Tyler: Legitimize your Ideas: Aly & AJ

“You need to know how to defend your ideas with confidence, even if that means digging yourself into a hole.”

It was the first day of class senior year when the Media Money Trail course instructor, Professor Jodi Luber, established this objective for the semester. She encourages debate, even if you’re aware that you are wrong, for the sake of knowing how to argue. It’s an important skill for any professional in a creative field: how do you legitimize your ideas? If you’re pitching an idea and there is an unexpected question or criticism comes, you must know how to address it.

When you think about it, this is a pretty good skill for everyday life. When you have an opinion or theory, what can you do to defend it? Let’s take this example that is my personal favorite. Are you ready?

Ex-Disney Channel stars-turned-pop duo Aly & AJ are vampires.

What?

Yep. Believe it or not, I think that they are vampires. And I’m going to defend my opinion to you, readers.

  1. Alyson and Amanda “AJ” Michalka were practically A-List celebrities in the mid-2000s. Think: Cow Belles, Phil of the Future, some recurring roles on daytime shows like Passions and General Hospital, NOT EVEN to mention their ultimate stardom with their Insomniatic and Into the Rush albums. But, where did they go post-Insomniatic? Simple: the grave. Their retreat from the spotlight lasted years. As a ruse, they sometimes popped up in throwaway projects like Hellcats and Silicon Valley, but who really cares about that? They just wanted you to think that they weren’t dead. Truly, there is a stark contrast between who they were and who they became.

alyandajinsomiaticWhat a dreary album cover for what was probably the last time they were seen alive

2. In 2015, Aly returned to the small screen via the CW series iZombie. The series centers around newly-minted zombie, Olivia, who uses her eating habits to absorb the memories of murder victims and solve their deaths. Creepy? A bit. Aly plays Peyton, Olivia’s (living) best friend. The connection is just uncanny. She’s in a show about dead people, but she isn’t dead? Seems like a diversion where she can point fingers elsewhere.

alyizombieTaken from tv.com.

3. Recently, Aly & AJ have emerged from their slumber together. Their EP Ten Years reintroduces them to the music world with a rejuvenated sound. Yeah, I bop to it. It sounds nice, and I can definitely say, “We stan!” But think harder. What does “ten years” even mean? Ten years since what? Their deaths? Probably. Things get even spookier when you listen to their hit, “Take Me.” Check out these lines:

I know that you would want it

If I could sink my teeth into you

They are literally talking about biting somebody. Their music video also confirms the suspicion. Check out those sharpened teeth:

AlyfangsTaken from Vevo music video of “Take Me“.

4. This summer, my friend Jess and I had the pleasure (or doomed misfortune) of seeing Aly & AJ live at the Paradise Rock Club. It was a transformative experience. Great banter, great tunes, and lots of dancing. At one point, Aly commented on their tumultuous careers: “I feel like AJ and I have lived nine lives!” Honestly, Aly, maybe that’s because you have.

jJEb7ziXSkWPSHTXDjD47wA poor quality photo of a high quality evening.

I feel as though I have some irrefutable evidence here. Try to come at me! Perhaps I have dug myself into a hole in the process of this post… but what kind of hole? Notice my obsession over Aly & AJ aligns closely with that of a vampire’s minion. I was within close proximity of these two goddesses. Maybe there is a small chance… just a tiny one… that they have turned me, too, and the hole in which I lie exists in your local cemetery. Watch out when you’re traversing Commonwealth Ave late at night, all alone…

 

Tyler A: UK v. US Television: What’s the difference?

