Lauren: A Bittersweet Farewell to COM

Knowing full and well when this blog post would be published, I set out with the original intention of getting a head start on it and being able to edit, rewrite, and revise my words to make it the absolute best, most profound it could possibly be. To be completely frank, in the typical “Lauren” fashion, I blatantly forgot that it was due, and am now writing it on my phone while out of town — on a BU-sponsored event, if that betters the situation.

To some, it may seem like a last-ditch effort to get my work done. To me, I think it couldn’t have worked out better, because the sentiments that follow are raw and unedited, my true reflection of my short time at COM and how it shaped me to be the journalist I am today.

But allow me to introduce myself, to those who may not know: my name is Lauren Frias, I’m a senior studying journalism at COM, and I’m from Chicago, IL — if you got to know me in person, I can assure you that the hard “A” that I use when pronouncing my hometown can verify my Midwestern status. I came to BU back in 2016, fresh out of the Midwest and ready to start my post-grade school journey on the East Coast. It was a terrifying endeavor at first, but through the extracurriculars I’ve joined, friends I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had, I can safely say that the residual fear I feel is simply apprehension for the future, not out of terror that my future isn’t set, but rather the excitement for what opportunities lie ahead, all thanks to my time at BU.

What have I done at BU, you might ask? Well, a lot. I got involved in a bunch of organizations that gave me the foundation I needed as a pre-professional journalist: the Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at BU; BUTV10, the student-produced television network; BU Today, the news and information website at BU; and of course, the COM Ambassador program. These activities not only prepared me for my more professional opportunities to come, but also provided me with close friends who became colleagues and co-workers alike.

My time as a student came to an abrupt halt when I accepted a full-time co-op at the Boston Globe as a staff writer for Boston.com, where I reported on news, arts, sports, traffic, and even real estate in Boston for eight months. I had my own desk at the Globe’s brand new downtown newsroom, which overlooked the lively crowds at City Hall Plaza.

From there, I continued my “non-traditional” student experience by studying/interning abroad in Sydney, Australia. I hate to stoop to the level of pretentiousness as those who say, “study abroad changed my life,” but I honestly feel that that statement doesn’t even do my experience justice. Studying in Sydney introduced me to the media landscape and allowed for educational experiences at ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) —one of the largest networks in the country — as part of my Australian Mass Media class. Interning in Sydney introduced me to the culture in and around the city, as my assignments allowed for conversations with Australian locals and suburban residents. The best part of the experience as a whole was having the opportunity to travel across the continent. I pet a koala in Tasmania. I went scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. I surfed at the most beautiful beaches in the Gold Coast. I went sight-seeing in Melbourne. I swam in the coves and waterfalls of Auckland, and hiked in the mountains of Queenstown, New Zealand.

After an eventful — albeit somewhat tiring — semester abroad, I came back to Boston to quietly live out the rest of my college career. I’m part of the BU Statehouse Program, where I report on political affairs and legislation at the Massachusetts Statehouse, but I’m no longer a part of the organizations that led me to where I am today. Instead, I decided to take some time to smell the roses, to spend time with my college friends and enjoy the city for the few weeks I have left.

Quite frankly, I am fully aware that my BU “legacy” will be no more than a blip on the prestigious timeline that both precedes and will follow me. But the impact that BU has had on me as a student, a journalist, a Bostonian, a coffee enthusiast, and now a graduate will last well past my final footstep on the stage at Nickerson Field. So thank you to my professors, to my mentors, to my editors, to my peers, and to COM for leading me to where I am today, where I am more than honored to say that I’m #ProudtoBU.

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Stephen: Robby’s Philosophy

While I was thinking about what to write my blog post about, I wasn’t really sure what to do. For past blog posts I seemed to focus on more outward topics such as organizations I’ve been involved in, places to go, or things to do. I wanted to avoid that this time around so I decided to focus more inward. I then thought of one of my brothers, Robby, who has a great way of thinking when it comes to goals, resolutions, or mindsets. It can be summarized in three words:

Thinking, Reading, & Doing.

