Casey: Boston is Not the Midwest

Seeing as this is college decision time for high school seniors, I thought I might share my experience.

I went to school and spent most of my time in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. Noblesville (and all of Indiana, really) is a lot like Sacramento is described in Lady Bird. It was a great place to grow up, I made some of my closest friends, and I learned a lot. But for much of my life, it also felt like a cage and left me feeling like I was missing out on the world and life, while many of my classmates were completely settled on the idea of staying there their whole lives.

But luckily, I found a way out early on. My mom was a BU grad, and told me a lot of her experience going to school here, of all the people she met, great things she learned and did that she could never have in the small city outside of St. Louis she grew up in. From the first time I heard of it, I knew BU was where I wanted to be. So as trapped as I felt, I always had a way out in sight.

About a year and a half ago, as I began to decide which schools to apply to, I only visited two colleges: BU, and DePaul in Chicago. To comfort my parents and guidance counselor, I applied to a couple other schools, of course, but anyone who knew me knew where I wanted to be.

Now, I arrive at the present. My gamble paid off, and I now have nearly a year under my belt at the school I’ve wanted to go to since I was 4. BU has been all I hoped it would be. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people from all over (the best ones being in COM, obviously), experienced great things, and learned a lot about myself.

Looking back, this entire story and experience that occurred across 15 years of my life taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned and will be invaluable to me as I continue my college career.

First, trust your heart. It knows what you want and where you want to go, even when you don’t. I just knew deep down in my gut that BU was the right place for me, and would get me where I wanted to go in life. My heart knew it, so I never questioned it. College involves making a lot of decisions, and it can be extremely stressful trying to figure everything out, and it can be difficult to see what you truly want. But even if you don’t know, your heart does. Try listening.

Second, remember where you came from. I know I just spent this article ripping apart my home state, but its true. As I said, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people this year at BU from all over the world, and have learned a lot from them. But that’s what you have to remember, just as you learn a lot by meeting all these great people, they also have a lot to learn from you. Where you come from shaped you and made you who you are. Embrace it. In the end, where you came from and how you grew from there is what will set you apart in college, and later, the world.

Avery: A Family Away From Home

Arguably the hardest thing about going to college is leaving your family. Your family has been with you through thick and thin, and it’s difficult to leave that support system behind. I’m an only child so I am especially close with my parents. When I left home, I was really worried about leaving behind a group of people that I could always rely on and confide in. I wanted to make sure I could make that same personal connection at BU.

My response to this was joining the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team (The Ozone Pilots) here at BU. I had played frisbee a little bit in high school, and I loved the community so much that I knew I wanted to continue while here. I was nervous that it might be different, but my very first practice proved me wrong. We started with a team huddle, and after, every single member of the team came up to me and introduced themselves personally. I had met kind and welcoming groups of people before, but never to this extent. The students were inquisitive, asking about what my major was, where I was from, and how I was adjusting to life here.

The women on the team have quickly become my family away from family. Anytime I need to talk about anything, whether it be personal or school-related, I know I can talk to quite literally anyone on the team. If I’m at practice and something appears to be off, there is a guarantee that at least four or five team members will approach me and check in. Having a family apart from your real family is so incredibly valuable in college, and I strongly encourage everyone to get involved with something that lights their fire and engage in the community within that group!

Flash forward to six months later, which is where I am currently. I have practice three to four nights a week, and I look forward to every single one of them. Whether it be raining, snowing, or 10 degrees, I know that I’ll have an amazing time because of the young women that I get to spend my time with. They can cheer me up after an awful day, or even just an okay one. No matter what, I know I can rely on them. They’re my family.
In summary, I would highly recommend joining a sport or club that is of interest to you! You get to do what you love while being surrounded by people that you love. What more could you ask for?

Hannah: Feeling Homesick? Have No Fear, 7 Tips Are Here!

When I was applying to college, my main goal was to get away. Like Lady Bird, I had a dream of moving to the bustling east coast. The summer before starting at BU, I was antsy every day. I looked around me and thought, “Ugh, Michigan! I can’t wait to leave you!” I felt like I was so ready to be independent and sophisticated, no longer a naïve Midwesterner.

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Once I got to BU, however, I kept thinking about my home and family. Could it be? Was I actually homesick? Was I actually missing the Midwest??? I felt guilty for missing my lame Michigan dirt roads and strip malls when the brilliant Boston was my backyard.

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I hid this gross feeling of homesickness and pretended that I wasn’t feeling nostalgic. I later learned that being homesick is okay. A lot of people feel that way and it’s not immature or embarrassing. Here a few tips to get that icky feeling out of your stomach.

