G’Day, mates! CA Lauren coming to you all the way from the Land Down Under. I’m currently spending the semester in Sydney, Australia. We’ve been here a little over a month and a half now, and it’s been anything but boring. From classes to internship preparation to weekend trips around the continent, it’s still hard to believe that my time here is almost halfway over. Nonetheless, study abroad has taught me a few things that I think other students who are hoping to go abroad in the future might find useful. While I don’t claim to be a study abroad expert in any way (this is actually my first semester abroad!), here are a few tips and tricks that I personally have picked up during my seven weeks abroad:
1) Keep your luggage to a minimum
The day comes that you’re heading off to abroad, and you’re hit with that inevitable fear of missing something that you’ll need in another country. Surprisingly enough, Australia isn’t as different from the U.S. as you might think. Sure, you probably can’t find a few American brands of toiletries, clothes, or groceries here, but there is a bit of a thrill of testing Australian brands like a true resident. I minimized my packing to a checked luggage, a carry-on luggage, and my school backpack, which proved to be more than enough. Make sure to pack an extra duffel bag or backpack in case you find yourself buying a lot of souvenirs!
2) Do some independent research on your destination
This is true for any destination you might visit in your time abroad, but make sure to do some research on the country as a whole. Despite the many similarities between the U.S. and Australia (predominantly English-speaking, same stores and brands, a bunch of other American students), there are still a lot of differences that can be pretty jarring to adjust to without prior knowledge. It’s inevitable that you’ll go through the stages of culture shock upon arriving in a new country, but to minimize the effects of it as much as possible, preliminary research of Sydney and Australia in general could be really helpful.
3) Set up a budget spreadsheet
Before coming to Australia, I already kept a budget spreadsheet to hold myself accountable for all of the expenses I had, from rent, utilities, groceries, and the like. I could also factor in the income from my co-op this past semester, so I never felt too guilty when I went a little over-budget for the month. That being said, this semester is the first semester since my freshman year that I don’t have an income, making it even more important for me to maintain my budget. Between groceries, weekend trips, and eating my way through Sydney, maintaining a budget spreadsheet was the only thing that is keeping my bank account from fully depleting. Seeing it all organized into a spreadsheet made me conscious of my spending on a daily basis, thus preventing me from making unnecessary purchases that would make me go over my budget. Even though you’re in a new city and exploring it will definitely cost a few dollar signs, as long as you spend your money right and are smart with your budget, you’ll surely end the semester with a few dollars left in your bank account without having to ask your parents for a loan here and there.
4) Travel, travel, travel!
... As long as your bank account can handle it. But if it can, definitely take advantage of the free time you have in your time abroad to see as much of the new country as you can. For the Sydney internship program specifically, you’ll have plenty of time to travel during the academic phase of the program (as the study abroad program is split up half for academics and the other half for the internship). We have three day weekends for the first six weeks of the semester, which is plenty of time to explore different parts of Australia. I personally went to Tasmania, Cairns, and will soon travel to the Gold Coast in November. Not to mention the BU Sydney program also includes a four-day trip to Melbourne as well! There is a mid-semester break between the academic phase and the internship phase of the program, which most students in the program take advantage of to travel to farther destinations, like New Zealand or Bali, Indonesia. Long story short, don’t get too comfortable in your Sydney apartment, because you just might find yourself in the air more than in your dorm.
5) Making friends isn’t as scary as you think
f the one thing holding you back from going abroad is that your friends won’t be there to join you, don’t fret. Making friends may seem like a scary endeavor at first, but the program becomes so close-knit and friendly as soon as the first few weeks of the program that you’ll hardly feel alone without your Boston friends at your side. Take it from me, I didn’t know anyone in the Sydney program prior to going abroad, but now six weeks in, I’ve found some amazing friends and travel buddies along the way. It was definitely difficult to go outside of my comfort zone and fight the urge to just stay in my room and video chat my family and friends back home, but it will all be worth it in the end. What’s great about these friends too is that you can still meet up with them in the States once the program ends!