My brother utilizes these three terms in a fantastic way that clearly lists what he hopes to accomplish or realize in this upcoming year. You can see his specific blog post about his most recent plan at his website here: https://robbyhume.com/

His tagline for his website is “Constant Questions, Occasional Answers” which I love to make fun of him for because of its pretentiousness, but it contains some truth to it as well. Again, go to his website to see what I’m talking about. Now for my own thinking, reading, and doing list.

Thinking –

In terms of thinking, there is a lot that needs to be taken care of for myself. I’d like to spend more time self-reflecting for one. This can be a simple weekly task to assess if I accomplished my goals for the week, but I would also like to spend more time thinking about the future. It is of course important to think about and focus on the present, but how I envision my future often shapes where I focus my time and energy. One thing I have noticed that I do is constantly shift my attention drastically from one passion to another (photography to BUTV10, vice versa) instead of spreading my focus more evenly. I would like to fix this by thinking more about my priorities and what is truly important to me, and in a year, I hope to have a much more solid and constructive system for myself.

Another thing to think about is personal growth and development. I highly enjoy learning new things and taking on new challenges, and often times these end up falling into the artistic or creative category. With that in mind, I would like to establish a basic understanding of graphic design. I have always found digital art and design to be interesting, and I think it’s about that time to put it into practice. Through YouTube and other online sources, I can gain basic knowledge of Photoshop and other programs which would enhance my other creative passions. I do not want or expect to become an expert, but learning some would be fantastic.

Lastly, I’d like to think more about the environment. I have always made it an effort to care for the environment and keep the planet in mind, but I could be doing more. For example, I could be utilizing my filmmaking and photography skills to be an advocate for conservation and a voice against increased carbon emissions. Documentaries such as Planet Earth are also a great example of higher-level environmental works that I can strive to take part in. In the next year, I hope to make at least one type of PSA or video that focuses on the environment.

Reading –

This is a tough one. I used to read all the time in elementary, but as high school came around I slowly stopped. Now it is quite rare if I end up with a book in my hand that isn’t required reading. I believe that reading and engaging with stories can be extremely rewarding and beneficial for who I am personally and professionally, and would like to incorporate books back into my life.

There is a book I actually started over winter break called “The Peregrine” which shares the story of a man keeping track of falcons near his home. I got a great start on the book but let myself fall out of my reading habit when I returned to school. I’d like to finish that book up in the last month at BU before summer, and then read at least three books over the summer itself.

At first, I expect to read about topics that specifically interest me such as photography or read genres that I know I like such as fantasies, but I hope to eventually delve more into other types of reading. This could include simple news or other genres such as history.

Doing – 

This section somewhat encompasses different things mentioned in thinking and reading, but focuses more on making things come to fruition. Listing out what I would like to do would be an easier way for myself and others to understand what I really mean, so here goes:

  1. Film

Going out into the world to capture things through my camera is the entire purpose of my major, yet I fail to do that in so many situations. I choose to leave my camera at home or just choose to stay home altogether. Sometimes I’m blocked because of not having a plan or subject in mind to shoot, but creating more content in general would help me grow and would leave me feeling more fulfilled with my time.

  1. Explore

This ties in with my last point in the sense that I often have opportunities to get out into the world and see something new, even if it is only thirty minutes or an hour from wherever I am at the time, but I often choose the comfort of what is familiar. Changing this by going on three new adventures this summer would be a great start to get out of my current rut and also get new content for filmmaking and photography.

  1. Plan Ahead

Planning is essential to life. Whether it be a daily plan or long-term plans, it sets you on a course for success. Following through with plans you create as well typically always feel rewarding and leave you with a sense of pride or accomplishment. Personally, I’d like to create more day to day plans and be more focused on my schedule on a week to week basis, as I usually focus on what I’m doing in a given month but not how or when I will be doing those things. I hope that makes sense. I’m also going to London this fall and need to plan out trips and excursions now so that I don’t sit around the whole time. That would be such a wasted opportunity and I get scared thinking that I might mess it up somehow.