1. Discover Boston!

Homesickness is often brought about by boredom. Write a list of touristy places you want to see in Boston and try your best to go into the city once a week. The more you get to know Boston, the more it will feel like your second home. Check out the Museum of Fine Arts or walk around Harvard Square!

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2. FaceTime That Fam

Call your family once a week. This is a great reminder that although you are far away, you are still connected.

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3. Think About What You Love in Your Home and Find It in Boston

Boston is unbelievably diverse and probably has pretty much anything your home has. I was really missing the small funky shops of Ann Arbor, Michigan and later discovered that shopping in Cambridge had a similar feel. All you gotta do is some exploring.

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4. Stop Counting the Days

Put that calendar away! College is a journey and not a destination. When you stop thinking about how many weeks are left until break, you’ll be more in the moment and less homesick.

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5. Take Care of Yourself

When you are strung out and frazzled, all of your emotions are more intense. Remember to get enough sleep, exercise, eat healthy food and drink water so your physical state doesn’t negatively impact your mental state.

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6. Trust Yourself

You moved away for a reason! Remember why you chose BU and the things in your hometown that you wanted to move away from. Also, keep in mind that the things you miss are probably being exaggerated in your brain.

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7. Keep Company 

Whenever you feel that sad feeling, ask someone to lunch! Create your own little BU family. Also, it’s not weird if you ask someone out in a class or in a club that you don’t know that well. People want to make new friends! Don’t worry about it 😉

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8. List it Up!

Make a list of the things and people you miss at home. When you go home for break, try to hit all those things so you don’t miss them as much when you come back.

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Keep in mind that it is natural to miss your home. Whenever you feel sad, try to think of it as feeling thankful. Your home is completely yours; it is part of your personality and upbringing and that’s amazing!

To end this, I’m going to quote an incredible movie, Brooklyn. “Homesickness is like most sicknesses. It will pass.”

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Maddy: 7 Things to Daydream About On Your 8-Hour Bus Journey Back To BU (too niche?)

As Spring Break comes to a close, and the crippling weight of your postponed responsibilities comes crashing down on your shoulders once again, it’s helpful to pinpoint some things to look forward to for the rest of your semester! So close your eyes, take a deep breath, put your sweatshirt on because this bus is colder than a freakin’ Boston winter and your overhead air conditioning is stuck on full blast, put your earbuds in because you bet that baby will be screaming for the entire ride, and imagine these beautiful BU treasures that await you.

  1. The Friendliest GSU Employee Ever To Exist

    Source: Adrianna Diaz/Daily Free Press Staff
    Source: Adrianna Diaz/Daily Free Press Staff

     The main thing to look forward to upon your return to BU is a smile and a “how are you, my friend?” from the nicest woman alive, who just happens to work as a cashier at the GSU. You can be sure that she will make a friendly joke about whatever food you’re buying, which you will only catch the tail end of because you were struggling to put your ID back in your pocket, you clumsy fool. Then you will bid her a great day because she truly deserves one and you will have seven years’ good luck.

  2. Pavement Coffee House

    Source: The Odyssey
    Source: The Odyssey

    Another thing you’ve surely missed over spring break is Pavement Coffee House, the best study spot known to man. Though you haven’t missed doing homework, you know it’ll be so nice to sip your Cinnamon Fig latte and listen to cool alternative playlists while you slave over your reading assignments.

  3. The College Comedy Scene

    Source: ME!
    Source: ME!

    Source: Danya Trommer
    Source: Danya Trommer

    BU’s comedy scene is always something to look forward to! Pictured above are two of the funniest people I have ever met: Fellow CA Hannah Schweitzer (COM ‘21), who performs with BU’s premiere improv troupe Liquid Fun; and Danya Trommer (COM ‘21) who kills at Stand-Up Club! In fact, Hannah will be making her Liquid Fun debut in their show on March 16th, and Danya and I are competing in BU’s Funniest, a stand-up comedy competition that will determine which student will open for the famous comedian who comes to perform at BU! So many things to look forward to!

  4. President Brown’s Rolling Briefcase and Whatever Secrets It May Contain

    Source: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
    Source: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff


    Dolla bills? Spare mustaches? An L.L. Bean Pop Up Shop? The possibilities are endless.

     

  5. Butv10 Servin’ Up Industry-Standard Realness

     Source: Cydney Scott
    Source: Cydney Scott

    COM is known for providing top-notch resources to its students, including industry standard equipment for students to rent out or use to FILM THEIR OWN TV SHOWS. (I know.) Butv10 is BU’s TV station, and we write and film actual episodes of shows like Bay State, the longest-running college soap opera; Pals & Friends, a sketch comedy show that I write for; and Co-Ed, a mockumentary (comedy) show that I also write for! Hooray!

