Gillian: What Did I Do in Quarantine?

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Alrighty, folks. The start of the school year is only a week away. The unending, six-month hiatus from campus has finally come to an end. Despite my consistent stance that I would do anything to go back to campus, part of me is a little sad. I accomplished more in these six months than I have in the last twenty years of my life. And so, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on these last six months and a few of the things that I have done.

1. I baked. A lot.

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Like the entirety of the internet, shortly into quarantine I went on a baking spree, but I took it a little farther than most. Yes, I made your typical quarantine banana bread and sourdough starter (truly such an amazing and exhausting thing) but I also started a food blog and food insta just for fun. Did I go viral like I was secretly hoping I would? No. Did I have a lot of fun and learn how to make lots of new recipes (like fresh pasta and gooey cinnamon rolls)? Yes!

2. I taught myself how to use Adobe Illustrator

One of the coolest things about being a COM student is our free access to all things Adobe. Up until now, I’ve been happy just using Adobe Premiere because that’s all I’ve learned in my Film and TV classes so far. However, I want to get into graphic design and illustration, and I figured there’s no better time to learn how to use a new software than during six months of unexpected free time!

3. I took two online summer classes

While it looked quite different from normally going to class, school didn’t exactly stop for me in May! I was able to take Elementary Statistics and Intro to Philosophy this summer–two really valuable HUB classes for HUB kids (only the seniors know what BU was like without HUB now…crazy, right?). BU has so many summer classes to offer, and I would never have thought to take them and get ahead on credits if it hadn’t been for quarantine!

4. I did a remote internship

I know, I’m one of the lucky ones. My in-person internship was transitioned to a remote one, and I got some incredibly valuable experience and connections through it. As a Social and Community Intern at Public Goods, I got to have hands on experience all from the comfort of my bedroom! Plus, I got to fulfill that internship credit requirement for graduation. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Overall, I’ve had a pretty good summer, and I’ve tried to make the best of all of this unexpected free time. That being said, I can’t wait to be back on campus again and see what this new normal has in store for us all this fall! See you soon, COM!

Malaika: Advance Your Career From Home!

A few of my favorite websites for career development and opportunities

Stuck in my childhood bedroom, I was running out of things to do a week into quarantine. My wake-up, snack, Netflix, class, more Netflix, more snacks, then nap  routine was getting increasingly boring day-by-day. I’m a learner and a do-er, so I thrive on keeping my mind going constantly, but spending hours on Zoom wasn’t cutting it for me. 

One weekend, a friend of mine put out a PSA on Linkedin. “No job prospects? Internships cancelled? Here are opportunities to advance your career from home.” I read the post, intrigued, and fell into a rabbit hole of external learning sites that build a network for young professionals entering into the workforce. My friends and I spent the Summer connecting with a number of them, and I wanted to share some of the resources we’ve found to help advance our careers from a distance!

Connect the Writers

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Connect the Writers works to eliminate barriers for BIPOC creatives by connecting young professionals with industry vets for mentorship. This Summer, I got to speak with an executive producer from FOX’s Empire who offered me great advice on breaking into my dream career. Overall, their network is incredible (a few of my friends had mentors from Netflix and ABC). Additionally, CTW offers free online writing seminars at no cost, and sends out job opportunities for major networks. 

Sundance Co//ab

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Sundance Co//ab is a platform that offers hours of educational videos – masterclasses, interviews, or tutorials – on topics like directing, journalism interviewing, producing… etc.  You can also enter your work in monthly challenges for the opportunity to receive a subscription and one-on-one feedback on your work from a Sundance mentor. 

The Daily Logo Challenge

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Ad majors, art directors and graphic designers, this is the challenge for you! For 50 days, The Daily Logo Challenge sends you a brief for a fictitious company with a name and/or an idea to design for. In your downtime, improve your skills and expand your logofolio! 