Thinking, reading, and doing. These are simple words we all think about in our daily lives, but taking a moment to think properly about what they mean for you and your life can be so beneficial. It can lead to positive change that can in turn set your life in a new direction that you’re happy to follow. I know that’s the case for me at least. Simply writing this blog has me eager to fulfill what I have talked about and embrace the future with open arms. Take 15 minutes to sit down and do the same thing and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

Malaika: When in Boston…

Do as the Bostonians do. Traditions, customs, and festivals – this city has them all.

This Monday, April 15th, was Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon. The return from a 3-day weekend is rough. Your schedule is telling you to “go, go, go,” but your mind is constantly thinking about naps in your cozy room. See, that’s the downside of vacations and holidays. The upside? Well, everything else of course.

Aside from federal holiday observances, Boston has a unique set of traditions you can take part in, if given the chance. Here are just a few of my favorites:

  1. Marathon Monday

I’ll start with the obvious. Marathon Monday is one of the few days in the year nobody minds waking up when the sun rises. Watching the Boston Marathon is a great experience, and Boston University is located at mile 25. The finish line is at Boylston Street in Copley Square.

2.  Allston Christmas

Allston Christmas, the move-in extravaganza, happens every year between August and September, when renters’ new leases begin. As Summer comes to an end, previous tenants leave belongings they can’t bring with them on the streets for others to take for free.

3.  Victory Parades

Boston is a major sports city. This past year, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, and the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. To celebrate, the city’s residents gathered together for victory parades.


4. Holiday Tree Lightings

Seasonal cheer begins with the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in Downtown Crossing, Copley Square, Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, and the Seaport.

5. The Pumpkin Float

Every Halloween, bring your decorated jack-o-lantern to the Frog Pond at the Boston Common for some floating fun. At the pond, an electric candle is placed inside your pumpkin and released onto the water. As you watch your pumpkin pass by, enjoy some treats from local vendors.

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6. The Boston Tea Party Reenactment

Every December 16th, celebrate and re-enact the most important event leading to the American Revolution – and enjoy a cup of tea while you’re at it.

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7.  St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dress in green and join the fun. Watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the heart of the city, and enjoy the dancers, bands, and entertainers that pass by.

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Have fun!
 
-CA Malaika

Sabrina: How to Keep Your Favorite Extracurriculars in Your Life After High School

Heading off to college after graduating high school made me nervous for a number of reasons, one of which centered around the idea of continuing my extracurriculars in a new setting. I was anxious that my new school would not be able to supply me with the opportunities to continue pursuing my passions. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Boston University to find that my anxiety was unnecessary. No matter what extracurriculars you miss from high school, BU will be able provide you with options to continue participating in your favorite fields! Here are my top three examples of how the plethora of BU student activities can fulfill your desires to continue your extracurriculars after high school!

  1. Staying on the stage!

When I left high school my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to keep theatre in my life. I had been performing since I was seven years old, and with graduation, I was leaving the security of high school theatre behind me. Lucky for me, BU has plenty of opportunities for students to be involved with theatre whether through acting, directing, or even tech!

Some examples of BU theatre clubs:

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  1. Not putting down my pencil.

I wrote for my high school’s newspaper, The Paw Print (shoutout to Norwalk High School), and wanted to make sure that wherever I attended college, I’d have opportunities to write again. BU has an endless list of student-run publications that can be anyone’s outlet for writing on campus!

Some examples of student publications:

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  1. Don’t stop moving your feet!

When I was younger I was very into dancing. I tapped for about four years and was incredibly passionate about it. While in high school my dancing career fizzled out, but I still remained a fan of the art form. On top of that, many of my friends were big dancers who wanted to make sure that they could continue dancing after high school. Luckily, BU offers a wide range of opportunities for students to dance! Even beginners can enjoy dancing at BU in any style!

Some examples of BU dance clubs:

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No matter what your passions are, you won’t have to give them up when you leave for college! BU is home to an incredibly large selection of clubs that would be more than happy to have you. The question is, which ones will you join?