     

  6. Squeezing In Time For Einstein’s Bagels Between Classes

    Source: Unkown but I got it off of the BU Dining page]
    Source: Unknown but I got it off of the BU Dining page

    No line is more worth the wait than the one for Einstein’s Bagels in the CAS basement, which often extends down the entire hallway. But do you know who’s going to wait as long as it takes for a hot bagel and coffee even if it means being 5 minutes late to class? You are. Why? Because you DESERVE that shmear of honey almond cream cheese on a toasted asiago bagel.

     

  7. Rhett’s Weary But Smiling Face As He Waddles Through The GSU

    Source: Kristyn Ulanday
    Source: Kristyn Ulanday

    The fabled terrier Rhett is reclusive, but on occasion a few lucky BU students with a keen eye will be able to spot the creature as he is essentially dragged through the GSU link. He’s so tired but so adorable. Will you be the one to offer a nice warm lap for him to nap on? Maybe. Rumor has it that if you let Rhett nap on your lap he will grant you 3 wishes and 40 convenience points. That’s enough for two whole loads of laundry.

Shaun: Sword making, or, the Importance of a Major/Career-Related Extracurricular

My high school track coach always said that freshmen were like the beginnings of a good sword: useless, worthless hunks of metal. They have no idea what they want to do, he would tell us, much less what they should or should not do. So they try everything; things they’re good at, things they’re definitely bad at, and everything in between. Freshmen are stupid, he said — and that’s what makes them great. They take the biggest risks, and they fail most of the time, and they really consider quitting. But once they find that thing that makes them come back for another day, either because they’re good at it or because they love it or both, it makes all the stupid first-year pragmatism worth it.

At this point it’s time to start making the sword, and the worthless, first-year piece of metal gets thrown into the fire. Day in and day out the metal is casted and molded, then casted and remolded again, until it’s strong enough to be brought out onto the anvil. Now the metal is hammered out, then it’s plunged into ice water, then hammered again, and again, until a sword is finally taking shape. In time the metal is remarkably strong, and it starts to be sharpened. Subtle and precise refinements form the edges that make the sword so effective and powerful. Some four years later, it’s spring of senior year, and what was once a shapeless clump of metal has been forged into a tool of absolute and utter destruction. The process was lengthy, and it was difficult. But it pays off. The result is something unstoppable, something purposeful, and above all, something of which you’re incredibly proud.

Sword-making is a really good metaphor for track and field, but I think it’s a really good metaphor for college, too. Freshman year on campus is the time to embrace the hunk of metal status. It’s the time to try everything, and be bad at things, and be stupid, because that’s the only way to find your thing. For me, that thing was The Daily Free Press; for you, it could be literally anything (we’re at BU, people — don’t tell me you can’t find an extracurricular). And once you have that thing, throw yourself into the fire. If you’re already in the fire, keep throwing yourself in. Hammer yourself into shape. Sharpen your edges with internships and study abroad and classes you love. Four years will go by in a blur. But you’ll come out of this workshop we call Boston University a tool of destruction ready to conquer your field and, if you’re feeling up to it, the entire freaking world.

And please, don’t be afraid of failing. The fire will always be there.

xoxo,

Shaun

Geneve: 5 Signs You’re a True Bostonian

I feel like I can adequately call myself a “city girl now” I’ll be honest; when I first moved to Boston from my hometown of Boise, Idaho (which is tiny, mind you), I had no idea if I would adjust to the city life. I definitely had a bit of culture shock initially. But, as my first semester unfolded, I checked off places on my “Places to See” list, I slowly gained the Bostonian status. Here are 5 signs that you have, too. 

  1. You no longer have to check the T maps to know what stop is next on the Green Line Inbound.  

Kenmore, Hynes, Copley, Arlington, Boylston, then Park Street. After you take the T enough times, you’ll start to know exactly what stop you’re getting off at and not have to consistently stand next to the map or check the LED sign religiously. An extra bonus: you can give people directions if they look lost! (Also, @MBTA, when are you going to fix the fact that you can’t change directions at Copley and have to go all the way to Arlington?)

Next stop: Boylston. No smoking, please. 

2)   City Target becomes more impractical than fun. 

Now, no hate, because the City Target is the bomb.com, but it’s the worst feeling when you realize you forgot to grab something on the third floor and are heading to the checkout on the second floor. Tip: section off your shopping list by floor so you don’t have to go back to the third floor a second time!

Moment of appreciation for the beautiful lights and luxurious apartment buildings on the way from the BU Campus to Target, though. 

3)   Jaywalking at Kenmore Square does not phase you.

