Kaley: You vs. End of Semester Slacking

Anyone else come back to Boston with a new voice in the back of their head? One that’s constantly reminding you that the semester’s basically over and you could probably get away with sliding by for the next week and a half?

That voice is pretty persuasive.

We have a week and a half left to fight against the voice, so in the name of our GPAs, I think it’s time to talk war strategy.

Tactic One: Whip out those beginning-of-the semester grades.

You know the ones. The test you aced because you started studying for two weeks before. The paper with a fat A stamped across the top. All you need to do is look at the grade. Stare it down. Let it marinate. Remind yourself what you were capable of in those sun-kissed days of September.

Tactic Two: Study in sneakers (because you still have them on after your workout).

In the wise words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands” -or fail their finals. Spend a little time in FitRec, get the blood pumping to your brain, and then go have the most productive study session of your life.

Tactic Three:  Let the holidays motivate you.

The only thing better than giving and getting presents during break? Giving and getting presents while your parents smile proudly from across the family room, with visions of sugarplums and your good grades dancing in their heads. So while you crank out the semester’s final assignments, repeatedly remind yourself how awesome the holiday season is. Eat cookies. Decorate your room. Go to the Christmas tree lighting in the commons this Thursday. Overpower the slacker voice in your head, troops, and it’ll be here before you know it.

Sara: Where to Find the Best Hot Chocolate & Holiday Cheer

Trust me, I get this is the most stressful time of the semester. You DON’T want to camp out in the library and do work for hours on end, but the inevitable must happen. This isn’t to say you should forget the reward of finishing school in 3 short weeks. WINTER BREAK!

Among the hours of studying and scrambling to finish final projects, it’s also important to take some time off to unwind, de-stress and enjoy some holiday cheer. That’s the best way I’ve found to maintain my sanity this time of year. Whether that’s heading down to Faneuil Hall to see the Christmas tree and light show “Blink”, skating at the Frog Pond ($2 for students with ID from 6-9pm on Tuesday nights), or indulging in incredible hot chocolate from Boston restaurants.

 

You may be wondering where to find this so-called “incredible” hot chocolate I’ve mentioned. Swiss Miss doesn’t have anything on these guys:

 

MET BACK BAY – 279 Dartmouth Street

Providing the “Hot Chocolate Experience” with a tasting flight of hot chocolate, talk about the ultimate celebration of winter. I’ve literally wanted to try this every year I’ve been in Boston and can’t wait to finally indulge. Yes it is $14 for hot chocolate, but who can resist “Classic Hot Chocolate, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Salted Almond Hot Chocolate, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate”

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LA BURDICKS- 220 Clarendon St Boston (That cute little building near Copley Square you always see but never know what it is) or 52 Brattle St Cambridge

Only for the most profound chocolate lovers, LA Burdick’s treat is more straight up melted chocolate then any sort of combination of milk and chocolate. They even call it “drinking chocolate” rather than hot chocolate. Very small sized cups are enough for even the most indulgent. They have killer chocolate cake too. Just sayin’

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MAX BRENNER’S- 745 Boylston St
You’re in for the ultimate chocolate experience when you go to Max Brenner’s. I would recommend making reservations if you chose to head there on a Friday or Saturday night as they are always extremely busy. Their chocolate indulgences are sure worth the wait. Hot chocolate is served in their signature “Hug Mug” which sits perfectly in your hands, making drinking hot chocolate more of an religious experience then a way to quench your thirst. While you’re there, you might as well try one of their flatbread pizzas or just skip to the dessert pizza. You won’t be disappointed.

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GHIRADELLI- 6 North Market, Faneuil Hall

Although I can’t speak to their hot chocolate personally, I’m sure they must have many amazing chocolate-y options. And since they just opened, why don’t you head down to Faneuil Hall to see the tree and check out all the options and report back. Oh and ice cream.

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Happy Holidays Everyone!!

 

**all photos taken from their respective location’s websites

10 Things BU Students Can Be Thankful For

Even though Thanksgiving has past, it is never too late to look around and be thankful for what we have!

 

1. The view from StuVi2

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 It just never gets old.

2. The BUS now runs on Saturdays

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Starting this semester the shuttle now runs an extra day — a lifesaver in the winter months.

3. BU men’s ice hockey’s #1 ranking

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 This year marks the first time the team has earned the top spot in national polls since 2010.