Before I landed at London Heathrow Airport this January (yes, I am abroad, but I didn’t want to give you the standard “I am abroad!” post), I thought that at any time I could just plop down and turn on NBC. But nope! I was silly! Maybe I’m not like everyone else, but I really had no idea what television was like in the UK. Since this is a blog for my fellow COM nerds, though, I thought it could be useful to give a broad overview of our differences:

  1. In the UK, public service broadcasting is king (or queen): In the late 1920s when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) received a Royal Charter, one of the agreements was for radio – and later television –  to serve as a public resource, and by extension, became a government agency overseen by Parliament. Users had to pay an annual licence fee to listen, which also funded the organization. The belief was that it would prevent the creation of low-brow programming and instead result in higher-quality to inform, educate, and entertain the masses. BBC ran as a pseudo-monopoly in the UK for decades and arguably still does today. Back in the US, broadcast TV is set up commercially with revenue mainly coming from advertising (though the revenue streams have since slightly evolved in both the UK and US). Regardless, the US took on a much more “free market” idea of television.

  2. The major players in the US versus the UK: What do you think of as the big US TV companies? At least when it comes to broadcast, most people would say NBCUniversal, ABC/Disney, CBS Corp, and Fox. As American media seems to dominate globally, the content produced by these conglomerates still make their way into UK TV in one way or another, but the big players are different here. For years it was only the BBC and for a new channel to be made, an act of Parliament needed to call for it. That’s how in the 1950s Independent Television (ITV) came along as BBC’s largest competitor. Later in the the 80s and 90s, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (now Five) came along. All channels besides the BBC are funded by adverts, and these are the big UK players.

  3. Technological Development: How does your TV work at home? Do you use Cable? Satellite? Or maybe you’re a cord-cutter (or cord-never) who’s only used internet? The options in the US for TV providers feels endless (although it really isn’t, but that’s another story); however, the UK runs quite differently. Cable doesn’t dominate, but people still mainly use aerials (or over-the-air) to receive channels. In the 2000s, “Freeview” arrived and gave all UK TV-users scores of channels for free (or, with your licence fee). Satellite is somewhat common and usually comes from the provider Sky (owned by Fox, which may now be owned by Disney? What’s up, conglomeration! How you doin’?), which opens you up to more options for a larger fee.

  4. The market and the regulations are quite different. What’s the worst thing you could think of happening on air for a US broadcast TV show? Great. That’s no problem here after 9 pm because of a rule called “watershed” where they expect younger audiences have gone to bed. It really threw me through a loop, but it’s definitely nice when they can create such edgy content for widely-watched channels (like my production company’s new show, Kiss Me First, on Channel 4 – catch it on US Netflix soon!). Ratings systems are different, and the markets are different. Of course it would be when you’re in a country of ~65 million compared to ~330 million people.

  5. Don’t fret! US TV is still here: I panicked when I realized that I couldn’t finish off my faves The Good Place or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when I came here. But don’t be afraid. A lot of US content creators strike deals for a second window in the UK. Both of the above shows aired their new episodes weekly on Netflix, as do many other shows. You may even catch some on BBC or Channel 4. I’ve been watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on BBC2 right with you. Okay, I’m behind. But I’m watching it, and I’m alive!

And there we have it, folks. It’s not a deeply comprehensive piece, but it’s something to start you off. And now, if you ever come to London on study abroad, you can impress your professor with all of this knowledge! You’re very welcome.

 

Tyler A: Fall in the Bay State

Have a little Fall Fever? No worries. Here are some remedies that will help you to get out of Boston and explore the region:

1. Apple Picking: A New England Autumn wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the orchard. This is the quintessential experience every Bay Stater and BU student should have. Grab some friends and take the trek! And yes, there is more to do than just pick apples. Many orchards have stores where they sell homemade goods (cider doughnuts, anyone?), and you’ll often find other cool stuff, like Pumpkins! Growing up nearby, my go-to was Tougas Farm in Marlborough, but Honey Pot Hill is another BU student favorite.

2. Salem: It’s October, and things are getting spooky around here! Visit this very historic city, which easily accessible by the Commuter Rail, for Haunted Happenings. During October, the town comes alive with haunted houses, festivals, parades, and so on. I visited Salem on Halloween my freshman year, and it was an unforgettable experience. Don’t like spooky stuff? That’s okay, too. Salem has a lot of history and is still great at any time of the year. Fun Fact: did you know that Salem was the capital of Massachusetts before Boston and was considered one of the most important cities to the original 13 colonies? Go visit and discover more!