Adobe Max

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Advice to creators: surround yourself with other creators! Adobe Max is one opportunity to do so! Adobe Max is a three day virtual creativity conference in late october – FREE this year!  You can build your schedule with luminary speakers, celebrity appearances and musical performances. You can also learn new skills in a number of beginning-to-intermediate design, editing, or video classes from Adobe instructors and global artists. 

Inbound 2020

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Another online event for those in PR, Journalism and Ad is Inbound 2020, now offering a FREE 2-day virtual pass! Inbound is an industry-forward event connecting professionals with trailblazers in the field. This year’s keynote speakers include Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger, CNN Host Van Jones, and Comedian Fortune Feimster! 

Journalist’s Toolbox

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From the Society of Professional Journalists, the Journalist’s Toolbox is a comprehensive list of resources. This site includes links to databases, fact-checking sites, experts, e-newsletters, archives and tips for covering stories. If you don’t already know this site exists, prepare to bookmark it! 

These are just a few of many sites that exist to further your career development from home! I’m excited to find and interact with more virtual networks as we Learn from Anywhere this semester. 

Happy learning, 

CA Malaika

Jessica: The Do’s and Don’ts of Quarantine

begin-unsplashFor the past six months, each day has passed by like a trial-and-error run. I spent the first bulk of quarantine (regrettably) moping aimlessly at home, thinking I had all the time in the world before summer ended. It wasn’t until this past month that I found my groove and began spending my days in productive bliss. Now, as my final days at home trickle away, I present to you a condensed list of tips I gained from these past few months, in hopes that I can carry them with me back to Boston.

Do: Wake up in the a.m.

This one didn’t hit me until the end of summer, when I tried out the Sleep Cycle app on a friend’s recommendation (highly recommend this app’s smart alarm!). As much as I hated to admit it, waking up early held a million perks and zero downsides — more time in the day, increased sense of productivity, fresh morning air, breakfast foods — the list goes on. For my fellow night owls out there, trust me on this one.

Do: Establish a workout routine (even better if it’s with a friend!)

This is the one thing that I began in the beginning of quarantine and still stand by. Though you’ll still catch me complaining about how painful some workouts are (shout out to Pamela Reif), following a daily exercise program kept my energy levels up and gave structure to my weeks when I needed it most. Yoga and meditation also make for great routines and stress relievers!

Do: Make a habit out of reading

Not out of necessity, but out of leisure. What better time to catch up on book recs than now? Not only does it boost intellect, it also acts as a breather during the day. 

Do: Check up on your friends

As we navigate through the disarray of 2020 within the confines of our homes, it’s easy to grow anxious. We’re not alone in this; it’s important to remind those we love and cherish that we’re still thinking of them. Even a simple “how was your day?” speaks volumes.

Do: Channel your inner creativity

Start that blog you’ve been meaning to make. Take a camera with you on walks. Take advantage of the Adobe Creative Suite. Paint something for your room. Learn something new; the possibilities are endless.

Do: Keep your eyes open for opportunities that interest you 

One thing I’ve noticed and admired during this quarantine is the sheer number of passion projects and opportunities I’ve seen students and recent graduates take up. Now is a great time to seek new interests and pursue higher goals, whether or not they are career-oriented.

Don’t: Browse through social media until you’ve given yourself time to get out of bed

Speaking from personal experience, there is a big (sometimes hour long) difference between “waking up” and “getting up.” If you can help it, I would even recommend not checking your phone at all until you’ve properly stepped out of bed and finished your morning routine.

Don’t: Do work in bed

As comfortable as it is, I’ve found working anywhere within the vicinity of my bed to be quite distracting. Your bed gives you the impression of rest and sleep, and at a time when you’re trying to work at peak productivity, it isn’t the move. Try to secure a study space with minimal distractions for optimal productivity.

Don’t: Go on a stress-fueled Linkedin rampage

We’ve all been through those 2 a.m. bursts of sudden panic when we can’t stop obsessing over that question: What if I don’t get a job? Each time I’ve scoured Linkedin pages out of stress, the results are counterproductive. Instead, try setting a specific time during your day to do some job/internship hunting without overwhelming yourself.

