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.

Zach: How To Make Your CAS Focus Apply to Your Cool COM Major

So, I’m sure all you freshmen/potential are freaking out about what the CAS focus is? Well, in short, is a series of 3 classes in CAS in any subject. A lot of the time, people turn that into a minor, given that CAS minors are usually 5-6 classes. You really can do anything. It’s really freeing. As free as a COM major can be, being able to pick another subject to delve into a little bit is also cool. I have a love affair with Spanish, and I knew going in to college it would be my minor. However, I did not realize how much it would intertwine with my TV studies.

 

First, I took classes that interested me and related to my career. So far, I’ve taken a Spanish Through Performance and Theatre, and Spanish Film & Media. Both related, pretty obviously, to my major. In my Spanish theatre class, we would do improv (woohoo!) and write plays in Spanish. They didn’t have to be perfect, but they did help me improve my Spanish a lot. In that class, I got an introduction to Spanish Films. That class was so enjoyable that I then took Spanish Film. We took in depth works that ranged genre’s and also the body of work of Alejandro González Iñárritu. It broadened my understanding of the stories being told and introduced me to a genre I really love: magic realism.

 

This upcoming semester, I plan on taking the next step. I will be studying abroad in Madrid, and I hope to intern while I’m there. I would love to work on a telenovela or Spanish news broadcast. While I won’t be studying in a COM specific abroad program, I will be applying my Film & TV major abroad. I hope to completely invest myself into watching Spanish television to get an understanding of what people are watching outside the US, and what from the US they are watching.

 

This blog post tbh is just me geeking out because I love Spanish and I love TV, find a CAS focus that you love, and the connections with your major will follow.

Donald: Advice to My Freshman Self

In just a few weeks, I’ll be walking across Nickerson Field in a red cap and gown and leaving BU, a place that has become a new home for me for the past few years. Graduating college is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced. It makes you feel super nostalgic and reflective.
Thus, leaving behind the COM Ambassador program, a program that has allowed me to meet many students who have walked through the doors of COM and attempt to give them advice (even though I’m still trying to figure out my own life), is another example of a very difficult goodbye I’ll have to give.
If I could do college over again, there are definitely a lot of things I wouldn’t do. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a dining plan with a lot of meal options (the GSU seriously has the best food on-campus), I would not have left my bass guitar at home freshman year, and I would have moved off-campus earlier. While this list could go on forever, I’ve decided to list the 6 major pieces of advice I’d give to my younger self in the hopes that they may possibly help an incoming freshman next year.
1. Get off-campus more!
I didn’t truly venture into the city of Boston until later in my sophomore year. I regret not going to more concerts and shows and art galleries in the city so much earlier. Boston is a fascinating city, which is constantly attracting different speakers and celebrities all the time. Explore! And no – going to the Boston Common (while fun) does not count as exploring the city. Venture to the Jamaica Pond and attend Porchfest, a summer concert series on the front porches of people’s houses. Venture out to Quincy and visit some cool shops. BU has an amazing campus, but you’re only in Boston for so long. Take advantage!
2. Don’t be afraid of upperclassmen
I spent a lot of time freshman year looking at upperclassmen, especially seniors, and wanting to befriend them but being afraid that I was too young or too much of a freshman to actually hang out with them. Little did I know, when I just asked to hang out, many upperclassmen said yes. As an upperclassman now who hangs out with freshmen, I’ve learned that class years really don’t matter. All of those fears you have about going up to someone “cool” shouldn’t be real! Upperclassmen have been in this city, and at this school, longer than you have. They can give great advice and show you the ropes while you’re still adjusting.
3. Leave room for electives outside of your major
If you only take required classes, you’ll miss out on the array of amazing and interesting courses offered all over the university. Maybe you’re a PR major who takes photojournalism just to learn how to take better photos at family parties. Or maybe you take a course in the College of Fine Arts just because you were never able to. Try to budget room in your schedule to have fun and take classes you’ll enjoy – even if they don’t satisfy a requirement. I took a course called Urban Sociology my sophomore year. Even though it did not count for a requirement, it is still one of my favorite courses I’ve taken at BU and has reshaped many views I’ve had about urbanization, how cities function, and my role as a citizen in a city.
4. Changing your major is OK
This is something that can NEVER be said enough. I think what makes students more anxious than actually satisfying requirements after changing majors is telling people (or coming to term yourself) that you’ve changed your mind. But that is OK! While the logistics of changing may be more or less difficult depending on when you decide to do so and what you decide to change to, follow your passions. Major in whatever program makes you the most excited and has the most interesting classes. And even if that major isn’t in COM (which I surely hope it is), that’s ok too! What matters is that you’re happy and excited about classes you take.
5. You learn a lot more from talking to people than any class you’ll ever take
While my last two points talked a lot about classes, I just wanted to remind you all that there is so much you gain from BU outside of the classroom. I changed my major to journalism after getting involved with WTBU and meeting amazing mentors who talked to me about the program. After meeting leaders in non-profits at the Community Service Center, I’ve decided to pursue a career in service work and education, rather than journalism. I’ve learned more about systems of injustice from interviewing people around Boston than I have in sociology courses. While classes are important and have given me a huge intellectual and academic understanding of the world, meeting actual people – whether BU students or members of the Boston community – will stay with you much longer than any classroom lesson. The world is filled with amazing people and make the extra effort to go out and say hi before you graduate.
And lastly, have fun! College will fly by before you know it.

Donald: Best New Music of 2016 (So Far)

Although we’re only three months into 2016, some amazing albums have already been released by my favorite bands. Since we’re quickly approaching project and exam period, I figured I’d share some of my favorite album releases so far so you can find some new jams to study to. From punk to electronic, there’s bound to be an album on this list that you’ll love (and probably sing along to in the shower if you’re like me).

  • Porches – “Pool”
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhG83uHDMkI
    • Although Porches’ old music verges along the indie/punk genres, their latest album takes a strong electronic turn. With catchy drum beats, heart-wrenching lyrics, and even some exploration into autotune, this album is great to play in your room and dance along to.
  • The Frights – “You Are Going to Hate This”
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e_mhn4VN7U
    • Despite the title of the album, I’m sure you’ll love this new record by The Frights (who’s drummer is COM Alumni Marc Finn)! The west coasters provide some great angsty surf punk tunes, which are great to study to if you’re in a time crunch and need a push to work a little faster.
  • Bent Shapes – “Wolves of Want”
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AshIe3g4GHI
    • Boston natives Bent Shapes have just released their first new album in three years, and I can guarantee that the wait was definitely worth it. The indie rock band frequently plays shows in Boston, so if you haven’t had a chance to see them yet, definitely check out their upcoming tour dates.
  • Frankie Cosmos – “Next Thing”
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnOjZ5SKAg
    • Frankie Cosmos is one of my favorite twee bands in existence. Her lastest album, full of 1 or 2 minute songs, is impossible to turn off once it’s on. The heartfelt and powerful lyrics, the beautiful voice of lead singer Greta Kline, and the cute and innocent sound of the album makes it fun to listen to over and over again.
  • Jawbreaker Reunion – “Haha and Then What ;)”
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U4Uw3lKY7U
    • If you’re going through a break-up, or are just generally have one person in mind that you’re really pissed at, the newest Jawbreaker Reunion album is perfect for you. The all-female band delivers empowering music that can make even a broken heart sound fun.