3. Witch’s Woods: So maybe you like Halloween but you don’t want the crowds at Salem. We have other options! Check out Witch’s Woods at Nashoba Valley Ski Area. It’s open Thursdays through Sundays and hosts a variety of attractions, from carnival rides to haunted houses to a “Jack-o-Lantern Jamboree” to hay rides! Better catch it quick, though, because the last day is Halloween!

4. Walden Pond: What would New England be without its world famous foliage? Walden Pond State Reservation is great for hiking and taking a little break from the city lifestyle. Take a trip down Route 2 to get there and experience the place where Henry David Thoreau spent his days in the birth of the transcendentalist movement. You can even see a replica of his one-room cabin!

5. Plimoth Plantation: Take a trip back in time and down the South Shore to the old Plimoth Plantation, an interactive indoor/outdoor museum focused on educating people on the historic Plimoth Colony. Experience Native and English cultures as they interacted back then!

Now, ~fall~ into the best season of the year! Enjoy!

Tyler A: Discover your City: The Impact of the First Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP)

The summer came and went. And if you even blinked, you missed the incredible experience that is the First Year Student Outreach Project. Founded almost thirty years ago by BU’s Community Service Center, FYSOP is a bridge program that allows first-year students (freshmen and transfers) to engage in a week of volunteering prior to classes in order to introduce them to the city of Boston and to the many facets of social justice. Every year, about one-fifth of the incoming class participates, over 180 upperclassmen return as staff leaders, and a team of student coordinators and senior staff come together to plan the event all summer long. This year, the program was revolutionized to emphasize not only our roles as stewards of service but as active citizens of this beautiful city. The breakdown of the program went from topical issues like environment and food justice to broader ideas of community engagement with focus on the many Boston neighborhoods. With this, the goal is to better integrate BU students into the city and encourage them to build relationships with people and places beyond our campus.

I have returned to FYSOP each year as a volunteer, a staff, and most recently as a coordinator, and each year, I fall in love with the program all over again. FYSOP played such an important role in laying the foundation for the rest of my time at Boston University. I found my friends (check out this video to peek into some of our fun), I found my passions, and I was constantly challenging myself to think in new ways and learn how I can be a better person.

This year in particular, the revamped program we developed taught me what it truly means to be a Bostonian. I learned so much about our city, what I can do to be a useful part of it, and I’ve never been more proud to be here. If you want to get emotional about Boston like me, watch this video. There’s no possible way I could describe Boston or this program and do it justice, so there are a few things I want to to walk away with:

  1. To loosely quote our closing speaker, Reverend Julian Cook, you do not change a community but a community changes you. Let us realize that we have a duty to our home, and right now, that is Boston. This city and the people leave a mark on us, so we should do something in return.
  2. FYSOP is a project that never ends. This is intended as the starting point for you to continue engaging with your community. Keep exploring your city. Get involved. Be a responsible and active citizen always, not just for these two weeks.
  3. FYSOP will give you some of the best support systems you’ll ever have in your life. Even if the connections with your fellow volunteers last only a few weeks, think about how important that is to your transition into the completely new environment of college. Or if they last even longer, then that’s wonderful! Every year, I make new connections with people that never fade. I couldn’t be more thankful for what they all have given me.

Sorry, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The greatest city in the world is Boston, and we are so lucky to be alive right now. So lucky. Take advantage of it.

Tyler A: ASBean: How to Properly Spend Spring Break

What do you first associate the words “Spring Break” with? The beach? Parties? Sleeping your life away? What about volunteering? The Community Service Center’s Alternative Service Breaks program (or ASB) give students a chance to travel somewhere new in the US or Canada and provide meaningful service. There are over twenty trips that address a variety of topics from environment to homelessness to gender and sexuality. Each one allows students to engage with the community, gain new perspectives, and bond with people they may have never met otherwise.

This was our last day at Friedman. We may be smiling, but we were dying of sadness inside.
This was our last day at Friedman. We may be smiling, but we were dying of sadness inside.