Don’t: Limit yourself

At the end of the day, my biggest regrets tend to be the things I envisioned for myself but never set out to do, whether it be out of fear of judgment or neglect. None of us are sure how long this quarantine will last. While the circumstances of our current situation are unfortunate, we are given a rare opportunity to open new avenues to our own future — don’t let it go to waste!

Brady: Finding Solace Through Sports

IMG_0830[5261]Over the last five months, almost every conversation I’ve had has tied back to the word “pandemic.” I’m sure I’m not alone in getting a little tired of talking about COVID-19, so while I am certainly continuing to follow all guidelines and live as safely as possible amidst a global pandemic, it is nice to have something that serves has a small but sufficient distraction from the unfortunate realities that we face. For me, that source of comfort has been the return of sports.

NASCAR and the PGA led the way back to competition in May and June, thanks to their naturally socially distant sports, and the more dominant American sports leagues have followed suit in the last few weeks. The MLS is concluding its “MLS is Back” tournament, held in an isolated community for MLS personnel only in Orlando. The NHL and NBA have each created similar “bubbles,” with hockey shifting to a new playoff format in Toronto and Edmonton and basketball relocating the conclusion of its regular season and playoffs to Orlando. The MLB worked out a shortened regional schedule to keep teams in their home ballparks with significant protocols in place, and that plan is yielding mixed results in the early stages of the season. The NFL is ramping up its preseason activities, hoping for a fairly unaffected regular season slate of games starting in September.

The NHL and NBA are the furthest into their 2020 campaigns, looking to conclude seasons that began last October. Several teams have already been eliminated from contention either through qualifiers or regular season results, so if you need a new team to root for, Boston has you covered.

The Celtics are in line to enter the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, poised to make a push for the NBA title when their first postseason series tips off next week. The Bruins have been slow out of the gates since the restart but their regular season success meant they could land no lower than the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, which is where they will be when the first round begins on Tuesday, taking on the young and talented Carolina Hurricanes.

The Red Sox don’t have quite the same championships aspirations as the B’s and C’s, but they’ve had a few encouraging signs over the last few days. Roughly a quarter of the way through their 60-game season, the Sox have experienced the range of inconsistent arms and slumping bats, but a few breakout players and big wins over divisional opponents last week have helped the team stay within contention for a playoff spot.

The Patriots aren’t in competitive action yet and won’t be until the regular season begins (fingers crossed) on September 13. However, there have been sightings of football in Foxborough with players gathering for an adapted training camp. The Revolution will also be back at Gillette Stadium soon after bowing out of the “MLS is Back” tournament in the Round of 16, looking ahead to an altered MLS regular season later this month.

There are undoubtedly far more important things than sports these days, but it has been nice to have something feel somewhat normal in a time where nothing else seems familiar. Whether it’s turning on a prime-time game after dinner or following along with some afternoon action, sports give us a reason to get excited and forget about what may be stressing us beyond the game. Sports are an outlet, a means of entertainment, and a mental vacation, and I think we could all use some of that these days.

Anika: How I’m Preparing for a Remote Fall Semester

ella-jardim-M0zs81FNm6s-unsplashI chose to learn remotely from home this fall, but that has come with a whole load of mixed feelings. I miss being in Boston and on campus so much, from waving to friends as I walk to class down Comm Ave to getting late night ice cream on Newbury Street.

Those of us who are staying home probably won’t be able to get the Boston nostalgia fully off our minds, but here are some ways I am preparing for a successful (if not particularly exciting) fall semester at home:

Setting boundaries between work space and relaxing space

This is something I am particularly bad at. The desk where I do all my work is in my room, just feet away from my bed. Whenever I get tired or need a break, I lay down on my bed, and my 15-minute hiatus is in danger of turning into hours of procrastination.