Happy autumn, Terriers! Hope everyone’s enjoying the wonderful weather and all the amazingness that is fall baseball (shoutout to my boys the Red Sox for clinching the AL East Division Title #proud). There’s been a lot on my mind in the world of sports lately, so enjoy a long-winded rant about the Serena Williams/Naomi Osaka debacle.
While the fairness of the events that transpired between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos during the Women’s US Open this year is debatable, this simple fact is not: the outcome of high caliber sports matchups should never be the result of questionable officiating.
We’ve seen this happen before, and we’ll see it happen again. One of the most contested sports moments to this day remains the infamous “Fail Mary” call of a Packers-Seahawks game in 2012 (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary that was caught by both a receiver and a defender. One referee called it a touchdown, the other an incomplete pass. Ultimately, it was ruled in Seattle’s favor, and fans are still pulling their hair out over it five years later). So my only question is this: why is the world acting like they’re surprised?
Serena Williams had a rough year. While her fans will will be the first to remind the world of her strength and determination as one of the greatest female athletes ever, they’ll also be quick to point out her troubles this year as a mother. The narrative for this US Open suited her just well. Look at all that Serena can do! She can be both a mother and an athlete; simultaneously tough and feminine; career driven and conventionally fulfilled in her personal life; competitive, even at the highest level, even after enduring years of sexism and criticism, even while pregnant, even while in pain, and even after an emergency c-section threatened the life of both her and her child; and she can win a 24th Grand Slam title, tying the record for most Grand Slam wins ever. Yes, the narrative was on Serena’s side for this match, all right.
But Naomi Osaka had a narrative too, albeit a lesser one. Osaka, the ruthless underdog, was going to beat out Serena Williams and secure her place as the first Japanese tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam. Osaka was vocal about her admiration for Williams and her desires to beat her, to prove to herself and the world that she could. The matchup between the two would be legendary regardless, a fierce competition between two top female athletes looking to make history.
That is why the Ramos call will rival the Fail Mary in the Questionable Officiating Hall of Fame. Not because he undisputedly pushed the Grand Slam in Osaka’s favor by docking Williams a whole game, but because he made this match about something it was never intended to be about: him.
While the Ramos call in of itself can be looked at and learned from in the world of tennis, it cannot be separated from the Williams/Osaka narrative that made this Grand Slam the sporting event it was already cracked up to be. If you were to show someone who didn’t know anything about tennis the match itself, most would agree with Ramos. But when you consider all that Williams (and Osaka, too) has fought against in the world of tennis, all the Williams has done despite her personal battles that the very establishment of tennis has thrust her into, there is no room for anything other than disappointment and frustration at the complete disrespect shown to both Williams and Osaka by Carlos Ramos that day.
The negative coverage that Ramos received from mainstream news outlets and tennis junkies alike accurately reflects the true absurdity of the situation itself. You cannot separate the penalties received by Williams from her narrative as an athlete or tennis’s sexist past. A match that was predestined to one of the greatest between two of the world’s best female athletes in is now about a call made by a male referee, a fact that is more than just irritating and disappointing, but completely disrespectful to Williams, Osaka, and the world of sports itself.
Learning to cook is an important life skill most students learn during college. Whether you live off campus or in apartment-style housing, there are many easy recipes you can whip up without sacrificing lots of time or money. Here are a few of my favorites:
Turkey Taco Bowl
Perfect for Taco Tuesday nights with friends!
- 1 package (12 oz) of ground turkey
- 4 tablespoons Trader Joe’s taco seasoning
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can corn
- 2 cups lettuce
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Bunch of cilantro
Rinse and drain rice, then cook in rice cooker or pot. At the same time, sauté turkey over medium heat in a nonstick pan, adding the seasoning halfway through, until well done. Drain, rinse, and warm beans and corn. Wash and chop lettuce and cilantro. Fill a bowl halfway with rice, then top with meat, beans, corn, lettuce, cheese, and lime. Squeeze lime over the top for extra flavor. Serve.