Last week, I was lucky enough to join the ASB trip to Chicago, IL with eight other students and a faculty chaperone. Our trip focused on the abilities focus area, which primarily focuses on advocacy for and destigmatizing people with disabilities. We spent five days volunteering at the Friedman Place, a supportive living community for individuals who are blind or visually-impaired. And it was the best time. Ever. Our volunteer experience mostly entailed getting to know residents and just making their lives more enjoyable so that we were more acquainted with people of another background and could understand the challenges they face.

Remind me to never sit on a glass box that’s 1,353 above the ground ever again.
Remind me to never sit on a glass box that’s 1,353 above the ground ever again.

I could write a novel to discuss the questions the trip raises, the things I learned, and what I’m walking away with, so I’m not going to do that today (but you are welcome to ask me all about it!). Instead, I just want to express to you all what a great experience ASB is and how you should take advantage of it. For a reasonable price, you are getting an invaluable volunteer opportunity, making lifelong friends, and exploring a new place. And by that, I mean we did have time to explore the city. Do not fret.

We went bowling one day! Are we cool or are we cool?
We went bowling one day! Are we cool or are we cool?

It is very important to be involved within COM and gain that professional experience you may need upon graduation, but as humans, we have an even greater responsibility to the world we live in. We should take advantage of opportunities like this to understand populations we wouldn’t normally connect with, give to people and places who may need it, and have fun!

The first selfie of many that week.
The first selfie of many that week.

Registration for ASB 2018 won’t be until November, so take your time considering the opportunity, but mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss this.

Tyler: The Untold History of Boston

Boston is a lot like ogres, which are a lot like onions. Why? They all have layers. And, no, I’m not talking about the earthen layers beneath our feet (although that would make for an interesting discussion because of Boston’s endless landfill projects). I’m talking about the complex, lesser-known history of this glorious city.

Last semester, CA Megan and I had the opportunity to take HI 190: The History of Boston together. As an avid fan of local history, I was very excited to take this course. We discovered histories ranging from the Massachusett tribe in pre-colonization to modernity with the Big Dig. If you are interested in learning more about how our city came to be, I highly recommend it. Anyway, I’ve gathered some lesser-known facts about Boston that may be of interest to you! Take a look:

1. Boston was speculated to be a lost Viking settlement

Sitting at the end of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall is a statue of Leif Erikson. It’s curious to see how a figure seemingly unrelated to Boston has a statue here, but with further investigation, one finds themselves looking into the life of 19th century Harvard professor Eben Norton Horsford. Around this time, some New Englanders speculated that there was once a viking settlement here but had little proof. Horsford became obsessed with the idea. One day, he essentially went on a walk in Cambridge, found some random stones that hardly looked like the foundation for a house, and claimed that it was Leif Erikson’s old home. Now, a plaque rests in that spot in Cambridge and he raised money to sculpt this statue. His theory, however, remains unfounded.

2. In 1919, Boston experienced its most uncommon disaster with the Great Molasses Flood

Killing over 20 people and injuring another 100, what seems to be a popular commodity became deadly. A distillery in the North End filled one of its tanks full of molasses on a cold January day, and it collapsed. A wave over 25 feet high left streets flooded and people coated. Doctors created a makeshift hospital to serve the overwhelming number of victims while volunteers searched for survivors for three days. The harbor had a brown tint until summer, and North End residents claimed the neighborhood smelled of molasses for years following. A plaque now rests at Langone Park in commemoration.

3. Government Center used to be Boston’s red-light district, Scollay Square

When you look at it now, it’s a vast concrete and brick jungle (though I congratulate the city on their initiative to revitalize it) surrounded by the city’s political headquarters. 70 years ago, however, this wasn’t the case. Scollay Square, as it was previously named, was home to Boston’s scandalous side. Vaudeville, burlesque, gambling, prostitution all existed here, especially at the infamous Old Howard Theatre. In a wave of urban renewal in the 1950s and 60s, the area was mostly demolished to make it what it is today. One of the remaining buildings is the Sears Crescent, which now holds a Dunkin Donuts and the iconic copper tea kettle.