One tip I’ve found helpful is to set a timer — not for your breaks, but for your work time. It’s really easy to ignore a timer when you’re comfortable in your bed, but if you set one for however long you want to be working before that, you’ll get more done and it won’t seem as daunting to come back to the task later.

Implementing a routine, but with some variety

One of the toughest parts of quarantine has been feeling like I’m living the same day over and over again. For me, having a routine can be quite helpful when I need to get work done, but in my weaker moments it can also exacerbate my existential dread…

To address this, I try to set certain hours of the day when I will be responsible for working, but change that up on the weekends or on days when I have fewer commitments. It’s also very important to work in time to exercise, zoom with friends, and do other activities you enjoy (like baking, watching movies, etc.)!

Cleaning out my desk

This semester, my desk isn’t just going to be where I do my homework, but where I attend all my lectures and discussions as well.

While my workspace is not Pinterest-worthy by any means, I do want to have a space where I don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of miscellaneous items surrounding me. I still have several binders from high school lying around that general area, and while I don’t like throwing these away (who knows when I’m going to be wondering about the makeup of a cell again?), I’ve been working on consolidating and moving them away from my immediate workspace. 

Whether you’ll be on campus or off, there’s no doubt that this semester is going to be a challenge. Just as usual, though, each of us is going to have a slightly different experience, and hopefully we’ll look back on this time and see how it shaped us for the better.

Lindsey: 4 Feelings for BU Move-In 2020

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Is it still March? Is Carole Baskin still relevant? Did I really bake banana bread consistently for 3 months? These are all valid questions, however, I’ve come to the realization that it really is August. 

The moment we’ve all been waiting for since we were sent home from our favorite place (aka college) is quickly approaching. It almost feels like it’s a dream, but it’s really happening. Although COVID-19 is still present in America, many of us will be making our way back to Boston, moving into our dorms, and entering this “new normal.”

As a senior at Boston University, I am more than excited to return to my favorite city and see my best friends; however, I have to admit I have some mixed feelings about returning to campus. This is what’s running through my head:

Excited

I can’t help but feel excited. I’ve lived in my parents’ house for the last five months (love them, but I’m ready to leave). I also studied abroad in London last semester, and have not seen some of my best college friends since January! I just want to feel independent again.

Stressed

There’s a lot to do…how will I make sure my roommates are going to practice the COVID-19 guidelines? I haven’t been on a plane since March, and now I need to fly from Los Angeles to Boston on a 6-hour plane ride. I need to quarantine when I get to campus…Ahh!

Nervous

I’ve been living at home with my family where I’ve felt quite safe. I haven’t left my house much and I’ve been super careful about social distancing and wearing a mask. But now, I’m going to be independent again. I’ll have to do my own grocery shopping and make sure that I’m acting responsibly.

Cautious

BU re-opening is a big deal. Although BU has many new protocols in place to make sure we have a safe semester, a lot of this is still on us ensuring that we are doing our part as members of the BU community. It is important that we follow the protocols, such as testing regularly and quarantining upon move-in if asked to.

It’s normal to have a lot of feelings about going back to or starting college — I mean, we are living in a global pandemic. However, BU has developed a very detailed plan for our return (check out the Back2BU website) and if we all make an effort to follow these rules, we can have a successful semester at school. 

Starting college during a time like this can be scary. The best thing you can do is communicate! Talk to your roommate about how you’re feeling about starting college and what you’re comfortable with living-wise. We’re all in this together, and we will get through it! 

I’m a senior who’s done move-in three times now! So, email me at lindseyr@bu.edu if you want to share your concerns or have questions! 🙂

Colbi: Top Five Movies I Watched During Quarantine

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My family and I always try to jazz up the new “normal” of life during a pandemic. One of the ways we stay entertained is by watching a new movie or series every night. Here is a list of my favorites (in no particular order) to help keep you entertained!