4. Boston during the holiday season

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 The tree near Faneuil Hall is a can’t-miss sight.

5. Therapy dogs in Mugar during finals season

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 Can’t get enough of them when finals stress kicks in.

6. Your down-to-the-ankle winter coat

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First you say you’d never be caught in one, and then you can’t imagine winter without it.

7. The number of on-campus Starbucks locations

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 It’s five. With new holiday drinks on the menu, it’s a must-have stop in the BU student’s daily routine.

8. Study abroad and Boston internship opportunities.

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Whether you’re spending next semester abroad or staying in Boston, many BU students have incredible internships and opportunities to look forward to.

9. Winter break is just weeks away.

9It’s almost time for total indulgence after a semester of hard work.

10. And BU is an awesome place to return.

10 When break’s over, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Amy: How to Deal With Craziness

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again. The leaves turn colors, it’s time to pull sweater out, and we hit those few weeks before finals where everything seems to get so busy you can’t get anything done. When you do get to this point, with exams and projects and clubs piling up, you need a good way to organize everything.

1. Have an agenda and write EVERYTHING down. As much as I love my iCal and my reminder apps, there’s nothing like having a physical book where I can write everything I could possibly need. School assignments, events, and other to-do bits and pieces.

2. Use the Reminder apps. iPhone user speaking here, but I know for sure that the Reminder app that comes installed on the iPhone is brilliant. You can set reminders for not only a certain date/time, but also a certain location. You can set it to remind you to pick up your essay from the printer before you leave your dorm, or to actually print something when you get to the library. For forgetful people, this one’s a lifesaver.

3. Use those sticky notes you’ve got in your desk. For things you think you’ll still forget even after your agenda and your apps, write it down and stick it somewhere you’ll see it. Usually if I need to do something first thing in the morning, I’ll write it on a sticky note and stick it to my laptop or my phone screen (obviously the first places I look).

4. Take breaks and remember that Thanksgiving and Winter break is just around the corner!!

Stay healthy, stay sane, and enjoy these last couple weeks of the fall semester!

Stacy: ‘Tis the Season

Whether we are ready for the semester to end or not, the holiday season is here. Soon ABC Family’s 25 days of Christmas will take over televisions across the nation. Christmas candy and decorations already conquer every CVS in Boston. There are red holiday cups at Starbucks for Gingerbread Lattes and Peppermint Mochas. The holidays are here yall.

There are so many events in Boston that celebrate the holidays, and last year I missed every single one of them. This year I will not be that person, and I don’t want you to be either. Here are some holiday things you can do and attend here in Boston over the next month that will really get you in the spirit:

1. Ice skating at the Frog Pond or the Boston Harbor Hotel.

I’m from Florida and I’ve never ice-skated a day in my life. Last year I made excuses for why I wouldn’t go ice-skating, and I feel like I really missed out. So this year I’m going to look like a complete idiot trying to ice skate, but I’m going to go with friends who will laugh with me and have a great time.

2. The Santa Speedo Run

On December 6th, this annual one mile run through the Back Bay will raise money for the Play Ball Foundation as 700 participants in speedos. The Play Ball Foundation brings team building skills and sports to middle school kids in Boston. Anyone can watch, and you must be 21+ to participate.

3. Boston Tree Lightings

Copley Square Tree Lighting: December 2nd from 5pm-6pm

Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting: December 4th from 4pm-8pm

* The lights in Faneuil Hall, Christopher Columbus Park and the Prudential Center lights are already on. They really bring the holiday spirit to Boston. Definitely check these out.

4. The Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet

The Nutcracker is at the Boston Opera House from November 28th until December 31st. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions and I’m definitely not missing it again this year.

5. Hanukkah Celebration at Faneuil Hall

The date and time are currently TBA, and it will feature music, crafts, latkes, jelly doughnuts, dreidels and family games.

I hope these ideas are helpful! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great holiday season!

Kevin: The Power of Pre-Production

I’m taking Production 1 this semester and after many reshoots and late night editing sessions, I finally had to admit to myself that I needed to spend more time on pre-production.