4. Boston was America’s first subway system

In the mid to late-19th century, Boston transitioned from a predominantly horse and carriage-based transportation system to a streetcar system. Streetcar trolleys had complex routes and carried passengers from nearby towns into the city. Eventually, the streets became so chaotic that alternative transportation was proposed. The idea of an underground light rail caused controversy (Boston Globe articles debating the topic are online), but it was eventually opened in 1897 and served five stops from Boylston Street to Haymarket. The MTA, which evolved into the MBTA, became a major transportation system that provides over 1 million rides per day. And yes, the mysterious A Line did exist. It branched off from the B Line at Packard’s Corner, continuing down Brighton Ave and ending at Watertown Yard. It eventually closed in 1969 due to low ridership and was replaced by the 57 bus route. If you go to Watertown Yard today, you can still see the tracks that were laid over with concrete.

Tyler: Boston, According to Television

Boston is portrayed in so many ways through television. Nothing truly captures the full essence of this city, but here are some fun shows set in Boston that you can watch, anyway:

1 – Chasing Life: April Carver is an aspiring journalist, working her way up the ladder at The Boston Post; however, her life is turned upside-down when she is diagnosed with leukemia.

So this show is pretty bad, in my opinion. It only lasted for two seasons, and the plot is fairly basic. They didn’t fact-check well, so often there are some awkward sequences that don’t make sense. In the series’ opening scene, April is running to the Children’s Hospital (near the Fens) to interview a celebrity sports player, but she runs from Beacon Hill, through the Common, through Government Center, to the Waterfront. My first thought was, “you’re going the wrong way?” Simple misdirections like this and inaccurate Boston references were enough to keep me going, though. Oh, ABC Family, thanks for the laughs.

2 – Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Zack and Cody are twin teenaged-boys living in Boston’s luxury Tipton Hotel, and the series is all about their shenanigans.

Let’s throw it back to our childhood! Who can forget about the magical moments of London learning how to use a gearshift (“Do you mean the prindle?”), the haunted Suite 613, and That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana? And the best part: if you think about it, Suite Life takes place in OUR neighborhood. The Tipton Hotel was supposed to be right next to Fenway Park… Anyone up for a trip to Hotel Commonwealth?

3 – Falling Skies: Following a worldwide alien invasion, the newly-formed Second Massachusetts Regiment tries to take down their new enemy and reform the country they once called home.

This was a lesser-known series produced by Steven Spielberg that started very strong and died off. During its first season, it was ranked high with other newcomers like American Horror Story, which eventually surpassed it. Lucky enough for you, the first season takes place in Boston! The protagonist, Tom Mason, is especially cool since he was a BU history professor before the invasion. I won’t spoil any more for you, though.

4 – Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: On her 16th birthday, Sabrina Spellman goes from being a typical teen to a witch! Now she must balance her social life with her newfound magical powers.

Back to childhood once more! The more popular, early seasons take place in a small town outside of the Boston, but Sabrina spends her later years going to school and working in the big city! It probably has similar inaccuracies to Chasing Life, but who cares? I’ll watch it for the nostalgia. Also… Can we note how Sabrina went to school for journalism and DIDN’T consider BU? Yikes.

5 – Cheers: Former Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone turns to running a bar for a career, and the series focuses around his, his workers, and bar regulars’ lives.

This series embodies Boston’s pride and joy. Almost the entire series takes place in the bar, so you don’t see much of Boston, but the show is iconic. Winning countless awards, this series was the Friends before Friends, sprung the hit spinoff Frasier, and created the memorable Diane Chambers (a fictional BU grad. student!) and Sam Malone love story. Please watch it.

And although I haven’t watched it yet, I’m going to give a shout out to American Gothic. It just aired this summer on CBS, so it’s on my list. It was also created by a BU COM alum, so definite brownie points. And NBC’s Smash has a small stint in Boston during season one. This is a horrible show about Broadway that is still 100% worth the watch.


There we have it, folks! Get crackin’!