Den of Thieves

I know I said this list isn’t ranked in any particular order, but this movie is undoubtedly the best I’ve seen all year. It’s the kind of movie that you want to re-watch immediately after finishing it. It is marketed, and seems, like your typical action-packed bank heist drama, but if you don’t watch closely you’ll miss the mastermind of it all (it’s okay, I missed it too).

Waco

This is technically not a movie because it’s a docu-series, but I am including it in the list because this will have you absolutely shocked. It follows the downfall of a religious cult in Waco, TX. Watching it will make you feel conflicted in many ways, and I think that’s what makes it so intriguing.

Instant Family

I LOVED this movie. It follows a couple who adopt three siblings and adjust to the complicated reality of their new life. It is a heartfelt film, but also extremely hilarious. It will make you laugh and cry and want to hug your family. It’s a must-watch, feel-good movie.

Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy stars Ashley Judd, and we stan Ashley Judd in this household. This movie has lots of twists and turns and it’s hard to guess how the storyline will finish. I won’t give too much away, but it’s all about a woman who gets accused of murdering her husband. Did she do it, or was it a set up? There’s much more to the story than you can expect.

Molly’s Game

This movie is phenomenal. I will be honest, it can be slow to the start but once you get into the action, you won’t want it to end. It follows the at times unbelievably wild, yet real life of Molly Bloom who runs poker games for the most exclusive socialites in the country.

Honorable Mentions

The Florida Project

If you love A24 films, this is one you need to watch next. It follows the life of a little girl named Moonee who lives an often heartbreaking life that is masked by her still young view of the world. It’s beautiful and one of the most raw movies I have ever seen.

The Silver Linings Playbook

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence; that’s really all you need to know. Romance, comedy, and real life stuff. Can’t help but love it.

The Lovebirds 

An action-packed comedy on Netflix! You will be laughing the entire time—highly recommend it.

Geneve: Summer Side Hustles

busy desk areaApproaching Summer 2020, COVID-19 had given me a bleak outlook for any potential internships. While I was lucky to still have an (unpaid) remote internship, I also loaded up my to-do list with side hustles and passion projects. Although there has been a lot of uncertainty in the world lately, there is no better time than now to – for lack of better word – shoot for the stars! 

One key project that has taken up much of my time in the past month has been working with fellow COM (now graduated!) peer Maya Malekian. As a participant in the PR Council Agency-Ready certification program, Maya saw a high number of engaged students with many talents in the PR field without internships for the summer, but plenty of skills to offer. This was combined with an increased number of nonprofits and small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic and have had to scale back on communications efforts during a time when social conversation is more important than ever. Maya wanted to start a pro bono integrated communications agency to help bring these two needs together in a mutually beneficial way, and hence empath worldwide was born. 

My past few months have included countless Zoom and Google Meet calls, late night brainstorming Facetimes, and reaching out to the BU community and beyond to recruit leadership members and now creatives to join the team. As our August 1st launch date is approaching, I feel a little nervous, but am more excited to finally reveal what we’ve been working on over the past few weeks and begin doing work for our clients. 

Additionally, I applied to the Her Campus Aussie Business Plan Competition on a whim. Normally, I wouldn’t say I have an entrepreneurial spirit by any means, but I decided to pitch my idea of Do Up Dorm Designs, an affordable interior design consultation service for college students. I have always had a passion for interior decorating and this was the perfect opportunity to put it to the test. I ended up moving to the next round in the competition as one of 20 finalists, and in addition to receiving a $2,250 cash prize, I could be one of 5 winners of $10,000. I have been meeting regularly with a mentor who has experience in the interior design industry to help flesh out my business plan in preparation for pitch day in August, where I’ll be presenting to Procter & Gamble executives!

I have three main pointers for how to fulfill your passions through side hustles: 

1. You don’t need to actively seek out opportunities, but find ways to get creative. If something comes up that piques your interest in the slightest, see if you can take advantage and use it as an avenue to try something new that you’ve always wanted to. 