Angeli: Life Lessons from Hell’s Kitchen

Up until recently, Hell’s Kitchen to me had always seemed like a distant, floating pop cultural concept. You know, the kind of thing you’ve seen turned into gifs and referenced on Twitter. You think you know what the general idea is, but you’ve never actually explored it firsthand. If you relate to that at all, I only have one thing to say: what are you doing in your spare time? Thanks to a good, nay great, friend I have been exposed to what is quite frankly reality show gold–as a soon-to-be Viacom employee, I think I know a thing or two about this subject. Now I’m not talking about the kind of trash TV you watch when you feel like not taking life too seriously (though HK can have that cathartic entertainment effect as well.) Gordon Ramsey can actually teach you a thing or two about life itself. Here are some of the tidbits I’ve picked up on so far in my binging:

1) Sometimes people need a little tough love.

I’d say most people know Chef Ramsay for his devilish insults. Yes, he can be harsh. But hey, the man is looking for his restaurant’s next best chef and he knows talent when he sees it! Think of him as that one professor who seems to expect more from you than any other pupil. It’s (hopefully) because she knows your potential and wants you to get there, so you have to keep fighting.

2) Good leaders have to make difficult decisions and own them. 

(Spoiler alert) I’ll never forget watching Gordon–can I call you Gordon?–sent someone home who wasn’t in the bottom two. She was definitely a struggling chef but hadn’t been put on the chopping block by her team because she was a good friend. Sounds like having a group project with a close buddy who’s just not holding his/her weight. It’s so hard to do, but you know that confrontation is needed for the betterment of the team. 

3) Believe in yourself or nobody will. 
I have to hand it to Chef R. I’ve never seen someone say such absurd statements with such self-assurance. He knows who is and what he’s capable of. Some may say he tears people down to lift himself up, but I would say the contrary. Gordon already has all the confidence he needs and is challenging other people to find their own.

…or he just knows the type of persona people enjoy watching and producers are willing to pay for. Either way, confidence!

Not buying what I’m selling? Critically analyze HK for yourself, with all seasons on Hulu.

Anna: A Letter to First-Semester Transfer Me.

As a new student, there are a few things I wish someone had told me before entering BU as a transfer student. This is a letter written to my younger self.

Dear first-semester me,

Welcome to BU and COM! You must be so excited for your new adventure as a terrier and I’m so excited for you to embark on this journey. Before you start, I want to remind you to stay true to yourself and though the journey in college may change and challenge you, remember to stay true to your values! I’m going to preface by saying that the journey of a transfer student is hard, but it is going to be worth it.

  1. It’ll take a while to feel adjusted to the BU lifegive yourself time!

Older you went into BU expecting that she’d find her new BFF right away. That’s not the reality. Remember to give yourself space and time to adjust. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Do one thing that challenges you every day and pushes you outside of your comfort zone. That’s what college is all about!

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make some connections!

A BU professor once told me to think about it like thisin a few years, these people in your class will be your colleagues! Remember that everyone has to eat sometime, so why not reach out and ask them if they’d like to grab a meal? Connections are key. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors for help either! Also in doing so, remember to be vulnerable because it’ll allow you to get more connected

  1. Be YOU!

I know that sounds cheesy and you’ve probably heard it a lot since entering BU…but the best way to find yourself in a new place is not by changing who you are, it’s by finding the right people who bring out the best in you! You are the best version of yourself. Remember, that joining a club or an organization, or taking a class is not going to change who you are because you are already perfectly you! You are going to find your community here by BEING yourself!

Younger me, take a deep breath! Everything will be okay. The transition to BU as a transfer student can be rough at times and tears are okay! In fact, they’re like battle wounds and stories that you can tell your future friends. When in doubt, take a deep breath. I am so happy that you are here and that you chose to spend the second half of your undergraduate years at BU! Remember to enjoy the moment too because you worked so hard to get heremake the most of it!

From,

Second-semester you

 

P.S. Everything they say about Boston winter is also true. Invest in a good winter coat!!!!!

Natalie: How to make your dinky dorm feel like home

Whether you like it or not living in a dorm is a part of freshman year, and is not always comfortable to stylish.  However, there are simple and effective ways to add life and comfort to the brick box that is a Warren dorm.