Tyler: The Life and Times of a Boy in Boston (during the Summer)

A summer in Boston is a summer in heaven.

JK. It’s not that amazing. But it’s pretty close.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to stay in Boston while I worked on campus and interned nearby. Both were excellent educational/professional experiences, but in additional to that, I got to spend more time in the place I called home.

Okay, so here’s my summer low-down:

INTERNING AT PBS

I was ecstatic to work at WGBH, the largest PBS affiliate and content producer. WGBH is a great opportunity for any BU student looking to get into a media-related field, as it is such a major player in public radio/television — and it’s only down the road from campus! I was hired to intern (alongside fellow CA Claudia) in WGBH’s Studio Six, which produces a variety of nationally-syndicated PBS lifestyle series: Simply Ming, Rough Cut Woodworking, Moveable Feast, Lidia Celebrates America, and the new Point Taken. The position was primarily administrative and was specifically titled under “National Content Development.” I worked with producers to conduct research and development on existing projects and oversaw production operations for the above shows. In addition, I aided the development of new pitches for PBS and outside networks (but my lips are sealed!).

Now that I’ve said the official details of the internship, let me tell you about the actual experience: it was fantastic. Not only did I gain a solid network of industry professionals, but I got to watch so many exciting things occur. I was lucky enough to shadow on set for the season 14 shoot of Simply Ming, where I met nationally-acclaimed chefs and watched a real the unfolding of real TV production. Or there was the time I spent several days calling Norwegian production companies to recruit crew members for an international shoot. Or how about that time that Claudia and I found our supervisor’s closet full of Emmy awards? Yeah. That happened. I was meeting with producers from other major PBS series like Frontline and Nova for lunches. To say that I learned a lot and that I enjoyed it is an understatement.

For those of you interested in a local, highly-regarded internship: I would recommend WGBH. Not only is it a great, accessible starting point, but it’s a huge accomplishment.

WORKING AT BU

During the school year, I work as a desk assistant at the Boston University Center for Career Development and Educational Resource Center (a.k.a. the BU CCD and ERC; the former is just a mouthful). I extended my employment through the summer, and I was granted housing in a South Campus apartment. Balancing this with my internship was simple and allowed me to live in Boston at no charge, and I couldn’t have been happier.

The CCD and ERC are great resources on campus, of which everyone should take advantage. They are at virtually no cost to you and offer professional services that aid in your job search/application/hiring process, assess and develop work skills, help you to find out what to do with your life (the dreaded question), receive peer tutoring, and improve academic skills. Their resources are endless, and the staff members are the friendliest people I’ll ever meet.

After spending two months with them and my luxurious view of the Charles, I was more educated on what BU has to offer and formed deep connections with BU faculty that will endure for years to come.

WHAT THE HECK IS A SOCIAL LIFE?

Between these two things and other commitments, I was sometimes spending up to 50 to 60 hours/week at some form of a job. And, surprisingly, I was okay with it. I was doing things that I enjoyed. And, with the exception of some long hours, I still found time to have a life.

I was doing all of the tourtisty things (roll your eyes all you want, but it’s FUN), exploring areas of the city I’d never been to before, and making memories with new friends. It was probably the most important component of the summer. For a number of BU students, the #1 reason they came here was to be in Boston, and it was time to take advantage of that.

So, I guess the point of all this is to say, “STAY IN BOSTON!!!” I think every BU student should experience at least one summer in the city. See what Boston has to offer you year-round and experience the city when it’s above 60 degrees outside. Make this place your home.

Tyler: Major Key: Find Your Mantra

Recently, in my FT 201 class (prospective students: this is basically your introductory film course), we launched our websites/portfolios to publish our work. After some time designing my page, I searched for an alluring title that captured the my essence. Long story short, I added the words “Armey Strong” to the banner.

Then, while critiquing sites, my professor also noted the title: Clever!! Punny!! But why? What does it mean to you or this site? I told him that it has a lot of meaning to me; in fact, it was sort of like my mantra.

A student across the table interjected, “Then that’s something I definitely want to read about!”