2. Never stop learning! Your pursuits can be completely outside of what you study in school. There are so many online courses to engage in nowadays–many of which are free–and other interactive groups like Patreon where you can learn directly from experts in a field! This is also a great way to network and learn from a mentor.

3. Multitasking! Although 110% quality comes first, it is always possible to multitask, especially now that the world is operating remotely. You might have a 9-5 commitment at an internship but there is always a way to weave in calls and other tasks with that schedule. Find ways to get creative, and always use a calendar system that works for you to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Harper: Five Boston Coffee Shops to Order Takeout From

coffee shopAlthough we may no longer be able to study in coffee shops like we used to, supporting businesses in Boston is still a fun treat for yourself and for the business that you are buying from. Cramping for finals, working on group projects, and commuting to an internship can all be jazzed up with a little coffee or tea.

While some may run on Dunkin, I think it’s fun to venture off-campus (now with your mask on!) and find some places that don’t hold the bright orange and pink logo. Here are some coffee shops I am missing from Southern California on this bright and sunny day:

Thinking Cup

  • Multiple locations 
  • Great pastries and desserts!
  • No wifi but that does not matter for a while

Pavement Coffeehouse

  • A BU right of passage 
  • Vanilla Oat Milk Latte is AMAZING + the bagels (but they sell out pretty quick)
  • Try the “Death Cream”

Flour 

  • Amazing full meals as well as baked goods
  • To-die-for sweets and desserts 
  • I never got to order more than just plain coffee, but their drip coffee was amazing!

Caffe Nero 

  • Has a rewards program!
  • The Pistachio Muffin is amazing + the sandwiches
  • Not as expensive 
  • Many, many locations

Japonaise bakery & cafe 

  • Smaller shop in Brookline near South Campus 
  • Yummy breads + cute picturesque desserts

My lovely fellow COM Ambassador Geneve has a Instagram account dedicated to all things coffee + desserts in Boston, but also in other places around the world! Check out Bean Happens for some more coffee inspo!

Meredith: Self-Care Tips That Will Make You a Better Student This Fall

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Being a good student definitely involves staying on top of your academics, keeping your schoolwork organized, and paying attention in class. You have to study hard to get the grades you want, but if you are not taking care of yourself properly then none of that other stuff is going to happen for you. Here are a few things I started doing during quarantine that I will bring into the fall semester in order to have the best semester I possibly can. 

1. Staying active

I know that after a long day of clubs, classes, and internships, going on a run or heading to the gym is the last thing you want to do. That’s why you need to start getting into the habit now so you can carry it into the fall easily. I started running in the past few months and I have fallen in love with it! There are so many awesome apps you can use to build up your speed, strength, and endurance (I recommend the Nike Run Club) and have fun while doing it. Getting in some exercise and making time for yourself where all you have to focus on is working hard really clears your brain and releases some great endorphins!

2. Reading for pleasure

Finding an activity that allows you to relax and escape for a little while can be so good for your mental health. For me, that has been reading young adult novels that I never used to have the time for. I am sure many of you relate to this: when I was younger I used to read non-stop and blew through so many book series. Since I started reading again I have felt like a child exploring new worlds and falling in love with new characters. Not only does it enhance your reading skills, but it allows for some escapism to new worlds. If you do not know where to start but like fantasy or young adult series, I recommend the Throne of Glass series!

3. Developing a skincare routine

As someone who has struggled with acne literally my entire life, this one has helped me feel more confident physically and mentally. Taking the time every morning and night to nourish your skin is so relaxing and can even feel like you are at a spa. There are so many amazing (and cheap) skincare products that you can use to feel relaxed and refreshed. The Ordinary or CeraVe are great brands to start with. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love clear skin? When you feel and look your best, you will perform your best!

These are just a few ways to feel on top of your game all of the time and take care of yourself every day. If you start to incorporate activities like this into your everyday life, you will notice a difference in how great you feel and how successful you are.