Pictures, Please

Sometimes, you will get homesick. A great way to make the transition away from your friends and family easier is to keep their smiling faces in your day to day life by hanging pictures on your bulletin board or wall.  Using Target, Walgreens or CVS, pring some of your favorite pictures that remind you of home, and use sticky tack to create a collage on your wall above your bed. Not only is it a great way to remind you of fun memories from home, but it makes your walls much more exciting

Pops of Color

White brick walls aren’t cute.  Adding color to your walls will warm the space and add personality to your room, so you don’t feel like you are in a prison.  In addition to photos, posters, tapestries, and other wall art do a great job of making your room more dynamic. You can even hang up lights to brighten your room, or get colored lights for some extra excitement.

Little Library

I have loved reading since I was little, and find it is a great way to relax and escape the stress of school.  With a couple of bookends, you can keep some of your favorite books from home on your shelves for easy access. I only keep three or four in my room at a time, since dorms can get cramped, and change them out when I go home for breaks.

Stash Some Snacks

The dining hall get boring, and Uber Eats is expensive, so it is important to have some go-to snacks in your room.  Personally, I am always in the mood for Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Strawberry popsicles, so I always have a box (or four) of each in my room.  Don’t want to share with your roommate? Get a basket that fits on your selves to hide you treats, and keep things organized.

Flora & Fauna

To break up the dry white and beige color scheme in your dorm, add small plants to your window sill or desk.  Grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s often sell small potted flowers or succulents that are cheap and easy to maintain.  Can’t keep real plants alive? No cause to fret, craft stores sell fake plants that come in a variety of colors, and won’t die on you.

Gab: New to Boston? Love photography? Here are some cool local spots to explore.

Boston is a stunning city, filled with beautiful architecture and history around every corner. Moving to Boston last August from southern california as an aspiring photojournalist felt like a kid in a candy store. Walking down different streets in Boston I always find great photo opportunities. It’s hard to get out of the BU bubble sometimes but here are some fun reasons to venture out and be creative!

  • Chinatown

Chinatown is a beautiful spot in downtown boston with so much going on. There are so many events and stories to be told in the culture heart of the chinese community in boston. I’d recommend going at golden hour, the magical lighting falls so perfectly on the whole neighborhood. The people are friendly plus the food is amazing. Chinatown is a great option for a full day of going out and taking pictures, getting food and maybe doing a little shopping as well.

  • Graffiti Alley

There is a hidden gem in Cambridge called Graffiti Alley. If you are coming from the BU campus, hop on the Green Line’s B train headed towards Park Street. Once you reach Park Street, switch platforms and get on the Red Line towards Alewife and stop at Central! It is an alley completely covered inch to inch in graffiti with amazing stain glass windows above it all. It is a super photogenic location for portraits, backgrounds, or even just a nice alleyway shot. Plus, there is also some great food places along this street as well for a snack after your shoot!

  • Acorn Street, Beacon Hill

Acorn Street is a beautiful and quaint cobblestone street in a Beacon Hill neighborhood. Acorn street is the most photographed street in Boston for good reason, but there are plenty of ways for you to put your own unique spin on it! This street makes for an excellent spot for portraits, family shots or even a nice long exposure of the street with the lights shining on the cobs. My recommendation would be to use a nice wide angle lens and explore all the different angles and perspectives you can think of!

  • The North End

Boston’s North End is a photographer and foodies dream spot. As an italian myself, the North End has earned a big stamp of approval by me. This area is less like of a tourist attraction and more like an authentic italian neighborhood, filled with many narrow maze like streets and shops. There are so many amazing streets, restaurants and people that you can photograph and get to know. The North End is full of stories of people, culture, family businesses, experiences and a lot of history! The freedom trail even passes through the North End.

  • The Charles River Esplanade

As a BU student, this destination should come as no surprise. BU students are fortunate enough to go to be on a campus that runs along the Charles River and a beautiful trail called the Esplanade. Both relaxing on the BU beach overlooking the river or going the extra mile and heading over the BU bridge onto the esplanade makes for a perfect place to clear your head and take some beautiful photos. Bring a tripod! Whether it is to take a long exposure of the ice sheets melting over the river at sunset or the early morning glow, the esplanade will make you feel lucky to call Boston your new home.