Tofu and Bok Choy Stir-Fry
A quick vegetarian option.
- 1 block extra-firm tofu
- 8 heads baby bok choy
- 4 spring onions (scallions)
- 1 garlic clove
- Soy sauce
- Chili flakes (if desired)
Peel and mince garlic, then finely chop the spring onions before lightly sautéing them with sesame oil in a nonstick frying pan or wok. Drain and rinse tofu then slice it into small, approximately ½ inch cubes. Add tofu to frying pan and sauté for 3 minutes.
Wash and chop bok choy, then add it to the pan and continue to sauté until the bok choy wilts and feels firm, yet soft. Drizzle soy sauce and chili flakes (if desired), then sauté 2 more minutes. Serve hot over steamed rice.
Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake
Easy for a late-night treat.
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients in a large microwave-safe mug. Stir in wet ingredients. Cook in a microwave until cake is done in the middle, about 1 min 30 seconds.
Crispy Baked Chickpeas
A healthy alternative to chips and perfect to pack as a midday snack.
- 2 cans chickpeas
- smoked paprika
- onion powder
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- brown sugar
Drain and rinse chickpeas, then roll them around a tea towel to remove outer skins. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet, then drizzle with oil and toppings (exact amounts aren’t necessary – just add as much or little as you please!). Bake at 350℉ for 25 min or until crunchy.
Over the summer I had a serious thought: When was the last time I read a book for pure enjoyment? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I can tell you the last time I watched Netflix as a form of procrastination, but I never read a book when I have nothing else to do. Sometimes I think it’s because with school work and the amount of reading I am assigned that it feels like extra “work” to read any more. When watching a show, you can just let your mind relax. But is that still a valid excuse to not read?
This summer I decided it wasn’t. Something that students might not know is that we are also eligible for a library card from the Boston Public Library (BPL)! So, I decided to go to the library and sign myself up!
Another reason I have always avoided reading was because I never knew what to read. What do I like? What will I stick with and finish? What genre is entertaining to me? There are so many endless options that I could never figure out where to start.
Luckily for me, the BPL has a shelf in the front called “Lucky Day.” It’s a shelf that the library fills with popular books, most of which have a waiting list to read. They take the books out of rotation to give other people the option to read them if it is their “lucky day.” That’s where I started.
The benefit of the “Lucky Day” section is that you only get 14 days to read the book as opposed to the normal 30-day rental. You also cannot renew the book, unlike normal rentals. This forced me to read my books in a rather short time frame. That really got me on a roll.
Instead of finishing my day with some Netflix, I read. I found it relaxing and a nice quiet change of pace. I went to coffee shops to sit and read. I found new parks to read in. It got me out and about, enjoying things at a slower pace than I am used to.
It was more of a personal goal of mine, to feel more connected to something. I almost viewed it as a form of personal growth. What I didn’t expect was to tell my friends what I had been up to and realize they had been reading for enjoyment all along and had plenty of recommendations for me. One of the most helpful recommendations I got was to download the app Goodreads where you can connect with friends and see what they have read, how they rated it, what they are reading, and what is on their reading bucket list. It doesn’t get more fun than that!
(You can also scan books and find other ratings and reviews to see if it sounds like something that is interesting to you!)
But this isn’t just to convince you to download an app or even to tell you to start reading, though you should as the famous scientist Carl Sagan wrote that there are more books in the world than anyone could ever possibly read so you really don’t want to miss your chance to read the small percentage that you can. Instead, I wrote this because the best thing I have gotten out of my new reading endeavor is the book clubs I’ve gone to, sitting on coffee shop patios bonding with strangers over the same emotions and reactions to the book. The people I’ve interacted with at the libraries whether it be the librarian that always helps me find the book to the old woman I sat with as we read for hours. Or the deeper level of friendship my friends and I share over our book preferences and so on. Me stepping out of my comfort zone, trying something I knew wasn’t my strong point (I’m talking to you elementary school Laurel with the low-level reading comprehension) and really enjoying being unplugged and relaxed from the world and school.