And, so, here it is! I’m going to kill two bird with one stone: a blog post for you and an article for my website’s bio page. Are you ready to learn the story of “Be Armey Strong?”

Flashback to almost five years ago. Three friends — Carly, Jess, and myself — sit at a table together during their study hall. In front of my is the nomination sheet for freshman class president, ready to pass in. But, before I get up to go anywhere, my friends were sure to have my back.

“You’ll need a slogan, you know,” Carly reminded me.

As if I could come up with something clever! Tyler and Armey don’t rhyme with anything fun.

Jess, quite a laconic gal, chimed in, “You don’t need a rhyme. What about a pun? What about… ‘Be Armey Strong?’”

Two weeks later, I walked out of the school as a proud representative to my class. I was ecstatic… but also a little fearful. What was I getting myself into? Was I right for the job? I resolved that those questions didn’t matter. What did matter was that I was now an important role model for these students. I planned to give 110% effort in any duty that impacted the well-being or experiences of others. After all, compassion is a main trait of any Armey.

In the years to come, my above promise and Armey Strong became synonymous. I faced a lot of struggles within high school. But I had to remember that I had work to do and that my personal problems shouldn’t affect my work because that would spread an unnecessary negativity amongst those who don’t deserve that burden. I trained myself to remain optimistic in dark times, compassionate and kind towards all, and remained a strong leader for the sake of others and my own well-being.

“Armey Strong” evolved from trivial wordplay to a guiding phrase that lead me to unbelievable opportunities and friendships that I cannot even begin to explain (we’ll save those for another blog post). I try to remember what it means as I go about my days: Positivity. Friendship. Understanding. And as Deadpool would say, “maximum effort.” And, it’s kind of cool thing to say, right? “Armey Strong” threw me into BU full-throttle. I joined clubs, met friends, and became proud of my Terrier identity.

Anyway, here’s the moral of the story for you, COM students: don’t live life aimlessly. Find your mantra. Similar to Stacy’s point in her post below, live life with meaning. You may find yourself making a huge difference in the lives of so many people, including your own.

 

Carly and I at our last student leadership conference in April 2015. Being Armey Strong lead us to this nostalgic moment, where we both were preparing to say our goodbyes as regional and state student council officers. Thank you for everything, Carly.

Tyler: We’re baaaaaaaaacckkk: Tackling Spring Semester

Happy first day of classes, terriers! Are you ready for the spring semester? For many upperclassmen, it may be simple to adjust to the new schedule and new courses — and some freshmen might already have the hang of it, too! But for those of you who still struggle with the transition, here are some tips to make sure you start the semester off right:
 
1. A given — but if your new professors email you before the semester starts, READ IT!
These emails usually speak on important events within the first week of classes in addition to including a syllabus. It’s good to know what you’re getting into. The syllabus is key. It often lists the required materials and texts for the class (which the sooner you get, the better!)
2. Map out your schedule.
Classes, sports, clubs, work, etc. all run on their own schedules, but you have to run on your own. The day before the semester begins, sit down and take a look at all your commitments for the semester. Make a 7-day consolidated calendar and label your typical week’s schedule that includes locations of events. Hang it up in your room for your personal reference (your roommate may appreciate it, too!), put it in a notebook that you always carry around, or even upload it onto your phone’s calendar.
3. Walk around campus briefly to figure out where your classes will be.
It’ll be helpful to know where you’re going on the first day, especially if you’re new or have never been in a specific building before. Take some time before class to know the specific classroom you will be in so that you can assure that you’ll arrive on time on the first day.
4. Keep an open mind.
A class you’re taking may have a reputation for being very difficult, or you haven’t heard the best reviews. This shouldn’t impede you, though. Try going into classes with an open mind. You may end up loving the topic and the professor! Everyone’s opinions are different.
 
5. And of course, don’t forget to celebrate a new semester with your friends!
It’s been a month since you’ve seen your friends! Go say hi and grab dinner together. Catch up on life, have fun, and get ready for an exciting few months!