Josee: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay All the Time

College, a time where people are breaking out of their shells, trying new things, and hitting that post-high school glo-up. It’s also when you’re out of your small town and plunged into the midst of thousands upon thousands of your peers. No pressure, amiright?
While I’m no expert in having things “figured out,” one of the greatest things I’ve learned so far at BU hasn’t been in the classroom. It hasn’t been navigating Comm Ave without getting hit by the T or figuring out the MBTA system.
In all honesty, it’s been realizing that you don’t have to have things figured out all the time. It’s okay to have moments where you’re completely lost and frazzled. It’s also okay to feel like you’re on top of the world.
In the age of social media and quick news, it feels like there are so many ways to compare yourself to others. With the huge BU community, it’s easy to feel inadequate because other people are pursuing things you’re not.
Sometimes, you wonder whether it’s just a “you” thing. But from my own experience, I can confirm it’s not. Everyone is figuring themselves out. Everyone is learning and making themselves better than before. Trust me when I say everyone is messing up too.
And that’s what’s so amazing about going through this intense transformation when you’re here at BU. Whether it’s the support of your friends, your family, or just the kindness of a stranger, it’s okay to not be okay. Simply because, you’re not alone. Receive some love and make sure to share it too.
I guess what I’m trying to say is embrace all of your time here. Embrace the ugly. Embrace the confusing. Embrace the beautiful.
Embrace you.
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Stacy: Things to Know About Studying Abroad in Washington DC

“Abroad” usually means across the pond or even across the border… but I chose to stay in the U.S. and study abroad in D.C. for the fall of my senior year. This was 100 percent the right decision for me. And yes, there is more to D.C. than politics and the National Mall.

The first two things people will ask you are, “Where do you work?” and, “Who are you voting for in the election?” It takes some getting used to, but you are never not networking. You will hear the word networking more than you hear your own name. But it is so fun to be in the D.C. bubble. You are right where the magic happens (or doesn’t happen depending on how you view Congress) and you won’t find a better place to experience policymaking and politics up close.

The Metro is more efficient than Boston’s T system – without a doubt. But the escalators to and from the underground platform are about a 2-minute ride if you don’t walk. So naturally, half of the metro-goers walk. The best way to indicate if someone isn’t from D.C. is how he or she maneuvers the Metro escalators. The left side is for walking, and the right side is for standing. Don’t mess this up or you will get yelled at.

Another thing to know about the Metro is that it’s sometimes more expensive than Uber depending on how far you travel. So before going underground, check Uber Pool to see if it would be cheaper, and it sometimes is.  Now, if you plan on Ubering in D.C… it is a city divided into sections. So when you’re Ubering or using Google maps, never leave out the “NW” or “NE” at the end of the street address because you will end up somewhere across the city. I learned the hard way…

This is very important…. Happy Hour is a thing! Yes, alcohol is exciting, but there is FOOD during Happy Hour too. My favorite experience in Happy Hour so far is at The Hamilton because they have a sushi bar… where there is sushi Happy Hour every day from 3-7pm. Half priced sushi people. It’s a big deal.

It is impossible to be bored here. There are things happening at the national level every day. This is the hub of international and national organizations. There are think tanks everywhere, free museums across the city, networking events and screenings for documentaries and movies all the time. But D.C. also has elements of a normal city, such as theatres, sports, nightlife, parks, shopping, etc. You can’t be bored here.

I know I said there is more to D.C. than the politics, and this is true. But don’t worry; you’ll still get your Frank Underwood experience. In addition to the politics, there is a city with its own culture here too. From one street to another, the vibe of D.C. changes completely. If you love the combination in Boston of history and modern day – then you’ll feel at home here in D.C.

I know D.C. isn’t the European adventure that Lizzie had in the Lizzie McGuire movie, but you will gain so much in this program. You will learn more about our country than you thought you could, you will gain professional skills from BU workshops and networking events and you will experience an intense internship that will give you more skills than a classroom ever could. You can always have a European adventure later in life. BU D.C. is preparing me for post-grad life, and I feel more confident about entering the real world after going through this program.