We have such little time to enjoy college and the four years feels like two by the end of it. It would be a shame to not continuously try something new, whether it be something as small as reading for pure enjoyment. I hope you too find something that excites you like I have and brings you closer to the community around you as it has for me. Happy reading!
“You need to know how to defend your ideas with confidence, even if that means digging yourself into a hole.”
It was the first day of class senior year when the Media Money Trail course instructor, Professor Jodi Luber, established this objective for the semester. She encourages debate, even if you’re aware that you are wrong, for the sake of knowing how to argue. It’s an important skill for any professional in a creative field: how do you legitimize your ideas? If you’re pitching an idea and there is an unexpected question or criticism comes, you must know how to address it.
When you think about it, this is a pretty good skill for everyday life. When you have an opinion or theory, what can you do to defend it? Let’s take this example that is my personal favorite. Are you ready?
Ex-Disney Channel stars-turned-pop duo Aly & AJ are vampires.
Yep. Believe it or not, I think that they are vampires. And I’m going to defend my opinion to you, readers.
- Alyson and Amanda “AJ” Michalka were practically A-List celebrities in the mid-2000s. Think: Cow Belles, Phil of the Future, some recurring roles on daytime shows like Passions and General Hospital, NOT EVEN to mention their ultimate stardom with their Insomniatic and Into the Rush albums. But, where did they go post-Insomniatic? Simple: the grave. Their retreat from the spotlight lasted years. As a ruse, they sometimes popped up in throwaway projects like Hellcats and Silicon Valley, but who really cares about that? They just wanted you to think that they weren’t dead. Truly, there is a stark contrast between who they were and who they became.
What a dreary album cover for what was probably the last time they were seen alive
2. In 2015, Aly returned to the small screen via the CW series iZombie. The series centers around newly-minted zombie, Olivia, who uses her eating habits to absorb the memories of murder victims and solve their deaths. Creepy? A bit. Aly plays Peyton, Olivia’s (living) best friend. The connection is just uncanny. She’s in a show about dead people, but she isn’t dead? Seems like a diversion where she can point fingers elsewhere.
Taken from tv.com.
3. Recently, Aly & AJ have emerged from their slumber together. Their EP Ten Years reintroduces them to the music world with a rejuvenated sound. Yeah, I bop to it. It sounds nice, and I can definitely say, “We stan!” But think harder. What does “ten years” even mean? Ten years since what? Their deaths? Probably. Things get even spookier when you listen to their hit, “Take Me.” Check out these lines:
I know that you would want it
If I could sink my teeth into you
They are literally talking about biting somebody. Their music video also confirms the suspicion. Check out those sharpened teeth:
Taken from Vevo music video of “Take Me“.
4. This summer, my friend Jess and I had the pleasure (or doomed misfortune) of seeing Aly & AJ live at the Paradise Rock Club. It was a transformative experience. Great banter, great tunes, and lots of dancing. At one point, Aly commented on their tumultuous careers: “I feel like AJ and I have lived nine lives!” Honestly, Aly, maybe that’s because you have.
A poor quality photo of a high quality evening.
I feel as though I have some irrefutable evidence here. Try to come at me! Perhaps I have dug myself into a hole in the process of this post… but what kind of hole? Notice my obsession over Aly & AJ aligns closely with that of a vampire’s minion. I was within close proximity of these two goddesses. Maybe there is a small chance… just a tiny one… that they have turned me, too, and the hole in which I lie exists in your local cemetery. Watch out when you’re traversing Commonwealth Ave late at night, all alone…
If you’re anything like I was as a freshman, your BU inbox is probably (and hopefully) cluttered with emails you signed up for during Splash this weekend. You may have signed up for a couple of them just to win a free T-shirt, and some you might’ve just put your email down because your friends or roommate did. I remember being pretty overwhelmed at my first Splash, because there are so many different clubs and organizations out there, and all of them are trying to get your attention. At the end of the day, the idea of narrowing everything down to a very small handful of clubs can be very daunting.