Crossing the street when the light is actually green? What’s that? Besides mumbling “hit me, I dare you” under your breath half-jokingly, you’ll start to realize that it’s completely irrational to wait to cross because there can either be so much traffic that it is standstill, or no cars at all. 

STILL LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THOUGH. Both ways, twice! Safety is #1. 

4)   You begin to venture outside of the city during the weekend.

Obviously, living in Boston is amazing. But eventually, you’ll branch out and explore places outside of Boston– in close proximity like Cambridge or Somerville, and a bit further, like Salem or the Cape. And lucky for us, MBTA offer direct transportation to places like Newburyport and Salem, so there’s almost no excuse to get out of the immediate Boston area. 

Make sure you book bus or train tickets in advance if you are planning on going somewhere during three day weekends! Prices may skyrocket. 

5)     You never leave for the day without packing an umbrella or rain jacket. 

Boston can always be unexpectedly hit with downpours, and you don’t want to be left unprepared and drenched on your walk from class to class. Rain jackets are awesome if you don’t want the bulk of an umbrella and take up barely any space in your bag when folded up. However, if you want more full coverage from the rain without wearing a hood, an umbrella is your best option! Lots of stores sell smaller, compact umbrellas perfect for college students!

So, do you think you’ve met the criteria for being a true Bostonian? 

If so, congrats! And hey, if not quite yet, no worries. You still got a few years to go, so what’s the rush? 

Stephen: Lesser Known Gems Throughout Boston

When I arrived on campus for orientation this past summer, it was the first time in many years that I had spent more than a day in Boston. Now, as a second semester freshman, I’ve been in the city for months enjoying what it has to offer. From great food to exciting activities, there are endless numbers of things that can be done here. For me, however, one of my favorite activities is finding new places to take photos.

I come from a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania known as Carlisle. Now Carlisle is very nice and all, but it’s not quite as intense as Boston. The photography I did there usually required me to travel long distances to capture a sunset or simply an interesting landscape. Here in Boston, all of that has changed. Now I can just hop on the T, go to the North End and take new photos every time I’m there. However, is continually going to one spot really all that fun? For some perhaps, but for me not so much. That’s why I’m going to share five of my favorite places for photography that I have found in my short time being in the city. Before we get into the list, don’t worry about whether or not you prefer landscapes, portraits, cool insta shots, or whatever really. The list consists of all photography interests so it can apply to anyone.
 
Longfellow Bridge –
Longfellow Bridge is located right next to the Charles/MGH T station and has one of the best views of the city I have yet to see. The bridge has a pedestrian friendly walkway and you can often find bikers or runners making their way across. From my experience, it is best to come to the bridge during the dusk hours of the day when a lot of the city lights start to come on. Naturally, this spot is ideal for cityscape photos and long exposures such as the one below.
 
 
Chris and Ally’s Bench –
If you’re looking for a peaceful place near the river, this is the spot for you. Chris and Ally’s Bench is located along the Charles River Esplanade only a short walk from the BU Campus. It has some gorgeous weeping willow trees and there are great spots to climb around and enjoy nature. This spot is great for portrait work or for getting a nice shot of the river, especially on days where the river is full of boats. It shows up on google maps so you should have no trouble finding it!
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge –
I have yet to go to this bridge just yet but it has peaked my interest for quite some time. If you don’t already know of this bridge, it is located in the North End and it has a quite iconic cable architecture. There are walkways underneath and around the bridge as well so you can get a view of it from many different angles. I’d personally like to do portraits in this spot and test around with some other shots as well. After you’re done checking it out too you can always walk right on into the North End for some quality food.
 
Coolidge Corner – 
A classic Boston location, Coolidge Corner is in the Brookline neighborhood and is about a 15-20 minute walk from West Campus. There are some great food options in the area in case you get hungry, and the photography is great too. The famous Coolidge Corner Theatre features some great lights for a nighttime shoot, and the rustic buildings on the corner of Beacon and Harvard street (right next to the T stop) are quite the sight. I’ve been here once but I am looking forward to returning at night for some more photography.
 
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park –
Another North End location, this waterfront park is quite a nice area to spend some time in. This location is very popular so don’t expect to be alone, but do expect to get some cool pictures. At night when the archways are lit up, things can get quite pretty. Another great aspect of the park is its great view of the water as well as its proximity to Faneuil Hall. Grab some food, do some shopping, and then head down to the park for some pics.
While creating this list I really tried to avoid some of the more popular spots such as Boston Common, the Boston Public Library, or the famous Acorn Street. Those are all great options for photography as well, but the list features some not as popular gems that are still fantastic spots. Grab a friend, grab your camera, and get out there and start shooting! Not into photography? No problem whatsoever, hopefully this list can still add some locations for you to check out in the future.