, go for it. You’re only in college once, and we’re in a pretty great spot. You name it, BU probably has it.

Don’t be afraid to sit next to that random person in the GSU and make a new friend. Or join that table-tennis club because you’ve always admired their intensity. Or try out for the new musical. BU’s campus is your oyster, now go out there and do.