Before Prod 1 I had never tried to make a movie all on my own, but I figured I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to shoot so I’d just wing it. #MISTAKE. My first movie was a mess, to the point that I had to go back and reshoot the whole thing. I figured I’d share some tips that helped me out for my next couple movies:

1. Writing/finding actors

I put these together because one thing I learned from my first movie is how hard it is to get lots of friends together at once. It’s a lot easier to write a movie with the expectation you can get one or two people to act and work from there. If you need to have a scene with a lot of people, websites like doodle.com can help find a time that works with everyone’s schedules. (Make sure to offer pizza too, it’s amazing what college students will do for free pizza).

2. Shot List/Storyboarding

Making a storyboard is the most helpful thing you can do. When I had to reshoot my first movie I made a quick stick-figure storyboard, which made the shoot go much smoother. My last movie was longer, so I didn’t have time to make a full storyboard, but even just putting a plan on paper as a shot list was better than trying to go from what I had in my head, and made sure I didn’t miss shots I needed.

3. Pulling together props and LIGHTING 

For my first movie I needed a big pile of paper, so I figured I’d raid the recycling bins the day of the shoot. The problem? They emptied them 2 days before my shoot. Lesson learned, it’s better to get the props way beforehand. The other things to round up early are lights. More often than not, I found myself with 2 desk lamps trying to light a scene and wishing I had more lights. You can always take out light kits from FPS or even knock on friends’ doors and ask to borrow lamps, but the more light you have, the better. 

Hanna A: Guide to BU’s Production Services

Deep within the depths of the COM building (in the basement), there is a vast, magical place just waiting for you to utilize all it has to offer. It is filled with experience, potential, and most of all, equipment which most likely equals a total monetary value greater than your own house. But don’t let that intimidate you! This is simply BU’s Production Services, formerly Field Production Services (FPS), and it is one of the greatest resources open to COM students.

So what is FPS? This service provides motion picture production equipment to students in COM while also facilitating post production facilities. They have over 50 camera packages, 40 sound packages, and 40 lighting packages, so their student-to-equipment ratio is incredibly low. When students need to use this film equipment for a class or a student activity, they are able to check out whatever they need right within the COM building itself. If you are interested in Film & Television or Broadcast Journalism, you are most likely to be among those who utilize FPS, however any student may find themselves in need of the resource.

FPS does sound wonderful and simple, but there are certainly some tips to keep in mind before making your first check-out. If you take the Production 1 class, an introduction to FPS is included in the syllabus, but here is some good-to-know information about FPS from a student’s perspective.

1. Utilize the people in FPS.

To reserve equipment, visit https://wco.bu.edu/. Your professor should instruct you what exactly you need to check out if you’re not sure, but the best way to thoroughly understand the equipment you’ll be using is to ask FPS itself. Multiple people work in their offices and each person really knows their stuff. If you’re unsure about what certain packages mean or do, you can ask about them in person or over the phone. Whenever I check out anything, even if I’ve used it before, I always ask them to make sure I have everything I need and that I’m planning to use them all correctly. They’re great resources for information and they’re great people in general. Sometimes a drop-off or pick-up which could take one minute turns into a ten-minute conversation, simply because the people there are so nice and interested in what students are working on. Definitely not a bad idea to give them a friendly hello!

2.  Reserve in advance.

When reserving any equipment from FPS, it is a good idea to make your reservations far in advance. Scratch that – it is imperative to make your reservations far in advance. What if every section of a class has a film project do within the same week? When this happens, every student in all of those sections will most likely look to film the weekend before. Reservations for that weekend will shoot up quickly, and although there is enough equipment for every student to finish their project, there is not enough equipment to complete them all at the same time. Be the first one to reserve and you will never run into a problem.

3. Set a reminder to tell you when your equipment is due back to FPS.

This one comes from a very personal place. Just a few weeks back, I walked into FPS with equipment in my hands, ready to return them to their home. They swiped my Student ID, looked at the computer before them, then solemnly said, “These were actually due yesterday.” My heart collapsed as I pictured my bank account dropping to $0, but I’m writing you this tip so you do not experience the same heart-drop-into-stomach feeling.

Luckily, the consequences were not as detrimental as I expected in that moment, so don’t freak out if this happens to you. FPS, which operates like a professional equipment rental service, must hold students accountable for the tools they borrow and prepare them for the deadlines and rules they must follow in the “real world.” The equipment is that which you’d find in the “real world” as well, and as you can imagine, that stuff is pricey! It is remarkable that students have access to such equipment so easily, but their high value makes their prompt return extremely important. Thus, for every 12 hours a piece of equipment is late, that student is charged $10. Not the end of the world, but still a consequence worth avoiding!