Unfortunately for me, I actually only ended up going to a few of the meetings, and didn’t really stick with any clubs my first semester. In the thick of everything, that actually didn’t occur to me–I signed up for BUTV10 and went to the trainings, but I only sporadically showed up to shoots after the training ended. I was afraid of over-committing my time, and ended up with such an excess of free time that I ran out of things to do almost constantly. The tricky thing is, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get involved with clubs after the initial buzzing of the start of the semester wears off, because most organizations are in a routine by October.
Thankfully, at the beginning of the spring semester each year, BU hosts a Winter Activities Fair. I attended by myself, being the only person in my friend group who really needed to go. I signed up for WTBU and a volunteer group with the Community Service Center, and from my initial sign-up for WTBU stemmed an opportunity to write for The Beat, WTBU’s zine. Suddenly, my semester was filled with weekly meetings and opportunities to do stuff outside of class, and meet a ton of great people. My freshman spring was leaps and bounds better than my freshman fall, and I fully attribute that to the fact that I was more involved at BU.
Starting with that semester and throughout my sophomore year, I tried out a lot of different clubs and organizations, learned so much, and felt so much more content and fulfilled at BU, then during my junior year, I fully settled into BU On Broadway, joined BUTV10’s Bay State as a writer, and have stayed involved in the Community Service Center by doing FYSOP as a staff leader and going on an ASB trip. Because of my extracurriculars, I feel so much more passionate, driven, and capable, and I bring that into the classroom, which has helped me grow academically.
Long story short, even if you somehow ended up only signing up for 3 mailing lists, make sure you get to those general meetings and ask around about what your friends, classmates, or floormates are involved in and see if you can tag alone. I promise it will make all the difference in your first year, and the sooner you get involved, the sooner you will discover your greatest passions and meet your favorite people.
Have a great semester,
To quote fellow CA Tyler from his blog last week, “Yes, I am abroad, but I don’t want to give you the standard ‘I am abroad!’ post.”
Today was a challenging day. You know how it gets with classes, final projects and midterms, and then I received some sad news. As I sat in my apartment trying (but failing) to collect my thoughts and be productive, my roommate, CA Megan, came home with insomnia cookies. She had also had a tough few days, so I made her favorite muffins that she eats every morning so that she wouldn’t have to worry about it after her night class. We sat on our futon (Barb), ate cookies, promising that we will get through this together, and everything felt a little better. And that’s why, as Megan would say, I love friendship.
The friendships I have made at BU have made all the difference for my experience at BU. Even with all of the wonderful classes, faculty, and stellar opportunities, my friends will always be the best thing BU has given me. It’s the small efforts we make for each other – ensuring one another that we’re not alone during these crazy few years – that mean so much.
I heard another CA say at open house last Saturday, you could make your best friends in college at orientation or half-way through sophomore year, and both are okay. I couldn’t agree more. One of my closest friends I met during FYSOP, and others I only got to know a few months ago. Some of the best moments of my life have been spent with these people, and I am so grateful for that.
Sometimes I wish I could turn back time and meet some of my friends again. Like CA Tyler, who I don’t really know when or how we became friends. I think we both just knew immediately that we were going to have a long and wonderful friendship. He’s been my shoulder to cry on in the dining hall of all places, but also makes me laugh more than anyone else can. Other friendships took longer to form, like Megan who is now glued to my hip, but who I knew for a full year before realizing that she was my friendship soulmate.
In conclusion, take this Buzzfeed quiz about toast to find out what kind of friend you are: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasminnahar/make-some-toast-and-well-reveal-what-kind-of-frie?utm_term=.evqLlyY3Y
I got the ‘Mum Friend’, which I feel is both right and wrong. I don’t really know. Anyway, go hug your friends close, let them know you love them, and if they are having a bad day buy them some insomnia because chocolate chip cookies can solve nearly anything. And, if you are an accepted or perspective student buckle up to meet your friendship soulmates.