As soon as you receive a confirmation email about your reservation, set alarms on your phone for the required pick-up and drop-off times. Set a reminder. Set two reminders. You’ll thank yourself in the end.

Secondly, ask the check-out desk to confirm your return-time when you pick up the equipment in the first place. It can’t hurt to hear it another time from them!

4. Over-use FPS!

Again, it is incredible that we, from freshman year to graduate school, can utilize such advanced equipment for our films and projects. If you are interested in any sort of production, take advantage of this resource! Check out the cameras before your project is due just to get a feel for how to use them. Film for fun. Play with everything and see what you like or dislike. When resources like FPS are so readily available, it would be a shame for anyone to pass them up.

 

Good luck with any production work you set out to accomplish in the future and remember that Production Services are always there to help!

Kerri: Fall Adventures

One thing you’ll definitely regret is if you don’t take advantage of the city and the events happening this month before the winter weather arrives! Before you know it, snow and ice will blanket Comm. Ave. and the only thing you’ll want to be doing is snuggling up under your comforter with Netflix… Here are a few things you can do before November ends!

Walk The Freedom Trail!

Attention history buffs! The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile tail that leads you to 16 historically significant sites. It is especially beautiful during the fall with the autumn leaves and cool breezes. Explore the trail with a group of friends and make the most of the last weeks of bearable Boston weather. http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/index.html

Newbury Street

If you haven’t made it down to Newbury Street yet, make the trip before it gets too cold! Lined with shops and restaurants, this area of Boston is a perfect place to spend your Saturday or Sunday. It’s also not too cold yet if you haven’t tried Emack & Bolio’s famous ice cream.

Harpoon Brewery

For those who are legal, a visit to the Harpoon Brewery is a must! I personally love seasonal beers (gingerbread inspired, pumpkin, octoberfest, etc.) so a visit to the brewery during the fall is always on my to-do list. Harpoon offers an hour tour of the brewery for only $5, which includes samplings of their beers.

Emerald Necklace Tour

If you love to bike, this is the perfect activity for you! The Emerald Tour is NOT for the beginner though. It is a three-hour tour and covers at least 15 miles. But if this is right up your alley, take advantage of the next few weeks!http://www.urbanadventours.com/tours/emerald/

Steph: Best Coffeeshops On Campus

Of course there is a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on nearly every corner of Boston, but why not expand your horizons and discover a great new coffee spot?

Pavement Coffeehouse

In addition to it’s awesome coffee and atmosphere, Pavement also has a delicious salad and sandwich selection. I love to pop over in between classes to grab a bite to eat, or even go in on a Sunday morning for breakfast and some homework.

Tatte 

Located in South Campus, Tatte looks like Pinterest lover’s dream version of a pastry shop. Their perfect rustic aesthetic and genuinely beautiful pastries form a great little spot to get away from it all. Pro tip: get the mocha. They use chocolate shavings!

Blue State Coffee

A fan favorite over in West Campus, Blue State coffee is good food and drink with a good cause. A percentage of all profits go to charity, so you don’t have to feel bad blowing all your money on caffeine!

 

 

Aidan: The Beauty of Free Time

Hey Com-mandos, it’s Aidan again. This weekend, something magical (and weirdly horrifying) happened to me. I’ve been a part of a production of a musical, Urinetown, for the past two months. This show sucked up all my time: weekends, nights after classes, all of it. But this Saturday, as the curtain closed on my final performance, another curtain opened, revealing all the free time I now have.

And it terrifies me.

What do I do with free time? Should I take up crocheting? Magic? Sleight of Hand? My mind is filled with anxiety and confusion over not having anything to do with myself. BUT, its going to be okay.

Some other COM students out there might be like me; always wanting to be busy to avoid that moment when you realize you have nothing to do. Before this week, having nothing to do scared me stiff.

HOWEVER, I am here to tell you today that free time is a good thing. All my com-rades, heck, all of BU: Take some time for yourself. Catch up on Netflix, go out and buy more underwear so you aren’t doing laundry every four days, eat all three meals that you should have been eating. Dare I say it, go to the gym.  Free time means more time to focus on the most important thing: you. So relax, all my scheduling nerds. Take this moment to take a breath, re-focus, and find ways to improve you. Take this moment to get your life in order. Then, when you feel all good and comfy, plunge into the next great challenge.